Change your wiper blades every six months

image001BY GERRY MILES

Sure, it’s a promotion but I just had some wipers that left the windshield smeared after a recent rainstorm swept through the area unexpectedly. It reminded me, as Rain-X did, it’s wise to change your wiper blades on a regular basis.

When the blades squeak, chatter, skip, smear or streak reducing driving visibility, your wipers are overdue to be tossed and swapped out. Drivers can keep their wiper blades clean by running a soapy sponge up and down either side of the squeegee. If wiper blades are streaking on a clean windshield, it is time to change the blades. Typically wiper blades last 6 to 12 months from the time of installation depending on weather conditions.

Rain-X offers a text reminder to change your wiper blades every 6 month to 1 year and an exclusive offer of $10 off on your next Rain-X wiper blade purchase.

Auto industry drives most intimate brand relationships

The four highest ranking automotive brands are: BMW, Toyota, Harley-Davidson and GMC.

NEW YORK — Four out of the top 10 most intimate brands are in the automotive industry, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2015 Report, which examines ultimate brand relationships.

“Automotive is the highest ranking industry across all three of our markets, the U.S., Mexico and the UAE. That’s pretty suggestive of the strong bonds people have with their cars and the ability of this category to connect with consumers,” stated Mario Natarelli, MBLM’s managing partner. “Car brands are more than one of our most significant purchases. They represent our sensibilities and our status in life. As important as these values are to consumers, fulfillment of the brand (how well it exceeds expectations, delivers superior service, quality and efficacy) remains a top factor. Recent experiences by brands like Volkswagen will likely have profound effects on the bonds with their consumers.”

In the auto industry, the top 10 is rounded out by:

  • Jeep
  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Chrysler
  • Honda

“With all the dramatic evolution in this category enhanced by technology and from trends like car sharing and autonomous driving, intimate brands will win in the long term,” added Natarelli.

This year’s report contains one of the most comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 52,000 brand evaluations across nine industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.

Honda Road Readers offers children’s audiobooks

Honda Road Readers App

Honda Road Readers App

The average family spends about four hours per week in the car. Honda wants families to put that time to good use. Today the brand is launching Honda Road Readers, a new app (available on Apple® and Android™) providing Honda drivers free access to children’s audiobooks to expose children to great literature and foster their imaginations. An introductory video to the program will be promoted on Honda’s social channels, using the hashtag #HondaRoadReaders.

“The goal for the Honda Road Readers program is to provide an educational and entertaining alternative to the usual car ride and inspire young listeners to vividly imagine,” said Susie Rossick, Assistant Vice President, Honda/Acura Regional Media and Marketing at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “This effort is a powerful demonstration of our commitment to the brand’s ‘Power of Dreams’ philosophy by encouraging our customers and their families to dream big together.”

To add to the experience, most books are supported with critical-thinking questions aimed at getting parents and children to dive deeper into each story. Honda has also teamed up with the National Teacher of the Year Program run by the Council of Chief State School Officers to provide a curated selection of books that will be both entertaining and intellectually stimulating.

“Students learn best when they have enthusiastic teachers, and parents are a child’s first and most important teacher. Honda Road Readers will help families share the infectious fun of reading together on journeys of the mind, the imagination and the heart,” says Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year and 7th-grade English teacher in Burbank, Calif. “Reading not only boosts academic success but also awakens a person’s social and civic sense. They help us know and be mesmerized by the world around us and give us a sense of how we fit in. Simply put, books change lives for the better.”

Honda recently commissioned a surveysi of more than 1,500 parents with one or more children ages 5 to 16 and learned that 77 percent of parents think listening to books or stories read aloud is very important for children’s cognitive development and developing listening skills. The survey also revealed that parents (69 percent) are concerned that their children are spending too much time in front of screens (cell phones, computers and TV). They are equally aware that their children are not reading books for fun and have fewer opportunities to use their imagination these days.

A Honda Road Readers infographic summarizing the survey findings can be viewed on Honda’s Pinterest and Tumblr pages.

Any Honda owner can easily access the Honda Road Readers program. First, owners go to www.hondaroadreaders.com to register. Owners will then be directed to download the Honda Road Readers app in the Apple or Android store. Next, owners will either scan or key in their 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN). Honda owners will have access to five free audiobooks per Honda VIN aimed at children 5 to 16 years old for one year, the first being J. M. Barrie’s classic Peter Panand followed by four other titles of their choice.

The app experience features 10 rotating National Teacher of the Year featured books and several audiobook categories including fantasy/adventure, mystery, science fiction and teens.

To further support Honda Road Readers in December, the brand will debut a social video, titled “Imagination Inspiration,” featuring Jeff Kinney, the bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Honda spoke with the author, just before he departed on a global tour for book 10, about his new bookstore, imagination and the Honda Road Readers program.

National approach to Traffic Safety more cost effective: RAND study

 

Following a national approach to adopting traffic safety laws is more cost effective than following a state-by-state approach, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Boosting traffic safety funding by 10 percent and allocating the funds to states where it is most needed would save 1,320 lives and prevent more than 225,000 injuries annually, according to the study. Meanwhile, giving each state a 10 percent funding hike would save 660 lives and prevent more than 46,000 injuries.

If the focus for a theoretical 10 percent boost in funding were on saving the greatest number of lives with a single intervention, then the research suggests implementation of universal motorcycle helmet laws in the 30 states that currently do not have them.

With this one intervention, 745 lives would be saved each year and almost 200,000 injuries prevented at a cost of $41 million. Such a strategy would provide $122 in benefits to society for every $1 spent by the government — a total annual savings of $5 billion.

The findings in the study come from a tool created by RAND researchers to help federal and state lawmakers make cost-effective decisions to improve traffic safety and public health. Cost effectiveness is based on the benefit of implementing a program or policy, in terms of lives saved and injuries avoided, and how much it costs the state to implement. Among the scenarios researchers chose to examine is a 10 percent increase in funding over what the federal government currently spends.

The direct and indirect costs of lives lost and injuries in motor vehicle accidents are very high.  The federal government provides approximately $579 million annually to states for traffic safety programs. However, crash-related costs reached at least $242 billion in 2010, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Using the tool, RAND researchers analyzed the most cost-effective way to spend an additional $57.9 million, or 10 percent, in federal traffic safety funding.

“The Motor Vehicle Prioritizing Interventions and Cost Calculator tool is the first of its kind, and allows states to compare cost and effectiveness across various traffic safety interventions,” said Liisa Ecola, lead author of the study and a senior project associate at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.

The free tool is available on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/calculator.

The tool allows policymakers to look at 14 different traffic safety interventions and choose the ones that yield the largest reduction in the number of injuries and deaths for an individual state’s implementation budget. The interventions in the tool include, among others, alcohol ignition interlocks, universal motorcycle helmet laws, license plate impoundment and primary seat belt-use laws.

Researchers note that not all states will benefit equally from a national approach. Some states already have implemented the most cost-effective policies, therefore the funding and the benefits would go to the states where the new policies are put into practice.

The study, “Using Cost-Effectiveness Analysis to Prioritize Spending on Traffic Safety,” is available at www.rand.org.

Funding for the report was provided by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Other authors of the study are Benjamin Batorsky and Jeanne S. Ringel. Funding for the Motor Vehicle Prioritizing Interventions and Cost Calculator for States tool was provided by the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

This research was conducted by RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation, and the RAND Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Program.

RAND Health’s mission is to bring accurate data and careful, objective analysis to the national debate on health policy issues.

RAND Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Program addresses urbanization and other stresses through research on infrastructure development, infrastructure financing, urban planning and the role of public-private partnerships, transportation policy, climate response, mitigation and adaption, environmental sustainability, water resources management and coastal protection, and energy distribution and storage.

 

Honda stays in light truck game: Ridgeline to debut at Detroit show

Final_Teaser_IMage_Ridgeline_12_18

Honda will challenge conventional thinking in the midsize pickup segment with the return of the Honda Ridgeline truck, set to make its world debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday, January 11 at 1:15 p.m. EST.  Designed, developed and manufactured in America, the all-new Ridgeline is the fourth new or significantly refreshed light truck model introduced by Honda in the past 18 months and will hit roads nationwide in the first half of next year.

“We developed this new Honda Ridgeline to offer something new and fundamentally better suited to the way many buyers use their truck,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division. “Ridgeline will deliver everything you’d expect in a Honda from incredible packaging and fuel-efficiency to top safety technologies and innovative, segment-first features.  We’re honored to once again debut the Ridgeline in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show.”

Honda began the complete remake of its light-truck lineup in the fall of 2014 with the freshened 2015 Honda CR-V, America’s best selling SUV. Earlier this year, Honda launched the all-new HR-V crossover, gateway to the Honda truck lineup, and the third generation of its popular Pilot three-row SUV. In 2016, Honda will continue the strengthening of its light-truck family of vehicles with the new Ridgeline and a fully redesigned Odyssey minivan.

Calendar year 2015 sales of Honda light trucks are up 11.8 percent to 599,507 vehicles through the end of November and are on track to set a new all-time sales record for the brand, beating the previous best of 602,123 units in 2006.

Like the first generation Ridgeline, which also debuted at NAIAS in 2005, the all-new Ridgeline was designed and developed by Honda R&D Americas, Inc., in its Torrance, California design studio and Raymond, Ohio, research and development center. The Ridgeline and its engine will be producedi by Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Inc., in Lincoln, Alabama.

Watch the press conference live at Honda’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/user/Honda or media website, hondanews.com/channels/ridgeline.

2017 Honda Ridgeline TV debut at Super Bowl 50

mailerFollowing its world debut at January’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline is set to debut on television to well over 100 million viewers on Sun., Feb. 7, during the 3rd quarter of Super Bowl 50. Honda will execute activations across several platforms, screens and Internet properties to promote the ad and the 2017 Honda Ridgeline.

“The big game is the largest and most coveted stage to show the world that Honda is back in a big way with an all-new Ridgeline truck,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Automobile Division. “Super Bowl 50 is the right time and the right venue to communicate Honda’s continued leadership in light trucks. The multiplatform approach will enable Ridgeline to come out of the gate strong in 2016.”

The all-new 2017 Ridgeline television spot marks the Honda brand’s first official Super Bowl commercial since 2014’s “Hugfest” promoting Honda safety, which generated significant social engagement during and after the big game.

The all-new Ridgeline is slated to launch in the first half of 2016 at Honda dealerships nationwide, and will join Honda’s expanded lineup of innovative light truck models, including the HR-V crossover, the CR-V and Pilot SUVs and the Odyssey minivan. Honda is on track to earn a new all-time record for light truck sales in 2015, with sales up 11.8 percent to nearly 600,000 units through the end of November.

The Ridgeline is being developed by Honda’s North American design and engineering teams in Ohio and California, and will be produced at its Lincoln, Alabama, auto and engine plant, alongside the Pilot and Odyssey.

Honda introduced the award-winning first-generation Ridgeline in 2005 and earned high praise for its unique features and capabilities, including the industry’s first In-Bed Trunk and Dual Action Tailgate, as well as its superior on-road manners and spacious, flexible interior. The original Ridgeline was named 2006 Motor Trend Truck of the year and 2006 North American Truck of the Year and topped J.D. Power and Associates’ Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study in the midsize pickup segment for three consecutive years.

Mini sets a Maximum route to tour the US in 2016

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – After much anticipation, MINI USA today announced the official route for the 2016 running of MINI TAKES THE STATES . The legendary biennial cross-country owners rally will kick off at Road Atlanta in northeast Georgia on July 9, 2016 and finish at the Thermal Club in Palm Springs, CA, on July 23, 2016.

 

In true MINI TAKES THE STATES fashion, the route will not take a direct path from point A to point B. The more than 4,000-mile “track-to-track” adventure will travel up the east coast, across the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains before arriving in Southern California.  The legendary adventure, which attracts thousands of MINI owners and enthusiasts every other year, will pay tribute to the brand’s motorsports heritage by stopping at several professional race tracks to host driving experiences along the way.

“MINI TAKES THE STATES is one of the most anticipated experiences that the MINI community takes part in every other year,” said David Duncan, Vice President MINI of the Americas. “Owning a MINI is about being a part of a community and never is that more evident than during MINI TAKES THE STATES.  We can’t wait to hit the road this summer!”

MINI TAKES THE STATES 2016 will leave Atlanta making stops in Charlotte, NC, Richmond, VA, and Baltimore, MD. The route then turns slightly west heading towards stops in Pittsburgh, PA, and Detroit, MI.  The group of owners and MINI employees will then head north and cross over the legendary Mackinac Bridge, considered to be a rite of passage for thousands of MINI owners who have participated in the biennial MINI on the Mack event before arriving in St. Ignace, MI.

 

After crossing over into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula the route heads along the banks of Lake Michigan to Green Bay, WI, before heading west for stops in Minneapolis, MN, and Sioux Falls, SD. The rallying MINI owners will then motor across the Great Plains and through the Black Hills where they’ll make a pit stop in Sturgis, SD, home of the legendary motorcycle rally. The route then heads south for the final legs of the epic journey making stops in Cheyenne, WY, Park City, UT, and Las Vegas, NV, before finally crossing the finish line in Palm Springs, CA.