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Flash Flood Auto Club, National Jeep of Springfield to host car show fundraiser

SPRINGFIELD – It’s been nearly two years since brothers Rene Andino and Jeremy Lebron got together with their mom, sister and friends to form Flash Flood Auto Club, a car club with a mission.

The club put together their love of cars and their desire to help the community, organizing car show fundraisers to help local organizations like the American Cancer Society, the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center and more.

“It has always been about helping the community and giving money to organizations that help people,” said Andino, president of the club.

This weekend, Flash Flood Auto Club is collaborating with National Jeep of Springfield, another service-oriented auto club, to raise money for two Springfield women dealing with life-threatening illnesses.

“We want to do something to help these women,” said Victor Jimenez, a member of National Jeep.

Proceeds from the car show, which will be held in the Eastfield Mall parking lot on Sunday from 12-7 p.m., will benefit Adneris Alicea and Rosie Andino.

National Jeep of Springfield. 

Alicea, 28, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She underwent a double mastectomy and was in remission, but has since been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

“It’s a very serious situation and her medical bills are too much for her to handle,” said Wanda Pierce, a founding member of Flash Flood Auto Club. “National Jeep reached out to us because they really wanted to do something for her, so we are combining it with our fundraiser for my niece Rosie.”

Rosie Andino is a single mother of four who recently had emergency open heart surgery. A founding member of Flash Flood, Rosie Andino is the club’s enforcer.

“She makes sure everyone is following the rules of the club and representing us properly. Everyone loves her so much and this was just a sudden thing that happened to her,” Pierce said. “Since the surgery she has been out of work and she is the sole provider for her children.”

The cost for showing a car at the show is $20. The admission price is $10 per vehicle.

Rene Andino and Lebron said one of the goals of the car shows is to provide family-friendly entertainment.

“There is going to be a lot for families to do. There will be food, music, face painting, a raffle and we always have a surprise for people, too,” Lebron said.

For more information on the show, or to become a sponsor or a volunteer for the event, visit Flash Flood’s Facebook page, Facebook/FlashFlood413.

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TRANSPORTATION & LOGISTICS BRIEFING: Auto suppliers bearish on electric cars — Robot "swarms" in …

Welcome to Transportation Logistics Briefing, a new morning email providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting transportation and delivery, produced by BI Intelligence.

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MAJOR AUTO SUPPLIERS BEARISH ON INDUSTRY SHIFT TO ELECTRIC CARS: In the past month, executives from several of the largest auto parts suppliers in North America have warned that the auto industry’s shift towards electric vehicles will be slower than many expect, IndustryWeek reports. Tesla’s market value has skyrocketed past traditional carmakers, some of whom are now racing to respond with new electric vehicle models of their own. This has stoked speculation that production of electric vehicles will rapidly accelerate in the coming years, putting many more electric cars on the road.

Auto parts suppliers including American Axle  Manufacturing, Magna International, Delphi, and BorgWarner Inc. warn that this shift toward electric vehicles will take decades, not years. The reason is that they aren’t seeing demand to justify the current hype on electric cars. Rather than a spike in electric vehicle production, suppliers see automakers gradually shifting production towards a wider range of engine systems, with hybrid playing a bigger role. Delphi CEO Kevin Clark predicted last week that only 5% of new cars will be purely electric in 2025, with about 30% featuring hybrid gas-electric systems. 

The adoption of more hybrid and electric vehicles will have significant impact on the penetration of digital technologies into the automotive industry.

  • Automakers typically introduce new connected car features in their electric and hybrid models first before expanding them to gas-powered ones, as buyers of electric vehicles skew younger and more tech-savvy. 
  • Additionally, self-driving car technology is most compatible from an engineering perspective with electric vehicles because they’re easier for computers to drive.

The transformation presents a significant revenue opportunity for technology players and automotive startups looking to disrupt the industry. PwC predicted late last year that tech companies and startups providing automotive sensors, networking, and data and analytics capabilities will capture $120 billion — or more than 20% — of the auto industry’s profits. That enormous opportunity could be limited if sales of electric and hybrid models featuring these technologies don’t flourish. However, as the cost of these technologies gradually declines, their appeal to younger consumers could become an increasingly significant selling point, turning connected and self-driving technologies into a driver of electric car sales.

Self Driving Cars ForecastBII

WAREHOUSE ROBOTICS STARTUP LANDS NEW FUNDING FOR “SWARM” TECHNOLOGY: HDS Global, a warehouse automation startup, scored $10 million in funding from Ingram Micro, a global technology reseller and supply chain solutions provider that has been helping major retailers like Walmart with online delivery, The Wall street Journal reports. The deal will give Ingram Micro exclusive use of HDS’ warehouse automation technology to help lure more retail clients.

HDS’ software program, dubbed RoBoFS, allows different robots to “swarm,” or coordinate their actions to perform complex tasks in unison. For instance, the system could coordinate actions between different types of robots responsible for moving goods around a warehouse, packing them into boxes for shipment, and loading the packages on to trucks. The company will test the technology later this year with more than 100 different robots working together in a single warehouse facility. Ingram Micro hopes to install the software in one of its own warehouses in 2019.

This type of “swarming” capability is critical for warehouses to become increasingly automated with a wider array of mobile and stationary robots, drones, and autonomous forklifts and other vehicles. With all of these different types of robots presumably coming from different startups andmanufcaturers, warehouse operators will need programs that let the machines communicate with each other and work together. As warehouse facilities add more of these systems, this software can help cut down on the labor and resources required to integrate them, allowing facilities to more easily install and upgrade robotics systems. That could help cut the cost of fulfilling orders by up to 40%, HDS’ founder Louis Borders told the WSJ.

Systems like DHS’ will be in increasingly high-demand as warehouse operators face growing cost pressures and new types of robots are developed. The rise of e-commerce is fueling warehouse expansion, and the cost of warehouse labor is also rising, pushing companies to automate more warehouse tasks. New types of warehouse automation, such as robots that use sensors to pick out individual items for packaging, are also coming closer to fruition. So any tools that can smooth the transition to further automation will be highly attractive to warehouse operators.

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TARGET TO ACQUIRE GRAND JUNCTION TO SPEED UP DELIVERIES AND FEND OFF AMAZON: Target announced this week that it plans to acquire Grand Junction, which provides a software platform to help companies coordinate last-mile delivery, the final and most expensive part of the delivery process when an order reaches the customer’s doorstep. The deal will give Target access to Grand Junction’s platform and network of more than 700 regional and local shipping carriers to help the retailer expand its same-day delivery capabilities.

Grand Junction’s platform leverages algorithms that choose the fastest and most efficient delivery method for an order from among its network of carriers. Target plans to use this capability to expand a same-day delivery test pilot it has been running at a store location in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The pilot, which Target is running in partnership with Grand Junction, allows in-store customers to have their shopping bags delivered to their apartment, rather than carrying them home themselves. With the acquisition, the big-box retailer said that it plans to expand the same-day delivery program to other New York City stores later this year, and then to other cities in 2018.  

Amazon is pushing Target and other big-box retailers to expand their same-day delivery offerings. While Target already provides same-day grocery delivery in San Francisco, Chicago, and the Twin Cities area through a partnership with Instacart, Amazon will likely use some locations of soon-to-be-acquired Whole Foods to expand its own grocery delivery program. That, in turn, would put pressure on retailers like Target with significant business in the grocery and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) categories to offer speedy online delivery. That’s because consumers are not willing to wait long for these goods when they order them online, making speeding up last-mile deliveries a more significant priority for these retailers and their logistics partners.


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The Biggest Loser: Advance Auto Parts Plummets 20%

Advance Auto Parts (AAP) tumbled to the bottom of the SP 500 today after reporting weaker-than-expected earnings and sales.

Advance Auto Parts dropped 20% to $87.08 today, while the SP 500 finished little changed at 2,464.61. Competitors O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY) and AutoZone (AZO) fell 1.2% to $196 and 1.7% to $516.13, respectively.

BTIG’s Alan Rifkin and Marvin Fong explain why they’re sticking with their Sell rating:

AAP reported 2Q17 operating EPS of $1.58 on a 0% comp vs. our estimates of $1.67 and 0%, respectively. EBIT margin declined (214) bp, worse than our (150) bp estimate. AAP materially lowered 2017 guidance, as expected. Comps are now expected to decline (1-3)% vs. prior guidance of 0-2%. Guidance implies 2H comps will be slightly negative to (5)%. Also alarming, EBIT margin is now expected to decline (200-300) bp vs. prior guidance of +15-35 bp. This implies EPS of approximately $4.80-$5.60 vs. $7.40-$7.55 implied by the former +15-35 bp guidance.We were already skeptical of guidance, but implied guidance is below our former Street-low estimate of $6.27. We believe this quarter has borne out our longstanding concern that any turnaround will be a long and challenging process given AAP’s weak competitive position…On our reduced estimates, AAP trades at an unwarranted 45% premium to AutoZone (AZO, Buy, $825 PT) and 2% premium to O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY, Buy, $243 PT).

Advance Auto Parts’ market capitalization fell to $6.4 billion today from $8.1 billion yesterday.

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Advance Auto Parts: What Just Happened?!?!

Advance Auto Parts (AAP) was trying to get its engine started heading into its earnings report this morning. Instead, it’s stalled once again.

Advance Auto Parts had gained 7% during the past month at the close of trading. but then it released its second-quarter financial results. Advance reported a profit of $1.58 a share, missing forecasts for $1.65, on sales of $2.26 billion, in-line with analyst expectations. And while its same-store sales were flat–beating expectations for a 0.2% second-quarter decline–Advance now expects comparable-store sales to drop between 1% and 3% this year, below expectations for a 0.5% decline.

Guggenheim’s Steven Forbes and team explain why they “remain on the sidelines” following Advance’s results:

Since our initiation in January, we have believed that simultaneously driving both improved top-line and bottom-line momentum was an overly optimistic outlook given the amount of reinvestment needed to reposition the business for long-term success. In our view, the industry headwinds that have been highlighted by AAP’s public peers will only further complicate the margin dynamics associated with the company’s recovery. As a result, we remain on the sidelines and await additional color around the impact these headwinds will have on the company’s ability to flow-through the productivity initiatives it laid out earlier this year.

Now, shares of Advance Auto Parts are in freefall–and taking its competitors with it. Shares of Advance have plunged 20% to $87.19 at 10:02 a.m. today, while O’Reilly Automotive (ORLY) has fallen 2.9% to $192.70, and AutoZone (AZO) has dropped 3.7% to $505.93.

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CAFE Standards Review: Administration Takes Step To Roll Back …

“We are moving forward with an open and robust review of emissions standards,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt says.

Susan Walsh/AP

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Susan Walsh/AP

“We are moving forward with an open and robust review of emissions standards,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt says.

Susan Walsh/AP

The Trump administration has begun the process of rolling back tough fuel standards for America’s car and light truck fleet.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025.

“We are moving forward with an open and robust review of emissions standards, consistent with the timeframe provided in our regulations,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Friday. The 45-day period allows for the public to comment about regulations before proposed changes.

EPA Reopens U.S. Rules Setting Vehicle Efficiency Standards For 2025

Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules were first put into place after the OPEC oil crisis in the 1970s. During the Obama administration, the CAFE rules were toughened in the wake of the financial crisis and the car company bankruptcies. The new standards called for an increased reliance on electric vehicles.

Low gas prices and sluggish sales of alternative fuel vehicles have made meeting those standards tough, especially for those companies more reliant on larger vehicles. Earlier this year, the EPA announced it would reconsider a decision late in the Obama administration to make the rules permanent.

The auto industry has hailed the decision to reopen the fuel standards. With the announcement, Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Auto Alliance, a group of auto manufacturers, says, “the Administration is fulfilling its commitment to reinstate the midterm evaluation of future vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards.”

Environmental and consumer advocacy groups decried the move. “By reopening the midterm evaluation, EPA is bringing back questions that have already been asked and answered,” said Consumers Union, the policy arm of Consumer Reports.

Low Gas Prices Give SUV Sales A Boost, But Automakers Take Long View

Shannon Baker-Branstetter with Consumer’s Union says her organization’s studies show people want to save money on gas. According to a recent survey, 90 percent of Americans want automakers to raise fuel efficiency. Baker-Branstetter says adds “In fact, consumers are especially concerned about the fuel efficiency of the crossovers and SUVs they’ve been gravitating toward in recent years.”

“What kind of changes may or may not be introduced is far from clear”, says Stephanie Brinley, senior automotive analyst, IHS Markit. The agencies are expected to expand the data used to make the determination, specifically taking into consideration consumer behavior, she says.

The public comment period allows the car companies and others to lobby to keep or make changes.

“Pressures from other government requirements and consumer interest in reducing fuel emissions are expected to continue to be aggressive,” Brinley says.

Even if the U.S. scales back, she says, the movement toward higher standards will likely continue in other countries. Already this year, several countries said they would ban the sale of gasoline vehicles altogether within decades. Many analysts believe that rolling back fuel standards could jeopardize the near term future for electric vehicles.

France Plans To Ban Sale Of Diesel And Gas Vehicles By 2040

All New Volvo Models Will Be Electric Or Hybrid Starting In 2019

Is Obama's Hope For Better Fuel Economy Sputtering Out?

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Japan is looking at making auto parts out of wood

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Kyoto University Professor Hiroyuki Yano, who is leading research in making auto parts using wood, at his laboratory in Kyoto, Japan on July 25, 2017.

The global push among carmakers to make ever lighter vehicles is leading some auto suppliers in Japan to turn to what seems like an unlikely substitute for steel: wood.

Japanese researchers and auto component makers say a material made from wood pulp weighs just one fifth of steel and can be five times stronger.

The material, cellulose nanofibres, could become a viable alternative to steel in the decades ahead, they say, although it faces competition from carbon-based materials, and remains a long way from being commercially viable.

Reducing the weight of a vehicle will be critical as manufacturers move to bring electric cars into the mainstream. Batteries are an expensive but vital component, so a reduction in car weight will mean fewer batteries will be needed to power the vehicle, saving on costs.

“Lightweighting is a constant issue for us,” said Masanori Matsushiro, a project manager overseeing body design at Toyota.

“But we also have to resolve the issue of high manufacturing costs before we see an increased use of new, lighter-weight materials in mass-volume cars.”

Researchers at Kyoto University and major parts suppliers such as Denso, Toyota’s biggest supplier, and DaikyoNishikawa, are working with plastics incorporated with cellulose nanofibres – made by breaking down wood pulp fibres into several hundredths of a micron (one thousandth of a millimetre).

Cellulose nanofibres have been used in a variety of products ranging from ink to transparent displays, but their potential use in cars has been enabled by the “Kyoto Process”, under which chemically treated wood fibres are kneaded into plastics while simultaneously being broken down into nanofibres, slashing the cost of production to roughly one-fifth that of other processes.

Wood chips and fibers are chemically treated before bring converted into cellulose nanofibers at a laboratory in Tokyo, Japan July 25, 2017.

“This is the lowest-cost, highest-performance application for cellulose nanofibres, and that’s why we’re focusing on its use in auto and aircraft parts,” Kyoto University Professor Hiroaki Yano, who is leading the research, told Reuters in an interview.

The university, along with auto parts suppliers, are currently developing a prototype car using cellulose nanofibre-based parts to be completed in 2020.

“We’ve been using plastics as a replacement for steel, and we’re hoping that cellulose nanofibres will widen the possibilities toward that goal,” said Yukihiko Ishino, a spokesman at DaikyoNishikawa, which counts Toyota Motor and Mazda Motor among its customers.

Automakers are also using other lightweight substitutes. BMW uses carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) for its i3 compact electric car as well as for its 7 series, while high-tensile steel and aluminium alloys are currently the most widely used lightweight options because they are cheaper and recyclable.

“Spruce goose”

Yano said he was inspired in his research by a photo of the “Spruce Goose”, a cargo plane made almost entirely of wood in 1947 by U.S. billionaire entrepreneur Howard Hughes. At the time, it was the world’s largest aircraft.

“I thought that if Howard Hughes could find a way to use wood to build a massive plane, why not use wood to make a material that was as strong as steel,” he said.

The cost of mass producing a kilogramme of cellulose nanofibre is currently around 1,000 yen ($9).

Yano aims to halve that cost by 2030, which he says will make it an economically viable product, since it would be combined with plastic, and so competitive against high tensile steel and aluminium alloys, which currently cost around $2 per kg.

Industry experts anticipate that carbon fibre prices will fall to around $10 per kg by 2025.

Analysts say high-tensile steel and aluminium will be the more popular alternative for many years to come, considering parts makers would need to overhaul production lines and figure out ways to fasten new materials like cellulose nanofibre onto other car parts.

Anthony Vicari, an applied materials analyst at Lux Research in Boston, said it “would be a big deal” though if Yano’s projections prove to be correct.

But for now, it remains “a very big ‘if’”, he said.

Chicago area auto mechanics reject deal, continue strike at dealerships – WLS

Chicago area auto mechanics plan to continue their strike this week. They rejected an offer over the weekend.

Members of Automobile Mechanics’ Local 701 walked off the job late last month in a dispute over pay and health insurance costs.

The Chicago Automobile Trade Association has said the strike is affecting about one-third of its dealerships.

The union says it’s willing to return to the bargaining table.

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Trump Sets a Collision Course With the Auto Industry as NAFTA Talks Begin

The industry is opposed to such a carve-out or to increasing the percentage of a vehicle’s value that must come from the region above the current 62.5%—already the highest of any global trade bloc.

They say this would raise costs and disrupt a complex supply chain that sees parts crisscrossing NAFTA borders and has made North American car production competitive with Asia and Europe.

“Our members feel very strongly that rules of origin are not the tools to use to reshore jobs into the U.S.,” said Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs for the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, a trade group representing auto parts makers.

Wilson and other industry advocates say a better way to boost U.S. manufacturing jobs is through policies aimed at expanding vehicle exports.


But if U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross gets his way, it would be harder to reach the 62.5% content threshold because the “tracing list” of parts that count towards that goal would be modernized. He argues the current rules are too loose and allow a tariff-free “back door” for Chinese auto parts.

Parts that did not exist when the 300-plus page list was devised in the early 1990s, largely electronics sourced from Asia such as console touch screens or hybrid-drive controllers, do not count against reaching the threshold. If they are put on the list, companies would have to source them from North America or pay tariffs on them.

For more on NAFTA, watch Fortune’s video:

If the content requirements become too onerous, automakers will simply skip compliance “and they’ll just end up paying the duty,” said Charles Uthus, vice president for international policy at the American Automotive Policy Council, a lobbying group for Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Fiat Chrysler.

Foregoing all NAFTA tariff-free access benefits – something that could happen if Trump is dissatisfied with the negotiations and decides to scrap the trade pact – would raise costs by about $4 billion-5 billion a year, Ulthus added. Ford plans about $7 billion in total capital spending this year.


Among the other contentious NAFTA issues that U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators will tackle starting on Wednesday in Washington is the future of a mechanism for resolving trade disputes.

The United States wants to eliminate a so-called “Chapter 19″ provision, arguing that it fails to combat unfair subsidies of some Mexican and Canadian goods. Mexico and Canada have vowed to keep the provision.

Negotiators are expected to pursue new NAFTA chapters governing digital trade, and tightening environmental and labor standards, changes previously agreed by the three countries as part of the now-defunct 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership.

U.S. negotiators will also seek a provision to deter currency manipulation, aiming to set a precedent for future trade negotiations, such as a revised U.S.-North Korean deal or a bilateral pact with Japan.

The negotiations face an extremely tight timeline, with officials saying they want to complete negotiations by early next year to avoid ratification difficulties posed by elections in Mexico in July 2018 and in the U.S. in November 2018.

Freund, a trade economist for more than a decade at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, said the negotiators should focus on a few key areas.

“If you really want to do a full-blown modernization of NAFTA, it’s going to take a lot more than six months,” she said. “Ultimately I think they’re going to get bogged down in all these details and pick two to three things and have a smaller agenda.”

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Sheriff: 3 men, two from Aurora, shot dead at Wisconsin auto race

Three men, at least two of them from Aurora, were shot at point-blank range during an auto racing event in southeastern Wisconsin, but no suspects have been arrested in the killings, a sheriff said.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said authorities responded to the Great Lakes Dragaway in Union Grove around 7 p.m. Sunday after receiving reports that shots had been fired.

A man shot the three at point-blank range near a food vendor, Beth said at a news conference Sunday night. No suspects have been arrested, and no one else was injured.

“They have no idea what happened, what caused this,” the sheriff said after getting a statement from friends of the victims.

Shooting Modern Auto Racing with a 1926 Kodak Brownie

Photographer Murilee Martin has shot auto racing for over a decade now, but recently he decided to give himself a challenge: he covered a race using a “point-and-shoot” camera that contains 100-year-old+ camera technology.

In a piece for car enthusiast magazine Autoweek, Martin writes that while his camera of choice these days is a DSLR, he continues to have a soft spot for ancient and strange analog cameras. And after learning how to drive the Ford Model T, Martin wanted to shoot with the camera equivalent of that iconic car.

A 1910 Ford Model T

The Ford Model T is widely regarded as the world’s first affordable automobile that brought cars to the masses. So Martin settled on the Kodak Brownie No. 2, an affordable camera that brought photography to the masses.

Martin purchased a cheap 1926 Kodak Brownie No. 2 Model F from eBay. This camera was the first to use an aluminum camera body instead of a cardboard one that the original $1 Brownie had, but it still contains the same 1901 rotary shutter and 3-stop aperture control.

Martin’s 1926 Kodak Brownie No. 2 Model F from eBay.

Using this camera, Martin covered this year’s Arse Sweat-a-Palooza 24 Hours of Lemons race, an endurance race for cars that cost $500 or less. He shot a few 8-exposure rolls of film — some Ilford 100, some Ilford 400.

Shooting with such an old camera comes with a unique set of challenges for photographers accustomed to handling modern equipment.

“I suppose the main thing is that shooting pan shots of race cars is tough with a Brownie No. 2 because the ‘viewfinders’ are essentially useless for that purpose and the shutter speed is about 1/50th,” Martin tells PetaPixel. “I was able to do it because I have been photographing race cars at those two track locations at Thunderhill for a decade now (with modern DSLRs).”

After the race, Martin took the film rolls to a processor for development and then scanned the film himself to digitize it.

“The results were quite good for 116-year-old technology,” Martin writes at Autoweek. “[G]ranted, modern film is much more sensitive than the stuff used in the old days.”

(via Autoweek via DPReview)

P.S. Earlier this year, we featured gorgeous photos of a similar concept by photographer Joshua Paul, who used a 1913 Graflex 4×5 view camera to photograph Formula 1 racing.

Image credits: Photographs by Murilee Martin and used with permission

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