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Archive for December 5th, 2008

1965 Corvette

1965 Corvette

The most recent example of Corporate America “desperation marketing” is below.  Emailed from GM’s Troy A. Clarke, Group Vice President and President GM North America.   Customers are getting these because they own a GM car, but it’s really in poor taste for GM to try and use customer personal information for the purposes of political lobbying.  Sure the “loan” is a complicated situation and whether or not GM ends up in Chapter 11, I don’t think they should be SPAM’ing their customers with email.  What do you think?  Would you respond differently if it was a letter from Harley-Davidson?

Dear [Customer Name],

You made the right choice when you put your confidence in General Motors, and we appreciate your past support. I want to assure you that we are making our best vehicles ever, and we have exciting plans for the future. But we need your help now. Simply put, we need you to join us to let Congress know that a bridge loan to help U.S. automakers also helps strengthen the U.S. economy and preserve millions of American jobs.

Despite what you may be hearing, we are not asking Congress for a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.

The U.S. economy is at a crossroads due to the worldwide credit crisis, and all Americans are feeling the effects of the worst economic downturn in 75 years. Despite our successful efforts to restructure, reduce costs and enhance liquidity, U.S. auto sales rely on access to credit, which is all but frozen through traditional channels.

The consequences of the domestic auto industry collapsing would far exceed the $25 billion loan needed to bridge the current crisis. According to a recent study by the Center for Automotive Research:

  • One in 10 American jobs depends on U.S. automakers
  • Nearly 3 million jobs are at immediate risk
  • U.S. personal income could be reduced by $150 billion
  • The tax revenue lost over 3 years would be more than $156 billion

Discussions are now underway in Washington, D.C., concerning loans to support U.S. carmakers. I am asking for your support in this vital effort by contacting your state representatives.

Please take a few minutes to go to www.gmfactsandfiction.com, where we have made it easy for you to contact your U.S. senators and representatives. Just click on the “I’m a Concerned American” link under the “Mobilize Now” section, and enter your name and ZIP code to send a personalized e-mail stating your support for the U.S. automotive industry.

Let me assure you that General Motors has made dramatic improvements over the last 10 years. In fact, we are leading the industry with award-winning vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Buick Enclave, Pontiac G8, GMC Acadia, Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, Saturn AURA and more. We offer 18 models with an EPA estimated 30 MPG highway or better – more than Toyota or Honda. GM has 6 hybrids in market and 3 more by mid-2009. GM has closed the quality gap with the imports, and today we are putting our best quality vehicles on the road.

Please share this information with friends and family using the link on the site.

Thank you for helping keep our economy viable.

Sincerely,

Troy Clarke

Shame on GM!

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ginza-3Gravity is more of a nuisance than a law until the day you go flying off your motorcycle.  Then the landing hurts!

Three years ago I was on an extended trip in Tokyo, Japan.  I had a fair bit of time for shopping and remember running across motorcycle riding apparel which incorporated technological advancements for safety.  It was no ordinary riding apparel.  The jacket included an air bag shock buffering system which provided protection for the neck, back, hip and torso.  All of this in a department store that included routine groceries!

I did a quick yen-to-dollar conversion and remember thinking wow it’s pricey, but still tried on the jacket.  I immediately had more sales help than I could neither understand or wanted, but do recall the fit being comfortable before putting it back on the rack.  I grabbed a product flyer and made a mental note to contact the company when I returned home.  The airbag jacket was not approved for use in the U.S. as they were processing regulatory approval.  Since that trip a number of airbag jackets have made their way to the U.S. market.  One notable is the Hit-Air system. The idea of using a type of “air bag” for motorcycle apparel has been around for a long time and while early versions were bulky and hot that is no longer the case.

apc_helmetNow comes another technological advancement.  An airbag-equipped helmet from APC Systems.  The helmet features a collar-shaped airbag incorporated into a standard motorcycle helmet. Inflation of the airbag occurs without cables or other physical elements linking the rider to the motorcycle. A small control box fitted under the motorcycle’s seat is synchronized wirelessly with the helmet.  Depending on any outside stimulus the determination algorithms tell the helmet to inflate in less than 15 hundredths of a second.

The technological advancements in motorcycle design have in some cases exceeded the skills of riders.   I believe this is one of many reasons for an increase in motorcycle accidents.  With ordinary helmets or riding apparel very little separates you after gravity kicks in from the pavement other than leather or maybe some ballistics textile. An air bag shock buffering system and an air bag equipped helmet might just be the protection devices mandated by the government in the future.

Interested in more?  Give the web sites a look.  The APC site includes high speed camera footage of various scooter accidents which help visualize air bag deployment during point of impact.  If you can watch those and not get a little queasy then more power to you.

APC photo courtesy of web site.

 

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