Power vs. practicality
When it comes to men and women picking out a vehicle, their particular tastes-and criteria-apparently are drastically different. It kind of comes down to a battle of soccer mom vs. macho man.
An R.L. Polk & Co. poll bears that out. The firm, which provides motor vehicle industry statistical data and analysis, found that while men choose power, women go with the more practical choice.
For men, high performance is obviously the key, based on the top four vehicles American males picked: the muscle-bound, testosterone-laden Dodge Viper, BMW M5, Porsche 911 and Audi A8. The GMC Sierra pickup truck rounded out the top five.
The ladies' preferences went toward the Toyota RAV 4 at No. 1, followed by the planetary choices of Saturn SC, Saturn SL, Saturn ION and, at No. 5, the Kia Sportage. (And we thought women preferred Venus while men gravitated toward Mars.)
Lonnie Miller, director of analytical solutions at Polk (who did not list his vehicle preference) said American men ``have a clear preference for performance and power'' while ``women-who have tremendous influence on purchasing decisions in the household-select vehicles that are practical.''
He added that part of Saturn's success in appealing to women may be the General Motors Corp. division's ``hallmark no-haggle sales process; an acknowledgement that a customer-friendly approach can make a difference in attracting customers.''
Polk said its results were based on at least 1,000 new vehicle registrations per model and calculated based on the percentage of all new vehicles registered by each gender.
The lists beg the question: Can a lady driving a RAV4 find true love with a Viper guy?
Speaking of Vipers, the Dodge Ram SRT-10 recently unleashed its Viper engine power to race into a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ``world's fastest production pickup truck.''
Casting any gas-guzzling worries to the wind, the vehicle made its record run after recently coming off the Saltillo, Mexico, assembly line with nary a modification in any way for additional power or enhanced aerodynamics. The Ram, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), posted a two-lap, both-directions average speed of 154.587 mph over what was called a ``flying kilometer'' on the 4.71-mile oval at the DaimlerChrysler A.G. proving grounds. The results were certified by Guinness and the Sports Car Club of America.
SEMA said the previous record was 147.54 mph, set last July by the Ford SVT F-150 Lightning.
There was no mention whether there were any hound dogs riding in the Ram's pickup bed and if they liked going that fast.
This 'n that
Get Smart-A while back Italian police arrested a man who apparently had a grudge against DaimlerChrysler's ``Smart'' mini-compact cars.
The guy torched 15 of them in a rampage in Rome, reportedly telling police: ``I can't stand the sight of Smart cars.'' Reuters wire service reported doctors diagnosed the man ``as psychologically unhinged and a danger to society.'' Ya think?
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Movin' on up-Vanity license plate spotted on a BMW 530I in the Akron area: S CAL 8.
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Swimmin' the hard way-Comedienne Paula Poundstone noted that her mom claimed she learned how to swim when someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. ``I said, `Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim!'''
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Long live The King-``If life were fair,'' observed Johnny Carson, ``Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.''
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Sunshiners-Jerry Seinfeld once said: ``My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that's the law.''
The unwritten part of that law he didn't mention is that retired tire industry executives must move to Naples, Fla.
The AAA's East Central regional office reported that most of the counties surrounding Butler County, Pa., have seen a higher incidence of flat tires from Jan. 1 to Feb. 10 this year vs. the same 2003 period.
A report in the Butler Eagle said the motorist group found Allegheny and Washington counties have had 45 percent more calls because of flats this year than last. In Butler County, meanwhile, the number of flat tire calls to AAA in the first 41 days of the year dropped slightly, to 480 this year from 486 in 2003.
A spokeswoman for the AAA blamed the regional increase of flat tires on the plethora of potholes drivers are hitting. Could there be a more sinister plot afoot tied in with area tire dealers? Nah...we doubt it. But there's nothing like a good seasonal crop of deep charlesholes to keep the cash registers ringing with tire sales.
Uh, never mind
The fortnightly Marketplace foot-in-mouth award is hereby presented to Joe Oldham, editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics magazine, for his recent clumsy effort to bond with the audience he was addressing.
He was at the Automotive Hall of Fame luncheon held Sunday, Feb. 1, in conjunction with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention in Las Vegas. Hall of Fame Chairman Oldham asked the assembled masses: ``Who is the ass who scheduled the NADA convention on Super Bowl Sunday?''
He apparently was not aware that the scheduler, NADA President Phil Brady, was in the audience. Automotive News reported that Mr. Brady confessed gracefully, standing, raising his hand and declaring: ``That would be me.''
Mr. Oldham, can you say, ``Heehaw?''
Separated at birth?
Here's a scary thought: Industry sources tell us Rick Brennan, high performance brand manager for Kumho Tire U.S.A., sometimes gets mistaken for the king of horror stories, author Stephen King.
We even heard that a Kumho salesman always calls Rick ``Stephen,'' and when they're in a restaurant together, he tells diners Rick is the author-and they believe him. (No word on whether he signs autographs for a fee.)
So we went to our trusty TB photo archives to dig up (ya like the grave digger analogy?) some pics of Rick, including a 1980s-era photo of him that is frighteningly a dead ringer for the prolific Mr. King. But the picture we chose to run here (above) is one of Rick shot at the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas a few years ago. We thought Mr. King would appreciate the irony of Rick's companion.
Edited by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk
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