It was a bad sign recently when Henrik Fisker, co-founder
and executive chairman of Fisker Automotive, stepped down from the
company that bears his name. Reported to be the result of "disagreements
with management," Fisker's resignation was “not expected to impact the
company’s pursuit of strategic partnerships and financing to support Fisker
Automotive’s continued progress.”
Noted. Facebook works for everything from keeping up with friends, keeping track of trends, to learning about great deals on cowboy boots.
Facebook also works for philanthropic outreach. Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good, a Facebook initiative, launched in 2011 and repeated in 2012, awarded 100 cars to 100 nonprofits over the period of 100 days to charitable organizations. In 2012, you helped Toyota give 100 vehicles to nonprofits. Daily winners were determined by popular vote on 100carsforgood.com. Now those vehicles are on the road and helping those in need.
Toyota is currently in discussions about how to repeat the plan for 2013. A representative from Toyota just this week explained that "the program will be placed on hold until further notice due to internal changes. We're pleased that the program has helped many organizations and will continue to build on the program’s success while supporting nonprofit organizations. "
Five nonprofits were profiled each day at www.100carsforgood.com. Facebook users voted for the cause they feel would do the most good with a new vehicle. At the end of each day, the winner received a new vehicle and the four runners-up will receive a $1,000 cash grant from Toyota.
“The average person doesn’t think about a non-profit needing a vehicle to get its work done,” remarked Michael Rouse, Vice President of Diversity, Philanthropy and Community Affairs for Toyota Motor Sales USA.
Rouse explained that the idea for 100 Cars for Good – a Facebook site for voting–was the result of a brainstorming meeting at the end of 2010. “We looked at what was going on in social media with non-profits and realized that, while we didn’t have a dollar budget to contribute, we do have cars and trucks. This program puts our products as the star of the show to help keep non-profits going.”
“Over the past 20 years, Toyota has contributed more than half a billion dollars to non-profits throughout the United States. 100 Cars for Good allows us to build on that commitment in new ways, putting the public in the ‘driver’s seat’ as we work to help community organizations make an even bigger impact,” offered Jim Lentz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toyota Motor Sales.
In the past, local causes included Central Vermont Humane Society, A Child’s Place of Charlotte (helps local homeless children with school work, socialization and more), All Hands Volunteers (aids communities struck by natural disasters), Special Olympics Illinois, and Abby’s House (provides women and children across Central Massachusetts with shelter, housing and advocacy).
“In year one, when we announced that we were giving away 100 cars, perhaps people didn’t realize it was the real deal. Now everybody knows that it’s a legitimate program,” explained Rouse.
To learn more visit: www.100carsforgood.com. You can also see a short film at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjjeHoJbv1Y&feature=youtu.be
This story began at a New Orleans race track. I was test driving the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish with my own driving instructor.
I could bore you with superlatives or say, very honestly, that after many years of trying out vehicles on racetracks, this time I got it! The exhilarating feel of driving at speed, the sound of the engine, the smell of the leather, the way the Vanquish catches light when it is in motion. Yes, I finally understood the lure of the racetrack and the draw of the Aston Martin. And yes --(ladies you will understand) ---it was a ‘shades of grey’ moment!
The next big name in automobiles may not be an American, or Japanese, or even German or Italian: Believe it or not, India is poised to change the face of the US Auto Industry with the introduction of the Tata Nano to the US Market.
For those who don't know, the Nano is an adorable, no-frills, egg-shaped four seater car introduced in India in 2009 as an alternative to scooters and other super-efficient means of transportation. It's known as the "World's Cheapest Car," and to say that it's bare-bones is an understatement: it boasts a 4-gallon tank, a top speed of 65mph, about 3 cubic feet of storage space, and its major advertised features include "headrests" and an interior fuel warning light. But with simple features comes a simple price tag. In 2009 it was introduced with an unbelievable price of $2500.
The rest of the world is definitely taking notice of the little Nano that could - I learned about this adorable car from Live with Kelly & Michael, and have since learned that auto aficionado Jay Leno has already snagged one of the Indian models for his car collection.
The Nano will certainly undergo a bit of a redesign before it hits the US market, and those vital statistics seem certain to improve. Also being added are power steering, traction control, and some other bells and whistles missing from the base model in India - AC and Heating come to mind. All these improvements will raise the price a bit, of course, but the plan is for the Nano to hit the US market in 2013 with a price of about $8000. That would make it the cheapest car on the market, and if it's done right, it could change the face of the industry.
The Nano is being redesigned for the European market as well. I think they're adorable, and moreover, I think the US is ready for a new wave of super-economical automobiles. India isn't the first nation to be experimenting with this concept - China boasts super-affordable cars with some pretty cool features, and in Japan, Nissan is reintroducing the Datsun brand, as a line of low-cost autos poised to retail for around $3000 in Asia. I'm watching these sagas, and the Nano's, very closely, so keep an eye here for updates.
Have a great weekend, and TTFN: tata for nano! (I couldn't resist.)
When I was invited to my very first Bentley event I was
ecstatic to learn more about the car model which costs more than most people’s
homes, (including my own). When I
stepped into the Bentley of Austin’s showroom which resembles that of an art
gallery as opposed to a car dealership, I was taken aback by the beauty of the
vehicles I was surrounded by. “These
cars are a work of art because they are built by artists,” John Eagle European
Motors and Bentley of Austin’s Dealer Principal, T.L. ‘Sonny’ Morgan said.
The main vehicle we were invited to the boutique dealership
to preview and drive was the 2013 Continental GT V8 which is equipped with a
4.0L twin turbo with variable displacement which has the capabilities to switch
(unnoticeably) from a V8 to a more efficient V4. “The Continental GT V8
combines the power and performance of a sports car with the efficiency of a
grand tourer,” said a recent Bentley press release.
On-hand for the reveal of this and a few other 2013 Bentley
models was President and COO of Bentley Motors, Christophe Georges. Georges shared a little history mixed with
what to expect of the models we would soon be test driving. “Bentley’s are about passion,” Georges
said. “The company was created in 1919
and our vehicles have always featured the best combination of luxury,
refinement, and craftsmanship.”
#1 Visiting the Chicago firehouse directly across from Wrigley Field and trading chicken soup recipes with its chef.
#2 Driving an ambulance through the streets of downtown Chicago.
#3 Hanging out watching TV in a fully tricked out luxury RV.
#4 Soaring above Soldier Field (home to the Chicago Bears) in an aerial lift (cherry picker).
#5 Tucking into a creamy bowl of brisket from the Southern Mac and Cheese Truck.
I did all of the above and more at a recent Mercedes-Benz event in Chicago to introduce the many diverse ways that their Sprinter commercial vans are utilized.
Bottom line, the Sprinter can be morphed into anything from a cupcake truck to a luxury motor home, executive coach, ambulance or refrigerated van. As Claus Tritt, Vice President of Operations for Daimler Vans USA, mentioned, “For a commercial vehicle we always say it’s got a sexy back; behind the B pillar it’s all about functionality.”
After receiving the invitation the first two people I would
have loved to share this exciting news with was my father and my grandfather –
unfortunately both had passed within the last year. My dad and grandpa loved cars, were pilots, and
both would be really proud (and just as excited as I was) to have heard about
my invitation. My dad would have been
especially stoked because he loved to race cars – more specifically drag race.
So in an effort to honor my dad I decided to put on a
special piece of jewelry and call my step mom.
I not only wanted to tell her the news about my racing school (dream)
invitation but to also inspire her. “In honor of dad I am going to wear my
butterfly (pendant) necklace (he gave me a few Christmas ago) while driving the Indy
car,” I told her. “That way (when I’m
driving) it will be like dad is flying around the track with me,” I added. Of course an emotional female moment ensued
- but it was all good..
ASE recommends regular vehicle maintenance and better driving habits as two easy-to-implement strategies. What’s more, better automotive habits will help your vehicle last longer and command a better resale price.
It’s a car lady’s dream weekend in my opinion. World class cars, endless motorsports history, luxurious accommodations, beaches and shopping all while supporting charities. Does it get any better?
A quick road trip from our home in Charlotte, North Carolina, my husband and I just returned from our fourth straight year of attending this wonderful event. The concours and all the events surrounding it are held at the Ritz-Carlton which is situated right on the beaches of Amelia Island with five star dining and a gorgeous spa and fitness center.
The trip kicks off on Friday. It is usually a pretty low key day as the guests are just arriving in town and the manufacturers and vendors are putting the finishing touches on their displays. We often take advantage of the downtime and find our way to the spa for a little treat to ourselves and spend the evening dining and sharing laughs with good friends we only see a few times a year at these types of gatherings.
Girls show they have what it takes at Fastimes Indoor Karting Track in Indianapolis, Indiana with a foot of lead!
Glass Hammer Racing (also known as www.beatbyagirl.org) hosts a program called the Glass Hammer Racing Experience. As a sponsored GHR driver I was asked to go out to Indy this past November and instruct the girls participating. I love this program because it’s focused on individual development and setting goals. While some girls may have the interest and talent to progress to a professional auto racing career, GHR Experience focus is on providing each girl with the opportunity to develop her individual skills at a pace which will be both challenging and rewarding.
As females in the industry we already have obstacles to overcome. Well let me tell you, and I’ve got my girlfriends to back me up – given the opportunity – women could help advance the sport, the industry and open doors from young women around the world. GHR sole purpose is to give guidance and help elevate young women early on in their careers to help them reach their fullest potential.
So, you could only image how honored and humbling it was to be asked to instruct four fast young ladies ages 10-13 November 13th at Fastimes Indoor Karting www.fastimesindoorkarting.com track. GHR has three comprehensive Stages to fit the needs of each girl and further help grow the knowledge and race craft.