Thursday, March 11, 2004

Apparently it's against the law to use new technology

At least that seems to be the case in Seth's Godin's blog about his Prius. The Toyota Prius, a hybrid electric/gas vehicle uses a push-button starting mechanism that is part of what Toyota terms "Smart entry and start system" (yes, the system is listed as a "feature" of the vehicle on the Toyota website. From Seth's blog:

"When I get to the garage, I calmly invite the attendant to learn how to drive my car. With no exceptions, they refuse. They're offended. They are, after all, professionals.

So, yesterday, when I went to pick up my car, not one, not two, but three guys had to climb into my car and try to figure out how to start it, jabbing and pressing everything. My offers to teach them were rebuked."

Perhaps these guys aren't so professional after all. Or perhaps they have failed to re-invent themselves to the new way of entering and turning on cars. If this kind of entry system is standard equipment on a regular Toyota vehicle, do these valets think that they won't start seeing this kind of system (or, Gasp!, something even more technically advanced)? Get with the program!

Case-in-point: Lexus is the premium brand of Toyota, so, not surprisingly, they have what they call the SmartAccess system. Clicking through the Lexus site and looking at the LS430 demo, the SmartAccess system looks far more complex than the Prius system. And history has shown that if one luxury car company has a toy, all of the rest of the luxury car companies will have their own variant of that toy within one model year as well.

Maybe the system is too simple for the valet's to figure out -- there certainly appears to be big letters on the Prius button that clearly say "Start" (ok, I have to say it because you know you were thinking it -- maybe the valets can't read).

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