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

Archive for February, 2008

Women of Power 2008

Posted by carsdiva on February 27, 2008

One of the reasons I like the car business so much is because of the interesting characters, diverse personalities and genuinely nice people that are in it.  One such person is Dr. Harold Elam (a recent CarsDiva member), who, in his most recent Automotive Insider newsletter, wrote about a few of the outstanding women car dealers and professionals in the business, entitled, Women of Power for 2008.

Dr. Elam is the founder and managing partner of We are BDC, an automotive business development firm, “dedicated to the advancement of virtual activity and how business is being done over the Web for local car dealers,” and I’ve reprinted sections of his online publication with his permission.

The very first woman highlighted, is the “Living Legend,” Mrs. Irma Elder, who has blazed the trail of achievement for many women in the car business today.  Timely enough, I had the privilege of seeing Mrs. Elder at the Jaguar/Land Rover reception this year at the 2008 NADA convention, and I can tell you first hand that she has a power, style and grace that truly does make a living legend. (And its clear I wasn’t the only one there that thought so, as she had a crowd around her all night long!).

So, with approbation to Dr. Elam, I’ve reprinted below his publication entry on Mrs. Elder, in its entirety.  Other excerpts from his Women of Power 2008 publication will follow….

  

Living Legend…
A True Women Of Power
 Irma Elder, an automotive legendMrs. Irma Elder is not New to Automotive Insider (A.I.) nor to our readers, but every time we compose an article where dealers have made a difference or maintain a true level of success…….Mrs. Elder’s name has always come up.  I want yo give you an idea of what happens when we select (A.I.’s) top women.  We sit around a table with our lab tops..together we search The Internet, read past issues of Automotive News and seek out women who have earned our respect on a personal level…..we then record their names and debate among ourselves why our choice should be on The Women Of Power List….Mrs. Elder was selected by ALL OF US here at (A.I.). Irma Elder is truly a multi-cultural success story for us here at (A.I.)…She was born in Xicotencalt, Mexico…and when she moved to Florida as a teen…she only spoke a few words of english.Mrs Elder was married in 1963 to the late James Elder, the founder of The Elder Dynasty.  Along with her children, friends and dedicated employees…Mrs. Elder became a trailblazer after the sudden death of her husband in 1983.  Today, the Elder Automotive Group has grown to encompass not only Elder Ford….but also luxury lines that stretch from Troy, Michigan to Tampa, Florida…….Two Thums Up!!
 
Mrs. Elder, You Go Girl!!!

We Love You

Visit Her Site
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GM Makes History…

Posted by carsdiva on February 25, 2008

2008 Chevy Impala, fleet car of the yearAutomotive Fleet announced on February 18th, that their 2008 Car and Truck of the year were both General Motors vehicles.  Both the Chevy Impala (3rd year in a row), and the Chevy Silverado beat out all other cars and trucks to conquer the number one spot.  2008 Chevy Silverado, fleet truck of the yearGM has made history as the first auto maker to win both awards in the same year.       

Will the upward trend continue for the domestic auto giant?  Stay tuned and the CarsDiva will keep you informed….  In any case, congrats to you GM!

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Chevrolet pays tribute to Latino talent

Posted by carsdiva on February 20, 2008

El Premio Nuestro de la Musica Latina and ChevroletI was reading the February 19th edition of the Automotive Fleet eNewsletter  yesterday when an article featuring the Latin music awards, Premio Lo Nuestro a la Musica Latina, caught my eye.  On February 21st the music awards will celebrate their 20th anniversary.  Now you may ask- why did this catch my eye and what does it have to do with cars?  Well… first off I studied Spanish and love the language, culture, Chevrolet, Unvision and El Premio Nuestro de la Musica Latinaand music, and I also spent a short stint at Univision so I guess I consider myself sort of an ‘honorary Latina,’ but more importantly Chevrolet and Univision  have sponsored the Latin music awards for over eight years.  AND, this year, Chevrolet announced that they are the exclusive automotive sponsor in honor of the 20th anniversary, showcasing the new 2008 Malibu.

Ed Peper, Chevrolet General Manager, presents the 2008 MalibuIn collaboration with Univision, Chevrolet is integrating the Malibu into the broadcast of the awards show.   Ed Peper, Chevrolet General Manager, who I had the pleasure of interviewing at the Chicago Auto Show a few weeks ago (look for the video to be up on CarsDiva.com soon ), said ‘Chevy is committed to bringing the music to the fans, and having Latin music fans interact with our vehicles is invaluable.’  That being said, Chevrolet will be chauffeuring all of the celebrities and VIP’s in their fleet of Tahoes, Suburbans and a Corvette to the Red Carpet.  (I’d personally opt for the Corvette…)  And on display will be the much anticipated Camaro Bumblebee from the movie Transformers, and of course the 2008 North American Car of the Year, and showcase of the evening, the Chevy Malibu.  

Hey, I used to live in Miami… anybody got an extra ticket to the show they can spare???

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General Motors Unveils the “BRIDGE” between Cars & Trucks

Posted by carsdiva on February 5, 2008

I had the special privilege of being hosted by General Motors on Tuesday evening, February 05, for a spectacular dinner in Chicago preceding the Auto Show. What a great opportunity it was to wine and dine with some of GM’s top execs in marketing, communications and product development, and discuss their plans for the future.

The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the “Chevrolet Traverse,” the new vehicle that will be unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show tomorrow at the private press days, (the show opens to the public on Friday, February 8.) Ed Peper, General Manager of the Chevrolet Division, began the discussion by reaffirming that GM has always done well with utility vehicles, and so with great enthusiasm announced that the Traverse, which means “to bridge,” is a big launch for Chevrolet. This vehicle signifies the bridge between cars and trucks. One of GM’s largest target markets is families, as this segment is growing dramatically. The Traverse comes off the heels of the Chevy Malibu, which initially has to key targets- families and commuters.

Is it possible to Look Good AND Be Practical???

Ana Kretz, Chevrolet Vehicle Executive, went on to discuss the features of the vehicle, explaining that it’s a 4-door with a hatch, fits seven to eight passengers, and provides lots of cargo room, really offering that “bridge” for consumers. The Traverse “provides for many families what they’re looking for,” said Kretz. There are multiple purposes to this vehicle and Kretz went on to say that GM “wanted you to always be surprised when you get in it.”

The crossover between the car and truck segment, is focused on trying to really narrow down the details of what consumers want, offering them the best of both worlds. Don Butler, Executive Director of Chevrolet Truck Marketing, said that the Traverse “gives you this package in a sleek, stylish shape,” and “enables you to look good, while still being practical.” And this, in my humble diva opinion, is a critical point because really, before most of us even check out the practicality of a vehicle, we’re either drawn to or deterred by its aesthetic appeal. (hmm… I do believe that this applies to lots of things in addition cars). Safety features, lots of gadgets and a snazzy interior are great… (and important to me), but I won’t even check those things out if the car is ugly.

Safety and… Destination Download

After we found out that the Traverse was stylish, Ana Kretz went on to highlight some of the practicality features that this vehicle encompasses. It’s equipped with V6 engine (performs like a V8), 6-speed transmission, and conventional powertrain. “We think we did a very good job,” said Kretz as she presented how Chevy provided all these capabilities in a fuel economy vehicle. Some of the safety features include OnStar, automatic crash notification, Stabilitrak, seat belt pretentioners, antilock breaks, and what I thought was one of the coolest features—“destination download.” Now how this works is you can call OnStar at any time when you’re driving, give them your destination, they plug it in for you and voila- your directions appear on your screen. This is great when there’s a change of plans and your route changes as you’re driving, and of course, it’s a huge safety feature! (And for people like me who are already trying their best not to be talking on the phone and putting on lipstick, it makes it a whole lot more convenient.)

And the ETA is…

The start date for building the Chevy Traverse is set for September 1st, so we should expect to see volumes in dealerships in the fall. I’ve gotta say, you could tell from the enthusiasm and pride in their voices, these GM execs are genuinely excited about their new products, and it very well sounds like they should be. I’ll let you all know after I check it out for myself tomorrow— as I mentioned earlier, I get to go to the auto show on the private press day since I was so graciously invited by GM. And you know what? I’ve got to admit, I’ll take attending the auto show “VIP style” any time!

More exciting news to follow soon from the 100th Anniversary of the Chicago Auto Show…

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