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January 14, 2009 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-01-14

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Young blood at the Auto Show

Magazine Editor:
Jessica Vosgerchian
Editor in Chief:
Gary Graca
Managing Editor:
Courtney Ratkowiak
Photo Editor:.
Sam Wolson
Multimedia Editor:
David Azad Merian
Junk Drawer:
Brian Tengel
Center spread design:
Hillary Ruffe
Cover photo:
Sam Wolson
The Statement is The Michigan
Daily's news magazine, distributed
every Wednesday during the
academic year.

about it. rule
172: If opting
for library books
over new edi-
tions for class
will help you
buy a ticket to
a warm Spring
Break locale,
you're warranted
in doing so.
- E-mail rule submissions to
TheStatement@umich.edu

By Andrew Grossman Daily Staff Writer
PHOT
A SOULFUL KIA
Nowhere at Cobo is there a more
overt and aggressive attempt at
reaching young buyers than Kia's
Soul'ster concept. Its based on
the Soul, a small, cheap SUV that
looks a bit like those boxy Scions.
The people who designed the Soul
seem to have bought into the idea
that young people raised on Face-
book and text messaging need to
constantly express themselves,
even through their cars. The Soul,
like the Scion, will go to market
along with an array of accessories
like custom rims. Perhaps they're '
envisioning a gathering of SoulsK
similar to the gathering of Sci-
ons in that strange commercial in
which hundreds of cars drive to
the desert to hear a strange hood-
ed man proclaim, "It is our differ-
ences that bring us together." Kia Soul'ster
TOYOTA: A STEP AHEAD

Our generation's coming of car-buying age should be a cause for hope as
automakers look toward an uncertain future. There were 63 million Americans
between the ages of 10 and 24 in 2007, according to an estimate from the Cen-
sus Bureau.
But we are a generation uncomfortable with our parents' transportation,
survey-takers and market-researchers say. Somewhere between South Park
and Barack Obama, we apparently developed something of an ethical streak.
We're concerned about the effects the Baby Boomers' Yukons and Tundras are
having on the places they're named after. We're also a bit unsure whether we
need automobiles at all.
Automakers know that. The vehicles on display at the North American Inter-
national Auto Show are smaller, more efficient and more connected than they
were even a year ago. Here's what companies are doing to catch your eye.
CHEVY: LIKE A... TREE?
The plug-in hybrid electric
Chevrolet Volt has become, in
the minds of many, General s
Motor's last and best hope.
That's probably a bit of an
exaggeration, but the company_.
is putting a lot of resources
into a car that it hopes will
not only make money but also
change its image from a slow,
boring automaker into a smart,
eco-conscious and fashionable
one. Executives have said the
Volt, which they hope to have
in showrooms by 2010, will be
to GM what the iPod was to
Apple. GM designers seem to
be trying to channel the iPod
through the car's white plastic
center console. Too bad Apple
doesn't sell white plastic iPods
anymore. Chevroletvolit
FORD GETS IN SYNC
The healthiest of the Ameri-
can automakers unveiled a
redesigned Taurus on Sunday.
Remember the Taurus? That
spaceship-like staple of corpo-
rate and rental fleets that you
crammed into along with your
family on vacations? This is
nothing like that. Ford's lineup
is in the middle of a drastic
makeover, and much of that is
meant to make the brand more
appealing to young people. The
best example of this is Ford's
Sync technology system. Before
Sync, automakers only put
things like navigation systems
and voice-activated cell phones
in high-end models. Ford puts
Sync in all of its cars, something
young people have told pollsters
we really like. Ford says it's soon
going to add support for "apps"
- think iPhone - to Sync. Ford Sync system

THE EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK with JESSICA VOSGERCHIAN
A look at the big news events this week and how important they really are. Conveniently rated from one to 10.

TWO YEARS FATALITY FREE
For the first time in the history of the commercial jet, two consecutive
years have passed without a single passenger death in a U.S. carrier
crash. Arnold Barnett, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology profes-
sor, estimated that it is now more likely for a child to become president
than die in a plane crash. But the question is whether Barnett took
Barack Obama's election into account. That statistic might be true for
some, but what about a female child? A gay child? A Muslim child?
Sorry, children, you're still statistically more likely to die ina plane crash.
BAILOUT HOARDING
The Independent Bank of Michigan is demonstratingthe problems
with the Treasury Department's bailout plan. Having received $72
million so it can resume lending and jump start the economy, the com-
munity bank is having a hard time finding trustworthy borrowers. After
being hit by the consequences of bad investments, the bank is under-
standably skiddish. But history shows what happens when institutions
hoard needed resources in desperate times. Riot, anyone?

3

POOR JOHN KERRY
Hillary Clinton spoke Tuesday with the Senate ForeignRelations Committee
about what she planned to do as Secretary of State. Sen. John Kerry, who
became chairman of the committee after being passed up for Secretary of
State, said that he thought it was "counterproductive and almost incompre-
hensible" that Washington wasn't more involved with negotiations in the
Middle East. Clinton responded with one of President-elect Obama's well-
used lines: the United States has one president at a time. In other words,
Kerry, accept your chair and bite your tongue. It's over. You lost.

According to one study by con-
sulting firm AutoPacific, our gen-
eration prefers Japanese cars to
American ones. Half of us would
consider buying a Toyota. Only
34 percent would consider buying
a Chevrolet. That's in large part
due to what Toyota has on dis-
play in Detroit: small, affordable
cars and small SUVs with a green
shine. Toyota unveiled a new
Prius, a word that has been almost
synonymous with "hybrid" for
the last few years. Before the car
was revealed, it sat covered with
a sheet featuring a cross-section
of growing green grass along the
bottom. Toyota's marketing cam-
paign that features a Prius made
of sticks and leaves isn't overtly
targeting young people, and that's
what makes it valuable. Still, it's
an attempt to associate Toyota
with a cause our generation cares

IBM, MSU SITTING IN A TREE
Michigan State University is to become home to an IBM center that will
research new technologies, modernize dated systems for state and local
governments and create up to 1,500 jobs within five years. If MSU is getting
9 - set up like that, we're bound to do better, right? Like when Pfizer left and
another great company swooped right in ... er, or I mean, when the Univer-
sity bought the abandoned Pfizer campus and announced exciting, promis-
ing plans ... er, well, let's hope.

The Toyota Camry
about much more than our parents. Couple that with
affordable, reasonably attractive-looking cars, our
generation seems pretty inclined toward Toyota.

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