On The Road with GRUBBS INFINITI: Austin, Tx

Did you know that Austin, Texas is almost as large as New York City?  Or that it’s home to about 1.5 million bats, the largest urban bat colony in North America?  Or that it was originally named “Waterloo”?  I learned most of these things on a recent road trip to our State’s capital in an QX60 on a sunny weekend in Spring. 

The goal: soak up some history, eat some good BBQ, breakfast tacos and Gourdoughs “Blueballs” and see how the INFINITI QX60 felt on a road where the speed limit is 85 mph.

So here’s our itinerary and some input on what we think makes for a great Austin weekend.

Leaving Grubbs INFINITI in Grapevine and hopping on I35, we headed for the Czech Stop in West, Texas.  Bluebonnets carpet the sides of the road and it’s one of my favorite things about living in the Lone Star State.  It’s a tradition for my family to pick a good spot, plop down (being careful not to sit on any fire ants) and snap some pictures for friends and family.  It makes a perfect tableau as we enjoy the ride.  To be fair, packing a crew into a QX60 is easy since it offers three rows of seating and every detail is there for comfort and safety. 

Arriving at the Czech Stop, we all head inside to the Little Czech Bakery and their famous Kolaches. Where do I start?  Do you go savory or sweet?  My personal favorites include the raspberry cream cheese and the blueberry, but you can’t ignore the very berry or the lemon curd.  And, if you’re hungry, you should grab a sausage with cheese kolache and a few jalapeño poppers.  Just do yourself a favor and get a dozen or so, load them into your INFINITI and get back on I35 and Austin.

We make a quick stop at the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco and check out the collection of impressive Dr Pepper memorabilia and then we’re back on the road, munching the kolaches and enjoying the entertainment package in the QX60.  There’s two 8-inch screens for rear-seat passengers to enjoy movies and games and my kids absolutely love it.  And, when my wife and I just can’t listen to Frozen one more time, there’s wireless headphones that allow everybody to enjoy what they want. 

DFW to Austin is about a 3.5 hour drive and very soon, we can see the Capital building rising from downtown.  Everyone decides that we’re ready for some food and I recommend Fukumoto Sushi.  If you happen to visit during Happy Hour, I suggest you order from their menu top to bottom: you won’t be disappointed.  The tempura green beans were especially good and some of the tofu dishes would make it very easy to go vegetarian.  It’s a casual, fun atmosphere and a place where the locals go to relax and get a good deal on some tasty dishes.  It’s a good call for the road trip.

Fortified with sushi, we head for the Capital Building and there’s a great self-guided tour that shows you the “areas of significance” including the Senate Chamber, the Rotunda and the Governor’s Public Reception room.  It’s a interesting look into Texas government and although we kept looking for the governor, he never made an appearance.  I personally like to include a little history when I visit a city and the Capital building does a great job giving you lots of interesting information including the details I included at the beginning of this blog.  So mission accomplished, we left and made our way to check out some of the local graffiti that is so famous in Austin.

It’s no secret that Austin is a little “weird”.  In fact, one of their more famous slogans is, “Keep Austin Weird” and I think that it’s more about supporting things that are usual and interesting than actual weirdness.  The graffiti scene is part of the unusual and we had done a little research online to make sure to include some of the best examples of street art.  In many cities, graffiti is discouraged, but in Austin, it’s celebrated.  There seems to be an understood that there are areas that are approved and areas that are off-limits and the artists respect that understanding.  So as we zip around in the QX60, the murals unfold and include both the beautiful and the bizarre.  Bold, vivid colors merge into black and white reliefs and the talent is undeniable.  You could easily see some of the work in a museum, but instead they’re on the sides of buildings being slowly worn away by time and the elements.  It’s a worthwhile tour and I hope you enjoy some of the examples we captured.

Finally, we make some stops for something sweet and Gelateria Gemelli off 6th Street is fantastic.  The flavors are pretty traditional and the peanut butter and salted caramel and  are worth the calories.  The line was out the door, but it moved quickly and the servers were friendly and patient when we wanted to try about 5 or 6 flavors.  We then zipped over to Gourdough’s and just stared at the menu for a while.  Donut Burgers?  Hmmmm.  The “Blueballs” are famous so we grabbed an order of the blueberry stuffed donuts with blue icing and decided they were delicious.  Climbing back into the INFINITI, we let the sugar rush subside and vowed to return to Austin to try more restaurants and catch a glimpse of the famous bats.  The locals let us know they’re weren’t flying when we visited, so it gave us a good excuse to come back in the near future. 

As always, experiencing the LoneStar state in an INFINITI is a good way to really see what makes it so special.  When you make little stops along the way, you get to meet new people, try new food and get a real feel for what makes it “tick”.  To be fair, the QX60 is a true luxury ride and everyone had plenty of room to spread out, relax and enjoy the sunny blue skies and gentle roll of the hills as we made our way through the Texas hill country.  It’s a good trip and easily done in a weekend.  Be sure to pick up some kolaches.  If you want to bring some over to Grubbs INFINITI, well, we wouldn’t say no.

See you on the road.

George Grubbs III

Owner/President

 

INFINITI becomes first luxury automaker to launch iMessage sticker pack in iOS App Store

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – INFINITI launched its 2017 Q60 sticker pack in the iOS App Store, becoming the first luxury auto brand to utilize iMessage Stickers. The downloadable sticker pack allows iOS users to personalize the exhilarating INFINITI Q60, drag and drop them into messages, and layer them over their own unique pictures.

The sticker pack includes 26 different iMessage stickers, including different body color stickers, animated speedometer, tachometer and steering wheel stickers, V6 twin-turbo and turbocharged engine animated stickers, interior leather seat stickers and trim, sport and engine body badges.

The launch comes at a time when usage of stickers within messenger platforms is at an all-time high, with over 1,200 sticker packs available in the iOS App Store.

“We developed the Q60 sticker pack so consumers can integrate INFINITI into their messaging in creative and unique ways,” said Allyson Witherspoon, director, Marketing Communications and Media at INFINITI Americas. “This is a rapidly growing way for people to communicate and we’re thrilled to give INFINITI fans an opportunity to incorporate the brand’s distinct style into their day-to-day conversations.”

The brand’s first sticker pack is based on the all-new 2017 INFINITI Q60 sports coupe, which hit INFINITI retailers nationwide in September 2016 and is offered in a range of grade levels, including all-new advanced turbocharged engines and rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations. It also features adaptable chassis technologies, including the second-generation Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) and all-new Dynamic Digital Suspension, which enhanced steering feel and provides a more secure ride.

Hands-free: What it’s like to “Drive” an autonomous drive car

SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Today, I experienced the unusual, thrilling sensation of riding in the driver’s seat of an autonomous-drive car as it navigated the streets of Sunnyvale in California’s Silicon Valley.

The car is an advanced prototype Infiniti Q50 sedan capable of handling complex city driving. It has a special California registration for autonomous drive vehicles, and I had to receive a special state license to operate it hands-free.

What struck me was how quickly I grew comfortable as the car smoothly and safely negotiated the suburban streets, including intersections and dense traffic. Accompanied by an engineer, we simply set the destination, put the car in autonomous drive mode, and off we went – safely, without a hitch.

We went on both the freeway and city streets; there were times when other drivers cut in on us, but never did we feel threatened. Each time the car anticipated the other car’s move and reacted appropriately.

As I mentioned in a recent post, cars that can change lanes on their own, negotiate city streets and handle the drudgery of stop-and-go traffic are coming soon. In fact, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed to launch at least 10 models with significant autonomous drive functionality by 2020.

As these technologies advance, the auto industry has an unprecedented opportunity to make our roads much safer while giving drivers a less stressful and more productive commuting experience.

Today (January 5), I will present our vision of an autonomous and connected future at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. You can watch it live here.

These technologies are critical to deal with a future in which the population is rapidly aging and the number of megacities of more than 10 million people is on the rise. Every day, more than 8,000 baby boomers turn 65 in the United States.

Autonomous-drive cars will help older drivers get around safely much further into their senior years. They also hold the potential to help ease urban congestion, improve traffic management, and make our roads far safer.

But what I believe will win over drivers – even those of us who love to drive – is the fact that autonomous drive and connectivity technology will give us back some time to use more productively. After all, nobody enjoys negotiating stop-and-go traffic on a clogged expressway.

The average driver spends two hours in the car each day commuting to and from work, school and other destinations. Imagine if you could get back this time to make yourself more productive by taking part in a video conference, checking your email or to just relax by watching a favorite entertainment program.

Many of today’s cars already are equipped with several building blocks for autonomous drive technologies, including lane-departure prevention, forward emergency braking, and improved safety sensors. With almost every automaker now developing these technologies, we are going to see advancements come in rapid succession.

It is important to make a distinction between autonomous drive features that will be introduced in the next few years, and fully autonomous, driverless cars, the mass marketing of which will come later.

At the Alliance, our strategy is to roll out autonomous-drive technology in four stages.

Stage 1 is autonomous drive on single lanes. We launched this stage in August with the introduction of ProPILOT technology for single-lane use on highways. It is being offered initially on the Nissan Serena family minivan in Japan and has been quite popular: Fully 60 percent of Serena customers have opted for it.

Stage 2 is autonomous drive for multilane highway driving with lane changes by 2018, and Stage 3 is autonomous city driving, which we expect by 2020.

The fourth stage is a completely driverless car – no one even needs to be inside it; the car drives itself with no need for human intervention.

Already there are small fleets of driverless taxis, or “robotaxis,” being tested in limited areas of a few cities around the world.

But the technology still needs to be perfected in the extreme conditions to which cars are sometimes exposed. In addition, regulators and lawmakers in many different jurisdictions will need to put in place the new laws and regulations necessary to permit the widespread use of driverless cars.

Of course, we recognize people will always want the choice to drive on their own. Our pursuit of this new technology isn’t about giving up driving – rather, we want to give consumers the choice to decide when, where, and for how long they want to drive.

But I can tell you this: Once you’ve experienced a car that drives itself, you will feel like you have stepped into the future.

Grubbs Infiniti #1 In The Nation

When the Grubbs family opened the doors to our new location next to DFW Airport, we wanted our customers to feel pampered and relaxed while buying a car.  George Grubbs III and George Grubbs Junior were absolutely meticulous in designing how the dealership would run on a daily basis and how it would “feel” to each customer.  They emphasized an unforgettable experience where people could relax, eat lunch or a snack in a fully catered kitchen, enjoy comfortable retreats to catch up with friends or get work done.  Unique, contemporary art is found everywhere throughout the dealership, complimenting the artistic lines and sleek INFINITI vehicles that take center stage.   

George Grubbs III credits much of the success to bold new vehicles from INFINITI.   “The Q60 delivers innovative performance and design that excites our customers.  This is luxury within your grasp.  You’re driving the kind of vehicle that inspires Formula 1 engineers.”  The QX60 was also a popular choice for a luxury SUV. 

“As our bestselling SUV, the INFINITI QX60 was designed with safety and versatility as its highest priorities. With safety features including Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Forward Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection available, the QX60 incorporates industry-leading safety technologies” said Randy Parker, VP, INFINITI of Americas.

This accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without the amazing support from INFINITI, our dedicated staff and our loyal customers who have trusted us with their business. 

“On behalf of everyone at Grubbs, I want to congratulate our team for what you do every single day including sales, service, body shop, administration, make-ready…everyone. We’re the number one INFINITI dealership in the nation for good reason,” said Wes Hays, General Manager.  “We tip our hats to our competitors because they gave us a good fight.  But when our team sets a goal, nothing can stop us.  We want to be the best at what we do and let every customer leave feeling like they just experienced the easiest, most relaxed way to buy a car.”

With the exceptional growth and sales in 2016, Grubbs INFINITI is poised to set even more records for 2017.  We’re proud of our #1 INFINITI Dealer in the USA designation!  More importantly, we’re committed to keeping it by providing an impeccable service, a vast selection and total transparency in what we do.

*Grubbs Infiniti is number one in new car sales for CY2016

For more information, visit  www.GrubbsInfiniti.com

INFINITI 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 named one of Wards “10 Best Engines” for 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – INFINITI today announced that its new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine has been named to Wards “10 Best Engines” list for 2017.

The advanced VR-series engine, which was tested by the WardsAuto editors as offered in the INFINITI Q50 Red Sport 400, is available across the range of Q50 sports sedan models, as well as the recently introduced, all-new INFINITI Q60 sports coupe.

The 3.0t engine is available in two configurations – 300 horsepower with 295 lb-ft torque, and in a high-performance option delivering 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft torque.

“INFINITI customers have a passion for driving and offering the new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine helps make sure we meet their high expectations,” said Roland Krueger, president, INFINITI Motor Company, Ltd. “INFINITI is honored to be named to this prestigious list of the most technically significant powertrains in the world by the experts at WardsAuto. We are on track for record global sales in 2016 and the exceptional engineering and performance of our engines have certainly played an important role in this success.”

The new INFINITI powerplant was chosen from a field of 40 new or significantly improved powertrains, alongside Wards 10 Best 2016 winners, in vehicles with a base price below $62,000 and available in the U.S. This is the 23rd year that Wards has assembled the “10 Best Engines” list.

“The Q50’s twin-turbo V6 puts INFINITI neck-and-neck with its German competitors,” said Dave Zoia, WardsAuto editorial director. “Silky smooth, quiet when you want it to be and capable of delivering some pretty respectable fuel economy numbers. We’re thinking the new VR engine just might be a dynasty in the making.”

The new VR-series 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine adopts a series of innovative technologies to deliver an engaging driving experience, including a new direct-injection gasoline (DIG) fueling system. The engine also features lightweight aluminum construction and low mechanical friction – providing highly responsive and reliable performance.

The VR-series power delivery is enhanced through a new twin-turbo system, which enables smooth and immediate response under acceleration with power available across the rev range.

The VR-series V6 is the also the cleanest and most fuel-efficient engine of its type that INFINITI has ever offered, providing a 6.7 percent improvement in fuel economy versus the 3.7-liter V6 previously available in the Q50 and Q60.

WardsAuto also recently selected the INFINITI Q50 sports sedan as one of “Wards 10 Best User Experiences (UX)” honorees. In its inaugural year, the UX awards are meant to highlight exceptionally advanced, intuitive and forward-thinking vehicle systems and interfaces designed to minimize distractions, prevent accidents and improve safety.

The Q50 was chosen for its unique blend of driver assist and safety systems, advanced in-dash user interfaces and systems and INFINITI InTouch™ telematics. Specific safety and driver assist features highlighted include Cross Traffic Alert, Predictive Forward Collision Warning and Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection.

On The Road With Grubbs Infiniti – Buc-ee’s

On the Road With Grubbs

Have you ever tried a “Beaver Nugget”?  Don’t flinch, it’s delicious and it’s only found at Buc-ee’s, a Texas tradition for any road trip.  Founded in 1982 by Don Wasek and Arch “Beaver” Aplin III… hence the beaver mascot… Buc-ee’s has 37 locations all in the Lone Star State.
I’ve been a fan since my first visit, wandering the aisles with a dazed look on my face, trying to comprehend the vastness of the Buc-ee’s food and snack choices.  I’m not alone. 

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Priya Krishna from Bon Appetit Magazine wrote, “Ask any Texas chef about the one must-stop spot on a road trip, and the response won’t involve an obscure taco stand or a legendary barbecue joint.  Most likely, you’ll be pointed to Buc-ee’s.” 

How do you find one?  Well, the plethora of billboards leading up to one from miles away would be your first clue.  But that beaver head held up on a giant pole, lit up for everyone to see is what should encourage you to turn the wheel of your Infiniti into the parking lot and go inside.

Listen to me:  pace yourself.  Don’t fall prey to jamming a couple of Beaver Nuggets bags (caramel-coated corn snacks) and jerky into your basket and heading for the door. Because you’ll miss the handmade fudge that comes in so many flavors you might get dizzy trying to make the best selection. Want a fresh kolache? I like the raspberry with creme cheese.  How about a brisket sandwich?  They’re delicious.  Guzzle down sweet tea?  Don’t mind if I do!  And, just when you feel a little uncomfortable, head for the cleanest award-winning restrooms on the road.  Seriously, they have commercials that focus on those restrooms.

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I have filled the back seat of my QX60 with bags of jerky.  Keep in mind that I had no idea that Elk jerky existed before I went to Buc-ee’s.  Now, I know it’s amazing.  Pecan Logs, the “Fudge of the Month” as well as Beaver Bites have provided miles of snack happiness for myself and my kids.  My wife does her best to ignore this fixation and I’m 100% that she hides the junk-food treasures I bring home as soon as she’s able.  That’s all right because I’ve managed to bring home the mugs and cups bearing that Beaver face and even a pin.  And, don’t get me started on the crazy Texas decorations and clothing that range from scorpion paper weights to slippers emblazoned with Texas Longhorns.

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“Even if I don’t need to stop, I find myself wanting to stop at Buc-ee’s,” Texan chef Tim Love told Bon Appétit. “When a new Buc-ee’s opens, it’s like a new roller-coaster ride. You just want to go in and see it. You don’t want to be left out.”

Truth be told, I’m happy to support an organization that treats their employees so well.  Buc-ee’s version of the minimum wage: cashiers, $12 to $14 an hour; food-service and car-wash help, $13 to $15 an hour; team leaders, $14 to $17 an hour; assistant, $17 an hour and up. Each job came with three weeks paid time off each year, which employees are welcome to use, roll over, or exchange for cash. If you want 40 hours a week, there’s 40 hours a week to be had; if you want more than 40 hours a week, that can happen, too.  That’s an organization that understands that when you treat people fairly and truly value their time and expertise… you’ll have the best team.

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At Grubbs Infiniti, we respect that ideal and do the same.  We may not sell Beaver Nuggets, but we have created a wonderful environment that puts people at ease and makes them feel welcome and at home.  Our cafe is stocked with snacks and catered lunches, comfortable areas to enjoy the free wi-fi and catch up on work or a good book.  And, of course, our amazing team always puts the customer first in everything we do and we value each and every person who is part of the Grubbs family.  Many of the Grubbs Infiniti staff members have been with my family for 10-15 years and I know that many of them look for that Buc-ee’s sign when they’re on the road.  That’s because we’re real Texans and we love things that are big, bold and fun.  So come let us put you behind the wheel of an Infiniti and then plan your next adventure.  Just make sure you leave some time for Bucc-ee’s. 

See you on the road.

George Grubbs III