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 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.


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.


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.


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.