24th July 2012

Epic Drive: Take The Road Less Traveled

One of the  programs we most love producing for the Motor Trend YouTube channel is “Epic Drives.” The clue is in the name: Among the episodes we’ve filmed so far, Frank Markus has taken an Audi R8 Spyder through Norway in search of Vikings; I’ve run 200 mph on a German autobahn in a Corvette ZR1 with Le Mans GT2 champion Justin Bell bravely sitting in the passenger seat; and Jonny Lieberman drove a Land Rover LR4 onto Red Square in Moscow. As I write this, video producer Duane Sempson is editing an episode we filmed in Japan last month, and in the next few weeks, we’re shooting on location in Italy, Germany, and Spain. Just sorting the travel logistics is epic; never mind the actual driving.

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24th July 2012

Lincoln prices 2013 MKZ $175 less than Lexus ES 350

Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln division said Tuesday that its base price for the 2013 MKZ will be $175 less than the new Lexus ES 350.

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24th July 2012

Police says union claim Maruti Suzuki hired bouncers is ‘nonsense’

The police commissioner overseeing the probe into last week’s violence at a Maruti Suzuki plant dismissed labor union claims that bouncers paid by the company attacked them and set fire to part of the factory.

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24th July 2012

Fort Worth and Dallas area dirt track and dragway schedule (July 27-29)

Fort Worth and Dallas area tracks and dragways. If the forecast calls for inclement weather, check the track Web sites or call the track to make sure the racing is still on schedule:

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24th July 2012

Sub-prime car loans returning in a big way



During the first quarter of this year, US car loans totaled $52.5bn. That’s 49% higher than the same period in 2009, the recession’s low point, according to Equifax’s National Consumer Credit Trends report.

The preceeding paragraph comes from a report in today’s Detroit News.

If you’re of a nervous disposition, look away now, but if you’re brave enough to want to know what’s going on in the sub-prime vehicle loan market, click here.

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23rd July 2012

Manufacturing Troubles Remain a Drag on Recovery, Trade & Jobs


via The Seattle Times

by Jon Talton

Top of the News: The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index seems consistent with recovery, coming in at 53.6 for November; any number above 50 signifies expansion in the sector. Unfortunately, the reading sagged from 55.7 the month before, tripping up what economists had hoped would be a steady climb out of recession.

A deeper look shows that the index provides no relief for the biggest immediate problem facing Americans, unemployment. Only six of 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in employment. Only 11.7 million Americans worked manufacturing as of October. That compares with 17.3 million in October 1999.

Not only do manufacturing jobs pay better than their counterparts in service industries, they tend to add real value to economic activity (as opposed to selling mortgage swindles). They are also twined with our trade issues. Even fewer manufacturing jobs are now in industries that export, a key part of our huge manufacturing trade deficit.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon was happening even before the Great Recession. A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that manufacturing employment between 1965 and 2000 never dipped below 16.5 million. This even as manufacturing shrank as a share of the economy (take out Boeing and it would be much smaller). This changed as imports surged after China joined the WTO and other Asian factory centers upped their game. By 2004, the number was lower than any time since 1950.

“It is often claimed that declines in manufacturing employment stem entirely from productivity growth,” according to EPI economist L. Josh Bivens. “However, rapid productivity growth is the norm, not the exception, in manufacturing. What is new about the manufacturing job crisis of the last four years is the sharp downturn in the ratio of domestic production to demand.”

Indeed, American steelmakers are shrinking yet again.

The Back Story: The official unemployment rate including discouraged workers and part-timers seeking full-time work is 17.5 percent. But Shadow Government Statistics, a provocative and reliable site, argues even this underestimates the problem. Try…22 percent.

Complete Article



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