Month: June 2016

Share the road

As a new resident of the Lakes Region in New Hampshire, I heard the words “bike week” frequently in reference to what the area is like during the summer months. Bike week seemed to be the exception to everything and I was anxious to see what all the fuss was about. Bike week this year started on June 11 and continued through June 19. I can now say I have officially experienced my first bike week. Celebrating its 93rd year, Laconia Motorcycle Week® is officially the oldest motorcycle rally in the country. Hundreds of thousands of bikers descend on Laconia and the rest of the Lakes Region for nine days full of scheduled events, sightseeing and (let’s face it) parties. To say that it’s a popular event among bikers may just be the understatement of the millennium. When an event of such magnitude happens, safety and security become paramount. Add to that the influx of motorcycles on the road and road safety becomes a true concern, whether driving a vehicle or a motorcycle. This year, we were only hours into the start of the event and the news was telling the story of a motorcycle-versus-vehicle accident. I don’t know what happened, except that the person on the motorcycle died. I was struck by sadness as I listened to the report. … Read More

FCA vehicles are top notch in Total Quality

Strategic Vision recently announced the winners of their 2016 Total Quality Impact™ (TQI). In the 22nd annual study, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) vehicles took top honors while the FIAT brand tied for first for best brand with vehicles under $26,000. For the third consecutive year, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited won the Entry SUV segment. The FIAT 500 and Dodge Challenger cleared the path to the top spot in the Micro Car and Specialty Coupe segments, respectively. And, making an appearance in first place of the Mid-Size SUV segment was Jeep Grand Cherokee.                   How is TQI calculated each year? Good question. But it’s not an easy answer. To determine a vehicle’s total quality, Strategic Vision utilizes a complex formula based on new-owner feedback. As you may expect, problems with a vehicle are one part of the Total Quality calculation. Both the number of issues and their severity are taken into consideration when calculating the score for this section. The comfort and usability of your vehicle’s features are another component of the TQI score. For example, are the seats comfortable? Do the mirrors assist in effectively eliminating blind spots and seeing what is behind the vehicle? It isn’t just the features of your vehicle and their effectiveness that are important. The folks at Strategic … Read More

The more they know … teaching your teen vehicle basics

Summer typically means your teen driver will be spending more time behind the wheel. Does the thought of this cause panic? You can relieve some of your worries by giving your teen a lesson in vehicle basics. While this may elicit eye rolls from your teen, the confidence gained will likely make you deem it time well spent. If you don’t know where to begin, here are some steps to get you started. Many resources will likely tell you that starting with a review of the owner’s manual is the best place to begin a lesson in vehicle maintenance. While I agree this is very important, consider doing this as your final step. Here’s why – if you have a teen who is completely unfamiliar with how a vehicle runs, some of the manual will be like reading another language. Would you read something that made no sense to you? That’s what I thought. Start with some hands-on, supervised learning and suddenly the manual becomes a much more usable tool and reference guide for things that happen down the road. A good place to begin is by looking under the hood. To an unknowing teen, it may look like a maze of metal, belts and hoses, but don’t let them be intimidated. After all, we’re not talking about rebuilding an … Read More

More than just an auto manufacturer – FCA US cares

                                  One could hardly turn on the news in the last several weeks without images of flooding and tornado damage flashing across the screen. The severe weather that plagued many states held everyone’s attention. This year’s weather events caused residents of Richmond/Rosenberg, Texas, to find themselves in the midst of a voluntary evacuation as the Brazos River rose beyond its banks. This hard-hit area holds special meaning to me, as I spent my first two years in Texas working in Rosenberg, and I watched as familiar areas panned across my television screen. When nature strikes an ugly blow and tragedy ensues, victims rely on the help of organizations such as the First Response Team of America. Recently, members of Ram Nation joined members of the First Response Team of America in the effort to restore normalcy to the city of Rosenberg. Volunteers from the Finnegan Chrysler Jeep® Dodge Ram dealership and the Ram Trucks Southwest Business Center delivered much-needed supplies and helped clean up homes of those hardest hit. It’s been nearly four years since Ram Nation was created and their partnership with the First Response Team of America was formed. During that time, they have joined volunteer forces to help victims of severe … Read More

Chrysler Pacifica goes topless in Miami – and wins!

When you hear the phrase “topless in Miami” it’s doubtful your mind goes straight to an image of a minivan. That’s why winning the Panoramic Affordable category at this year’s Topless in Miami competition is just one more unexpected piece of the greatness that is the all-new Chrysler Pacifica. Hosted by the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA), the sixth annual Topless in Miami Presented by Haartz added the Panoramic Affordable category for the 2016 competition. “This new category will give more manufacturers the opportunity to compete in one of SAMA’s signature events,” SAMA President Pepe Delfino said. “Automakers are offering this feature on vehicles of all kinds, from coupes to SUVs, and in the affordable as well as luxury segments. We feel the time is right to include them in this popular event.” The competition, located at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne resort on June 2, hosted more than 60 automotive journalists, all ready to put each entry to the test. “The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica equipped with the tri-pane panoramic sunroof, truly impressed our judges,” said Delfino. “In addition to thoughtful design and beautiful craftsmanship, the expansive sunroof in the Pacifica amplified the vehicle’s spaciousness, allowing every passenger to experience the pleasure of being more connected to the outside world.” Other vehicles competing in the category included the Hyundai Santa Fe … Read More

Turn around, don’t drown – it’s more than just a catchy slogan

It seems every spring new feeds are wrought with stories of flooding, rescues of those trapped by floodwaters and reports of deaths due to floodwaters. Changing the course of Mother Nature is not possible. But the course of how we deal with the effects can be changed. Turn Around, Don’t Drown® is more than just a phrase the state departments of transportation and weather guys use during inclement weather. It’s a campaign that was created to educate and keep people safe when rising floodwaters threaten an area’s well being. Originally coined by National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Hector Guerrero to raise awareness of the dangers of driving through floodwaters, the Turn Around, Don’t Drown program rolled out in Texas in 2003. One year later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) trademarked the phrase and the program rolled out nationwide. Despite the hard work of all involved in getting this message out to the public, people still take the risk. In fact, according to the NWS, more than half of all flood fatalities involve a motor vehicle. (Keep in mind, this statistic doesn’t account for those who make the attempt, but are then successfully rescued.) Using data from surveys conducted in Austin, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, scientists at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs determined those least likely to … Read More

Don’t let a text spoil your summer fun

Summer is here! It’s time for long, lazy weekends, fun in the sun, relaxing and spending time with friends. Unfortunately, AAA has dubbed this favorite time of year the “100 Deadliest Days.” Added summertime traffic, along with more teen drivers on the road than any other time of year, can be a recipe for disaster. In a five-year study, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that during the 100-day period following Memorial Day, the average number of deaths resulting from collisions where the driver was between ages 16-19 increased by 16 percent. On average, 1,022 people were killed each year in crashes involving a teen driver. A follow-up study confirms that 60 percent of teen crashes are a result of distracted driving. Reviewing the moments leading up to a crash using in-car footage of more than 2,200 videos, the AAA Foundation was able to discern the top three distractions for teen drivers: Other passengers in the vehicle – talking to or otherwise attending other people inside the vehicle created a distraction that lead to 15 percent of the incidents reviewed Operating a cell phone – whether texting, talking or utilizing one of many apps, cell phone distractions led to 12 percent of the incidents reviewed Looking at something inside the vehicle – 11 percent of the incidents reviewed were … Read More

Father’s Day gifts are easier than you think

If you’re having problems coming up with something to get dear ol’ Dad for Father’s Day, you’re thinking too hard. Save the fancy brunch and searching online for creative gift ideas for your high maintenance family and friends that appreciate (demand) such time and effort. Dad is much easier – especially if your dad happens to be into cars. Does your dad have a “project car” that he’s currently working on out in the garage? Ask him if you can spend the day working on it with him. You never know what you might discover under the hood. If classic cars are your dad’s passion, but he’s not into restoring them himself, is there a classic car museum that has been on his list of places to visit? What better time to check it out than on Father’s Day! Going to the racetrack with your dad can be a lot of fun. Watch others race or find a track that will let you take your own car out for a few laps of adrenaline-pumping fun. Either way, an afternoon of high-speed action can be a great way to spend time together on Father’s Day weekend. A passion for classic big or small-screen favorites can easily be coupled with an afternoon of old-time fun on Father’s Day afternoon. Remember assembling model … Read More

Meanwhile, behind the scenes …

I write about FCA vehicles a lot. But what is missed in those blogs is everything that happens behind the scenes. Thousands of people work every day in FCA plants around the world. But they don’t just build great vehicles. They are also committed to a multitude of other initiatives such as improving quality and safety, recycling and conservation, improving efficiencies and reducing costs. They have also reached some notable milestones along the way. Here’s a snapshot of what was going on at a few of the plants in May. At the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, located just six miles from downtown Detroit, the six millionth vehicle rolled off the assembly line on May 25, 2016. The 75th anniversary edition 2016 Jeep® Grand Cherokee completed final quality checks at approximately 8:30 p.m. before being prepped for delivery to its new owner. The plant’s first vehicle to roll off the line was a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was completed on January 14, 1992. “Reaching this milestone is a reflection of this plant’s commitment to supporting the continued growth of the Jeep brand around the world and playing a role in the comeback of Detroit,” said Curt Towne, Jefferson North Plant Manager. “Our employees are proud to be part of this unique time in the history of both the company and … Read More