Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Price of Scrap Metal

The price of scrap metal is the highest that it has been in years. This means that the demand for scrap metal is also high, as is competition for junk car buyers. Junk car removal companies have been forced to increase the price that they pay for junk cars. There is so much competition amongst junk car removal companies that some companies are offering so much money for junk cars so that they can eliminate competition, but because these companies are offering so much money for the junk cars, the companies themselves are making next to no profit for the vehicles.

Not only are junk car removal companies experiencing competition with other junk car removal companies, but they are also facing competition with fraudulent junk car buyers. Legally, junk car removal services are required to have a business license. However, there are junk car
buyers/towers out there who do not have a license and who continue to buy/tow junk vehicles. These people are not the only competitors.

There are yet other people who, rather than buying and selling vehicles whole to the junkyard, take car parts and sell them individually. Often, these people are crooks who go around and rob car parts off of vehicles and sell the individual parts to the junkyard. The plus side of selling parts individually is that you do not need paperwork to show ownership of the individual car part. (When a vehicle is being sold as whole, the title is required. If. However, the vehicle is at least 10 years old, the registration and copy of the registered owner’s license can be accepted.) So, people go around stealing parts like catalytic converters off of vehicles and bring them to a junkyard to receive some immediate cash.

During hurricane Sandy, junk car removal companies rounded up tens and hundreds of flooded vehicles and packed them into yards so as to round up as many vehicles as they could before other competitors bought the vehicles. Crooks were going around to these yards and stealing car parts to make quick cash. It goes to show you the extent certain people will go to make a quick dollar and that the scrap metal business is extremely competitive.

CES 2013 and Self-driven Vehicles

Each year, in January, the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is held in Las Vegas, Nevada to introduce and preview new electronic products. These electronics range from smart phones to televisions to vehicles.

In vehicles, Audi has introduced the A7, which not only drives itself but also parks by itself. Supposedly, you can exit your vehicle and it will go on its own, detect a parking spot, and parallel park itself. The vehicle, however, does not necessarily driving on its own, per se.

There are sensors that have to be put in place to guide the car to where it has to go. This means that the car cannot just drive in the public street.

When testing the self-driving and self-parking features, innovators took to parking garages, which had sensors set up at spaced locations to help guide the car. It is important to mention, too, that the vehicle motions at 5 mph, which can cause traffic and frustration to other driver’s (who actually have to drive) who are caught behind the Audi while trying to look for a parking spot in the same garage.

Audi is not the first to design a vehicle that parks itself; Lexus has a vehicle that has this function as well–as does Google. However, the state of Nevada has issued licenses for road-testing autonomous vehicles to only Audi and Google; Lexus has not been given this license.

Self-driven vehicles are a work in progress, so to speak. Automakers have a lot more work to do in order to guarantee safety issues. The self-driven vehicles, then, were not the highlight of the CES. Rather, Ford’s Developer Program seemed to get more attention.

Ford has a system called SYNC, which allows the driver to control the radio system and make hands-free calls via voice commands and text messages received can be read by the system’s vocalized computer, “Samantha.” With voice commands, drivers are able to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, allowing for that safer driving experience.

Ford SYNC also has AppLink, which allows cell phone applications to run on SYNC. In an attempt to come up with more applications, Ford has introduced the Ford Developer Program, which allows car makers, developers, and innovators to create apps for Ford SYNC. Ford itself is providing free technical support and testing for the apps.

SEMA Boosts Scholarship Funds

Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) is an automotive aftermarket trade group. This group produces performance and racing components, cosmetic and functional accessories, wheels and tires, mobile electronics, safety products, restoration parts, handling equipment, and drive train parts. SEMA offers educational and professional development as well as market research and industry publications for its employees. Furthermore, SEMA provides scholarships for students pursuing careers in the automotive industry.

The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund provides assistance for career paths in the automotive industry including: accounting, administration, advertising, design/graphics, engineering, manufacturing, race car driver/crew, photo/ journalism, sales/marketing, technicians, and transportation.

Scholarships for as much as $4,000 have previously been awarded to top college students following career paths in the automotive industry. In 2013, however, SEMA has raised the grant an extra $1,000, for a total of $5,000 to be granted to the top college student studying an automotive-related field. Other eligible students can be granted up to $3,000 this year–an amount that has also been boosted by $1,000.  A full-tuition scholarship, valued up to $29,400, will be granted to one student from Ohio Technical College

Receiving the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund is an award that can be listed on a resume, and if a student decides to work with a SEMA-affiliated company, SEMA offers a $1,000 loan for a financial boost, if needed.

To be eligible for the SEMA Memorial Scholarship, you must be a U.S. citizen enrolled in a full-time program of study at a university and have 25-50 college credits, depending on if you are enrolled in a 2-year or a 4-year college.  Furthermore, you must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5. High school seniors are not eligible to apply. You must be currently attending a post-secondary program.

The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund applications are now being accepted and can be filled out at: http://www.sema.org/scholarships