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Post Tagged with: "Ford"

Reprogramming “Making” For A More Transparent World


2014 Ford Fiesta front grill

by Peter Dushenski

As I kid, I was a complete Legomaniac. I rushed home from school to play Lego, I bought Lego with every dollar I earned after a good report card, and I even won a few Lego competitions. When I was 7, I even had my Grandma knit me a Legomaniac sweater. I was obsessed, through and through. But in all my years of devotion, I never made a single Lego car, fortress, city, or airplane. Not one. All I did was sift through vast containers of miscellaneous pieces, find the ones that fit my vision, and assembled them together.

There’s a big difference between “making” and “assembling”.

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Part II: What’s More Precious Than Platinum – Technology or Muscle Cars?

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by Peter Dushenski

[Read Part I here]

So what’s the cure for  isolation?

Go-karting!

I hadn’t been in a go-kart since I was in my early teens, so when a local Ford dealer invited me to a track day recently, one of the last at our beloved Stratotech Park, I jumped at the chance for a cure and drove myself there in the big, bad Platinum.

Arriving from downtown Edmonton just 40 minutes of bumper-riding later, I sat down for a brief safety lecture, grabbed the biggest helmet in sight, and plunked down in a kart on the front row.

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Ending Bachelorhood With Energi

Cabins

by Peter Dushenski

No strippers. No champagne. No painful encounters with a tile floor.

Just 9 young men, the Canadian Rockies, and more fireside bromance than you can shake a cover story at. For the record, I always wear turtlenecks in July. Because Steve Jobs.

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The Invisible Parasol And The New Ford Escape

By Peter Dushenski @carenvy

There are 31-year-olds who live in their parents’ basement and volunteer at the soup kitchen. There are 42-year-old single mothers who work from home as angel investors. There are 88-year-old snow birds who drive to Phoenix every winter, not to golf, but to run in the marathon. Everyone has a story. Some more unusual than others.

These stories, and generalizations thereof, are what marketers zero in on like Obama on Osama, and vice versa.

Marketers, like politicians and terrorists, want to know all about us. They want to be our pen pals but they don’t want to write back. That sounds a bit like stalking because it is. But the goal of marketing isn’t just to creep, it’s to sell.

Obviously, marketers can’t talk to every single potential buyer – asking them what they like and don’t like – that’s too time consuming and too expensive. Fortunately for them, there are terabytes of cheap personal data at the ready. As buyers have opened themselves to the world of the web, giving away their innermost desires as a means of “sharing”, marketers are now able to peg us with alarming accuracy. That’s part of the reason why, even though finding one without corn starch is nearly impossible, we have 145 kinds of yogurt at the grocery store. It’s also why Google Ads assaults my father with “Collector’s WW2 Uniforms” ads whether he’s checking out CarEnvy or IDF.il. It’s also why we have cars like the Mercedes CLS63 AMG and its simply sultry Shooting Brake sister. Specificity of both supply and demand are on the up and up. Differentiating ourselves from the masses has undeniable appeal.

As a result, as any marketer worth his square glasses will tell you, there are infinite and one niches. Due to the abundance of data now available, these segments of the population are often diced so finely that the greater whole to which they belong is lost entirely. Marketers are effectively staring at Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte so closely that they’re unable to see even a single parasol.

In marketing today, a man who likes fast cars, cold beer, and high-impact sports is as invisible as the parasol. He’s too big to notice. And yet he exists, defiant of their ignorance.

Which brings us to the 2013 Ford Escape.

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Romney GS vs. SHObama – Turbo Americana

By Peter Dushenski @carenvy

As our neighbours to the south head to the polls for the most important election in the world this November, it’s time again for members of the international community to think about who we might vote for, given the opportunity.

To help guide us in this very theoretical debate, CarEnvy has invited two proud American sedans that provide speed, luxury, and most importantly, exceptional value. Because other than childhood obesity and technological innovation, what’s more American that bang for your buck? We’ve matched each of the political candidates with their nearest automotive parallel to help shed some light on what is sure to be a nasty and narrowly won fight to the finish. Republican Candidate Mitt Romney will be represented by the 2012 Buick Regal GS and Democratic Candidate Barack Obama will be represented by the 2013 Ford Taurus SHO. It’s Romney GS vs. SHObama!

You have but one vote, dear friends, and the fate of the world depends on it.

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Think All Press Cars Are Ringers? Think Again

by Peter Dushenski @carenvy

Auto journalism is unique in the world of journalism at large. Adventure journalists travel to foreign lands in search of the quaintest cafés and sandiest beaches, political journalists go to $500-per-plate dinners in Washington, and news journalists talk loudly in front of green screens. Auto journalists do none of these things. “We” (and I use this term in quotations because it isn’t my primary occupation) review products given to us by the people who make them. In our own minds, we provide feedback that car companies will use to make subsequent generations better (i.e. more to our personal liking). In the minds of the car companies, we’re spreading the good word about their most important new vehicles to untold millions via blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Since we’re a valuable resource for them, car companies treat us rather well. Even for those of us who’ve never known personal hardship, it’s something else. But occasionally, this preferred treatment goes too far. About a year ago, Consumer Reports accused Volkswagen of adding trim to the Volkswagen Passat press fleets cars as a means of improving them. Is this common industry practice? Some people think so, but it’s tough to monitor without side-by-side comparisons. And even if more such instances were found, and this were really common industry practice, we must also ask how much difference it makes? 5%? 10%? Any percent? All I know is that Ford Canada, incidentally one of CarEnvy’s biggest proponents, is as innocent of such immoral behaviour as they come.

Exhibit A: The 2013 Ford Flex.

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Part 2: Finding Black Swan Robustness with the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, and Chevy Aveo

by Peter Dushenski @carenvy

In Part 1 of this two-part exploration, three nimble hatchbacks mounted a front against the best selling vehicle in the world: the Ford F-150. In Part 1, the unassuming hatches took an early 1-0 lead by being more humble on a first date. Let’s see how the trio fares for the final two points of this competition: moving and commuting.

2. Helping Your Friend Move To A New Apartment:

You might have more Facebook friends than Mark Zuckerberg but being that awesome has its drawbacks, especially when you’ve been bragging to your friends about 1) how robust you are, and 2) your new car(s). It’s only a matter of time before one of your minions legion is knocking at your door on a hungover Saturday morning, begging you to help a bro out. If you spent your 67 large on the King Ranch, with its handy tailgate step (aka Man Step), side access steps, and cargo bed extender, you’ll be a prime target every. single. time. Thankfully, the F-150 will impress even your most demanding friends … Beds, furniture, and those uselessly heavy old tube TVs will all find room in the back. There’s nothing quite like a sturdy pick-up for moving trash from one ratty apartment to another. It’s truly tough to beat.

Alternatively, you could take the robust Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, AND Chevy Sonic.

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Part 1: Finding Black Swan Robustness with the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, and Chevy Aveo

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by Peter Dushenski @carenvy

In our lifetimes, certainly in my quarter century, the global economy has never been less predictable and the future has never seemed more opaque. It’s been more than four years since the housing bubble burst in the US  and Credit Default Swaps entered popular parlance, yet little seems to have changed. Governments are even deeper in fragilizing debt, global currencies are teetering on the brink, and the world’s largest banking institutions are back to making record profits. If that weren’t enough, education is increasingly incapable of ensuring employment and job prospects in general continue to haunt hopes of lasting recovery. Even if you’re personally unaffected by this, watching any amount of TV news will surely make the world seem a bit bleak.

And yet, we still eat out, we still go to movies and to the bar, and we still buy new cars. Borrowing rates remain low and the luxury market has never been hungrier. By most any measure, the lives of those of us in the western world have never been better. But because the larger picture remains so unsure, we’ve never been more exposed to what the (justifiably arrogant) investor-philosopher Nassim Taleb calls “Black Swans”: highly consequential and equally unpredictable events. Black Swans get more severe the more complex a society and economy become, which is perhaps the only sure bet there is. Their effects become more devastating than we can imagine and, ironically, we’ve never been more vulnerable. It’s about time that we think about ways in which we can protect ourselves, ways in which we can remain robust even when the world goes crazier than Christopher Nolan’s gruesome Gotham.

Being robust means being unharmed by (or better yet, benefiting from) volatility. It’s being agile and ready for anything, like a blogger-ninja hybrid. Robustness can be a state of mind, and it should be, but we can also build our lives to be more robust. Reducing or eliminating debt is a great place to start, as is having cash on hand. Diversification, hamstering your assets a little here and a little there, will ensure that when Black Friday returns, you won’t have all your eggs in one basket. Certain forms of insurance can also be used to provide protection from these crippling curveballs.

But let’s say that you want to maintain robustness while also spending $67,000 on your next vehicle (we’re imagining here that you have a healthy income and are already contributing a fair share to savings), where do you start? How can you protect yourself from the next big economic catastrophe while still being ready to go on blind dates, help your friend move, and survive your commute?

For a mere sixty-seven large, you could drive off the lot in the vaquero-flustering Ford F-150 King Ranch EcoBoost, an unimpeachable tool for life on the Prairies with enough charisma to charm milk out of a cow, eggs out of chickens, and wheat out of flour. Hauling your friends to the lake, commanding rush hour traffic, going on a date, off-roading like a high-roller, or dragging your parents’ old furniture to the city dump (like I did) could all be easily accomplished with a visit to your local Ford store. And you could do much, much worse for that kind of money (Z4, anyone?), but is that the best way to spend all that money? Perhaps we should listen to our grandfathers and not spend it all in one place, spending it instead on a trio of (don’t laugh) hatchbacks? Let’s look at a few real life scenarios and decide for ourselves, like big boys.

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