Automotive product planners (VLMs) work with engineering, design, finance and marketing departments in an effort to make a vehicle attractive. Whether that attraction comes in the form of capability, styling, lease rates or message they are ultimately charged with helping sell the product.
Sometimes the decisions to change a vehicle makes perfect sense and help improve the desirability or attractiveness of a vehicle – especially a vehicle that has to sell well over the course of a long production run (like 8 years or more!). We’ve noticed one of the ways Toyota freshens up their Tacoma ‘s is with a new front grille. In fact, in the last 4 years Toyota has installed 3 different factory front grilles into the Tacoma – from the black 2-bar to argent 2-bar to a black single bar (2011).
This change does alter the front fascia of the pickup but does it improve attractiveness or is it seen as a cheap attempt to ‘freshen’ a vehicle with minimal effort?
Has Toyota always changed the front grille for the better? We’ve heard a few complaints about the ‘agrent’ (silver color) grille (2009 & 2010) and it appears that the 2011 Tacoma grille has some current gen 4Runner DNA.
It looks like Toyota has changed the front grille at least 8 times over the last 16 years…
Has it always been an improvement? What do you think?
The Place: The Capitol, Washington D.C. The Players: Three captains of industry (Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan Mulally of Ford and Bob Nardelli of Chrysler), one union leader (Ron Gettelfinger of the UAW) and a big angry Congress.
And then there’s me, your humble chronicler, the only person left behind at Vehicle Voice World Internet Headquarters and Decorative Bamboo Plantation to tell this story, because everyone else is at the L.A. Auto Show. Follow me behind the cut, and let’s talk about the Detroit 3 (plus one)’s adventures in Washington.
Here at VehicleVoice World Internet Headquarters and Day-Old Seafood Buffet, we divide our copious free time among three things:
1) Chair dancing and lip-synching to “Don’t Stop Believing” in an effort to boost industry morale.
2) Impromptu salons, during which we discuss philosophy, world affairs and whether Iron Man was better than The Dark Knight. (Yes.)
3) The Internet. The sweet, sweet, life-giving Internet.
It’s technically the tail end of autumn here at VehicleVoice World Internet Headquarters and Haberdashery for Distinguished Gentlemen, but the weather’s all screwed up. The postman and the UPS guy have been wearing their natty uniform shorts all week, and the Canada geese down at the park are looking around saying, “Eh, it’s nice here. Screw flying south.”
Obviously, now is the time to talk about winterizing your car, because there is no way weather like this won’t be followed up by an ungodly snowstorm. It’s going to be like The Day After Tomorrow out there by next week.
That’s it. I’m calling in sick.
If you’re reading this, then things have unfolded as I had feared and the zombie hordes have arisen. Even now, they could be shambling toward the gates of VehicleVoice World Internet Headquarters and House of Mystery. Of course, I am long gone, having fled to my ammo-packed wilderness compound and left this blog entry to be posted by my more dedicated, less survival-minded coworkers. They are no doubt fodder for the filthy undead, but there may still be hope for you. Read on if you value your life.
When you’re cruising down the highway, do you ever see a vehicle bearing bumper stickers that indicate the driver admires a political party/sports franchise/deity that you’re not especially crazy about? And then you have to struggle against the urge to make rude gestures or run them off the road, because how could they be so stupid as to support the Monster Raving Loonies/Gotham Gators/Flying Spaghetti Monster and then be so stupid as to tell everyone about it OMG can you believe these people?!
Time to cut back.
Autumn is in full swing here at Vehicle Voice World Internet Headquarters and Discount Wig Warehouse, and that makes me think of moving. My apartment leases always seem to end October-ish, and every year there seems to be a compelling reason why I have to pack everything in boxes and take it someplace else. I’ve moved seven times in the past six years, so I daresay I’ve got the expert qualifications necessary to advise you on the proper vehicle for your next move.
Illustrative cat is illustrative.
I have my own car, because I come from Michigan, where people older than 16 who don’t own cars are subject to the intense scrutiny and (ahem) gentle persuasion of their local UAW chapters. But when I went to college out of state, I was able to slip free of the car culture and live a glorious pedestrian lifestyle.
I hated it.
The guy on the Pedestrian Crossing sign is ashamed of not having a car. You can see it in his eyes.
This week, I sat down for the sales conference calls from Ford and Chrysler. How are things, you ask, or don’t, as the case may be? Well, they’re both down about 35 percent. On the bright side, no one cried on the phone.
“Run for your lives! The economy’s collapsing!”
Another week, another Road Noise brainstorming session with my friend who doesn’t even own a car.
“I was thinking of doing something about how much my nephew loves his little toy cars,” I IM’d my Cars-Are-a-Blight-On-the-Landscape collaborator.
His reply follows, verbatim:
Oh man, I LOVED toy cars as a kid, especially the micro-machine ones you could open and put other EVEN TINIER cars into! And those ones that came with a little credit card shaped bit of plastic that you could unfold and make a little landscape for your car to drive around on!
Toy cars it is, then.
You go, girl!