Sunday, March 11, 2007

What a Girl Wants

Mission accomplished. How do you like my new car? And don't I look stunning posing next to it?

Just kidding. First of all, I wouldn't be caught dead in that dress--it's hideous, and that fabric? cheapo cotton/polyester blend, you can tell. Secondly, I would never drive a convertible--I hate wind. It blows crap into my contacts and messes up my hair. Finally, anyone can see that car is not an American-made, hybrid SUV.

No, The Dept. has given up on the New Car for Nance Idea altogether. But you probably heard the sigh of relief from Ohio a few days ago. I apologize for the coffee breath. What can I say?

But I still have cars on the brain because I stumbled upon an article in which otherwise normal, and, I assume, educated people say the most idiotic things about "cars designed with women in mind." Now, in defense of our first spokesperson, George Murphy, Chrysler's vice president in charge of marketing, he says he is just responding to a women's focus group. (However, I must say here that I am sure that women in focus groups voice a helluva lot more concerns about a car's design than what you are about to read. At least the chicks I roll with do.)

"There's one neat aspect of this minivan which is what do you do with a wet umbrella. Well, we've provided this tray here," Murphy gushed enthusiastically to a reporter from a Cleveland news station. Holy crap. Are you kidding me? Is this really what women are inspiring in car designers everywhere? Wet umbrella storage? Because, I gotta tell ya...I just toss mine on the floor of the back seat and go. Oh no..."This is one thing told to us by them, and now I think it's really going to be a wow factor," said Murphy. If these women in these focus groups had the chance to smack carmakers around about safety and fuel economy and this is what they told them, then ladies, we have been sold out for a freaking plastic tray.

But it gets better: Ford's director of design, Patrick Shiavone, "said the Ford Fusion's interior is like an lbd -- little black dress." He went on to elaborate that, "the little touches of chrome is almost like wearing the right jewelry." Sigh. I spend very little time thinking about the interior of my car's style sense. As a matter of fact, the most time I ever spent on this was when I picked out new floor mats. I wanted grey ones, only because the carpeting is grey. The end. Truth be told, I don't even have my own "lbd." Good heavens. What a load of bullshit.

Good ol' Pat admits, though, "People want to be safe. And women especially want to feel safe, so you want to have the best safety" and then goes on to tout Ford's new hardware like airbags and rollover protection, for a whole sentence. But it just kills me that "women especially" want to feel safe. Because you know how we are. Such worrywarts about that sort of thing! Why can't we just let it go and drive, fergoshsakes??!! Duh! It's probably our fault that cars are so expensive.

Finally, though, a woman is interviewed! General manager Jill Lajdziak at Saturn will snap these boys into line with some cogent comments about what we women really want! Here's what Jill had for us: "We want what we want every day. We want to look great. You start to put on some jewelry, your earrings, your necklace. How do we do that? It starts with the lamp, the proud display of the brand bar and logo." Preach it, sistah! Wait--huh!?!?!?

What a disappointment. A woman sabotaging women everywhere. And why? For the company line. I'd love to tell Jill what she can do, proudly, with her brand bar and logo. But I'm too much of a lady.


  1. I thought all women saw their cars simply as extensions of their souls. That's how I think of the bus I take to campus, at least.

    I couldn't even imagine what sort of things they'd be putting in their cars in response to a homosexual male focus group.

    Speaking of idiots, I just saw the movie Idiocracy today. It was a pretty good satire.

  2. We just bought a new car, a mazda speed6. Admittedly, my husband picked the car out. However, before the final purchase it needed my stamp of approval. And what did I look for? Cup holders and compartments! After it passed that important test the debate bagan about the color. UGH...he wanted the "black cherry mica" which is a super fancy way to say purple!! Are you kidding me, purple? Needless to say, we bought the red one. Sadly there is one missing option, a wet umbrella holder. Whatever!

  3. Anonymous2:50 PM

    I'm with Nina--I don't care about the chrome styling but by God, give me compartments, cupholders, a place to store kleenex, CDs, and my sunglasses. I am ALL about the organization of the interior, but I do love a car with a jaunty vibe, and that can translate to a lot of different sorts of vehicles and exteriors. As for safety, I do think women are more concerned with it than most men because more often than not, we're hauling the kids to practices, lessons, and friends houses. Our concern with safety is often less about preserving our own hides but protecting the kiddos.

  4. Nance (he! he!) you should be able to check out my blog just by clicking on my name :)

  5. Anonymous4:53 PM

    I wish I could afford a hybrid, because that would be the ultimate car statement for me. And safety, too, needless to say. Cupholders... what are those? I don't drink when I drive. Or eat. Or put on lipstick. That's for when you take a taxi. Right? :-)

  6. ih--an extension of my soul? geeze. then i'd need a chauffeur.

    nina--no way would i sanction the purchase of a car that had more pedals than i had feet. and i couldn't care less about compartments and cup holders. the less time i spend in a car, the better i like it. but i'm with you on a purple car: no way. they can call it whatever they want. but i'm all about a plain, black car. white cars look like they aren't done yet. "hey, we'll give you $2K off this one; we didn't have time to paint it!"

    v--what the hell! do you live in your car or what? all i need is a seat, steering wheel, turn signals, and heat. i don't even have to have a radio. after spending time with 2300 highschoolers, i wallow in the quiet.

    o-tizz--you know, the hybrids are really not much more expensive. i was surprised, especially in the SUVs. and for the length of time i keep my cars, i'll make it up in fuel savings in no time. and i don't goof around with all that other stuff in my car, either. eating in the car? horrors! too gymnastic.

  7. Would said chauffeur be DDL? ;)

  8. Nance, I'm in with all the folks who think cup holders are important. As driver, I need just one, and that's only occasionally when I MUST have COFFEE. But dance boys and sports boys and their friends and girlfriends are looking for more cup holders. Otherwise, liquid's assuredly on the floor. Aye, there's the RUB.

    Tangentially, I still have a beloved 1996 Corolla that has far fewer than 100K mi. I don't give a CR%P about its appearance, although that isn't bad and it has no dents. It's entirely reliable, gets great mileage and, other than the slob damage my kids have done, is still in good shape. I'm being pressured by hubby to get rid of it ("What are you going to DO about your car???!!!" As if the car is an ugly cosmetic disease that I need to DO something about, and my keeping it is a CRIME and I should call an exterminator or an ambulance). I don't see why I should get rid of it. I've had less than $1200 in fixes and normal maintenance and tires over ten years.

    Also, in CT we have an idiotic property tax for cars. [Grrr--this makes me very angry!] I've only been here four years, but, as old as the car is I have to pay the town/state about 10% of what my car is worth in trade-in just for the privilege of owning it here. I bought the car and paid CA sales tax on it when it was new in California. When I lived in Illinois they charged me $900 sales tax to bring it in (yes, even though I did not buy it in IL). I don't see why I should keep paying taxes on it when it's ancient and I did not buy it here in the first place.

    I hope you won't be offended, but--Why must your car be an American car? My hubby bought a Subaru two years ago. He could not be more thrilled. Consider looking at a Subaru such as a Forester or an Outback. He got his Forester at 0% and owned it very quickly. As far as I know, they don't yet come in hybrid, but Subarus get good mileage, are stable, reliable, roomy, and have a good resale value. And for those to whom it is important, they have loads of compartments.

  9. Anonymous11:45 AM

    I'm still waiting for Oprah to give me a new car for free. Is that wrong? It feels wrong.

  10. If Patrick Shiavone wants to supply women with jewelry, he can start by buying me a pair of diamond earrings.

  11. Anonymous9:43 PM

    ummm....i was just wondering when you were going to comment on 'the black donnellys.'

  12. ih--DD-L isn't pretty enough for me these days! (can you believe i just said that!?)

    sputnik--i live in NE Ohio, an area that was economically sustained by the automotive and steel industry. when Ford downsized and then shut factories, it made a massive negative impact on virtually every aspect of life where i live. ditto GM. buying a foreign-made car would make me feel as if i was part of the problem. that's the short version.

    wordgirl--have you gone to the oprah show? it might help your chances a bit. just a thought...

    brookelina--and that way, i wouldn't have to gas up to wear it!

    laura m.--irish men, yes, but all that killing...catholicism... and none of them are pretty enough for me. the guys at The Dept. watch it religiously, though. LOL.

  13. I have to admit that I think the pink car is kind of cute. I wouldn't buy one, but it would be fun to rent one on vacation. I want my next car to be a convertible, maybe another Bug depending on how long this one lasts. And I like it when my outfit matches my car! I know that sounds really bad, but it's true.

  14. LOL! Thanks loads for the good laugh! "lbd"? and to imagine that they get paid to come up with such nonsens! A friend is teaching me to drive and I just hope that the next time am at the wheel, this post doesn't get into my head and make me laugh and crash his car! lol!
    Thanks for visiting my blog and for the comment! I've been sick thus that late thank you!


  15. anali--the pink car IS cute. and so very pink. but it looks like it should be parked in front of a toy house instead of mine.

    fitena--welcome to the Dept! you came a long way, and from a sickbed, too! how is the weather in mauritius? feel better, and good luck with the driving. just remember, "green means go; yellow means slow; red on the top means STOP STOP STOP!!!" lol


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