Saturday, December 02, 2006

Car Hauler Race: Must Watch Video!

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard before 5AM in the morning! Imagine a bunch of people driving car hauler trailers around a race track while people in cars try to race (at the same time) and drive up the car hauler while it is in motion. Actually, that is only half the race, because then they have to back OFF the trailer as well. Good, clean American fun. You can see the video on Autohauler Shopper or just click HERE.

Car hauler races. Embrace the madness.

P.S. If you're trying to figure out how to email this to someone, just click on the little envelope. You can do it from AutohaulerShopper, too.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Boydstun trailers on a rainy day in Portland.

I call this one: Rainbow of Carhaulers. Not to be confused with the rainbow coalition.

More Boydstun Pictures

A rainbow of Petes at Boydstun Metal Works in Portland, Oregon

Auto Assembly in China

If you don't think more and more of the upstream parts sourcing for carmakers is moving overseas, take a look at this site:
They're selling e-books for hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars each that contain information on the best practices for setting up plants. China Automotive
Assembler Industry US$2,550.

OK, that's an e-book for over $2500.

Whether you like it or not, moving cars made in part or in whole in China is part of the future economic pie for the auto transport industry.

Remember back in the early days, when Toyota was barely a "blip" on anybody's radar?

The good news is that the future is rarely the way you think it's going to be. Nobody in the car business would have predicted Toyota's rise. Nobody would have predicted that Toyota would be building more and more plants and hiring American labor. It is interesting how such hybridized solutions will develop in a free economy. By locating their plants closer to the market, Toyota minimizes attendant costs. They also diversify their supply logistics, which is a good hedge against adverse conditions such as war, supply bottlenecks, market "hiccups" and things of that nature. You will remember from your high school World History class that Japan is not a nation with many abundant raw materials such as natural gas, coal, iron ore, etc.

What does all this mean for folks in the auto transport industry? Everything and nothing. More foreign car makers entering the North American market means more business to go after at the ports. More domestic production means more business at the railheads and vehicle assembly plants. If America is truly undergoing a structural (vs. cyclic) shift in the economics of the auto business, then we will see more plant closings and more plant openings. Ford, GM, Daimler-Chrysler et. al. are saddled with a lot of obligations they made to unions regarding health benefits. Think about how much longer people are living today. Think about all those union widows getting their cataract surgeries done in a hospital for a co-pay of $3! (I'm not making this up, I swear!) Somebody is paying for that.

There will always be opportunities presenting themselves-- both the opportunity to fail and the opportunity to succeed. As the structural economics of car manufacturing changes, the nature of auto transportation will change: everything from trailers and auto tie-down methods (wheel straps, anyone?) to the way accounts are won and serviced. Look at what happened to Allied and Volkswagen of America a couple summers ago. So in conclusion, expect more change, faster, and with less predictibility. The future just ain't what it used to be.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Port of Tacoma Auto Transport News

Nov 22 2006 (From the Tacoma Daily Index)

The Port of Tacoma recently selected Andre L. Elmaleh as Director of Auto Business.

“Andre brings to the Port wide-ranging operational experience in the marine transportation segment of the auto industry,” said John Wolfe, the Port’s Deputy Executive Director. “He has the energy and knowledge to grow this thriving area of our business.”

The Port of Tacoma is projected to handle more than 160,000 vehicles in 2006. Major auto customers include Isuzu, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki. The Port also handles medium-duty commercial trucks for Isuzu and Fuso.

Before joining the Port, Elmaleh spent 10 years in the marine transportation segment of the auto industry, most recently serving as Port Operations Manager for Glovis America in Tacoma. Previously, he was Port Manager in Tacoma for Kia Motors America, responsible for vehicle inventory and dock-to-dealer transport. Early in his career, Elmaleh was Port Operations Supervisor in Portland, Oregon for Tacoma-based Auto Warehousing Company.

Elmaleh holds a Bachelors degree in Marketing (1994) from Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.