Vail Resorts and GMC Announce Exclusive Partnership

Vail Resorts and GMC Announce Exclusive Partnership


BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN), the leading global mountain resort company has partnered exclusively with the premium truck and SUV manufacturer GMC. This multi-year agreement marries GMC’s professional grade identity to Vail Resorts’ mission to provide guests with an experience of a lifetime.

This partnership will provide guests of Vail Resorts’ 13 North American ski resorts with an exceptional GMC brand experience through onsite activations and signature resort events year-round, along with a complimentary vehicle service available at premier Vail Resorts’ lodging properties.

Key components of the partnership include:

  • Complimentary vehicle service using Yukon XL Denalis at select Vail Resorts Hospitality and RockResorts lodging properties in Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City and Heavenly, including:
    • The Arrabelle at Vail Square, A RockResort
    • The Lodge at Vail, A RockResort
    • Vail Marriott Mountain Resort
    • The Pines Lodge, A RockResort (Beaver Creek)
    • The Osprey at Beaver Creek, A RockResort
    • One Ski Hill Place, A RockResort (Breckenridge)
    • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Breckenridge
    • Keystone Lodge & Spa
    • Grand Summit Lodge, A RockResort (Park City)
    • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Park City
    • Zalanta (Heavenly)
  • Complimentary vehicle service offered through the White Carpet Club in Beaver Creek, a daily private club for destination skiers that features spacious lockers; boot dryers; light food and beverage; an intimate lounge; and a dedicated on-site concierge.
  • Vehicle displays and branding throughout Vail Resorts’ 13 ski resorts in North America, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Stowe in Vermont; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan.
  • GMC will be the presenting sponsor at signature resort events of Vail Resorts, including Snow Daze (Vail), Beaver Creek Culinary Weekend, Spring Fever (Breckenridge), Spring Gruv (Park City) and many more. 

“GMC’s ‘Professional Grade’ brand and remarkable attention to design and detail are well aligned with Vail Resorts’ collection of world-class mountain resort destinations,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “We’re looking forward to sharing the GMC experience with guests at our resorts through on-snow activations and complimentary vehicle programs at a selection of our casually elegant lodging properties.”

“Similar to Vail Resorts, GMC provides its customers the ability to experience life’s adventurous side through our premium vehicle offerings. We are eager to kick off this partnership, and the upcoming ski season, by inviting Vail Resorts guests to live to a higher standard through their experience with our bold and capable trucks and SUVs,” said Rich Latek, director of GMC Marketing. 

About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN)

Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator. Vail Resorts’ subsidiaries operate 11 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher in Australia; Stowe in Vermont; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Vail Resorts owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is and consumer website is

About GMC

GMC has manufactured trucks since 1902, with innovation and engineering excellence built into all GMC vehicles. The brand is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. GMC’s highest-volume vehicle, the Sierra pickup, is the most powerful light-duty pickup on the market, and the first full-size pickup to receive the highest-possible five-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration changed its New Car Assessment Program for the 2011 model year. Details on all GMC models are available at, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at


Junkyard Gem: 1992 Buick Century Woodie station wagon

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During the early 1990s, not every family needing a capacious hauler opted for a minivan or SUV. Some still followed the traditions of their forefathers and bought station wagons with faux-wood exterior panels. Here’s one in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.

Continue reading Junkyard Gem: 1992 Buick Century Woodie station wagon

Junkyard Gem: 1992 Buick Century Woodie station wagon originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 Oct 2017 13:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2018 Buick Enclave First Drive Review | Fortress of quietude

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ATLANTA, Ga. — The 2018 Enclave is part of Buick’s effort to reinvigorate its brand, positioning itself as a maker of “attainable luxury” vehicles. That means a total redesign, a number of safety and technology upgrades, and the introduction of the Avenir sub-brand (think of that last one as sort of the Denali of Buick). It also means more space and more luxury. With this in mind, we traveled to Atlanta to get to know the new Enclave, both in the city and on a long drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains into North Carolina.

Our first impressions of the new Enclave came not from the driver’s seat, but from a

captain’s chair in the second row (which is the traditional seating arrangement for a true captain, of course). We were riding from the Atlanta airport to a studio to learn more about the vehicle. That very first impression was, “Wow, this interior is really nice.” The leather upon which we sat was soft, smooth to the touch, and interesting in its shapeliness. Looking around the cabin, we saw a lot of gentle curves and thoughtful accents that made the inside of the Enclave feel downright premium. It was a fresh and airy sense of taste though, and definitely not the seasoned wood-and-whiskey stodginess one might expect from the Buick name.

Our second impression: “Boy, it’s quiet in here.” Heading toward downtown Atlanta on the freeway, we were unable to pick up wind noise, and only just a smidge of road noise as the Enclave trundled over the occasional rough patch of pavement. This is, of course, completely intentional on the part of Buick. The windshield and front windows use acoustic glass. The doors are triple sealed for a tighter, quieter fit when closed. Buick has insulated the Enclave with more sound deadening and included active noise cancellation. “Our goal is to make it as social as possible,” said Dean Perelli, chief engineer for the Enclave. And social it is. It is easy to carry on conversation across the Enclave’s three roomy rows.

2018 Buick Enclave

When we got out of the Enclave, we had a chance to take it in from the outside. It features attractive, wing-like lighting front and rear. The front signature lighting uses technology called “Evonik Acrylite,” (a mouthful, even for the engineers) which is a polycarbonate material arranged in a dazzling, faceted and delicate array. The paint finishes we saw were attractive, with depth. The Enclave features a floating-style roof that extends into a rear spoiler, and it makes the rear three-quarter view our favorite angle from which to view the car. We really enjoyed the contrast of the painted rear bumper, a classier look than plastic cladding, which would have looked too rough for this refined Enclave. Its large aluminum alloy wheels look sporty, and offer nice finishes as well, our favorite being a just slightly less-than-glossy almost-chrome.

The new Enclave has a wheelbase two inches longer than the previous generation, which translates to more room for third-row passengers. The packaging of the suspension – MacPehrson front and five-link rear – is more compact than previous generations, allowing Buick to take advantage of the added space. The “Magic Slide” second-row captain’s chair on the passenger side can kneel forward to allow rear egress even with a child seat strapped on. There’s a good amount of room for stuff, too. The floor of the rear cargo area lifts up to reveal a deep well with hooks to keep your groceries in place. The spare tire is located even further below that, thanks to some spatial miracle on the part of Buick.

Before we got behind the wheel, we learned a bit about the air quality system. Not only does the Enclave feature tri-zone automatic climate control, it also has an ionizer for air purification. Located in the ductwork, it produces negative ions that capture finer pollutants and allergens like dust, pollen, smoke, bacteria, viruses and odors, and clumps them together to make them either fall out of the air or become more easily caught in the air filter. If you’re someone who suffers from seasonal allergies or lives in a smoggy city, you might appreciate this technology.

2018 Buick Enclave2018 Buick Enclave2018 Buick Enclave2018 Buick Enclave

The Enclave is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 producing 310 horsepower and 266 pound feet of torque. That power goes to the wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. While it’s not underpowered, it’s not exactly what we’d call quick, either – 0-60 miles per hour comes in 6.4 seconds in the front-wheel drive version, while the all-wheel drive Enclave makes the same sprint in 7.1 seconds. There’s enough get-up to merge at highway speeds on a short onramp. The V6 mostly makes itself unheard, but on the occasions it does pipe up, it produces a pleasant note.

The really impressive thing about this powertrain is its smoothness, and the transmission is truly the highlight of the new Enclave’s refined drive experience. This CUV is already quiet, but its buttery shifts make acceleration a completely drama-free activity, and almost CVT-like in its linearity (without the awful droning that often accompanies continuously variable transmissions). While we could hear the shifts happening under full throttle, we couldn’t really feel them. We didn’t find much value or engagement using the paddles on the back of the steering wheel, and preferred to let this exceptional transmission sort the gears on its own.

The Enclave’s ride is just as isolating as the rest of the driving experience. Our car also had the upgraded suspension with continuous damping control. “We tied it down more than other vehicles,” Perelli told us ahead of our drive. This all translated to a calm ride up front, with the bumps largely unfelt and body roll quite well managed, even in the hairpin corners on the rural highways of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sitting in the third row, though, we felt more motion through the suspension, but it was still comfortable through the corners.

Make no mistake about it, though: This is a big vehicle. On Atlanta’s city streets, it was difficult to be confident about placing the Enclave in its lane, mostly because the corners of the vehicle are hidden from view. While it might be a little tricky on a tight city street, the Enclave offers a number of features to help ensure safety and make the drive easier. It has a rear-view camera (with a spray nozzle), which displays in the mirror to provide a wider view à la the Cadillac CT6. A 360-degree camera view is extremely helpful when parking. Lane-keep assist is subtle, and helps keep it steady on the highway, where the lines are generally more defined. The adaptive cruise control works well, bringing the car to a full stop.

2018 Buick Enclave

The Enclave is also a connected vehicle. In addition to OnStar, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it offers 4G LTE Wi-Fi running on AT&T’s cellular service. In all but the most remote parts of our trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains, it worked quite well with a number of people using it simultaneously. There’s enough room, even in the third row, to whip out a laptop and work online, assuming you’re not prone to motion sickness. Our vehicle also had a couple of USB ports in every row, allowing us to charge a phone from any seat in the vehicle.

For years, Buick was a bit of a punching bag, and while some of the shade tossed its way has been unfair or cliché, much of it was deserved. It’s rare for a product from the brand to stir up much emotion either way. Frankly, we were caught off guard by the way the 2018 Enclave — not just a Buick, but a crossover — made us feel, and it has us rethinking the brand. The price tag might still be a deterrent for some buyers, but if you’re looking at an Acura MDX or an Infiniti QX60, you ought to take a look at the Enclave, too. You might be just as surprised by it as we were. Furthermore, you might find some GM dealer incentives to sweeten the deal.
Unless it’s a fluke, the 2018 Enclave demonstrates a renewed savviness on the part of the brand in terms of technology, design, attention to detail, and that hard-to-quantify but perhaps most important quality, charisma. If this CUV is evidence of the brand’s new tack, (and Buick has basically said as much) we won’t be as surprised with Buick’s success as we were about how much this new Enclave resonates with us. In fact, this new Buick is something we could really get used to.

Continue reading 2018 Buick Enclave First Drive Review | Fortress of quietude

2018 Buick Enclave First Drive Review | Fortress of quietude originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 Oct 2017 09:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Collisions more common in urban areas, but rural deaths higher

Car crash death rates get increasingly high as population density drops, fueled in part by lower seat belt use in the remotest rural areas, a U.S. study suggests.

“We already knew that death rates were higher and seat belt use was lower in rural versus urban areas,” said lead study author Laurie Beck, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. “This study expanded those findings to show that, even within rural areas, there are differences in passenger-vehicle occupant death rates and seat belt use,” Beck said by email.

Car crashes are a leading cause of death nationwide, CDC researchers note in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. While collisions are more common on urban roads, fatalities occur more often in rural regions. For the study, CDC researchers examined data based on six categories of population density from the most metropolitan, with at least 1 million city residents, to the most rural, with fewer than 2,500 residents living in urban communities.

Passenger vehicles included cars, light trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles. Crash deaths focused on adults 18 or older, and excluded younger passengers.  Even within the primarily urban Northeast, crash death rates ranged from 3.5 fatalities for every 100,000 people in the most urban counties to 10.8 deaths for every 100,000 people in counties with fewer than 20,000 residents in metropolitan areas.

In the South, where more people live outside big cities, crash death rates ranged from 6.8 fatalities for every 100,000 people in the most urban areas to 29.2 deaths for every 100,000 people in the least urban areas, with less than 2,500 residents in urban communities.  Seatbelt use ranged from about 89 percent in the most urban counties to slightly less than 75 percent in the most urban counties.

Researchers also looked at how crash death rates changed based on whether states had so-called primary seat belt laws – which allow traffic stops just for failure to wear seat belts – or what’s known as secondary seat belt laws, which permit tickets only in conjunction with other violations.

Even in Northeast states with primary seat belt laws, crash death rates were lower in cities and highest in rural communities.  Among all states with primary seat belt laws nationwide, overall crash death rates were lowest in the Northeast at 3.9 fatalities for every 100,000 people and highest in the South with 10.9 deaths for every 100,000 people.

One limitation of the study is that researchers calculated crash-death rates based on where the victim lived, not where the collision occurred, the authors note. This might have underestimated the difference in fatalities between urban and rural areas because drivers who travel across different regions are more likely to head from small towns to big cities, the authors point out.

Still, lower seat belt use in rural areas clearly contributes to higher death rates, said Dr. Jacob Sunshine, a researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle who wasn’t involved in the study. “Other potential contributing factors include higher speeds that are readily achieved in rural areas compared to urban areas; increased per-capita levels of impaired driving; and less proximity to designated trauma centers following traumatic injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash,” Sunshine said by email.

Lower wages and higher unemployment in some rural communities might also mean more people are driving older cars with fewer safety features to prevent fatalities in a crash, Sunshine added.  But the study also shows that stricter seat belt laws can make a difference, especially with more stringent enforcement, he said.

“Seat belts are proven to save lives and we should educate drivers and passengers about their benefits,” Sunshine said. “Laws are important too; enforcement needs to be a priority, particularly in rural areas.”

SOURCE: CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, online September 22, 2017.

AAA Infotainment Study Ranks Distracted Driving Causes

If you frequently read car reviews, you’re almost guaranteed to find at least one in which the reviewer gripes about an infotainment system being hard to use and that it’s distracting. But exactly how distracting are some systems, and what about some of the tasks? That’s what the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety set out to find with its new study. It evaluated systems from a wide array of cars and trucks, as well as several available functions, to find out which was worst.

Starting with what infotainment functions are the worst to use while driving, we weren’t very surprised to find that adjusting the audio settings were the least distracting. This may have something to do with the fact that we’ve been changing stations, inputs and volumes for decades now, and each of those tasks doesn’t take much more than one or two button presses or turning a knob. A little more surprising was that neither making a phone call nor sending a text message with the infotainment system was the most demanding. That honor (dishonor?) goes to using the navigation, and specifically entering an address. This task had the highest visual demand and distracted the driver for the longest time. The next worst tasks were texting and making phone calls.

Audi A4 center console controls

The task itself isn’t the only distracting aspect of using an infotainment system. The interface a car’s system uses can be distracting as well. The study examined three types: controls on a center stack, voice controls, and controls down in the center console. Once again, it’s not entirely surprising that the center stack controls were the least distracting. Like with adjusting the radio, we’re simply used to pressing buttons and knobs on the center stack, whether it’s for the radio, navigation or climate controls. Interestingly, the most distracting control scheme was the center console setup. This doesn’t bode well for manufacturers such as Mazda, Audi and others that rely on a large knob in between the seats.

AAA’s conclusion to this study seems to be that automakers have some room for improvement for infotainment systems, and more complicated tasks such as manually texting, dialing numbers and inputting addresses, as well as any kind of web or social media browsing should be locked out while the car is being driven. It’s also advisable to complete tasks such as address input before actually driving.

We would also add a small caveat to AAA’s findings. An infotainment system can be a very subjective thing. A system that one person finds horribly complex and distracting, might make perfect sense to you. So it’s something that should be tried out on your own before ruling it out, probably before you start test-driving the car. If it’s tough to use, maybe consider a different vehicle. Also, while the study did allow participants to become somewhat familiar with each car before performing tests, remember that any system you try will likely become easier and less distracting the more you use it and get practice. Still, it’s smart to pick a system that’s fairly easy to pick up without prior knowledge.





GM Promises 20 EVs and Fuel-Cell Cars to Lineup

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“General Motors believes in an all-electric future.”


DETROIT — General Motors outlined plans on Monday to add 20 new battery electric and fuel-cell vehicles to its global product lineup by 2023, financed by robust profits from sales of gasoline-fueled trucks and sport utility vehicles in the United States and China.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” GM global product development chief Mark Reuss said on Monday during a briefing at the company’s suburban Detroit technical center. Future generations of GM electric vehicles “will be profitable,” Reuss said, but added it was not clear when GM could make all its new vehicle offerings zero-emission electric cars. Regulators in China and some European countries have floated proposals to ban internal combustion engines by 2030 or 2040. “We will continue to make sure our internal combustion engines will get more and more efficient,” Reuss said.

GM shares were up more than 4 percent in midday New York trading on positive comments from Rod Lache, auto analyst at Deutsche Bank. Automakers, including electric vehicle market leader Tesla, lose money on electric cars because battery costs are still higher than comparable internal combustion engines.

The company offered sneak peeks of three EV prototypes: a Buick SUV, a sporty Cadillac wagon and a futuristic pod car wearing a Bolt badge.

GM funds its forays into new technology using a river of cash generated by old-technology vehicles popular with its core customer base in the United States heartland. In comparison, Tesla has burned through an estimated $10 billion in cash and has yet to show a full year profit. GM earned more than 90 percent of its $12.5 billion in pretax profits last year in North America, amid robust demand for its lineup of large sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks. The company’s profitable operations in China rely on consumer demand for an expanding lineup of gasoline powered SUVs.

GM has previously announced plans to make some of its future electric vehicles capable of driving themselves in robot taxi fleets. The company offered sneak peeks of three electric vehicle prototypes: a Buick brand sport utility vehicle, a sporty Cadillac wagon and a futuristic pod car wearing a Bolt badge.

GM collaborated with Korean battery maker LG Chem to build the Bolt battery system. Company officials did not say what companies would supply batteries for the larger fleet of vehicles promised by 2023.

Fuel-cell vehicles will also play a role in GM’s future, the company said. GM showed on Monday a prototype of a rolling, hydrogen-fueled truck platform called “SURUS” — Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure — that could be used for multiple purposes.

The company plans to offer a fuel-cell vehicle to retail customers within five years, it said. Toyota Motor Corp, Honda and Hyundai already are marketing fuel-cell vehicles in low volume.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said last month the company plans to introduce at least 10 new electric or hybrid vehicles to the Chinese market by 2020, and open a battery plant this year with Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp.

China has set goals for electric and plug-in hybrid cars to make up at least a fifth of auto sales by 2025. Some of the electric vehicles GM will offer in China are among the 20 Reuss promised by 2023. GM also hinted that it may take new steps to expand the public infrastructure for rapid recharging of electric vehicles, without offering any details.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker joins several rivals, including German automakers Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW, that have pledged to accelerate development of electric vehicles, in response to proposals in China and several European countries to ban internal combustion engines by 2030 or 2040.

GM’s announcement comes just two days before rival Ford is scheduled to roll out a new strategic plan, and as Tesla ramps up production of its high-volume Model 3 electric sedan.

Reporting by Joseph White

Continue reading GM promises to add 20 EVs and fuel-cell cars to lineup, paid for by SUVs

GM promises to add 20 EVs and fuel-cell cars to lineup, paid for by SUVs originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 02 Oct 2017 14:35:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Car Carnage: Harvey, Irma, and the Pitfalls for Auto Owners

Pete Diaz of Key Largo had just spent $100,000 restoring his ’65 Corvette, but his garage didn’t prove much of a haven—it got inundated by Irma and is a total loss. Also gone is his wife’s 2016 Mercedes, another Corvette and a Harley.

Storm-wracked cars and trucks from Harvey pile up at Royal Purple dragstrip in Houston. (Royal Purple Raceway photo)

Should Pete have sought higher ground? Where would that have been? The hurricane covered the entire state of Florida, as well as several states to the north. We’ve seen images of flooded Ferraris, Lamborghinis and a Ford GT40, all of which are now at the Royal Purple Raceway, a dragstrip where waterlogged cars are going to die.

This image is from Connecticut in 2009, but you get the idea that you can lose your exotic–like this Audi TT ragtop–in a second. (Selbe Lynn/Flickr)

Import Image Racing deserves a Hero of the Month award for offering to take in enthusiast cars—free of charge—at its warehouse in Fort Myers. Other companies paid back in other ways. Tesla, for instance, used its vaunted update-by-wire ability to temporarily (until September 16) extend the range of its Florida-based cars—giving owners a better chance of getting away. It wasn’t announced ahead of time—people just woke up to find their Model X and S cars charged past any point they’d known in the past.

Like Image Import Racing, the Coast Guard warehoused its cars high and dry ahead of Irma. (Coast Guard photo)

I like the concept; it shows Tesla taps into original thinking. Of course, the roads were so clogged that not many stragglers could get out by that point, but the thought was there.

An Irma left-behind. Don’t buy this car! Even if it looks good! (Jacek Polchaco/Flickr)

Meanwhile, down in Texas, the state is reeling from Hurricane Harvey damage that could tally as much as $180 billion. A significant part of that loss is cars and trucks, and more than 100,000 claims have already been filed—the number could climb to 500,000. Katrina took out 600,000 cars in New Orleans.

Katrina made a big mess, and this Corvette was one of its victims. (JLBelteau/Flickr)

There’s a number of points to be made here. Florida hurricane victims with auto or truck losses should cross their fingers and file their claims as soon as possible, because the available insurance funds may be exhausted. As the New York Times pointed out, the big, deep-pocketed insurance companies long ago abandoned the state because of the coastal risks involved. The Florida Catastrophe Hurricane Fund has only $17 billion on hand, and that is not likely to cover the losses.

Second, be very careful of too-good-to-be-true car deals in the wake of Irma and Harvey. It’s not always obvious that a car has been in a storm, with water up to the bucket seats. There are plenty of quick fix-ups being offered for sale now, and new carpeting or upholstery is one sign of a problem.

A loaded car fleeing from Irma. They were getting out when the getting was good. (Abby Flat Coat/Flickr)

Another thing to watch out for is a “salvage” title—run from any such vehicle. Salvage titles go to cars declared a total loss. Legitimately, some undamaged parts can be sold off those cars, but buying these swimmers as bargains is asking for trouble. The National Insurance Crime Bureau maintains a free VINcheck system that will give you the straight dope on the title of any car you’re considering.

Other things to look for, according to NICB:

  • Rust on screw heads in the console area, where water doesn’t normally reach.
  • Dampness, mold or mildew in seatbelt retractors, spare wheel wells, in the crevices of alternators crevices and behind wiring harnesses..
  • Door-mounted speakers that no longer work because their cones got wet.
  • A white powder coating or pitting on aluminum or alloy wheels.

Have a mechanic check the car out if you don’t feel up to these tasks.

Storm response could only do so much after Irma, and their focus is on rescuing people, not vehicles. (Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flickr)

Getting back to the original question—what should you do to protect your car before the storm—the answer is pretty simple. Get vehicles to the nearest high ground, preferably indoors but if outside at least away from trees or objects that can become projectiles.

Even better, put yourself in the car, and drive it out of the danger zone well ahead of the crowds. That’s the good advice that state and federal officials were handing out weeks ahead of Irma. With Harvey, Houston’s mayor told people to stay put (to avoid gridlock on the highway) and time will tell if that was a smart decision or not.

Jim Motavalli

Tuesday, September 12, 2017




Traffic Stinks!

We all have complained about traffic before. I do it, you do it, everyone does it. Because it stinks. There’s really no way around it. It’s a time-waster and we can all think of other places we’d rather be than stuck behind an old car with a bad exhaust problem for an hour or so after work. To put things in perspective, TomTom has released a very informative study that they’ve conducted that shows the worst cities for traffic. Some of it may surprise you, some of it probably won’t.

Top 10 Most Congested Cities in the United States
(report is for both North and South America)

4. Los Angeles (no shocker there)
6. San Francisco
7. Honolulu
8. Seattle
10. San Jose
11. New York City
14. Miami
15. Washington D.C.
16. Portland
17. New Orleans

The real shocker?

39. Dallas-Fort Worth

Maybe I think it’s worse when I’m stuck in it, but I was surprised by DFW being ranked number 39. It also makes me not want to travel to Los Angeles or San Francisco anytime soon. The top three most congested cities across the Americas are Rio De Janiero, Mexico City and Sao Paulo. That makes feel wonder just how bad it is down in Brazil with the World Cup going on right now.

A few more interesting findings on the report are the lightest and heaviest days for traffic. In Dallas – Fort Worth, the lightest morning commute is on Friday, while the heaviest is Tuesday. The lightest evening commute is Monday, while the heaviest is Friday, which doesn’t surprise me at all. Anyone who has been in traffic here in DFW on a Friday evening knows that it’s a parking lot all over the metroplex.

Houston and Austin are both above Dallas-Fort Worth on the list (number 23 and 25, respectively).

Check out the full report here and see where your city ranks!



Our suggestions for a last-minute Labor Day road trip

Couple driving in convertible under sunny sky
  • Image Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images

Labor Day

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but Labor Day, the unofficial start of the fall season, is today, September 4th, 2017. That means time is running out on all those ambitious plans for barbecues, lounging at the beach and road trips.

On that last matter, we’ve got you covered. If you’ve left your planning to the last minute or are fresh out of ideas for your Labor Day road trip, let us propose five great scenic routes out there waiting for you. We recommend not merely driving them, but enjoying them in a convertible, the classic summer car.

Check out our look at five classic American roads that you need to see this Labor Day:

Route 1, Key Largo, Fla. to Key West Fla.
  • Image Credit: cupprof

Route 1, Key Largo, Fla. to Key West Fla.

Distance: 127 miles.

Key West is one of America’s most notorious party towns, but in this case, getting there can be as much fun as the destination.

The most well-known site along the 127-drive from the greater Miami area is Seven Mile Bridge, which stands as one of the iconic American crossings. It greets drivers west of Marathon, Fla., and continues over a seven-mile stretch in which drivers can see a beautiful blue horizon much more easily than land at the far end.

If checking out Key West, the one-time pirate cove and home to Hemingway, sounds a little too touristy, there’s plenty of out-of-the-way stops along the drive to make the trip one for the ages. There are mangrove swamps, crocodiles, pelicans and even the rare wild orchid found along the route, as well as a fisherman’s paradise and several state parks.

Route 2, M-22 in Northern Michigan
  • Image Credit: jimflix!

Route 2, M-22 in Northern Michigan

Distance: 117 miles

OK, so the Sleeping Bear Dunes garnered a bit of national attention this past year when Good Morning America named the national lakeshore the most beautiful place in the country. But Michiganders know that the road to get there, M-22, is just as picturesque as the towering sand dunes.

Starting on the north end in Traverse City, the curvy route showcases quiet lakes, cozy vacation towns and the sand dunes, all while following Lake Michigan’s shoreline south. Much like our first selection of U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys, this route in northern Michigan also traverses some classic Hemingway country.

Need a break? At Pyramid Point, hikers can enjoy a tree-lined three-mile trail to a lookout that offers a spectacular view of the Manitou Islands, a few miles offshore. But those wishing to stay in the car will get spectacular views throughout the drive south to Manistee.

Route 3, Aloha Loop
  • Image Credit: jshyun

Route 3, Aloha Loop

Distance: 266 miles

This one may require some degree of advanced planning. But we couldn’t think of a road that better captures the spirit of the MX-5. If you can make it over to the Big Island of Hawaii, this would be a road trip worthy of any bucket list.

After ostensibly renting your ragtop at Kona International Airport head down Route 11 to Captain Cook, where you can stop off at Hookena Beach Park and do some snorkeling. Make your way around the southern tip of the island and spend ample time at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Let’s be honest: There are majestic views from just about anywhere along this road. For more points of interest, stop at Akaka Falls State Park as you make your way around the island in a counterclockwise direction and check out verdant rainforests and sugarcane fields, from which you can view Mauna Kea, one of the tallest mountains in the Pacific. (And for the adventurous, you can ski in February and March).

Jeep Wrangler
  • Image Credit: Jeep

Jeep Wrangler

The perfect road-trip vehicle – if your plans involve going off road. The Wrangler may be one of the most capable Jeeps ever made, and the standard soft top can be folded down or the hard top removed for trips along mountain trails.

The two-door Wrangler comes with four-wheel drive standard and a 285-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine. For those headed off road, it’s important to note that electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist and hill-hold control also come standard.

Research the 2017 Jeep Wrangler

Route 4, Monument Valley, Arizona
  • Image Credit: mosoltysik

Route 4, Monument Valley, Arizona

Distance: Approximately 208 miles.

Skip the crowds at the Grand Canyon during the peak summer season and head toward the northeast corner of Arizona and into Monument Valley Tribal Park. Long before John Ford’s classic westerns made the area famous, the Navajos knew it well. Indian artifacts and history abound here.

There’s a 17-mile route inside the park that curls around some of the sandstone towers perfect for new offroaders. It’s unpaved, rocky and rutted. And it’s the only way to access some of the best parts of the park. Merrick Butte and Mitchell Mesa, named after two prospectors killed by Ute Indians, are two of the more spectacular monuments, as is Bird Spring, from which visitors can look out over vistas and sand dunes.

Route 5, Death Valley, Calif.
  • Image Credit: Frank Kehren

Route 5, Death Valley, Calif.

Distance: 310 miles

To see the Corvette at its best, you need a flat, open expanse to test its capabilities. No better place than the arid desert of Death Valley National Park.

Start off your journey near the Panamint Springs entrance to the park – and with plenty of gas. There’s plenty of dunes to see along the way, as well as remnants of lava flows, distant peaks and overlooks across the desert.

The power of the Camaro can be harnessed as motorists make their way from the lowest elevation in the United States in Badwater Basin, at 282 feet below sea level, to one of the highest in the park, at Dantes View, at more than 5,000 feet.

Along the way, you can stop and see abandoned mines, rattlesnakes, fringe-toed lizards and hikeable canyons. One thing you will not see a lot of is water, so bring plenty for everyone.

Why does buying a car seem so hard?

Recently a customer came by our store and, in idle conversation, asked, “Why is car buying so difficult?”  I understand why she said that, because it can be very challenging, not to mention a bit scary and can be as equally frustrating for both a customer and the dealer.  As an insider, let me explain why.

There are three main components to buying a car:  price, trade in and financing.  Today I’ll review price.

Are You a Frustrated Buyer?

Price should be the easiest part of the car buying process.  When a customer researches & test drives a car, truck, SUV or crossover and gets quotes from multiple dealerships, they should compare apples to apples. Meaning that you want to make sure you’re comparing the same vehicle with the same equipment and options.  A simple way to do this is to make sure the MSRP’s are the same.

As a salesperson, the hardest question to answer for a customer is “what’s your best price?”  When asked that question, I’ve told my sales people to show customers the invoice.  This shows what the dealer paid on that car.  Most good dealerships will gladly show you the invoice so you see in black & white where their numbers are coming from.  You should calculate in any rebates, as well as a small profit, which all dealers are entitled to make.  It’s that easy.

Here, check out this video..the audio isn’t Grammy quality, but you can still learn a lot from it

Has your experience been that the price is the most difficult part of the car buying process? Share your experience here and check back for part two:  trading in your vehicle.  Of course, if you want to talk in person, just swing by and I’ll make it the easiest experience you’ve ever had.