No additives

Subaru has amped up the advertising this year, and a current single-pager for the Legacy sedan — I spotted it in Motor Trend — boasts an interesting feature called “Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive.” All four wheels get equal amounts of torque.

This is, in fact, the simplest, cheapest, least-complicated true-AWD system there is; buggies with scarier price tags than the Sube’s — think “Audi quattro” — have computerized hardware to apportion the torque as needed based on speed, road conditions, and, for all I know, the pH of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

But Subaru’s genius here is selling a low-end feature as something greatly to be desired, and I can see non-automotive potential with this technique. Consider that higher-end cars now seem to have actual analog clocks instead of a digital display through the audio system, and that sales of vinyl records are increasing, at least partly because some audiophiles are convinced that they sound better than CDs. What’s to stop a local Baby Bell from boasting about its “pure analog” telephone service?


  1. McGehee »

    4 October 2009 · 3:09 pm

    “Why hassle with broadband when you can have slim, trim, DIAL-UP!”

  2. CGHill »

    4 October 2009 · 3:22 pm

    Come to think of it, they could pitch it as a security feature. “Foil the bots! Get a new IP address every time you sign on!”

  3. Brian J. »

    4 October 2009 · 7:13 pm

    I’d be all on the analog phone service so long as it comes with a heavy rental rotary phone.

    Because I’m tired of the depreciation of the tone phones I buy.

  4. Charles Pergiel »

    4 October 2009 · 7:55 pm

    We signed up with Verizon for FIOS (optical fiber) a couple of years ago. They took away our analog phone line and replaced it with a digital substitute. So now in case of a power failure, instead of running off batteries in the local telco office, it runs off a battery in my garage, which is supposed to be good for eight hours. We haven’t had a significant power failure here that I can remember, but then civilization hasn’t collapsed lately either.

  5. McGehee »

    4 October 2009 · 9:09 pm

    Back during the Atlanta-area ice storms of 2000, I was working the counter at the local power co-op while the working-for-a-living crews were out repairing the damage in our particular service area. That was when I first learned about how the telco manages to stay up and running when everybody else loses power.

    There were areas where the batteries were almost run down before the grid power was restored.

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