The Truth About Cars » car ownership The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:00:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » car ownership Kalanick: UberX Could Become Cheaper Than Owning A Car Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:00:47 +0000 Uber iPhone

Uber wants to do more than disrupt the traditional taxi service, seeking to bring its pricing low enough to replace your own vehicle, period.

Jalopnik reports CEO Travis Kalanick spoke with The New York Times about a 20 percent cut in pricing on UberX rides in New York, and explained what he’d like to see happen as far as his service is concerned:

The whole point of price cuts is to get UberX pricing below the cost of owning a car. Let’s say you take three or four trips a day on average. If we can get the price of UberX low enough, we can get to where it’s cheaper to take Uber than to own a car.

He adds that while that’s currently easier said than done — there are only so many drivers to go around — and that the cuts are temporary, if Uber can expand its reach through lower pricing, the service would turn a profit even if it makes the cuts permanent. Kalanick also claims his vision would benefit all involved, from providing more jobs in New York to riders getting more for their dollar.

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Ford: Automotive Industry Must Prepare To Rethink Transportation Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:00:28 +0000 Bill Ford in Turkey

Sharing the pages of The Wall Street Journal’s 125th Anniversary issue with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Summers and Taylor Swift, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Jr. sees a future for the automotive industry so bright, he’ll need to wear shades.

The chairman wrote in his op-ed for the paper that the automobile will become “part of a larger ecosystem,” and the industry must act accordingly. He explains that this challenge “represents a $130 billion business opportunity” to develop solutions to growing transportation concerns, such as a vehicle’s interactions with a city’s multi-modal infrastructure as a result of more people moving back into cities.

Ford also believes ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are signalling a shift from individual ownership, going as far as to proclaim the practice “may not be the primary model of vehicle ownership in the future.” He adds that future vehicles will be heavily connected with each other for high optimization of his future transportation ecosystem, noting the early phases of the connected car are already in existence.

Finally, the chairman states driving itself will need to be redefined thanks to autonomous vehicles taking the wheel — or lack thereof, in Google’s case — from the driver in more and more situations. In turn, drivers who would have handed over their keys in their twilight years would now have more time and greater mobility through autonomous technologies, as well as those with physical disabilities.

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Analysts: Peak Car To Arrive By 2020s Thu, 27 Feb 2014 13:54:56 +0000 Ferrari 550 Pininfarina Barchetta

After a century of motoring, and with several factors rapidly changing the landscape, analysts are forecasting the peak of global automotive growth to come sometime in the 2020s.

The Detroit News reports that as more people join the exodus out of suburbia into major cities, along with other factors such as pollution, gridlock, build quality and the adoption of alternative modes of transportation — particularly among younger generations who cannot afford a car of their own — auto sales around the globe will peak somewhere around 100 million in the next decade, according to several analysts such as IHS Automotive.

Further, 44 percent of Americans surveyed by Intel said they would prefer to live in big cities with driverless cars able to keep traffic flowing smoothly, while one out of 10 households have no car at all.

The coming upheaval is prompting automakers to consider their place in the new scene, where red barchetta owners outrun silver bubble cars, and where car ownership gives way to car sharing. Tim Ryan, vice chairman of markets and strategy for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, puts the future of motoring into perspective:

The key question is: Do you sell cars or do you sell mobility? If you ignore these megatrends, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

With an expected 25 percent to 50 percent increase urban dwelling over the next decade, and 9 billion expected to live in urban areas 25 years from now, the groundwork is being prepared to meet this coming challenge. Gartner Inc. auto analyst Thilo Koslowski predicts urbanites to use ride- and car-sharing services such as Lyft and Car2Go to commute to their destination, with autonomous cars picking up their passengers, and using GPS and other communication technologies to deliver them safely.

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Hammer Time Remix: The Keeper Culture Sat, 08 Dec 2012 15:55:35 +0000 Click here to view the embedded video.

My pants still fit me from college.

Well, they are sweatpants after all.

They were given to me by a friend of mine who is known as a “Datsunaholic”. He keeps a few old cars. A few of those models have been written up by Paul Niedermeyer who now keeps a lot of houses along with his new web site. He invariably finds ‘keeper folk’ from all walks of life. But most of the people he finds are not car enthusiasts at all.

Why do they keep these cars then?  Are they perhaps hoarders? Do they suffer the afflictions of the wantless?

Or is this just another write-up inspired by Kevin Bacon?

No, they are just keepers. They find what they need. A car about yay big. In blue. There. Done. They then go on about their lives avoiding the debt and the down payment in a way that gives guys like Dave Ramsey so much sanctimony. In rich times they’re sometimes looked up as hermits and miserable misers. In poor times they lead by example. But most of the time they are just ignored and blend right in. But that nagging question remains. Why do these people not buy cars?

Well… the keeper of old cars comes in many forms.

The Junkyard Dog - He can tell you the exact locations of every vehicle he uses at the junkyard to keep his ride going.

“The Volvo 740 right next to the 940 SE at Jason’s Junk Emporium  is a white wagon with the removed engine and no seats. What a beaut! I removed all the bulbs off of that one and even the wiring harness which looks to be nearly brand new . The flex disc came straight from Groton and…”

This guy is into his ride like Elliot Spitzer is into hookers.

The Quality Guru: The shocks are from Bilstein. The wheels are AMGs. The brakes are Brembos. The oil is Amsoil and the oil filter can also be used as a breathing apparatus in the event of a major disaster.

Yes, the car we’re describing may be nothing more than an under-engineered Mercedes from the seventh circle of hell. But hey! It is dealer maintained. The sheetmetal is given a full regimen of Mother’s every month. The seats and carpet are steam cleaned at the local auto spa.

Usually these folks are either hopelessly divorced or terminally single.

The Tinker-er-er-er: The inside of his garage is an endless maze of gondola board and special tools that were designed only for one car and one purpose. That is to enable this owner to install anything he wants whenever he wants.

This guy has a custom lift, four jacks, a pair of aces, three welders, and several bookshelves loaded with manuals. When you want something done cheap and right, he’ll be able to help you…. once he completes his projects. In a few months or so… if you’re lucky…

The Tightwad Husband: This is the guy who spends an evening or two a month performing spreadsheets and budgets. He inevitably breaks down the cost of nearly every automotive expenditure to it’s finest elements.

“Motor oil you say? Why, take the $10 Quaker State online rebate and find the nearest Autozone that’s doing $1.99 / quart closeout for synthetic. Then…”

Oh damnit! My wife wrote this while I was replacing a compact florescent upstairs. I’ll keep it Susan. Thanks!

The Broke: The tires may be more bald than Mr. Clean and all the leaking oils make the car smell like Seacaucus. But hey, it runs.

Often times these cars will have half empty bottles of fluid wedged under the bonnet for easy access. There is almost always a paper cone next to the coolant resevoir, and what’s that wire hanger there? Oh, that’s to help keep the duct tape in place so that the front of the car… still attaches to the rest of the car.

The Bum: He hasn’t done a damn thing since 1987. When the parents, brothers, and relatives are nearly done with their car but don’t quite want to sell it outright, they give it to him.

Within a year or two the creme puff turns into a pile of refuse destined for China.

The Content Folk: They don’t know much about cars. Oil for them should be changed every 3k at most and if the mechanic advises them about a defective Johnson valve, they go “Uh huh!” and write a check.

Thankfully these folks enjoy two unique qualities. They find good independent mechanics and they tend to be easy going with the machinery. Since the car fits them like a good pair of, sweatpants, they go about their lives without thinking about cars. Pity the fools.

The Conserver: His slogan is, “Better dead, than revved.” This is the owner who pulses, glides and coasts to nearly every stop sign and red light. Regardless of the manical driving habits that surround his frugal ride.

The engine for their car will never see the north side of 3000 rpm’s, and the exterior is always given cover from the elements. Even if the car is now old enough to order its own tall one. The conserver wants to get just enough out of it so that their kids can have a cheap ride, and maybe his future grandkids too.

The Conserver also knows how to time his daily commute. Right down to the changing of the traffic signals, and the unyieldable momentum needed to put the car in the same parking space with minimal pressure on the gas and brake pedals.

Grands: As they say in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “ I’m not dead yet! “ Of course the double yellow line is a mere suggestion and the nearby shopping cart haulers at the supermarket keep a wide perimeter when ‘they’ come around.

The car is driven about 35 miles a week and it’s all dinged out.

Dings from curbs. Dings from doors, walls, and at least a dozen people. Constant ding sounds from keys left in the ignition. Ding sounds from the door left open. In fact, the car has encountered so much dinging over the years that the ding buzzer doesn’t even work anymore.

For those honored elderly who still drive classic Cadillacs and Lincolns, please replace the ‘ding’ with the ‘dong’.

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The Japanese Abandon Their Cars Sat, 07 Aug 2010 19:34:17 +0000

Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry has bad news for Japan’s automakers: Japanese citizens are dumping their cars and take the train. Domestic car ownership has declined for the first time since 1964, with declines particularly pronounced in big cities, report The Nikkei [sub]: “Less-status-conscious city residents are abandoning cars for public transit.”

The ministry surveys the number of cars owned per household every five years. The latest study counted 1,414 cars per 1,000 households, declining 2.2 percent from the previous 2004 poll. This marked the first fall since 1964, when the first study was conducted.

2.2 percent less is not mass abandonment. But it’s a turn. The Nikkei has a darker view: “The latest trend bodes ill for the domestic auto market and hints at a shifting sociocultural landscape, where once-common practices, such as buying a larger vehicle after starting a family or upgrading to a higher-end model after a job promotion, are no longer considered important.”

Here are the more interesting numbers: Car ownership tumbled 6.4 percent among the under-30 population and slid 6.6 percent among individuals in their 40s. Younger generations nervous about their economic futures are shying away from auto purchases, while the middle-aged are parting with their vehicles amid a deteriorating income environment.

And they are indeed switching the cars for the train: The drop in vehicles owned per household was the sharpest in Kanagawa Prefecture at 7.7 percent, followed by Chiba Prefecture’s 7.5 percent, Saitama Prefecture’s 7.2 percent and then Tokyo’s 6.9 percent. These prefectures are all part of the greater Tokyo area, bedroom cities connected by a vast and efficient public transportation system with the city core. Tokyo has one of the, if not the, most comprehensive subway systems in the world. You don’t need a car there. Most of the times, it’s a burden.  We have an apartment in Tokyo, no car. My wife owns a building lot. She makes a lot of money by renting it out as parking space.

For the few times you want a car, ther are alternatives. Domestic car-sharing sites more than doubled from a year earlier to 861 locations. Membership surged 150 percent.

Carmakers are getting desperate to attract the few young buyers that some are even holding events at elementary schools in Tokyo to drum up interest in cars among blase children. Toyota sends mechanics to schools to explain and show how cars work.

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