Friday, 29 January 2010

Follow Friday, Re tweets and Great Service

Currently I am doing some consultancy work for a large Financial Services organisation, advising on their Vehicle Fleet offering. As part of this work the subject of social media has frequently come up and in particular Twitter.

Sadly, due to their IT police I am unable to show all the clever apps and tools that make Twitter less labour intensive, but I have had the chance to explain the fundamentals, etiquette, business opportunity and sociability that us users recognise.

As part of my explanation I shared the principle of the re tweet (RT). Confidently, because I have great followers I posted the following tweet:

Big favour can someone pls RT this for me so I can show how it works? Thanks :)

There followed a short pause and then @NikkiPilkington re tweeted it, and then @ScottMBrownlee and then all of these people:

Today I am explaining Follow Friday and my suggestion is simple. Follow all of the above because they get how twitter can and should work

From a business and a customer perspective Twitter has been fabulous this week for me as well. My poor Mum is in hospital this week, having a major back operation, and I wanted something, other than a bunch of flowers, to cheer her up. Thanks to some fabulous tweeting and interaction I was fortunate enough to come across @balloonbaboon who makes balloon models. I’ve loved all her tweets and all the pics and links to her balloon range and so a balloon bouquet was an obvious choice. I ordered it and a truly wonderful balloon creation arrived on time and brought a smile to my mums face as she opened the package. I was delighted

You may then want to think about following her too

Have a great weekend :)

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Saab Saved and I for one am pleased

I must make it clear I have a huge soft spot for this brand and not just because my wife drives one.

The brand has a long history of some iconic cars and yes the critisism that GM may have not added much to this history has some truth, tell that to some very happy current owners.

The 9-3 Convertible is a lovely car to drive with the roof down and its owners love them (see Joe's write up if you don't believe me Saab Convertible Test driven)

Me, I love the seats, they are so comfortable. The cup holder in the 9-3 is a work of art and who isn't tempted to press the night button and settle down for some serious nocturnal driving pretending you are a stealth fighter pilot? (oh apperently I may be alone)

I have lots of friends who work within Saab dealers in the UK and represent the brand and for these guys I am delighted that after the stress of so much uncertainty they can crack on with managing their business again

I hope that Spyker will bring back some of the old heritage as the mixture of these two motor manaufacturers would suggest some seductive cars could be on the cards, the future is bright

Please see below the Press release below

The Press Release

GM Reaches Agreement to Sell Saab to Spyker
DETROIT - General Motors and Spyker Cars NV today confirmed that they have reached a binding agreement on the purchase of Saab Automobile AB.
"Today's announcement is great news for Saab employees, dealers and suppliers, great news for millions of Saab customers and fans worldwide, and great news for GM," said John Smith, GM vice president for corporate planning and alliances.
"General Motors, Spyker Cars, and the Swedish government worked very hard and creatively for a deal that would secure a sustainable future for this unique and iconic brand, and we're all happy for the positive outcome," Smith said.
As part of the agreement, Spyker intends to form a new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles, which will carry the Saab brand forward. The sale will be subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory, governmental and court approvals. Other terms and conditions specific to the sale will be disclosed in due time.
The Swedish government is at present reviewing the transaction and the related request for guarantees of a Saab Automobile loan that has been requested from the European Investment Bank. Assuming quick action, the transaction is expected to close in mid-February, and previously announced wind down activities at Saab will be immediately suspended, pending the close of the transaction.
"Throughout the negotiations, GM has always had the hope to find a solution for Saab that would avoid a wind down of the brand," added Nick Reilly, president, GM Europe. "We've worked with many parties over the past year, including governments and investors, and I'm very pleased that we could come to such a good conclusion, one that preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere. GM will continue to support Saab and Spyker on their way forward."

About General Motors: General Motors, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 204,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at
Saab background: Saab entered the auto business in 1949 with the first model 92. Its aerodynamic shape and advanced technology drew from the company's roots as an aircraft maker, and helped create what was to become a loyal and passionate customer base. GM acquired a 50 percent stake in Saab in 1990, and acquired the balance of Saab in 2000. As part of its strategy to focus on its four strongest brands in the U.S., GM began seeking a buyer for Saab in January 2009, a concerted effort that led to today's announcement.

Monday, 11 January 2010

In Ya Face

For many of us the roads around where we live are starting to improve but with freezing conditions still fore casted we must not get lulled into a false sense of security, so I urge you to remain vigilant

I'd also suggest that for those venturing out for the first time since the heavy snow that you take a few minutes to clear the worst of any snow off your cars roof and bonnet. Much is frozen in place but as your car warms up it can move as one gigantic snow slab.

Have taken one "in the face" on my trip along the A34 this morning from the car in front I can assure you it can lead to something of a "trouser" moment.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Wibble wobble Diesel Jelly on a plate

The switch to diesel cars during the noughties has been huge. This has been fuelled (groan) by a company car taxation, the desire of drivers to switch to cars with lower Co2, the allure of higher mpg and because they got better and more fun to drive

With such a switch have come some unforeseen perils. The biggest to date has been miss fuelling (I'll save that for now) but in these extreme cold weather the risk of diesel freezing or more accurately turning t jelly, is real.

With -20C forecast in some parts of the UK, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) is warning drivers of diesel cars to remember that their fuel can wax over in extremely low temperatures, which could damage the fuel filter and lead to a breakdown.

Neil Greig. IAM Head of Policy and research said: "waxing is the formation of crystals in the diesel which block the filter

If you drive a diesel vehicle it pays to try and park it in a garage or sheltered area, and try not to leave your vehicle unused for too log"

"If you can't park in a garage, try to park so the front of the car is pointing out of the wind. After starting the engine, let it idle for 10 minutes before driving of, as this will let the heat from the engine warn the filter and pipes."

Another risk is where water or condensation builds up in the fuel tank. This though is easily combated by keeping the fuel tank full.

There are additives that can be bought, but sadly these must be added before the problem occurs and there might be some warranty issues, so read the labels carefully. Some people advocate the use of hairdryers on frozen pipes but I am reticent of using any indoor electrical appliance outdoors, especially stood in a foot of snow. If you have a problem the best answer, for those with with home start cover, is to call your car breakdown provider

So with colder weather forecast it just might be worth starting your diesel car and letting it run for a bit, before tucking it up, out of the cold. After all jelly really is best for birthdays