Automotive Subsidies, Bailouts and Sweetheart Deals From the Government – Not Just in the US Anymore

Will the US hang on to the auto industry? What happens as the Euro Zone collapses and we can’t sell cars there and China ramps up production for its growing middle class consumers domestically? It appears China is poised to take it all, and the European, Japanese, and US car makers will not have the ability to stop the onslaught – in ten years, China will own the global auto market, perhaps their biggest competitor will be Tata Motors in India. Okay so, let’s talk about all this, and what I see on the horizon presently.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article in their online news on May 30, 2012 titled; “BYD Defends Electric Car; China Plans Broad Subsidy,” by Joanne Chou. According to the article, and I have absolutely no reason to refute this news, the all-powerful communist Chinese Government will fund research and development for hybrid automobiles to the tune of between $160 to $315 million. These newly engineered state of the art vehicles will be sold around the world for export, yes, in the EU, Australia, and United States.

Further, since Chinese banks are now allowed to operate retail offices in the US, most likely they will loan money for these new cars, and guess who is leading the charge at BYD motors in China – our own Warren Buffet, who owns a massive number of shares and has a lot of clout here at home with friends in the White House, on Wall Street, and in nearly every major industry. Imagine Smart Car sized Chinese made hybrids running around town, with you in it, brand new from China, with a low-interest loan and easy payments.

This kind of puts the GM bailout all to shame, and the dismal sales of the Chevy Volt – so much for that government debacle. Okay so, why is China subsidizing research on batteries? Well, it turns out that the BYD batteries caught fire when discontorted by 50% in abuse crash tests, meaning they can’t must the regulatory DOT rules here at home – yet. Of course, with a little research and seeing as A123 Battery Manufacturer, also US government subsidized and low interest DOE loans failed, the field is wide open again – and China wants that industry – she’s going to take it.

Meanwhile, let me be a horse’s rear-end here and make a statement. In my view the $160 to $315 million dollar battery research from the Chinese government won’t actually be used to develop the technology, rather to borrow or collect the information from American R&D units via cyber and corporate espionage, then corner the market, and sell everyone in the US a hybrid Chinese pocket car which will meet the Obama Administration’s new CAFÉ standards for fuel economy.

Automotive Manufacturing Trends for 2012

There are a lot of interesting trends in 2012 in the auto manufacturing sector. We’ve recently noted that China is trying to cut back on foreign automakers selling in their country, putting on more restrictions. This is not good for US, Japanese or European auto makers. Indeed, due to the natural disaster in Japan with the major earthquake and tsunami the Japanese automakers are still trying to recover, and the floods in Thailand didn’t help either.

However, with those major supply chains disrupted it has been a boon for US automakers which have taken back nearly all of the market share gains that the Japanese automakers had secured in the last four years. But that doesn’t mean everything is great with the US automakers either, there are still tens of thousands of former auto workers still out of work, and we aren’t nearly back to our 17 million cars sold each year as we were back in 2005 to 2007.

Although the Obama Administration is taking credit for the spectacular showing of GM and Chrysler after the bailouts, things are not really as stellar as we might believe. This is not a political statement, just an industry reality. For instance General Motors’ Volt has been a total flop, and the cost of batteries for these electric cars has driven up the cost where the return on investment just doesn’t make sense even with the potential of gasoline prices surging over five dollars per gallon in the spring and summer of 2012.

Another interesting trend which hasn’t gotten a lot of press, although there were articles in the Wall Street Journal, has a do with the fact that the younger generation is spending more time online at Facebook, and many of the kids don’t even care to own the car, they can stay in touch with their friends online. In fact it used to be when a young man turned driving age he wanted to get a car to impress the girls, but now he doesn’t need a car, he can impress them with cool photos on his Facebook page.

Automotive Pollutants and Their Control

The internal combustion engine of an automobile generates a lot of pollutants, but the major ones are CO, NOx and unburnt hydrocarbons.

The carbon-monoxide gas is present in the exhaust if the combustion (or burning) of the fuel is not complete, mainly due to insufficient air. It can be fixed in the 3-way catalytic converter, which oxidizes it to CO2. It can also be controlled by use of Exhaust Gas Oxygen Sensor or EGOS, which is located in the exhaust pipe and sends back a signal to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). This alters the fuel:air ratio and other parameters like the ignition advance angle to let the combustion to be complete.

The second pollutant is the group of nitrogen oxides, which can lead to acid rains. It is also converted in the catalytic converter where it is reduced to Nitrogen gas. NOx emissions can also be curbed by use of what is called the exhaust gas re-circulation system, which pumps back some of the exhaust gas back into the engine. While this may seem to be counter-intuitive, but it does help. What it essentially does is that it acts as inert gas which does not participate in the burning and thus it reduces the temperature of the cylinder. It’s evident that NOx is created at high engine temperatures so, this reduces the formation of NOx.

The third pollutant, which is the unburnt hydrocarbon (UBHC), is the left over fuel, unutilized and is passed on to the exhaust and eventually leaks into the atmosphere. This causes loss of fuel efficiency and reduces the mileage considerably. Its control is very similar to that of CO, just that it is easy to oxidize. The same process is used, like the CO, in the catalytic converter and the end products are water-vapor and carbon-dioxide. Another approach is the use of after-burner, which is like a combustion chamber located just after the exhaust port. It burns up the remaining UBHC and completes the process.

The fourth important pollutant is the carbon particles. It’s the same thing that makes your exhaust gas black in color. It is also responsible for lung diseases and other health issues. It can be prevented from leaking out to the atmosphere by use of filters, which trap them into them and prevent the escape. Later, these need to cleaned or replaced. The filters may be self-cleaning type too, which burn the carbon particles to carbon-dioxide and the filter is ready to be used again.

Top Reasons for Using an Automotive Locksmith

Try not to panic if you have lost your car keys or locked them in your car. Simply call a locksmith. Many people use make-shift attempts at unlocking a car but these can be quite damaging even if you do not see the results right away. Using a tow truck driver to pry the corner of your door open and using a long rod to attempt to hit the unlock button will damage your car door and you won’t realize it until you hear the wind at the edge of the door when you’re driving down the road. Also, police rarely have all the tools or special training needed to open your car without damage. A botched car opening job can easily do $300.00 worth of damage to the inside of the door panel. These methods I would never recommend, instead, use a locksmith. These are trained professionals that use finesse, not force.

1. Non-destructive entry

Make sure you do research before choosing a locksmith and keep the number on you in a safe place like a phone or a wallet. Try to choose a reputable company with certified workers. Locksmiths go through some pretty intense training before they are considered certified. If you get locked out, certified locksmiths will never damage doors or frames and will likely be insured, so in the rare case something does get damaged while they are trying to help, they will pay for it, not you.

2. Stress-free and friendly

Getting locked out of your car, losing your keys, or having your keys stolen, is very stressful for anyone. Companies that specialize in this are usually quite friendly, compassionate and experienced. Do your research and find a locksmith company who’s number one goal is to get to your location and get you back into your vehicle as quick and secure as possible. Also many companies can make you new replacement keys and remotes.

3. On-call 24/7

The great thing about most locksmiths is the fact that they are always open for your convenience. You can never expect when you might lose or lock your keys in your vehicle. So you can call a locksmith up at any time and they will attend to your needs as soon as possible.