General Motors has not had a banner year. Sales aside, the biggest issue the American manufacturer faced by far in 2019 was a labor strike that some estimate has cost GM upwards of $2 billion. Initiated on September 16th, approximately 50,000 hourly workers stopped working, making the strike the largest GM strike in 12 years. It was also the longest strike in 50 years (within the auto industry) and a massive hit as earlier stated to GM’s bottom line. On October 16th a new labor contract was reached with wages rising 6% during the four-year life of a contract. This equates to $32.32 per hour.

Make no mistake, other manufacturers were watching this scenario unfold, observing the fall-out and no doubt calculating how best to stop the same occurring with their workforce. Ford is one such manufacturer, and it should come as no surprise that just days ago they announced a tentative agreement for [...]

In Part II, you’ll continue to marvel at the futility of some of these things …

Moto meters

This is a fun one. Many older cars featured some understandably basic instrumentation. A speedometer was present, but much more than that was typically not available (nor invented!). To monitor the fuel level in a car for example, dipping a stick into the gas tank was common. And to monitor the coolant temperature, well that was the job of a moto meter.

This handy little gadget was inserted on top of the radiator cap and it would measure the overall temperature in the radiator. Granted, one had to physically look at the gauge in real-time which was not necessarily all that easy, especially while driving. But it was better than nothing, and like the Woodlites, these are collector’s items that folks adore. In fact, the thermometers were so well fabricated that they look like pieces of [...]

One look at your car today, and the marvels of how this impressive piece of machinery works is just that … marveling. Cars are supercomputers, capable of some truly impressive things, but this was not always the case. Granted, they were always super machines, but back in the day (50 to 80 years ago), cars either featured some things that frankly accomplished nothing, or machinery that was rudimentary at best. Over this two-part series we’re going to look at some classic features that you will never find again. Thank goodness!

Oily air

Modern cars occupy filters made of paper or some sort of fabric. Older cars however featured a “filter” that was comprised of a container filled with oil. Doesn’t sound like a filter, does it? It sure doesn’t, and this in turn resulted in oily air. These old units would pull in air towards the oil and then pulled it back up again [...]

Will a vehicle lease or purchase cause you to become penniless? It relies upon what direction you take a gander at it supposedly. In a positively millennial manner , nobody powers anybody to purchase a conspicuous games vehicle from an extravagance brand. In case you’re stretching out yourself to make a vehicle buy, you’re opening yourself up to several issues.

Notwithstanding, the greater part of the issue originates from the vehicle itself. On the off chance that you could be sure the amount it will cost to keep up a vehicle after some time, in any event you’d recognize what’s coming. However, that is once in a while the case. Costly vehicles that happen to be inconsistent placed you in an unbalanced position.

Truth be told, information from Your Technician indicated vehicles made by BMW — a definitive motivational brand — cost the most to keep up more than 10 years. With extravagance brands growing [...]

Drunk Driving,

The human experience is replete with wonder, failure, exceptional highs and exceptional lows. One of the worst things that can happen to someone is losing someone close. This could be a family member, a partner, a dear friend, or worse, a child. These are uncontrollable, and many deaths result from things that are beyond us (cancer and similar diseases that do not discriminate). But there are other things that we can control, and one of them is drunk driving.

Thankfully, the “public good” argument against cracking down on drunk driving has worked. Initially framed as something we should keep in mind and pass the keys if we’ve had a couple drinks has transformed to others in society actively asking people to pass their keys, and in the most extreme cases, taking keys or calling authorities before said person [...]

Digging a bit deeper on the (web) Tesla page, Smart Summon is to be used when the driver is within 200 feet of the car. It is only intended to be used in private parking lots (supermarket, mall, etc) and driveways. It is the driver’s responsibility to monitor the situation and make sure the car is always in a direct line of sight. There is a part in bold on the page that makes it clear the car might not always detect all obstacles, which include other cars and people in close vicinity.

This last part is particularly disturbing, considering the potential ramifications of a Smart Summon Tesla running over someone. Consumer Reports jumped into the mix, testing the software out and concluding, “the automation was glitchy and at times worked intermittently, without a lot of obvious benefits for consumers.” In a nutshell, a waste of time. There was one instance in the Consumer [...]

Industry favorite Elon Musk is at it again. Well-known for grandiose promises and salacious soundbites, Musk detractors relish in the scientist’s “failures” especially as they relate to said promises. One promise (a declaration more than a promise really) was Musk’s famous 2016 tweet indicating Tesla would demonstrate a self-driven trip across the U.S. the following year, 2017. Later in January of 2017, Musk followed this up by promising Tesla would achieve “full self-driving capability” in 6 more months – June/July of 2017. We are now 3 years down the line, and detractors love to throw that back in Musk’s face.

Elon is great at deflecting however, and instead of recognizing that he might have overshot with those initial tweets, Musk is now moving on to something even more eye-catching. Smart Summon is a new Tesla feature that will enable Tesla drivers to summon their car (only if the car is within their line of sight). [...]

While many cities have toyed with the notion. Splashed the message on snazzy marketing campaigns. Went on CNN, BBC, you name it, to push out grandiose plans. Few have ever accomplished the feat. And the feat we’re speaking of is banning the car.

Many point to Venice as the only car-free city on the planet. This might be true however it was certainly not a strategic objective of the Italian government. The fact Venice is small and built on a series of islands leaves it in a unique position. And while cars could very well be introduced, allowing residents and tourists the luxury to wander about and not have to worry about traffic is the plus Venice authorities are seeking, especially as it relates to being able to attract tourists to the city.

While it is undeniable that the car has revolutionized mobility and made all our lives not only easier, but more enjoyable, [...]

One of those moves is offering potential customers a new way of experiencing a vehicle. This could be through off-site test-drives or mobile stores in areas with high traffic. Other ideas are allowing dealers to enter into market subscription services that are not related to their normal stores. Or a third one, and one that is gaining traction, is working closely with lenders to give customers personalized vehicle finance solutions. An example of this are pay-as-you-drive programs where one essentially rents their car but in a more individualized manner. With autonomous driving gaining traction this is essentially where the industry is heading. Cars will always be of use, but their practical side will be interchangeable.  

Outside these more mainstream suggestions, Maurer also threw out some interesting options moving forward. Ride-hailing services as we all know are booming, and companies like Uber and Lyft will continue to need servicing on their vehicles. Established dealer technicians will [...]

Ready for a bombshell? You bet, who doesn’t enjoy bombshell news, dropped from above with collateral damage. But nice collateral damage, the type that doesn’t harm or kill.

Ok, that doesn’t exist, but this type of bombshell news did turn a handful of heads. McKinsey & Company is a well-respected international consulting firm. They work across a range of sectors, and one such sector is the Automotive & Assembly, Operations and Private Equity practice (a very long title for the larger auto related business). One of their crack staff, Ms. Inga Maurer, is the face behind the bombshell we’re going to drop, but don’t blame her if you don’t agree with the message. She’s simply doing her job, and odds are, there is some merit to what she’s saying.

Maurer rattled more than a few cages when she boldly stated auto dealerships are not making any money selling new cars anymore. Read that [...]

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