Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Car Fire Shuts Down I-71 In Gallatin County - Cincinnati News Story - WLWT Cincinnati

Car Fire Shuts Down I-71 In Gallatin County - Cincinnati News Story - WLWT Cincinnati: GALLATIN COUNTY, Ky. -- A car fire shut down Interstate 71 north in Gallatin County on Tuesday morning. Tuesday, December 27, 2011.

New rules for cell phone use by truck drivers go into effect January 3rd 2012

Here are the highlights on the final ruling on cell phone use from the FMCSA. 
1Q: What is the effective date of the Mobile Telephone rule?
 A: The effective date of the rule is January 3, 2012.

2Q: Are wired or wireless earpieces allowed?
 A: Yes. Hands-free use of a mobile telephone is allowed using either a wired or wireless earpiece, or the speakerphone function of the mobile telephone. Wireless connection of the mobile telephone to the vehicle for hands-free operation of the telephone, which would allow the use of single-button controls on the steering wheel or dashboard, would also be allowed.

3Q: Is Push-to-Talk allowed?
 A: No. A driver’s use of the Push-to-Talk function on a mobile telephone violates the prohibition against holding the phone. This includes the continuous holding of a button that is necessary to use a Push-to-Talk feature through a mobile telephone, even when the driver is using a connected microphone or wireless earphone.      

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What car haulers call stuff.

As an old English major, I have always been interested in the words people use to communicate.  As a salesman selling car hauler straps and accessories around the United States, I enjoy interacting with people from different regions and hearing the different words and dialects people use.  In today's fast-paced world of Internet marketing, it is especially important to keep one's ear tuned to the words people use when asking about certain products.  For one thing, you need to understand what people are asking for and not sell them the wrong thing. It's also important for another reason, because you need to describe products in such a way online so that when people use a certain phrase or word they will be directed to the proper item.

For instance, we sell a lot of what I call ratchet wheel straps.  I  have also heard these referred to as tire straps.  More recently, I've heard several people refer to these type of straps as wheel-over straps.  I made a special point to write this one down, because this phrase solved a problem I've had for a long time.  You see, there are two major forks in the evolution of tire straps, wheel straps or whatever you want to call them.  There are the straps that have the rubber tread grabs on them and go over the top of the tire, and there are the type that are a type of lasso strap and go to a ratchet handle at the side of the trailer.  Actually, before the wheel-over type straps became popular, there were basket-style wheel straps, but we'll leave that alone for now.

When customers call up, they usually just say that they need wheel straps, so we always had to ask: "Do you mean the ones that go over the top of the tire and have the three black rubber tread grabs?  Or do you mean the ones that go around the tire in the 10 and 2 o'clock position and go out to the rub rail on the side?"

With all the customers we get, you can imagine how many times a day we have to ask these questions!

But the last month or so, I've heard several people refer to the straps with the tread grabs as "wheel-over" straps, and I think we may start to use that phrase here at Autohauler Supply.  I think that little decisions about what to call stuff... that's really how languages develop and evolve as things change. I think it is an example of the collective wisdom of a group of people.

Still, as a lover of language, I enjoy asking the question:  "Who do you think invented the word "The"?  I mean, someone had to be the first to start using that word. 

Well, enough of that... I've got to go sell some more wheel straps or wheel-over straps  or tire straps or lasso straps or carhauler straps or whatever the heck they're called.  If you need any, give me a call! 866-855-4285

Monday, October 31, 2011

Honda halves North American production

According to Automotive News, the recent flooding in Thailand has created parts shortages for American auto assembly plants.  Honda estimates that this will cut production in American assembly plants by half.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Auto industry observations from the inside out

I spent last weekend car shopping and eventually wound up with a good deal on a nice little Mazda 3.  I noticed a few things that I thought I would relate.
  • Dealerships were busy, especially the Toyota dealer.
  • Inventories are fairly decent.  Maybe not as much selection as in years past, but definitely not to the point where you'd feel the need to wait a few months for the dealer to get the car you wanted.  The Honda dealership across the road from the Mazda dealer where I bought my car looked a little lean.  But while we finished up our paperwork, I noticed a United Road Services truck unloading some vehicles at the Honda shop, so I'm sure the dealers are doing what they can to have inventory to sell.
  • Prices are higher... in some cases waaaay higher than they were back in 2008.
Case in point, the Ford Focus I bought in 2008.  I bought a base model with manual transmission, no power windows, no power locks.  (But still with AC and a great stereo!)  I paid the dealer $10,566 for a brand new car back in December of 2008.  I wanted to look at the new Ford Fiesta, but couldn't find much under $15,000.  And this is the car that usually sells for $1,000 less than the Ford Focus!

Now, as the son of a Ford guy, I do have a warm spot in my heart for the Fords. Own some of their stock in fact!  But when my wife couldn't find me a deal online or in the paper... or anything remotely resembling a deal on the Ford Fiesta... I just said, "Bag it!"  The closest Ford dealer is now two towns away and not open on Sundays.  I'm glad my Ford stock is up, but I'm not sure how sustainable that will be... because either Ford or the dealers are asking more for their stuff than the competition.  For the same money, Mazda had a car that had more power and more options.   Ford makes pretty good cars now, but they're not so good I'm going to pay thousands of dollars more than I would for the Mazda.

Somehow Mazda is able to make a car in Japan, ship it here, and sell it at a price that is more than competitive with an American automaker... all of this while the Yen is worth more than it has ever been worth relative to the US Dollar.   I don't really understand that.  Can anybody explain how Ford can raise prices 50% in three years?  I'd say things must be improving out there, even if the west coast car haulers are still slow.

10/26/11 Addendum:
Ford stock fails to participate in recent rally after report of lower profits due to sales coming in at the low end of their projections.  Read article. 

10/27/11 Addendum:
According to a report by Automotive News, troubles with the MyFord Touch are among the primary reasons why Ford sank from 10th to 20th out of 28 according to Consumer Reports.  J.D. Power's "Initial Quality" survey also cited problems with this technology having a negative effect on Ford's ranking.

As a customer, I would have to say that by loading its vehicles up with unproven technology... or at least technology unproven to work in the hands of the intended customers... Ford blundered strategically.  They are trying to command higher prices for a product that has been compromised by the very technology that requires more money.  In my opinion, it seems that Ford loaded these up with technological innovation to appeal to the next generation of buyers, who perhaps are not quite ready to shell out so much dough for technology that is not quite ready for prime time.  Give them an "A" for effort, and a "C-" for execution.  Hopefully, Mr. Mulally will help them get it right by 2013.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why there are so few used cars

OK this was a very interesting news story. I've thought for a long time that the used car shortage stemmed largely from the "Cash for Clunkers" program that Washington used to prop up the tottering auto market during the financial crisis. Turns out the shortage of used cars seen now has its roots in the crisis, but for different reasons. Check out this story in Automotive News.

The last JM trailer

One of my old customers is selling a 2007 JM high mount for $42,000. According to her, this was the last one Joe built before selling the company.
If you're looking for a nice light trailer, you might want to check it out. Here is the info on that trailer.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Uship under siege?

Got this email from one of Uship's unhappy users. I have no idea as to the veracity of his assertions, but it certainly sounds like one would be wise to investigate this site fully before jumping in with both feet.

Thanks for the forwarding of the info. I am sure most of you are aware that
uShip has done many dastardly things to the TSP's and the shippers and
either delete posts to sweep it under the rug or suspend us when we voice
our opinions.

I created www.scamship.com to help us all voice our opinions about uship
without fear of retribution of removal. They have played the social media
game too long. Collectively we are a force to be dealt with. We ALL need to
post what we can about uship. I have heard that Dateline NBC is
investigating them and the TX attorney general has been contacted. We MUST
keep the pressure on them. I have also seen uship changing people's terms of
service. I believe that is illegal as well.

Are you willing to take a few minutes out of your day to post about uship? I
hope so. Let's not let them take advantage of us any longer. Let's join
forces and turn the tide on uship.

Thank you
Walt

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Need a dispatcher to help you find loads?

Got this email yesterday from someone who has a new dispatch service:

Hi Steve. Would you help me promote my business some how..I am looking for carhaulers to load..Do you know of anybody that is looking for a dispatcher..Please tell them to visit my website for contact info at
www.debsautodispatching.com

I would appreciate anything you could do to help..Thank You Deb Kraus

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Halfway through the 7 lean years.

Remember Joseph's interpretation of the Pharaoh's dream of seven fat cows and seven skinny cows? Well, for those of you far removed from Sunday School, let me remind you that he said the Pharaoh's dream foretold of seven fat years and seven lean years. Thanks to Joseph's economic prognostication, the Pharaoh was able to put aside enough grain to feed his people during the seven years of drought.

Our seven years started about 2008, possibly a bit earlier. If our long, tough slog out of the economic morass of the Great Recession is anything like biblical times, then we've got approximately three years left of slower growth. That means, come 2015, we should be approaching some semblance of economic normality.

Coincidentally, other people anticipate a similarly slow slog uphill out of the economic swamp lands. The Detroit Free Press has a good article in which they quote Lacey Plache, senior economist for Edmunds.com Plache's takeaway from all the economic news? In 2015, we'll see auto sales hit 16 million. That puts us halfway through the seven lean years.

Or as I like to call them, Seven Learning Years.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Low profile car hauler strap idlers for e-track

Coming soon to an Autohauler Supply warehouse near you!

If you can find a lower profile idler for horizontal e track, I'll eat it with steak sauce.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Where to find cars to haul.

Don't go to the ports... at least not right now. Talking with friends on west and east coast, I hear reports of declining volumes of cars to haul. Toyota's last ship until God knows when came into the west coast and that is (supposedly) the last full ship they'll send until late July early August at the earliest. I spoke with a car hauler who used to pull new cars out of Baltimore... he is now pulling auction freight down in Virginia. Guess it's a good time to be a used car dealer... this trend at least corroborated today by Automotive News, which reports values jumping to record levels for used cars. Some dealers keeping trades to sell on their own lots, but I bet you can expect a lot of dealer trades as the summer selling season heats up. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average trade value for a Toyota Prius jumped $3775. Well, I guess finally the used car dealers are getting some good karma after the horrible luck they had with "Cash for Clunkers".

Monday, April 25, 2011

StrapBusters! Infomercial about carhauler wheel straps.

OK this is blatantly commercial, but it's pretty entertaining.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Auto transport dispatcher

Need help finding loads for the backhaul?  Check out Carla's new website
Carla has been an auto transport broker for quite a few years, and it looks like she is taking on drivers to help with dispatch.  If you're spending too much time filling spots on the trailer, you might want to give her a call.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Allied goes out in a blaze of glory?

Car hauler catches fire on I-94



Two things that are amazing to me.  #1:  The age of Allied's trailers.  #2:  The fact that the F-150  at $40-$45,000! is still the best-selling vehicle in the US with gas up around $4 per gallon. 

Monday, April 04, 2011

Expect summer shortages for Japanese automobiles

AutoNews Now (4/4/11)

Click link for today's broadcast from AutoNews. I was reading in another publication that one of the biggest bottlenecks to vehicle assembly right now are control modules that are manufactured at Japanese tech plants. They need constant, clean electricity... and the "rolling blackouts" happening in Japan right now make it difficult, if not impossible for them to get up and running. There may be problems spreading wider beyond assembly plants of Japanese automobiles, as some domestic cars rely on components sourced from Japan.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The biggest repo job in history.

GM recovers 1,700 vehicles after dispute with hauler | detnews.com | The Detroit News
GM recovers 1,700 vehicles after dispute with hauler
Robert Snell / The Detroit News

Detroit— General Motors Co. has recovered more than 1,700 vehicles that were allegedly being held hostage by a car hauler, the automaker said today.
I know this is serious business, but some of these shenanigans are so outrageous it just makes me smile.

GM finished recovering the new Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks and Camaro coupes, worth almost $47 million, earlier this week, company spokesman Dan Flores said.

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The "rescue" was disclosed 10 days after GM sued Georgia-based Allied Ltd. in federal court in Detroit. GM wanted immediate possession, arguing the vehicles could depreciate in value and dealers would be deprived of valuable inventory.


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Ford outsells GM; Hyundai and Kia sales waaaaaay up.

Auto sales up with economy, but buyers downsize | AP Business News - The News Tribune
The trends lifted U.S. sales of new vehicles by 17 percent from a year earlier to 1.25 million, a healthy rate that shows the auto industry's slow and steady recovery remains on track. The monthly sales pace, adjusted for seasonal differences and projected out for the year, came in at 13.1 million. That's higher than last year, but still far below recent boom years when car sales hit 16 million a year.

The March 11 earthquake in Japan had little impact on sales, although automakers said supplies of some cars could be tighter as spring progresses.

Hope industry execs are paying attention-- the companies that have invested resources in developing high quality, affordable  fuel-efficient cars are reaping the benefits.  (Ford's plant that produces the Focus used to build trucks.)  Sales of expensive gas guzzlers loaded with options are slowing... in some places anyway.  I was talking with a driver the other day who said almost all the vehicles he delivers in West Virginia are trucks worth $40,000 or more.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Waves and troughs in car hauler load volumes ahead.

GM, Toyota models delayed by hauler dispute | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
Buyers of certain Toyota and General Motors models are facing unexpected waits as automakers reassign transport work after terminating contracts with an Atlanta-based carhauler.

Cassens, Jack Cooper and United Road are picking up a lot of this freight, which means a huge wave for them and their sub-haulers.  However, according to information from today's Automotive News,  I would expect slow-downs a bit later.    Port traffic will slow because of the Japanese situation (everybody expected that)-- as well as for Japanese-owned assembly plants in North America that rely on some parts from Japan.
Honda is cutting hours by 50% at assembly plants in AL, OH and IN.  Subaru announced cuts at Lafayette, IN plant of 50%.  Toyota's 18 Japanese assembly plants are closed until April 18th, and there is no guarantee they won't extend those closures. 



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Allied transport holding cars hostage? Or is Yucaipa folding this hand?

GM, Chrysler sue Allied over "hostage" vehicles - CNBC
DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co and Chrysler Group LLC have sued Allied Systems Holding Inc , accusing the auto hauler of "holding hostage" more than 2,400 new cars and trucks.

GM, in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, charged that Allied had breached a contract under which it provides car-hauling services for the U.S. automaker.

"Defendant is holding hostage 1,704 new GM vehicles, with an estimated value of $46.6 million," according to the lawsuit. "It simply has no claim to the vehicles; they are GM's property."

In a separate suit, Chrysler said Allied was holding about 700 of its vehicles.

Allied, which calls itself the largest auto transporter in North America, could not immediately be reached for comment.

If this was a poker game, looks like both the union and the automakers are saying: "Call!"  So is Yucaipa going to fold, or do they have an ace up their sleeve?

I'm wondering if the recent spikes in fuel cost precipitated Allied's demand for increased load price, and if GM and Chrysler's refusal caused Allied to unilaterally offer their employees 20% less. Switch of metaphors... Are the chickens finally coming home to roost, viz, unsustainable load pricing vs. increased fuel cost?  Or has Yucaipa, the company that owns Allied,  looked at assets and liabilities and concluded that now is the best time to exit the auto transport industry?   To crib a line I read recently in The Economist.  "If something can't go on forever, it will stop."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Allied labor trouble isn't going away soon.

According to Automotive News, the trouble at Allied stems from Chrysler refusing a fee increase to haul cars.  Representatives say the problem isn't going to be resolved any time soon.  See video here from Automotive News here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ford's Alan Mulally worth every penny of 33 million dollar pay package.

According to the Automotive News: "After taxes, Mulally received $33.4 million."  My opinion, he's earned it. 

"Ford earned $6.56 billion in 2010, the most since 1999. New models such as the Fiesta and redesigned Taurus sedan helped 2010 U.S. sales rise 17 percent, outpacing the industrywide gain of 11 percent"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Allied car haulers strike.

From the Winston-Salem Journal: 
Union workers at Allied Systems Ltd. in Walkertown are expected to go on strike this morning.
"They are planning to walk out at 6 a.m.," Ricky Stone, the manager of Allied Systems, said Wednesday, declining to say how many local employees work at Allied Systems, a division of Allied Systems Holdings that delivers new cars to dealerships.

For rest of article, click here. 

The word on the street is that management lowered effective pay by about 20% and said "take it or leave it."  Have not confirmed this, but something must be pissing off the teamsters, because I'm pretty sure those guys have bills to pay.

Wonder what would happen to load rates if everybody else joined the strike for a week or two?  It'll never happen, but it's fun to think about it.

UPDATE:  5PM Eastern DST
  • Chrysler announced they have been affected by labor disruption as well.
  • GM switching carriers

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan vs The Mideast: what affects American car-buyers the most?

Looks like most Japanese auto makers are spinning up their parts and assembly factories this week or next.  Toyota to start shipping parts to auto assemblers in U.S. next Monday, according to Automotive News.  That's going to come in handy, I think, because as soon as gas gets above $4.00 per gallon, there aren't going to be enough Ford Focuses (Foci?) and Fiestas to go around.  The problems in Japan are compelling news, but the turmoil in the Mideast... and its knock-on effects on fuel price are the more compelling story for the car and transport industry.  The good news in this?  If you're hauling for Hyundai or Kia, you'll probably be getting some overtime this year!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Car hauler travels throught time, crashes.

In a surprising turn of events, a car hauler from 1959 crashes through a rift in the space-time continuum and ends up in 2011.  Scientists are baffled.  To see more footage of this event, go here.  The National Security Administration has impounded the unlucky carhauler's rig, pending further investigation.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Ford firing on all 8 cylinders.

Ford ups production, pays dealers for certain deliveries
Ford said it will increase first-quarter production by 13 percent to 550,000 vehicles in the United States vs. the year-earlier period.

Click the link to read the complete story at Automotive News

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Accurate Auto Carriers Equipment Auction... big response!

Hilco Industrial Auction Exceeds Target by 25% In Sale Of Accurate Auto Carriers Inventory
Hilco Industrial, LLC, and joint venture partner, Maynards Industries, Ltd., announced the successful auction sale of 148 trucks, trailers and auto carriers on behalf of the bankruptcy estate and creditors of Romulus, Michigan-based Accurate Auto Carriers, LLC. The webcast auction, which attracted an international gathering of more than 400 online and on-site bidders, lasted two hours and generated revenues approximately 25% greater than anticipated.  Click on the link above for the complete article at Times Colonist
I talked to one salesman who bought some units at this auction.  He confirmed what they're saying in this article.  He said 2007 daycab strap units were going for $160,000; chain units for $120,000.  High price probably a function of the lack of daycabs on the market right now.  He said it looked to him like Hansen & Adkins were buying quite a bunch, and Waggoners were bidding them up, too.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another car hauling GOTCHA! to watch out for.

Customer called up today and told me he had a vehicle with a leaking battery on the top deck.  Underneath this leaking battery was a nice new Mercedes.  So now he is on the hook for a paint job.  Anybody know of any good ways to prevent this sort of thing?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More wheel straps in your future.

Just heard from Rick at Western Automotive Transport that he's required to wheel strap Subarus and all GM cars when he transports rental cars.  Now we've got Hyundai/Kia going strap in some markets.  Nissan and Chrysler phasing them in this year. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

CJ&M Out of Business

Called up CJ&M today and the lady answered the phone Pacific Auto Transport.  She said CJ&M closed their doors on December 8th, 2010.  Called up Mike Jr. over at Pacific to see what the story was, but he wasn't available. 

Friday, January 07, 2011

Allied owner operators needing wheel straps for Toyotas

Been getting quite a few calls from Allied drivers finally making the switch over from chain to wheel straps.  Guess they were given a little bit longer grace period by Toyota to get all strapped up!  Anyway, if you're an Allied owner operator in need of ratchet wheel straps or chain-tightened wheel straps, this is the set-up most car haulers are getting.  

Fits the deck plate following trailer makes and models:
  • Cottrell
  • Boydstun
  • Delavan
  • Take 3
  • Wally Mo 
Does NOT fit deck plates of these trailers:
  • Sun Valley
  • Miller 
  • Sun Country

Ford rolls out electric Focus at Consumer Electronic Show in Vegas

Automotive News TV (1/7/11)

Ford's CEO says that in ten years, 25% of Ford's passenger car sales could be electric vehicles. Pretty interesting that they rolled this new vehicle out at the Consumer Electronics Show rather than the Detroit Auto Show. For an interesting video from Automotive News, click the link above.

More news on the electric Focus from the Huffington Post

Disclaimer: The publisher of Carhauler News owns Ford stock and thinks people should probably buy Fords.

Another Cottrell Lawsuit

Hylla denies summary judgment in Cottrell suit | Madison/St. Clair Record
Hylla denies summary judgment in Cottrell suit
1/7/2011 6:16 AM By Steve Korris

Two men who saw trucker Michael Mandeville fall from a car-hauling trailer swore he landed over there but now swear he landed over here.

Mark Mumaw and Andrew Swallom changed their deposition testimony about the accident in affidavits for Mandeville's suit against Georgia trailer maker Cottrell Inc.

Mandeville's lawyer, Brian Wendler of Edwardsville, filed the affidavits in December, along with a new one from Mandeville.
 Click link above to read the complete article from the original newspaper.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dangerous customers for car haulers: Update

Update 03/9/11
Called up Antonio to see how he's doing, and he has shut down his car hauling business while he finishes physical therapy. He says there's no way to afford $1000 a month insurance while he's recuperating from the accident.  The customer who ran into him with her car after he unloaded is now being charged for a felony hit and run, because she wouldn't give him any insurance information.  According to Antonio, the lady claimed that her relationship was with the auto transport broker, so she felt it was unnecessary!


Just talked to a customer and was horrified to hear that he was bed-ridden after being run-over by a customer whose car he had just delivered!  He said he didn't remember much-- just hearing a noise and then falling and blacking out.  He was standing next to his truck when struck by the driver, who was an elderly lady.  I asked if he thought the lady stepped on the gas instead of the brake, but he can't remember what happened.  BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!  Don't assume people are going to do what they're supposed to do.  This guy was run over though no fault of his own, and now has to look forward to MRI scans, tests and therapy to try and get his life back in order.  There are worse things out there than brokers who don't pay you on time.

Child support, Florida and your non-existent CDL

Just talked to a driver who was bailing his brother out of jail.  Apparently in Florida when you get behind in your child support payments they suspend your driver's license.  He found this out when he got arrested at the weigh station for driving with an expired license.  OK I get that Florida is serious about getting people to honor their obligations to their kids, but this strikes me as heavy-handed and counter-productive.  For instance, if you wanted to get somebody's attention in a similar fashion, the court could issue a bench warrant for the guy's arrest for non-payment of child support.  It accomplishes the same thing-- gets the individual's full, undivided attention... without damaging his ability to earn an income and thus pay the child support.  Ridiculous.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Accurate Auto Transport Bankruptcy Auction

Accurate Auto Carriers equipment auction

Auction will be held Jan 20th, 2011 at 10AM in Romulus, MI and via webcast.  Click on link for more info.


Want the inside scoop on what truck you REALLY should buy?  Former maintenance director at Accurate Auto Carriers will tell you about the good, the bad and the ugly.  (For a modest fee.)  Dan is available at 567-220-0288