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Mechanic Patrice Banks tests the ‘GMA’ anchors’ auto knowledge

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OC International Auto Show in Anaheim will be all gleaming chrome, with 600 of the newest vehicles on display

More new cars are sold in Orange County than in 23 states.

It’s that market that leads auto manufacturers to wheel out their latest concept cars and teched-out displays for the annual OC International Auto Show, organizers said.

Some 600 of the newest model cars, trucks, commercial vehicles and alternative fuel options will be on display at the Anaheim Convention Center over four days starting Thursday, Sept. 28. More than 100 cars can be taken for a spin.

“The manufactures really do things in a first-class manner,” said John Sackrison, executive director of the Orange County Automobile Dealers Association and director of the auto show. “We have some unique things to our show that are not offered at other shows.”


The auto show partners with several of Orange County’s luxury dealers to offer an “exotics gallery” featuring the latest from Bentley, Ferrari, McLaren and other high-end automakers.

“Those are vehicles you can really only see at our show,” Sackrison said. “Those are always kind of showstoppers. Not everyone, including myself, get to see those every day.”

A partnership with Hot Rod Magazine will fill any needs for muscle under the hood. A fast-growing selection of customized trucks and vans will offer options for contractors and others needing commercial vehicles.

Nissan, Jeep and Genesis plan to bring their cars of the future, giving an insider’s look at concepts before they ever see a productions line.

Car shoppers, or just enthusiasts, will be able to take a look at new models from 35 manufacturers – 15 of which will offer test drives either out on the city streets or on inside tracks.

A professional driver will take visitors on a test drive of Jeeps, climbing an 18-foot, 35-degree hill and three-wheeling over a faux trail pass and across fallen logs.

Sackrison said even a test-driving veteran like himself can’t help but call Jeep’s off-road track set up inside the Convention Center “exhilarating.”

“This is an exciting ride, it feels like a roller coaster,” he said.

Manufacturers aren’t just relying on the sexy curve of a hood or the gleam of chrome under spotlights to attract interest. Several will set up driving simulators and enthusiasts can explore the Jaguar I-Pace concept SUV through an interactive virtual-reality experience.

“Manufacturers spend millions and millions of dollars to create these exhibits,” Sackrison said. “It makes for a great experience for the guests of the auto show.”

The auto show isn’t intended to be a sales floor, but a survey found 51 percent of visitors will buy a car within a year, Sackrison said, adding 79 percent said the show influenced or changed their purchase.

The show, which grew in floor space by 25 percent last year, is the largest public event held at the Anaheim Convention Center. Organizers do not release attendance figures.

“This show is not designed just for those who are shopping for cars,” Sackrison said. “It really makes for a fun day out.”

If you go

When: 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28; noon to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1

Where: Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave.

Cost: $12 for those 13 and older, $10 for seniors and military, children are free


Car kids

The OC International Auto Show has plenty for car enthusiasts, but organizers said those without driver’s licenses won’t be left bored sitting on the curb.

Here’s a few things that should entertain families:

  •  The California Highway Patrol will have officers and the department’s signature Dodge Charger on site Thursday-Saturday.
  •  Kids can search the auto show floor in an interactive scavenger hunt with a prize at the end.
  •  It is never too early to try out an alternative-fuel ride; kids can test drive electric cars on a mini track.
  •  Kids love selfies and along with the gleaming cars to pose with, selfie stations are planned.


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Auto business sustains heavy damage after early morning fire

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An early Saturday morning fire rips through KW Auto Sales N Service on the southwest side.

Shortly before 3:00 a.m., crews from the Indianapolis Fire Department responded to the auto business, and according to the IFD Twitter account, stayed until 5:15 a.m., putting out hot spots.

IFD said the fire was so bad, it caused power lines to come down.

“There were some cars in the lot that did catch fire,” IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith said, “One of them caught fire I think when a power line fell on it, but we had several power lines come down because of the heavy volume of fire burned right through them.”

As IFD mentioned in the tweet above, crews were able to evacuate 3 occupants and a dog safely from a nearby house.

The fire spanned 3 buildings in the area, and caused extensive damage.

IPL went to the scene to fix the power line issues.

There were no injuries, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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Bail denied to Carpentersville man accused of murdering owner of Alsip auto body shop

Bail was denied Thursday to a 33-year-old Carpentersville man accused of murdering the owner of an Alsip auto body shop in an alleged botched robbery.

Brian Garcia shot 76-year-old Mohamed Salhia once in the chest during an attempted payday robbery around 1 p.m. Tuesday inside Ray’s Towing and Recovery, 4340 W. 127th St., prosecutors said. He was pronounced dead about an hour later at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Garcia also is accused of shooting a 43-year-old worker seven times. He is currently in stable condition at Christ Medical Center, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors argued that Garcia, whose criminal background includes several felony gun crime convictions and years spent in state prison, represented a “real and present threat” if released.

Star Auto Sales open in Mattoon – Journal Gazette and Times

Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

Whenever Rob Stroud posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

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Here’s the scariest part of NAFTA, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

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Wilbur Ross: Autos and auto parts more than 100% of trade decicit

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Friday that autos and auto parts are a key area in overhauling the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

The “scariest part” of NAFTA as it’s currently written is that autos and auto parts make up nearly all of the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, Ross said on “Squawk Box.”

“Without that there would be a surplus,” he said.

Autos and auto parts from areas outside of the U.S., Mexico and Canada coming into the trade bloc are a big problem, said Ross — a billionaire, who before joining the Trump administration, made his fortune investing in distressed assets.

“The sharp growth is parts coming in from outside NAFTA, from China, from Southeast Asia,” he said, stressing a free trade zone is supposed to benefit the principals, not outside nations.

Mexico and Canada “should be against substituting U.S.-made parts for ones coming in from outside of NAFTA,” he argued.

With the third round of NAFTA renegotiations kicking off this weekend, Ross pushed the urgency to get a new deal done.

“In 2018, the U.S. Trade Promotion Authority, the so-called fast track, runs out. And given the nature of Congress, we don’t know if that will be renewed,” he said. “Without fast-track, it would be very hard to get any trade deals.”

Another complicating factor is key elections next year in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, he said. “If you get too much into 2018, the political calendar will overwhelm the trade calendar.”

Despite repeated attacks against NAFTA by President Donald Trump and his administration, a new IPSOS poll showed strong support among Americans, Mexicans and Canadians for cooperation among their nations. Fifty-eight percent of Americans, 79 percent of Mexicans and 74 percent of Canadians support the idea of their countries participating in one of the world’s biggest trading blocs.

On the 2016 campaign trail and as president, Trump has said he would ditch the 23-year-old pact unless major changes are made.

Canada last month suggested it could walk away if the U.S. pushed to remove a key dispute-settlement mechanism. However, that’s viewed as a last-ditch measure.

Mexico’s foreign minister last week told Reuters that if NAFTA were to vanish “there would be no leap into the abyss,” adding Mexico would deepen trade with other nations.

Meanwhile, the White House has been softening its stance on trade in the hopes of preserving GOP votes on tax reform, sources indicate to CNBC.

Responding to that report, Ross said in Friday’s “Squawk Box” interview, “What we don’t want to do is things that will unnecessarily irritate the Senate, because we need the votes there.”

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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Baby boomers, not millennials, most influence the auto industry

For baby boomers, the automobile has always been a symbol of style and freedom. The generation of 76.4 million born between 1946 and 1964 who once romped in the back seats of their parents’ station wagons has determined what we drive for over a half-century. With advanced technology and designs catering to this demographic, boomers will influence our rides long past when they hang up their key chains.

In their youth, baby boomers were enticed with a Jetsonsonian future where turbine-powered cars like GM’s 1956 Firebird II concept drove themselves. Reality has been slow to catch up.

“This generation was born into economic prosperity,” said Sheryl Connelly, a futurist for Ford Motor Co. “They witnessed the first man on the moon. They believe anything is possible.”

Former Ford and Chrysler executive Lee Iacocca anticipated baby boomers wanted to drive something fun with the 1964 Mustang, which created an entirely new segment and established a benchmark for accessible American sports cars. In its first three years, the Mustang sold 1,288,557 copies compared with just 74,224 Corvettes during the same period.

NAFTA – Essential for Our Auto Industry: Scotiabank Economics

TORONTO, Sep. 21, 2017 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) — The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has enabled the North American auto industry to become one of the most competitive in the world, allowing it to boost productivity and gain global market share.

Under the agreement, the auto industry has developed one of the world’s most highly integrated supply chains, with three-quarters of US-made auto parts exports sent to its NAFTA partners. The entire North American auto industry has changed and become stronger under NAFTA, enabling it to increase its competitiveness, add to production at home, and gain market share abroad. North America now accounts for roughly 22% of global auto industry exports, up from less than 19% a decade ago.

“NAFTA is a win-win-win for the auto sector, as employment growth in the sector has outpaced overall job creation across North America. Any disruption of the free flow of vehicles and parts would negatively affect economic growth and labour markets,” said Carlos Gomes, Senior Economist and Auto Industry Specialist, Scotiabank. “Efforts to modernize NAFTA should ensure that the agreement remains flexible enough for the North American auto sector to maintain its outperformance of recent years.”

In the US, NAFTA has enabled the auto industry to outperform other industrial sectors, which has pushed its share of overall US manufacturing activity to new highs. The auto sector now accounts for a record 12.4% of total US manufacturing activity, up from less than an estimated 10% share prior to the introduction of NAFTA.

Auto industry output in Canada is advancing nearly four times faster than the overall growth rate of manufacturing as a whole. Roughly 75% of the value of all auto parts used in North American-built vehicles is sourced within NAFTA, well above the 62.5% threshold required for finished automobiles to move duty-free between NAFTA countries.

Mexican auto production has more than tripled since the mid-1990s and exports of vehicles and parts have surged tenfold such that Mexico now accounts for 6.5% of global auto trade. However, Mexico’s NAFTA partners have also benefitted substantially from the agreement. Mexico is now the destination for more than one-third of all auto parts exports from the US, up from less than 5% when NAFTA took effect in 1994. Auto-sector export growth to Mexico from Canada has picked up even more quickly, albeit from a smaller base.

NAFTA has been good for auto-sector jobs in the US and Canada. During the recent expansion, US employment in the industry has increased by more than five times the rate of overall manufacturing employment growth and three times the pace of total economy-wide employment gains. Similarly, auto-sector job creation in Canada has run ahead of manufacturing employment growth and the rate of job creation in the rest of the economy.

Read the full Scotiabank Global Auto Report online at:,,3112,00.html.

Scotiabank provides clients with in-depth research into the factors shaping the outlook for Canada and the global economy, including macroeconomic developments, currency and capital market trends, commodity and industry performance, as well as monetary, fiscal and public policy issues.

About ScotiabankScotiabank is Canada’s international bank and a leading financial services provider in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America, and Asia-Pacific. We are dedicated to helping our 24 million customers become better off through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of more than 88,000 employees and assets of over $906 billion (as at July 31, 2017), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges

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For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @ScotiabankViews.

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SOURCE: Scotiabank

please contact: Carlos Gomes, Scotiabank Economics, (416) 866-4735,; For media enquiries only: Gabe Mederos, Global Communications, Scotiabank, (416) 866-6563, 

Copyright (C) 2017 CNW Group. All rights reserved.

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California Regulators Require Auto Insurers to Adjust… — ProPublica

This story was co-published with Consumer Reports.

California regulators said they have required Nationwide and USAA to adjust their auto insurance rates as a result of a report by ProPublica and Consumer Reports that many minority neighborhoods were paying more than white areas with the same risk.

The regulators said their review confirmed our finding that linked the pricing disparities to incorrect applications of a provision in California law. The statute allows insurers to cluster neighboring zip codes together into a single rating territory.

“The companies were making some subjective determinations,” as a basis for calculating rates in some zip codes, said Ken Allen, deputy commissioner of the rate regulation branch of the California Department of Insurance. Nationwide and USAA are two of the 10 largest auto insurance providers in the country by market share.

The department said that the adjustments would largely erase the racial disparities we found in the two companies’ pricing. According to our analysis, USAA charged 18 percent more on average, and Nationwide 14 percent more, in poor, minority neighborhoods than in whiter neighborhoods with similarly high accident costs. Allen said it’s not possible to quantify how these adjustments would affect customers’ premiums because the revisions are too complex. In addition, they’re taking effect at the same time as an overall rate increase.

Allen said the department is now requiring more justification from insurers for their measurements of risk in the poor, minority neighborhoods that California designates as “underserved” for auto coverage.

California’s action marks a rare regulatory rebuke of the insurance industry for its longtime practice of charging higher premiums to drivers living in predominantly minority-urban neighborhoods than to drivers with similar safety records living in majority-white neighborhoods. Insurers have traditionally defended their pricing by saying that the risk is greater in those neighborhoods, even for motorists who have never had an accident. 

The department’s investigation was prompted by a ProPublica and Consumer Reports analysis published in April of car insurance premiums in California, Texas, Missouri and Illinois. ProPublica found that some major insurers were charging minority neighborhoods rates as much as 30 percent more than in other areas with similar accident costs.

The disparities were not as widespread in California, which is a highly regulated insurance market, as in the other states. Even so, within California, we found that units of Nationwide, USAA and Liberty Mutual were charging prices in risky minority neighborhoods that were more than 10 percent above similar risky zip codes where more residents were white.

California regulators said they approved rate increases from Nationwide and USAA last week that contained corrections to the disparities revealed by ProPublica. The regulators said they are still investigating the proposed rates of Liberty Mutual, which had the largest disparities in ProPublica’s analysis. Liberty Mutual spokesman Glenn Greenberg said the company is cooperating with the investigation.

The rate changes will only affect premiums charged from now on. The insurance commission chose not to look into whether, or the extent to which, drivers in California’s underserved neighborhoods may have been mischarged in the past.

Department spokeswoman Nancy Kincaid said there was no need to examine past rates. “After hundreds of hours of additional analysis, department actuaries and analysts did not find any indication the ProPublica analysis revealed valid legal issues,” she said.

Some consumer advocates disagreed with this approach. “We think the commissioner should go back and seek refunds for people who were covertly overcharged by the discriminatory practices that ProPublica uncovered,” said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of Consumer Watchdog. Consumers Union, the policy and action arm of Consumer Reports, has also sent a letter to the department, urging it to examine if any rates were calculated improperly in the past.

The insurance commissions in Missouri, Texas and Illinois did not respond to questions about whether they had taken any actions to address the disparities highlighted in ProPublica’s article. A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Insurance said in a statement that it urges consumers to shop around for the best price on automobile insurance.

ProPublica and Consumer reports analyzed more than 100,000 premiums charged for liability insurance — the combination of bodily injury and property damage that represents the minimum coverage drivers buy in each of the states. To equalize driver-related variables such as age and accident history, we limited our study to one type of customer: a 30-year-old woman with a safe driving record. We then compared those premiums, which were provided by Quadrant Information Services, to the average amounts paid out by insurers for liability claims in each zip code.

When ProPublica published its investigation, the California Department of Insurance criticized the article’s approach and findings, saying that “the study’s flawed methodology results in a flawed conclusion” that some insurers discriminate in rate-setting. Nevertheless, the department subsequently used ProPublica’s methodology as a basis for developing a new way to analyze rate filings. It used its new method to examine the recent Nationwide and USAA rate filings.

In California, when insurers set rates for sparsely populated rural zip codes, which tend to be relatively white, they are allowed to consider risk in contiguous zip codes of their own choosing. In some cases, these clusters led higher risk zip codes to be assigned a lower risk — and therefore, lower premium prices — than the state’s comprehensive analysis of accident costs warranted. The use of contiguous zip codes is also common in Missouri, Texas and Illinois but is less regulated there than in California.

In an interview, deputy insurance commissioner Allen said that Nationwide had made a “procedural error” in its use of the contiguous zip codes provision, and that the regulators required the company to rely more heavily on the state’s risk estimates in those areas.

Nationwide acknowledged that the state required a rate adjustment, but disputed the association with ProPublica’s reporting. “It is inaccurate and misleading for anyone to conclude or imply any connection between Nationwide’s recently approved rating plan and ProPublica’s unsubstantiated findings,” spokesman Eric Hardgrove said. He added that Nationwide is committed to nondiscriminatory rates and “disagrees with any assertion to the contrary.”

On page 2,025 of Nationwide’s most recent California insurance filing, the company disclosed that it provided premium quotes for the “ProPublica risk example” to the California insurance commission.

The improper use of the contiguous zip codes provision was also a factor in the USAA filing, Allen said in an interview. “USAA had failed to apply the updated industry wide factors where they had insufficient data,” he said.

USAA spokesman Roger Wildermuth acknowledged when the company filed its rate plan in August 2016, it did not use California’s most up-to-date risk numbers, which were published eight months earlier in December 2015. The reason, he said, was that the insurer had already “completed months of calculations prior to that update.”

He noted that the department approved that filing, including USAA’s decision to rely on its own data, and has now approved the company’s revised calculations using updated data.

“The department has consistently validated our approach to this rate filing,” he said.

California officials said they will more closely police the clustering algorithms, and their impact on poor and minority neighborhoods, as they review future rate filing applications.

“We will use this analysis going forward,” said Joel Laucher, chief deputy commissioner of the department. “We don’t need to change any rules to do that.” 

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Auto-pedestrian accident in Killeen leaves 1 injured, causes delays

An auto-pedestrian accident left traffic backed up along U.S. Highway 190/Interstate 14 near the Trimmier Road exit early Wednesday morning.

Police officers responded to the scene around 6:40 a.m. after a caller reported an accident. Killeen Police Department spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez said a man was reportedly hit by a Jeep while attempting to cross the highway after another car swerved to avoid him.

Rescue workers performed CPR on the victim at the scene.

The man’s condition was unknown as of 8:30 a.m. More information will be released as it is made available.

Miramontez said officers had closed off the Willow Springs/Fort Hood Street exit due to the accident, and that traffic was at a standstill from there to the Trimmier Road exit. Traffic is now flowing normally.

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