According to the AAA, the depressed economy is keeping more people closer to home this holiday season. The number of Americans who plan to travel this season dropped 2.1% over last year. In fact, the U.S. hasn’t seen a drop in holiday travel plans since 2002.What’s interesting is that the average price of gas in the U.S. is $1.81 – that’s $1.39 LESS than this time last year. Wouldn’t one assume that such a significant drop in gas prices would actually encourage more folks to travel?
After Congress failed to pass a bill to help the US auto industry, today President Bush approved $13.4 billion in immediate relief to GM and Chrysler and another $4 billion in February. This is a very big deal for the automakers - many analysts believe them to be days away from running out of money. The tricky part about this loan is that they need to pay it back in the next 3 months. That means there will be massive cuts at both GM and Chrysler to the tune of $13.4 billion to settle up with Uncle Sam come the end of March. It will be up to the Obama administration to decide if additional government support is warranted and deserved. The much talked about "Car Czar" will be Treasury Secretary Paulson for the time being. This massive chunk of change will come from the $700 billion set aside for the financial industry bailout. Stay tuned as there will be major changes in the coming weeks and months to the face of the American car industry.
In response to the ongoing economic downturn, Chrysler announced that it will close all of their U.S. automobile factories for one month. Although they were scheduled to close for a two week holiday, the extra closure time comes as other U.S. and Foreign auto makers are planning extended production cuts. Chrysler plans to keep their plants closed until January 19th, but even that date is in question. Unless vehicles start moving from the current inventory, the closures may last even longer. General Motors announced cut production and temporarily close 20 factories. Ford has said it will extend their closures by one week and even Honda and Toyota are cutting production.
Irv, one of our expert technicians, recently sent this along to us. Apparently, this driver ran over a mattress with his truck and decided to keep on driving. You can see the results. Our techs see some pretty crazy things in the shop, but it's not common to see a mattress wrapped around a driveshaft!!
It was just six weeks ago that Honda Motors gave a profit forecast of $5.5 billion for 2008. As of today that forecast is being cut 62% to $2.1 billion. Honda's announcement of the sudden change in forecast and future prospects demonstrates that not even Honda is immune from the global financial troubles. Honda plans to not renew contracts with temporary workers as well as halting development on diesel engines, the successor to the NSX sportscar and it's Formula One sponsorship all in an effort to curb expendatures. They also plan to delay opening its new flagship production facility in Tokyo and cutting executive pay.
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.