Thursday, December 18, 2008

Free money for car haulers*

Proposition 1B Funding: "Proposition 1B, the wide-reaching transportation bond voters approved in 2006, included one billion dollars to fund projects that reduce air pollution associated with freight movement along California’s trade corridors. The first $25 million of that funding was allocated by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in February, 2008 to “early start” projects that are ready for quick implementation, and the AQMD received $13.8 million for truck projects."

*Sort of. Kim Foster of Pasha Group actually managed to finagle some of this money for his company, which is in the process of acquiring seven new Cottrell strap units.
Kim says that in return for $100,000 grant money per truck, recipients have to meet California's more stringent environmental regulations. He says it's an 8 year agreement with the state of California. Here are just a few of the requirements:

200 visits to the port per year, per truck
All trucks have to be California plated vehicles (all in-state)
98% of the miles have to be in the stated corridor (I 15 corridor from San Diego up to L.A. Mira Loma area.)
Company trucks are subject to GPS monitoring by state. There is also additional compliance reporting, viz.; fuel reports and drivers' logs (on top of regular reports)
They have to DESTROY the old trucks they are replacing.
And if anything changes in the eight years of the agreement, the company agrees to pay California ALL of the money back.

But in exchange for this, the Prop 1B funding is giving this particular company $700,000 to go toward new trucks. Only in California.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pot calling kettle black?

Madison County Record | Maag accuses Cottrell of dirty tricks in removing suit to federal court
Maag accuses Cottrell of dirty tricks in removing suit to federal court

12/11/2008 8:18 AM
By Steve Korris

EAST ST. LOUIS - Georgia trailer maker Cottrell improperly removed a Tennessee man's injury suit from Madison County to federal court, according to attorney Thomas Maag of Wendler Law in Edwardsville.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Car hauler equipment below cost!

This is an unbelievable deal. The price includes F.E.T!! Anybody buying a truck in the next year or two will look back and wished they'd bought this one, NEW 2007 MODEL YEAR WESTERN STAR 4900FA, S60 Det 515 HP, 13 Spd OD, Eng Brake, a/r susp, 3.21 Ratio, 249" WB, 48" Star Light Slpr-Low Roof, 255/70R22.5s, Alum Whls, 14,600# FA,40,000# RA, 10 Cars, 2008 COTTRELL 3 car SL H/R, air wgt gauge, LED lights, slider deck over tandem, sliding 5th whl tlr., 2008 Cottrell 7510ST intraxx axle & susp., lift kit truck & tlr., alum flipper, tandem drop pockets, recessed L3 track, 7 night load lights, , air gauges, strobe lights RU, Stk #NEW Z23969/247901
Click here for more info.
Quick lesson in Contrarian Economics. Most folks would agree that it's almost always a good idea to pay less for an asset than more. The folks who really need new trucks for their business... but delay... are missing a huge opportunity to do just that. I mean, this here is a chance to pay a lot less. The folks who wait are going to pay $20,000 more for equipment when times are good and the dealers have more customers competing for their equipment. (Anybody remember 2006-2007?) Can I get an Amen? Most of the people I know who've got more money than me have two things in common-- and not paying retail is one of them. Ok, sermon over.

Autohauler Shopper Newsletter December 2008

Autohauler Shopper Newsletter December 2008: There's a ton of info in this month's issue. Lowering kits. New Boydstun trailer video. Cottrell dealer selling below cost. Car hauling jobs for company drivers and owner operators. Some new repair shops you might not have hard of yet that specialize in car hauler trailer repair. Plus it's written in complete sentences, unlike this article!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Chain to strap car trailer retro-fit

If you are one of the car haulers that have been told that you have to strap cars down to the trailer, you might want to check out T&C Welding's new Flat Foot Safety System. They have figured out a way to modify C10, C12 and C14 trailers so you can load them flat on the ground. They will also convert your chain ratchet boxes to straps, if you want to get away from using hand ratchet wheel straps. They have done a bunch of them already and have been having good luck with them. Cost for the basic Flat Foot Safety System conversion is about $5,500. (the wheel strap kit is additional)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

New Boydstun Cylinder Strap Truck

No, those aren't screw actuators... those are actual cylinders!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Car buying trip

The front end of my 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis started making some strange noises last week. A trip to my buddy the mechanic revealed about $1000 worth of repairs would be required. Hmm... I have a ten year old car with 125,000 miles on it... the auto industry is in crisis. I figured it might be a good time to go down to the local car dealer. I found a great little Ford Focus for $10,000. When I tried to buy the car, the salesman told me "they like to see 30% down". I asked what the interest rate was going to be. They had about three different people sit down with me and try to talk about payments. I insisted I wanted to know what the hell the interest rate was. Finally somebody told me what the interest rate was 10%. I walked out. One of the reasons why I have really good credit is because I try to avoid over-paying for stuff!

On my way home from the Ford dealer, I saw Toyota had 0% financing signs in the windows. I know I won't be able to get one of their cars for $10,000, but I'll get that back when I go to trade it in.

For those of you that are interested, I was offered $400 for my old Mercury!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

US Bank: "No loans for owner operators."

Got a call from Therese at Capital West. She said that unless a company has five or more trucks in their fleet, they will not loan money to any long haul trucker. Doesn't matter if your credit score is perfect. Doesn't matter if you've always paid your loans on time. Doesn't matter if you have a contract to haul cars. She said that the underwriters at US Bank are concerned that if a loan goes south, anybody with fewer than five trucks will be hard to find in the event they need to repo the truck.

If you do have more than five trucks, here is what you should expect to provide for a loan of $200,000:

Two years tax returns.
Personal financial statement.
Proof of home ownership.
Last 3 month's bank statements.
At least 10,000 average balance in your main banking account.

I asked what sort of interest someone with a perfect truck payment history could expect, with five year's prior experience in the industry. She said around 11.8%, but that was on a lease deal.

The freeze in Florida.

Talked to a customer yesterday who said that the auction in Ocoee, Florida was laying off 80 workers. He said the auction's business was down 69%.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Truck Finance Update 3

Was up at Tec Equipment in Portland and spoke briefly with Duane Zeigel, one of the auto transport sales reps. He says he's getting some deals done through Volvo credit, and has been able to get financing for customers with FICO scores below 700.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Truck Finance Update Part 2

Just spoke with Benny Dean at North East Auto Truck Brokers. He's telling me guidelines from lenders are tightening up. If you've got a 670 FICO, then you might be able to get an 8.5% rate. If you've got less than perfect credit, you're looking at anywhere from 10-14%.

There is money out there available, but you're going to pay more for it.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I call B.S.

Nov. 7: Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally discusses his company’s financial report on CNBC. During the interview, he says that Ford has adjusted output to sales.

Nov. 6: I talked with someone at Hansen and Adkins in California who said that the main freight they're hauling these days is for Ford.... to new storage lots they're leasing for the Ford XLT Lariat Crew Cabs nobody is buying.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Truck Finance Update: Tougher, but Possible.

11/08/08 Update to the Update
If your business really demands additional equipment, you might want to check out the re-marketing departments of the major finance companies. One Cottrell dealer I spoke with recently told me that finance companies are dumping equipment on the market, possibly in hopes of taking part in a government bailout plan. A 2006 truck and trailer which would ordinarily sell for around $200,000 was recently sold for $116,000 by the finance company who had to repossess it. The truck had 300,000 miles on it! The guy who owned that truck before you probably didn't have the money to keep up with the maintenance on it either. You could buy a truck that has serious issues relating from deferred maintenance.

I was talking with Mark Mecklem at Boydstun the other day about truck finance issues in the current economic climate. Mark says that there is no doubt that conditions are more challenging, but they're still finding ways to get deals done.

He says that slower unit sales are not necessarily directly related to a financing slow-down. In many cases, it's simply a matter of a trucking company deciding to delay purchasing new equipment until they get enough business to justify the investment.

Mark says that some finance companies like GE Capital have tightened their lending guidelines and raised interest rates, but this isn't something that is industry-wide.

On the whole, what lenders are looking for is the following:

Decent FICO scores, not necessarily perfect. For people with less than perfect scores, loans are still. possible by cross-collaterizing the deal, i.e., lien against an existing asset like a truck.

Previous experience in the industry

A history of making truck payments on time

And even if all of this doesn't line up exactly, there are so-called "hard-money" lenders who will take a look at a deal and listen. If you've got the business to justify the investment, they just might be willing to make a loan. After all-- if they're not lending money, they're not making money.

Bottom line: if you really need a new truck and you've got the business to support the investment, don't sit on the sidelines thinking you can't buy a truck. The deals that need to get done will probably get done.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

EZ Grip Car Hauler Strap w/ Swivel Hooks

New kind of ratchet wheel strap with double-sided tread grabbers. Features 5/8 inch diameter swivel J hooks for fast, secure operation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Allied closes down terminal.

Allied Automotive Group, the motor carrier hauling the SUVs made at the GM plant, will terminate its Janesville operation Dec. 23, putting all 117 employees out of work. Read original article here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Boydstun Cylinder Strap Trucks Available

This is an excerpt from the press-release sent over earlier:

Boydstun Metal Works has introduced the latest addition to their product line. The new Cylinder Soft Tie unit is now available in a 7 car Quickload trailer with a 3 or 4 car headrack. . . . The decks on the new unit have been designed to come down low enough for a driver to stand on the ground while securing cars which reduces the chance for slips and falls.

Wheel Strap for Vertical E track Delta Ring End

Take a look at the latest car tie down strap we spec'd out for new customer, Excellent Auto Carriers. It features an extra long 10' strap with D ring so he can use his chain ratchets to tighten down. Also, it's got three heavy duty O ring type fittings-- one sewn to the end of the strap, then an idler, then 3 tread grabs, then another idler. The reason for this, is so he can pull excess through, if need be, and secure wheel on both sides with idler. Pretty unusual strap set-up, but I guess in the trailer he had built for him at Trailer Tech, there was one position where a ratchet handle type wheel strap really wouldn't work as well. More info here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Daimler to Drop Sterling Brand, Eliminate 3,500 Jobs

Light & Medium Truck | Daimler to Drop Sterling Brand, Eliminate 3,500 Jobs: "In a sweeping move, Daimler AG announced today that it was dropping the Sterling Trucks brand, eliminating about 3,500 jobs and closing two of its factories as it reorganizes its North American operations."

They are keeping Western Star and Freightliner, though Freightliner is pulling out of Portland. Freightliner's Cascadia model will be built in Mexico. Ironic, isnt' it, that something named Cascadia will be built in Mexico.

Briefs: GMAC limits auto loans to credit scores of 700 or better | Business |

Briefs: GMAC limits auto loans to credit scores of 700 or better | Business | "DETROIT — GMAC, the consumer-finance arm of General Motors, said it will limit auto loans to customers with credit scores of at least 700, making it harder for some to buy a car or truck. GMAC also raised what it charges auto dealers for making loans that aren’t part of special incentive programs, increasing the rate by 0.75 percentage point, the company said Monday. Most loans will be limited to 60 months. GMAC is tightening credit as it and GM battle speculation about their survival."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The GM, Ford death watch - Oct. 9, 2008

The GM, Ford death watch - Oct. 9, 2008: "NEW YORK (Fortune) -- How bad is it going to get for automakers? Worse, much worse."

Say it ain't so. In a phone conversation with my dad this morning, he asked, "Have you seen what's happening with GM?" I clicked over to Marketwatch, and at the time we were talking, GM had lost 16% of its value in just the early morning trading.

At its peak in 2000, GM stock was trading at close to $95 a share. This time last year, it was trading around $45. Now it's worth little more than $5.

Watch for a potential merger or a brand spin-off with Hyundai, who is terrified of losing the lower end of the market to the Chinese manufacturers. Nostradamus has spoken.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Propaganda to get you to vote Democrat this year

Yes, I really sent this to my parents-- my dad, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican and my mom, a true undecided.

Hey mom-- make sure dad reads this!

Here is my propaganda to get you to vote Democrat this year:

We get the government we deserve. In 2004 we re-elected Bush. In 2000, it could be argued that we didn't know better. Not in '04. We can't pin every problem we're facing on "W", but with hindsight, it is clear that some problems we're in were compounded by his actions.

* massive increases in government spending
* no more surpluses-- huge deficits in the budget as far as the eye can see
* doubling of the government debt
* Bin Laden and extremists of his ilk still out there
* un-insured's emergency room visits getting passed on to insureds in the form of increased costs. these people's conditions might be managed for pennies on the dollar with medicine before they need expensive E.R. treatments , but anything other than the status quo is resisted by the G.O.P. as "socialized medicine.

The Republican party used to be fiscally conservative. Not any more. That's why I am no longer a Republican. But I didn't leave the party. They left me. Say what you will about Bill Clinton's personal conduct, his successful battle against government budget deficits was masterful. Part of his effort was politically unpopular-- raising taxes, and trimming entitlements. But he turned around the budget deficits that were the legacy of the Reagan-Bush era. And the economy didn't self-destruct, even though he came to office directly following the recession of '91.

This election, I encourage you to re-evaluate how you look at things.

* Are we better off than we were four years ago? Eight years ago?
* What are the qualitative differences between McCain and Bush policies?
o I haven't seen much difference, other than a campaign promise about health tax company sponsored health benefits in exchange for a $5000 tax credit. This bill, if it even becomes a bill, will almost certainly die in committee on capitol hill.
* Has anyone talked about how to constrain these budget deficits, or the risks entailed to the economy if we don't?

My personal belief is that people will decide the presidential race based on the most important thing, something I haven't yet heard a debate moderator even ask!

Who will be the best unifier of the country? Who will bring people together to solve our common problems?

Think about it before you pull that lever or mark that ballot!

GE Capital--addendum

Here is a little follow-up to yesterday's story. Just talked to a trailer manufacturer in Michigan who told me that GE Capital's minimum FICO for loans is 750. This is pretty much their way of saying "Um, we're not loaning any money on trucks, sorry."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How the financial crisis affects car haulers

First of all, the scarcity of money-- the so-called "liquidity crisis" makes deals on major equipment harder to complete. You pay more for the capital you need to purchase new trucks. It becomes harder for you to sell your truck, because the person buying your truck has the same problem. There are fewer buyers that qualify as lending guidelines grow tighter. Some banks go into panic mode, and refuse to write certain loans, no matter how good your credit is. There is less competition among lenders for your business. That's never a good thing.

Consider the rates that GE Credit is offering today in their fleet credit program: 12% to qualified buyers. Three months ago, the rate was 8%. (As reported by Andrea West, owner and finance manager of West Coast Enterprises, the nation's newest Cottrell auto transport trailer dealership.)

Secondly, there is less freight to haul, because fewer people who want new cars qualify for credit. It becomes harder to "push that 4000 lbs of steel" across the sales desk at dealerships around the country. Less new car sales equals less used car sales. Less car sales means the auction freight slows down.

Thirdly, less POV freight as people cutback their spending, and as the housing crisis makes it harder to sell homes and move.

Disaster Economics 101

As with all things, the less there is of something, the more you will have to pay for it. The less money there is available to be loaned out (liquidity) the more you're going to have to compete for it. Also-- as more and more banks have to take crappy loans back onto their balance sheet, the less money they will have available to loan out, because of capitalization requirements.

And with banks uncertain about each others' willingness and ability to repay loans to each other, more and more banks here and abroad are having to rely on the central banks for overnight requirements.

The "seizing up" of the commercial paper market is happening in parallel with this, (in a huge oversimplification) pretty much because money market funds no longer want to buy the commercial bonds offered by businesses needing to raise large sums of money for short periods of time to meet their cash requirements.

Normally, banks perceive loans made to each other to be so "safe" that the spread between what the US Treasury pays and what a major bank pays for money is measured in tenths of a percentage point.
The current spread between the 3 month Treasury bill and the LIBOR (London Inter Bank Offering Rate) is almost four percentage points. This spread provides a pretty good index of liquidity within the economic system, and lower is definitely better.

This brings us to the final point, that most self-employed car haulers are already aware of...There is just less money "out there".

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ford, BMW & Renault forecast slow 2009 Worldwide:
I guess you'd file this under "Expecting things to turn around? Don't hold your breath.
"Oct. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Ford Motor Co. and France's Renault SA said a slump in car sales may be more prolonged than manufacturers have anticipated.

Auto markets won't recover until at least the middle of next year, BMW Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said today at the Paris Motor Show. The world's largest luxury-car maker may deepen production cuts if people continue to delay purchases. Ford CEO Alan Mulally said a recovery won't begin before 2010 and Renault boss Carlos Ghosn said the slowdown may last two years."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cottrell trailers marketing genius

Cottrell has re-branded their strap trailers under the moniker "NextGen". This came on the heels of the stern letter they sent out that warned against modifying their chain trucks to use straps instead of chains. This letter basically said, "Convert your chain trailer to straps, and you might just void your warranty. blah, blah blah You should buy a strap truck, if that's what you really need. blah, blah blah"

This is sheer genius. Lawsuits against Cottrell are practically a cottage industry for certain law firms. The LAST thing they need is another lawsuit. It defies logic to imagine how a jury could conceivably blame Cottrell for a problem resulting from a modification of their trailer done by a third party. But of course, the legal system defies logic on a daily basis. Cottrell has turned a potential negative into a marketing opportunity.

So... if you're hauling Toyotas, you have the pleasure of deciding whether to (maybe) void your warranty on your not-so-old trailer... OR... sell your chain trailer into a down market, take a hit and buy a new strap unit from Cottrell. If you can get financing.

Of course, you could buy a strap unit from Boydstun, but at least as of today's date, that would have to be a strap unit that utilizes screw actuator units. Boydstun is supposed to be coming out with their own version of a cylinder-strap trailer any day now, so I'll post something on that when I hear more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Automakers Lobby For Bailout : NPR

Automakers Lobby For Bailout : NPR: "Automakers Lobby For Bailout"

Hmm... perhaps EVERYONE should begin asking their congressional delegation for some money. Maybe we should just turn America into a giant day-care center where we get to just play with trucks and Play-dough and never have to face adult responsibilities ever again. That would be sweet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Auto Transport Jobs

If you're looking for experienced auto transport drivers, Autohauler Shopper has just turned on the "JOBS" module on their website. To post ads for car hauling jobs, just login to your account and post an ad. The employment advertising costs $49.95 per month for unlimited text. This ought to make things a bit easier for recruiters! Any questions, please call 503-342-2085

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boydstun to close Jacksonville, FL shop

Just heard that Boydstun Metalworks is shutting down their Jacksonville repair facility. Owners of Boydstun equipment down there would be well-advised to visit Walter over at T&C Welding. (Also in Jacksonville)

He ran the maintenance shop for the Toyota hauler Southeastern Transport, and they've run Boydstun trailers for quite a while. He is quite familiar with the Boydstun product. However, if you've got any service issues with a Boydstun screw unit, you probably need to call Boydstun first.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

National Association for Small Trucking Companies

Joe Pye, general manager of LMR Trucking told me today that they are seeing significant fuel cost savings as a result of their participation in the NASTC fuel program. Headquartered in Hendersonville, TN, NASTC provides lobbying efforts on behalf of small fleets, plus they have negotiated discounts on fuel, truck services, insurance and more.

Joe says annual dues to join are $350. He said that when they started using NASTC a little over a year ago, the amount their fleet of 14 trucks saved on fuel paid for that membership in one weekend!

LMR Trucking joined solely for the purpose of lowering their overall fuel costs, but Joe says there are plenty of other services available at a discounted rate through NASTC: drug screening, insurance, repair discounts, cell phone discountsetc.

Joe says that they tried the NASTC's driver hiring service, and it didn't really work for them, as most of the applicants had no prior auto transport experience. However, when he called to cancel the service, NASTC refunded his money without any hassle. Joe said that when they were first looking into the program, NASTC sent out a rep who dealt directly with their primary concerns about the fuel program-- and didn't try to sell them a bunch of stuff they weren't interested in.

For more information, you can call NASTC at 800-264-8580

Friday, September 05, 2008

Pounds of pot found in car hauler

Pounds of pot found in western, northern NM - Las Cruces Sun-News: "In Gallup, authorities at the port of entry became suspicious of the cargo on a car hauler being inspecting Tuesday morning. Inside one of the cars on the hauler was 129 pounds of marijuana in duffel bags.

Authorities arrested Peter Harris, 28, and Fabian Williams, 31, both of Florida."

129 lbs? That's some pretty serious quantity... and serious jail time, too. And if you inform on the dude you're hauling for-- possibly even worse consequences for you or your friends and family. That's what you'd call a lose-lose situation. Let those guys haul their own drugs. Seriously.

Another drugs & car hauler story

DPS dog sniffs out hidden drugs in truck being hauled on I-10 | ®: "The Arizona Department of Public Safety discovered drugs inside a pickup truck being carried on a car hauler east of Tucson Tuesday morning.
At 10:46 a.m., on Interstate 10 east of Tucson between the turnoff to Arizona 83 and Benson, a Department of Public Safety officer stopped an eastbound car hauler, said Carmen Figueroa, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
A drug sniffing dog alerted the officer to the odor of drugs in a pickup truck, she said. They found drugs in a false bed or a pickup, she said."

Sounds like this driver had nothing to do with it. Folks, I'm telling you, the drug enforcement authorities are focusing their attention on car haulers. Keep your nose clean! (literally AND figuratively) You don't want to haul some loads. Drugs are bad, m'kay?

Car hauler busted for hauling $3M of coke

CRIME Blog | The Dallas Morning News: "The government presented evidence at trial that Watkins, and his co-defendant, Steven Alexander Aaron, 37, were arrested on April 22, 2008, after their eastbound vehicle, a tractor-trailer car hauler, was stopped by a West Central Texas Interlocal Crime Task Force Officer on Interstate 20, near mile marker 266, in Taylor County, Texas, because it didn't have secure chains or a license plate. Aaron was driving the vehicle; Watkins was the sole passenger. The car hauler was loaded with a maroon Chrysler minivan and a black Range Rover. After obtaining Aaron's consent, the officers searched the tractor-trailer and the two loaded vehicles, and discovered six bricks of cocaine in a black backpack in the rear hatch of the Range Rover. Testimony at trial showed that Watkins had hidden the backpack in the Range Rover. The street value of the cocaine in the backpack is approximately $3 million."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Car hauler: help wanted in Portland, Oregon

We need car haulers in the Portland area to help us demonstrate a bunch of new products. We're chomping at the bit to use some new video equipment we just purchased. If you've got a three car trailer or a stacker unit, we'd like to talk to you. Call 503-342-2085.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Latest Google stats for Car Hauler News

For the last 30 days:

1,800 people visited this site
2,525 Visits
1,800 Absolute Unique Visitors
6,408 Pageviews
2.54 Average Pageviews
00:02:40 Time on Site

Our popularity must be due to our money-back guarantee! Seriously, though... thanks for stopping by! And if you have any news folks need to hear, let me know.

You get what you pay for... bananas!

Scott Chandler, owner of Park Service Logistics told me a funny story today. He said a car hauler he knows got underbid by $500 on a load. A little bit later, the broker called back up and said that the truck that pulled up to haul his $60,000 car was loaded with crates of bananas, and they were just going to stick that fancy car on the rear of that trailer somehow.


I think it's stories like these that indicate we must be getting somewhere near the bottom of load price. But you still hear stories of cutthroat competition. And, unfortunately, it's usually an auto transport company cutting its own throat.

It reminds me of that old saying from the sixties-- "What if they had a war and nobody showed up?"

What if there was a load and nobody showed up?
What do you suppose would happen next?

Here's a really simple truth. A broker's quality of service is directly dependent on the quality of the carriers that are hauling his loads for him. Since most businesses grow by positive word of mouth and referrals, what do you think is going to happen to the fly-by-night operations that sit on a load for two weeks waiting for some carrier to agree to haul it for pennies? That right there is a strike against him... but more importantly, when that load does finally gets picked up, is that driver going to give the best service? Maybe... maybe not.

Brokers who squeeze the carriers this hard are basically violating the biblical principle "As you sow, so shall you reap." It's one thing to negotiate, but to press your advantage in a way that cripples the other party is unsustainable. It's trying to get something for nothing.

Contrast this behavior with the broker that negotiates a decent price with his customer, and offers the carrier a fair price for his service. If his driver is getting enough money to meet his needs, isn't he more likely to return phone calls, and make the extra effort that is going to improve that broker's reputation with that customer... and lead to more referrals and repeat business?

I think anything other than this type of sustainable business relationship is just... bananas.

Monday, August 25, 2008

MyFox Atlanta | Michigan Truck Driver Tapped to Speak at Democratic Convention

MyFox Atlanta | Michigan Truck Driver Tapped to Speak at Democratic Convention: It'll be interesting to hear what he has to say... will it in any way reflect the business realities faced by car haulers in the current climate, or will it lean more toward boiler-plate union language?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Auto transport equipment auction: PTS TRANSPORT and ALVAN

Ritchie Bros. to auction remaining assets of PERFORMANCE TRANSPORT and ALVAN: "Ritchie Bros. to auction remaining assets of PERFORMANCE TRANSPORT and ALVAN"

Click on the link to read the article and see a partial list of items.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Boydstun building strap car hauler with cylinders

The folks at Boydstun are building a strap trailer that will use cylinders instead of screw actuators. The target market for this new type of car hauler seems to be the owner operators who have been reluctant to adopt the new screw technology. Boydstun will continue to build screw trucks, which have seen wider acceptance by larger fleets of new car haulers like Toyota Logistics.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Autohauler Shopper Forums • View forum - UShip, Central Dispatch, CarloadUSA

The Autohauler Shopper Forums • View forum - UShip, Central Dispatch, CarloadUSA: "UShip, Central Dispatch, CarloadUSA"

Some of the posts in this part of the forum make a lot of sense. Frank discussion of issues related to the car hauling industry.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Performance Transportation Services

If PTS, Hadley, E&L, etc. owe you any money, then you should know that there is a creditor's meeting on August 25, 2008 at 9:00AM.
Location: Office of the U.S. Trustee, 42 Delaware Avenue, Suite 110, Buffalo, NY 14202

May the force be with you.

New alloy tie-down bar for car haulers

This might be of interest to any of you car haulers who are sick of buying tie-down bars that look like they need Viagra after just one use! Click here for more info.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Attention Acura Car Haulers

Just heard Acura is getting rid of tie-down holes in the frame for model year 2009. Honda will probably be next. It's a strap-on world!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

GM Cuts Dividend, Payrolls to Add Cash

Light & Medium Truck | GM Cuts Dividend, Payrolls to Add Cash: "General Motors Corp., buffeted by a U.S. sales collapse and three years of losses, suspended its stock dividend, cut salaried payroll by 20% and proposed selling assets to raise at least $15 billion in the next 18 months, Bloomberg News reported."

I was talking with someone I know at an enclosed trailer manufacturer in the Detroit area, and he says that a lot of the fleets hauling domestic vehicles have one third of their trucks parked.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Madison County Record | No punitives allowed in Cottrell personal injury, judge rules

Madison County Record | No punitives allowed in Cottrell personal injury, judge rules: "No punitives allowed in Cottrell personal injury, judge rules

7/2/2008 7:48 PM
By Steve Korris

Madison County Circuit Judge Dave Hylla will not allow trucker Michael Mandeville to claim punitive damages from the company that built the trailer he hauled.

Hylla dismissed two counts for punitive damages against Cottrell Inc., of Georgia, on June 19."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Ask and ye shall receive higher paying loads... maybe.

Had an interesting conversation about load prices with a car hauler today. He told me the first thing he says in every conversation with brokers and dealers is this: "I'm going to need more money."

He said that most of the people he does business with on a regular basis understand what's going on with fuel prices, and a typical reply is-- "OK, what do you need?" Followed by, "OK, I'll call the customer."

He says most guys call right back and tell him OK.

Of course you're wondering-- "What about the guys that don't want to hear about fuel prices?"

He tells them, "Sorry, can't do it for that."

With all the folks that are heading for the exit door, I think that the momentum is going to start shifting in favor of the driver as there are less and less trucks available. Cars will sit for two weeks, three weeks or more on the load boards... brokers will start having to explain the facts of life to their customers. Load prices will start to inch up as brokers play the cat-and-mouse game to find out how efficiently they can price these loads and have them picked up in a timely fashion.

And naturally, the transport companies that prosper will be the ones that don't rely exclusively on load boards for the majority of their billing. The ones that develop long-term business relationships with reputable brokers, dealers, moving companies will not be the ones suffering from selling their service wholesale on a load board while fuel gobbles up half of their revenue.

So... repeat after me...

"I'm going to need more money."
"Sorry, I can't haul your cars for that price."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Autohauler Shopper Forums • View topic - Help please - Kansas is OUT OF CONTROL

The Autohauler Shopper Forums • View topic - Help please - Kansas is OUT OF CONTROL: "Help please - Kansas is OUT OF CONTROL"

Wedge car haulers-- beware! State D.O.T. officials and cops have their own ideas about what is legal, and you'll want to know what they are before you try to haul cars in states with which you are unfamiliar!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No more Caterpillar engines for the US?

Light & Medium Truck | Caterpillar Exits U.S. Truck Market, Partners With Navistar: "Caterpillar Exits U.S. Truck Market, Partners With Navistar

In an agreement that signaled a major shift in the U.S. and international commercial truck markets, Navistar International and Caterpillar Inc. said Thursday they will pursue business opportunities around the world together as Caterpillar bowed out of the North American medium- and heavy-duty engine mark"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

CEO of strikebound car hauler: Company to close -

CEO of strikebound car hauler: Company to close - "'Unfortunately, for reasons we do not fully understand, the Teamsters concluded that it was not in their interest to accept our offer,' Cornish wrote.

'Management and many of our Teamster members were willing to make the requested sacrifices to save the company, but the leadership of the union had a different agenda,' Cornish added.

Ford spokesman Todd Nissen and Toyota spokesman Xavier Dominicis said Friday evening that the automakers have had contingency plans in place since the Teamsters struck PTS, which is one of many companies contracted to haul vehicles.

'This won't have a bearing initially on our ability to deliver cars out to the customers,' Nissen said. Alternatives might include greater use of railroads to deliver vehicles, he said."

PTS group ceases operations

| Business | "Car hauler decides to cease operations

DETROIT -- Performance Transportation Services' president said Friday that the car hauler and its related companies are ceasing operations, five days after 1,250 Teamster employees went on strike. Allen Park, Mich.-based PTS is North America's second-largest hauler of new vehicles and operated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company anticipated negotiating a long-term contract during that time, but the Teamsters instead went on strike Monday. -- The Associated Press"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Teamsters back on Ford jobs | courier-journal | The Courier-Journal

Teamsters back on Ford jobs | courier-journal | The Courier-Journal

Workers who load railcars with new vehicles are earning slightly less but still receiving the same health and pension benefits at the Louisville Assembly and Kentucky Truck plants.

A deal worked out by Teamsters Local 89 President Fred Zuckerman with Auto Port Ltd. has 435 Teamsters working for $17 and $18 an hour, instead of $20 to $22. Workers retained health and pension benefits worth roughly $500 a week, he said.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Car hauler: Strike may sink company

Car hauler: Strike may sink company: "Car hauler: Strike may sink company
Bankrupt PTS cuts pay 15%; Teamsters walk out
Louis Aguilar and David Shepardson / The Detroit News

A strike against the nation's No. 2 car hauler could force the company quickly out of business, the company's chief executive said Monday, a sentiment some striking Teamsters members said they were prepared to accept rather than take a temporary pay cut."

Chrysler Asks Contractors to Cut Prices

Light & Medium Truck | Chrysler Asks Contractors to Cut Prices: "Chrysler Asks Contractors to Cut Prices

By Light & Medium Truck

Chrysler LLC told contractors including office-supply vendors and construction companies to accept a 5% price reduction that began June 1, Bloomberg News reported."

I haven't heard from anybody if this request includes auto transport companies hauling Chrysler product.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Union car haulers walk off job in 15 states -

Union car haulers walk off job in 15 states - "Union car haulers walk off job in 15 states"

Teamsters strike against Allen Park car hauler

Teamsters strike against Allen Park car hauler: "Teamsters strike against Allen Park car hauler
The Detroit News

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters sent its members on strike at 9 this morning against the nation's No. 2 car hauler in the United States in a dispute over court-approved pay cuts and other contract issues.

The union is upset that Performance Transportation Services, which delivers 2.7 million vehicles a year including 10,400 vehicles a day for General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., won federal bankruptcy court approval to immediately impose a 15 percent pay cut on 1,250 Teamster drivers through July 31."

OK-- if you are a secondary hauler for Toyota-- make sure you have some wheel straps. Your phone is about to ring.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Teamsters may strike at PTS

Teamsters may strike car hauler that cut pay: "Teamsters may strike car hauler that cut pay"

If you are listed with Toyota as a secondary supplier, you better make sure you've got your ratchet wheel straps ready to go or on order!

I remember a few years ago when Volkswagen of America dropped Allied and went with their secondaries. We sold out of wheel straps in about two hours.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

GM truck plant closure points the way to a smaller future. Canada: "Truck output will end at plants in Oshawa, Ontario; Moraine, Ohio; Janesville, Wisconsin; and Toluca, Mexico. The factories produce models such as the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra large pickups, TrailBlazer and Envoy SUVs and medium-duty trucks.

The plants will close in 2009 and 2010 and probably won't reopen, Wagoner said. They employ a total of 7,590 hourly and 676 salaried employees, the company said."

This is another sign of the times, just like the Suburbans you see on the side of the road with "For Sale" signs in the window.

The North American auto business is slowly but surely relocating to the southeastern United States. As GM and Ford shutter assembly plants in the midwest, and as foreign automakers break ground in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia, auto manufacturing jobs, plus the machining jobs of suppliers, plus the jobs at the other end of the factory-- the auto transport work-- is slowly but surely moving to the Southeast where the land is plentiful and the unions are scarce.

If you read the article I've linked to, you will see that the head of the union in the near the Canadian plant slated for closure said that the union would fight GM on this.

Make no mistake: the current downturn in the business cycle is masking a broader structural shift in auto manufacturing, and by extension, auto transport. The old American behemoths, GM, Ford and Chrysler, can no longer compete effectively. They are hamstrung by their obligations to the Union-- paying insurance costs for widows who are living longer and longer and requiring more and more expensive medical care.

Even a financial genius would have had a hard time playing the hand that has been dealt to the big American automakers... but they have certainly been playing at a sub-genius level. Consider the fact that Ford virtually ceded the passenger car market to Toyota and Honda in the last decade. (Remember back in the nineties, when the Ford Taurus was the #1 selling car in America?) They basically just put granny on the iceberg in their rush to produce more F-150s, Explorers and Expeditions.

Well, you reap what you sow. As the world's emerging economies compete with the U.S. for commodities like oil and steel, don't expect fuel prices to go back down just because Americans start buying more fuel efficient cars from Kia, Hyundai, Toyota and Hyundai (and, occasionally, Ford, GM and Chrysler).

I think we can expect future business cycles to depart from the usual boom-bust cycle of past decades. It seems we have entered a period where energy prices will consume a much larger percentage of everyone's budget. Couple this with the rising US budget deficits and the rising costs of Medicare and Social Security as the baby boomers start to retire, and it is not hard to imagine a future in which the majority of car owners keep their vehicles for 10 years or more, because they're spending all their money on adult day care for their parents, $12 per gallon fuel and a 60% combined tax on their income.

The car haulers who stay busy will be the ones hauling tiny little electrics and hybrids made by Kia, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda et. al. in the southeastern U.S.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mabro Auto Transport: SOLD!

Just found out about this deal today... apparently, Pasha has taken over Mabro. I knew that Pasha has a small fleet of trucks down in Huntington Beach, CA where they haul cars to be put on ships going to Hawaii-- but after a quick visit to their website, I see their operations cover quite a bit more ground than that. To see Pasha's automotive logistics locations, click here.

I wonder if this is just the first wave of new mergers and acquisitions as auto transport continues to get slammed by rising fuel prices and stagnant and declining load prices? In the current economic conditions, it seems that California houses aren't the only assets with "For Sale" signs in the front yard.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Car hauler wheel strap deals

For those of you thinking about ordering some ratchet wheel straps, they're on sale now at Autohauler Supply for $15.95. This is the best car hauler wheel strap deal out there that I know of.

Fuel Prices

Robert at Fast Line Auto Transport said one of his drivers paid $5.13 for fuel somewhere in New England. We were talking about the recent price increases in fuel, and he said that in past years, fuel cost was approximately 25% of revenue, in good times and in bad. He said now it's more like 50%. If fuel prices keep going up, they're going to need to come up with sky hooks or something to transport these vehicles!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cottrell Lawsuit Update

Madison County Record | Stack allows Cottrell to go after defective idler supplier: "Georgia trailer maker Cottrell Inc., defending itself on an allegation that a defective idler caused a trucker's injury, claims to have discovered that it didn't provide or install the idler"

The Autohauler Shopper Forums • View topic - Sales & Service: The Best and the Worst

The Autohauler Shopper Forums • View topic - Sales & Service: The Best and the Worst: "Can't help but another BIG Kudos for Chris' Quality Welding in Fontana,Ca. second to NO ONE and Mid-western in kansas City, MO.....great work!! Chris has done almost a trick my truck kind of job on my headrack cuz an idiot that was not suppose to be driving hit me on the driver side causing me to jacknife..."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Latest Cottrell Recall

Heard through the grapevine that Cottrell has a recall on one of their trailers, something about stress fractures on the front posts. Might want to check that out if you've got one and give them a call. Checked their website, but couldn't find any safety bulletin, so it might be something Cottrell is handling through the mail directly with owners who bought specific units. I think they're replacing 3/16" material with 1/4 inch or putting on an additional gusset or something.

Truck and Trailer Recalls - Lawyer and Attorney - Truck Accident

Truck and Trailer Recalls - Lawyer and Attorney - Truck Accident: "Cottrell Car Haul Trailer Recall: Risk of Roof Coming off of Trailer
Cottrell is recalling 68 MY 2002-2007 C-8ENC enclosed car haul trailers that are equipped with roofs that raise and lower. The roofs are attached to a raising/lowering mechanism by round tubes that are welded to the roof. There are 4 tubes welded to each roof and 2 roofs per each complete piece of equipment."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mini Car Hauler for Mini Cooper

Possibly the smallest car hauler in the world! Manufacturer, Dan Skorcz 714-936-9613

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Allied Yucaipa

Does anyone know what's happening with Allied? They're sending owner operators back from Las Vegas empty, even though they (Allied Holdings) could make 35% on any of the freight that the drivers found on their own at the auction. Is anyone driving the bus?

Cottrell sued. Again.

Madison County Record | Cottrell, Inc. named in St. Clair County personal injury suit: "Cottrell, Inc. named in St. Clair County personal injury suit"

Hard to believe, but there is another Cottrell lawsuit in the news.

This time, apparently it is Cottrell's fault that their trailers get backed into things and bend the frame that encloses the loading skid. It is also their fault that the frame gets dirty and doesn't get washed. It is their fault that loading ramps wear out and don't get replaced. This is madness!

I've seen loading skids that stubbornly refused to go in properly or come out easily. It does take excessive force in some instances to use them. When the frame is not damaged, however, the design on the Cottrell trailer works great because there are two huge roller bearings that make it slide in and out much like the drawer of a filing cabinet.

On a trailer of this size, there is no way you could engineer a design that would not be susceptible to damage if the driver backs into a high curb or something (a common way these skid boxes get tweaked). I've seen Boydstun trailers that had the same problem.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

GM Strike idling Penske auto transport

MyFox Kansas City | GM Strike Causes Supplier Layoffs: "GM Strike Causes Supplier Layoffs"

This is all in addition to the strike at Lansing and the threatened strike in Ohio. Look for more plant closures as the domestic auto makers grow weaker due to economic conditions and continued labor problems.

Jack Cooper Auto Transport

Trying to get a small UPS shipment in to Jack Cooper Transport-- UPS won't go in because of the strike in Kansas City.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Kaufman Trailer's new 5 car trailer

Just talked with Ken Carroll over at Kaufman trailers-- they've got a pretty cool little 5 pack you can haul behind a dually with a 5th wheel. You've got to see it to believe it. Go here to see Kaufman's new car carrier.

Monday, May 05, 2008

New Kia Assembly Plant

Well, if there's any bright side to the rising cost of gas, it might be this-- Kia has broken ground for a new auto assembly plant in Westpoint, Georgia. Guesstimate of plant completion date is late 2009. I've never been all that interested in Hyundai or Kia as a choice for a vehicle for myself, but I've got to admit the price they're advertising these cars for and the strong warranty gets my attention. Might get other folks attention when those economic stimulus checks start showing up in mailboxes this spring. Their fuel efficiency is certainly right up there.

Seems as if the auto industry is re-structuring itself as new plants owned by BMW, Mercedes, Toyota, Kia, etc. open up in the southeastern states and more and more domestic plants close in the northern states. That's good news for fleets like Hansen and Adkins, Centurion, Waggoners and other auto transport companies that have a strong foundation in the Southeast and are already hauling cars for some of these manufacturing companies.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cylinder kit repacking tool will pay for itself!

This tool is awesome!:
If you're tired of paying somebody a hundred bucks to repack one cylinder-- you should try this tool! What does this thing do? You know how hard it is to get seals into the top cap of an aluminum hydraulic cylinder? This tool has spring-loaded fingers that will curl up the seal in such a way, that when you depress the handles, it pops into place!

Here's a useful tip for you guys who want to take out the old seals-- trust me, this will keep you from damaging the cylinder eye nut grooves. Take an old flathead screw driver and grind off the corners-- make them nice and rounded. Also helps if you get it kind of thinned out. Then you can use these to pry out the seals that set way down in those grooves. If you don't get rid of the edges, or you use something to sharp and nasty, you risk damaging the grooves, which will mess up the new seals that you're going to put into that old cylinder you're trying to save.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Double your donations to the World Food Program

Autohauler Supply has just come out with a way for you to double any contributions you want to make to the United Nation's World Food Program. Contributions of $1, $5 and $10 are being matched, dollar for dollar.

To donate money to the World Food Program and get those matching dollars, click here.

Success is a journey. Saving the world is a decision.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Car Haulers Parking Their Trucks

Looks like the economics of auto transport have reached the point where it's starting to make sense for folks to park their trucks and cancel the insurance policy.

Car haulers have been whipsawed by rising fuel costs at the same time that auto sales have slipped dramatically, contributing to the decline in the amount of cars needing transport. Factor in the sub-prime mortgage mess and the lack of economic growth, and you can see that it may get worse before it gets better. Less general economic growth and an uncertain real estate market will mean less people moving hither and yon-- and less POV cars to haul. Folks concerned about their jobs will tend to delay big purchasing decisions. Oh yeah, and it's an election year. Plus, we're at war, with budget deficits as far as the eye can see. (And that's before the tsunami of baby boom retirees start drawing Medicare and Social Security benefits!)

Does this suck? Yes. Am I worried? No.

Everything that's happening is happening for a reason. The economy is a dynamic system, and it will always move and seek new points of equilibrium. It's already happening-- in the last two weeks, I've spoken with several people who have sold their trucks or parked their trucks. I've heard of other folks who had no choice but to let the banks take back their equipment. All of these individual actions and decisions create a total re-adjustment of the auto transport economy as supply shrinks to meet the decreased demand. At a certain point, brokers will post loads for a ridiculous price, and nobody will take them because they're already busy pulling loads that pay more. And load price will gradually rise.

The thing about business cycles is this: during good times, supply expands slowly as more people acquire the tools they need to fill the need. They're entering the market at different times. When the economy goes south, it usually does so precipitously, triggered by some unforeseen financial calamity (implosion of collateralized debt obligations due to sub-prime lending fiasco).

As people start to see "the handwriting on the wall" so to speak, what you get next is a mass exodus-- a rush for the exit as people decide (more or less simultaneously) to throw in the towel.

As an armchair economist, my suggestion is this:

If you really love car hauling, and you want to stay in this business, then now is the time to start getting really creative about growing your business... seeking ways to develop a more profitable customer base. Find out who your most profitable customers are and try to get more of them. This may mean getting out of your comfort zone and being your company's number one salesman. So be it. If you want to survive, you're going to have to do more than cruise the load boards for the next six months. If you can become an expert at marketing your business in this way, you will stand a chance to reap some big rewards once the market adjusts and there are actually less car haulers available then are necessary to move the freight in a timely manner. It will happen, trust me.

If you're not really interested in hauling cars, then this would be the time to bail. Seriously! In a rush for the exit, you want to be the first one out the door if you can... you'll end up getting more for your truck when you sell, and (hopefully) you won't have lost everything by trying to hang on. If it ain't for you, it ain't for you. And this business is not for everybody. There's no shame in declaring defeat and pulling your capital out before you lose it. That's just smart business sense. And if you'd rather do something else for a living anyway, then that just lends weight to the "Get the hell out of Dodge City" option.

Rededicate yourself to prospering in this business, or sell your truck. Those are the only options that make any sense. It's going to be an uphill grade for at least the next 6-9 months, and nobody is going to coast their way into easy money.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Selling your car hauler?

If you need to sell your truck, check out the advertising deal at Autohauler Shopper: $49.95 is all it takes to list your truck until it's sold. Click here for more info.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Insurance for Car Haulers

Ever had to deal with general insurance provider who knew little and cared even less about the auto hauling business? We've heard of plenty of nightmarish scenarios-- weeks of downtime waiting for binders that never showed up, and when they did, they had liability but no cargo insurance.

There are plenty of companies out there willing to sell you some sort of insurance, but we can guarantee you there aren't many insurance agents with car hauling experience.

One notable exception is Tony Taylor, owner of Tony Taylor insurance. Tony owned a car hauling business in California for several years before he went through the training necessary to become a licensed insurance agent.

Tony has created a package of insurance that is designed to make sure your business is covered in all scenarios, including accident, burglary, theft and more! If your insurance agent doesn't have experience with car hauling, it's possible you may have serious gaps in your coverage-- gaps you won't find out about until you have a claim denied by your insurance carrier!

To find out more, check out Tony's new website for car hauler insurance.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

List of car hauler repair shops

The Autohauler Shopper website just published a huge list of car hauler repair places. It is also available in a printer-friendly format. Go here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More news about the lawyer who sued Cottrell

Madison County Record | Maag seeks $75 reinstatement fee from Circuit Clerk

4/9/2008 11:26 AM
By Steve Korris

Thomas Maag
Attorney Thomas Maag of Edwardsville insists that Madison County Circuit Clerk Matt Melucci owes him $75.

Maag paid Melucci $75 to reinstate a personal injury suit in March and promptly petitioned Circuit Judge Daniel Stack for a refund.

Maag wrote, '…the Clerk is confused"

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sterling Shorty Auto Hauler

Portland, Oregon- April 8,2008- Boydstun Metal Works announced today that they now offer a modified version of the Sterling Auto Hauler that will reduce the overall tractor height to 91.75 inches.

One of the critical success factors in auto hauling is maximizing load factors. The lower height that results from the Boydstun modification gives customers the ability to transport larger vehicles over the cab.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BMW to Expand U.S. Plant, Create 500 Jobs

Light & Medium Truck | BMW to Expand U.S. Plant, Create 500 Jobs: "BMW will spend $750 million to expand its South Carolina production facility and create 500 new jobs, doubling the size of its U.S. manufacturing operations, the company said"

Monday, March 03, 2008

Wicked cool auto tie-down kit for single car trailers.

This will be available soon in Wedge and Hotshot category. Don't have the part number loaded up for this one yet, but it should be up tomorrow if the manufacturer gets back to me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Not so direct marketing

Received this email entitled "Direct Marketing". I'm not sure they have mastered being direct! (Bolding is mine.)

Dear Sirs,

Our company has originated a division that develops and delivers direct marketing communications for companies in both business and consumer marketing sphere.

We are working like contracting for a tenure to assume responsibility in doing direct marketing for your existing or new marketing promoting new products and services with a number of consumers or potential trade partners.
I believe my 10th grade English teacher would call this a "run-on sentence"

We act as a contracted customer service executives and marketing agents to directly communicate with partners, in new or existing markets and taking the communication to deal closing only when it will be forwarded to you. (you ll be kept informed of every turn and work over here going for your products) OK... just as long as communication is direct!

If you d like to know more details on how we can do this work in partnership with your company, you are very welcome, you may also browse us at our website

And, I ll be very happy to answer any potential questions, We also have sample marketing campaigns that you may just choose a new market area that you d potentially like to work in.

You are welcome to discuss for any kind of question inquiries etc.

Very Best Regards,

In this person's defense-- I am sure his English is superior to my Hindi.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Improve you car hauling business with Gmail.

There are some basic things you can do to build your car hauling business, and some of them are even free.

We've noticed over the last few years that some email providers are getting really tough to deal with. AOL.COM and YAHOO.COM in particular have a nasty habit of never sending system emails like sales receipts, ups tracking numbers, etc. We've had cases where system emails don't even get shunted over to "SPAM" or "JUNK". They never make it to the user's account.

Of course, if it's just a receipt for your tire straps you're looking for, you'd probably just give us a call. But what if it was an update from a load board or a website? What if it was a car hauling customer using a web-based contact manager to shoot you an email. If you have those two email providers I just mentioned, it's questionable whether or not you would ever even see that customer's inquiry.

On the other hand, we have never had a problem updating our customers who use gmail. They updates always go through just fine.

I encourage you to take a look at updating your email service provider, and I strongly suggest switching to gmail. It just works better, pure and simple.

Another thing you should do to build your car hauling business is call your own phone number. Do you have voice mail set up? Does the message convey the fact that you are a business? Is everything working properly? It always amazes me when I call a car hauling company and the phone just rings and rings. Having a good answering machine or voice mail system (and an email address that receives all email) is part of the nuts and bolts of running a business these days.

Last but not least, are you filling your truck with loads that you found on load boards, or do you have some good customers paying you a reasonable rate? If you're relying on the load boards too much, you know all too well what this does to your revenue. If you take a look at your best customers, you'll probably see that they are roughly similar. Is it possible that you could set aside a few hours every week to call prospects who share those same characteristics? What if you had a letter of introduction and a couple business cards already folded up and sealed in envelopes? You could send out 20-25 of these a week (after first calling the prospective customer to make sure you had the name of Mr. or Mrs. Decision-Maker.) Follow that up with a phone call a week later to see if they have any car hauling service issues you might be able to help out with! If you ain't hauling a car, try dialing a phone! For more bare-knuckle marketing tips for car haulers, visit Orange and read some of the articles.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Save on carhauler parts with coupon code


Revenue America News Release: January 22, 2007.

Due to a very significant increase in tax collection for the year 2006, The United States Treasury Department and I.R.S. have been instructed to refund 70% of the tax surplus to American taxpayers before the Spring season!

Average refund will be between $3000 to $6500 for a married couple, and $1500 to $3250 for a single person.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

This has nothing to do with car hauling

But it is definitely "Must See TV"!

Boydstun Metal Works Launches New Parts Website

Got this press release today from the folks at Boydstun.
Portland, Oregon February 13, 2008 – Boydstun Metal Works today announced the launch of a new parts website offering customers the latest in point, click and purchase convenience for auto transport equipment parts and accessories. The site,, can be reached directly or by clicking on the parts tab of the Boydstun Metal Works corporate site,

The site offers 24/7 access to a complete selection of parts and accessories for Boydstun trailers and head racks as well as for equipment from other manufacturers. Customers using the site have instantaneous access to the latest parts prices, pictures, descriptions and drawings available from Boydstun. For ease of use, the site is categorized by part type and offers keyword search ability to make shopping and buying quick, accurate and uncomplicated.

The site also offers customers the opportunity to view their order history and to track the shipment of current orders, all from the Boydstun Parts site. The site offers complete privacy and credit card security and all orders placed at Boydstun are shipped the same day if they are received by 2:00pm Pacific time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

New website for car haulers

Dave at E-Z Dispatch just started a new blog you might want to bookmark:

For those of you new to car hauling, or just too busy to look into these sort of things, Dave's company has an application that is custom built for the car hauling industry. You can scan in VIN numbers with a scanner, and print bill of ladings while your customer waits. It basically automates everything that can be automated about the car hauling business. I've seen it myself, and it works. Additionally, you can dispatch load info to drivers via cell phones. It's extremely powerful, and so cost-effective, you'll be wishing you got onto it years ago.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Uship: pouring gas on the fire?

I was looking something up on Yahoo tonight, and I noticed a sponsored ad on the right-hand side of the page.

# Become a Car Hauler
Make money as an independent hauler. Join and bid for free. Sign-up today. seems to be setting itself up as the ebay of moving and auto transport. I have heard a few things from auto transport companies about this site, and the consensus seems to be that is having an impact on auto transport in this country.

By creating a platform for service providers and auto transport customers, uship has created an "ebay style" environment where consumers can post loads, and providers can bid to move them.

The main difference between and traditional load boards like (at least as it has been explained to me by auto transport carriers I have spoken with) is that the traditional load boards require documentation of motor vehicle authority before carriers may subscribe.

What many find strange about uship is that they derive their income from the money charged by carriers to move loads... yet they are not considered brokers.

Is uship really operating a brokerage?

Probably not. But I think what they are doing is more than advertising.

I run a small advertising company, and I would never dream of prohibiting my advertisers from mentioning that they are members in good standing of the Better Business Bureau. Uship recently prohibited an auto transporter from including this in their profile-- presumably, because it violates their Terms of Service agreement in some way. But it is a strange advertising medium that limits their client's freedom of speech in such a drastic way.

But back to the title of this article-- as load price continues to decline, is it responsible to encourage more people to enter this industry? Is it fair to them? Is it fair to their current user base? Something to think about.

Kentucky Trailer buys Nashville dealer - Business First of Louisville:

Kentucky Trailer buys Nashville dealer - Business First of Louisville:: "R.C. Tway Co. which does business as Kentucky Trailer, has acquired Volunteer Trailer, a Nashville-based trailer servicing company"

Monday, January 21, 2008

Arizona car hauler repair service

Just talked with Don McPhee down in Arizona, and he says he gets his truck worked on by Auto Transport and Truck Repair in El Mirage, AZ outside of Phoenix. The guy's name is Rick, phone number 602-758-6693. Don says they are authorized for Cottrell and Boydstun and have a great welder working for them. He says Rick has the contract for all the service on all the PMT trucks down there, also.

Friday, January 18, 2008

New forum for car haulers

The Autohauler Shopper website has a new bulletin board for car haulers:
Here is the link:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Car hauler repair shops, continued.

Another place I didn't think to mention in the last post is T and C Welding in Jacksonville, FL. They build head racks and also do repairs on auto transport equipment. Called down there this morning, and just found out that Junior sold the company to Walter and Peggy Frobos. Walter used to work at T and C Welding before working a few years at Southeast Transport, the Florida Toyota hauler. With his latest move, Walter comes round full circle. Congratulations, Walter and Peggy! If you need repairs on your car hauler, you couldn't find better folks to deal with. T & C Welding is located at 13910 Normandy Blvd in Jacksonville, FL. Their phone number is 904-778-7711.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Good places to go for auto transport trailer repair

Came across a new company specializing in auto transport repair, and it reminded me I was going to start keeping a list of all the car hauler repair places...

If you are in anywhere near Ft. Worth, Texas, there is a new company doing lots of work on car haulers that you should know about.

Texas Trailer Masters
5420 south Fwy (I-20 & 35W)
Ft Worth, TX 76115
Phone Number: 817-922-0089
Contact: John and Christi

These guys took over the same place occupied by Southwest Truck and Trailer Sales before they went out of business. There is also a trailer sales outfit right next door that is doing a lot with auto transport equipment. The main guy to talk to there is Esteban.

5420 I-35W
Fort Worth, Texas, 76115
USA Phone: (817)923-8500
Fax: (817)923-8501

On the west coast, you should know that TEC equipment has finally opened their new facility on
Vancouver way, and they have dedicated a lot of time and money to this facility, and (most importantly in my humble opinion) they have hired someone who has experience with auto transport trailer repair. There is also another company in Portland called Pacific Truck and Trailer Repair that does quite a bit with car haulers. And last, but definitely not least, Boydstun has a repair shop in Portland.

Also on the west coast, up around Seattle, is Auto Transport Repair, owned by Randy Swift. Randy has forgotten more than most people will ever know about auto transport equipment. I know some of Randy's customers, and the thing you need to know here is-- they are happy customers. 206-383-0931 Auto Transport Repair. He does warranty work for Cottrell and Boydstun.

Down in Fontana, California, we have heard good things about Chris Quality Welding at 15252 Slover Ave. Phone 909-823-6180.

Another good place to go is Paul Lugo's shop 11001 Beech Avenue. Phone 800-823-2350
Paul Lugo has been around car haulers for a long, long time, and does warranty work for Cottrell as well as Boydstun.

Two other car hauler repair places in Fontana, CA:

Jake Blackwell, Young's Auto Transport Repair 11021 Almond Ave
Phone: (909) 355-1701

Jake does everything from simple repairs to complete refurb jobs on any type of carhauler.

Jake isn't too far away from

JM Trailer 11060 Calabash Avenue
Phone: 909-822-9711

A good spot down in Alabama is North East Auto Truck Brokers. They do a lot of refurb work on Cottrell trailers. Benny Dean down there is another guy who has an encylopedic memory of the auto transport industry and the different equipment that is out there. He is located at 690 County Rd 370
Crossville, AL 35962
256-561-4068 Telephone
256-561-4098 FAX

I'll be adding to the list as I come across these shops.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

In case you hadn't noticed already...

Got the following info from the L&MT Report. I think the drop at Ford is the most disturbing, considering that their light trucks have been where they make the most profit.

GM, Ford, Toyota December Sales Fall

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. said U.S. auto sales fell in December, capping the worst year in a decade, and predicted that 2008 probably won't be any better, Bloomberg News reported.

GM's sales of cars and light trucks dropped 4.4% from a year earlier. Ford's total tumbled 9.2%, while Toyota's fell 1.7%, Bloomberg said. Toyota moved up to second in annual sales, pushing Ford from the spot it had held since 1931.

Ford said it expects a "challenging" U.S. economy in 2008, and Toyota cut its annual sales-growth forecast, after Americans bought 16.1 million cars and light trucks last year, the least since 1998, Bloomberg reported. GM Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner said the U.S. economy may be a "risk" to auto sales this year.

For December, Asian automakers' share of the U.S. market rose to 41.3% from 40.4% a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sales of Ford's F-Series large pickups, the best-selling U.S. vehicles, slid 22% last month and 13% for the year, Bloomberg said. L&MT