Saturday, August 20, 2005

What Motivates This Author? Ask Others

I'm not spending a penny to advertise this blog but a growing number of consumers keep stumbling into my commentary thanks to how it's been indexed on Google. Because I started writing this blog back in 2003, back in the early days of hybrid car adoption, my content has been rewarded on search engines. The fact that so many other bloggers or media writers have linked to this blog as a general resource on hybrid cars has helped in search results, and create a venue for interesting feedback. This past week, I received a number of excellent comments, including one from a guy (who I don't know) that seems to have me (and my mission on this blog) entirely figured out. He's pretty close to the mark. Here's an excerpt:

As I read this blog (over a several day period) I noticed something - Pete loves his car. Sure, he was disappointed with the actual mileage he encountered over the lofty promises on the window sticker. Like a lot of people, he blamed the dealer, the manufacturer, the EPA. But never once did I read that he encouraged someone NOT to buy the car. Quite the contrary, he has done everything possible to salvage the relationships, beliefs and technologies involved with hybrid vehicles.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Another Chance to Solve the Riddle

Recently I received a notice from Honda about a small defect Honda Civic Hybrid's produced between '03-05. Honda's corporate office is encouraging all owners to bring the car into their local dealer for an inspection. I have set my appointment for this coming Wednesday, and I hope along the way to figure out once and for all why my hybrid only gets 32-33 MPG. I sincerely hope they find a genuine defect with my car. (We got nowhere last time.) The irony of the timing is that I just got contacted (yet again) by a national media outlet looking to "profile" my story. I'm truly ambivalent, and will probably pass. Frankly, I'm still rooting on the sidelines for Honda (I still have my "Mo Miles" license plate. I also spend a good deal of my regular "work hours" advising companies (including auto players) on how to manage customer relationships and word-of-mouth, or what I term consumer-generated media (CGM). I do have one important piece of free advice for Honda, motivated by the skyrocketing price of gas. Honda and its ad agency should really rethink the "Calculate Savings" utility prominently displayed on their website. I punched in a few numbers into this utility and compared it to the mileage of my last vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee Laredo, and the total advertised savings, $2600 over 5 years, seem indefensible in light of complaints out there (not to mention near universal acknowlegement that EPA mileage labeling is is faulty and innacurate. As gas prices continue to skyrocket, this utility has the potential to become even more misleading.