Is Your iPhone Your Next Car Key?

Apple has recently released data that its new digital “CarKey” will work on the 2021 BMW 5-series first, with other cars coming later. The announcement excited developers and consumers at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple plans to attract drivers with the feature due to its ease and simplicity.

Instead of carrying an additional item on the daily, drivers will be able to simply grab their iPhones and start their drives. This will come as a function of the new iOS 14 technology.

For the BMW, the setup will take place in the BMW app. The app will allow users to open car doors and start vehicles, operating as a compact version of a car-key. This digital key uses near-field communication technology so that drivers can unlock and start their cars, then place the phone in any section of the car and maintain the ability to drive. Drivers will need to utilize Face ID or Touch ID, just as they do when unlocking their personal iPhone.

Notably, BMW assures drivers that the key will operate for five hours after the phone battery dies, so long road trips with an unexpectedly broken or forgotten charger will not alter the ride. Apple also assured drivers that the ability to disable the CarKey function for certain drivers from the phone is possible. If a phone goes missing, the vehicle’s access can also be disabled. The app simply works as a device on the individual’s iCloud account.

Apple is developing a way to standardize then technology so that it can work with auto-industry groups across the globe. The future of the car key could very well be on mobile phones! Due to its compatibility and simplicity, it provides an exciting alternative to a standard car key

Are People Buying Fewer Cars, and Why?

In April alone, Virginia state tax revenue dropped by almost $37 million. Many wonder if this is a harbinger of a decline in auto sales worldwide.

Honing in on Virginia, on July 1st, state and regional gas taxes are scheduled to increase as part of a transportation funding package. Concerns over the auto industry and economy at-large have only increased as COVID-19 seeps into every facet of the workforce. The steady flow of automobile sales has now stopped. Don Hall, the President of the Automobile Dealers Association in Virginia noted his fear, saying, “Our business is struggling mightily.”

Gasoline taxes and license fees also fell in April nationwide. Notably, Virginia is likely to lose close to $1 billion in revenues by June 30th. People are spending less during the national emergency and consequences can be dire.

Interestingly, while people have stopped buying imported vehicles during the pandemic, they still seem to be buying American-made cars. Some automobile companies are recognizing the financial disparity and are lowering their car prices.

Some claim the reason for the lack of current purchases in the auto industry is that people make better financial decisions during crises such as national emergencies. Unemployment fears plague the general public, and therefore, people spend less. A notable reason for lack of purchase is also a lack of usage. People aren’t prioritizing the purchase of a new automobile when they rarely use it, and COVID-19 forces many people to work from home, only leaving their residences to purchase necessary goods.

After a disaster hits though, people tend to purchase in large amounts. One reason for the phenomenon is that people celebrate the conclusion of a disaster with the installment of the latest technologies that they had not updated for some time. Perhaps it is solely celebratory, or maybe people are updating their lives to prepare for the next possibility of a disaster. Either way, purchases rise, and the auto industry might see an increase in purchases after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US Auto Industry Revived

Due to COVID-19, most automakers closed their production sites in March. In the middle of May, the US auto industry started to see signs of recovery. After months of halted manufacturing, G.M., Ford, and Fiat Chrysler welcomed back employees with restrictions to ensure a safe work environment.

The month of April reported a 50-percent decline in auto-sales according to Cox Automotive. This negative trend for the auto-industry has now sent tens of thousands of auto-workers back to working on plants across the South and the Midwest United States. Fiat Chrysler stated that it was “pleased” with the restart.

The risk of COVID-19 infection is high for assembly-line workers who spend hours each day working in close quarters. To combat this, the rate at which cars are produced has slowed tremendously, limiting the number of workers needed to produce parts and vehicles. Employees are required to time their arrivals so that they do not interact largely with other workers. Additionally, the “Big Three” automobile producing plants are taking temperatures of workers before they begin work each day. Then, the workers must wear a mask, gloves, and eye protection.

Ford reported workers who tested positive and then paused work six separate times to clean equipment and locate workers who may have come in contact with the infected. These setbacks, though, were expected. Toyota and Honda both paused production briefly as well to disinfect sites after workers tested positive for the virus.

There is an inherent risk of the coronavirus spreading in a highly populated place; the auto industry is taking necessary measures to ensure the safety of workers, but the virus is rampant, and its spread has stalled mass production. Production numbers are relatively small to promote the wellbeing of workers. The tactics currently utilized by the industry act as a trial for the future of not only the auto-industry but factories worldwide.

The reopening of the industry is delicate. Production has begun but slowly. Employees are working, but for shorter shifts. The industry faces many challenges, but with the proper guidelines, the revival of the Auto industry seems steady and certain.

Why the Chevrolet Corvette was Granted North American Car of the Year

The North American Car of the Year is an award granted to the country’s “favorite” vehicle in the middle of January.

The prestigious award is chosen by a panel of 50 jurors who are respected voices from print, online, radio and broadcast media across the United States and Canada. Jurors vote after noting the following categories: segment leadership, innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction, and value for the dollar.

When discussing the Chevrolet Corvette, auto critic for the Detroit News Henry Payne said, “A mid-engine Corvette was a huge risk for Chevy’s muscle-car icon. They nailed it. Stunning styling, interior, and performance for one-third of the cost of comparable European exotics.”

There were two cars that were selected for the runner up category, which were the Hyundai Sonata and the Toyota Supra. However, the Corvette ultimately won against the competition for two reasons.

  1. Road noise: The car does not exhibit the loud noise that supercar’s generally have. This allows for a peaceful drive so that the only noises in the car are the music you’re blasting and your conversations, not an annoying rumble from below.
  2. Drive: The car drives remarkably well, as technical editor of MotorTrend.com Frank Markus noted, “Behavior on the freeways was remarkable…And best of all, that ride quality didn’t disappear when we put it in Sport and Track modes.”

The layout and gears of the car also won critics over as they applauded the Chevrolet Corvette. The car’s elements signified ingenuity and excellence, so next time you buy or lease a vehicle, considering these factors might land you in North America’s favorite car.

Understanding the Three Main Parts of Your Auto Repair Bill

An auto repair bill can be a scary thing, containing an alarming list of numbers for incomprehensible reasons. When your car breaks down, the last thing you want to worry about is a financial misunderstanding, and acknowledging the three main segments of your bill can make the process clear and seamless. The three main parts of your auto repair bill will be the overhead, labor, and parts.

Overhead 

First, the overhead includes utility bills, rent, and computerized diagnostic equipment. This section will raise the cost of “parts,” and it is included to keep the repair shop running. It is important to recognize that every day a shop operates, it pays bills for a myriad of functions, and this adds a price to the shop serving your needs.

Labor

The technician’s time and effort are rewarded through your labor bill. This will be billed at the shop’s hourly rate.

In general, shops have a book time for the length each task takes to complete so that you can go in knowing how many hours of labor you will be paying for. You will be charged based on the book estimate, even if your technician works quickly.

Parts

This is the most important part of the auto-bill. As previously stated, the overhead is included in this charge, but it contains other elements as well. Sometimes, a repair estimate will give you options as to the type and price of the parts to be installed. Options include:

  1. Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts: These are the same as parts installed on the assembly line. They are the most expensive, but notably the best parts that can help keep your warranty intact.
  2. Used or remarketed parts that will probably not flaunt maximum longevity
  3. Aftermarket parts, which are built by outside manufacturers

Fees regarding parts may also include the proper disposal of old parts.

Leasing a car may include warranty coverage on such charges. Overall, newer vehicles are less likely than older ones to break down and demand large bills, but sometimes we all encounter less than optimal situations. Hopefully, understanding charges will allow for a painless auto repair experience.

Tips for Major Gas Savings While on the Road!

Setting intentions for a safe and cautious drive before taking the wheel can not only save lives, but it can also save money. Vehicles take a myriad of different gas types at different consumption speeds, but no matter what you drive, here are some tips to save gas, and therefore money and precious time! No more daily gas station visits for you!

1.     Accelerate slowly: You will make it to work on time! No need to accelerate with all of your might. The harder you press on the accelerator, the faster you will run out of fuel.

2.     Slow down gradually: Braking does not use up gas. Heavy breaking does, however, indicate that you could have let your foot off the accelerator sooner. Additionally, if you do not rush up to a red light, it may turn green before you reach it — allowing you to roll through without stopping or having to accelerate from a standstill.

3.     Don’t speed: Generally speaking, cars tend to get better mileage when driven at lower speeds. They also tend to not warrant expensive speeding tickets, which saves you even more money.

4.     Warm Up Your Car for Shorter Lengths of Time: If you wake up and it’s cold outside, don’t warm up the car for longer than 30 seconds. If the engine is idled for more than one minute, you not only waste fuel, but you may also pump nasty greenhouse gas emissions into the air. Engines of modern cars do not require the extensive length of time that older models needed to warm up.

5.     Don’t carry unnecessary weight: Each additional pound the engine has to move requires more fuel. Carrying heavy tools and supplies may weigh the car down more than you realize. Load them into your vehicle only on the days of their usage.

6.     Keep the windows up: Running the air conditioner does affect gas mileage, but increased air resistance from driving with the windows lowered hurts mileage more than the use of cooling air.

7.     Keep your car maintained: For better gas mileage, keep your vehicle in spectacular condition. Clean filters, good spark plugs, and correct tire pressure all attribute to your car’s gasoline usage.

Next time you hit the road, think about what is expending most of your gas. You might just save yourself some money!

Car Leasing: What’s That?

Car leasing is a notable term when looking for a car, but there is no simple equation for the components of the process. There are many different types of leases available, so it is important to recognize the differences and similarities between each option. Here are the few different types of car leases:.

Open-End Leases

An Open-End lease is not common. It is used primarily by businesses or those who travel extremely frequently. Consumers should expect:

  • Higher payments per month,
  • Payment for depreciation if the car is under market value
  • If the car does not depreciate, consumers may not need to pay additional fees
  • Quicker depreciation due to excessive wear or mileage
  • No mileage restrictions

Closed-End Leases

This is the most common lease that consumers go for. At the end of the lease, they can “walk away.” It entails the usual:

  • Good credit allows for the chance of lower monthly payments
  • Agreeing to the fixed number of years lease contract states
  • Keeping up with the required maintenance of the car
  • Staying within predetermined mileage
  • The car will be returned to the dealer at the end of the lease.

“Option to Buy” Lease

This leasing option, particularly for new car leases, gives you the option to purchase the car at the end of the lease. This is enticing for those looking to purchase vehicles in the future. Here are tips to utilize towards the end of this lease:

  • When going over pricing, prices may be easily negotiable. This price should be listed in the contract before signing. Note if the negotiated price is higher or lower than the car’s market value.
  •  At the end of the lease, consumers can either pay cash to buy the car or finance the buyout price
    1. If one decides to finance, they should be sure to negotiate interest rates.

Single-Payment Lease

Single-Payment leases heavily rely on cash.

  • You can pay the entire sum of the lease when you sign this lease. This helps get rid of monthly payments and can possibly help eliminate most of the monthly interests.
    1. Paying a large amount of money immediately can help consumers get a better deal on the purchase price.
  • Finance rates will be lower
  • The chances of getting approved for this lease is better
  • With this lease, all the costs will be presented upfront, in the contract, so that purchasers can see all the fees and other costs.

Subvented Lease

Subvented leases are unique. These are available because automakers are striving to get their inventory moving, and this is offered by finance companies associated with a specific manufacturer. With this lease:

  •  It may only be available to those with great to excellent credit
  • If individuals qualify, it can save them a lot of money
  • Interest rates are lower
  • Estimated depreciation is lower, which can lead to lower monthly payments.

If you come across any leasing questions, feel free to visit our Swapalease.com FAQ’s page for more information.

The Most Stolen Cars of 2019

In the United States, According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there is 1 auto theft every 6.5 minutes. If you live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that number is a lot higher. Motor vehicle theft connotes the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle. With auto theft remaining a prevalent issue in the United States for years, it is important to note which vehicles are most prone to theft and if you happen to be driving one of them.

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Full-size Ford Pickup
  4. Full-size Chevrolet Pickup
  5. Toyota Camry
  6. Nissan Altima
  7. Toyota Corolla
  8. Full-size GMC Pickup
  9. Full-size Dodge Pickup
  10. Jeep Cherokee

Notably, Ford Pickups have a reputation of easiness to break into. These trucks are highly wanted in the Black Market. Also, the Jeep Cherokee is the only SUV on the list, but it has been popular for decades for durability and longevity.

To help prevent auto theft, always be sure to care for your personal belongings and get in the habit of locking doors each time you exit the vehicle.  Auto-theft is unfortunately not on the decline, but hopefully, with care and effort, will be in the future.

Some other preventative measures you can take is to remove your keys from the vehicle when not in use, not leaving a spare key near your vehicle, closing the windows, parking in well lit areas, installing a tracking system and installing an audible alarm or anti-theft device.

Ford’s Contribution to Fighting COVID-19

In the middle of April, Ford and 3M announced an effort to manufacture PAPR, a form of protective equipment for individuals to be used by medical professionals. The collaboration was originally announced at the end of March.

The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health approved the work, and Ford and 3M officially started shipping their respiration equipment. Recently, Ford stated that it would take less than 40 days to produce and deliver gear. It is aiming to create more than 100,000 units.

PAPR stands for “powered air-purifying respirators.” It includes a face-shield and a hood to allow for maximum protection for health care workers. The device uses F-150’s fans, found in the vehicle’s seat cooling system, to supply air for up to eight hours. Ford is additionally producing reusable gowns, made from airbag equipment found in the vehicles. The company continues to produce transparent face shields.

David Claeys, president of two hospitals near Detroit relayed, “The need to protect our medical teams is heightened – Ford’s gown production could not come at a better time during this crisis. Our front line health care workers are working around the clock to treat COVID-19 patients and we need the necessary supplies to support them.”

The production was set to begin on May 6th, 2020. The production base is Ford’s Vreeland plant in Flat Rock, Michigan.

The Ford Director of Global Body Exterior and Interior Engineering, Marcy Fisher, said “By working collaboratively with 3M to quickly combine more than 100 years of Ford manufacturing and engineering expertise with personal protection equipment design and expertise, we’re getting much-needed technology into the hands of frontline medical workers to help when they need it most.”

Additionally, those interested in contributing to this effort may submit personal information at www.fordnewideas.com.

May’s Possible Reopening of the US Auto Industry

Auto-developments and major changes in auto technology have seemingly come to a halt in the past few months as workers and manufacturers struggle to balance safety and labor. However, recently, automakers have begun an upward trend toward reopening production. Developers are finding ways for temperature checks, gloves, and masks to attribute to a healthy work environment. Automakers aspire to support production while maintaining safety standards.

President of the United Auto Workers Local 862 in Kentucky, Todd Dunn, said “I think a lot of a lot of Americans are ready to get our country back on target,” he says. “But … we’ve got to be able to put in some levels of precaution that we didn’t have before.”

Much anxiety runs through processing plants, as when workers remain in such close quarters, a spread of coronavirus is likely. The largest reasons for a stall in auto production are Mexico and Detroit’s lockdowns. Mexico’s stay at home order is applicable until at least mid-May, and the Detroit auto industry claims it cannot reopen until Mexico does. This is because about 40% of the country’s auto parts that are imported come from Mexico.

Companies such as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors have halted production for months but may reopen by the end of May. This is dependent on the production of necessary parts from prime auto-part production centers like Mexico and Canada, in addition to the impending decisions of the United States on what to keep closed and what to open once again.

“We’re not going to just flip a switch and everything’s going to be back to normal,” Sean Suggs, the president of a Toyota Corolla building plant, says.

He continued, “There is no going back to the normal way. We simply can’t operate the way we operated before COVID-19.”

Companies like General Motors state ongoing communication with the federal government and note that a mass reopening will be probable only when the United States, Mexico, and other key components of production are capable of moving forward in a steady, health-conscious fashion. For now, the reopening has proved meticulous and slow.