Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Survey Results Are In: What Stresses Drivers Out The Most During Long Holiday Trips?

Right here in St Louis and in many other parts of the nation, there will be many drivers hitting the road this holiday season. With Thanksgiving gone and Christmas coming up, time off work and school is taken, and the long trips that have been marked on the calendar all year finally take place. A new survey conducted on behalf of Chevrolet by Harris Poll clearly shows that keeping kids entertained ranked a bit lower than traffic, packing, and cost of the trip, but was still a very present element in the overall stress that a long trip can provide. The Harris Poll surveyed 1,063 U.S. Parents of children under 18, to provide a clear snapshot of the American Family holiday road trip.

The main findings of the survey revealed that 2 out of 3 parents say traffic is the most stressful part of a road trip: the gridlock and volume of vehicles on the road is definitely a factor. Parents typically bring an average of 6.6 mobile devices in the vehicle on family road trips, and models such as the Chevy Traverse proudly offer up the 4G Wi-Fi service to quench the constant thirst for entertainment, games, and various other web content. 56 percent of American parents claimed that Wi-Fi/ internet connectivity would make their long trips more enjoyable, making it the top tech feature within vehicles on wish lists nationwide.

Now more than ever, the car can truly be considered the family dinner table, where many new memories are created. As families from St. Louis and our valued customers here at Jim Butler hit the road during this 2017 holiday season, they can depend on award-winning crossovers such as the 2018 Chevy Traverse and Equinox to meet their needs. Whether it is extra storage space, USB outlets, or compatibility with features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, these first-rate Chevy vehicles can make the trip more bearable.

Chevy was the first automaker to provide 4G LTE Wi-Fi on its fleet, and most of the lineup since 2015 has featured Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Keeping safe is also a big concern when it comes to long hauls on the road during the holidays, and it is another area where Chevy really has you covered. Lane change alert, size blind zone alert, surround vision, and lane keep assist are very useful to have on the holidays, when highway driving is a large fraction of the “getting there” duty. Forward collision alert and low speed forward automatic braking are excellent features for those who may be in a tight spot during holiday travels, as well as the ever-important rear seat reminder feature.

Keeping your passengers entertained with streaming goodies and games will be the main thing that some drivers want on their holiday wish list, and Chevy's all-new vehicle line will meet those wishes promptly. We hope everyone has a fantastic holiday, and Black Friday is also a great time to look at getting rid of your clunker and into something brand new!

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Future For Our Service Department

First and foremost, thank you for being our loyal customer.  For the last 10 years we have been telling the world that we have become the number one Chevrolet dealer in the area and in the top 25 in the nation.  That trend will continue as we drive our business toward more consistency in new car sales and pre-owned sales.  You have been part of that growth and we are grateful that you have been along for the wild ride.

Those of you that know, growth is a tricky process especially the amazing and huge growth we have experienced here in Fenton.  We have added over 5 acres of storage/parking and expanded our service facility by adding more bays and even building an off site facility to handle all incoming inventory new and used.  Our team has grown from 52 staff members to 158!

One of the hardest transitions we have had is in our Service and Parts business.  Great news is that the quality of the product has really been fantastic and the recall era seems to have slowed down for all manufacturers.  However, even though oil changes and tire rotations are happening on average once a year, due to our volume of customers that means about 73% of our service drive business is "quick " services compared to a year ago at 35%.  We know that we have had a difficult time in honoring time commitments and getting our customers through the "system" efficiently because of the over whelming volume.

We get it, "not your problem, its ours".  To help our customers we moving to more advanced systems and processes, hiring more quick services team members and transitioning current team members to staff that can communicate clearly and set expectations for you, our customers, to help you through this process quickly and efficiently.

Bill Van Iwaarden has taken over as our new Service Director, billv@jimbutlerchevrolet.com, and has brought a multitude of experience and new ideas to help resolve any service related issue quickly and efficiently.  We are excited to have Bill as a member of our great team.

Look for our new systems and processes.  We will be using tools and technology to make certain that your vehicle is serviced properly in accordance to the manufacturer guide, operates safely today and in the future, make sure you filters are clear (allergy town), alignments are correct (pot holes and tire wear) and your safety features are all operational (airbags, brakes, sensors, etc). It is what we do and how we will do it that will make you happy.

Thank you for your patience and we appreciate you and your families business.  We are looking forward to a great 2018 and hope to see you soon.


Brad Sowers

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2019 ZR1 Corvette Pictured on “Car And Driver” Cover: Dreamlike in Dubai

Many times when we are checking out spy photos, we are leaked shots from rural areas and tracks, with camouflage, all sorts of thick tape, and other elements covering up the car. Every once in awhile, a release comes around that is deemed important enough to be given a fully-revealing spotlight early. The all-new for 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1 was featured on the cover of Car and Driver this past week, and at first glance, it is much more aggressive than the current Z06. It has a very massive hood vent, new bumper, giant rear wing, and side skirts. The last ZR1 produced was 4 years ago, and it cranked out 638 horsepower.

The orange-clad model shown on Car and Driver debuted in Dubai recently, which has definitely become a front-running city for the lavishly tasted, and deeply invested. Back home here in St Louis, drivers will love the added power, optional rear wing, and owning a car with a top speed of more than 210 mph. The new ZR1 is slated to go on sale this spring, with 2-3,000 of them being completed in the first production blast. Diehard fans will be happy to see that the new coupe continues with the GM 6.2-liter pushrod small-block V-8, now billed as the LT5.

The last ZR1 was produced 4 years ago, and it cranked out 638 horsepower. This is over 100 hp shy of what the new model claims: this 2019 is looking at a claimed hp of 750! While we don't know exact details, many hours have been spent engineering and perfecting the cooling functions of the new ZR1, with additional intake space taking up valuable real estate in the front. A few who have test driven this car have said that it is so much more powerful that it makes the Z06 feel sluggish, and all of us here at Jim Butler are excited about the promise of a performance car such as this with updated looks, unprecedented performance, and a change in weight distribution that made the front wheels a half-inch wider, for more stiffness during corners.

Another big difference in the new ZR1 is GM's first dual-injection system. It has primary direct injection, and supplemental port injection, both pairing up to deliver high performance and ability for breathtaking speed. You are still dealing with a seven-speed manual for shifting, but buyers can also have their pick of an automatic for the first time in a ZR1, courtesy of GM's 8-speed, paddle shift system. Motor Trend's Best Driver's Car Testing deemed the carbon ceramic brakes of the Z06 one of the best in the business, and these are the brakes that you'll engage with during slowdown in the 2019 ZR1.

The front end of this new beast is almost all openings, and rumor has it that this is the car on the market with the most carbon fiber to date. It's been exciting to have a front row seat and watch the 'Vette as it goes through its rites of passage, and it's evident that this new model for 2019 is full enough of power and fury, that any track-crazed contender will want to hop avidly on board! 

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Chevy Colorado ZR2 AEV: An Off-Road Adventure Expedition Masterpiece

Any new pickup owner is no doubt concerned with untapped adventure. There's a certain sensation you can only obtain from blasting off the main road, feeling the tires grip around dirt or gravel-laden corners, and putting your beloved machine to the test. American Expedition Vehicles is a world-class manufacturer of off-road and overland vehicle parts, as well as finished products, with their turnkey models of able vehicles. They have done extensive work with Jeep on special editions and show cars, and are experts regarding what traits vehicles need to have to conquer difficult terrain.

All of us here at Jim Butler Chevy could not be any more excited: they have teamed up with Chevy now, to build a concept off-road vehicle based on the Colorado ZR2 pickup. With amazing production such as the Brute Double Cab DC 350 and the Wrangler JK200 under their belts, this is cause to get very antsy. The tan truck was revealed at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, and features like new engineered suspension and driveline components are going to set it far above the rest in navigation capability. This beast looks like a vehicle that you would see skidding sideways through the desert, climbing a nearly vertical rock, or even be used by the Army for missions that are simply billed as “that intense”.

The 35-inch tires on this heavily modified ZR2 look like they could just roll right over a 12-pack, and that is no joke. There is an overall 1.5-inch lift for the truck, and the 2.8-liter diesel engine is now able to breathe a bit more through a high-rise snorkel. One of the additives that really make this stand out from the standard work truck are the front and rear off-road bumpers, as well as skidplates. When you see it for the first time, it really is reminiscent of a character you would see on the early days of “Monday Night Wrestling” on cable: It is so menacing and equipped to do damage, that any experienced off-roader will want to immediately jump in and give it a very demanding spin.

The new grille is very unique, with a bit of a revamp of the bowtie emblem, spelling out “Chevrolet” in full. There is a roof-high expedition rack mounted to the bed, which is loaded with goodies like a portable ARB refrigerator. The element that we like about this pristine AEV creation the most is the panel on the right rear fender: here you'll find auxiliary power, an air compressor, and fresh water system. RV's have long been touting high-tech and practical additives like this, because they are naturally bigger, with more room to plant the goods. But squeezing in these goodies on a truck has not been done quite as well as this yet. Engineers, surveyors, all types of contractors, and rock crawlers have quite the reason to turn their heads for 2018: we concur that AEV did a bang-up job on bolstering the ZR2 for the desperado existence! 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Camaro + Hot Wheels: Celebrating a 50th Milestone of Basement Bent-Track Races

Iconic brands are one of those elements of toy memorabilia that always live on, and anyone who has wanted a muscle car at some point in their life has excitedly clutched a “Hot Wheels” toy. During their launch back in 1968, Hot Wheels appealed to those who liked their cars “tricked out”, and the dark blue Custom Camaro was the very first of these hand-held treasures produced. Other greats such as the Firebird convertible, Mustang fastback, Cougar, and Barracuda were some of the others you could get your hands on during that first milestone year of Hot Wheels release. Daring to dream was a treat then, when hours would be spent with makeshift tracks, backyards, and eventually sending them through loops and jumps while playing their very own video game version, such as Micro Racers and Stunt Track Challenge.

This coming year at the Las Vegas SEMA Show, the 2018 Hot Wheels Camaro will be released, including special “Crush” orange paint, which is inspired by the original orange flexible track, remaining virtually unchanged over the decades. Orange brake calipers, seat inserts, and interior upholstery stitching are thrown in as well, along with gray and silver stripes, as well as gray forged 20-inch wheels. The grille is very unique and has chrome inserts, a ground effects package, dark-lens tail-lamps positioned in a black panel with the Hot Wheels emblem, and a 50th anniversary Hot Wheels badge on the steering wheel.

Coupes will even get a unique spoiler, but convertibles will hold onto their current stock wing, since GPS, radio, and other antenna functions need it to be the same. There will also be 69 race-ready COPO Camaros that will be built for 2018, and will each specify the Hot Wheels edition upgrades. The show car that you can drool over at SEMA will be fitted with a new 302-cubic-inch racing engine, based on the LT1 V-8, but properly souped for drag racing. The age-old argument about whether the Camaro or Mustang is tougher is still burning strong, and all of us here on the lot at Jim Butler St Louis will pick the Camaro time and time again!

Beginning back in 1970, professional drag racers Don Prudhomme and Tom McEwen were sponsored by Hot Wheels, and they created the super-awesome Snake and Mongoose Drag set later that year. During late 2005, a 1967 Camaro Convertible was among the much-loved Series 2 30-model arsenal, and Mattel estimates that 41 million children grew up playing with this legendary brand of toy. There are hundreds if not thousands of web pages that are dedicated to Hot Wheels collecting, and many have marveled at the extreme detail and cool diecast feel of the brand. An expression of just how awesome the Camaro car is and how much raw power is under the hood, “embracing the Orange Crush” will be one of the most fun things you can do to commemorate Chevy during the next calendar year!