On the road...still
In case you didn't know, Michelin North America Inc. doesn't just make tires that'll get you someplace. It's also happy to tell you where to go. Or at least, how to get there.
The Greenville, S.C.-based tire maker announced last month that, ``just in time for holiday travel,'' its first-ever ``North America Road Atlas'' was hitting book and map stores and leading online retailers.
The simple-to-use spiral-bound tool ``makes travel as effortless as turning a page,'' the company said, and is chock-full of trip planners and ``go-to'' pointers to trace a route from one map to the next without having to flip pages.
Michelin said its Travel Publications group, with more than 100 years of experience and expertise in the travel industry, publishes guides for sightseeing, dining, lodging, plus a series of maps and atlases that are known internationally.
About the only part of the company's press release we were curious about was the teaser headline boasting: ``Finally, an atlas designed for the way you drive.'' We presume there's not a section in there about how to drive while balancing a cell phone in one hand and a donut in the other. And we highly doubt the tome covers the finer points of road rage.
This 'n that
Deadman's curve-That famous philosopher ``Unknown'' once observed: ``A bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.''
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Perseverance-That great hater of kids and animals and lover of hooch, W.C. Fields, noted: ``Don't say you can't swear off drinking; it's easy. I've done it a thousand times.''
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Open wide and say `ah'-How many times do you come up with something you believe is top notch, then after reality sets in you start to fear someone, maybe a competitor, will simply steal your idea or take credit for your effort?
Physicist and computer pioneer Howard Hathaway Aiken offers this pragmatic advice: ``Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats.''
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Skeptics anonymous-From an early age, journalists (especially government reporters) are trained to take everything with a grain of salt (or is it a pint of beer?) Anyway...we take to heart the words of a gent named Claud Cockburn who warned: ``Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.''
Snoopin' on the dawg
Give points to General Motors Corp. for trying to buck up its Cadillac nameplate and help it shed its stodgy image.
Using Led Zeppelin in TV ads to tell the youthful crowd that it's been a long time since Caddy rock 'n rolled has apparently generated some interest. Then, on the heels of that marketing campaign, came reports last November about a rumored rapmobile (not to be confused with a Caddy-based Batmobile) set to debut.
Well, it looks like it's just another urban legend. Seems the New York Daily News floated the possibility of a modified Cadillac dubbed the ``Snoop DeVille,'' based on the whims of rapper Snoop Dogg. The Internet entertainment site Launch.com reported that the dawgman had worked with a Memphis, Tenn., Caddy dealer on the special order. But now the Web site is saying the car maker doesn't plan to get involved in any such project.
``There's no special line of Cadillac DeVille following this personalized Snoop Dogg DeVille,'' a Cadillac publicist told the Web site.
Too bad. It could open up a lot of possibilities, such as a Scoop DeVille aimed at journalists. Or maybe a Coop DeVille as the personalized wheels for chicken baron Jim Perdue, board chairman and TV spokesman for Perdue Farms Inc.
Sign here (hiccup)
Could be a whole new trend in sales and customer relations or, at the least, a unique way to coddle them.
Mind you, that's not the reasoning at Lund Cadillac, where customers can enjoy a cold beer while signing on the dotted line. For a dozen years, the Phoenix car dealership has offered food and refreshments to invited guests every weekend and six weekdays a month.
The average draw on a weekend is about 150 customers and 30 sales.
``If we go through a couple of six-packs on a weekend, that's a huge deal,'' said John Halvorsen, general manager of the dealership, which is owned by Bob Lund, 84, a former Caddy and Chevrolet exec at General Motors Corp.
Apparently at least one patron has complained that the marketing tactic could influence customers' decisions, according to Automotive News.
But Mr. Halvorsen defended it, noting that ``a couple of years ago, Mr. Lund went to court, and the state said it's totally legal as long as we don't sell it (alcohol). We don't force it on anyone. We wouldn't sign a contract with someone who's inebriated.''
That's good to hear. With all the options available to choose from, picking a new car is tough enough.
Str-r-retching around the globe
Back on Dec. 28, 1931, Harvey S. Firestone Sr. took to the NBC radio airwaves as the ``Voice of Firestone'' to talk about the vital role of rubber as a product that touches peoples' lives.
Funny, but the 71-year-old words of the founder of the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. still ring true today:
``An interesting thing about rubber is that it probably comes in contact with more different nationalities of people than any other commodity,'' he said. ``Behind every pneumatic tire is a trail vibrating with voices spoken in many tongues. It is doubtful if any other commodity goes through life amid such a babble of speech, or has so varied an acquaintance, or is such a confirmed globetrotter.''
P.S.: Muchas gracias
As a parting shot, we extend a hearty thanks to TB staffer Bruce Davis for pinch hitting as Marketplace editor for the Sept. 2 issue while we spent a couple weeks of, uh, ``quality'' time in the hospital. Suffice it to say that, after surgery, we now have a semi-colon.
As for Mr. Davis, who himself had surgery Sept. 17, he left the hospital with less gall and is on the mend. Watch for us on an upcoming episode of ER...naw, just kidding.