Blog Posts by Barbara Keys

Volt and LEAF - Conquest Successes?

Are the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF successful in the marketplace? This year (January-August, 2011), about 3,400 Volts have been registered while the LEAF has sold about 5,300 in the same period. Interestingly, about 94% of LEAF registrations are retail sales compared to 79% for the Volt. Each of these vehicles represent a small fraction of the total brand sales, but it was expected they would at least start out as low-volume vehicles. The true value of these launches is the buzz, the...Read...
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Remembering a few of the first Econoboxes: Omni and Horizon

I hate to admit this, but I'm old enough to have been driving during the oil embargo in the mid-seventies. Among other effects (the price of gas went up to more than 50 cents a gallon!), this shock caused car buyers to seriously consider choosing to buy a small Japanese import instead of one of the comfy domestic cars that we were all used to. The oil embargo ended, but it was a long time before we were all comfortable that gas would be available when we needed it (at any price). Into this...Read...
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Creepy Crawly Car Guests

The news that Mazda is recalling certain Mazda6 vehicles because a type of spider likes to take up residence in the fuel system first had me checking to make sure that today is not April 1, 'cause it sure sounded like an April Fool's prank.Then I had a good laugh remembering my own experiences with "guests" taking up residence in my engine. Too many years ago, I was a graduate student living in a tiny apartment and driving a Plymouth Reliant. I had an assigned parking spot at the edge of...Read...
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Watson, Jeopardy and Selling Cars

As a confirmed geek, the three-part Jeopardy challenge with champion human players competing against IBM's computer Watson was "must-see TV." In grossly simplified terms, Watson uses algorithms that compare the words and phrases in the Jeopardy clue to a mass of stored documents and looks for strength of association between the clue and external words and phrases. The stronger the association, the more likely that external word or phrase is the right answer. Watson was programmed only to...
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Saving Gas

If you could increase the fuel efficiency of just one vehicle segment by 10%, which segment would you choose? The table below shows the number of vehicles bought new in each macro segment in the last 12 months (personal registrations only), along with a SWAG at the average mpg for that segment:Personal Registrations, Last 12 Months Vehicle Segment Count Est. MPG Entry/Economy Car 1,396,394 30 Midsize Car 1,805,962 28 Sporty Car 255,991 20 Luxury/Large Car 768,797 22 Minivan 296,526 20 Mini Sport...
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Seeking a Station Wagon

Hello, my name is Barbara and I drive a station wagon.   Yes, it's true, I’m so completely uncool that I drive a station wagon. My current wagon is a 2004 Focus, before that I drove a 1998 Escort wagon. I even have a Plymouth (un)Reliant wagon in my past.    I choose compact wagons because they satisfy my twin needs for good gas mileage and for more cargo capacity than a sedan or hatchback would provide. The price difference between a compact wagon and the smallest utility vehicle is a concern,...
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Ditch the Steering Wheel!

Picture yourself driving a vehicle. The details of your vehicle will differ from person to person depending on the types of vehicles you own (or desire). But certain things are common. If you're driving in the U.S., you're sitting in the front left corner of the passenger cabin (aka, the driver's seat). You have one or both hands on a steering wheel. There is a gear shift, either on the steering wheel or the floor. The brake pedal is on the left and the accelerator is on the right.    Does it...
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To Err is Human...

Anytime you do a direct marketing campaign, whether it's a mail or email campaign or some other kind of direct contact, quality of the targeting is a concern. This is especially true for automotive marketing campaigns that target people that own competitive vehicles – targeting Toyota owners for a Honda sales campaign for example. In this case you are likely relying on an external list provider instead of your own owner database. Inevitably you will find some people on your list who don't own...
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