Quick Stats: Robert Stephens, Chief Tech Officer, Best Buy, and Geek Squad founderDaily Driver: 2005 Audi A4 (Robert’s rating: 7 on a scale of 1 to 10)Other cars: See belowFavorite road trip: along Mississippi River in WisconsinCar he learned to drive in: 1976 Chevrolet MonzaFirst car bought: 1958 Simca Aronde Elysee 1300 In 1988, Chicago native Robert Stephens attended the Art Institute in his hometown on scholarship, because meeting girls was a priority and he thought more girls studied art than computers. But the hip, starving artist life wasn’t for him. Two years later, he transferred to the more banal study of computer science at the University of Minnesota, where he fixed computers on campus to pay for school. As it turns out, it pays to be a nerd. This decision not only changed the trajectory of his life, but those of many Luddites nationwide. That’s because in 1994, with just $200, the charismatic wunderkind followed his passion and created the Geek Squad. In … [Read more...] about Celebrity Drive: Robert Stephens, Chief Tech Officer Best Buy/Geek Squad Founder
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What does it mean to be the best? On the one hand, that’s a philosophical, if not rhetorical, question. On the other—and when we’re talking about what makes one car rise above its peers in terms perceived great-to-driveness—we can actually call out some specifics. Before we get into the particulars and finer points, let me attach our standard Motor Trend “of the Year” clause. Simply put, we’re talking about the best new cars this year. We’re not saying that this year’s champ is better than last year’s. That might very well be true, but we’re not saying. Not yet, anyway.Here’s how the competition works. Each year, we ask all the manufacturers for their hottest new sporty metal. And we don’t discriminate. Hot hatches, performance sedans, muscle cars, sports cars supercars, hypercars—we just don’t care. Some OEMs, such as General Motors, always seem to say yes, please beat the snot out of all … [Read more...] about 2015 Motor Trend Best Driver’s Car
Polyphony Digital has been fairly quiet about their Gran Turismo TV service since Gran Turismo 5 was released. Today, though, they’ve added 23 new pay-per-view programs to the list, along with a free show about the 8th Annual Gran Turismo Awards held at SEMA last year. Here’s a look at the new line-up: Gran Turismo 8th Annual Gran Turismo Awards Video Recap Best Motoring 2007 September issue 2007 December issue 2008 March issue 08 Later Model GT-R Development Report New Z vs Rivals Head to Head 2009 Superspeed Sports Tsukuba Special The Best of the Newest Sports Cars! Tuned Super Sport Face Off The Challenge of Honda 2009 GT-R Nurburgring Time Attack Close up Report Sugo Super Time Trial All out’09 GT-R Test Drive in Germany EV Motoring Middle Class Sports, Open & Closed top D1 Grand Prix 2007 D1 World All Stars 2009 D1 Round 1 Ebisu 2009 D1 Round 2 Autopolis 2009 TOKYO DRIFT IN ODAIBA Video Option 2007 TSUKUBA SUPER LAP Car Soccer … [Read more...] about 24 New Programs Now Available in Gran Turismo TV
If the findings of the JD Power 2015 India Customer Service Index Study are anything to go by, then India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki also ranks highest in customer satisfaction with aftersales service among mass market brands for a record 16th consecutive year. This is also reflected in Maruti Suzuki’s glowing fiscal numbers – its net profit has risen 42% in Q2 FY2016. The carmaker, which launched the new Baleno earlier this month, has sold 628,963 units in April-September 2015, a 12.7% year-on-year growth, which points to customers’ satisfaction with owning a Maruti car. The study measures overall customer satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction. Maruti Suzuki, with a score of 906, performs well across all factors, with the greatest improvements in service initiation followed by service facility. Honda Cars India ranks second with a score of 880. These are the only two carmakers in the country which have … [Read more...] about Maruti Suzuki remains best aftersales service provider for record 16th consecutive year: JD Power study
Shootout – Karizma ZMR vs Yamaha Fazer Few years back if you wanted to go touring, you had very few options. Either you would opt for a Hero Honda Karizma or the Royal Enfield Bullet. However with the launch of more players in the market, biking enthusiasts have more options than before. The Yamaha Fazer was launched and was positioned as a touring machine, whereas the Karizma ZMR was an upgrade to the Karizma R with features to better position the bike as a tourers machine. But in reality, which is the bike to choose if you hop from one state to another? We find out in an head on battle between the two motorcycles. Looks – Both the bikes looks extremely good in person. The Karizma ZMR with its full fairing looks like a sports bike, whereas the Yamaha Fazer with its twin headlamps looks more expensive than it is. However looks can be subjective and when it comes to both these bikes they indeed are. The ZMR is not a looker in pictures but when seen on the road, it looks the … [Read more...] about Best Touring Machine – Karizma ZMR vs Yamaha Fazer
Text – Mohit Soni; Pictures – Ankit Mishra Price OTR Mumbai : Rs. 50,745/- (TVS Star City+), Rs. 57,600/- (Mahindra Centuro) These two domestic companies fight it out in the highly competitive segment against the ruling Japanese brigade The commuter segment just gets pickier and pickier day by day as there are endless options to choose from. Right from extra ordinary reliable Japanese products to the innovative and exciting products from domestic manufacturers. Bajaj started this with technologies inside the engine and now Mahindra has given technologies on the outside to play and standout. However, there is another player in the market which is TVS. TVS has a reputation of coming late to the party but coming in with a bang. Here, TVS has clearly made the new Star City+ to counter the Mahindra Centuro which has been doing really well despite being a newcomer. With Mahindra’s reach increasing day by day and by selling it in innovative ways, it has made everybody … [Read more...] about TVS Star City+ vs Mahindra Centuro – Shootout
The TVS Scooty Zest is our current favourite in the scooter market thanks to its deliciously sharp and nimble chassis, strong engine and powerful brakes. However, quite a few folks find that the terrific little Zest is too compact for their liking. It's the reason why TVS finds that the bigger Jupiter is generating more sales than the Zest. Meanwhile, Hero's new Maestro Edge impressed us to the point that it decisively won our latest Scooter of the Year award. The question was clear – the Edge may be the best of 2015 but how does it fare against the TVS Jupiter, our current champ in the larger 110cc segment? Design and style The Hero has a more edgy and flamboyant design compared with the reserved TVS JupiterThis is where the Hero draws first blood. The TVS Jupiter is a rather handsome machine but takes a more subtle and thereby anonymous approach. In a sea of automatic scooters, it pays to stand out from the crowd without resorting to quirkiness. Hero has managed to do exactly … [Read more...] about Comparo: Hero Maestro Edge vs TVS Jupiter
Even though automotive advertising is fleeing print for the Internet, national TV ads are still an automaker’s most important showcase– and they know it. From GM’s levitating HHR’s to Jill Wagner’s Mercurial presence, car ads remain big budget productions from start to finish. Automobile manufacturers spend more time, effort and money (per second) to create your average 30-second car commercial than the networks spend to make an entire 30-minute sitcom. So why are viewers subjected to local dealer ads – touting the same products – that look like they cost a buck ninety-five?Start with this: there are three kinds of car ads: manufacturer, zone (dealer association) and local dealer.Automobile manufacturers’ ads sell the vehicle’s features or promote the brand under which the product shelters. Carmakers spend upwards of a million dollars a pop to produce these all-singing, all-dancing car ads. And then they shell-out ten times as much … [Read more...] about Why Local Car Dealer Ads Suck
Automakers are throwing everything they currently have at the wall to see what sticks. The concept of “mobility” is now so broad that it encompasses automation, electrification, vehicle connectivity, alternative modes of transportation, driving aids, ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and even subscription services — and plenty of companies are giving them all a shot.Last week, we talked about Volvo’s new car subscription service. Most of us had difficulties rationalizing the price based on how the product is being offered. A lot of companies are testing those waters right now, especially luxury brands. Lincoln recently launched a subscription initiative that is extremely similar to Cadillac’s, and Porsche has been buzzing about its own “Passport” service. However, mainstream brands like Ford and Hyundai are also trying their hand — albeit very differently. For the premium brands, the concept is to provide customers with a … [Read more...] about Are Car Subscription Services Going to Become the New Normal?
I am completely at a loss to think of another sport that tests man and machine as much as motorsport. Maybe bobsledding? Nah, scratch that.Automakers have a history of testing their latest and greatest at road courses, ovals and street circuits all over the world. Some of the best technological innovations have come directly from racing. But, is that still the case? Is racing still the test bed it used to be for what we see on our cars a decade from now? And does it still help automakers capture the hearts and minds of the car-buying public?Formula 1, the multi-billion dollar single-seater racing series controlled by a British troll, has gone down the rabbit hole of high technology and, to a degree, fuel economy. The new breed of Formula 1 “power units” — as they are now called — are a combination of turbocharged V6 engines and electric drivetrain systems. The days of a relatively simple V10 are over, as is the noise and overall spectacle of … [Read more...] about QOTD: Is Motorsport Still Relevant?