BMW 1 Series PDF Print E-mail

BMW 1 Series Launch:  From May 29 to June 22 I helped launch

the new BMW 1 Series at Downsview Park, Toronto.  This car is a

 lot of fun to drive!  The 135 has the same engine as the 3 Series,

putting out 300HP and 300lb.feet of torque.  This car is a little rocket

and it has all of the same safety systems as its' other family

members. In addition to this, the 135 has unbelievable stopping

power with 6 piston calipers on the front brakes.  Wow! 1series2.jpg

Continental- Ladies Car Care Clinics PDF Print E-mail

By Jil McIntosh  – This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Continental Tire Ladies Car Care Clinics
Women Helping Women to Understand Their Cars
There is no question: an informed consumer is always the best consumer. That’s the thinking behind Continental Tire’s Ladies Car Care Clinics, which give women the opportunity to learn about how their cars work and what maintenance their vehicles can require. The clinics are taught by former race car driver Kelly Williams, spokesperson for the Be Car Care Aware Team of AIA Canada.

"The percentage of female drivers rose from four percent in 1972 to 49 percent in 1996,” says Guy Hardiman, General Market manager for Continental Tire Canada. “Statistics Canada says that 65 percent of women currently take their own vehicles to a repair shop for service, and some sources say it may be as high as 80 percent. So we’ve got women driving half the cars on the road, and possibly as many as 80 percent of them are bringing their cars in themselves for service. I don’t see anybody taking care of those women drivers. That’s why we teamed up with AIA and Kelly Williams to offer these clinics, which are 100 percent for women.”
Plans for expansion
Continental held its first clinic in October 2007, and has held twenty since then, through O.K. Tire stores. While the clinics have been held so far in stores in Ontario and British Columbia, the tire manufacturer plans to expand to other areas, starting with Quebec, where French-speaking racecar driver Valérie Limoges will tutor the class.
The clinics are free for attendees and are held after shop hours. While some women are already customers of the tire shop, more come in through advertisements placed in local newspapers, which gives the shop a prime opportunity to expand its client base.
All aspects of maintenance
Williams teaches all aspects of vehicle maintenance, including how the car works, why maintenance is important, and various aspects of tire know-how, including proper inflation, the value of alignment and rotation, and how to check for wear. 

 Having a woman teach other women is important, Hardiman says, because it helps the attendees feel at ease. “The point is in creating an atmosphere that is comfortable, and I believe that entails a woman instructor,” he says. “Women are more inclined to listen to them, and women are more involved with detail by nature. They’re more thorough, which describes Kelly as an instructor.”
Favourable feedback
Feedback from both attendees and tire shops has been extremely favourable. “The advantage to the dealer is that it attracts new clientele, and one that typically would not visit a tire centre,” Hardiman says. “These customers are now more informed to make quicker decisions, and the right decision, when it comes to maintaining their vehicles.
“It’s better to explain the frequency and importance of an oil change, for example, than just to tell a customer that she needs one. And if they are now checking their tires regularly, and know the importance of proper inflation, they’ll be receiving better fuel economy and fewer CO2 gases in the environment, which is an informed decision that can affect our environment. That’s very important to women.
“The dealer has a new base of clientele that they may not have known existed. Those women are now informed customers, and that results in a clientele that becomes loyal to that dealership. It’s a win/win situation for everybody.”
Be Car Care Aware PDF Print E-mail
Be Car Care Aware:  May was Car Care Month and I was very busy going across the country touting the virtues of why you should take care of your car and how it will save you money if you do.  Did you know that a dirty air filter can reduce your fuel economy by as much as 10% or that you should be checking your tire pressures at least one a month?  These two things can significantly impact your fuel economy and yet many of us can't be bothered, but we'll sure complain about the gas prices!  In addition to many radio, television and newspaper interviews Car Care Canada held car check events across the country.  These car check events were free to consumers and it was a 10 minute visual inspection of your vehicle by a certified technician.  After the inspection, the driver was given a report of the findings and they were free to do what they wanted afterwards.  In addition to this, I gave "mini" car care clinics at Seniors Centers which were great fun!  Here are a couple of photos from the events.  Everyone needs to take care of their car so they will be safer on the road and it will save them money in the long run.   bccaseniors1.jpg
 bccaseniors3.jpg  bccaseniors2.jpg
Globe & Mail PDF Print E-mail

'It's a good way to take the fear away'

Ladies Car Care Clinic is a free workshop designed to teach women the basics


From Thursday's Globe and Mail

June 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM EDT

STONEY CREEK, ONT. — Auto mechanics beware. There's a new breed of women coming to your shop — they're educated and more informed about their cars than ever before.


That's partly thanks to the Ladies Car Care Clinic, a free workshop designed to teach women the basics of auto maintenance. Even the instructor is a chick — a knowledgeable, qualified one — Kelly Williams, a former race and pace car driver. She's also a spokesperson for Car Care Canada's Be Car Care Aware program and an instructor for BMW Driver Training courses.


I'll admit, it's a rare sight — 13 women gathered in an auto repair shop with food and wine, nestled next to a fireplace. They're gathered at Sam's Tirecraft in Stoney Creek, Ont., for an entertaining, informative, and cheap night out.


Williams is right at home in the repair shop; the others clearly aren't. "Women get intimidated. There are a lot of single girls and older women who lost husbands. It's good to know how your car works so we don't get taken advantage of," says Susan Creen before the session.


 Williams whisks the women to the back of the shop in a makeshift classroom to begin the two-hour class. "I'm not interested in making you guys technicians. I think it's important to know basic vehicle maintenance.


"Your car is the second-most-expensive investment you make — but we don't take the time to know it," says Williams, who has already completed nearly 40 Ladies Car Care Clinics in tire shops across the country this year.


Williams knows cars like the back of her hand; she has been driving race cars for more than 15 years, since the age of 17.


She eases into the session with a show-and-tell of sorts. She holds up a jar filled with yellow liquid. "Anybody know what this is?"

Responses fly from all directions. "Maple syrup?" "Urine?" The giggles start.


"It's engine oil," responds Williams, trying to contain her laughter. "What does the oil do in the engine?" Silence.


Williams' response is simple and straightforward. "The oil lubricates all the engine parts because they're all metal parts, so they need something to keep them lubricated just like our joints need lubrication."


Now comes the hard part — the hands-on demo on how to check your oil.


Williams picks Charlene, a chatty woman in the front row, to pinpoint the dipstick under the hood of a 2001 Saturn coupe. "No pressure," Williams adds, dropping a few hints of its location. "It's colour-coded and usually yellow."


Charlene is stumped. "Oh my God. I told you — I only know where the windshield wiper is!"


Williams guides her closer to the location. Thirty seconds later: "Oh, here it is! Here it is, ladies!" Charlene screams excitedly. The women erupt in laughter. I reach for the Aspirin in my bag.


Throughout the session, Williams provides useful maintenance tips and bombards the women with questions.


But even the simplest question elicits confusion. "Who owns a vehicle with a manual transmission?" Silence. "Not one of you?" she asks, shocked.


"What's a manual transmission?" shouts a woman. "Another word for manual is standard," clarifies Williams. A few hands rise; loud laughter echoes through the shop. "Our husbands told us it's called a standard!" says another woman.


One of the most useful parts of the clinic is the discussion on tires — especially the importance of winter ones.


"Winter tires are the same as us putting a pair of winter boots on instead of running shoes. Life gets a lot easier walking on the sidewalk with your boots than it does with your running shoes. If you've never had them you have no idea what you're missing."


She also stresses it must be four winter tires — two won't do the trick. And reminds them the shelf life of a tire is six years.


"How often should you check your tire pressure? asks Williams. "Not in the winter time," shouts one woman. "I'll ask my husband how often he checks it!" adds another. More giggles and chatter.


Williams interrupts with the answer — once a month, ideally when the tires are cold. She does a demo; the ladies follow suit.


"Ladies, this is just like the Ellen show!" says Williams, before giving away a free tire pressure gauge to all the girls.


That does it; the women are out of control. It's like a Tupperware party gone wild. Screams, hollers and applause drown out Williams' voice. The laughter is contagious; even Williams gives in. Luckily, the session is almost over.


Clearly, the women have gained more than a few freebies. "I thought it was fabulous. I loved it. I learned a lot. I didn't know what to expect, but I wanted to learn more so that I didn't feel like such an idiot," says Creen.


"I used to have blonde hair when I was younger and the guys used to treat me like a dumb blonde. It's very seldom that you get somebody that wants to talk to you — it's often technical, fast and over your head … I think I can approach this now with more confidence," says Ruth Mitchell.


Mary-Louise Gregoire agrees. "It's a good way to take the fear away."


The next Ladies Car Care Clinics are in Floradale, near Elmira, Ont., on June 19 and in Woodstock on June 23.


Additional classes will be available during the fall. For more information visit or

Toronto Auto Show Feb.14-24, 2007 PDF Print E-mail
As spokesperson of the Be Car Care Aware program I gave mini car care clinics during the Toronto Auto Show which took place from Februrary 15 to the 24th.  The presentations were 15 minutes and took place every hour during the peak hours of the show on the weekends.  I will be doing the same thing at the Vancouver Auto Show.  I also found time to do a quick interview with Alan Gelman of News Talk 1010 CFRB.   Check out the photos!  alangehlman.jpg 
 torontoautoshow2.jpg  torontoautoshow3.jpg
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