CarsDiva’s Blog

An Auto Industry Insider’s View…From A Woman’s Perspective

Rusnak Morning Octane: March 21, 2015

Posted by carsdiva on April 30, 2015

“A Morning of Supercars, Friends, and Coffee”

Check out the first Rusnak Morning Octane event of 2015!  Hosted by Rusnak Auto Group in Pasadena, CA, I had the opportunity to interview Steve Saghdejian, CEO of Specialty Car Craft in Los Angeles, and Andrew Arizmendi, host of the event, and General Manager of Rusnak Maserati, Bentley and Rolls-Royce.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines…

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Cars & Comedy (on Esquire Network)

Posted by carsdiva on January 28, 2015

Are you a Southern California resident that’s in the market for a new car?  Would you like some assistance car shopping? Well then get ready for a one-of-a-kind experience with an automotive aficionado (no, not me.)  Esquire Network is hosting another season of Car Matchmaker with comedian and car guru, Spike Feresten.  For those interested in being on the show, you can find the details to apply below.  Happy car shopping🙂

Car Matchmaker S2 FLYER -page-0

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Neiman Marcus Fantasy Christmas 2014: Ciao Maserati Ghibli!

Posted by carsdiva on November 23, 2014

Ok, I’m several weeks late with this one. Did you order your Ghibli? Because I would wager to say that they are probably sold out at this point, as they went on sale at promptly at noon on October 22nd.

100th-Anniversary-Neiman-Marcus-Limited-Edition-Maserati-Ghibli-S-Q4-PLACEMENTLadies and gentlemen, I’m referring to the 2014 Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gift #4— the 100th Anniversary [Neiman Marcus] Special Edition Maserati Ghibli S Q4. And for a mere $95,000 price tag, why not? Hey nobody said luxury and exclusivity were affordable.

Painted in a uniquely exquisite Grigio Maratea color, (aka grey metallic), the Ghibli is equipped with all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic ZF engine. It achieves 0-60mph in only 4.7 seconds with its 3.0 Liter V6 twin turbo engine that outputs a whopping 404 horsepower. Both interior and exterior feature premium details, including a Bowers and Wilkins stereo and bespoke wheels. Would you expect anything less from the Italians?

Only 100 were manufactured to mark the centennial anniversary of the luxury Italian car-maker, and each vehicle is neiman-marcus-maserati-ghibli-limitedadorned with a unique numbered badge. Don’t think you’ll find any of these at your local Maserati dealership because dealers are prohibited from purchasing this particular Ghibli. Oh, and by the way, the limit is one per customer (just in case you considered purchasing a pair for you and yours.) Delivery is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year, so you should have your shiny new toy in time to ring in the New Year.

Si, I’ll take one! Grazie! After all, who doesn’t like the finer [Italian] things in life?

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Virtual Car Shopping?

Posted by carsdiva on June 4, 2014

The Internet has already changed the way we car shop.  Consumers spend less time at dealerships and more time online prior to making a purchase, (1.4 showroom visits to be exact.) But what about 5 years from now?  Imagine an experience achieved by virtual reality.

Audi_City_London_Architecture-515_RZ_1Think about what happened in other retail industries—  most notably publishing, electronics, and entertainment.  Along came Amazon and Netflix, and the traditional retailers either adapted or were doomed to fail (as, unfortunately, many of them did.)  In fact, leading retailers in these industries today collect more than 50% of their revenue online.

So what does that mean for automotive retailers?  A recent study suggested that 5% of all cars will be sold online by 2020.  Car companies are already starting to do this, and the challenge is in creating a seamless online and offline experience.  Furthermore, the trend is moving toward digital retail stores in the heart of the city– combining the living and working environment with the automotive experience.  (Sound familiar, Tesla?)  The focus becomes centered on creating a memorable and positive experience for the car shopper.

Audi, in particular is ahead of the curve, having opened digital showrooms in London and Beijing.  The Audi City Londoncustomer can digitally create and configure a vehicle as they watch it come to life.  For London Audi City, this approach has increased new car sales by 60-70%, and delving further, 75% of the orders were placed by first time Audi buyers.  It’s estimated that car makers will open about 100 of these flagship city-center stores globally by the end of the decade.  The idea being a one-stop shop, aimed at providing a unique brand experience.

Nowadays, consumers walk into a dealership already prepared, informed, having done their homework.  Therefore the role of the dealer is no longer an informational source, but a product experience provider.  So the question then becomes, will these city-center stores prevail to create the experience, while the car is later delivered?  Or will dealerships disappear altogether as car shopping transitions to an all-online experience?  The concept is not all that foreign…

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In Memoriam: William Clay Ford Sr.

Posted by carsdiva on March 18, 2014

The last surviving grandson of the legendary Henry Ford, William Clay Ford Sr, passed away earlier this month on March 9, 2014, at the age of 88.

Bill Ford SrA prominent automotive figure, beholden to the Ford name, Bill contributed 57 years to Ford Motor Company.  He joined the Board of Directors in 1948 at age 23, served as Vice Chairman, and retired as a Director in 2005.  Known as having an eye for design, he also chaired the company’s Design Committee for 32 years.

Upon his passing, CEO of Ford, Alan Mulally, stated:  “Mr. Ford had a profound impact on Ford Motor Company. …….While we mourn Mr. Ford’s death, we also are grateful for his many contributions to the company and the auto industry.”

William Clay Ford Sr. was the youngest of four children born to Eleanor Clay and Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s only child.  He often told stories of taking driving lessons from grandfather, Henry, at age 10.  Ford was married to Martha Firestone, granddaughter of Harvey, who founded Firestone Tire & Rubber Co, and was a friend of Henry.  He was also owner of the Detroit Lions, (now passed on to his wife Martha), the NFL franchise he purchased for $4.5 Million in 1964.

Cheers to a true “car guy” and leader in the automotive industry.

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Car Shopping Abroad… in the UK

Posted by carsdiva on February 28, 2014

Traveling abroad?  After speaking with several of my friends who have relocated to the UK, or planning to do so in the near future, it occurred to me there is a great deal of planning that goes into a move overseas.  Whether you’re temporarily moving, or making a more permanent home in the UK, there’s a lot to consider: home, job, new city, but what about getting around?  (Go figure, as a “car girl,” getting a car is the first thing that came to my mind.)

AA CarsFor those of you Americans that are relocating, or Brits that happen to be reading my blog, I came across a very useful website recently, AA Cars.  Think classifieds + useful info.  Not only can you search for a car, but you’ll also find pertinent car-shopping-related advice/ information. They have everything from car reviews, to finance information, to a general automotive advice section, (or “Motoring” Advice, as the Brits like to call it.)  You can even “Ask Edmund” your specific car-related questions. Attention ladies– they even have a “women’s car insurance” section.

The next big question is do you opt for a new or used car?  This could be a lengthy discussion, but let’s take a look at some of the fundamentals of both.

New Car

Let’s start with the obvious:  it’s brand-spanking-new! The allure of a new car, in and of itself, is exciting, much less the fact that you can equip the vehicle exactly how you’d like, and of course, nobody else has used or abused it first.  It comes with a full factory warranty, and chances are you won’t have to worry about any repairs or maintenance for quite some time.  And let’s not forget the unforgettable and intoxicating, new-car smell.Jaguar & british flag

Used Car

The overall car market has changed significantly in the last several years.  Quality, durability, and reliability have improved dramatically, so a used car is definitely worth considering, and may, in fact, be a better option for you.  First off it’s cheaper– we all know cars depreciate once they’re driven off the lot.  That being said, it’s not just a lower price, but often the best value, i.e. more bang for your buck.  You can drive away immediately with your car (as opposed to waiting if you custom-ordered a new one).  And if the car is only 1-2 years old, chances are you have the remainder of the manufacturer warranty to ease your mind.

As with anything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.  Although AA Cars is specific to used car listings, even if you’re considering new I’d recommend checking it out, as it provides all-around useful automotive advice…. excuse me, “motoring advice.”  (I’m getting the hang of this.)

And whichever route you choose, don’t forget to test drive the car first!

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Happy New Year 2014!

Posted by carsdiva on December 31, 2013

As we kiss 2013 goodbye and welcome 2014, remember to be smart about your choices. (And yes, I’m referring to transportation in this case.)  Have a plan before you head out tonight– or at least be aware of your options.  If you don’t have a designated driver (sh$%t happens), there are several ride-sharing and transportation services– SideCar, Uber, Lyft, to name a few of the more prominent ones.  Check them out and download the respective apps. Hec, there’s also a good old fashioned cab.  My point is have fun in your celebrations, but don’t drink and drive.  It’s not worth it.  Be smart and be safe.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy & prosperous 2014.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

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Evoque-ing a New Appreciation for Land Rover

Posted by carsdiva on November 26, 2013

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the Winter Drive Event at the Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, WA, hosted by Land Rover Bellevue & Seattle, part of the AutoCenter NorthWest group.

LR_At SuncadiaDid you ever wonder about the true performance ability of a Land Rover–  particularly in instances they showcase in their commercials?  I did.  However, I’ll be honest, I didn’t initially get my Evoque solely for this purpose– i.e. off-roading.  I love the design in it’s compact form, and it still provides me with SUV-capability. (That’s what crossovers are supposed to do, right?)

Fast-forward a few months and I find myself at Land Rover Bellevue, where I met Service Manager, Rahim Sheikh.  He enthusiastically explained to me about the off-roading ability of a Land Rover, and then he went on to invite me to their upcoming Winter Drive Event.  As Rahim said, “why own one of these vehicles if you can’t experience what it really can do?  You can’t really appreciate a Land Rover unless you put it to the test.”  And after this event, I have to say I agree, Rahim.  Well said.LR_Evoque wheels up

Despite the inclement weather (which added to the experience), I joined the crew in setting up the course on Saturday.  The sneak preview was a nice precursor to the event the next morning.  As a passenger I got a chance to appreciate the breathtaking scenery, and furthermore, experience the drive from a different perspective.  I hopped in my Evoque the next day, along with a variety of about 30 other Land Rovers— from the full-size Range Rover to the Sport, LR2‘s and LR4’s, as well as several other Evoques. The off-roading course included driving through rough terrain up and down hills, crawling over logs and rocks, splashing through water, and plenty of pot holes.  I felt like I was in a commercial, but eh, should anything go awry, this was for real.  (Ok, ok, I felt slightly more at ease knowing that several people from the service department where with us…just in case.)  If anyone had any doubts about the capability of their vehicle at the onset, they were quickly diminished by the end of the course.  Would I do this again?  Absolutely! I can honestly say I have a whole new appreciation for my vehicle…. and the brand.

Thank you to Land Rover Bellevue, first and foremost for extending the invitation, and to both stores and their awesome staff for their superb hospitality and putting on a fun and fabulous event.

And now, without further adieu, here are some of the photos:

LR_Seattle BellevueLR_sidewaysLR_Approaching rocksLR_RocksLR_3 LRsLR_Nice ViewLR_LogsLR_ME

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Driving in A Winter Wonderland….Part 2

Posted by carsdiva on November 18, 2013

Tis’ the season for winterizing your car! I covered this topic last year, right about this time, but it’s always good to be reminded of what to do to prepare your car for cold weather.  I’m delighted to say that this year’s rendition is from a “guest” author.  (Special thank you to Doug Climenhaga!)  And now, without further adieu……

As the holidays approach we all know it is “that time of year” to get the coats, hats and gloves ready. And while we prepare ourselves to compensate for the colder temperatures we must remember to prepare our vehicles for sub-freezing temperatures as well. Your safety on the road from December to February can be greatly increased with only a few steps.

winter wonderlandYou don’t need a garage full of tools or grease under your fingernails to prepare your car for colder weather. Follow these simple tips to winterize your car for three months of warm and safe winter driving.

Check Windshield Wipers and Wiper Fluid

Remember that time you were driving and couldn’t see through the salt, slush, and grime on your windshield? What saved you? Pressing the wiper fluid button. Too many people forget how important wiper fluid is for safe winter driving, so be sure your reservoir is full every two weeks.

Checking your wipers is easy, too. Look for cracks in the rubber coating and make sure they glide easily over the glass with no hopping or bumping. If you need to replace them, simply remove the blade from the wiper arm and take it into an automotive store. The clerk will find you a new set and you will be ready to wipe away anything winter throws at you.

Check Antifreeze Levels and Mixture

Although radiator fluid is important year-round to regulate engine temperature, the name “antifreeze” clearly signifies its importance in the winter. A 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze ensures your engine starts and runs smoothly in subzero temperatures.

Every vehicle has an antifreeze reservoir in the engine. There will be a fill line for you to reference and your family mechanic will most likely check your antifreeze mixture for free. Your mechanic may also recommend a coolant flush to drain the old antifreeze, clean out the system and add a new mixture. Old coolant is full of dirt and rust particles that can damage your cooling system.

Inspect Tire Pressure and Tread Depth

Sleet, slush and ice are no match for a quality set of tires. Before winter starts be sure to check the tire pressure and tread depth to ensure optimal performance.  Under-inflated or bald tires offer no help on slick and dangerous roads.

Check the inside of your driver’s door or your owner’s manual for the correct tire pressure. You can find a tire gauge at any automotive store. The “penny test” is an easy way to check the tread. Place the penny upside down into several areas of the tread. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, you need new tires. If you don’t, you should be good to go.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Nobody expects his or her vehicle to break down, slide off the road or get in an accident. Things just happen. But when you find yourself on the side of the road with no warm vehicle to sit inside of, how do you protect yourself from the winter driving elements?

It’s always wise to prepare for the worst and a Winter Emergency Kit can easily fit in the corner of your trunk. Buy a plastic container with a lid and fill it with the following items: First Aid kit, blankets, gloves, hats, water, energy bars, a flashlight, reflective markers, matches, an ice scraper and jumper cables.

Keep Gas Tank Half Full

Nobody wants to run out of gas during the winter but the reason for keeping a half tank goes far beyond inconvenience. Shifting temperatures in the winter cause condensation to form on the walls of the gas tank that eventually drip down into the gas. And since water is heavier than gas it sinks to the bottom of your tank.

The more water-to-gas ratio in your tank the higher chances you have of introducing water to your fuel lines, and if they reach 32° or below they will freeze and block your engine of the fuel it needs to start and run properly. By keeping at least half a tank you will always have a dominant gas-to-water condensation ratio. Fill your tank now and refill when you get to half a tank—it’s that easy.

About the guest author:

Doug Climenhaga is president of SVI International, Inc. (, a leading supplier of parts for industrial lift equipment. With more than 20 years experience in the hydraulic and automotive lift industries, he holds two patents and has designed scores of problem-solving products.

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Land Rover North America: #IAmDriven Contest

Posted by carsdiva on November 6, 2013

Are you driven?  Ambitious?  Passionate? Do you push yourself to the next level?  If so, then here’s your chance to enter Land Rover North America’s #IAmDriven social media contest, as part of their launch of the 2014 Range Rover Sport.  Beginning November 5, 2013 and ending December 15, 2013, the contest will recognize five runners up and one overall winner. The chosen few will be profiled by Land Rover North America each week, beginning on January 15, 2014.

RangeRoverSportSo how do you participate? Those who feel they’re up to the challenge are encouraged to post four photos or videos on Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtags #IAmDriven and #Contest.  The photos/videos should tell a story and express how you are driven, and essentially, how you push yourself to the next level.  A select panel will choose the winner and runners up based on creativity, nature of the challenge, and visual fulfillment of the theme.

Like the new Range Rover Sport, if you’re dedicated to achieving top performance, then you have the opportunity to win an unparalleled driving experience at The Land Rover Experience Driving School at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, CA.  The all-expenses-paid trip includes accommodations for two nights for the winner (and guest), as well as three smartphone camera lenses to capture the driving experience.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.  And may the tweeting begin!

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