Posts Tagged ‘bmw’

Having made it home down a perilous motorway, I’m now working from home for the day but I was shocked by some of the driving I saw en route. Ignoring the matrix sign speed limits and the over-heard “skid risk drive slow” there were still people determined to break 100 even without grit on all the lanes.

I think it took the sight of a new BMW 5 Series in the bushes by the side of the motorway to make everyone wise up. But it shouldn’t take that. Knowing that a lot of people are facing a similar journey I thought I’d throw up (as in post here not vomit) a few tips for driving in this weather.

Take it EASY. Lower your speed, leave plenty of space and brake genlty. REAL gently. Keep in low gears and don’t use cruise control.

See and be seen. Make sure your windshield is clean and you’re not peeking through small gaps. Make sure lights are clear of snow and turn them on.

Don’t overtake the plows and gritting lorries. There’s a reason they’re up there and, personally, I’d rather not risk my car on roads they haven’t cleared yet.

These are just the principles I use when driving in snow but I’d love to know what methods or changes other people employ while plowing their cars through the white stuff.

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Used BMW 1-Series for sale, one former Royal owner, with original keys.

Princess Beatrice, daughter of Fergie and Andrew, has had her BMW 1-Series stolen. In a shocking display of wasting tax-payers money the BMW was left outside a shop with the keys in the ignition.The really upsetting element of this isn’t that she left the keys in the ignition, it’s that the car was left unlocked with the keys inside despite the presence of her round-the-clock police protection officer – which costs the tax payer £250,000 a year!

Then the police turn up – even though she already has a police officer there – with two marked cars, one of which contained her sister so that the two could head into a pub together. What? Are the police now a chauffeur service for inept Royals?

I’m not making this up. Am I the only one who thinks  that such costly protection is a massive waste of our money? Especially when it can’t even think to lock the bleeding car?! Should we really be paying for this?

It’s undeniable how important brand identity is for marketing. In my mind it’s also very important in the automotive world on a corporate level. I won’t go into how I think the automotive industry needs to change (I’ve been reading the Lee Iaccoca autobiography) but in a world where so many modern cars look alike the identity of a brand is key in attracting customers and differentiating between vehicles.

Chrysler knew this which is why they spent so much in designing and adopting their Pentastar back in 1962 and the other major companies followed suit when branding up their dealerships.

With this in mind while marketing an automotive site I decided to do some research for articles on the matter with two brands in particular and the origins of their identity.

The first marque I looked at was Audi, for an article on its emblem. What do the rings mean? The olympics? No, it’s the four companies that made up the Auto Union when Audi, and three others were bought and merged. Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer.

While the rings are instantly recognisable as the Audi emblem, is it good to have an identity that isn’t clear in its meaning? Can people identify with something they don’t understand?

I’ve also discovered today what BMW actually stands for – Bavarian Motor Works. While the origin of the image within their emblem is debated between the Bavarian flag and the movement of a propeller, it is explainable and recognisable and associated with a certain cache of luxury. Their numerical naming system is also part of their branding. Having found out the designation for the letters – ‘l’ is for long wheelbase not litre or base model – I’m wondering if using numbers is a good thing in branding?

While it means a car is clearly a BMW if it’s called a 318i (regardless of age), is this a savior or hamper?

Knowing the debates that take place over naming of cars and its importance – would the Mustang have been so popular and important if it had been called the Cougar and had a less iconic emblem – using a numerical system avoids such issues and potential calamities. But is it a restriction? BMW have created some pretty amazing cars in terms of engineering and styling (the Bon loving Z8) but is the simple nomenclature hampering. It doesn’t conjure up any mental images.

With a car like the Mustang, the emblem and name of a wild horse meant that the marketing and advertising pretty much wrote itself. Simply hearing the name and the associations it created half sold customers, the fact that it was a great design simply sealed the deal.

Hear in good-old Blighty, motorways are prefixed with an M (as in M25, though that’s another blog) so when somebody mentions the M5 my mind immediately links to the motorway down in Devon rather than the turbo-charged 5-Series. Not neccesarily a good mental connection for a car.

Then again, an otherwise great car can be hung out to dry by a terrible name. There’s no BMW Gremlin for example. So while their method creates an identity as strongly as their logo, I think it might be a catch-22 in terms of marketing the cars themselves.

Anyone?