Have you been looking to upgrade your vehicle, but the current financial mess has you a little hesitant? Well, Kevin Purdy over at Lifehacker.com has put together a list of ten of their favorite tips to getting more out of your driving and ownership experience. Most of the DIY improvements are inexpensive and simple, so anyone can benefit from this helpful information. If you could experience the scarce parking in our area, you would appreciate #8 as much as I do! The tips for finding your parked vehicle are quite handy! And along the same topic, here is an iPhone App called G-Park that will help direct you to your parked car.
For Barack Obama’s inauguration, Washington D.C. is expecting blow-out crowds – nearly 1.5M additional visitors are estimated. The 95,000 hotel rooms in the city are rumored to be sold out. But, if you booked in time, perhaps you were able to get the “eco-inaugural” package offered by the Fairmont – you receive 4 nights in a suite tricked out with organic materials and use of a hybrid car.Did you know that the first president to drive to their inauguration was Theodore Roosevelt? While Obama will probably be driven in his new General Motors special edition, perhaps if you were one of the lucky few to snag a ticket, you can consider one of these fine vehicles:
Congressional Democrats and the White House have reached a preliminary agreement for the $15 billion loan to the Big Three. Under the plan, the funds will be made available as soon as next week. President Bush will need to appoint a "Car Czar" immediately. The Czar will evaluate the recovery progress and if positive progress is not made by March 31, the loans will be revoked and Chapter 11 bankruptcy will be considered. While this agreement in concept is encouraging for the automakers, Republicans were not included in the discussions and are not completely onboard with the proposed plan. These next few days will be very interesting for the auto industry.
The latest news on the US auto bailout is that Congress and the White House are close to having a $15 billion deal hammered out for GM, Chrysler and Ford. The deal is contingent on the automakers being able to demonstrate to legislators a path to sustainability. The latest word is that a deal may be reached as soon as today. Senator Christopher Dodd has been vocal in the last day to suggest that if the automakers receive the loan from the government, they should consider replacing their top management. Dodd told ABC's Good Morning America Monday, "It is not my job to hire and fire, but what I'm trying to suggest is that you need to have new teams in place".
Last night, RepairPal was honored to be a runner-up for the Silicon Valley Business Journal's Internet Emerging Technology Award. For such a young company and product--we've only been up and running since June--it was a compliment to be considered among a roster of well-established, innovative firms crossing a bevy of technology categories. You can read the Business Journal's coverage of RepairPal here.
The United Auto Workers called an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss ways that the UAW could help assist the Big 3 during their plea for assistance from Congress. UAW president Ron Gettelfinger said that his union was ready to make new concessions despite a landmark cost-cutting labor contract signed just last year, as he urged Congress and the Bush administration to step forward with a multibillion dollar auto industry rescue plan. The UAW, whose membership at the Big Three Detroit car manufacturers has dropped by half in the past five years, said it would let General Motors, Ford and Chrysler delay payments owed to a massive health-care fund for retired workers and suspend a program that pays laid off workers for up to two years. Watch the recap of that meeting with Neal Boudette and John Stoll from the Wall Street Journal!
In order to get you the most accurate price estimates for keeping your car/truck on the road, we survey dozens of parts suppliers on a regular basis. Historically, parts prices have been pretty stable, increasing a few percent each year at most. So far this year we're seeing increases averaging 5%, with some price increases exceeding 10%, and much of the increase has occurred recently, just as the economy is struggling. Why would parts makers increase prices just as marginal demand is flagging? The answer lies in the extraordinary volatility the commodity markets are experiencing.
It's been just two weeks since Ford, GM and Chrysler asked Congress for $25 billion and now it's gone up to $34 billion. The new number breaks down as a $9 billion loan to Ford, a $7 billion loan to Chrysler and a $18 billion loan to GM. With the help of this loan, Ford hopes to breakeven or return to profitability by 2011. They play to accelerate their electric car program with a 2010 model and invest $14 billion in "advanced technologies and products to improve fuel efficiency".
As we were all expecting, the auto industry November sales numbers are very, very bad across the board. You can read all of the gory details on Autoblog. John Neff observes that while much of the media attention lately has been on the woes of the US automakers, all of the foreign automakers are suffering the same huge volume declines. Nissan's sales decline was worse than all but Chrysler's. I'll be interested to see whether or not Congress raises questions later in the week as to why Detroit needs government money, while foreign automakers seem to be able to suffer through this so far.
According to Reuters, Ford Motor is looking to sell Volvo. It’s no surprise, Ford is in dire need of cash. Ford bought Volvo back in 1999, however, sales in 2008 are down 28% (as compared to 2007). Some of the possibilities for Volvo include a spin-off into its own entity, or, selling Volvo to a buyer such as Tata of India.