Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2014 Ram 1500 Motor Trends' Truck of the Year

Every year, cars and trucks battle it out for the chance to be named best of the year by Motor Trends. Unfortunately, the reality doesn't match the demolition derby that I long for, but the slog is no less grueling. This year, Motor Trends named the Ram 1500 their Truck of the Year, and it was no surprise. In fact, it was voted so unanimously by the 11-judge panel, which must be something of a comfort to Ram. The 1500 was the target of a number of changes, most of which work for the better. The market for pickups stretches a long way past the farm or site these days, and Ram obviously kept this in mind when redesigning the new model year.

The highlights of the 2014 1500 are much broader than its forebears, and stretch further than horsepower and torque. Gas mileage, of course, is a huge concern for any truck owners, be they farmers, haulers, or a less professional consumer. With this in mind, Ram is making new 8-speed automatic transmissions the standard on the new V6, with V8s to follow soon. The 1500 V8 is currently launching with the old 6-speeds. The Hemi V8 is seeing some changes across the board, too, with economy in mind: variable valve timing, more efficient cooling, and even electrical power steering.

The new air suspension will probably surprise a lot of consumers, but this makes sense with the variable weight trucks carry (anywhere between one human and some tons of people and cargo). A popular feature this model year, especially on trucks and other utility vehicles, is a variable ride height. At highway speeds, the truck gets better gas mileage lower to the ground, but two further settings lever the truck up (1.2 and 2.0 inches, respectively) to help clear obstacles when at lower speeds.

There are some problems, though; the design isn't perfect. Ram is taking seriously that its customers are hard workers and many of the toggles, switches, and dials are designed to be used by gloved hands. This works well for the most part, but they have placed gear-shifting devices in odd places, claiming gloved hands as motivators. This includes a twist dial for the 8-speed transmission, which is dash-mounted, and manual gear shifting buttons on the steering wheel. The steering-wheel mounted buttons are easily confused with the cruise control buttons next to which they are mounted.

Overall, the Ram 1500 is well thought-out and well executed. The new features, for the most part, are useful. For instance, the truck can be made into a WiFi hotspot, which is undeniably handy. Some things could use more polish, but even the mistakes show a good understanding of what their market needs; these mistakes aren't made from sloppiness or laziness. And while it's rare for a mid-grade truck like the 1500 to see a near-total make-over like this, it's even rarer to see one of these redesigns go over so well. So kudos to Ram, and congratulations!

If you live in the Southern California region and need to take your vehicle in for service, head to your local Ramona Tire. Operating for over 40 years, Ramona Tire & Automotive Service Centers are among the most trusted service shops in California. To get the best prices on tires and some of the most competitive coupons in the industry, visit their website at and search for a location near you. Remember we always have the best deals in town on motor trends' truck of the year.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Who Will be Named as the 2013 Muscle Car of the Year - Will it be Your Car?

If you are a vehicle enthusiast, you have probably read the Popular Hot Rodding Magazine. Dedicated to delivering information on American-made performance cars, Popular Hot Rodding Magazine provides readers with the latest reviews, news, secrets, and event information on all the top performance vehicles. And if you have ever dreamed of being part of such a hot magazine - now is your chance! Popular Hot Rodding Magazine is currently looking for individuals who would like to compete in the 2013 Muscle Car of the Year Competition.

If you have a vehicle that you think deserves the title "Muscle Car of the Year", then this compeititon is for you! The magazine is currently looking for 20 different muscle cars to compete in the upcoming competition, each of which will be entered into a day long track-testing in the summer of 2013. How do you enter? Just speak up! Enter your vehicle into the competition by letting the magazine know exactly what you have. From there, select competitors will be invited to compete in the Muscle Car of the Year competition, absolutely free of cost!

What does the competition entail? The Muscle Car of the Year competition will hold three different events. Included within these are the drag strip event, the speed/stop braking challenge, and the autocross event. Each three categories will count for the same amount of points. At the end, the vehicle with the best score will be named Muscle Car of the Year and will be presented in the 2013 December issue of Popular Hot Rodding Magazine. But not only will the vehicle be featured, so will you! That's right, the winner of this competition will get their photo smack-dab on the cover of the magazine, being declared the winner of the 2013 competition!

So what exactly is the magazine looking for? Their main objective is to find models that were created between 1955 and 1981, which have been completed within the last year. With that said, they are also open to vehicles that have been completed in the years prior which have not yet gained media attention. The magazine is looking for vehicles that offer top performance, delivering in all areas of the categories listed above. Whether your vehicle is school built, garage built, built for the track, or award winning, the magazine is looking for vehicles from all backgrounds. And while many people think that the main goal is to crown a winner, the real goal behind the 2013 compeition is to expose readers to new and interesting vehicles that will capture their attention!

What does the competition mean for you? Not only will you get a spread in Popular Hot Rodding Magazine and a photo on the front, but you will also have a day full of sun and fun. If you are selected as one of the competitors for the summer competition, you will get to race the track with your machine, as well as meet other car builders, drivers, and manufacturers. Don't want to race the vehicle yourself? No problem, you can bring any driver you like. In addition, you get a free lunch!

If you think your car has what it takes to become Muscle Car of the Year, send Popular Hot Rodding Magazine a quick email that includes a photo of your vehicle, the year and model of your vehicle, a spec list of your vehicle's mods, a contact number, and your location. Also be sure to include any information related to other media events that your vehicle has been apart of. To enter your vehicle in to the 2013 Muscle Car of the Year Competition, send an email to "". The subject line should read “2013 MCOTY.”

If you live in the Southern California region and need to take your vehicle in for service, head to your local Ramona Tire. Operating for over 40 years, Ramona Tire & Automotive Service Centers are among the most trusted service shops in California. To get the best prices on tires and some of the most competitive coupons in the industry, visit their website at and search for a location near you.

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Greenest Car of the Year - The Ford Fusion

Recently, there has been an increasing amount of attention placed on "going green" and doing our part in protecting the environment. And nowhere is this growing trend more noticeable than in the automotive industry. The last few years have placed a great deal of emphasis on the idea of battery powered automobiles. But automotive insiders are cautioning that, despite the advancements that have been seen in this area, the truth is that there is no "fix all" solution. In this sense, there will never be an automobile that will completely green, clean, and efficient.

The message above was one that was driven home by what was named as the greenest car of the year - the 2013 Ford Fusion. The "greenest" car of the year award is one that was created to spotlight the importance of clean and efficient automobiles. So what led the 2013 Ford Fusion to be named as the greenest car of the year? It was the fact that this midsize sedan offers a variety of power-train options including more traditional gasoline power options, to more modern plug-in options.

The Green Car of the Year Award is now in its 8th year, and has recently taken a more counter-intuitive approach in deciding who the winners will be. While many of the green awards have gone to hybrids, the jurors have also given praise to vehicles with diesel engines such as the Audi A3 TDI. And, contrary to what many would expect, the top 5 finalists in this years "green" category include 2 gas-only models - the Mazda CX-5 SkyActiv crossover, as well as the 2013 Dodge Dart.

The truth about battery cars and plug-in vehicles is that they do offer extremely impressive gas mileage. With that said, they are a difficult sale. Not only that but, contrary to popular belief, many of these vehicles don't actually have much of an environmental impact. Other technologies like the Ford turbocharged EcoBoost engine might not offer the same mileage, but they do set a better example in the way of eco-friendliness.

In regards to the 2013 Ford Fusion being labeled as the greenest car of the year, Dave Mondragon (Ford's marketing manager) states that he is very honored by the reward and is hoping that it will show consumers how far Ford technology has come in regards to fuel economy. While Ford was once lagging behind the pack in the way of fuel mileage, this award has now made it a leader.

One of Ford Fusion's biggest competitors is the Japanese vehicle producer, Toyota. Hoping to steal the Green Car award for themselves, Toyota's Prius C has been labeled as a leader in the green car market.

Ford is hoping that their win of the Green Car award will help them to challenge the perception that Toyota is in the lead. According to Amy Marentc, Ford's senior marketing executive, winning the green award will definitely help Ford sales. She hints that they will be using this award as a promotion technique for advertising the Fusion, and possibly other products as well. In her words, "We're going to have to talk this up".

With the increasing emphasis on greener vehicles, it is fascinating to think what could arise in the future - stay tuned!

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Getting Siri-ous About Driving

When it comes to the latest infotainment technology, General Motors is getting "Siri-ous". If you own an Apple iPhone, or if you know anyone who does, you have probably heard of the voice activated "Siri" application. Well, now this voice activated personal assistant is being introduced to the automotive industry, being placed in 3 different Chevrolet models in 2013.

Just as older voice activated automotive technology does, the new Siri technology will allow users to control things such as the radio, the CD player, and the GPS. But as you would probably expect, the latest technology takes things even further, allowing you to contact with your iPhone, check or add appointments, or even find local businesses with just the sound of your voice.

The idea behind the new Siri automotive technology is to allow drivers to accomplish tasks without taking their eyes off of the road. This, of course, makes driving safer. According to Cristi Landy, Chevrolet's marketing director for small vehicles, Siri is a complement to already existing technology such as MyLink. It is designed to provide drivers with an incredible experience and a safer drive.

So where will you find the latest Siri technology? It is said to be offered in the each the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact and Spark minicar. It is also said to be found in the new 2014 Spark EV battery-electric vehicle. Just as already existing voice technologies are, a special "Siri" button will be placed on the steering wheel, allowing drivers to access the voice activated assistant with ease.

Each of these three vehicles are designed to appeal to a more youthful audience that are more technologically savvy. The Apple iPhone has become so popular that General Motors estimates over 90% of their buyers already own one. But these aren't the only models that are expected to have Siri integrated into them. General Motors has already made announcements that it plans to add a more advanced version of the ChevyMyLink system into future versions of the Impala.

In case you are not aware, Siri was first introduced to the Apple iPhone 4 series, and was later added onto the newer iPhone 5 version. The addition of Siri to vehicle technology is something that has been spoken about for quite some time now, providing drivers with more flexibility when driving. According to General Motors, Siri will be added to the Sonic and the Spark well before it is added to the more luxurious brands.

Of course, not all activities can be activated by Siri. While the technology does allow more flexibility while driving, there will be certain activities that are blocked by the program. These include any activities that would require the driver to look away from the road while driving.

For many safety advocates, distracted driving has become a major issue. It has become such a large issue that the U.S. Department of Transportation has recently estimated that over 11 percent of all driving fatalities are caused by distracted driving - texting being one of the biggest concerns. Advocates for Siri suggest that the voice activated technology will be able to reduce such distraction while driving.

But Chevrolet is not the only automaker who will be introducing Siri to their vehicles. Other automakers that intend to add Siri capability include Honda, Chrysler, and Toyota. Mercedes Benz has also confirmed that they will be adding voice activated technology to their vehicles, but it has not yet been released as to whether this technology will be Siri or some other iPhone like assistant.

Along with Siri, Chevrolet also intends to integrate other applications into their vehicles in the near future.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Breaking Records at the Barrett-Jackson Auction

On January 13, 2013, one of the largest car auction companies in the world opened it's doors to it's biggest auction in over 42 years. Barrett-Jackson, first established in 1971, is an auction company that features vehicles, products, and services for classic vehicle collectors. Founded by Russ Jackson and Tom Barrett, Barrett-Jackson auctions are enjoyed by first-time buyers, vehicle enthusiasts, and families alike. The company, once owned by Russ and Jack, was passed down to Craig Jackson, who now dedicates much of his time to the Barrett-Jackson Cancer Research Fund which was founded in the memory of his brother Brian and his father Russ whose lives were taken by colon cancer.

Running from January 13 to January 20 of this year (2013), Brian and Russ were not the only ones being remembered at the auction. This specific auction was held to honor the death of Carroll Shelby. Born on January 11, 1923, Shelby passed away of pneumonia on May 10 of last year (2012). The automotive icon's life was dedicated to designing and racing vehicles, and he was best known for his involvement with the AC Cobra and Ford Mustang.

Hosted at the WestWorld of Scottsdale, the recent Barrett-Jackson auction was said to feature over 1, 400 cars. This number has created a new world record, offering the largest number of No Reserve vehicles in one auction. Not only did the auction set a record for the largest number of No Reserve vehicles, but it also set the record for the most Shelby vehicles to be sold at one auction. So how many Shelby's were being sold? Over 40! Whether bidders were looking for the 1965 GT350, or the 2012 GT500 Fiftieth Anniversary Super Snake, the Barrett-Jackson auction offered it all this week. And most surprising to find at the auction? The rarest Shelby of them all - the Green Hornet Double Prototype 1968 Shelby Mustang!

According to owner Craig Jackson, the Scottsdale auction was held to bring all of the best cars forward to their bidders - and that is exactly what they did! Craig Jackson also mentions that in their 42 years of existence as an auction company, the one held this week offered some of the most impressive vehicles that have ever been offered at any of their auctions. Jackson was very excited about sharing this experience with bidders and fans, and results of the bids are some to look forward to.

Not only is the auction alone something to get excited for, but the fact that the company plans to dedicate much of their earnings to charity is also something to raise excitement. Committed to helping people from all around the world, the Barrett-Jackson company currently supports over 17 different charities. Included within these are the Armed Forces Foundation, Cox Charities, the David Foster foundation, the Translational Genomic Research Institute, and the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. Also receivers of donations from the Barrett-Jackson company include the Carolinas HealthCare foundation, the American Heart association, and Bennett's House (among many more). To date, the Barrett-Jackson company has raised over $34 million for charity. Following their recent auction, they plan to break the $50 million mark. The proceeds from over 21 vehicles will be donated to charity - now that's something to get excited about!

If you live in the Southern California region and need to take your vehicle in for service, head to your local Ramona Tire. Operating for over 40 years, Ramona Tire & Automotive Service Centers are among the most trusted service shops in California. To get the best prices on tires and some of the most competitive coupons in the industry, visit their website at and search for a location near you.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The New Algae Based Fuel

Is it possible to take the green scum that forms on your swimming pool, fill your gas tank with it, and drive off? Well no, not exactly. What you can do, however, is fill up your vehicle with biofuel that has been derived from that exact scum - algae.

For many years oil and fuel comapnies have been searching for a way to replace petroleum with fuels that are more renewable. Last summer, one of these alternatives came under fire. Corn-based ethanol did help to replace petroleum, but put a dent in the food supply during the drought. Luckily, the new algae based biofuel will not do the same. Developed by Solazyme, Inc which is located in South San-Francisco, this new development is not expected to have any negative consequences - just positive ones!

Known as B20, the algae based fuel combines 20% biofuel with 80% conventional diesel. With that said, many company officials do beleive that it would be possible to use 100 percent organic diesel, without causing a disruption in the performance or lifespan of a diesel engine.

The largest concern for this type of fuel is the price. As one would expect, it costs significantly more to produce biofuel than it does to produce fuel from petroleum. The first four stations serving this new fuel are each charging an average of $4.25 per gallon. While this fuel is being marketed in a month long pilot program, companies like Solazyme and Propel would like to continue marketing it if consumers agree.

Scientists are constantly looking for new ways that they can replace petroleum with alternatives. Such alternatives that they are looking for would be cleaner and more renewable than petroleum, but it would also be great if they were cheaper to produce as well. The most widely available of all biofuels right now is ethanol. Ethanol is a type of alchol that is used in many late model automobiles. It is generally a 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol mix.

One of the biggest concerns surrounding the use of ethanol is that many production facilities rely on corn to turn it into fuel. The result, as discovered last summer, is a shortage of corn. This is why many proponents have tried to gear away from food based ethanol and shift their focus to a "cellulosic" ethanol that can be created from a variety of different things including waste paper and grain chaff. But despite their attempts to constantly make ethanol more food friendly, very few consumers seem to be using the fuel anyways.

As for algae based fuel, there are many companies that seem to be looking into the idea. Included within these companies are Solray Energy and Aquaflow Bionomic Corporation. Companies are looking into using different production methods, trying to learn which method is the most efficient for fuel production.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Don't Buy, Carshare!

The idea for the business "HiGear" came several years ago and was developed by a man named Murtaza Hussein. It came about when he one day decided that he would spoil himself with a new BMW Z4 roadster. But what Mr. Hussein did not realize was that, while this roadster is definitely a piece of art to look at, the two-seater limit really stunted the vehicles functionality. In return, this beautiful piece of art spend most of its time in the garage. So what did Hussein do? He decided to rent it out to his friends! The feedback that he received from his friends made him realize that they might not be the only ones interested in renting such a vehicle. And this is where his business idea for HiGear began.

So what exactly is HiGear? Launched three months ago, HiGear is a business that was created by Martaza Hussein which allows owners of luxurious or sporty vehicles to rent them out to people who want to drive them, but don't want to buy them. The business is known as a twist on the regular "car sharing" idea.

According to Hussein, there are many carsharing companies out there, but most of them place their focus on renting vehicles to people who are in the midst of car shopping. The business model for HiGear is slightly different in that it is not for car shoppers, but for people who simply want to drive a luxurious vehicle. In most cases, this will probably be for a birthday, anniversary, or some other special occasion.

A similar company was created by a man named Shelby Clark. His business idea came one day when he had to ride his bicycle on a cold winter day just to rent a car. Known as "RelayRides", Clark's business idea is very similar to Husseins, except Clark focuses more on mainstream vehicles as opposed to luxury ones. The two companies share the concept, twisting the idea of "car sharing".

How will these businesses make money? In busy and crowded urban centers such as New York, San Francisco, and Paris, many people want the convenience that comes along with a vehicle, but don't want the hassle of actually owning one. This fact alone suggests that the concept of carsharing will see great success.

Of course, Hussein and Clark are not the first ones to have this idea. The most well-known company in a similar area of business is Zipcar. Founded in 2000, the Zipcar company owns a fleet of vehicles which they make readily available by scattering them in popular locations around town. Once a customer buys a Zipcard, they can line up a rental immediately, regardless of the day or time. The card itself will unlock the vehicle, where the keys are hidden inside. Vehicles are rented by the hour as opposed to by the day, a concept which comes natural to most of their customers.

For green friendly customers, a new carsharing service will soon be launched in Paris, scattering a variety of electric powered vehicles around the city. Like Zipcars, these can be rented on the spot.

As for services like RelayRides, these are specifically appealing in communities that are very socially active. But what will draw people to such businesses? If not for the convenience, many people will be attracted to the cost. According to RelayRides, the average vehicle costs over $250 per month to rent. RelayRides can save owners up to 65% of that. As for HiGear, the average cost of renting a more luxurious vehicle (BMWs, Lamborghinis, etc) is $410. HiGear can help customers save up to 70% of that.

And while carsharing is expected to be a growing trend, it is not expected to change the number of people who buy cars. If anything, it could increase car sales by familiarizing customers with automotive products. If they have a good experience in a vehicle, they may be more apt to buy that specific vehicle in the future.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Best Sellers - Toyota Camry and Ford F-150

Wondering who is expected to top the charts in the automotive industry next year? According to 24/7 Wall St., the top of the sales charts in 2013 goes to the Toyota Camry.

For over three-decades, the Ford F-Series has been the top selling truck in North America. This means that for over a quarter of a century, the Ford F-Series has topped the charts as one of the best selling vehicles ever. Not lagging too far behind are the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry models.

By 2013, it is estimated that over 14.3 millions trucks, cars, and crossovers will have been sold this year. The majority of these sales are taken over by two dozen different models. And, as you would have guessed, the Ford F-Series, the Toyota Camry, and the Honda Accord will have made up a large portion of those sales.

Having said that, the market in the United States is experiencing more changes than ever before. The main reason for this, as you would have probably guessed, is fuel economy. With raising prices in fuel, small cars are becoming more popular than ever before. In fact, in the last 8 years, small car sales have increased by over 7 percent. In the middle of the last decade, small cars made up 13 percent of automotive industry sales. Today, they make up more than 20 percent. According to experts, this is a trend that will likely continue well into the future. This has allowed new competitors to enter into the market such as Hyundai and Kia.

Surprising many vehicle enthusiasts is the prediction that the latest series of the Camry will soon begin outselling the Ford F-Series, and will quickly become the best selling vehicle in the nation. If this happens, it will be the first time in decades that one has taken over the F-series. With that said, the Camry is not without it's own competition. Competitive brands against the Camry include the Ford Fusion, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Nissan Altima, and the Honda Accord. All of these models are among the predicted winners of the best selling vehicle over the next few years.

In fact, there are 16 different models that are predicted to make the top sellers list, none of which are listed for more than $25, 000 at base cost. Included within these are the vehicles listed above, along with the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, the Chevrolet Silverado, the Chevrolet Cruze, the Hyundai Sonata, and several more. Of the 16 predicted best sellers, 14 of them offer inline-four-cylinder options. The exceptions to this are the Ford F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado.

When referring to the top 10 vehicles of 2013, it is expected that Japanese manufacturers will make up 6 of these. Four of the top ten are expected to be manufactured out of Detroit. Ford is expected to have 3 models listed in the top 10 sellers, as well as 4 other models in the top 10-16 sellers. While light trucks have dominated as top sellers since the mid 1980's, this trend is expected to change, putting midsize sedans at the top of the pack.

Another forecasted trend within the American market is the depreciation of individual model sales. Several years ago, it was not uncommon for many models to sell over 400, 000 vehicles per year. But with over 250 different models available to buyers, the sales of each individual model is expected to decrease. There are only 2 models that are expected to reach 400, 000 sales. Five models are expected to reach 300, 000 sales, and all other models are expected to reach just above 200, 000 sales. As such, even the top selling vehicles are expected to see a decrease in sales next year.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Newest and Hottest Trend - Compact Crossovers

If you are a fan of Honda, then you will definitely want to keep your eye on the the Detroit Auto Show (more formally known as the North American International Auto Show) that will be put on next month. At the show, Honda's newest concept vehicle will be unveiled - the Urban SUV. A type of crossover, the idea of this vehicle is based upon their subcompact Fit model.

The North American International Auto Show is expected to be overflowed with crossover utility vehicles that have been downsized. Included within some of the vehicles that will be seen at the show is the Lincoln MKC that shares much in common with the smaller Ford Escape, with more focus on luxury.

With fuel prices as they are now (and not expected to drop anytime in the near future), the popularity of small vehicles continues to increase. According to Mark Fields, Ford's Chief Operating Officer, B and C segment models have gained a significant amount of increasing attention in the last decade. Since 2005, the sales of such vehicles have jumped from 13% of the overall U.S market to 20% - that is a 7% increase in only 8 years! As for the trend, it's not going anywhere. In fact, the sales of smaller vehicles is expected to increase at an even faster rate over the next few years.

And where is this trend expected to see the biggest jump? In the compact and subcompact crossover vehicles. Vehicles such as the BMW X1, a small crossover, are being manufactured more than ever, both for mainstream and upscale markets.

As of right now, Honda isn't saying much about their new models and are offering little detail into the making of their crossovers. What they are saying, however, is that their Urban SUV is a model that has been designed with a global concept. It is said to combine the SUV profile with a more sporty appearance on the exterior. The interior is fully functional, modern, and spacious.

With all of that said, the Honda display model at the North American International Auto Show is only expected to be a lightly disguised version of their actual production model (as their vehicles have been in previous shows). As for the real model? This is expected to hit the buyers market after their new plant in Mexico has been opened.

As for Lincoln? It also has ambitious goals for their new "MKC" model. This compact crossover will be one of the 4 models that Ford's luxury brand intends to release between today and 2014. Other vehicles expected to be released between now and 2014 include the MKZ, a newer replacement model for the Navigator SUV, and a new model of the MKS.

Recently, SUV sales have been on the increase and Honda has the goal of boosting their sales by twenty percent by the year 2016. They believe that their new models will help them to reach this goal.

With the increase of sales for small model cars, many other compact crossovers are also expected to hit the market in the near future.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

GMC Sales on the Uprise?

Until recently, time has worked against General Motors and the automotive industry. With the downfall of the economy, the sales of General Motor automotives have been dropping drastically. But there is hope. Signs are showing the the economy is soon going to take a turn for the better, and GM hopes to be right there reaping the benefits. What are they most confident about? Their 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and their GMC Sierra full-size pickups.

According to the president of General Motor's operations in the United States, trucks are at the core of GM's business model. To him, the timing to release the 2013 Silverado and the Sierra full-size pickups is perfect. And, as we all know, timing is everything.

Over the past 5 years, sales of vehicles like the Silverado and the Sierra took a turn for the worse. Very few people were buying trucks for personal use, not only because of their price, but also because they simply couldn't afford the gas. And while the president of GM is not expecting the personal use of their models to increase in the next few years, what they do expect is an increase in the use of trucks for business purposes. Joe Phillippi of AutoTrends Consulting predicts that their will be a significant boost in truck sales for contracts, fleets, and other work truck customers in the next few years. During the recession, the market share of such vehicles dropped to less than 12% during the recession, but is expected to bounce back up by 1 or 2 percent in the next year or two.

As you would expect, General Motors will not be without it's competition. America's best selling truck, the Ford F-Series, is definitely expected to take a few sales away from GM. Another model that will be competition for GM is the 2013 Ram 1500 developed by Chrysler. Of course, GM has already forseen this competition. So what did they do? They upped the anti of course! More than just a "refresh" of their older models, the new GM models will take a completely new evolutionary stance.

Older versions of the Chevrolet Silverado have been aimed towards a rougher and tumbler audience, while the newer 2014 version is said to be targeted more towards a more maintstream audience. As for the Sierra, this is expected to reflect a more "professional" side of GMC, targeting business professionals to avoid being labeled as a "work" truck.

Both the Sierra and the Silverado have been developed with features that will make them more distinct in order to stand out from their competition. A few new additions include built in rear bumper steps, cargo tie-dows, and damped cargo bed tailgates that make them easier to close. Other new additions include protective cargo bed clamps and projector headlamps.

The owners of GMC are always up-to-date with the hottest, most recent, and ongoing trends in the truck market. In keeping up with trends, no GMC model is without a completely modern interior. Inside the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra, you will find cabins that are similar to those of passenger cars. Both incorporate padded seats, plush finishes, and heated cloth seats.

According to Phillippi, the exteriors of the GMC are "evolutionary", but the interiors are an "uptick". Of course, no modern vehicle would be complete without the most recent digital technology. Both the Silverado and the Sierra incorporate the newest infotainment systems, along with GMC's IntelliLink, and the ChevyMyLink. Wifi capability is also optional.

And one of the biggest selling points of any truck? Safety. Each new GMC truck model comes along with standard airbags and electronic stability control. More advanced features are also available including Forward Collission Alert and Lane Departure Warning. And the newest safety feature to reach GMC models? Safety seats. These are seats that "shake" when there is an obstacle blocking your path on the road ahead. Even more technologically advanced is that they shake the seat in the direction of the obstacle.

If all turns out as it is supposed to, the new Chevrolet and GMC models will be hitting the market right when the excitement for trucks is on the uprise.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

US To Take Over As The New Top Oil Producer

According to the West's Energy Agency, the United States is expected to overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil producer. This is expected to happen as early as the year 2017. These reports, however, strictly contrasted with previous reports given by the International Energy Agency (IEA) which predicted that Saudi Arabia would remain as the top oil producer all the way until 2035.

In the International Energy Agency's annual long term report, they announced that the advancements in the way of energy by the United States are astounding, and that their results are expected to be felt well beyond North America and into other parts of the world. This report gives the United States one of the most optimistic forecasts that the International Energy Agency has ever given.

According to the agency, the rebound in oil and gas production that the United States has recently faced is spurring a great deal of economic activity and growth. More affordable gas and electricity is giving the industry an edge over the competition.

To be more specific about the predictions made by the International Energy Agency, they not only predict that U.S. oil imports will soon fall, but they also predict that North America will become a main exporter by 2030, and will become self sufficient by 2035. Currently, the United States imports 20 percent of its needed energy, but will soon be able to sustain itself - a trend that is opposite in most other countries that import energy.

Faith Birol, Chief Economist at the IEA, recently stated that he predicts by the year 2015, the United States will overtake Russia in oil production. By 2017, the United States is expected to become the largest producer of all. He also suggests that by 2035, the will be a greater emphasis on nautral gas than there will be on oil and coal. With that said, if there are no new resources being discovered after 2020, Saudi Arabia might steal back the title as largest producer.

Other predictions made by the IEA suggest that oil production within the United States will rise to 10 million barrels per day by the year 2015. By the year 2020, this is expected to increase to 11.1 million barrels per day. But despite the upward trend, these numbers are once again expected to drop by 2035, with the United States producing an estimated 9.2 million barrels per day.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia is expected to produce slightly more than the United States, at an estimated 10.9 million barrels per day. By 2020, the United states will overtake them, and Saudi Arabia will drop to 10.6 million barrels per day. By 2035, they are once again expected to surpass the United States, producing 12.3 million barrels per day at that time.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

GM Causes Taxpayers to Lose

Over the next twelve to fifteen months, the White House has announced that it plans to sell the 300 million shares that it has remaining in General Motors. Of these 300 million shares, General Motors intends to buy back 200 million of them.

For each share that it buys back, GM will pay $27.50. This is a 7.9 percent increase from the closing price of $25.49 that was decided on December 18, 2012. With that said, it is also much less than the price that was set during the initial public offering back in November 2010 that was set at $33. What does this mean? It means that taxpayers are going to lose billions of dollars.

According to Dan Akerson, chairman and CEO of General Motors, the buy back of shares will help to clear customers minds of the perception that the government owns much of GM. It also demonstrates the confidence that GM has in their own products, as well as the success that they intend to reach in the future.
General Motors made a not that, during the fourth quarter, it will take a $400 million charge against earnings with the re-purchasing of their stocks.

Recently, CEO Dan Akerson told reporters of his excitement to have the government sell its stake in General Motors. With that said, he did not indicate that the sell was imminent. In fact, the announcement was not expected to be made until the beginning of the 2013 year.

There has been much pressure for treasury to announce its sale. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called on the White House to sell its shares last summer. At that time, GM was only offering $18.72 per share. If the deal had been made, this would have left the government with much less than they are taking now - $1.5 billion less to be more specific.

How much would the government have to make in order to recoup the investment that it made in General Motors? In order to receive all of the money back that they put into GM, the government would have to sell each share for $53.

For quite a while, both GM and the government have been looking for a way to sell off the remaining stake in a fashion that would not cause disorderliness. Both sides were concerned that marketing 500 million shares would cause havoc and decrease the stock price at GM. To minimize disruption in the market, it is predicted that the remaining 300 million shares will not be sold all at once, but will rather be sold in chunks.

Another hope for the market is that shares in GM will continue to increase. And as both the economy and auto sales improve, this is a definite possibility. Having said that, GM is not without its worries. Most of these worries are related to problems in Europe, where the automaker reported a total loss of between $1.5 and $1.8 in 2012.

According to White House officials, the re-purchased stock will provide long term benefits to the coutnry. Let's hope this is true.

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