Watch out Tesla…GM is coming on strong.

This article is written by the New York Times.com

DETROIT — General Motors is adding 1,000 jobs in Michigan to develop more electric and hybrid vehicles similar to the Chevrolet Volt, which it officially introduced on Tuesday, the company said.

The new jobs, in engineering and research, are the latest commitment by G.M. to broaden its lineup of energy-efficient models as well as to invest in its home state, which has the nation’s second-highest unemployment rate.

G.M.’s chief executive, Daniel F. Akerson, announced the jobs in a ceremony marking the start of production of the Volt at a plant in the city of Hamtramck, which adjoins downtown Detroit.

With plant workers cheering him on, Mr. Akerson said the plug-in hybrid Volt was proof that G.M. would be a leader in new technology in the aftermath of its $50 billion government bailout last year.

“I believe and our board believes that electrification is critical to the global automotive industry,” said Mr. Akerson.

Michigan has been among the states hit hardest by the recession and the historic downsizing of Detroit’s Big Three automakers.

The state has lost an estimated 800,000 jobs in the last decade, and it has an unemployment rate of 12.8 percent, behind only Nevada’s 14.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But the new jobs at G.M. are part of a growing list of investments in the state by companies building batteries and other parts integral to electric cars, said Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

“Seventeen companies are making batteries or are suppliers for batteries, and are projected to create 63,000 jobs in the state over the next decade,” she said.

G.M. has already invested $700 million in eight facilities in Michigan in support of the Volt. The company said it would add the jobs over the next two years.

Mr. Akerson drove the first Volt off the assembly line on stage for Tuesday’s ceremony.

That car will be kept by the company for display at its G.M. Heritage Center museum. The second Volt made in Hamtramck will be auctioned off to raise money for math and science education in the Detroit public schools.

The Volt has become something of a symbol of a reborn G.M. after its bailout and trip through bankruptcy court last year.

“We have created the new soul of this company,” said Mark L. Reuss, head of G.M.’s North American operations.

The company’s image received a big boost with its $23.1 billion public stock offering on Nov. 18, which will cut the government’s previous 61 percent ownership stake in half.

But G.M. executives are counting on a hot start for the Volt to cement its comeback in the minds of consumers.

The car is the first of its kind to use battery power for relatively short drives, and then to augment its range with the assistance of a small gasoline engine.

The Environmental Protection Agency last week said the Volt has a fuel-economy rating of 93 miles per gallon on battery power alone. The combined battery-and-engine rating is 60 miles per gallon, the E.P.A. said.

Mr. Akerson said he and his wife have driven a Volt for the last six weeks, and have rarely traveled more than the 35 miles per day that the E.P.A. says can be achieved with a full battery charge.

“We’ve gone 450 miles and we’ve used 1.2 gallons of gas,” he said. “I haven’t seen a gas station for six weeks.”

The Volt, which is priced at $41,000, is scheduled to go on sale this month in California, Michigan, Texas, Washington, D.C., and the metropolitan New York area. It will become available in the rest of the country by 2012.

G.M. plans to build about 10,000 Volts by the end of next year, and 45,000 in 2012. A version of the car is expected to go on sale next year in Europe as an Opel model.

The Volt faces competition for buyers of electric-powered cars initially from the Nissan Leaf, an all-battery powered model that the E.P.A. rates at 99 miles per gallon.

Next year, the Ford Motor Company will introduce an all-electric version of its new Focus compact car. Like the Volt, the car will be built in Michigan at a factory in the city of Wayne that previously made full-size sport utility vehicles.

From BankRAGSy to RICHES

This just in….. The Treasury Department says it has received $11.7 billion from the sale of 358.5 million shares of General Motors stock. Treasury announced that the net proceeds from the GM stock sold last week were delivered on Tuesday. Treasury officials said that the government could receive an additional $1.8 billion, assuming the underwriters exercise options to purchase an additional 53.8 million shares of GM common stock within 30 days of the initial stock offering. The government put $49.5 billion into GM as part of its bailout of the giant automaker. Not bad for the company that just 24 months ago had to be bailed out by the United States Government. Congatulation GM! 
For all of you travelers, be safe driving during this holiday weekend, For those of your flying, be extra patient with the TSA folks… they don't like patting you down any more than you would them.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Drive Your Bargain,
Anne

Why Men Are Happier People

This is from my dear friend, George. I would offer brilliant credit if I knew the source. Ladies, I know what a great sense of humor you all have, so simply read and smile and get a kick out of this.  

Men Are Just Happier People:

What do you expect from such simple creatures?

Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours.

Wedding plans take care of themselves.

Chocolate is just another snack.

You can be President.

You can never be pregnant.

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

You can wear NO shirt to a water park.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal.

You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

Same work, more pay.

Wrinkles add character.

Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.

People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.

New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

You can open all your own jars.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You almost never have strap problems in public.

You're unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays it's original color.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

You only have to shave your face and neck.

You can play with toys all your life.

One wallet and one pair of shoes — one color for all seasons.

You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife.

You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

Drive Your Bargain,

Anne

  

Time For New Tires? Visit ChryslerTiresDirect.com – A New Way of Buying.

Car Tires. Where the rubber hits the road, err, quite literally.

Tires are the absolute bottom line to our car’s performance, much like our feet are the key to our body’s mobility.  How often do we think about our tires? Typically yes, when there is a problem. Women-Drivers is on a mission to alter that context and pattern. We want drivers to begin taking consistent action to check the wear ability of your car’s tires – and check out the  Tips about Smart Tire Care in our recent blog. An informed driver is a safer one.

 

Buying new tires is an integral part of keeping your car and family safe while driving.  And, there is no shortage of places to buy tires – from independent tire dealers, to online sites like TireMonkey.com and Tire Rack, big-box retailers Sears and Walmart, this list goes on and on. The bigger the industry, typically the more competitive it is. And, so it goes with tires. Prices vary – quality varies – and your services experience can, too.   

Buying tires doesn’t have to be such a mystery. We recently heard from some women drivers in the southern belt about a way to buy tires simply, on-line, direct through Chrysler dealerships. No middle man and no up charges. The women were thrilled with the amount of money they saved and the ease of buying tires on-line, we thought it important to investigate further.  It seems Chrysler is taking a premier role in the on-line selling of tires – what is now a one billion dollar business and growing each year.  Chrysler acknowledges that  their customer base is slanted towards women – which is no surprise based upon the  top scores the Chrysler  family of brands received in the 2010 semiannual report Top Car Brands as Reviewed by Women.  

What the benefit of buying tires on line at ChryslerTiresDirect ? Three easy steps and you’re done. Input your car type or input the size of tires required on your Chrysler vehicle. Next, peruse through the selection of brand name tires and choose a set.  Locate the dealership you wish to install your tires and they will receive tires the same day or within 24 hours. Lastly, choose the day of installation that works for you. You will pay for the tires when you buy them online and pay the dealership for the service work when the tires are installed.  There simply are no hidden costs, and you get the expert installation and great customer experience that you expect from any Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge dealership. Your tires are installed safely and correctly balanced each and every time!

 

We tested the site and service ourselves and found it to be a seamless and easy with a safe and secure transaction and impeccable experience. All while saving time and money.  Participating dealers also have the ChryslerTiresDirect.com site directly on their webpage to make this service even more convenient for you. Check with your Chrysler dealer to see if they have the ChryslerTiresDirect.com program in place – it will be rolling out to dealerships by spring, 2011.  As we gear up for winter, yes, even those southern belles, check out this new service to get your car outfitted correctly today.  

Drive Your Bargain,

Anne

Tips for Smart Tire Care

How much consideration do you give to the integrity of what’s carrying you and your family when travelling 60 mph down the highway?  Along with engine and brake care, the condition of your tires tops the list of critical safety factors, and demands more respect than we often give them. Especially as we gear up towards winter car travel.

Although today’s tires are more high-tech than ever, it ultimately comes down to the vehicle owner – you — to maintain the tires. 

The Cost of Incorrect Tire PressureTire pressure is more important than you might think, and is to be checked monthly.  In cold weather, tires typically lose one or two pounds of air per month, and in warm weather, tires lose air at an even higher rate.  The U.S. Department of Energy states gas mileage can be improved by up to 3.3% by simply keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure; this is about .08 cents a gallon It’s estimated that most drivers lose 10% to as much as 50% of tire tread life due to under-inflated tires.  Besides extra fuel consumption, what does this mean for the environmental impact of additional tires in landfills?  

Need New Tires? Check with an easy testHow do you know when it’s time for new tires?  Worn tread depth is the obvious give-away, and the minimum legal measurement of depth should be 2/32 of an inch.  A common test is to insert a penny with Abe Lincoln’s head upside down in the shallowest grove of a tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it means it’s time for new tires. 

Tips for Smart Tire Care

  • Check your tire pressure monthly, such as every second gas stop.  While you’re at it, inspect the side walls and rims for any wear.
  • Checking your vehicle's tire pressure is best done when the tires are cold, before the vehicle has been driven one mile.
  • Carry your own tire pressure gauge.  The correct inflation amount for your vehicle is listed in the driver’s manual, and on a sticker in the glove compartment and/or the driver’s side door.
  • Have a tire inspection at your dealership before a long trip. 
  • If needing more air is a common experience, don’t ignore the possibility of a leak.
  • Rotation of tires should ideally be done every 5,000 miles or sooner.  An easy way to remember is to include tire inspections, alignment or rotation with your regular oil change and tune-ups every year.
  • Imbalanced tires and poor wheel alignment will cause one-sided tread wear, bald spots, a shaky steering wheel and noises such as squealing.
  • A visible sign of under-inflated tires is both edges of the tire will be worn down.  Over-inflated tires will reveal the center treads being more worn.
  • Because of the dangerous hazard of hydroplaning on wet pavement, the rear tires, which hold most of the grip, should be a priority for changing before the front tires.
  • Most new vehicles come with automatic tire pressure monitor sensor that alerts you when any of your tires may be underinflatable.

It’s up to you to care for the rubber that meets the road and wisen up to tire safety. Get into the habit of smart tire care, and you’ll feel better knowing that what’s carrying you and your family is reliable.

Drive Your Bargain,

Anne

More Young Women than Men Drive Luxury Leases

When a 30-something friend I know in New York City confessed to me that she was driving an $815 a month BMW, I cautioned her about tooling around town in such an expensive set of wheels.

But it turns out, she's hardly alone – at least among the younger crowd.

According toLeaseTrader.com, a popular car leasing marketplace, when it comes to driving luxury vehicles, it's young women who are most often gripping that steering wheel – not men.

About 51.2% of women under 30 on LeaseTrader.com drive a luxury vehicle compared with 42.6% back in 2005.

Two factors are driving the trend: women are better educated and better paid than ever.

The Council of Graduate Schoolsrecently reported that, for the first time in American history, women earn the bulk of doctoral degrees in the U.S. In the 2008-9 academic year, 50.4% of doctoral degrees were granted to women.

At the same time,Census Bureau dataindicate that women between the ages of 22 and 30 earn 8% more than men in metropolitan areas.

So apparently, young single women are flocking to luxury cars as a way to flex their financial muscles.

Indeed, figures from LeaseTrader.com show that most women luxury drivers under 30 are in popular metro areas such as Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

They're driving off car dealerships with autos ranging form the Audi TT and the Lexis SC to the BMW Z4 and the Jaguar XK.

"The shift in driving power has been progressing over the last few years on the LeaseTrader.com marketplace as more women take a greater interest in what they drive," says Sergio Stiberman, CEO and founder of LeaseTrader.com. "Especially as it relates to education, young women commanding higher salaries are becoming a larger customer base in shopping and trading for luxury leases."

While some people can run into financial trouble with leases – especially if they can't afford to pay the monthly note or if they drive the car too many miles – there is some indication that the young women getting into these cars are trying to be financially savvy.

For instance, they aren't just signing lease contracts for brand-new cars fresh off the lot. They're also using the LeaseTrader.com marketplace to take over other people's leases, which means their financial obligation for the vehicle will last for a shorter period of time. That could be a plus for anyone who runs into financial difficulty down the road.

For now, though, it seems that driving a nice car is increasingly part of a woman's world.

Coutesy of Leasetrader.com