Prices going up soon for steel, aluminum, etc.

If you've been deferring maintenance on your auto transport trailer, now might be a good time to sit down and make up a shopping list... prices are set to jump due to increased costs for component materials like steel, aluminum, webbing, etc. Here is a link to the current specials for car hauling parts, straps, chains, etc., due to expire as soon as we run out of stock purchased at the old price. There is also a coupon code to save you $10 for orders placed online before May 31st.

A Once in a Lifetime Chance to Meet a MINI Icon and Legend

R.A. Meets the legendary R.A.

As the saying goes:
"There is a reason and a time for everything"

Early morning of May 12, 2010, i received a message from
Doc Joey Luat of PINOYMINI CLUB. It said: "Good news!
Mr. Rauno Aaltonen, Monte Carlo Rallye Champ of 1967
arrived today. We are invited to join him for photo-op and
snacks at the MINI Showroom. A chance of a lifetime to be
with an icon and a legend.

Indeed an exhilarating news but unfortunately for me, I was
on the job and was not able to squeeze a time out from a
whole day photoshoot. It was a sad day. I missed what may
be my only chance of meeting the Monte Carlo Mini Cooper
Rally Driver and Winner.

The next day, though I was still recovering from that depressing
moment, I went to work. I proceeded to Heaven and Eggs G4
for a work meeting. Right after, I was with some colleagues
in the Glorietta 4 driveway when a white BMW Mini Cooper drove
in. Naturally. my heart skipped a beat at the sight of my favorite car.

The funny thing was I knew the lady who was driving it so i waved
at her. It was Ms. Cielo of MINI Global City. To my surprise,
she invited me to ride with her to the parking area and asked me to
join her because she was on her way to the Ascott Hotel to meet
Mr. Aaltonen!

And so it happened. It was a MINI miracle to have a second chance
on that once in a lifetime opportunity and honor to meet, shake hands
and have the autograph of the 1967 Monte Carlo MINI Marvel.

It was priceless!
What i thought was a missed opportunity suddenly became a reality.

This may be a very emotional manner of narrating a simple event in
once life. But for someone who is so passionate with the MINI,
a single chance of being with or being this close to any part or personality
of the MINI's history - will always be a very overwhelming experience. =)

And so i share with you how R.A. meets The R.A.
Rachelle Aquilizan of Manila meets
Rauno Aaltonen, the Monte Carlo Champion!

"For Rachelle / Binimini, with best regards and real MINI wishes - Rauno Aaltonen"

Is Boydstun starting up again?

In a word... No!

However, I do have some good news for Boydstun screw truck owners. Or anybody who would prefer to have their truck worked on by techs with experience with this sort of equipment as well as good, old-fashioned chain trucks.

Lee Ireland and Pam Lee, formerly of Boydstun Metalworks, are back in the old service building at 9002 North Sever Court in Portland. They are working under the auspices of Western Pacific Leasing and Truck Repair, which is hooked in with Paccar. Lee hired Pam last month, along with three other former Boydstun employees. In addition to the old Boydstun facility, they are also running a mobile repair truck.

This is where we are going to direct all those folks that call us looking for screw actuators, solenoids, etc. You can call Pam or Lee at 503-233-8135.

Car Hauler Finance Update

Was talking with Jamie over at Zip's Truck Equipment about those pre-2003 Miller car haulers with the star-hole deck plate... and how best to use soft-ties on them... and the conversation circled around to truck finance. I didn't realize this, but Zip's does their financing in-house with a sister company they set up. They ARE doing truck loans, believe it or not. Here are the rough guidelines:
  • 15% down on leases
  • 25% down on truck
  • they lien against truck... won't ask you to put up your house as collateral or any kind of nonsense like that.
  • they like to see at least a year's experience in the industry
  • 600+ FICO score
  • terms of the loan tailored to the equipment
  • they will loan money on outside deals, say if you find a truck at Rush Peterbilt or on Autohauler Shopper website or Truck Paper.
Zip's has late model used Cottrell and Miller car haulers available... highmount 7 car quickloaders, stinger quickloaders and stinger high rails. Call Jamie for more info (641) 394-4083.

Another good place to call for truck financing is West Coast Enterprises. They are a Cottrell dealer but also do outside deals. Call Andrea West (559) 264-6984. They have tons of late-model Cottrells available, as well as used equipment, lease turn-ins, etc.

Tec Trucks in Portland is another good resource, since they have the ability to pay cash for trades when they do a truck deal. They have a good inventory of car hauling trailers also.

Noise and Signal in the Economy

Lately, there have been crazy swings in the stock market caused by technical glitches (perhaps), and possibly fears of default on sovereign debt by Greece... and fears of the spread of this "contagion" to the weaker economies in Europe: Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland. While I admit the prospect of a lapse back into recession by the European Economic Union is spooky, one shouldn't immediately reach for the panic button.
  1. Flight to safety of US bond market will keep bond prices high and yields low... meaning, we can keep financing our own debt at reasonable interest. Consequently, long term interest rates on mortgages should stay lower even after the government pull-out of the mortgage market.
  2. This will provide positive feedback to the (slowly) recovering US real estate and construction industries.
  3. Stronger dollar means your money will go a further.
  4. "It's the jobs, stupid!" (I'm paraphrasing Bill Clinton's campaign manager's mantra during his last re-election bid.) US jobs data continue to improve. Check it out.
  5. Improving jobs numbers will reinforce economic recovery as consumers make a bigger come-back and demand increases. US auto sales were up 20% in April.
  6. Increased demand will reinforce jobs.
  7. Asian economies are doing well, which is good for US exports, because most exports are to Asia, not Europe. According to the Wall Street Journal, GM's China sales rose 41% in April.
Sure, gold is up around $1,200 an ounce. Banks are still shoring up their balance sheets and capital reserves and being stingy with loans to certain sectors (ahem! truck loans!) This too shall pass. The fundamentals, if not strong, are at least improving. I'm cautiously optimistic that the meaningful data are in jobs and housing and retail sales data, not in stock market gyrations.

What are the effects of the economy on car hauling?

Ford economist Emily Kolinski Morris said the recent growth in U.S. gross domestic product—it rose 3.2% in the first quarter—is supporting a recovery in car sales. Ford is forecasting that 2010 sales industrywide will rise to 11.5 million to 12.5 million vehicles, up considerably from last year's 10.4 million. "I would be very surprised to see the sales pace tail off," she said in a separate conference call. -- Wall Street Journal: May 4, 2010

The curse of the “Zombie Truckers”

Zombie Truckers are still afflicting motor carriers both large and small

Mar 5, 2010 1:56 PM

Though a term more appropriate for a George Romero film than the freight market, “Zombie Truckers” are still afflicting motor carriers both large and small by keeping capacity in play that technically shouldn’t be there. The term – coined by Larry Gross, president of Gross Transportation Consulting and senior consultant with FTR Consulting Group – refers to truck operators who are not making their monthly equipment payments and thus should be bankrupt or shut down, yet remain in operation because the banks do not want to repossess their equipment as its value remains minimal.

This was a really interesting article I was tipped off by a friend who has 40 years in the auto transport business. One thing he says he's seen in all the years of analyzing the numbers is that a truck has to earn a certain amount per day on average, or you'll be better off parking it.

2009: A retrospective in miniature.

OK, we all know 2009 was tough sledding... but here is something interesting... despite the economic morass we were in last year, the little port of Tacoma, WA managed to pull in quite a few cars. Auto units: 117,357. That's $3.01 billion worth of vehicles, to be specific. (Source)

Port employees earned wages working at the port. Businesses and drivers earned money unloading, loading and transporting those cars. Some sales people down the road somewhere made some money selling those cars. Other people earned money fueling them up, washing them, providing service, etc.

What's the moral of the story?

I think it is good to keep things in perspective. Business was way off last year in a lot of different industries, but there was still business, even during the financial gridlock that was late '08 early '09. The governments and the businesses of this world cobbled together an exit from the financial and economic quagmire. We are still walking that path. It's not over yet. In a world as interdependent and complex as ours is now, could it EVER be over, really? But we have no choice but to keep moving forward, just like our grandparents had to do in the Great Depression and during World War Two. They survived by working hard and thinking creatively. We will do the same. Because we must. Comparing the two eras, I think you'll agree that what we went through was nothing like what they experienced. The governments of the world may have not come up with the best solutions for the economic crises, but they avoided a catastrophic breakdown of the financial system and a total locking up of liquidity.

Last year a little port in Tacoma, Washington moved 117,357 cars. And things are already picking up. I'd say we're on the mend. For now.