Tag - cars

It's perfectly illegal

I just let the kids watch Gever Tulley’s video 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kid Do. One of them is driving your car.

Immediately Aidan, our 5 year old, asked if he could drive my car tomorrow. I said no, maybe on Saturday, though. Right away he went off to Teresa and told her that Daddy had said that he could drive the car on Saturday.

When that statement was greeted with a somewhat strained silence, he added with great assurance: “it’s perfectly illegal!”

Here’s the video. Enjoy!

[ update August 21 ]

So I did it – I let Aidan (5) and Ethan (8) drive my Mini. Kind of gave my heart a good workout.

I found a nice parking lot, let them sit in the driver’s seat (I actually had to sit behind them) and drive the car. Ethan freaked me out when he pushed the gas pedal hard, but fortunately we were still in Park. Of course, they loved it, and maybe we’ll try it again sometime … in a decade or so.

Funky Chinese patois

You can’t make stuff this good up:

“Let the hackle zipper cut in the drailing wheel, then draught at full tilt to upgrade, let the drailing wheel tunning hight speed, at this time set the product to evenness floor to go speed run.”

Also notice, under the name of the toy: “Playing must on the smoothness floor.”

But don’t worry, the toy itself is great. After all, it’s part of a “toys series with a strong sense for playing.”

Ahhh … language. Babelfish has got to be better than whoever mangled this translation.

Phaeton phantasmagorical

Saw this on Boingboing just a few minutes ago: a photo tour of Volkswagen’s Phaeton factory in Dresden, Germany.

phaeton factory in dresden, germany

Unbelievable. This is no factory, it’s a work of engineering and aesthetic art. I’d work in it any day.

Glass, steel, laminated wood flooring: it’s a modernist dream factory made real.

. . .
. . .

Of course, I think the car is a gas guzzling brute, even if it is somewhat better than a lot of SUVs, and incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully beautiful. However, it can be purchased in a much more efficient V6 turbo diesel TDi version.

SUVs running on empty

Well, I’ve said it before, and so have others, but the data is starting to come in that the car-buying public is starting to drastically change its habits.

3 cheers for high gas prices!

Naturally, most of the North American (I mean, American) car manufacturers are caught totally flat-footed … with way too many guzzling gas suckers in their vehicle line-ups and way too few fuel-sipping (and funky and cool and beautiful and pleasurable to drive) smaller automobiles.

They’re addicted to the high-priced, high-margin trucks and SUVs … Ford was supposedly making $10,000 on each new Explorer that rolled off the assembly lines.

Who could have predicted gas prices would go this high? Anyone with a brain and a sense of reality. The storms of ’05 may have brought it on a little swifter, and the war in Iraq has not helped a dime’s worth (quite the reverse), but the reality is that oil is finite, capacity is limited, and demand has been increasing at insane rates.

The annoying thing for those of us who drive fuel-efficient vehicles is that all the SUV drivers out there aren’t only paying more at the pump themselves, but by using 2 or 3 times as much fuel as they should be, they’re sucking up supply at accelerated rates, and driving up the price for all of us.

Well, well.

Hopefully now we’ll see some return to more creative vehicles and creative marketing strategies. All we’ve seen from Detroit in the past few years is more horsepower, more power, bigger engine, 0-60 times, etc. etc. But take a look at the New Beetle campaigns. Or the Mini marketing.

It’s creative, new, innovative, exciting. And it doesn’t mention horsepower, engine size, speed, or any of the other particulars that American manufacturers seem to find absolutely essential.

Can America turn it around? Can Ford become the #2 automobile manufacturer in the world again? Can GM stave off the current #2, Toyota? I hope so. I’d hate to see it all shift to Asia and Europe.

But it won’t happen without a sea change in American manufacturer’s attitudes. They have to get it, before they’ll get the business.

And so far, they’ve shown few signs of impending cluefullness.