California Autos Examiner

Monday, September 21, 2009

Manual intervention: Chrysler kicks bulky owner manuals to the curb

Simpsons character Troy McClure (source: wikipedia)

One of the joys of new car ownership for me has always been thumbing through the owner's manual. I am probably in the minority on this one as most folks prefer to sit down, buckle up and drive.

Chrysler is hoping to split the difference with a new approach to these weighty tomes: DVDs. For the 2010 model year Chrysler is swapping out the 500 page monster manuals with smaller 60-80 page user guides and an accompanying DVD.

You can watch a sample video below to gain a better understanding of the DVD guides.

It is a shame that Phil Hartman is no longer with us, his Troy McClure character from the Simpsons would have been perfect to narrate these DVDs. Can you just hear him now,

Hi, I'm Troy McClure. You might remember me from your Plymouth Sundance. I am here to tell you all about your new Jeep Liberty.

These new videos should make tasks such as fiddling with the Jeep Wranger's soft top a much easier job for newbies. For owners who have built in DVD players, this swap is a no-brainer (unless they do not know how to use the DVD player) but for those drivers who have to tote the DVD into the house where it will soon be lost, it might not be the best solution. Ideally, the manual should be written to flash memory and accessed from a navigation screen on all vehicles, perhaps with an audio only function for drivers on the move who need to get some information quickly (using voice commands).

In a Prius-like, saving the earth move, Chrysler also mentions that the smaller paper guides will save an estimated 930 tons of paper, the equivalent of 20,000 trees every year.

For those buyers who do not care to watch a movie about their cars, Chrysler will offer free traditional owner's guides.

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