Most manufacturers hoping to strike gold with the new car-SUV hybrid and she couldn’t see herself driving a minivan. So Dr. Melissa Sundermann ended up with a type of vehicle that most automakers are banking on for sales growth: a crossover. Built on car underpinnings but having many attributes of SUVs, crossover utility vehicles have seen explosive growth since Toyota Motor Corp. started the category with the RAV4 back in 1995. In 1996, the RAV4’s first full year on sale, Toyota told 56,709 of the small crossovers when it had the market to itself, according to data collected by Ward’s Automotive Group. But sales rose quickly as other automakers saw the growth potential, topping 2.4 million last year with more than 50 models for sale.CARS WERE TOO SMALL, SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES TOO INEFFICIENTNow, with the 2008 car model year approaching, automakers are hoping to capture thousands of people like Sundermann who want more space for kids and their junk, and the array of models and sales are almost certain to grow.Last year, crossovers outsold truck-based SUVs for the first time, said George Pipas, Ford Motor Co.’s top sales analyst. “Next year, most likely, the category will climb over the 3 million mark, barring a sharp decline in total volume,” Pipas said.Sundermann, a physician and mother of two in Ann Arbor, Mich., felt that her old vehicle, a Volvo station wagon, didn’t have enough room. “In driving the kids around and doing car pooling, I just couldn’t fit enough kids in my car safely,” she said.Sundermann, 37, started looking at large SUVs such as the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe, but wanted something smaller with better gas mileage. She also needed three rows of seats and enough space in the back for groceries and other items.When her husband suggested looking at the Saturn Outlook, a new crossover vehicle, she thought it was odd because her image of the company was of one that made economy cars.”With all the options, the price was right. We were impressed that the gas mileage was fairly decent for a bigger car,” she said. “I can fit all my kids and their friends and all my stuff and still feel like I’m driving a luxury car.”The crossovers, which range in size from smaller four-passenger vehicles to ones seating up to eight, are key products for the Detroit Three as they try to regain market share lost mainly to Japanese competitors. Last month, Detroit’s share of the market dropped below 50 percent for the first time in history.Ford, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC lost a collective $15 billion last year as they were caught unprepared when high gasoline prices sent consumers away from trucks and sport utility vehicles to cars and crossovers.A two-wheel-drive 2008 Ford Expedition large SUV, for instance, gets an estimated 12 miles per gallon in the city and 18 on the highway. Ford’s Taurus X crossover, built on a Volvo car platform with three rows of seats, gets 16 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway.Because they’re built on car platforms, crossovers are more maneuverable and have smoother rides than the truck-based SUVs, said Lonnie Miller, director of industry analysis for R.L. Polk & Co.”It provides kind of like the best of both worlds. It’s a nice alternative to a minivan and as large in many cases as a gas-guzzling SUV,” he said. As crossovers have grown, minivan sales have dropped, off about 22 percent from the first seven months of last year and down 12 percent in 2006 compared with 2005. Ford and GM, seeing little growth potential, got out of the business. But Chrysler, the minivan inventor and leader, sees growth and is coming out with a new version of its people hauler featuring a seat that swivels so passengers can sit on either side of a table.For Sundermann, though, a minivan didn’t feel right. “It would just define me,” she said. “I lead a sporty, adventuresome lifestyle. I’m a mother and physician. But I wasn’t ready to drive a minivan,” said Sundermann, who competes in triathlons.”Some people don’t want to be seen as kind of that traditional suburban mom driving a minivan,” said Sarah Woolson, general sales manager at Saturn of Ann Arbor, the dealership that sold Sundermann her black Outlook in April.Crossover sales are up about 15 percent so far this year. At Ford, where crossover sales have risen 44 percent over last year due largely to the Edge, Pipas believes they will continue to pull in buyers from the minivan, SUV and other segments of the market.Pipas predicted that in two more years, there will be 70 to 80 different crossover models from which buyers can choose.”This whole category has a long way to go,” he said
Automotive equipment is a very large market that includes an infinite amount of tools and machines. If you have ever walked into an automotive shop you will quickly see the amount of tools and shop equipment that is in use. From lifts to air compressors, a shop is slammed full of machinery that is used every day. This means an automotive shop needs to make sure they buy all of their equipment from reputable dealers so that their products have a full warranty and are built to last.The center point to any auto shop is usually the types of lifts that it has. There are many different types of lifts that serve different purposes. Some can be driven onto and others simply lift the car up by the frame. Another large aspect of car lifts is how many tons they are made to handle. If you work with mainly small cars you can buy a smaller lift that will not break the bank. If you are often lifting extremely heavy vehicles you will have to get the right lift that can handle the tonnage.Some of the smaller equipment needed in automotive shops include air guns, grease machines, air compressors, air lines, tool boxes, and the list goes on. If you run a specialty shop, you will often need machinery that custom make parts. Machines that can perform this type of work include CNC machines, drill presses, and lathes. All of these pieces of equipment are large, expensive, and need to only be bought from a trusted company.Some of the more simple equipment for automotive shops include tools. There are many tools that are made especially for auto repair. It mainly depends on what type of shop you run as to what type of equipment you will need. If you run a simple quick lube shop, there are products for you to use that all revolve around changing the oil on a car as fast as possible.Automotive shop equipment is a huge market. Considering most new cars are mainly ran by their electrical systems, there are many machines sold that diagnose cars and read their ecu. Diagnostic machines are becoming the most important aspect in any repair shops because of how technological and sophisticated new cars are made today. The main thing to make sure of though is that you are buying products that are sold from trusted companies that sell only new products that come with a full manufactured warranty so that your investments are protected.
When you want to get a portable automotive GPS it is important to know the main features and functions that make it work effectively. This will help you with your search for the right portable GPS because you can make sure the one you get has all of these important features and functions.Main functions and features:1. Movable – The whole point of it being called portable is so you can easily move it from one place to another. There are many types of GPS devices that are not easily movable. Take time to make sure it really can be moved easily if you definitely want one that is portable. Also make sure that the power for the GPS device comes from an internal battery or that the vehicle you will be in has a 12 volt outlet you can use.2. Addresses or names of locations – On most GPS devices there is a touch screen that will display 3D maps that will change as your vehicle travels toward your final destination. It is important that you find a GPS that is easy to use and input addresses or names of locations. If you can’t easily input where you need to go then it the GPS won’t do you any good anyway. Before choosing the device you want to purchase be sure that getting directions is simple enough for anyone to do.3. Spoken turn by turn directions – There are many devices these days that will provide spoken turn by turn directions. This is always a good idea to have because trying to find your way without it could be dangerous. Without the spoken directions you will have to take your eyes off the road and that could lead to an accident. Always look for one with this feature even if it is a little more expensive so you can get where you need to go safely without an accident.4. Route suggestion – There may be times you use your GPS and miss a turn or exit and if this happens you need to have a GPS that will provide an alternative route or will reroute you until you are back on the original route you were taking before. If the device doesn’t do this then it will be worthless to you if you happen to miss your turn or exit. So you don’t end up lost with your GPS take time to make sure that the GPS you choose offers this feature.5. Bluetooth compatible – If you can find a GPS that is Bluetooth compatible then this will allow you to use it hands free. This will ensure that you can safely use it while driving without other problems happening like accidents. Now that you know these important features and functions for the portable automotive GPS you need to take time to ensure the one that you purchase has all of these. This will ensure you are safe and never get lost using your GPS.