CarsDiva’s Blog

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

Archive for January, 2011

Automotive Sales Consultant Fired Over His Selection of Necktie… what is this world coming to?

Posted by carsdiva on January 26, 2011

An automotive sales consultant was fired from an Illinois dealership for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie in honor of his late grandmother.  This happened on Monday, the day after the NFC Championship game where the Chicago Bears were defeated by the Green Bay Packers.  The sales consultant stated that his grandmother was a big Green Bay fan.

Now don’t get me wrong, I happen to be an avid sports’ enthusiast and like most of those around me, fully support my home teams.  However, when does the situation permit your work superior(s) to dictate which sports team you can or cannot support?  There comes a point where figures of authority step too far, and in this case, that line was crossed…. by a lot.  Where does it end?

Priorities…

In a time where people are still struggling to find jobs or hold on to those that they have, someone gets fired based on the team they support?  Last time I checked, we live in America, the land of free choice.  One would assume that the manager would be focused on something a bit more relevant to the success of the store– say how many cars were being sold, or the service provided to the customers, rather than focus on the attire of the individual.  Unless of course, it violates a specific policy, which in this case, the manager admitted it did not.

Aren’t we backtracking here?  In a society so concerned with discrimination [of all sorts], the scenario becomes hypocritical if one can justify terminating an employee because of what sports team they support.  It’s a throwback to the “old” days of the stereotypical car dealerships and the image that manufacturers and dealerships themselves, have been trying to change for many years now.  It evidently still exists in some places.

A “Happy” Ending?

Last I heard, after the media got word of the situation, the dealership attempted to “re-hire” the individual, but he refused after receiving and accepting an offer from another store.  Kudos to him.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this game has gone too far…

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Have you been SYNC-ed yet?

Posted by carsdiva on January 11, 2011

No, I’m not referring to your kitchen amenities–  I’m talking about Ford Motor Company’s hands-free entertainment and communications system.

For you ladies that like to talk on the phone while driving- be it gossiping with your girlfriends, checking in with the kids, or taking care of business, this technology could be a life-saver, and in many cases now, prevent a costly ticket.  And gentlemen (and ladies) that like to conduct business calls on the road, well this too benefits you.  But in all seriousness, it’s truly a game-changing innovation for the auto industry that is altogether becoming a necessity.  And I’m not talking simply convenience here, but more importantly, safety.

Did you know that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,  drivers that are talking on the phone are 4 times more likely to get into an accident?  And the delayed reaction time caused by cell phone usage is as great as having a blood-alcohol level of .08! You all know what I’m talking about here– you see that person that slows down, cuts you off, or somehow aggravates you on the road (often causing road rage or unneeded stress), and when you pull up next to them, lo and behold, 95% of the time, they’re on their phone and not paying attention to the road.  Irritating, no?  (My blood pressure would probably drop a few notches if this was eliminated.)

So what does SYNC include?  Well, first off, as you may have guessed, hands free use of your mobile phone.  The system, built on a Microsoft platform, syncs with a Blue-tooth enabled phone and allows the user to make and receive phone calls while driving, by simply using basic voice commands.  The “entertainment” aspect of SYNC includes the USB feature, which allows the driver to plug in their flash drive, iPod, or other compatible music device into the vehicle’s USB port, and pick and choose their music simply with voice prompts.  Added in 2009, 911 Assist, a key safety feature when turned on, will automatically place a call to 911 in the event of airbag deployment or if the fuel cut-off switch is triggered, therefore ensuring that emergency vehicles are dispatched in the event of an accident where the driver is unconscious, or unable to place the call themselves. Vehicle Health Reports give the vehicle owner the ability to run a diagnostic report of the vehicle after creating an account on syncmyride.com, with the intent of promoting more regular vehicle maintenance.  And recently added for convenience and entertainment, is option called “SYNC Services”, which include things like turn-by-turn directions, sports updates, news, live traffic, stock quotes, even movie listings, …. (and the list goes on.)

The main competition at this point is General Motor’s OnStar system.  Albeit different than SYNC, both systems are based on the same concept of allowing drivers to talk hands-free while operating their vehicle, and in essence promoting safer driving.  Although OnStar was introduced to the market long before Ford’s SYNC system, the recent turmoil of the industry, coupled with GM’s bankruptcy allowed Ford to jump ahead of the game and lead the way in providing more advanced technology.

Some of the major differences?  GM charges a $199 annual subscription fee for their built-in mobile device. (In essence the vehicle itself acts as a phone that OnStar operates through, whereas SYNC connects with the driver’s own mobile device.)  Ford’s price points are significantly less, costing the consumer a one-time fee of about $395 to have the SYNC system installed in the vehicle, and for the basic communication and entertainment features, including 911 Assist, no additional charges.  For those that would like the additional SYNC Services features, like live sports updates, turn-by-turn directions, live traffic, weather, movie listings, and so forth, the service is free for 3 years, and then to continue the subscription after that period, a $60 annual fee is required.

In any case, automotive retailers are finding that BOTH systems are being seriously considered during vehicle purchases.  If we can prevent unnecessary accidents, and in some cases fatalities, due to distracted driving, then we all benefit.

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