Month: February 2016

Put the B.R.A.K.E.S. on your teen’s driving habits

Driver’s education – we’ve all been there. As a student, you sit through mind-numbing hours of how to identify traffic signs by their color and how to parallel park. As a parent, it’s the ultimate exercise in patience and restraint as you attempt to prevent your teen from seeing the fear in your eyes or white-knuckled grip on the door handle. This year, with five two-day events in four U.S. cities, the “Mopar Road Ready Powered by Dodge” program can help take some of the edge off by teaching teens about the importance of road safety. Already a proven success, more than 1,300 teens participated in the “Mopar Road Ready Powered by Dodge” program during 2015, driving the interest in growing it further. “We are excited to continue the ‘Mopar Road Ready Powered by Dodge’ program in 2016 and to assist in training even more teens on the skills they need to stay safe behind the wheel,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global. “By teaming up with the Dodge brand and through sponsorship from the FCA Foundation, we are empowering new drivers with education and experience that will last a lifetime.” Each class is four hours of active participation for both the teen driver and their parent or adult guardian. From classroom time that … Read More

FCA wins big during Super Bowl 50

Quiet suspense. Eager anticipation. As I waited for the FCA Super Bowl commercials to air, these were the things I was feeling. Even though I knew the approximate times and when to watch for them, I simply could not wait to see which brands would be represented and in what fashion. Initially the room fell silent as the first spot began so I could watch without interruption. But as others in the room watched, they became just as captivated by Jeep® brand’s “Portraits” and the story it told. When you have 75 years of history that includes wars, movie stars, world leaders, heroes of every kind and family (just to name a few), you have a story that, it would seem, is impossible to tell in a mere 60 seconds. Except the creators of “Portraits” managed to pour all of that and more into the first-person narrative told by the voice of a Jeep Wrangler itself. Scoring high on other “fan meters,” the touching ode to the global community of Jeep drivers throughout the years received several acknowledgments this week as the Super Bowl top spots were announced. Voters had more competing ads than ever in this year’s YouTube AdBlitz with 74 in the running. Once the votes were tallied, “Portraits” took the top automotive spot – an honor which … Read More

Take a spring break off the beaten path

Like so many things these days, spring break has snuck up on me and is suddenly right around the corner. With only 2 1/2 weeks to prepare for what is the whirlwind of activity that comes with having a 9-year-old at home for a week, at least one spring break road trip may be in store. One of the best parts about road trips is determining your own path. You (meaning the 9-year-old) get to choose the length of your trip, the stops you make, the direction you go, etc. Some of the best things we’ve found (and now keep going back to) have been on day trips when we updated the settings in Waze to avoid toll roads and freeways. Then we chose a destination and enjoyed the small towns and back roads along the way. We’ve discovered quiet fishing holes and little-known restaurants with great views and tasty menu selections that don’t break the bank. From family-friendly to adults-only (an impromptu tour of a few nearby wineries one day), we’ve discovered a lot of great things to do and see within just 100 miles of our own house. In many instances, the journey was just as much or more fun than the destination. If a longer trip sounds more interesting, pack up the kids and the dog. Throw … Read More

Will your vehicle cost you money?

Every year about this time I talk about the overall cost of owning a vehicle. Why? Several reasons, actually. The first step of vehicle ownership is getting that great deal when you make your purchase. But that is not the end-all-be-all of vehicle ownership. It’s tax refund time and there are some great deals on vehicles right now. But beyond the dealership, there are things like depreciation, insurance, fuel costs, state registration fees and maintenance/repair costs. “New-car shoppers usually pay a lot of attention to how much a car will cost upfront; however, sometimes an even more expensive car on the front end can actually save you money during the first five years of ownership by having low total ownership costs,” said Dan Ingle, vice president of vehicle valuations, industry solutions and international for Kelley Blue Book. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the long-term cost of ownership is something to consider while shopping. One place you can go to research the cost of owning vehicles that interest you is Kelley Blue Book ( “Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own information evaluates the other out-of-pocket expenses drivers will incur beyond the initial purchase price, which helps consumers choose the vehicle that best fits their needs and their long-term budget, helping save money down the road,” said … Read More

My team has two Super Bowl plays

That’s all we need. And it will be epic. FCA US LLC announced they will have two commercials during the Super Bowl. The first will air after Coldplay’s halftime performance. The second will be during the first commercial break of the fourth quarter. Now, what do you suppose they will be? The FCA marketing team is remaining mum about which brands will be represented, who may make appearances, how long they will be, etc. You won’t find a sneak peak of their ads online either. (Trust me, I’ve looked!) A quick review of upcoming launches and one may assume we may be in store for an ad centered around the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. But not so fast. During an interview with the Detroit Free Press last month, FCA Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois said no. With a scheduled April launch, the Pacifica will be hitting markets too late for a Super Bowl commercial. “You would have a huge audience, but at the same time, you need to have a product on the market, otherwise you waste your opportunities,” Francois said. So, if not Chrysler, which one? Alfa Romeo has the Giulia coming out later this year, but that falls under the same logic as the Chrysler Pacifica, so I’m guessing that one is not likely either. FCAs recent partnership … Read More

Which team will YOU be cheering for on Super Bowl Sunday?

Sadly, football season has come to a close. With the big game looming in just a few days, this year’s contest is between two teams who, while outstanding, lack devoted followers living in my house. No jerseys will be worn. No pacing will be done. No yelling at the officials or gasping at the poor play calling. (Well, that may actually still happen. It is football, after all.) This being said, the subject of which team to cheer for has been a topic of conversation. One suggestion was that you always support your conference. I can understand and appreciate this one. For the most part, I could see myself going along with it, with the exception of a couple teams. Of course, if you’re going to support your conference that can easily lead to the bigger quandary of whether or not you cheer for a division rival. To say this question can lead to some heated debates MIGHT be the understatement of the year. (Of course, we’re only a few weeks in, so take that as you wish.) To get a better perspective of other football fans’ thoughts on the subject, I got online. Turning to (where else?) I asked the question and got some quite colorful answers. Most share the opinion of this respondent whose name has since … Read More