Watch This Before You Buy the Mazda5

2015 Mazda5, image courtesy of Mazda

People ask me for car shopping advice all the time. One of the biggest questions I get asked is what car a person should purchase. The longer I work in the industry, the more I understand that there are pluses and minuses to any vehicle choice, and they go beyond factors that most people think about upfront.

There are few vehicles I would tell people to flat out stay away from. Most have enough redeeming qualities to make them good contenders that they should at least be considered, because the final decision usually comes down to personal preferences.

One of the vehicles I make an exception on is the Mazda5. People try to push the model as a great alternative to the “over-bloated” minivans on the market today, which supposedly take up too much space. As a minivan owner, I have to disagree, considering that my vehicle economizes space much better than any crossover or SUV out there. While the Mazda5 is smaller, it does feel pretty big inside, considering its more compact footprint. Even though it’s too small for my family, I can see where the attraction comes from.

There is one huge blind spot that I can’t believe more family-oriented car shoppers don’t check out when it comes to the Mazda5: safety. Namely, the vehicle performed poorly in IIHS’ small overlap crash test. The test is designed to simulate what would happen if a vehicle struck a small obstacle such as a tree or pole with its front driver’s-side corner. The Honda Odyssey aced the test and the Toyota Sienna did well on it, but the Mazda5 bombed out. You need to see the results for yourself:

Notice that the front of the Mazda5 looks like a tiny bomb went off inside it. The driver’s door is seriously damaged and left hanging open, which is a risky business in an after-crash, or a secondary crash that involves another vehicle striking the Mazda5 after it initially wrecks out. You can even see rippling in the rear door on the driver’s side, showing that crash forces are continuing well through the occupant area of the vehicle. On top of that, the interior camera shows that the dummy’s head hit the airbag, slid off and struck the A-pillar. I’m not a medical expert, but I’m pretty sure that would result in a pretty serious injury. Most modern cars have side curtain airbags that would’ve deployed, helping prevent such a thing from happening.

Considering that minivans are typically purchased by parents who need to transport around their children, this kind of a crash test is even more shocking and disturbing than most. All parents should have the safety of their children at the top of their vehicle priority list, with their own safety and well-being not too far below. Simply put, the Mazda5 is not a suitable mode of transportation for anyone, really, but especially not for people who have young children depending on them for support.

As a side note, the small overlap crash test results for the Nissan Quest, Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan are also not pretty, so keep that in mind as you shop for a family vehicle. You should always check out the safety ratings from IIHS and NHTSA before settling on a new vehicle, just in case.

Tesla Model S P85D Versus Ferrari F12

By now everyone’s see the video of the Tesla Model S P85D spanking a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat on a dragstrip. While the win was a result of the Dodge driver’s goof, it was still historic since it set a new quarter mile world record for an electric car. The Tesla’s back at it again on the same dragstrip, this time against a Ferrari F12

The Tesla explodes off the line when it’s put into “Insane” mode, with people demonstrating that it will make an unsecured iPhone go flying back against the seats. A good jump off the line is important in a race, but top-end power is also key. This video demonstrates that the Model S P85D can indeed bleed. It’s not a dishonor to lose to the F12, which is a pretty potent vehicle. If anything, it’s impressive that the Tesla holds its own so well.

As a side note, the Ferrari sadly burned to the ground after the race, while cruising through a Florida neighborhood at 30 mph. Just kidding, but it totally could’ve happened.

BMW Gets Back Into the Game

With the Super Bowl approaching everyone is of course getting all excited about the most important part of the game: the commercials. I”m not just saying that because my team isn’t in the showdown, but because there are many individuals who don’t even like football yet they watch just for the ads. 
Well, nowadays the magic of the Internet allows us to see some of those television ads before the Super Bowl. Oh, and you can watch at least most of them afterward. BMW has returned to the lineup of advertisers after taking a four-year hiatus. The German automaker has a compelling reason to be back: to spread the good word of the all-electric i3. 
I think the ad is genius (you can see it below). Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel are shown in a past clip of when they were completely clueless about what the Internet was. Then it flashes to the present as they are driving through New York in a BMW i3 as they are baffled about what the thing is. Is it a car? Why isn’t there anything under the hood? How does it go? 
BMW in a single minute makes all the people who say that electric cars won’t catch on look like the backwards fools who said the Internet would never go anywhere. Give it time, the technology will catch on. Like it or not, electric powertrains are here to stay and will only get better and become more dominant. 

Apparently Daimler Does Have a Sense of Humor

Being an automotive writer has its perks, but reading boring press releases isn’t one of them. There are some shining stars out there, automakers who have writers that know how to make their press releases entertaining and still informative (they’re all British, for the most part).

Unfortunately, German automakers seem to create some rather technical and cold press releases that are packed with all kinds of great information but are missing one thing: soul.

I love Daimler (you know, the guys that make Mercedes-Benz and Smart?) but their press releases are NEVER entertaining. Sometimes I wonder if the company has a sense of humor at all, and then I saw the following video. It was created for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin and features some hilarious scenes involving a C111, black and white shots, slow-motion shots, and plenty of trumped-up drama. It turns out that Mercedes-Benz has a sense of humor, even if it had to express that emotion through the help of director Danny Sangra.

BMW Drivers are Jerks!

There have been plenty of jokes over the years about what jerks BMW drivers are. I worked in real estate back in the day, and I knew quite a few of the people in the profession considered owning a Bimmer to be a sign that you had truly arrived.

Maybe it’s that sense of finally reaching the pinnacle in life that gives BMW drivers the feeling that they can do as they please. Maybe that’s what’s going on in this video when the driver decides to do something incredibly cruel instead of helping a fellow human being.

Whatever it is, the whole incident just reinforces the feeling that BMW drivers truly are jerks.

This Is Why School Buses Should Have Seatbelts

When I was a kid, I learned that buckling up saved lives. Before then, quite a few cars didn’t even come with seatbelts, which today is pretty much unthinkable. I remember using lap belts, something I today know are actually pretty dangerous.

Even when I was young, I thought it was completely insane that school buses didn’t come with seatbelts of any kind. I heard all the excuses: school buses are so big they aren’t necessary, kids won’t use them, they’ll only injure people, etc.

As far as I know, only six states today require safety belts in school buses. Six! Apparently, people still think that school buses don’t crash, or that when they do the kids won’t go flying. I can remember some of my bus drivers flying down the road and being scared at how fast we were going.

Take a moment to watch this crash test video, which shows what happens to kids that are secured using three-point belts versus those who are just sitting on the seats unrestrained. Imagine if any of the crash dummies were actual children and the kinds of injuries they would sustain.

Choosing an Electric Scooter

Mobility scooters have revolutionized and revitalized the lives of both the handicapped and senior citizens. They not only free these people from the bonds their illness or age have placed on them, but they improve the quality of life for them, literally taking them places where they could not go before.

Tired of paying high gas prices? Scooters can help with that too. Electric or even gas motor scooters can save you a small fortune. The average consumer can travel for days or even weeks at a time on just a single gallon of gas.

Versatility makes motor scooters attractive to the average consumer. Whether you want to improve the quality of life for a loved one or just save money yourself, a motor scooter is a viable option.

Besides the thrill of saving gas or offering mobility to an otherwise immobile individual, scooters provide the thrill and excitement of an open wheel vehicle. Zipping around from place to place on a motorized scooter really is fun. And while gas scooters offer the thrill of speed for the adventure seeker, disability scooters offer a safe, reliable, and still enjoyable ride.

Electric scooters have become the best choice for handicapped scooters simply because they can go just about anywhere. An otherwise stagnant individual has the option of walking his dog or simply just moving from the bedroom to the kitchen without calling for help. Dreams become reality thanks to these zippy inventions. Additionally, engineers have made scooters more balanced and safe than ever with three and four wheel versions.

Past scooters needed recharging in the middle of the day. Now those in need of electrical assistance can go for days with the longer lasting batteries. People no longer need to worry about finding themselves away from home with a dead battery.

For those looking for adventure on the open road, a gas scooter will do the trick. A driver can navigate long, winding roads or just utilize them for quick trips to the market or the dentist. And they can do so with a smile on their face. Speed options are limitless on these two wheel wonders, and the options range from fast or slow to standup or sit down.

Stowing the scooter no longer bothers owners either since the inception of the folding scooter. A person can drive his scooter to work and then stash it in his closet or under his desk. He could even stash it in a public storage compartment on the bus.

So no matter your age kids, teens, adults, or elderly scooters can have a place in your life. Cheap to own and operate, they fill the needs of many.

Gas Scooters

One of the reasons for the surge of popularity is because gas scooters have a reputation of being easy on the wallet. This is a well-deserved reputation as they get approximately fifty to seventy miles per gallon. If you know a scooter owner, you will undoubtedly hear stories of how infrequently they have to fill up the gas tank.

Other reasons for the gas scooters being so popular are because of the cost. Depending on where they are purchased, they are only from about $800 to $6,000. This price is very attractive to people who cannot afford a car or even a motorcycle. They can reach acceptable speeds to keep up with traffic and still get great gas mileage.

Women are a big part of the gas scooter revolution. The lightweight and maneuverability make them a very real option to getting on a motorcycle. But women are not the only ones who use them for this reason. Smaller men or those who cannot comfortably get on to or off of a motorcycle will find this a viable option. Or, if the typical motorcycle to wide to sit on for a long time, the scooter is usually narrower and will make for a more comfortable ride.

Ease of parking is another benefit to scooters. It is so compact, that parking, even tight parallel parking, is no problem for the rider of a scooter.

Those other entire reasons aside, the gas scooter is just plain fun. In very recent memory, scooters have become more of a trend in some areas than necessity. Even motorcycle groups have jumped on the bandwagon, so to speak, and have started offering safety courses and comparing models. Freedom and convince are two of the traits enjoyed by scooter owners.

Major, well-known brands like Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda manufacture the bulk of the scooters on the road today. Piaggio is also a well-known name that owns Vespa and Aprilia. These are the ones you will see on surface streets in the cities.

As we look into the future, it is easy to see that we will be sharing the road with scooters, just as we do motorcycles today. They are easy on the wallet as well as on gas. They have a wonderful niche that will just keep getting bigger as time goes on. This is definitely a mode of transportation that will keep growing in popularity.


Many people are turning to gas scooters as a means of transportation due to the rise in fuel prices. They are lightweight and very maneuverable, which makes them attractive to women and people with physical limitations. They are very cost effective and trendy.

Bike Companies Linked?

Everyone has seen the hugely successful Monster Garage, Orange County Choppers and newly released Inked. These reality shows have caught on like wildfire and advertisers are in a scramble to get their piece of the action. You can now buy all kinds of West Coast Chopper clothing and memorabilia, Teutel bobble heads, etc… 60% of Jesse James West Coast Choppers revenue comes from its clothing line. How did this all come about? The mass appeal of these programs has unleashed a merchandising frenzy, to include clothing lines, calenders, autographed memorabilia, and auto accessories. Kids line up in hour long lines as do corporate executives eager to get in on the action. Reality tv programs have also made Discovery, Fox and a few other channels the most watched on TV with ratings close to that of the super bowl.
These programs are also having a profound effect on traditional marketing. In the past big businesses have used the fix it and forget it approach. Hire a big marketing company, get you name out there and let it sell. Now they are seeing their whole world turned upside down. Buyers are looking to express themselves through their clothing, etc… Even if they can’t afford a West Coast Choppers custom bike (around $100,000) they can afford a West Coast Choppers t-shirt, calendar or hat. Traditional marketing companies are finding that reality shows like American Idol, Monster Garage, and American Chopper have now found that americans want to be seen as individuals. They want a touch of personality and they can see that everyone wants that too – look at all the people getting tattoos now as tattooing has gone mainstream with the launch of the show Inked. “Would you like a tattoo or belly button piercing with that?” Manufacturers can no longer rely on one or two items to make their product line and change must be constant as these reality tv trends are always changing.
What is the future of reality tv? What will we be the hot fashions in the coming years? As Monster Garage dies down along with American Chopper, what will replace them? Will we see low-rider cars sponsored by Taco Bell in Nascar? The presidents and other politicians cars decked out with sponsors stickers to help out with the federal debt? Maybe George Bush will get a grill (for teeth) as Nelly and Little John have made this hot starting on Wilding Out. What will be the next big trend? One things for certain if you can find it first and market it you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams. Discovery Channel made Jesse James a multimillionaire, did the same for the Teutels (Orange County Choppers) and others. What determines a good reality show which will launch the next trends? We had better watch these shows as they have become huge and can change our future – maybe they can get people to vote?

Choosing the Right Winter Tire

When you are making decisions about your car or motorcycle, one of the first things to choose is the correct tire for your driving conditions. While this decision is important year round, it is of extreme importance during the winter months when weather turns cold and snow and ice can be very common. Having the wrong tire in these situations can be a question of life and death. But thankfully choosing the right tire is not difficult, if you follow certain steps.

The first step in choosing the correct winter tire is to see what sort of tire, that is, what size and types of tires, your car’s manufacturer has recommended for your car. You can find this information in the owner’s manual that came with your car. Then head to your local tire dealer and purchase snow or mud tires appropriate to your car and have them installed. Tires like these, ones without metal studs manufactured into them, help your vehicle handle slick winter roads and can be used on public highways.

If you live in an area with an extreme climate, where tires with metal studs are allowed during the height of the winter months, you will likely have to purchase two sets of tires. The first set, as outlined above, that has no metal studs, and a second set, which does have metal studs, for the iciest parts of the year. Later in the winter season, you will likely have to change your tires back to the rubber tires, since in most areas metal stud tires are only allowed during the coldest months. Check your local regulations in any case, since metal stud tires are banned in 10 states.

Remember to ensure that all of the tires you have installed at the same time are all of the same measurements. That is to say, that each one is of the same size, tread, and type. Having tires of different type, size, or tread can result in a loss of traction on slippery winter roads.

Never equip your car with tires that are too big for it. Tires that are too large than those recommended in the manufacturer’s guidebook may damage your car’s fenders or suspension, or just make it handle miserably.

The difference between snow tires and regular tires is in the tread. Snow tires are made with wide spaces between their treads, giving them something like cleats to grab into snow with and maintain traction, whereas all season tires are made with narrower treads. Narrower treads can proved a quieter ride, but they cannot ride well on the snow.

If you don’t want to install snow tires, or you do not live in an area that merits them all the time, you might want to consider tire chains. Chains can greatly enhance the traction of tires. As always, ensure that the chain is properly fitted to your car’s tires, since improperly fitted chains will not work properly, damaging your car or malfunctioning.

A Brief History of Porsche

Ferdinand Porsche was an automobile engineer with more than a thousand patents to his name, and played an important role in the development of airplanes and the construction of tanks for the Wehrmacht as well. In the 1920s he was appointed chief engineer at Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart and later set up his own engineering workshop. There he designed, among other things, the Volkswagen. He acted as chief of operations at the plant where the Volkswagen was made, Wolfsburg, and at the end of the war he was interned by the Allies.

He was released a few years later and immediately went to work building his first car with his son, Ferry Porsche. This car was named the Porsche 356, after Ferry, and was a sports car with styling reminiscent of the Volkswagen. In fact it had the same four-cylinder boxer engine, and wore it rear-mounted, just as the VW did. This meant that it was far from being a powerful sports car, boasting a mere 40 bhp and a maximum speed of 87 mph (140 km/h). Distinguished by its elegant and innovative body, the Porsche 356 was first produced as a convertible and then as a hard top. Father and son developed it in the workshop of Erwin Komenda, a master of restrained streamlining who had been in charge of sheet metal and design techniques for Ferdinand Porsche since the VW Beetle. This new style of closed coupe designed by Komenda soon became the embodiment of the sports car, due in part to its ‘fastback’.

Erwin Komenda and Ferdinand ‘Butzi’ Porsche, the founder’s grandson, continued this tradition with the 911.

The 911 became instantly recognizable: it had an attractive sloping bonnet reminiscent of the 356, what later became characterized as ‘frog eye’ headlights, curves running from the top edge of the windscreen to the rear bumper, and a straight waistline. From a functional and technical point of view it shared more in common with a BMW 1500, but it retained the distinctive stylistic features of the original Porsche. The new 911 became the keystone of Porsche’s identity, even though the design was not always fully appreciated. During the 1970’s and 1980’s, many Porsche designers attempted to distance Porsche from its legendary design and nearly brought the company to the edge of disaster. The more modern 924 model, ‘a people’s Porsche’, developed with Volkswagen, as well as the 928 fell short fulfilling expectations, and failed to allow the company to branch out in new directions and styles.

However, in the 1990’s the company seemed to realize that what some perceived as a stylistic straitjacket was in fact a market advantage. During this period Porsche embraced the timeless nature of classic styling to become highly profitable. Nearly forty people now worked in the design department solely dedicated to further improvement of the long running 911. Such developments included the 911 GTI, put forward by the in-house designer Anthony R. Hatter as a powerful combination of sports and racing car. In 1999, Porsche’s chief designer proudly unveiled the new Boxster, enabling Porsche to establish a second independent range of successful models.

The First Porsche – The Porsche 64

Most auto connoisseurs consider the Porsche 64 which is also sometimes known as the VW Aerocoupe, Type 64 and Type 64K10 as being the first automobile made by Porsche. It was manufactured mainly from parts from the Model 64 VW Beetle and that is where the model number comes from. The Porsche 64’s flat-four engine produced fifty b.h.p. and gave the vehicle a top speed of 160 km/h. The body was designed by Porsche Burro after wind tunnel tests made for the Type 114, a V10 racer that never saw the light of day as a production car. Dr. Porsche planned to enter the roadster in the 1939 Berlin to Rome race event. The bodywork specialist company Reutter made three cars from shaped aluminum. Out of the three, one was totaled in the early years of World War II by a VW bureaucrat. The two cars that remained were used by the exclusively by the Porsche family.

Towards the end of World War Two, they put one of the vehicles in storage and used the other one. American troops discovered the one put in storage in May 1945, cut the top of it off and took it joyriding for a few weeks until the engine oil went and it was junked. Farina restored the only remaining Porsche 64 in 1947, as it was owned and driven by Ferry Porsche. In 1949, the Austrian racer Otto Matte bought the car and raced it, winning the Alpine Rally in 1950 in it.

Now nearly a hundred years after its founder started designing automobiles, Porsche is still popular, the result of offering a cure for a mid-life crisis similar to owning a Harley – Davidson motorcycle. Porsche’s lineup now features four model lines: the incredibly sexy and popular Boxster, the enduring 911 models, the relatively new Cayenne SUV, and the stunningly opulent Carrera GT, and if you can’t afford their cars, Porsche also offers watches, luggage, and tennis rackets bearing its name.

The company is still controlled by descendants of the founding family and it has enlarged its area by offering consulting services to other industries not only on the automotive industry but in furniture, construction, and engineering as well.

Form its early years of operating in the red, Porsche has evolved into a winner as one of the most profitable car makers on the planet while many other automakers are having to lay off workers, offer cash incentives, and strategize how to deal with the upcoming Chinese market. Porsche consistently releases startling new products and has quadrupled annual vehicle sales in less than ten years in spite of costs and the risks involved.

The most recent additions of the Boxster and Cayenne are doing very well and continue to be examples of the popularity of Porsche as the company continues to move forward.

Lamborghini Fast Facts – 8 Fast Facts About Lamborghini

  • Fact 1:
    Lamborghini is named after the founder of the company Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916-1993). Ferruccio Lamborghini founded the company in 1963 when he was 47 years old. The factory is located in a small Italian village called Sant’Agata Bolognese near Bologna.
  • Fact 2:
    Ferruccio Lamborghini was a successful tractor manufacturer before he got interested in sports cars. His interest in sports cars made him buy many different high-performance cars including both Maseratis and Ferraris, but he was never really happy with any of them and therefore decided to built his own, perfect sports car,
  • Fact 3:
    Lamborghini used to be an independent company, but today it is a subsidiary of the German company Audi AG. Audi AG became the owner of Lamborghini in 1998. Lamborghini went bankrupt in 1978 and was sold to Chrysler a long time before Audi AG became the sole owner of the company.
  • Fact 4:
    The fastest Lamborghini is the Le Mans version of the Murcielago R-GT model. It has been reported to have a top speed of 370 km/h. The fastest street model from Lamborghini is the Murcielago LP640 with an estimated top speed of 340 km/h. Both of the models have a V12 engine with more than 6000 cc.
  • Fact 5
    Several of the newer Lamborghini models feature the familiar Lamborghini scissor doors that rotate up and forward on a hinge near the front of the door. The Countach, the Diablo and the Murcielago all have scissor doors, but the Gallardo does not. Both the Countach and the Diablo are no longer being produced, so the Murcielago is the only current model with scissor doors.
  • Fact 6
    No Lamborghini have ever been produced with less than a V8 engine. Most of the Lamborghini models throughout the history of the company have come with the legendary Lamborghini V12 engine, but the newest model, Gallardo, only have a V10 engine oil. No Lamborghini models with a V8 engine have been since production of the Silhouette stopped in 1989.
  • Fact 7
    The first Lamborghini was the 350GTV from 1963. It was extremely fast for its time with a top speed of 280 km/h. In 1964 a smaller version of the 350GTV appeared. The smaller version was called 350GT and had a top speed of 240 km/h. The Countach from 1974 was the first Lamborghini to go faster than 300 km/h.
  • Fact 8
    In 1975 did Walter Wolf, a rich Canadian businessman and F1 racing team owner, persuade Lamborghini to produce three super powered Countach models. The Wolf Countach had the same engine as the orginal Countach prototype and were able to reach a top speed of 315 km/h.

How To Escape a Speeding Ticket By Getting Away With A Warning

Learn the tips on how to act when stopped by a police officer and what to say to increase your chances of getting away with a warning and not being ticketed. If you want to save yourself from the worries and expenses of dealing with a speeding ticket then after reading this article you’ll know what to do when stopped by an officer.

If a police patrol car pulls up behind you with lights flashing, the key to the next few minutes is keeping things safe for you and the police officer. Slow down and carefully pull over to the right shoulder, making sure to use your turn signal.

If you are uncomfortable stopping in a relatively unpopulated or unlighted area, slow down, turn on your hazard lights and indicate by a hand signal that you are going up ahead. Then pull over as soon as you get to a more populated area. Police officers understand this concern.

If it’s nighttime, turn on your dome light once you have stopped. Stay in the car, unless you are told to get out. It’s a challenge to the officer when you get out since officers are very cautious because of the high rate of attacks in these situations.

Roll down the window and keep your hands in view on the steering wheel. If you have to get your driver’s license, registration or insurance card from the glove box, a purse or other enclosed area, tell the officer before you do it.

The key is to play it cool and keep it safe. The easier and safer you make the process for the officer to approach you the more likely the officer will let you go just with a warning and not assign you a speeding ticket.

Now what to say to the police officer?

Of course the process of keeping it safe for the officer is only half of the game. Next you have to persuade officer to let you go with a warning.

The first thing the police officer will ask you after stopping your car will probably be whether you know why you have been stopped.

Police officer will want you to admit that you were speeding and that is what most drivers do – they admit that they did actually speed and they receive a speeding ticket for it. A speeding ticket not only costs them $150 but you are also dealing with your insurance premiums.

Most people get pretty nervous when they got stopped by an officer. The secret is to stay calm, speak to the officer in respectable tone and politely ask whether the officer can let you go with a warning.

The first question the officer will probably ask is whether you know why you have been stopped. You basically have 3 things to say:

1) Admit that you were speeding. The good side is that you are being honest and the officer appreciates it. You may have a chance that the officer will let you go with a warning.

The bad side is that if you get assigned a ticket and you had admitted that you were indeed speeding then it will be used against you at court. Officers usually take notes on what you say. So if you feel that you will get assigned a speeding ticket then you really shouldn’t directly admit that you were speeding.

2) Deny that you were speeding. This approach usually creates tension between you and the police officer. If you don’t have a reasonable argument to convince the officer that you weren’t speeding then you will get assigned a ticket.

The good side for this approach is that you will have more chance to beating your speeding ticket at court, since you didn’t admit that you were speeding.

3) Don’t admit that you were speeding but neither deny it. This approach may actually be the best one. When the officer says that you were stopped for speeding you can say: ‘Oh, I see…’ and then you can, in a respectful voice, give an excuse to an officer that you didn’t notice your speed bar or was too tired after work or any other excuse that doesn’t sound right downright lies.

You can learn a lot more of effective tactics to on how to persuade a police officer to let you go with a warning and successfully beat the speeding ticket at court from:

Why Online Car Sales is Better than The Auto Dealer

Auto Dealers are finding selling their vehicles online hit or miss at best. Auto Trader and Ebay along with Smart Auction from General Motors are offering some of the best options to an Auto Dealer. Why is it that less than 10% of the vehicles listed online are actually selling? There are plenty of companies offering solutions but none seem to be working on a consistent basis. What about the dealer with an internet department? Is he any more successful?

Internet selling has gotten to be big business for the local Auto Dealer. Large or small dealers have different needs but the same outcome. Selling successfully online is a necessary addition to their bottom line and overall sales numbers. Each and every dealer, no matter the size, needs to be able to sell effectively online.

The time and money that selling online costs the Auto Dealer can be a lot less than classic print, radio and television advertising. So why has the local dealer stayed away from selling online? Most are intimidated by a market that is selling less than 10% of the vehicles that are listed in a medium they do not understand.

Selling online needs an expertise that most dealers lack. Some dealers lack the size to handle supporting an internet department. There are companies out there that are offering a total solution to online sales. These companies can handle an effective, profitable internet department for each and every dealer, no matter the size.

A comprehensive internet strategy is needed to sell effectively online. A good consulting firm that brings expertise in auto sales, internet sales and technical computer skills. All of these skills are needed by the dealership to handle selling online effectively. When a dealer sells online effectively, profits and sales soar.

Accomplishing a comprehensive plan to sell online is being offered by very few companies in today’s market. What a dealer needs to look for is a consulting firm that is grounded in all three areas of online sales. Consulting firms that have Auto dealer experience, online sales experience and technical experience with building the software to accomplish an ease to selling online are necessary to meet the goal for the average dealer. These areas all need to be addressed to make a dealer self sufficient in online sales.

Dealers have found that keeping inventory fresh and up to date on their websites can be time consuming and not a profitable endeavor. Profitability in today’s market is essential to a dealer whether small or large. Online solutions are costly and hard to come by, but essential to a dealership.

Is there a solution? Hiring a company with auto experience, internet experience and technical experience is what the smart dealers are doing. Sell through ratios of these companies need to be checked and a company chosen that will effectively sell vehicles time and time again. There is a secret to selling online that major dealers and small dealers alike have found. To sell effectively online you need the right consulting firm to handle the details, leaving dealership personnel free to handle the sales. Sales are a given when the right online sales consulting firm is left to handle the management of online sales strategies. Hiring the right consulting firm for your online sales is essential to successfully selling online. These companies can accomplish positive online sales results more cost effectively than the local Auto Dealer.

Two and Four Stroke Engines: Fast and Simple Answers.

Many years ago when I got hooked by motorcycles, I started to hear a lot about two and four stroke engines… It seemed there were (and there still are) strong opinions in pro and con of each of the engine types.

As Internet wasn’t available, and as I was worried about other aspects or motorcycle riding back then, I left that question unanswered for a long time.

If this is your case or if your are interested in these two kind of internal combustion engines, in the next few lines I hope to give you a few fast answers and some resources to get more in depth information.

Just keep reading…

Here are some facts about two and four stroke engines:


Cycle – Two Strokes:

  1. Compression (intake+compression)
  2. Combustion (combustion+exhaust)

Take a look at the cycle in:

Advantages of two stroke engines:

  • The engine fires – spark plug ignites – once every revolution of the crankshaft.
  • They produce twice the power than four stroke engines.
  • They are much simpler than four stroke engines. Fewer parts to worry about.


  • You have to mix two stroke engine oil with gas, and depending on your consumption, this might be expensive.
  • They last less. Lubrication is not as efficient as in a four stroke engine with heavy oil.
  • Do not use gas efficiently.
  • Pollute more.


Cycle – Four Strokes:

  1. Intake
  2. Compression
  3. Combustion
  4. Exhaust

Take a look at the cycle in:

Advantages of four stroke engines:

  • Last longer than two stroke engines
  • More efficient use of gas
  • Pollute less than two stroke engines


  • More complicated. Many more parts to worry about.
  • Half as powerful as two stroke engines (for equivalent engines)
  • Fires once every two revolutions.

If you want to learn more about two stroke and four stroke engines, take a look at the pages I mention above. You will find extensive information and diagrams that will solve all of your doubts.

Well I hope this gave you some basic information and helped you answer some FAQ about two and four stroke engines! :-)

Enjoy the ride!

Daniel Levy

Fraudsters Target Online Car Sales

We first came across this in January when we were approached by a car dealer in Australia who had been directed to a website purporting to be 1st Move International’s car shipping site.

Car Shipping Scam: The hook

Fraudsters had copied aspects of our site and were advising potential victims that they would buy their vehicle and ship it via their approved shippers, pointing the victim to this so called shipping site which they had published themselves.

Once the seller had been ‘hooked’ the fraudster then sends a cheque to the seller for the cost of the vehicle and, very kindly, includes in this payment the costs for shipping the vehicle overseas.

Car Shipping Scam: The Con.

Say the car is being sold for £ 4000.00 and the shipping costs are £1000.00, you, the seller, get a nice little cheque for £ 5000.00 which you duly bank. The bank may even advise you that the funds are in your account, cleared and safe.

Car Shipping Scam: The Sting.

Within a few days you will be asked to send a slice of this money to the shipping agent in order to pay for the shipping. ( the shipping costs of £1000.00)

You are requested to send this money by Moneygram which you do as you have been paid.. This Moneygram is untraceable and cashed immediately.

Meanwhile your bank tells you 10 days later that the original cheque has bounced and promptly takes the money out of your account.

You have just been conned. For £ 1000.00 !

Good advice.

Always, always, get your bank to confirm, in writing, that funds have cleared, are available for use and cannot be taken back from your account. Be cautious of overcomplicated transactions involving shipping agents, business partners, middle men and so on, all designed to leave you seriously out of pocket, and the crooks with your cash.

As with all online transactions please check the credentials of who are you are dealing with. If it sounds to good to be true, then it normally is.

UK shipping companies, or Freight Forwarders, belong to the British International Freight Association (BIFA). You can check their site here: Better still why not call the shipping agent personally and check them out. They do a good job and will be happy to help and advise on all things shipping.

This article has been written by Jim Limerick, managing director of 1st Move International Removals ( and Autoshippers UK (

Members of the British International Freight Association., Membership Number 1884

1st Move International Ltd.
International House
Chittening Estate
Bristol BS11 OYB
Tel 0117 9828123
Fax: 0117 9822229

Enough With the Tesla Fanatics!

Photos courtesy of Tesla Motors
I like Tesla Motors, I really do. Every time I see a Model S on the roads around here (which lately seems to be just about every other day) I stop and stare longer than normal and point it out to my kids. What Elon Musk has accomplished the past several years has been amazing and is commendable on many levels. 
Still, I’m getting tire of all the Tesla fanatics. 
When I say “fanatics” I mean fanboys, because Tesla definitely has them. Sure, there are Camaro fanboys, Mustang fanboys, Ferrari fanboys, etc. but today I want to address the problem with the extremists who support Tesla in all it does, both good and bad. 
Even though I like Tesla, I wouldn’t dream of saying it’s a “perfect” company by any means, and I have a feeling Musk wouldn’t either. Like any other organzation, it can do things better and improve, so by definition it can’t be perfect. 
That hopefully seems like common sense to you, but I’ve bumped into people who seem to think that pointing out any flaws in their favorite electric car company is blasphemous and must be reconciled with a swift death. I’ve had such individuals accuse me of being part of a conspiracy, outright hating Tesla, being anti-technology, etc. simply for hinting that the company might be taking the wrong course of action on literally anything. 
I do feel like since the company enjoys a darling position in the public eye and to an extent in the industry, most people don’t talk about these annoying Tesla fans without going to the opposite extreme of saying that Tesla is a “sham” or “dead weight.” 
Don’t even think about saying anything that’s less-than-positive about Tesla’s direct sales model, because it must’ve been established by God himself. While I don’t think it’s right, the fact that Tesla won’t use dealer networks like virtually every other automaker is the thing that’s kept it from selling cars in multiple states, including here. Elon Musk has said before that the company’s current circumstances don’t jive well with anything but direct sales, but he’s also said that it likely won’t stay that way forever. Apparently some Tesla extremists didn’t get that memo, because when I once suggested that Tesla would one day use franchised dealers, I might as well have been tap dancing on a burning picture of Jesus in the middle of the Vatican for the way they reacted. If Tesla doesn’t want to go that sales route right now, so be it. Tesla likely won’t sell as many cars using a direct sales channel, so if the company’s okay with that then it is what it is. 
The one thing that will definitely make a Tesla fanboy go ape is to just mention the term “range anxiety.” Recently, when Elon Musk said he was about to end range anxiety, and I pointed out that it’s a big hurdle for many who might otherwise consider electric cars, a Tesla fanatic tore into me for playing up a “non-issue.” Apparently, because that person doesn’t personally know anyone out of his five friends and little brother who suffers from range anxiety, the condition simply doesn’t exist. As I pointed out in the article, with internal combustion cars you can carry a can of fuel back to a car that has exceeded its range, but you can’t really carry electricity back to an electric vehicle. 
According to the hardcore Tesla fans, nobody (and I mean nobody) needs to drive more than 200 or maybe 300 miles without waiting 15 minutes or more to drive that same distance, or almost as far again. Sorry, but that’s simply narrow-minded. While many people on a daily basis don’t drive that far, there are people who drive around as part of their living, such as real estate agents, Some of us live where there aren’t public chargers all over, making recharging a vehicle a bit of a fiasco. Sure, you adjust, but a fair amount of consumers look at those adjustments at best as a significant inconvenience. After all, how would you like to hang out by a charging car with cranky kids who just want to go home? Slitting your wrists and swimming through a pool of iodine would be less painful. Being able to refuel a vehicle in under five minutes is a real godsend, trust me. 
I do believe that Tesla and other automakers will overcome the challenges they face right now. Battery tech will move forward, allowing for greater range and shorter charging times, electric cars will become even more common and droves of consumers will buy them. Denying the challenges that face the technology right now doesn’t help push for real solutions to problems. Instead of engaging in a big group-think session about why electric powertrains are perfect, let’s come together and figure out how we can design vehicles that work well for everyone.

Is Ford the Copycat Automaker?

Back in its heyday, Ford was responsible for some rather iconic vehicle designs, such as the original Thunderbird and the Mustang. These days the Blue Oval’s designs are more infamous than breathtaking, because a growing number of people are accusing the company of outright stealing designs from other automakers.

The boiling point came recently when Bentley’s head designer called out Lincoln (which Ford owns) for cribbing the design of the Flying Spur for the Continental Concept. I have to admit, the first thing I thought when I saw the new Lincoln concept was how much it looked like a Bentley, while rear fascia had a weird Audi/Volvo bastardized mixture going on. The closer I look at the vehicle, the more convinced I become that Lincoln might have actually copied the design.

2015 Lincoln Continental Concept, courtesy of Lincoln
2015 Bentley Flying Spur, courtesy of Bentley

When the new Ford Fusion launched, plenty of people said it looked like a wanna-be Aston Martin. I used to deny it, but looking at it closely there’s definitely a strong resemblance that you just can’t deny.

Being a Land Rover fan, I immediately noticed that the 2016 Ford Explorer is incredibly similar-looking to the Range Rover. What’s funny is that a Chinese company copied the Range Rover, and people went ape. Ford does it, and I guess that’s okay because it’s Ford? Go figure.

2016 Ford Explorer, courtesy of Ford
2015 Range Rover, courtesy of Land Rover

I started digging more and found accounts of how Ford supposedly cribbed the design of the VW Passat to create the 2005 Ford Five Hundred, and that the Lincoln MKC is a ripoff of the Audi Q5.

2015 Lincoln MKC, courtesy of Lincoln
2015 Audi Q5, courtesy of Audi

Is Ford really so unoriginal? Can it just not design nice-looking vehicles without cheating off others’ work? Sure, the company does have some original designs, like the Mustang, but the trend lately seems to be stealing from the luxury brands of Europe, which in effect cheapens their products.