BMW's new Mini convertible highlights purposeless technology.
You may have seen my railings against technology run amok, or at least without purpose, before. Well, this blog posting highlights the latter from the folk at BMWwhere the marketeers apparently won an arm-wrestling match with the engineers.
Recently I "attended" an online press conference to introduce the latest iteration of the Mini Cooper convertible. The previous version is a personal favorite of mine (as well as the grandkids). The updated car keeps the Mini's classic looks, although the sides of the car are somewhat taller (we are told), but not enough to make the car look all that different (at least online).
One notable improvement over the prior model is an active roll protection system that quickly deploys a rollbar above the rear seat when it senses an impending rollover. Before, tall, fixed head restraints were used, which cut down significantly on the driver's rearward view.
The car also has improved cargo handling with a split folding rear seat and an "easy load" feature that raises the retracted top a few inches to increase the trunk opening.
But the feature the marketing folks at the presentation emphasized most was the so-called "openometer"a gauge in the instrument cluster that tells how long the driver has had the top down with the motor running! (Yikes, how much is this thing costing an owner in the price of the car?)
We were told the openometer is part of the marketing campaign titled "Always Open," and car is kind of an "open air mood ring"hey, I'm not making this stuff up! And drivers can post their "open" time on a special social networking Website to compare how they are "doing" versus other "enthusiasts."
Now this "emperor has no clothes" blog must also be aimed the auto press people physically attending the conference (while feeding at the corporate free lunch trough), who (at least while the event was live online) didn't act as the skunk at the garden party and "call out" the marketing types to ask who thought all this up!
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