Jill Merriam Key Hyundai Blog

Hyundai vs. Honda Smackdown

Honda vs. Hyundai

Key Hyundai sets out to convince a busy mom of 4!

At Key Hyundai Connecticut, I recently hired a new marketing-social media-juggler-content-creator-copywriter-community-outreach-developer who has about 1000 kids, does not support the Red Sox (hmmph), and drives – gasp – a Honda Pilot.

You heard me right. A Honda.

But I hired her anyways.

But geesh, that Pilot sure is a thorn in my side.

Kate confided they bought the Pilot because when she jammed her tallest kid (7th grade, 5’8) into the back seat, she fit, and therefore the car was purchased.

Oh, if selling cars were always that easy.

gas mileage
She doesn’t drive a Hyundai — yet.

She admits she has no brand loyalty to Honda or any car manufacturer. [CUE SCREAM!]

Over the years, she’s owned VW (twice), Nissan Maxima, done the mini-van thing (Dodge Caravan twice), Saturn Outlook, and today, the Honda Pilot. Her husband drives a Dodge pick-up, and her college girl drove Grandma’s 1993 Toyota Camry…right into the woods.

I tried not to show my absolute disgust at the obvious omission in her automotive repertoire.

I’m more than a little miffed at the huge glaring hole in her vehicular history. But I hired her anyways because she’s wickedly smart, equally funny, and taught me twitter (follow me! @KeyHyundai).

With gas approaching $4/gallon here in Connecticut, we are performing a teeny-tiny experiment.

Kate puts about 50 miles on her car each day with driving the non-drivers in her brood; it’s about 300 miles a week, seldom over 35 mph. Track, swim meets, orthodontists, soccer, “Odyssey-of-the-friggin’-Mind” (her words, not mine), drama, lifeguarding, driver’s ed.

Kate’s family consists of three teens and a tween, a rather large dog, she and her tired husband, who line up the dominoes and start shuffling kids to stuff at about 3:00 pm and end about 7, 8, or 9. Depending on how life goes any particular day.

She is my future, as my kids are still safely buckled into car seats and have yet to make a competitive sports team nor an Odyssey of the Whatever and we’re years away from driver’s ed (cringe!).

So I made her a proposition, rather a major smackdown challenge:

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Honda Pilot

Head to head: Hyundai for family life – her’s.

Comfort, carpooling, crushed kids, sports gear, and my slamdunk, mileage, to see if bigger is always better. In town, schlepping kids to and from, doing the mom thing she squeezes in around the work thing.

And no, Kate, those are not billable hours.

Stay tuned.

Free Bluetooth Headsets at Key Hyundai Manchester

Get yours at Key Hyundai MANCHESTER today.

From me to you.

Or really, from me and the nice guys at Wireless Zone who made it possible to purchase enough to give away. And they’re giving away some as well, at Wireless Zone in West Hartford at Bishops Corner.

Distracted driving enforcement Connecticut

Too many to fit on an iphone!!

Get a free Bluetooth headset and get one fast because folks, these people are serious about cracking down on distracted driving.

They’re hitting the roads in Hartford, East and West Hartford and the spaces between in full force from now until second week of April (and promising not to stop anytime soon).

If you’ve got a phone in one hand, you’re getting a ticket in the other.

How do I know?

Because I attended the Distracted Driving press conference in Hartford yesterday, and man, was it impressive.

Like, IMPRESSIVE! Lights, camera, action impressive!

distracted driving Hartford jill merriam

It's official: Free Bluetooths to curb Distracted Driving

Lte Governor Nancy Wyman, Lieutenant Paul Vance, Sergeants and top brass very-important people and about a ga-billion tough-looking cops and two very eloquent, wise little girls who presented with wisdom beyond their years.

And me, Jill Merriam, local business owner who’s outfitting many Hyundai drivers who will undoubtedly get ticketed in the next few weeks.


But I am more than happy to show local and state cops and federal top-dog US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and state VIPS that local Connecticut business is behind their efforts; not to ticket our customers, but to keep them safe and alive.

Why chance it? Why chance at ticket and why chance a tragedy of taking your eyes off the road – even if for only a moment?

If you have a Bluetooth, use it. If you don’t have one, come into Key Hyundai Manchester (on the Vernon townline) and get a freebie. I’ll be happy you did, and so will the people in your life.

Distracted Driving 4th wave Hartford CT

Lynnsey Spader & Nina Pezzello on the dangers of distracted driving

The Great Bluetooth Giveaway March 28-April 1st

Don't let this happen to you. Turn it off or use a headset!

The distracted driving thing – you know, talking, texting, ipod fiddling, GPS maneuvering, status updating, tweeting, whatever – while behind the wheel is a train wreck waiting to happen. Or in this situation, a car wreck.

CT DOT Highway Safety is starting the final phase of the federal initiative to Stop Distracted Driving, focusing exclusively on the Hartford area.  Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other is similar to the Click it or Ticket summer crackdown; cops and troopers aim to ticket every driver with a cell phone in use behind the wheel.

Let’s face it: teens aren’t the only guilty ones. We all do it and we all need to stop. But until tragedy hits, few pledge to never use their cells while driving. To never text. To turn it off.

If you can’t put it down and turn it off, then use a headset every single time that key goes in the engine.

So here’s what Key Hyundai is going to do.

It’s not a lot, but it’s a start.

Come by Key Hyundai Manchester/Vernon or Wireless Zone West Hartford and we’ll give you a free Bluetooth headset. All you need to do is pledge, pinky-swear, spit-swap promise to drive distraction free. To turn off the phone in the car, and if you can’t, to use the Bluetooth. Not some of the time – all of the time.

Bluetooth in the Ear, Hands on the Wheel, Eyes on the Road

Key Hyundai is giving away 100 Bluetooth headsets to the first 100 people who pledge to drive distraction free and mean it. And my friends at Wireless Zone West Hartford are doing the same. 100 for Key Hyundai, 100 for Wireless Zone West Hartford.

Get a FREE Bluetooth Headset with a Pledge to Drive Distraction Free

March 28 – April 1, 2011 (as supplies last)

Key Hyundai Manchester at 21 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon

Wireless Zone West Hartford, at 712 North Main Street @Bishops Corner

Stop in, and promise to drive distraction free. Promise to use this headset not just sometimes, but all the time, and mean it. Pressure your friends and family to do the same. Nobody wants to be a statistic, especially one that was completely avoidable.

Stop by Key Hyundai Manchester/Vernon or Wireless Zone West Hartford at Bishops Corner. Sign a Pledge, get a Bluetooth, and use it.

Chicken Soup & Tamiflu

I never get sick.

And I promise to never say that again.

Because I got so knocked on my can this week, I’m not sure what hit me. When you’re the business owner it’s much like being the mom: there’s just no time to be sick. There’s too much to do.

“I’m never sick.” Ahhh, those were the days.

Until I got so sick I couldn’t take a phone call. Couldn’t respond to my customers. Couldn’t read to my kids.

It finally stopped snowing. And icing. And flooding and the hint of spring is somewhat in the Connecticut air and Hyundai is the sought after car in the market and all is good, right?


I got so incredibly blindsided by the flu this week that I could not – can not – talk on the phone.

Do you know how hard that is to even fathom?

My husband does.


I could not lift my head off the pillow. I barely can now.

Yet the world keeps on spinning.

The kids still need lunches and hugs and loving.

And Key Hyundai Milford and Manchester are buzzing along at breakneck speed, because people? I told you: these cars are way more than fuel-efficient: Hyundai has arrived and we’re knocking down the door of cool.

But most frustrating of all is our Key assist in curbing distracted driving in an effort to save Connecticut lives. We have big plans for this initiative – that is, until I was sidelined by this, this, whatever this flu-like monster that has invaded my home.

Stay tuned, I’ll be back.

If I could just get my head off this pillow and open my eyes. Tomorrow.

Yes, tomorrow has to be better than today!

Humans Are Not Giraffes!

The inspiring, optimistic video from business guru Seth Godin is just what I needed on this manic March Monday.

This is everything I love about Seth Godin: real world observation, an inspirational kick-in-the-pants, all in about a minute and a half.

You don’t need to sell cars to appreciate his words, or be Mark Zuckerberg brilliant, or faced with a task as daunting as Japan’s horrific disaster.

You need to just have a goal. Any goal, and the desire to make it happen.

Take 90 seconds and click: it’ll make your day more productive and your goals more attainable, whatever they may be.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Hdj_VfLDrQ&w=425&h=349]

I must thank newscaster Ann Nyberg (@AnnNyberg) on twitter for sharing this. Follow her, and follow me @KeyHyundai as well!

Proposed Connecticut Auto Tax on Trade-Ins

CT car tax

Life's two definites . . .

Governor Malloy is proposing sweeping tax increases to reduce our state budget deficit. To help close budget gap, Malloy is advocating shared sacrifice and many businesses and individuals and families will be affected.

It’s what members of society do. Make sacrifices.

The auto trade tax is all over the papers, Hartford Courant and tv and twitter. Maybe you heard about it, maybe not.

I’m not here to talk politics.

I’m not here to agree or disagree, choose sides or tell you who to vote for.

I sell cars.

And sell lots of cars to hard-working folks throughout Connecticut, so this is what the proposed auto tax means for you when car shopping at Key Hyundai (which I 110% encourage!):

The proposal on the table is to eliminate the sales tax trade in allowances for cars, and here’s

The Skinny on the Connecticut Car Trade-In Tax

When you trade in your current car, in whatever condition, Key Hyundai credits the value of your trade into the purchase price of your new car.  That means that you get a tax credit on your new car for the value of your trade in.

“How much will you give me for this?” is often how it’s presented to our sales guys.

We’re running a special which means, come hell or high water or 18” of snow or an ice storm to shut down major interstates, and Connecticut, you know we’ve had them all, we’re paying off your trade.

No Matter What.

18k, subtract trade in, pay your tax.

So get that car here, and your trade is worth $4000 deducted from the purchase price of, say, this $18,000 Elantra.

Do the math:


– 4000

= 14,000

Your new car will cost $14,000 plus registration and documentation.

Plus 6% sales tax: $840.


Except when the new tax trade-in allowance is removed.

Then your new car will still cost, $14,000 but you will be taxed on $18,000.

6% taxes: $1,080

Difference: $240.

That’s a lot of gas. Or really, not-so-much at $4+/gallon.


By eliminating the tax exemption for trade ins, means you must come up with more cash when you go to the bank. How much more depends on the price of the car you buy.

Bottom line: consumers will pay more in car loans.


Because now when you deduct your trade-in value for your car, you’re taxed on that difference.

But wait – there’s more. This affects a few less of my customers, but now that Key Hyundai sells the fancy-schmancy No-it’s-not-a-Benz, it’s an Equus, you too will now be hit.

There is an additional automobile tax, a 3% tax on luxury vehicles, translated: luxury vehicles are cars over $50,000.

Hyundai Equus at Key Hyundai Milford

The luxury vehicle tax may be worth it for this ride.

That shouldn’t effect Hyundai, except the holy bat-#*÷! Hyundai — what about that Equus?! But once you see • drive • smell • touch this gleaming machine, you may not care how much tax is slapped on the bill. Yeah, that nice.

But not all cars over $50k are luxury expenditures like the Equus. Some are work vehicles: heavy equip, SUVs, snow plows, trucks subject to the same luxury tax, despite the lack of said luxury. Pay, pay, pay. It is going to be tough out there people. Very tough.

Governor Malloy is trying to make ends meet. I get that. We all do.

I sell cars. I pay taxes, just like you.

And I like what I do.

My car dealer colleagues are arguing and fighting against future job loss in our industry. We compete against each other, but unite to save an industry already sucker punched by a dire economy.

The summary?

Buy a car now if you are concerned about taxes going up.

As the saying goes, taxes are one of the only certainties in life and, Connecticut? They aren’t going down.