Calm Down: Economic "Bubbles" Are Nothing New

Monday, August 20, 2012
Lost in all of the media frenzy surrounding Wall Street, the “meltdown” and the sub-prime lending debacle are certain lessons from history that can offer some useful perspective — and even have a calming effect. Economic “bubbles” are nothing new, and contrary to what the media might have you think, they don’t signal the end of Western Civilization, either.

In his book, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay wrote, “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

That fact is as true today as it was when originally penned in 1841. Even then, speculative market bubbles had come and gone. One of the most curious spread through Holland some 200 years earlier, in the early 17th century. It was a financial epidemic that’s come to be known as “Tulipmania.”

When Carolus Clusius planted that first tulipbulb in the Botanical Garden in the Netherlands in 1593, no one could have predicted the absurd financial maelstrom that would eventually culminate in the “Great Commodity Crash of 1637.” By 1620, tulips had become a status symbol in the wealthiest of circles.

About that time word spread among high society that a mysterious plant virus had infected some of the bulbs. But rather than spelling the imminent demise of the tulip, the virus actually created unusual and beautiful streaks of vibrant color throughout the petals, making the new varieties even more coveted. The rich and famous always clamor for the rare and exclusive, so the prices for all tulip bulb varieties shot sky high. Greedy speculators came from far and wide looking to make a profit; the stage was set for a thundering herd approaching on the horizon.

There was so much excitement that tulip bulbs began trading on the local market exchanges, which operated much like modern-day commodity exchanges. Soon, the fever spread to the Dutch middle class, and everyone from noblemen to chimney sweeps was jumping on the tulip bulb bandwagon. They hadn’t suddenly developed green thumbs or a desire to take up floral arranging — far from it. They were swept up in the mass hysteria, hoping to strike it rich by buying low and selling high. A few did, but most did not.

A single bulb cost as much as a house

The bulb market rocketed out of control so fast it was not uncommon for the price to escalate 20-fold in a single month. In 1637, a single bulb of a particularly popular variety cost 10,000 florins. To put this in perspective, the same amount of money would have bought a nice little house along a canal in Amsterdam.

People who had worked their entire lives for the few possessions they owned began trading everything they owned — including that nice little house on the canal — just to purchase a single bulb. According to journals kept at the time, one person offered the fee-simple of twelve acres of building ground for a single Harlaem tulip. An Amsterdam variety fetched 4600 florins, a new carriage, two grey horses, and a complete suite of harness.

Munting, an author of that day, preserved the following “bill of lading” delivered in exchange for a single root of a rare species called the Viceroy:

Two lasts of wheat
Four lasts of rye
Four fat oxen
Eight fat swine
Twelve fat sheep
Two hogsheads of wine
Four tuns (barrels) of beer
Two tuns (barrels) of butter
One thousand lbs. of cheese
A complete bed
A suit of clothes
A silver drinking cup

As the mania spread, major local exchanges continued trading the bulbs without letup, and even expanded the market by offering option contracts to speculators. In essence, this gave those with less money to spend an opportunity to lose even more. Using leverage, one could purchase an option for a fraction of the cost of the actual bulb.

Leverage is risky business, especially if you’re putting your prize possessions on the line and hoping that the price will rise enough to not only make up for what you still owe but also to return a sizable profit when you sell.

But people swept up in herd mentality don’t stop to consider the risk/reward ratio — or, rather, the risk/ruination ratio. Otherwise, they might never have leveraged themselves so fully. They would have stopped to think that the slightest drop in price could mean not only losing their initial investment but going into debt — or even complete ruination. But of course, bolstered by lusty and mindless hope, people were mesmerized into believing that prices could go nowhere but up.

When a few of the more savvy speculators heard rumors that the Dutch government would soon attempt to set controls on the market, they started pulling out. Thus began the big unraveling. Buyers balked, sales slowed and prices faltered. But nothing can stop Mother Nature; there were still bulbs in the ground ready to be harvested.

Soon the bulb supply outweighed demand, and a slow downward price spiral began picking up speed. Panic set in. The once vibrant, if unrealistic, market for tulip bulbs quickly lost its luster. In less than six weeks, it ended in a resounding crash.

After sorting through all the bankruptcies and defaults, the supreme judges of Amsterdam simply declared tulip bulb speculation nothing more than gambling. All contracts negotiated during the frenzy were made null and void. In other words: worthless.

There were winners, of course — those who jumped in early, understood the psychology of the herd mentality, and got out in time, leaving fools in the rubble. When you compare Tulipmania to the recent “bubble” in real estate, you’d be hard pressed to find a more fitting aphorism: “Those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it.”                

Economic Stimulus Hypnosis?

Monday, August 13, 2012
Everywhere I’m hearing or seeing the words “economic stimulus.”

Today I received a flyer and an email announcing an economic stimulus sale from an office-supply store. Unfortunately, 10% off paper and pens will stimulate little more than the chain’s own bottomline.

But I believe we can stimulate our economic situations -- a lot or a little -- by how we think. As a consulting hypnotist who “walks her talk,” I’m already seeing the fruits of this attitude.

- What To Tell Yourself In A Weak Economy

Start by getting rid of the words “weak economy.” Replace them with: new economy, modern economy, an economy that’s re-building, re-starting, resurging, re-growing, refreshing, refocusing, recharging itself.

Find your own favorite phrase that creates a mindset about refreshing your opportunities. Tell yourself you’re up for the challenge, you’re opening yourself to new approaches, possibilities, alliances, and just mixing it up all around.

Make economizing fun. We’ve found a new slew of ethnic restaurants and stands, and guess what -- the food is highly flavored, fresh, and tasty. Cool!

I may never return to the old set of eateries, except for that one amazing sushi place.

- Get Back To Basics In Your Business

Business basics are value, fairness, service, trust, and continuing to know your consumer, including changes in the way he thinks and acts and what he needs now.

Discover which changes you can satisfy. Which would you like to satisfy but don’t know how yet?

Is there a way to make a new purchase freer of risk? I’m looking at new ways to reward loyalty, new referral programs, and opportunities to give new clients a “taste” instead of requiring heftier commitments.

- To Stimulate Your Economics, Tickle Your Mind

Where can you save, make do, create new uses, enjoy simpler pleasures?
Stimulate your personal economy by saving more money and investing it in yourself.

If you’re like most of my clients, this exercise will bring new joy to your life and a sense of creativity and wellbeing.

One client dusted off her crockpot and made inexpensive, delicious stews she hadn’t eaten since college. She invited neighbors who declared it “the best night we’ve had in years!”

Another client pulled out clothes she hadn’t been using, wore three of her older suits with contemporary necklaces, and got more compliments than she had dreamed.

One dad told his kids “no more movies this month” and spent close family time fed by
unlikely inventions and simple activities like make-your-own sundae.

Use these questions to stimulate your own thoughts:

In which areas of my life do I have “all I need and more”?

Am I rich in friends, in love, in ideas and ingenuity? Might I share these with others?

Am I willing to brainstorm ways to enrich the people around me emotionally, spiritually, financially or intellectually?

Can I trade DVD’s so my friends and I can see more movies without buying them?

Can I do potluck dinners, take long walks in a group, share exercise equipment, trade clothes my family has outgrown or tired of?

Now how much can I save with all that?

And how much of the savings can I use to enrich myself and those I love?

- Should Old Acquaintances Be Remembered?

This may be a good time to re-stimulate interest in friends and family members who dropped away from your social circle while you focused on material things: purchases, trips, home improvements. Maybe they couldn’t quite keep up with you, or you with them.

Does it feel appropriate to reconnect and rediscover each other? If it does, do!

You needn’t be a monk to choose simpler foods and activities, re-discovering how wonderful they truly are -- when you have a different attitude.

If you haven’t been attending your church, synagogue, temple or mosque, return for a trial period. You may connect with new people in different ways or re-connect with folks you’ve been too busy -- or distracted -- to see.

-Brainstorm New Contributions To Make To Yourself and Others       

Expert brainstormers let their minds flow, dismiss analysis for the moment, and free themselves to unleash possibilities they hadn’t considered before.

When you use your imagination, you allow for new futures that are not yet concrete.

The more you imagine them, the more real they become to you. And like history’s richest entrepreneurs, after seeing them, feeling them, and hearing them so concretely, you almost can’t help but make them real. (From the first McDonald’s stand to the cool music you purchased this week, these successes were dreamed up out of thin air.)

- Use Economic-Stimulus Hypnosis

The White House may be hoping to stimulate the economy by encouraging spending , but you don’t have to play it that way. The feeling of wellbeing doesn’t come from dollars and cents but from the sense of having all that you need.

As a hypnotist, I want you to know that there is a kind of daily “hypnosis” that doesn’t involve sitting in a hypnotist’s office. You provide it to yourself everyday during most of your waking moments.

It’s your moment-by-moment self talk. Similar to hypnosis, self talk floods you with suggestions about how things are and will be.

Like professional hypnosis, repetition is involved. Repetition strengths the possibility that what is being said to your subconscious mind will stick.

Often hypnosis involves picturing a situation the way you want it to be, making it feel real so the image will permeate your subconscious.

Now here’s the important question about the suggestions you’re currently making to yourself, and the images you’re projecting on the movie screen of your mind….

…are they positive, useful, desirable images of what you want in your life, what you desire and prefer – or do they represent your worst fears, worries and dislikes?

Read that again.

It’s important to know what you don’t want. But don’t dwell there. Take those don’t-wants and explore the do-wants that are their flip side. “I don’t want to be poor” becomes perhaps “I want a stable financial life that supports my goals for myself and my family.”

Get the difference? What you think, say, and picture leads you. Where would you prefer to be led? (I’d recommend the “stable financial life” or better.)

So….about the current thoughts and phrases you’re repeating to yourself: are they what you want or what you fear?

Are they about cutbacks, worries, and projected sacrifices or about new opportunities, deeper emotional connections, old talents revisited and shared?

I insist upon directing the mind toward what is desired, not what is despised. In my office, we accomplish this with words, pictures, and lots of repetition. All of it is positive and within the realm of possibility. (Nothing about sprouting magical wings and flying away from reality.)

Do the same in what you say to yourself because repeated negative thoughts become unintended hypnosis that can produce precisely what you don’t want.

Here’s great news: since you already know how to give yourself negative suggestions (“I’m poor,” “My life is sad,” “I’ll lose my job”), you undoubtedly know how to give yourself positive suggestions.

- Examples Of Positive Suggestions:

Everyday I am moving closer to my financial goals, and I am enjoying the process.
Everyday, I am appreciating my life, my family, and my friends more, and I feel lucky.
Everyday, I’m learning more about myself and getting better.
Everyday, I am appreciating my life more deeply and I enjoy learning and sharing with others.
Everyday, I am becoming a fuller, richer person.
Everyday, I am learning about new ways of living and appreciating, and it’s fun.
Everyday, I find new ways I like my life.

Create more for your unique life. Repeat one or two of these 5-10 times when you would be tempted to lead yourself into despair. Make positive, enticing mental pictures to accompany your thoughts. Enjoy the process of your self-directed economic (and emotional!) stimulus.

And when you receive those flyers directing you to buy more?

Consider them scrap paper and use them to jot down phone messages from friends who want to schedule some great potlucks! © 2008 by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved.                                              

How To Protect Yourself In An Economic Crisis

Friday, August 10, 2012
Does the current economic crisis have you worried? Are you wondering how to achieve financial freedom so you can protect yourself and your family from the coming financial crash? Here is what you need to know.

The first thing you need to understand is what the word economics means in terms of thinking about your family, and how you can use what it means to your financial advantage.

Forget what the media says about economics when they talk about the roller coaster ride of the stock market, supply and demand, inflation, banking industry mortgage defaults and the unemployment rate. Those are ‘economic characteristics’ that measure an area much larger than you can control.

What you can control is your own household economics. The definition of economics I am using is the original one; meaning “the art or science of managing a household or business.” And that is something that you, as an individual, can control.

There is an art to managing a household. It takes having certain skills and abilities, like organizing things so they run smoothly. There is a science of managing a household, especially in the area involving money. Here is what you can do to make sure that the economics of your household are strong and stable, even though the economy of the country may be on the slippery slide to disaster.

1 – Spend Less Than You Make

Take a lesson from your parents or grandparents who made very little, but lived very well. Keep expenses down to a level below what you bring home in your paycheck after taxes. The fastest road to financial disaster is spending more than you make. It’s possible to maintain your quality of life while cutting optional spending. This can be done by doing something as simple as renting a movie and making popcorn at home instead of going to the theatre, to buying a new used car instead of a brand new car.

2 – Pay CASH

Every time you purchase something using credit cards that you cannot pay off as soon as the statement arrives, you are committing your future earnings to the credit company. Those future earnings will be needed to pay your regular household expenses, so you end up in economic slavery known as the credit trap. The exception is purchasing property that increases in value, such as buying a home or investing in a commercial building that puts more income in your pocket.

Tip: When paying with cash; negotiate a cash discount. When the economy is sliding down and credit is harder to get, the guy with the cash is king. In addition, find out how to buy wholesale instead of retail to further lower your cost.

3 – Make the Money BEFORE Spending It

If there is some large purchase you need to make or want to make in the future, start putting small amounts in a savings account towards that purchase and keep that up until you have the cash to pay for it. If you have 10 years before your child enters college, then find out what the tuition will be and figure out how much you have to put away every week to have the cash the year they graduate from high school. Plus apply for every student scholarship, grant or financial aid package you can locate.

4 – Stash Some Cash for Emergencies and Living Expenses

Nothing will make you sleep better at night than the financial freedom of having some cash tucked away for emergencies like having to get the car repaired, needing some unexpected dental work or losing a job. When you have a cash cushion you can get your hands on immediately, then magically, you stop worrying about money, your attention goes back on living life and enjoying it, and making money suddenly gets easier.

The only thing you have to fear in an economic crisis is not having some cash reserves in a savings plan you can immediately get your hands on. Did you know that more millionaires were made during the Great Depression in the United States than during any other era in our history? How did that happen? In that time, the economy crashed, the stock market crashed, inflation took prices of everything through the roof, the unemployment rate went sky high as businesses closed, and people who lost their jobs also lost their homes.

The people who had cash stashed away were able to buy houses, property and whole companies for pennies on the dollar. They ended up being millionaires because they had enough cash to weather the storm called the Depression.

Out of every bit of income that comes in the door, immediately carve off 10% and put it in a savings account that you have designated for your cash cushion. Even if you have to work an extra job and cut expenses on top of that, JUST DO IT! As the weeks roll by you’ll find you sleep better at night and walk through life with a lot more confidence knowing you have achieved financial fre               

Automotive Sales Training

Sunday, August 5, 2012
In automotive sales training, lectures about relationship building and how vital it is to the life of a successful car dealership abound. But how many salespeople actually remember or apply what they've learned? Over and over again, it's been proven that the level of understanding and application of relationship building basics will separate the successful salespeople from those who are just okay at what they do.

Most successful salespeople don't reinvent the wheel. Instead, they study the examples of others who were successful, and simply duplicate their techniques. This saves time and allows them to move toward their goal.

Are you ready to transform your sales from mediocre to magnificent by using relationship-building techniques? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

You don't have to sacrifice the customer's benefit to make a sale. For example, listening is the basic building block of any long-lasting and profitable relationship. If a customer doesn't think you are listening, they will be less likely to want to spend time with you, and less likely to buy from you as a result. You have to show the customer that you understand what an emotional decision they're making and earn their trust over time.

Be proud of what you do. Take advantage of every opportunity to show the customer how much you know about the industry and its products. Present yourself not so much as someone who wants the sale, but as an expert in your field; someone the customer can feel comfortable coming to at any time.

Once you've built a relationship, it's time to complete the 5 steps that will move you closer to achieving the sale, also known as the AIDA principle:

1. You must somehow get the prospectivecustomer's attention

2. You must pique the prospective customer's interest by showing the product in an appealing light

3. You must create a desire in the prospective customer's mind for the product

4. You must back up the positive points of the product with some form of evidence

5. You must inspire the prospective customer to take action and buy the product

Even if your techniques haven't worked immediately, you will have planted a seed that the customer will find difficult to ignore. But don't let it germinate for too long! Keep in regular contact with the customer, making yourself completely accessible via cell phone, email, or the dealership. Encourage them to make an appointment with you. Not doing so could send them right into the arms of your competitor.

Before the appointment, you should do your homework and be ready to address the customer's needs. Allow them to communicate, and never ever rush a sale. Instead, ask questions that will help you to serve them better. Uncover their motivations for wanting a better car. If time or money is the issue, reschedule the appointment. This will ensure that they don't feel pressured into buying something right away, and will give you time to think about how you're going to close the sale.

No matter what else happens, you have to make 100% sure that your customer understands absolutely every single benefit of the vehicle you are trying to sell them. This may be a given for many salespeople, but you'd be surprised at how many more actually miss it!

If you make a promise to the customer, keep it. Following through is vital, and will go a long way to showing them you care. Don't assume that a customer will get over it if you don't call or give them a heads-up about something; they won't. When your customer is ready, go with your gut; by now, you should be comfortable enough with your customer to know how they would best respond to any given closing technique.

Finally, if a problem arises, opt for explaining to the customer why the problem has occurred rather than giving them an excuse as to why you can't meet their needs. This way, you'll help the customer to understand more about the problem, which may reduce some of their frustration.

Following these basics of relationship building can help to ensure you are getting the most from your automotive sales training, and that your customers are getting the most from you.    

    

Special Economic Zone

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
SpecialEconomicZones (SEZs) are specific geographical regions that have economic laws different from and more liberal than a country's typical economic laws. The goal is usually an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.

There is a clear understanding that a well-implemented and designed SEZ can bring about many desired benefits for a host-country: increases in employment, FDI attraction, general economic growth, foreign exchange earnings, international exposure, and the transfer of new technologies and skills. Hence, many developing countries are also developing the SEZs with the expectation that they will provide the engines of growth for their economies to achieve industrialization. But for this to be successful their governments need to enact legislation, create a focused administrative infrastructure to govern special economic zones, offer highly attractive incentives and locate zones in the best possible locations. Overall investment climate (infrastructure, governance) in a country matters in the success of its special economic zones in terms of competitiveness.

One of the earliest and the most famous Special Economic Zones were founded by the government of the People's Republic of China under Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s. The most successful Special Economic Zone in China, Shenzhen, has developed from a small village into a city with a population over 10 million within 20 years. Following the Chinese examples, Special Economic Zones have been established in several other countries.

In the face of fierce regional competition, South Korea is also showing strong economic performance and can boast a highly skilled labor force. It has started working strategically towards attracting investment, including the establishment of its first special economic zone, called The Incheon Special Economic Zone and so look set to transform the country into a regional hub from which foreign companies can expand into other parts of Asia.

The Incheon special economic zone in the north revolves around the international airport, the creation of an international financial services district and Songdo’s “intelligent city”, which will include a 60-storey world trade centre, 60 office buildings, deluxe hotels, shopping malls and a golf course, due to be completed by 2008.

These economic zones are a strategy to make Korea (http://korea.ixs.net/) more attractive in the eyes of foreign investors and to draw them to the country.

The project includes a technology complex to house research centers and venture start-ups alongside the Korean Institute of Technology. Two more complexes, for biotechnology and for knowledge and information will be built by 2008.

These projects, which have high-level political backing, are supported by a package of generous financial incentives. Other incentives include simplified administrative procedures, heavily subsidized land leases on government owned land, tax breaks and linguistic support.

Situated directly between Japan and China, South Korea is at the centre of a vast Asian market with a total population of two billion, including 500 million in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, with which, along with China and Japan, Korea enjoys a special commitment to economic cooperation. North-east Asia alone accounts for about 24% of the world’s population and 19% of global production.

South Korea's gateway strategy is designed to leverage its geographic and geocultural advantages while offering a new, friendly business face to potential investors in the form of SEZs in the southern part of the peninsula. Foreigners, foreign companies, and international economic organizations can be involved in free corporate activities in these economic zones offering a range of special advantages, including tax, labor, regulatory and other incentives.

South Korea is a cheaper location than Japan and more straightforward from a regulatory point of view than China, having opened its markets decades ago.

Generally, it is argued that the special economic zone concept is attractive because it is much easier to resolve the problems of infrastructure and governance on a limited geographical area than it is to resolve them countrywide. Such economic zones cannot be insulated from the broader institutional and economic context of the country and be treated as an economy within the economy. Zones are a part of the economy and require overall improvement in the investment climate to ensure success in the long run. They should not, therefore, be viewed as an alternative to the overall development model. This is perhaps the reason why SEZs failed to fulfill the role of engines of industrialization in most countries on a sustainable basis.          

Automotive Sales Training: The Need To Do It Right

Thursday, July 12, 2012
Automotive Sales Training, while not necessarily a glamorous topic, is a subject that needs some attention. Dealers, as they continue to battle the manufacturers with the higher and higher CSI demands, the need for continued and professional automotive sales training will only grow.

Think about it for a second as we walk through a typical scenario. A guy/gal just finishes college, or they have heard from a friend how lucrative the automotive sales business really is...so they wander on down to their nearest dealership. (I am obviously over simplifying here).

Once the dealership and this guy/gal decide that there is a good fit; the automotive sales training begins. The problem, however, is that we have found that the majority of fast paced dealerships simply don't have the necessary time to sit down and ensure that their new staff members are properly trained.

Sure, many of them are trained on the "steps-to-the-sale," but in today's day and age, automotive sales training needs to go much more beyond the basics. Here are a few areas that automotive sales training programs can no longer go without:

1. Sexual Harassment Training

2. Human Resources Training

3.Contract Training

An effective and efficient Automotive Sales Training program that goes without proper "Sexual Harassment" training is setting the dealership up for a future lawsuit. Ok, having someone come in…do a 1 hour compliance seminar, then having the entire staff sign a document stating that they understand the elements of sexual harassment is not going to cut it. Not in the least. We are hearing of dealerships that still maintain 100% of the liability, as a sharp attorney is easily able to pierce that "piece of paper," arguing that it is merely a piece of paper and not a true intention of the dealership to act in good faith to prevent these actions.

Speaking of effective automotive sales training programs. If you do not take the next step and have "Human Resources" training, the dealership is once again looking for trouble: trouble that you just don't need and can easily eliminate. Look at it this way, by simply engaging in a simple once-per-month course for all 1st year employees to sit with the Human Resources manager and go over the policies and procedures of the dealership, you will be miles ahead of any future lawsuits.

Last, but certainly not least, is "Contract" training as it relates to your automotive sales training program. What do I mean by "Contract" training? Well, as we all know, most of the individuals working in the automotive sales industry do not have a finance degree. They do not understand the related contract laws that apply in their state. However, these are the same individuals that we rely on to ensure that applications, customer statements and final paperwork are documented properly. Granted, the finance managers in most states are required to have some form of "insurance license," but this does not mean that they get the proper training around contract law and the nuances associated with the contract. We are seeing day in and day out, simple mistakes being made by staff at the dealership nullifying the legality of contracts every day. This can easily be avoided with a proactive management team.

My message here is simple: automotive sales training does not end with the "steps-to-the-sale," but actually should just be the beginning of the new salespersons training program. Dealers need to protect themselves in every aspect, and this is not something that they can decide to do later.  

  

144 Automotive Has Got You Covered

Sunday, July 8, 2012
144Automotive has served Mt Airy and New Market for more than 17 years and so customers have come to expect the very best service and reliability on their foreign and domestic carrepair and maintenance needs.

ASE certified, their mechanics are experts in a wide range of car services whether you want repairs or to purchase something form their extensive range of car products, 144 Automotive has something for you.

If it is quick, affordable but reliable and quality service and repair that you need then check out the guys at 144 Automotive.

144 Automotive care about their customers and build up a positive relationship with them through providing ongoing maintenance requirements to all vehicles.

Priding themselveson only the best customer service, come into their office and look at the state of the art facility and efficient and effective service. All car repair work done with 144 Automotive is guaranteed, just to show confident they are that you will be happy.

144 Automotive understand that car repair can be expensive which is why they offer great deals to those in the community who need it most including seniors.

144 Automotive also specialises in automotive detail and so as well as fixing your car they will have it looking in tip top condition to with an exterior wash and interiorvacuum.

For any auto repair and maintenance needs 144 Automotive are the ones for the job. There is no such thing as a job that is too big or small they can change oil or repair the transmission and everything else in between. They offer a wide range of services including transmission services and repairs, engine tuning, wheel alignments, steering and suspension service, brake service and repairs and tire sales mounting and balance.They also offer vehicle evaluations before you purchase as well as Maryland State Inspection Service. These are just some of the services at 144 Automotive, there are many more. While you wait for your car you might even want to have a look at some of the great products we have in store.

It’s the extra services that 144 Automotive provide that make them so appealing too. They will drive you back to your home or office while you wait for your car or if you live further away will even get you a discounted rate on a car rental.

Rather than having to get previous problems fixed why not go straight to 144 Automotive and find out why so many people in the area are doing adjust that and also find it how getting the job done right the first time is the slogan for 144 automotive.

The team at 144 Automotive have experience on working most American and foreign cars including Chevy, Ford, Honda, Lexus, to name a few.

Not sure if they can help, contact 144 Automotive directly and find out. With state of the art computer technology, qualified and experienced mechanics, more than17 years’ experience and a guarantee on all their work, it’s easy to see why 144 Automotive has you covered.          

FDI Affects On The Economic Growth

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is known as movement of capital across national frontiers in a way that grants the investor control over the acquired asset. That is how it is distinct from portfolio investment which may cross borders, but does not offer such control over the business. Firms which supply for FDI are known as multinational enterprises and in this case control is defined as owning 10% or greater of the common shares of an incorporated firm. In the years after the Second World War FDI in general was dominated by the United States, as much of the world recovered from the destruction formed by the conflict of the war. The U.S. was quick at realizing that Foreign Direct Investment is to become a real gold mine. It accounted for around three-quarters of new FDI between 1945 and 1960. Since that time FDI has become a truly global phenomenon; countries with different economic development can enjoy its benefits now, not only well industrialized ones. Currently the importance of FDI can be measured by its share in the global GDP, which comprises of 20% brought in by FDI capital.

Economic growth is actually the increase in the value of goods and services generated by a particular economy. It is usually measured as the percentage of increase in real gross domestic product, or GDP. The growth is normally calculated in terms of adjusted inflation in order to net out the effect of inflation on the price of the goods and services produced. In economics, "economic growth" typically refers to growth of potential output, for instance, production at full employment rate rather than growth of aggregate demand.

It’s not a surprise that major portion of the FDI supply comes from the highly industrialized and economically developed countries. For example in 1988-1992 about 92% of all world’s FDI was between those countries, although it dropped to 85% after year 1997. The reason for such movement of funds is the desire of the developed countries to support themselves while establishing successful routes for their trade and generating growth in their own economies. The picture changed in the recent twenty years however, when huge emerging economies such as India, China and Eastern Europe began to attract investors. The distribution of funds however among those developing countries is quite unequal. The third of all capital was granted to China, mainly because of the size of the potential market, which is the biggest in the world. The biggest investor in China’s economy is Japan, the reason being that it’s closer to China that the rest of the world and distance is one of the major factors in determining the affiliates’ location. Those partners operating for instance in China nowadays sells more of the generated product in their host countries.

With FDI entering developing economies a lot of changes are taking place in the invested economy as well as in global trade. The entering of foreign capital in the Chinese economy first of all generated the development of various industries. Formerly this country was primary operating in the agricultural sector with lack of industrial growth. With money coming in and much of Japanese technology, China became on of the world leader in manufacturing automobiles, home appliances and other technical equipment. Consequently this mirrored positively on the labor market, providing millions of jobs. It’s a known fact that labor in China is one of the cheapest in the world, although the quality of work performed is decent, the fact that also attracted money to this country.

Growth and development of new industries caused GDP growth which is the indicator of overall economic growth of the country. Expanding industrial growth initiates demand for raw materials, thus causing more imports coming in which again are taking into consideration when calculating GDP. The fact of huge investments into Chinese economy and the number of people occupied currently in various manufacturing leads to increased competition. This in turn brings about lower prices in fight for the customer, which actually decreases profits in some instances. This is one of the reasons why too much of FDI can lead China to a "bubble burst" effect when too much of foreign money comes but they are not efficiently used, because it takes more time for the economy to develop. So the Chinese government has to watch closely for the signs and undertake measure to avoid another "American depression". This is a major disadvantage of FDI in the countries who receive the money. There is also a negative impact on those parties who lend money, as the fierce competition coming from developing countries can drive them out from the market, because countries such as China and Brazil offer much lower prices than say Germany. There has to be a balance of the FDI settings in order to prevent the overload in one countries and lack of capital in others. 

Automotive Marketing

Monday, July 2, 2012
The internet has changed the way people shop for everything, even automobiles. Today, dealerships need to have automotive websites in order to attract customers. Since the shopping habits of today’s shoppers have changed then the auto dealer marketing methods must change as well. The traditional marketing in newspapers, on television, and on radio has become less effective and online marketing has become more effective.

And not just any websitecompany will do, you need to hire a company that specializes in the creating of automotive websites such as Manning Automotive Marketing. This company has been in business for over 25 years and their staff of experienced marketing experts, designers and programmers are experts both online and traditional marketing and advertising that work tireless to meet the needs and wants of their customers.

Manning Automotive Marketing offers a suite of services for their car dealership customers. They offer a dealership website that develops a strong branding that effectively promotes your dealership over your competitors, they offer dynamic merchandising with create product promotions, and create a website with search engine optimization, and implement the latest technology in marketing tactics.

This company offers active web management which makes sure your website is always performing optimally and assigns you a dedicated account manager to work with you on your site content and specials. Your account manager will work with you to make sure your new and used vehicle specials are up-to-date as well as your specials, coupons, dealer programs, and incentives. This company has phenomenal customer support. Your concerns and issues will be addressed promptly and you will receive a response in less than an hour’s time.

Manning Automotive Marketing knows search engine marketing which is of the utmost importance to maximize your websites visibility and traffic. Your website content is customized specifically to your dealership, not a template used by other dealerships as well. Your website is continually updated with keywords to ensure search engine optimization.

In addition to the above services, Manning Automotive Marketing offers internet marketing solutions. One of the internet marketing solutions offered by this company is pay per click (PPC) advertising to drive visitors to your website. In addition to the creation of a website, this company promotes social media marking – marketing your dealership on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and offering RSS feeds. If you chose, you can implement live chat on your website so visitors to you site can ask questions which allows you to engage a potential customer which may convert into a lead and ultimately a sale. You can choose this company to create an email marketing campaign to promote your dealership to future and repeat customers. You can also choose to have this company ensure your website in included on local business listings both in print and online.

Though traditional advertising methods are dwindling in popularity but are still in play and can be used in conjunction with online advertising. Manning Automotive Marketing can also handle your traditional advertising methods of print, television, and on radio. 

   

Automotive Air Conditioners

Monday, June 25, 2012
It's August, the car is jammed with kids and luggage, and you're finally on your way to the cottage. Suddenly you realize that your car's airconditioningsystem is on the fritz, and your family vacation really starts to heat up.

Automotive air conditioning systems were first introduced in 1940 to address customer demands for relief from unbearable heat. These systems use refrigerant to cool the air and remove the heat from the car's passenger compartment. Air conditioning also cleans the air that enters the car, and removes excess moisture as it dehumidifies the air.

There are three basic components to any automotive air conditioner system:

1. Compressor--Considered the heart of the air conditioning system, the compressor transfers and compresses refrigerant gas to let the heat out of the car.

2. Condenser--removes heat from the refrigerant and cools down the high-pressure gasses.

3. Evaporator--Acts as the heater core of the air conditioning system. The evaporator removes the heat from inside the car. The refrigerant then condenses the air and transforms it into water.

Cars manufactured in 1995 or later have been equipped with R-134A air conditioning system. These ozone-friendly units do not contain CFCs, are nontoxic and nonflammable.

Prior to 1995, automotive air conditioners came with R-12 refrigerant, most commonly Freon. During that time, a car owner experiencing air conditioner problems needed only to visit a local retailer to purchase a recharge kit. With a can of Freon and basic knowledge, the average driver could easily repair his or her own air conditioning system. When studies confirmed that R-12 systems were contributing to the damaged ozone layer, many countries including the United States banned their manufacture.

Common Problems
The most common complaint about automotive air conditioners, particularly R-134 systems, is the odor that permeates from the A/C vents. Mechanics and car manufacturers have concluded that accumulated bacteria and fungus in the evaporator core likely cause the odor. Because the air conditioning system is loaded with moisture, it attracts microbes. The solution offered by automakers is to make the blower motor effective in drying out the evaporator after the A/C system is turned off. General Motors introduced this breakthrough, called Electronic Evaporator Dryer.

This solution might offer relief to some car owners, but not to all. Installing this system can cost hundred of dollars. As a result, many car owners have resorted to finding alternative methods of fighting the odor. Using antibacterial chemicals such as Lysol can be an effective short-term solution. Keeping a can of Lysol handy can go along way for your odorous air problem. Just spay the Lysol inside the car, and in the air intake once a week, for temporary relief from the problem. Another way to help eliminate the odor is to shut off the A/C unit at least one mile before reaching your destination. This will allow enough time for the evaporator to dry out, essentially doing away with the moisture and microbes that cause odor. This can be the easiest and least expensive method in combating the issue.

Caring For Your A/C System

* To keep working efficiently, your automotive air conditioner must be recharged from time to time, depending on how often it is are used. Consult your mechanic or your owner's manual for information about system recharges.

* Call your mechanic if you see water leaking from the A/C system's condenser, as this can affect the refrigerant. Have the system repaired before refilling it.

* Replacing the filter once every three months will also help to maintain the performance of your automotive air conditioning system. This is where dust builds up when the A/C system is running.

* Setting the gauge at one specific temperature will also help it perform well. If you constantly switch from one temperature to another, your system will have trouble adjusting accordingly.

Automotive air conditioners can be a driver's best friend, whether you're traveling across town or from coast to coast. Keep your A/C unit well maintained, and keep your cool on the road.              

Economic Report On China

Saturday, June 23, 2012
Half a century ago nobody could even imagine the pace of growing that China is experiencing right now. Back then it was simply a country with a devastated by war economy that was just starting to recover from the most difficult periods in its history. Even a quarter of the century before when if was in the sunset of Mao period the future outcomes and opportunities for this country were not the best ones, they really looked unpromising. As of the beginning of this century China has the greatest pace of development among other countries of the world. Fifty years ago, no one could even closely estimate how China would grow. This fact sort of pushes back from any certain assumptions about the future China’s development. Anyways, for the past decade China has become one of the world’s leaders in production and economic growth. Since it has a great potential a great number of investors chose China to invest their money in. As the result for the past couple of years China started to experiencing overinvestment that is pretty dangerous and can easily cause a great place for investment to simply burst like a bubble. However, the country continues to show decent results in economic growth.

From the beginning of implementation of economic reforms in China the country has experienced cycles of rushes in economic activity and inflation that were chased by phases of retrenchment. In the 1980’s two cycles were finished by hard landings. It could be easily seen in 1986-90 cycle. It started with loosening the monetary and fiscal policies that resulted troubles for SOEs. In 1988 inflation was as high as 19 percent which actually caused the government to respond with reconsidering policies. They managed to take inflation into control but the administrative measures had bad consequences for allocation of resources. Another cycle of 1991-97 started with a rise in government spendings and loosing up bank’s credit policies. In 1992 China faced the investment boom which was quite similar to the one it is facing right now. The investment boom resulted GDP to grow by 14 percent. Demand forces resulted an increase of inflation. Government’s response was a "16-point" plan to cool the economy that they adopted in 1993. The key points of the plan were aimed to rise the interest rates, make the process of giving the loans to commercial banks by the central bank more strict and complicated, and also limit investment approvals. The tightening was reversed by the end of 1993. This was a base for a highest rate of inflation that occurred in China in 1994. It was as high as 24 percent. The government actually achieved the stabilization of economy in 1996, and the inflation was even less than 10 percent. While a soft landing was achieved, the rapid pace of credit growth in 1992–96 contributed to the weakness of the financial sector today. Most of the non-performing loans in the banking system date from this period.

The speed of economic movement in China greatly increased in 2003, regardless the SARS outbreak. The growth of GDP was at a mark of 10 percent for 2003 and it continued to grow with the same pace in 2004. This was mainly caused by great level of investment. CPI inflation was as high as 4.4 percent in May. Overinvestment in some sectors of the economy caused a great threat of a problem. Responding to that, Chinese government made monetary and administrative policies a bit stricter to prevent the potential overheating of the economy. Money and credit rates have decreased but they still remain about 18 percent per year as of midst 2004. Real GDP growth also owes to an increase in export. Fixed capital formation has increased by 20 percent in real terms (the fastest rate since 1993) achieving 44 percent of GDP. Due to SARS epidemic that was in the second quarter of 2003, consumption growth has decreased comparing to 2002. However, the influence of SARS was only for a short period o time and a country has fully recovered from it later in the year. Export growth was 35 percent in 2003 comparing to 22 percent in 2002. This mainly happened due to China’s acquired of big market shares in major industrialized countries. As well as exports, imports showed a great percentage of growth as the demand grew especially for raw materials. CPI inflation increased to 4.4 percent in May 2004 that resulted increases in prices for groceries. If not take to account the increase in food prices, inflation had a slight positive effect on the economy just as this rate of inflation should have. The increase of food prices was also caused by the decrease of the cultivation area and summer draught that took place a year before.

China's integration into the world’s economy will create harsh difficulties for a great number of countries. During the last 20 years, China's trade expanded at double the rate of world trade. Today China is one of the world's top trading nations, and has 4% of total world trade, comparing to 1% in 1980. Nevertheless, China's exports and trade surpluses are achieving politically sensitive levels, and more stress on export-led increase may not be sustainable. China itself is still a quite closed market, for imports of goods and even more closed for imports of services. Letting the imports to China's markets, particularly as a member of WTO, can offer more reasonable development and simplify the international stresses arising from China's transformation.

The importance of China in external trade, especially in the region’s production chain saved its growing trend. China’s exports and imports achieved 60 percent of GDP in 2003 and these amounts made country fourth largest exporter in the world. The increasing importance of China in the world’s production of manufactured goods and rising domestic demand caused other sectors of China’s economy to grow, and also resulted the raise in prices for a lot of goods. China’s imports that are mainly from Asia also got bigger and China’s trade deficit with the region enlarged but the trade with the U.S. and Europe balances it back. The general trade surplus was $45 billion which is about 3 percent of GDP. China’s international position continues to grow stronger. The current account surplus increased by a half percentage point in 2003 to three and a half percent of GDP. Official reserves grew by $162 billion in 2003. External debt increased to $200 billion in 2003 but it is very modest to exports and GDP. By the end of May 2004 China had a trade deficit of $9 billion as compared to $2 billion of surplus that it had for at the same time of the previous year.

The drive for investment by recent local governments that started by the end of 2002 was stimulated by extensive excess liquidity in China’s banking system. People’s Bank of China was worried about fast credit growth that was easy to see even in the beginning of 2003 but its policies were delayed by SARS epidemic. Significant increase in capital inflows made it more difficult for PBC to implement the monetary policies. However, they managed to do that, in July 2003 PBC increased the reserve requirement by one percent and also announced a planned increase of ½ percent in April 2004. By doing this they tried to reduce the credit growth to banks. To deter the increase of overinvestment in branches of economy that have already faced it, the government made stricter lending standards. To finish up PBC raised short-term relending by 0.6 and rediscount rates by 0.3 percent in March 2004.

If China continues to develop as it is doing right now then by the midst of this century it will have developed actually three transitions. First and at the same time the one of greatest importance is the transition from a planned to a market economy. Second is from agrarian to an industrialized country. Last, but certainly not least, from a centralized to a participatory government.

Only a half century ago, it was very difficult to predict great China’s development that it is facing today. Simply like nobody thought that Japan could reach the level that the country is on right now, nobody even could forecast the pace of China’s development. According to forecasts of some prominent economic scholars, by the midst of this century China’s economy will grow to about $20 trillion and would be about 4/5 of the United States economy. The income per capita in China can grow to about US$12,000 which is equal to the Korean’s before the Asian financial crisis. GDP of only Hong Kong, Macao, and Guangdong would be equal to France’s GDP. Chinese currency the renminbi will become a one of the major world’s currencies along with euro, U.S. dollar and yen. If they keep up with the pace of development, Shanghai could be world’s financial center. With the renminbi becoming fully convertible in the world, Shanghai could rise to the level of London and New York City.

New technology and knowledge will gradually develop to a high level as the country expands it integration. In couple of generations Chinese scholars and scientists could be a fresh source of brilliant ideas and innovations. China sets up a good base for its future generations, giving a good opportunity for a great number of students to go study abroad and get mostly western ideas and worldviews.

China of course has some difficulties that can result very unpleasant consequences not only for the country but for investors as well. Some possible outcomes are probable failure of the banking system, enormous level of unemployment that can be resulted by the reforms of government enterprises, considerable hardships with the level of the environment. To continue the growth rates China needs creative but at the same time practical leaders. Another great change that might effect China’s future development is changes in values of its citizens. As most of Chinese nowadays adopting the lifestyles of Europeans, Americans, and Japanese China will have a totally different society in thirty years or so. People will desire of better level of life, similar to the level of Japanese and Europeans.
Conclusion

A lot of hopes are put into China’s development due to the determination and pragmatism of Chinese leaders. The governing of the country has been positively changing or almost twenty years. China also has a great potential in its younger generation, it is an advantage for those young people to go study abroad and then implement all their knowledge it their home country that still has so many areas that need development. In the best position are those that are in their 20s and 30s. They will be running the country in twenty years when China will be a great industrialized power. It will not be the center of the world, as many like to forecast for China, it will simply be one of the advanced countries.

China now faces one of the most destructive problems that all the developing countries have which is corruption. It is dangerous because it slows down the country’s development and is very difficult to be deterred.

Despite all the difficulties that China faces on its crossroads of the development, it has great pragmatic leaders are capable of taking the country up to the new level. China has a great potential to construct modern economy by the 50’s of this century. It will surely become one of the most important countries in the world. It is obvious even now that China will become the largest trading country in the world. Due to its partners China has a great opportunity to become one of the financial leaders of the world. If China stays on the same track of its development and keeps up with its speed it will surely become a very modern and greatly confident country.           

Economic Indicators Guide

Thursday, June 21, 2012
Economicindicators are regularly released governmental statistics that indicate the growth and health of a country especially its economy. Economic indicators mostly influence the value of a country’s currency. These are key statistics that show the direction of the economy. The Trade Deficit, the Gross National Product (GNP), Industrial Production, the Unemployment Rate, Inflation Rate, Factory Utilization Rate and the Business Inventories are instances of economic indicators.

Economic indicators are used to analyze the economic behavior of a country and predict the manner in which economy will act in near future. On the basis of types of predictions economic indicators are of three kinds:

· Coincident economic indicator
· Leading economic indicator
· Lagging indicators

A coincident economic indicator happens in tandem with an economic event. This indicator occurs at approximately the same time as the conditions they signify. The paradigm instance of it is company payrolls. These payrolls are coincident indicators because they make payment and simultaneously increase the localized economy. Personal income is also a coincidental indicator for the economy. High personal income rates will coincide with a strong economy. The coincident indicators do not predict future events but change with a change in time and economy of the stock market.

A lagging indicator is one that follows an event. This indicator is an event, which happens after the corresponding economic cause occurs just like the amber light is a lagging indicator for the green light as amber trails green. The unemployment rate of a country is an example of a lagging indicator because as the economy is doing badly or companies are expecting a downturn in the economy, the unemployment rate increases accordingly. Media is also a lagging economic indicator for the news is always reported few hours before the actual economic fluctuation that they point to. A lagging indicator is immensely significant because of its ability to confirm that a pattern is happening or about to occur.

Leading indicators are events that take place right before an economic shift. The leading indicators are instrumental in forecasting future events. The leading indicators exhibit immense accuracy in the world of finance. An example of leading indicators is the bond yields. Bond yields are leading indicators of the stock market because on behalf of these bond traders anticipate and further course of the stock market and economy of the country.

However in economics the classification of several factors is subject to debate. For instance according to some people the Federal Reserve is a leading indicator while for others it is a lagging indicator. The trend of the market indicates either that the market reacts to the Federal Reserve changing interest rates or that the Federal Reserve changes interest rates only in response to the market. Seeing practically the Federal Reserve can be viewed as both a leading and lagging indicator.

Every week dozens of economic surveys are conducted and several economic indicators are released. In order to understand the current and future of the market and so enjoy a successful business, it is very important for all the investors to crack the economic indicators skillfully.      

Sculpting in Automotive Art

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
If college students come home on spring break and tell their parents that they have decided to major in art and become a sculptor, many parents would be aghast. Their first thought would be how would they support themselves and next they would envision their child living at home forever. However, there are sculptors who are self-supporting and don't fit into the 'starving artist' category. And one industry that employs sculptors is automotive manufacturing. The concept of clay modeling in automotive design began at General Motors seventy years ago. Today automotive sculptors combine the designer's drawings with the engineer's specifications to create a three dimensional model.

Harvey Earl first introduced the idea of modeling sculptor's clay to produce three-dimensional models. Clay was more workable than the plaster and wood used previously so it permitted more flexibility and creativity. So sculptors as well as illustrators and engineers became an integral part of an automotive design team. However, when automotive art emerged as a fine art genre, some of the sculptors left the industry and started to freelance.

One of these is Steve Posson. Posson had majored in automotive design at the Art Center College of Design in California and did prototype bodywork for Jeep, Volvo and Renault. Now he has revived the ancient technique of lost wax casting to create bronze automotive sculptures. Lost wax is notable for capturing minute details. His sculptures usually feature people and scenery along with the automobile but still give an illusion of motion. He has exhibited his work at major shows such as the Pebble Beach Retro Auto, The Newport Beach Concours, the L.A. Roadsters Show, and The Grand National Roadster Show, to name a few. Steve also has many well-known corporate clients such as Petersen Automobile Museum, Ford Company, and Auto Aficionado Magazine.

Greg Johnson became involved in automotive sculpture as a result of a career as an entrepreneur in the automotive collision business.

Greg does both painting and sculpture. Greg's sculptures are unique in that his materials are salvaged and wrecked auto parts that he reshapes and combines before applying an acrylic urethane finish. Greg uses the same acrylic urethane paints to create abstract paintings.

Richard Pietruska is another widely recognized automotive sculptor. Richard's career in art began early in his life. When he was in high school, he was a winner of the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild competition that earned him a scholarship to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He received a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Design and a Master of Fine Arts from the Art Center College of Design.

He now teaches at the Art Center College of Design in the Transportation and Product Design Department where he has been employed for the last thirty years. Richard's students have included many of the top automotive designers in the world. Some of Richard's work is whimsical such as his red and blue Viper salt and pepper shakers. He has also produced some non-sculpting art such as an interesting creation print and a Ferrari scroll. Richard recently received an invitation to the Automotive Fine Arts Society and is one of their newest members. The Society mounts two exhibitions each year to feature the work of their members.     

Automotive Magazines

Monday, June 18, 2012
Automotivemagazines are just as popular as sports magazines and home improvement magazines. Why? Automotive magazines are so popular because they showcase classic cars, new cars, model cars, how to build cars from scratch and much more. The automotive industry is a popular one in the United States today and people love their cars and they want to know as much about their car as possible after they are done reading the car’s manual.

Automotive magazines are sold everywhere today and are collector’s items just like sports magazines become when they have historic covers on certain issues. Automotive magazines are sold at convenience stores, department stores, book stores, on their individual websites and on search engines by people looking to make a buck here or there because they have more than one copy of the magazine. Automotive magazines not only offer tips on how to take care of a car, how to build a car, how to remodel a car, but also how to repair a car yourself.

Collecting classic cars has become a popular hobby over the years and some of the most famous people in the world are car buffs. One of them for example is late night host Jay Leno. Leno owns over 100 classic vehicles that date back to the early 1900s. His collection also includes modern vehicles and motorcycles. His collection of cars has been featured on his show, “The Tonight Show,” in books, movies, other television shows, and in automotive magazines quite often.

There are all types of automotive magazines out there. There are print magazines and online magazines available for people to subscribe to. They can be delivered by the mail, through email, or can be purchased in stores or at newsstands when they are published. There are hundreds of automotive magazines offered for subscription and purchase around the world today and the number continues to grow with the continued popularity of the automotive industry.

There are automotive magazines for almost every major manufacturer, for individual makes and models, for model cars, for the avid and beginner collector, for the seller, for the buyer, for the builder, for the repair man, for the traveler and much more. One of the most popular automotive publications to hit the newsstands every year is the Kelly Blue Book. The Kelly Blue Book releases the values of every car in production today and every car that has been produced in the past. The Kelly Blue Book is used by buyers and sellers alike to figure out what price they should purchase a car at or at what price they should put a car up for sale.

The automotive magazine industry is a lucrative one that thrives off of people’s different hobbies with their cars or for their sheer love of their own car. Automotive magazines make a great gift for the car lover in the family as well a fun read for anyone with just the tiny bit of interest in the automotive industry. They can be informative, helpful, fun to read and a great collector’s item all in one.    

Automotive Labels

Thursday, June 14, 2012
Many automotive businesses can benefit from labels or decals. Also some business can market their business with automotive decals. There are so many options that you can choose from. They will increase your market or provide return customers. If you need a few ideas, keep reading and you’ll see just a few of the many things that can be done with automotive decals. After you have read these ideas you are sure to know what you want to represent your company or organization.

Vinyl Decals

Vinyl decals are a semi-permanent item that are very eye-catching and give a very professional look. These are frequently used by auto dealers to represent where the car was purchased. Many businesses can use this form of advertising. If you want to catch peoples’ eye this is a great way to do that. You can even have a logo made into the vinyl, which will help people remember you. Many people remember a logo better then a name, just a little tip.

Bumper Stickers

These are a popular and useful. Some of these are for personal beliefs or funny statements. They are also used by many non-profit organizations use them to get their name out for many to see and remember them. Businesses also use these to create repeat exposure. These can be fun and promotional all in one. You can consider getting these printed in a variety of colors so that customers can chose a color that goes best with the color of their car, plus they will just enjoy having choices.

Oil Change

Auto shops can use window stickers to remind their customers of when they need to return for their next oil change. It is a great idea to place your business name and contact information so they can call if they need to. This will remind them of your business if something else comes up where they can use your services.

Parking Permit

So many people use parking garages everyday now. By using a sort of sticker identification, you can reduce the amount of traffic backup a garage gets. These can be placed on the back of the rear view mirror or on the windshield. You can get them in a different color for every month so the attendant will easily know when the tag has expired and the customer needs to renew. Another good idea would be to place a number representing the year so there is no confusion as to when it was purchased. These can also be used for large apartment complexes that have a lot of tenants. They can indicate paid parking spots, or what area they are to park in.

Window Decals

These have a wide range of use. You can promote a business, a college, a sports team, or pretty much anything you want. These can be simple or more complex; what ever suits your purpose better. These are also used to indicate that a car has a security system, the help prevent car theft.         

Why PR Is An Engine For Economic Growth

Sunday, June 10, 2012
Business, non-profit and association managers committing their public relations resources to (1) doing something about the behaviors of those important outside audiences that most affect their operation, (2) creating the kind of external stakeholder behavior change that leads directly to achieving their managerial objectives, and (3) doing so by persuading those key outside folks to their way of thinking by helping to move them to take actions that allow their department, division or subsidiary to succeed – greatly increase the chances of success for their operation.

Thus, feeding the engine of their own economic growth AND that of the nation at large.

But, in reality, it takes more than good intentions for any manager to alter individual perception leading to changed behaviors, something of profound importance to ALL business, non-profit and association managers.

What they need is a simple PR blueprint that gets everyone working towards the same external audience behaviors insuring that the organization’s public relations effort stays sharply focused.

For example, a blueprint like this: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is accomplished.

In that way, those same business, non-profit and association managers can see results such as new proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; customers making repeat purchases; prospects starting to work with them; membership applications on the rise; capital givers or specifying sources looking their way, and even bounces in showroom visits.

But HOW those managers pull that off forms the real challenge.

Here’s how the best of them can do it. They find out who among their key external audiences is behaving in ways that help or hinder the achievement of their objectives. Then, they list them according to how severely their behaviors affect their organization.

But precisely HOW do most members of that key outside audience perceive their organization? If the budget to pay for what could be costly professional survey counsel isn’t there, Ms. or Mr. manager and his or her PR colleagues will have to monitor those perceptions themselves. Actually, they should be quite familiar with perception and behavior matters.

Getting that activity under way means meeting with members of that outside audience and asking questions like “Are you familiar with our services or products?” “Have you ever had contact with anyone from our organization? Was it a satisfactory experience?” And if you are that manager, you must be sensitive to negative statements, especially evasive or hesitant replies. And watch carefully for false assumptions, untruths, misconceptions, inaccuracies and potentially damaging rumors. When you find such, they will need to be corrected, as they inevitably lead to negative behaviors.

The job now is to select the specific perception to be altered which then becomes your public relations goal. You obviously want to correct those untruths, inaccuracies, misconceptions or false assumptions.

One of the painful aspects of the whole drill is that a PR goal without a strategy to show you how to get there, is like a three-bean salad without the beans. So, as you select one of three strategies (especially constructed to create perception or opinion where there may be none, or change or reinforce it,) what you want to do is insure that the goal and its strategy match each other. You wouldn’t want to select “change existing perception” when current perception is just right suggesting that “reinforce” strategy.

The moment has come when you must create a compelling message carefully constructed to alter your key target audience’s perception, as specified by your public relations goal.

Keep in mind that you can always combine your corrective message with another news announcement or presentation which may give it more credibility by downplaying the apparent need for such a correction.

The content of the message must be compelling and quite clear about what perception needs clarification or correction, and why. Of course you must be truthful and your position logically explained and believable if it is to hold the attention of members of that target audience, and actually move perception in your direction.

Some allude to the communications tactics necessary to move your message to the attention of that key external audience, as “beasts of burden” because they must carry your persuasive new thoughts to the eyes and ears of those important outside people.

Actually, we have a wide choice because the list of tactics is long indeed. It includes letters-to-the-editor, brochures, press releases and speeches. Or, you might choose radio and newspaper interviews, personal contacts, facility tours or customer briefings. There are scores available and the only selection requirement is that the communications tactics you choose have a record of reaching people just like the members of your key target audience.

Of course, things can always be accelerated by adding more communications tactics, AND by increasing their frequencies.

It won’t be long before those around you will be asking about progress. But you will already be hard at work remonitoring perceptions among your target audience members to test the effectiveness of your communications tactics. Using questions similar to those used during your earlier monitoring session, you’ll now become beady-eyed looking for signs that audience perceptions are beginning to move in your general direction.

Yes, performed in this manner, public relations obviously does feed the engine of YOUR economic growth and, thus, that of the nation at large.

But do keep your eye on the core of this approach: persuade your most important outside audiences with the greatest impacts on your organization to your way of thinking. Then move them to take actions that help your department, division or subsidiary prevail.                   

Economic Fear

Thursday, June 7, 2012
During the past two weeks I have had more calls about the economy than ever before. Yes, there are problems. But we cannot act in fear.Panic over financial, love or health situations can make you act irrationally and quickly.
Right now people are living in a state of fear because of the economy making a change downward. For decades this situation has been going on, but did not make news until it started hitting the average person's pocketbook.

The first fear started with the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001. People lived in fear that another attack was going to occur right away. Seven years later we have not had another attack and our fear level has gone down. The second was started with oil prices going up. The third was mortgage interest rates escalating to the point that people have lost their homes. Now we see banks closing and there is the belief that we may not have money for tomorrow. The job layoffs are daily and it will continue for some time. The economy is not going to recover quickly. This is where you must not let fear overwhelm you. You can survive on less, as consumers we’re not use to not having the latest clothes, electronics, cars, and homes. It’s time to learn how people have lived through tough economic times before. They did not purchase everything made desired. They learned to make do with what they had.

What makes this economic situation different than the crash of 1929 is the fact that people did not live on credit in 1929. Our economy today is based on credit. So this is really a credit crash. My father came through the depression and he always said, “If I can’t afford something I don’t need it.” He never owned a credit card and would always pay cash for what ever he needed. It’s so easy to spend money with a credit card or a debit card. If you start using cash more you will find that you don’t spend as much. This is one way to stop the panic. Think carefully about what you really need before you buy it. You would be amazed at what you can live without.

With the economic crisis Chicken Little running around screaming, "The Dow is falling, The Dow is falling." Fear is causing people to panic and the media feeds the panic. Fear keeps people in line and following the actions of those in charge. We must not give in to the fear. Remember that this too shall pass. Realize that you have a hand in controlling your destiny and that you will always have enough to survive.

At this time do not make any quick decisions. If you want to do things well - take your time go slowly. Now is the time to get quiet within you by meditation or prayer and seek guidance from the Great Spirit. The more quiet you become the clearer you can see the big picture. Do not be controlled by the media, economy, government, or politicians.

Think carefully before you purchase anything even down to your groceries. Use wisdom and do not be swayed by the fear of the others. You will make it through this difficult time and surprisingly have learned more than if the economy would have remained stable. In the end you will come out of this a better person.    

Automotive AC Machines

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
As any mechanic knows, the ability to offer a comprehensive service to customers, being able to offer repairs and care for all aspects of a motor vehicle maintenance program is key to being able to retain customers. Air Conditioning is more or less standard across all models these days, and while in the past, AC maintenance was a highly skilled and niche market, it is now an essential side of the business and key to any workshop’s continued success.

In order to ensure that refrigerant is recovered properly from a car’s air conditioning system during servicing, a workshop must use an automotive AC machine. These devices prevent the release through venting of CFC gases. EPA guidelines require that when a car is being serviced, the Freon, or CFC12 that is used as the coolant should be collected and recycled in order that it is not released into the environment where it can potentially damage the ozone layer.

The refrigerant used in most motor vehicle air conditioning systems is based on chlorofluorocarbons, which have been linked with causing damage to the ozone layer, and as such, the control of these substances is of particular concern to the environmental protection agency. Whenever a car air conditioning system undergoes maintenance, proper care must be taken to protect the environment from the release of CFCs, and this is best done by using automotive AC Machines.

By reusing Freon gas rather than allowing it to be vented into the atmosphere, the environment is protected. However, when the refrigerant is collected from a car’s air conditioning it can be contaminated with water, oil and any of the other liquids that are used in cars. By using automotive AC machines, it is possible to process the refrigerant and remove any of the other fluids from it, allowing it to be reused, either in the same system as it has been drained from, or alternatively, in another car altogether.

There are a whole range of different refrigerant recovery machines on the market to suit all types of workshop, from small operations through to large commercial garages that deal with many different types of car, and need to be able to offer a complete service to clients.

Choosing the right automotive AC machines for your needs can be a daunting task, and too many people simply opt for the cheapest model available, rather than making an informed decision about the best product for their needs. EPA requirements aside, the most important factor when choosing the correct automotive AC machine for your business, is the capacity of the machine to deal with the range of vehicles that you currently work on. You need to choose a machine that can connect easily with all the different types of car that your workshop deals with, and which has enough capacity to recover and treat the refrigerant left in the system to remove any impurities.

Basic automotive AC machines such as the Pro Set Oiless Portable Recovery Recycle Unit are flexible enough to reprocess coolant from a fairly wide range of sources, remove any contaminating oils and other liquids, and release the Freon in perfect condition for reuse.

There are other machines in a similar price bracket that are reliable enough for every day use, and yet still compact enough not to require a vast amount of space in your workshop. Automotive AC Machines such as the Inficon Vortex refrigerant recovery machine are ideally suited to occasional use, and are very compact.

If offering AC repairs and servicing is key to your business, then having the right tools for the job is essential. Getting it right at the beginning when you choose an AC coolant recovery machine often means choosing a model from the Cool Tech range. These robust and highly regarded specialist tools are at the centre of any serious AC shop, and thanks to their efficiency and great value for money, will pay for themselves over and over again.       

Will The Next Cold War Be An Economic One?

Saturday, June 2, 2012
Several big stories hit the financial news this past week but the real significance of these stories were not discussed anywhere. Number one, the U.S. Congress pushed to file unfair trade practices against China, stating that the Bush administration’s quiet behind-the-scenes negotiation strategy was unacceptable as a tactic to bring economic reform to China. In another story this week, these words appeared - Rather than serve as "an apologist" for China, "I hope the administration will join this team," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters after testifying before the Senate Finance Committee in the second hearing on China's economic and currency policies in two days.

This article reported that Congress aimed to pass bi-partisan veto-proof legislation that will force the Chinese Yuan to appreciate against the dollar. American manufacturers have claimed that the Chinese government’s unfair manipulation of their currency has hurt them and their Congressmen are listening. Then finally at the end of the week, this headline appeared in an article: “The U.S. Commerce Department announced sanctions against paper imports from China, the first time in 23 years that U.S. duty law has been applied to imports from that country.”

Reporting the above is fine, but what are its implications? Here is my view. For once, I agree that the Bush administration is taking the proper stance and their disapproval of these brash, flag-waving Congressmen is merited. When sending U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke and the U.S. Secretary of Treasury Paulson to China only resulted in China defiantly stating that they will not allow another nation to dictate to them how they should run their economy, U.S. Congress should have gotten the hint. Instead, they escalated an already potentially volatile situation with their threats and sanctions this week.

Stephen Roach, the chief economist at Morgan Stanley warned Congress that currency valuation was far from being the sole component hurting American manufacturers. He stated that China’s cheap labor costs, burgeoning modern infrastructure and technology and growing investment in human capital and research also have greatly contributed to the burgeoning trade imbalance between China and the United States. Mr. Roach commented, "The foreign-exchange rate is not the answer, in my view. You in the Congress need to ask yourselves an important hypothetical question: How would you feel if you got your way on the Chinese currency adjustment but found that after three or four years the pressures bearing down on American workers had only intensified? As I see it, that's a very real risk that should not be taken lightly.”

Although I have vehemently disagreed with Mr. Roach’s past views on other subject matters, I believe that he is on the mark 100% this time and I’ll tell you why. U.S. Federal Chairman Bernanke has already publicly stated that everybody knows that the weak dollar is good for the U.S. government because it makes their debt cheaper and also helps to close the trade gap. So if you don’t think that the U.S. is not guilty of manipulating their own currency as well to serve their purposes then you are living in some kind of economic fantasyland. There are a whole lot of American expats living abroad that would like to see their own government do something to protect the value of their own currency instead of lecturing other nations as to how they should be managing theirs. Furthermore, this event is indeed a watershed event in the ongoing re-structuring of the world’s economies. In the past, colonized nations had bitterly complained to Europe and the U.S. about the harm their economic policies inflicted upon their economies. But now we see a 180% reversal, with developed countries complaining to emerging nations about their policies.

But this is almost beside the point when it comes to examining much more significant fallout of an open trade war with China. The reason the Bush administration is trying to negotiate quietly with the Chinese rather than take the more hard-line stance assumed by the U.S. Congress is that they know that the Chinese government holds far more important cards than the valuation of the Yuan, namely the more than one trillion dollars of U.S. dollar denominated assets that they currently hold in their reserves.

As I stated in a blog I posted about a week ago to The Underground Investor, the U.S. Congress would be foolish to aggressively alienate the Chinese government with so much at stake. The problems with the U.S. economy are much more a product of past U.S. fiscal irresponsibility than the manipulative actions of the Chinese economy and if the U.S. chooses to try to scapegoat an economic giant like China for their current problems, I believe, as Mr. Roach stated, that re-valuation of the Yuan will not be the answer. Furthermore, it is exactly these protectionist measures that the U.S. is seeking to implement that have hindered emerging markets in the past.

Instead of addressing the real reasons behind a lagging economy, protectionist measures many times seek to scapegoat another country’s economic policies for far more deep-rooted economic failures at home. Furthermore, protectionist measures often harbor and encourages domestic inefficiencies to persist instead of encouraging proactive solutions that attack the root of the problem. In fact, if the U.S. Congress pushes through their punitive measures, I can tell you right now that revaluation of the Yuan will NOT be the answer to the problems of the American economy. And despite the fact that offloading massive amounts of U.S. dollars will hurt the Chinese economy as well, there will also come a time when the Chinese government, if pushed far enough, will offload massive amounts of U.S. dollars because their strong economy will be able to absorb its negative effects much better than the weak U.S. economy.

And if they do so, the U.S. Congress will have given them the perfect excuse to do something that I believe the Chinese government is planning to do anyway. However, they will be able to do it, save face at the same time, and do it earlier than anyone expects, as opposed to having the global community heap loads of criticism upon them for what would otherwise seem to be a sudden decision that came out of nowhere. Instead of such an action being viewed as the selfish actions of a nation, it will instead by viewed as a reaction to U.S. bullying, and U.S. Congress will have given the Chinese government the perfect out.

In this case, quiet negotiations is the proper way because any other way is bound to bring harm to not only Americans in the future, but to the global economy as well. When I have blogged about governments being chronic liars in the past, certainly the Chinese government or any world government is not immune. While the Chinese government has publicly stated that they will not take any sudden actions that will greatly hurt the U.S. dollar, do you really believe that they want to hold a trillion dollars of a currency that continues to lose significant value every year? Trust me, they are planning to get rid of these dollars as soon as economically possible and behind the scenes, they have a plan in place to offload them.

Again, I can tell you why punitive Congressional U.S. measures will not coax the Chinese to assume policies the U.S. wants but only anger them. To begin, Japan is on the verge of replacing America as China’s number one trading partner. If the Chinese choose to bow down to American pressure, they would undoubtedly anger the Japanese who have heavily invested in China and would be adversely affected by the Chinese government’s decision to appease the U.S. Congress. Angering your number one trading partner would be even worse than angering the U.S. And this just in, even as I write this blog, in a report originating out of New York:

Today, China called the first of U.S. protectionist measures, tariffs on their paper imports, “unacceptable.” China strongly demands the United States to reconsider this decision and correct it as soon as possible," China Commerce Ministry spokesman Wang Xinpei said in a statement on a government Web site.

Secondly, I believe that the Chinese government, despite what diplomatic statements they release to the financial press about being concerned not to enact any policies that will cause the U.S. dollar to fall quickly, desire to unload a significant portion of their $1 trillion dollar of U.S. dollar-denominated reserves. The Chinese government realizes that offloading significant portions of dollars, whether it is to purchase oil and natural gas for their state reserves, or the purchase of other assets, will automatically cause the Yuan to strengthen. They are not going to appease the U.S. Congress now and watch the Yuan strengthen and then see this effect multiply as they unload U.S. dollars from their reserves. I believe that this is how the Chinese will eventually allow the Yuan to strengthen – by merely cutting back on their dollar-denominated assets, something that they want to do anyhow.

With this potential trade war, it is important to ignore the preening of the U.S. Congress but to consider the implications of their potential actions instead. U.S. Congressmen are no doubt influenced a great deal by their most important constituents, in this case, large manufacturers. However, in this case, it is not the concerns of the large manufacturers that are most important. Here they serve merely as a smokescreen.

Sure, large manufacturers are being hurt right now by Chinese imports, but rather than considering this part of the equation which the financial media gives much attention to, it is more important to consider the other side of the equation that is never spoken of in the financial media. Rather than listen to the complaints of the hurt, seek out what the very wealthiest of individuals are doing to not just protect their assets as the geo-political balance progresses towards a tipping point, but how they are positioning their assets now to prepare to profit from these future crises. As is a common theme at the Underground Investor, sometimes the loudest chatter will distract you from the most important information, the information that dwells below this chatter.             

Automotive Batteries

Sunday, May 20, 2012
Think of the battery as the heart of your car. You need a battery you can count on to get your motor running and keep it pumping all day long.

The car battery is an essential element of the intricate network that makes your car start and keeps the engine running. The battery powers most of the car's electrical components and accessory structures, such as the headlights, turn signals, fans, etc. While the alternator provides most of the electrical needs of the entire car system, the battery can keep them going in the event of an alternator malfunction.

There are many batteries available at automotive supply stores, and it's important to know exactly which model is the right choice for your car. The wrong battery won't work in your car, and it may even cause damage to the vehicle. Knowing which battery is right for your particular vehicle is extremely important, and it can also help to learn about the various battery manufacturers and automotive supply companies. You should only have to buy a battery every few years, so make sure you're buying the right one.

* Size Matters: Buying a battery for your car is like choosing a pair of shoes for you. One size does not fit all. The size of the battery itself is important, as it needs to fit snugly into the space allotted under the engine's hood. If the battery is too small there is the risk of it becoming dismantled and causing vibrations or damage. Further, the battery will either be a top post or side post model, which will determine how it fits and operates.

* Power Up: You need to know your car's specific power requirements before purchasing a car battery. Some cars need an 8-volt battery, while others require a 12-volt. There are a number of considerations to take into account, such as the size of the car and the number of accessories that must be powered. A huge sound system, for example, can easily suck the life out of an average car battery. A 12-volt battery should be able to maintain at least 7.2 volts when the vehicle is starting and while it is operational.

* Chill Out: If you live in a cold-climate area, it's important to check the Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) before you buy. CCA is a measurement used to determine a battery's ability to start an engine at 0° Fahrenheit, within a 30 second period. A higher CCA rating means the battery will start your vehicle faster and more effectively in freezing weather.

* Get it in Writing: No matter how well known the manufacturer is, you need to get a written manufacturers warranty with your battery. Make sure that the battery is in original condition, and is not a recharged model. The quality and dependability of the battery you choose should be indicative of the warranty you're offered. Make sure that battery is guaranteed for the duration of the battery's life (ie: if you plan on using the battery for five years, look for a five-year warranty).

* Keep it Fresh: Whether you're buying bananas or batteries, you need to make sure they're fresh and damage-free. Just because it's a piece of car equipment, it's not OK for your battery to waste away on a stockroom shelf. Make sure that the battery you buy is produced by a known and respected manufacturer, and that it's fully charged and ready to start your car. If you're not careful, you can run the risk of purchasing a fake or recharged battery. Look on the side of a battery casing for a special label or decal. You'll find the month and year that the battery was shipped from the manufacturer's plant. The letters 'A' through 'M' represent months of the year. For example, 'A' is January and 'M' is December. The letter 'I' is not used. The numbers 1 through 9 denotes the year of manufacture. Therefore, if the sticker on your batter reads L4, you know that it was manufactured in November 2004.

A car battery provides starting power to your vehicle, so make sure it's dependable. Understand your car's requirements and know how to verify the quality of the battery before you make the final purchase.