Just for Fun 12

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A New Decade of Cars

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Jag XJ

It’s difficult at the start of a new decade to see what exactly the selling patterns and trends might be going forward. The apparent answer from marketers can be seen in cars like the Mustang Mach-E and the BMW i4. Although manufacturers obviously research into what makes a car popular, they will ultimately only know how the public feels when they walk into a show room (or tiptoe through a website.

But what do the next batch of cars say about what automakers guess will be the trends?

Apparently in developing a 2021 Mach-E, Ford sees their future as trying to get the best of both their sports car past and their SUV present. Reinforcing this is Ford’s all-electric Mustang, no doubt designed for people nostalgic about the original vehicles. As they say in the video below, if you want to drag race after you drop the kids at soccer, this is the car for you.

Jaguar is planning a XJ for 2021 which will be a type of sedan. As something of a departure they are marketing it as all-electric and the ability to charge itself as a fast rate.

The plans for Mercedes Benz seem a bit more, shall we say pedestrian? Well, how else could you describe an entry level Merc? Despite this they seem to be in favor of keeping the same amount of luxury in the C-class if reducing the price. They also have additional touchscreens in the vehicle.

For 2022 BMW is looking into creating an electric car in the style of sedan with similarities to the Tesla. It shouldn’t be regarded as that suspicious that the BMW 3 series will be outflanked by the M3 and M4 which have an inline-six engine (this is an engine with all its cylinders along a common crankshaft in a straight line).

Another make which seems to be going the way of an SUV is the Chevrolet. The Tahoe will see a change in the styling in the front and the back suspension will make it drive more like a car than a pickup.

One name you might not associate with SUVs is Ferrari, but this may change in 2022 which currently has the working name of “Purosangue”. though it’s difficult to tell you much more than that.

What you might not have heard of yet is an e-tron. An e-tron is a range of sports vehicles made by Audi in the style of an SUV and those in the know reckon they will be big in 2021. The big selling point will be “self-determined mobility” (i.e. using the technology to make the driving experience easier.)

The Kicker has been showing you Rivian for quite a while, BUT if you have been hiding under a rock, but it turns out this is the type of brand both Amazon and Ford are banking on. The idea is to start with a basic shape and adapt it to different electric vehicles. There are plans for a pickup to be on sale for late 2020, as an alternative to the Cybertruck by Tesla.

Due to their recent emission scandal many experts assumed that VW would move to selling electric vehicles but that hasn’t happened, though there are plans for something called an ID Crozz in 2020. This is also believed to be a competitor to the Tesla.

At the moment it’s hard to see definite trends, but the smart money would bet on Electric and SUV.

The 2019 Car Awards

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It’s been a strange year for cars. They might even need image boost. The car industry might do well to hire an image consultant. These awards could focus on greener vehicles and ditch the gas guzzlers, but the truth is the gas guzzlers will remain popular for some years to come. So The Kicker will focus our awards on a wider spectrum of vehicles (small cars, electric and hybrids, and more.)  It’s award opening time once more.

The best-selling car of 2019 was again the Ford F series pickup but what is new is the runner up—Dodge Ram Pickup. 3.7% of all car sales in the US were this specific car. The Dodge massively overhauled its Ram pickup look, which they describe as “rugged” and “premium.” Perhaps they’ve overhauled their sales and marketing efforts as well, because they have closed the gap with Ford. But it seems like the Ford F series pickup will be the winner next year as well, it’s almost a done deal.

The best-selling small car of 2019 is the Volkswagen GTI, according to Usnews.com. It is described as having playful handling and sufficiently spacious for a number of family members and their cargo. It has a user-friendly infotainment system. It might be described as a combination between the VW and GTi worlds?

The most surprising car of 2018 is the BMW X7. BMW are best known for small cars of an athletic type whereas this car is more of an SUV. It’s a huge monster of a car but is easy to handle thanks to responsive steering.

The most powerful Sedan of 2019 is the Dodge Charger, as with last year we rely on the Kelley Blue Book for our information. There is a wide range of models, colors and engines so you can take your pick on what is right for you. But the distinct trim is noticeable and thematically consistent.

The best-selling electric car of 2019 is another BMW model, the BMW5. It seems to be getting technology and prestige into a compact space. Added to this are driver aids and the Apple CarPlay smartphone. Wifi is included in the premium package. (This is also according to the Kelley Blue Book.)

For the best-selling hybrid, the winner this year is the Honda Insight. The style of the new Insight has gone from a hatchback to a more sedan look. The greatest selling point is its fuel economy, whether you are using electric or gas power. This car performed excellently on a special test track as well as on back roads, according Edmonds website. Sounds like interesting work to us, where do you sign up?

The special prize goes to Tax Rebates on Electric Vehicles, though it’s a bit of a wooden spoon. When in effect in the US it successfully pushed people into taking the leap to all electric. At the moment Tesla is the biggest winner of tax rebates, especially in India, where Tesla looks to be the number one supplier to one of the biggest markets and the country plans to be all-electric by 2030. China plans to have 9% of its cars electric thanks to fuel subsidies. A Cleaner Vehicle Grant began in the UK in April.

Once again, thanks for attending the awards.

Cars and Music

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Why do we listen to music in the car?

Firstly, we are hemmed in, we feel trapped by the circumstances. Secondly, we need to keep awake so we need to feel alive and simulated in some way to focus on the job of driving. Thirdly, people just love music and enjoy listening to it.

This doesn’t mean that we should neglect our nostalgia for special tunes and streaming services have made the process much simpler.

Radio

When it comes to the radio the most common practise with 44% is to keep changing channels to find the best music, similar to the way that people channel hop on the TV at home to find the best dramas and comedies.

The reason why we chose to listen to radio is that most of us don’t like constantly listening to the same song. 60% of us find this distracting. It seems that 75% or 3 out of 4 want a song to finish when it starts.

Satellite Radio?

In terms of which type of radio channel, it appears that a satellite station is better quality than FM. For the true audiophiles, nothing will do but the best which is HD radio.

It seems that we let Uber drivers get away with murder as far as song choices go. Uber passengers, it is found, never complain about any awful music chosen and seem to want to listen to new types of music. As above, it’s 75% who don’t complain.

Most drivers feel that they have to sing along with the music, about 84%. There was a tiny group, 15% who felt they could only sing with the radio if they were alone.

Either drivers feel they are not distracted by the music or have convinced themselves they are not distracted. 80% say they aren’t distracted by green lights or so on.

The Survey Said

Edgy music is more popular, and according to Quora channels such as NPR are listened to more than the conservative talk radio or even sports radio. One person surveyed expressed a preference for the local community college jazz station. The feedback to Quora referenced the need for happy lyrics rather than sad ones.

CDs?

Because the CD is now out of date it is probably best to listen to music through your mobile by connecting it to your auxiliary input jack (also called aux). There’s a slight difficulty in that you need to convert the sound to make it transmittable, turning it into analog signal which suits headphones.

USB may be taking over from aux connections. In this method the data transmitted is more unprocessed. You can store music in a flash drive for up to 512GB.

Bluetooth might be seen as an ideal way to listen to music in a vehicle but this could be a sales pitch? The audio compression used in Bluetooth is not as good as that employed by USB. Also Bluetooth enabled files will fill your phone up quicker.

The conclusion might be to stick with radio stations just for convenience. But remember, don’t get distracted.

Sources:

https://rainnews.com/survey-digital-listening-is-growing-in-the-car-as-radio-still-leads/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224774282_An_exploratory_survey_of_in-vehicle_music_listening

http://www.insideradio.com/free/infinite-dial-am-fm-owns-of-in-car-listening/article_8187904c-236c-11e8-b328-a3358a083fe1.html

Merry Christmas Part 3

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Christmas in the Car

With all the hassle of Christmas, trying to get everything cooked in the kitchen and making sure that you have all the presents correct, spending Christmas in a car certainly has some appeal. It’s evidently an old troupe in films and TV shows that you don’t spend Christmas at home with your folks, but spend it miles from anywhere, whether in your car or old shack. Why this is so common a theme that you almost think it’s preferable.

Generally, we decorate our houses, but lately decorating the car is a trend. It starts with the little things like reindeer antlers on the side windows, or bumper stickers with a holiday theme. Santa is my co-pilot or I brake for reindeer. But more and more you’ll see clever use of LEDs to mimic house holiday lighting. That’s not even including decorating for a big event like a parade or tailgate party.

A word of warning to add lights to your car without an additional power pack is probably not a good idea and will drain your battery. In most states, sticking lights on your car is technically illegal, although the police tend to turn a blind eye at Christmas if you refrain from anything blue and flashing. And if you are using your car on private land and not entering a public road it is completely legal.

ba327f52c97b66a7273a8bed456a82adIf you use lights with their own battery pack it prevents a drain on the car’s resources. The more lights you use obviously the bigger power pack that you require.

As well as using zip ties, you might also use magnets to attach decorations to the car (the car being mostly made of magnetic metals). You should only use lights which are suitable for outdoor use. It’s important that anything attached to the car is completely secure and cannot fall off.

When it comes to the aesthetics of the vehicle a holly wreath at the front creates a nice picture. If you have a spare tire on the front of back sometimes you might find a cover for it with a picture of a wreath on it already.

christmas-car-decorations-e1570768937901An inflatable Santa tied the hood doesn’t look very classy but is certainly original. Then there are those who have a complete tree on the roof of the car. It takes all sorts out there.

You can still choose to decorate a car that is stuck in the garage, by wrapping up in crepe paper for instance.

Lights inside the car also work but remember to take them down after Christmas as they are considered a distraction.

Link to Pics of Crazy Christmas Cars

If you are going to use lights on your car and drive the public roads you have two strategies for not being pulled over: use tiny lights or use all white lights. Either way don’t have them flash. Blue, as already mentioned, are reserved for police. Red, Yellow and Green lights can be mistaken for traffic signals.

The final thought on spending the holidays in your car is this: Do not drive if you’ve been drinking. Most people know this, but it is worth repeating.