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21 posts from November 2011

November 30, 2011

SEMA / AAPEX: Female-Friendly Carnival Highlights 2011

IMG_1091Specialty Equipment Market Association / Automotive Aftermarket Product Expo

Roaming the miles and miles of SEMA and AAPEX looking for female-friendly products was like looking for a needle in a haystack. For some reason many of the distributors still don’t understand that women are making 65% of all buying decisions. There were too many vendors using thinly clad young women to lure buyers into their booths instead of featuring the benefits of their products and services. I also found that most of them dismissed me as a buyer until I pushed for a conversation and helped them understand that I knew what I was talking about and had a valid interest in their products. There were many vendors that would benefit from taking the “Female Friendly Training”.

It took some hunting, but I did find a couple female friendly products.

Continue reading "SEMA / AAPEX: Female-Friendly Carnival Highlights 2011" »

November 29, 2011

Great holiday gift ideas from 3M at SEMA


Diana Merrill Claussen
Contributing Editor

Whether the person on your gift list loves anything with wheels, has a new car under the tree, or would like to accomplish an easy do it your/herself project here are some easy ideas from 3M for stuffing Christmas stockings.   I had the chance to spend some time with 3M at the recent SEMA show in Las Vegas, and they shared some great automotive products with me, perfect for gifts or for winterizing your own car.


Paint Restoration System copyPaint Restoration System from 3M: Winter salt and sludge can leave your car’s finish dull but with 3Ms Paint Restoration System (a three-step process which removes swirl marks, minor scratches and oxidized paint) your ride can look bright and shiny during the holidays. Add a buffer/polisher to the gift list, and it’s the perfect present for your paint. “The three steps with this syste are color coded and are an easy process,” said 3 M Auto Care Marketing Manager Cathy Markovitz. “I think the system is like painting your nails, the first step is buffing (removing scratches and old polish). The second is a base coat which is a shine restorer, uses a fine touch pad and removes haze. The third and last step adds color with a synthetic wax protectant which is also buffed over the surface with a very fine pad. The three products and color-coded pads are all included within the system all the recipient needs to buy is a 6” polisher. If a lady can use a drill then she can definitely use the polishing/buffing tool,” Markovitz ensured.


Lens Renewal Kit SandingLens Renewal Kit from 3M: Dashing through the snow on a winter’s night isn’t smart with headlights that aren’t bright. But with the Lens Renewal Kit from 3M, car owners can make their headlights shine brighter, “And there are no tools required to achieve desirable results,” said Markovitz. 

3M also sells Leather and vinyl interior repair kits, and easy do it yourself kits from windshield repair to their soon to be released Auto Essentials kit which includes the interior restorer, tire shine and cleaner, all purpse scrub and a glass cleaner for shiny and clear windows. All items can be found at most auto parts stores and other large retailers such as Walmart. The Auto essentials kit will be available online at just in time for the holidays.


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November 25, 2011

LA Auto Show 2011: So Many Cars, So Little Time

The Los Angeles Auto Show is BIG -- so big, that it fills all 720,000 square feet of the city's Convention Center with the latest offerings of automakers large and small, domestic and exotic, customizers, accessorizers and a few surprises. Its size practically guarantees that each year, there will be something to interest everyone, including women. The LA Auto Show opened on November 18 and runs through Thanksgiving weekend, so pack up the kids and have some fun and go see the show this Thanksgiving weekend!

Scenes from 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show

If last year's show vibrated with the energy of a recharged auto industry, this year feels like a more refined affair. The exhibits display a more elegant sensibility as the automakers get back to the business of wowing the customers with advanced technology and gorgeous style.

Going Retro

2012 Dodge Challenger 2012 Fiat 500 by Gucci

The Big Three American automakers all seem to by vying for the attention of Boomer males by re-issuing modern versions of their classic muscle cars, and crowds were clamoring in LA to see high performance SRT8 versions of Dodge's Charger and Challenger, the Ford Mustang Boss and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. I can see the fun factor in revving around town in one of these powerful updated classics.

But my girlfriends and I were more intrigued by models that evoked a different kind of nostalgia, like the new Gucci version of Fiat's cute 500, itself a re-imagining of the Italian automaker's original little city car. From the designer's famed green and red stripes to the distinctive interlocking G logo on the wheels, you can drive this beauty off the lot for less than you'd think: MSRP starts at $23,500. And yes, there is a line of Gucci-designed bags and other accessories to go with it (although these are offered at exactly the price you'd expect to pay for Gucci).

For those who want cute AND performance, the LA Auto Show marked the debut of the Abarth, a souped-up incarnation of the Fiat 500 based on Karl Abarth's like-named Fiat racecars of the 1960's. Its scorpion logo indicates that the Abarth's target market is probably not the same one that's watching all those commercials with J.Lo. 

Chrysler200ConvertibleElsewhere at the Chrysler exhibit, I couldn't help staring at their shiny new 200 convertible. Yes, I know that by any other name, this car is a Sebring -- but its smart redesign and retractable hard top option make it look sweet.

The model on the show floor featured a luxurious top-stitched leather interior and dash with Sirius/XM satellite radio and Uconnect, Chrysler's super-intuitive, state-of-the-art touchscreen communications system. 

New Uconnect refinements in 2012 include the ability to use its Garmin navigation function via voice command while the car is in motion. 

One of the features that distinguishes Chrysler's in-vehicle communications system is that the high-tech touchscreen is set alongside the traditional button and knob controls so many of us grew up with -- giving you the option of operating it the old-fashioned way.

And to punctuate that traditionalism, above the touchscreen of the 200 is an analog clock, reminiscent of the 1960's.

As much as I adore technology, it is touches like this little jewel of a clock that made the 200 convertible the first Chrysler-made vehicle on my auto show favorites list since the debut of the PT Cruiser a dozen years ago.

Technology, Safety and Safety Technology


Chrysler's Uconnect system is an example of how the highway and the "Information highway" have merged in recent years. Just about all of the automakers had demonstrations of in-vehicle telematics systems, with names like MyTouch (Ford), iDrive (BMW) Entune (Toyota), Blue Link (Hyundai), Uvo (Kia). Cadillac debuted the new CUE system, which will be available on their gorgeous 2013 XTS sedan (which also debuted at the show). CUE stands for Cadillac User Experience, and the interface should be highly intuitive for anyone who already owns an iPhone.

One of the most striking observations about this year's L.A. Auto Show is how cutting edge technology available only on luxury cars a few years ago has trickled down to entry level models: Bluetooth, USB connection, Pandora Internet radio and SMS voice messaging are just a few technologies that are being offered as standard features of cars in all price points.

2012 Honda CR-V 2012 VW CC

Honda's redesigned 2012 CR-V is one of many vehicles with standard equipment that now includes a rearview camera. The popular crossover also comes equipped standard cruise control, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, multi-information display (i-MID), remote entry, and Motion-Adaptive Electric Power Steering (EPS).

The 2012 Volkswagen CC features a dashboard seatbelt status indicator, so you you can see if passengers are buckled up, without craning your neck. It also has a fatigue detection system that monitors factors like steering angle to assess those times when a driver appears to be losing focus. It then emits an audible warning and visual message recommending that the driver take a break.  

The programmable Ford MyKey helps parents assure their teen drivers are following safety guidelines by giving them the ability to limit the vehicle's speed and music system volume control.

Ford has aslo refined their MyTouch system, which was designed to be easily upgradable via a USB stick the company will be issuing its current customers. Among the changes are a cleaner-looking home screen, larger fonts, next turn information that's now easier to see at the top of the screen. And then, there's my favorite new function: If you're running low on gas, the MyTouch map will populate itself with nearby gas stations.

One of the most advanced safety systems at the show is the "pre-sense system" available on Audi's 2013 S8 high performance luxury sedan, which uses cameras and radar to identify whether you are about to have a potential accident. If is senses an impending incident, it will automatically prepare the car for potential impact by automatically braking, and adding brake assist, because drivers don't necesarily have the strength or realize how much pressure they need in order to avert a crash. The system will also tighten the safety belts and ready (but not deploy) airbags, and raise the windows to avoid any intrusive elements into the car.

What a Concept

No auto show would be complete without the presence of concept cars, illustrating the unbridled imagination of automotive designers and engineers. You won't find these vehicles on any dealer lots -- at least, not yet. Some do end up in production; others serve as testing ground for innovations that find their way into other vehicles.

Volvo Concept You BMW i8 All Electric Concept

I confess: I got distracted while speaking with a Volvo spokeswoman about improved safety on the XC60 the Swedish company debuted last year (it's been NHTSA-rated five stars), because I could not take my eyes off the big, blue luxury car turning on a platform behind her.

The other women in our group felt the same way: The Volvo Concept You is having its US debut at Los Angeles (it was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show last month).  This sleek, sexy vehicle provides a glimpse of what Volvo designers have in mind for their next generation of their flagship S80 model, and it resembles a Jaguar XJ.

Surprisingly, Volvo is planning to power the full-sized coupe with a four-cylinder engine, augmented by a flywheel drive to provide extra power without compromising fuel efficiency. 

The interior combines the expected luxury leather, suede and wood elements in a unique way (it has a wooden floor). Driver controls on the Concept You are powered via a touchscreen system that resembles an iPad. 

BMW went back to the future with their i8 concept: a plug-in hybrid sports car with gull-wing doors that made me think of what the DeLorean might look like now, if the company had managed to stay in business. And in another nod to the movies, a version of this model will be seen in the next Mission Impossible picture, opening in December.

BMW is also displaying its i3 Concept, described as a solution for urban mobility abd sustainability. The all-electric i3 reduced size of battery that produces a range of up to 100 miles on a single charge.

"There is no question that we will build production versions of these vehicles," announced BMW North America CEO Ludwig Willisch at their Los Angles unveiling. 

Green Cars Making Their Mark

One of the most exciting aspects of this year's show is the annual presentation of the Green Car of the Year award, and the expanding list of vehicles that vie for that honor each year. Previous winners like Chevrolet's Volt and Nissan Leaf are starting to appear on Southern California roads. And just about every automaker at the show is displaying vehicles with eco-boost type engines, hybrids and cars that run on other alternate fuels.

Other noteworthy entries in this category are Kia's Optima hybrid, the expansion of the Prius line to include a subcompact, a plug-in, and the larger V and the Ford Focus Electric.

119_2808The 2011 Green Car of the Year winner is Honda's Civic Natural Gas, which has nearly zero emissions and has been certified by EPA as the cleanest internal combustion vehicle on the market. It is also the only one that is built here in the United States.

The CNG-fueled version of the Civic is a car whose time has finally come. The infrastructure to keep it powered has grown to the point where Honda feels confident in expanding its availability to 200 dealers in 36 states. 

Honda is also showing an all-electric version of its popular Fit subcompact. set to arrive in showrooms next summer. The battery on the Fit EV is estimated to give drivers a range of 126 city miles on a single charge, which should alleviate range anxiety for most commuters. 

119_2924One of the green highlights of last year's show is now hitting American shores: Mitsubishi's futuristic looking electric subcompact, the i (formerly introduced to the US market as the i-MiEV). 

One of the i's biggest selling points is its low manufacturer's suggested retail price: $21,625 (after estimated tax savings), which makes this a good choice for someone who wants to go green but hasn't been able to justify the extra initial cost of going electric or hybrid.

The i also has a low cost of ownership, witih an official EPA MPGe rating of 126 city and 99 Highway (MPGe is a new figure EPA uses on electric vehicles to compare efficiency with that of gasoline-powered engines). Mitsubishi says the i's range is 62 miles per charge.

Driving the i was comparable to other economy models on the market. It's responsive and handles nicely. The only clue that the car runs on electricity is the lack of engine noise.

The simple cloth interior is not luxurious, but is consistent with the i's environmental mission: according to company spokesman Jim Hall (who accompanied me on my drive), Mitsubishi utilized sustainable materials wherever they could -- including the vehicle's carpet and upholstery. 

The Los Angeles Auto Show opened on November 18 and runs through Thanksgiving weekend.

2010by Donna Schwartz Mills
Contributing Editor

Donna Schwartz Mills is a Los Angeles-based writer who also contributes to CBS Digital Local Los Angeles, the Yahoo! Motherboard and her personal site,SoCal Mom.

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November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving From Ask Patty !


Jody DeVere
CEO, Inc.

Twitter: Certified Female Friendly®


November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Holiday Tragedy REMINDER: Buckle Up and Say No to Buzzed Driving !!!

Remember me and my story this Holiday Season. Buckle Up and Say No to Buzzed Driving !!!

We left for home Thanksgiving day in the twilight, filled with Grandma Cleo’s cooking, lots of hugs and our heads filled with family stories shared in laughter.

The drive on Palmdale Highway 138, a two land undivided road, was lined with cars coming and going like bumper cars. I always hated this part of the drive and kept checking my speed to stay at 55 MPH, which was not my normal routine driving practice.

After about ten minutes,  feeling overly cautious, I looked over at my son in the front passenger seat and noticed his seatbelt was not fastened and sharply told him to “Put on your seatbelt, NOW!”, and glanced over my shoulder to make sure my other son was buckled up!”

Thirty seconds later a small car driven by a drunken women with five children, only one two year old in a restraint system, swerved from the oncoming traffic right in front of me. There was no way to avoid the accident. I slammed on my brakes to attempt to stop in time. Her oncoming speed and my oncoming speed were equal to at least 110 miles an hour. Not enough time to stop.

That moment of impact will be imbedded in my soul forever. Three of the five children were killed instantly. The woman driver killed her only daughter and two of her sister’s children. The driver (She) survived along with the two year old in the car seat and one other young boy cousin.

Continue reading "Thanksgiving Holiday Tragedy REMINDER: Buckle Up and Say No to Buzzed Driving !!!" »

November 21, 2011

Radar Tires Mobilizing Hope at Sears Auto Centers

Sears_radarSears Auto Centers announced today that it will carry Radar Tires at its more than 800 Sears Auto Centers and online at Radar Tires is the flagship tire brand of Singapore-based Omni United. 

Sears Auto Centers will be launching the new, upgraded Radar RPX900, one of Radar’s best -selling tires and the recently introduced Verenti R6 All-Season Ultra High Performance (UHP) tire. 

The new Radar RPX900 is an all-season, high-performance, touring tire. An innovative lower rolling resistance compound makes the new Radar RPX900 an eco-friendly tire. It is currently available in 14 sizes. 

The Verenti R6 is Radar’s latest product launch, a M&S rated all-season ultra high performance tire, with an innovative asymmetrical tread design and an impressive UTQG rating of 400 AA A. Soon to be available in 12 popular sizes, size expansion will continue throughout the rest of the year and into 2012 with the most popular original equipment and aftermarket sizes in the 17 to 18 -inch wheel diameters. 

Continue reading "Radar Tires Mobilizing Hope at Sears Auto Centers" »

November 18, 2011

Accolades abound at 2011 SEMA show

Sema_show_logo_1564by Diana Merrill Claussen
Contributing Editor

At this year’s SEMA convention in Las Vegas there were over 106,000 in attendance with over 1,700 exhibitors. There was so much to see – everything from professional drivers testing out new 2012 car models, to customized rides of every shape and size with many futuristic customizations and accessories.

From exhibits and unending streams of vehicles, roaring engines and new car unveilings to very special events there were many who were honored during the convention and others who were encouraged by many in attendance. As a woman within the industry I also noticed quite a few exhibitors who instead of having scantily clad models portray their products corporations opted for more believable ambassadors, (their educated female employees) who are proud to work for their female friendly organizations. 

3M ladies2One such business which had strong and successful females at the helm was 3M. The ladies are not only employees of the adhesive company, they are explicitly knowledgeable about the products their employer produces and recommends for just about any type of vehicle repair imaginable. From Bondo® body work to windshield, and upholstery repair the female crew at 3M were serious about showing their expertise within the industry. Many of the ladies took the time take visitors to different areas within the 3M exhibit and explain processes of many of the vast products on display. “We offer many quick fix products and they also include written and online instructions on how to use them,” Auto Care Marketing Manager Cathy Markovitz said.

The female team also hosted special appearances and product demonstrations by West Coast Customs Chip Foose. Needless to say the dedicated 3M team members were vital in ensuring the 3M booths smashing success.

Continue reading "Accolades abound at 2011 SEMA show" »

November 17, 2011

Jody DeVere CEO of Honored at National Remarketing Conference - November 17th, 2011

Women-in-Remarketing-webJody DeVere, CEO of female-focused automotive website, is being honored with a 2011 Women in Remarketing Excellence Award today during the National Remarketing Conference at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. She will also speak of a panel with other leading women who are being honored.  It has become an annual tradition for Auto Remarketing to encourage readers to recognize and nominate some of the top leading ladies of our industry. There women stand out for their dedication to excellence and their commitment to furthering the industry. To be considered, a woman must have a history of going above and beyond the call of duty whether through innovation, mentoring new professionals, philanthropy, education or more.

Jody, who was just recently honored at SEMA / AAPEX as the recipient of the SEMA Businesswomen's Association's annual Athena Award, is the CEO of, Inc, a website, blog, and marketing to women agency providing automotive education to women consumers, as well as training, ongoing marketing support and education, and certifications to car dealers, independent service locations, tire dealers, collision centers, fast lubes, and other automotive retailers. As a social media marketing to women expert, journalist, car care expert, and safety spokesperson, it has been a primary goal to promote, mentor and support careers for women in the automotive industry, and she has more than twenty-five years of achievement as a successful entrepreneur focused on sales and marketing leadership to assist her in this quest. She is a champion for women in the automotive industry, and her company serves as the first point of contact for many women who are seeking the very best in car sales and service across the United States and Canada.

“I am very honored to be recognized by the readers of Auto Remarketing Magazine as a Women of Remarketing Award alongside all the outstanding women leaders recognized in 2011,” says Jody.

Continue reading "Jody DeVere CEO of Honored at National Remarketing Conference - November 17th, 2011" »

November 16, 2011

Winds of Change Encouraged at SEMA


by Diana Merrill Claussen
Contributing Editor

At this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas those in attendance noticed many themes interwoven throughout the displays, new products, new vehicles and customized vehicles from every genre and era.  Although technology and innovation are always key to the show’s success, it seemed that there was a multi-faceted aspect with a much deeper meaning.  The significance of automotive history, heritage, and its preservation (which encompasses every aspect of the automotive industry) was clearly revered by the legends who attended SEMA.  But there has been a significant and encouraging wind of change between the legends of the industry and future generations who they are passing their legacy onto.

Highly honored names, families and corporations within different realms of the industry could be seen speaking throughout numerous venues at the SEMA show.  These key people took the responsibility to introduce, lead, and encourage both familial prodigies and those within the younger public to take the keys of the automotive market and drive the industry into the future.  These automotive legends used history lessons peppered with encouragement and hopeful spirits to relay the importance of encouraging younger generations to heed the call.

Continue reading "Winds of Change Encouraged at SEMA" »

November 15, 2011

Jody DeVere and Dr. Bob Sutherland: Pennzoil Breaks Down Motor Oil Myths

In this Ask Patty interview, Jody DeVere sits down with Pennzoil Motor Oil's Dr. Bob Sutherland and talks about some of the myths (and facts too) about motor oil - from the science of how motor oil improves fuel economy to the long-term effects of motor oil on engine longevity, Dr. Bob explains it all with Jody in this great video.  Check it out!


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