Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday Havoc


For the second strait year and on the one year anniversary of the night I spent stranded in the Philadelphia Airport, I found myself unable to fly across the country without running into complications.  Last year was a snow storm that saturated all of Philly and this year was a flood warning surrounding Washington D.C.  The result is not a story, but a lesson.  That lesson is simple; don't travel the day after the day after Christmas.

Now I know what you are all thinking, two chances of misfortune tumbled on top of one another, but here me out because at very least, I avoided the frustration and inconvenience of last years mishaps.  Last year, I flew from Buffalo to Philly and was set to fly from Philly to Las Vegas.  I arrived at the airport in Buffalo over an hour early, was at the gate with 50 minutes to spare (I'm always early).  Two hours later, our plane was delayed four times and the airline representative (for which airline I will not mention) was "optimistic" that if I got on the plane and flew to  Philadelphia, I would most certainly get on my connector.  I believed her, as any normal person would trust a stranger in official airlines attire and got on-board.  I didn't really have an alternative, I drove into Buffalo and my only ride was an hour and four inches of snowfall away.

When I got to Philly, my flight was delayed only twenty minutes.  Perfect for me, because I arrived at the gate just in time to board.  Only we didn't board.  The flight was delayed again.  Then thirty minutes later, delayed again.  When I asked the employee working the desk, he first told me the plane hadn't arrived.  Then the plane arrived, but because it arrived so late, they had to wait.  Then because they had to wait, the crew, who were all on the clock while waiting, had gone over their maximum work hours for the day and some couldn't legally work anymore according to FAA regulations.  The reason I bring this up is because our flight, after two and a half hours of waiting, was cancelled and it was all because we were short one airline attendant who was there, but was over the legal hours limit.  By that time it was past midnight and a plane-full of angry, tired travelers were forced to find new ways home.

We waited in the customer service line for another hour and a half before they closed for the night and left the back-end of the line with no place to stay or no way of getting out in the morning.  Most of us were told we wouldn't be able to fly out for another three or four days since the flight schedules were all overbooked.  Luckily for me, I had worked the phone while in line and had scheduled me a flight out in the afternoon with the airline.  Later that morning, I jumped in line when the customer service opened back up (which was only closed for two hours!) and being very polite, where everyone else in line was exhausted, frustrated and bitter, was able to finagle an early morning flight out to LA and a quick connect over to Vegas.  All first class with no additional fee and I was home that afternoon.

This year, was different.  I recognized the problem, analyzed it with my android phone and keen ability to listen to other people's conversations to figure out what the real story was when my flight was delayed three time in less than an hour.  I knew when the airline representative explained that we would land and I would only have ten minutes to get a shuttle to the other end of the airport to make last call for my flight to Vegas, she didn't know what she was saying.  I had heard it before and I listened to her tell other passengers the same thing she had said to me forty minutes earlier about the plane fully boarded and pushed back from the gate, but didn't take off yet.  I knew the signs, I recognized the potential for spending the anniversary of my worst travelling experience (which trumps my regurgitating road trip from New York to Florida) the same way and made the moves I had to to get me off that flight and onto the next possible option.

I arrived in Las Vegas yesterday evening after flying for around six hours on two flights and a four hour layover...in Philly.  My morning flights, as they often do, went off perfectly and as long as I was in the air before 1 pm, I knew I would be safe.  By now, you're probably wondering what the moral of this tale is.  It's more of a venting rant than anything, but there is some valuable lessons to take away.  Most people don't have the heart or social brutality to get in airline employee's faces and ask for an honest answer to their questions(a lot do, though).  They are people too and it is not their fault planes don't arrive on time or crew members blow past their daily hour allowance, but the least they could do is be strait about it instead of blowing you off for three hours then telling you you're flight is cancelled.  That is why you have to be smart when you fly, especially during the holidays.  

Recognize when you will be stranded and find a solution.  No matter what, those same people who tell you you should be fine will also help keep you happy by finding you a new route.  If you have a family with you, the last thing you want is to have your kids sleeping with an aluminum looking space blanket on a bench at gate A23 while you burn your cellphone battery on hold, waiting for some voice on the other end to find you four tickets with two connectors four days from then to get to your destination.  I was lucky, I was one person with no checked bags or problem adapting.  I guess, this story is more of something to learn from than anything else.  I hope it helped.

Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors Writer

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Top Ten : Famous Ships from Hollywood Part I


There is something to be said about a good aquatic voyage.  A man can learn a lot about who he is during such a journey.  The sailor life, the seven seas, a simple case of nautical nuance.  That is what boating is really about.  The freedom to be one with nature and to do so surrounded by boundless blue.  Hollywood has a sweet spot for such visual aesthetics.  The camera crashing in on a sweeping overhead angle as a hard wood pirate ship plows through a wake of water.  We all have our favorite films about the open ocean and in each of these films, there is one key character that never says a word.  The ship.  In honor of these inanimate watercraft vessels, we've picked our favorite ten ships throughout the history of cinema.

Here is our pick for 10-6:

10. The Belafonte; Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

We know many of you will not know this beat up, past-her-prime boat, but The Belafonte was the pride and joy of Bill Murray's manic, sometimes stoned Captain Steve Zissou in Wes Anderson's Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.  The reason we ranked this vessel over such other selections as that ship from Perfect Storm (Andrea Gail) is because of it's imperfection and how that played on the tone of the film.  Here is a ship that should have been retired for a decade, where the power constantly shorted out and all the equipment was thirty years out dated, but still kept cutting through the waves.  It was an extension of it's Captain, who has found himself in a rut emotionally and over-the-hill professionally.  As disheveled and archaic as Murray was, The Belafonte was his mirror image.  Let's not forget the crazy eyed shootout between Captain Zissou and his infinitely loaded pistol and a boat of Filipino pirates with AKs and machetes.  The Belafonte is a darling vessel with a crew of misfit all wearing matching red knitted caps and powder blue short shorts. It's our choice for number 10.

9.  The Poseidon; Poseidon Adventure

We want to forget Kurt Russel's remake of the Gene Hackman classic, The Poseidon Adventure, because frankly it was an unnecessary reinterpretation for the age of smash mouth cinema (big budgets and short worded scripts).  Instead, let's focus on the 1972 version.  How could we not see what was bound to happen with the SS Poseidon, an old cruise liner on it's last voyage before retiring forever in a scrapyard?  The film worked well as an inspiration for James Cameron's Titanic while boasting an amazing cast during the golden age of the 70's.  It's The Towering Inferno in the middle of the ocean and it added new meaning to the phrase, "abandon ship."  The thing that stuck was how the characters came from different walks, brought together by their trip to New York City, but forced to rely on one another to survive.  Plus, the SS Poseidon has one of the most killer names a ship could possibly have (God of the Sea, anyone?).

8.  The Red October; The Hunt For Red October 

The Hunt For Red October was an extremely red movie to say the least.  Most will remember the movie as the first film to portray the famous Jack Ryan character from the Tom Clancy novels.  With Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery at the helm, Red October was a fantastic film with a strong plot.  The Red October, an undetectable submarine captained by James Bond himself, made for an amazingly suspenseful film.  No one really knew what was going to happen (that didn't read the novel) and that made it one of the best novel to film adaptions ever.  Red October is our number 8.

7.  Nautilus; 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Red October may be the quietest submarine under the surface of the sea, but only one sub has the cajones to battle a giant killer squid.  That's the Nautilus and it is our pick for number 7.  The most advanced piece of underwater equipment ever made, the Nautilus was home to one of the most decisive and famed captains of all time; Captain Nemo.  Jules Verne never wrote a more complex character.  Nemo was stern and composed on the outside, but filled with a vengeful fury within.  While Captain Nemo has been portrayed in several adaptions and films, the original 1954 Disney film was the first true fantasy film in our book.  It had the right amount of colors and excitement, mixed in with great acting from Kurt Douglas and James Mason.  It also is the primary source for a strange phenomenon known as Steampunk (steam based sub-genre of sci-fi).  The Nautilus has stood as one of the defining ships in cinema for almost sixty years.

6.  Orca; Jaws

When people think about the ocean, they often associate it with sharks.  When people think of sharks, they think about one shark that had a taste for human blood...Jaws!  Jaws, the 1975 blockbuster hit directed by the ever eternal Steven Spielberg, changed a great many things.  It changed how a thriller film represented itself (with building tension, false alarms and close calls), but more than that, it changed how we looked at sharks forever.  What was so great about Jaws, besides the direction and the amazing acting from Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider, is how aware and unsuspecting Jaws was.  One minute you could be splashing about treading water and the next, you're swallowing screams underwater while the mad killer shark sucks you down into the depths and gobbles you up.  In that film, The Orca was Robert Shaw's small fishing boat that they used to face-off against Jaws when the time came.  We love the screen time this boat got, because every scene with it was either a humanized conversation that carried weight or a carnivorous battle between man and toothy beast.  When the three heroes salted the water around the Orca with chum and they watched as Jaws' fin circled around them, it was truly heart arresting.  Of course, Jaws had to ruin everything by flopping onto the deck and sinking The Orca, but no one could deny the sick enjoyment that came as Brody tossed the scuba tank into Jaws' mouth and blew him to bits with a keen shot from a rifle.  The Orca is easily our number 6.

That's it for now.  Check in with us later this week when we will bring you the top five!

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

Monday, December 19, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011 : Saab files for bankruptcy

As inevitable as it always was, Saab Automobile finally filed for bankruptcy this morning in Swedish courts.  The car manufacturer was under debt protection for several months while it attempted to re-align it's stars and scrambled to find funding to stay alive.  They failed, due to a combination of things, and were forced to file bankruptcy as a result.

For those keeping score at home, Saab has been in trouble since they closed their manufacturing plant in April of this year.  They were out of money to pay parts providers and wages to their 3,000 plus employees.  They had plans in place to pay off these wages and developed a restructuring process that included finding foreign investors interested in purchasing the company, but missed deadlines, vetoed proposals and general disjointed communications has lead Saab to finally throw in the towel.

As it was reported in the Chicago Tribune this morning, Saab's CEO Victor Mueller announced that he handed in the submission of bankruptcy himself.  Since Saab's deal to be bought by Chinese automotive company, Zhejiang Youngman was thwarted several times by General Motors, Saab lost the potential option for a buy-out as Youngman has to pull out of the deal.  The reason GM, who still have priority votes in regards to any business deal Saab would want to make, denied the sale has to do with their concern that the technology they provide Saab with currently would be used against them by their Chinese competitors in the Asian market.  Since GM didn't see a way that the sale of Saab would benefit them, and rightly so, they couldn't allow the deal to go through.  It's not clear if Saab every truly understood this, because they proposed several deals in the past month, but none of them really addressed GM's concerns.  With the veto in place, the investors had to give up.

Mueller is reportedly placing blame on Saab's recently resigned reconstruction administrator, Guy Lofalk, for misrepresenting to the Chinese investors how much of the company could be sold to them.  He claims Lofalk implied the Chinese could do a complete buy-out, which was never going to be approved by GM.  It's hard to say if this is true or not, seeing as Lofalk asked last week to be removed as the administrator on their restructuring because he didn't see a way out for Saab.  On the outside, at least, it looks as if Lofalk recognized the severe disconnect between what Saab thought they should get and what their realistic value was.  He also petitioned the courts to end the creditor protection for Saab, siding that they had no legit plan to restructure properly.

Though we may never be able to verify the truth, it seems that Mueller and his board may be the real people responsible for Saab's constant misfortune and eventual destruction.  He was the one who turned down Chinese investors several times because he was afraid of losing Saab's identity to outside companies.  It was only after they had missed the deadline to present a course of restructuring to courts that Saab caved in and announced they would sell off their shares to the Chinese.  Then, when GM stepped in and stated their position, Saab did nothing until they ran past the deadline to pay owed wages, in which they resubmitted a deal that would only give up 60% of the company to the Chinese.  GM rejected that as well and here we are.

It is sad to think that the 3,000 employees of Saab, who have been on the edge, waiting for some good news, had to wait until the week of Christmas to learn they're company would probably be chopped up and sold in pieces.  When a company is so mismanaged the way Saab was, it's hard not to realize where this was heading.  Mueller's company, Spyker Manufacturing, purchased Saab from GM almost two years ago with the promise to turn the company around in five years.  A year and a half later, they ran out of money.  Even from the start, many analysts saw a flaw in Mueller's optimistic plan.  The fact that sticks out the most is how Saab sold a company record 133,000 vehicles in 2006.  Three years later in 2009, they reported sold only 27,000 vehicles.  As plain as day, we can see how such a steep and brutal drop in sales would kill any resemblance of a profit margin.

Today, Saab files for bankruptcy, but the story doesn't end there.  The courts need to figure out how best to sell off their assets in order to pay debts.  If they can find a buyer who will take the entire company as a whole, this may salvage the jobs of many employees.  For now, however, nothing is certain except that Mueller and company will be out and someone else could be in.

Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors Writer

( Source : Chicago Tribune )

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011 : $5 million; World's Cheapest Bailout

It's silly, but Swedish automotive manufacturer, Saab just won't die.  For months now, the world has watched the spectacle surrounding Saab as they desperately sought new investors, then denied them, then approved a buy-out, then GM denied them and so on in that fashion.  Well, last week it was made clear to Saab that the Swedish courts would judge them by Friday.  They had no money, their last submitted proposal for Chinese investors was rejected by GM again and they owed millions of dollars worth of wages to their employees.  Today, however, Saab received a $5 million investment from Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile, one of two proposed Chinese investors.

This move was to solve Saab's immediate tax issue and according to an article on Reuters.com, Youngman is set to give Saab another 20 million euros by tomorrow.  That money will go to paying the owed salaries of Saab's several thousand employees.  With that out of the way, Saab will be better positioned to face the courts come Friday.  Still, Saab was almost entirely out of funds yesterday, so it's hard to see how $5 million will make a difference.  That is why, Yougman is reported to be handing over another 10 million euros by the end of December.  That could, theoretically, keep them afloat until they can get GM to approve Youngman's acquisition of Saab.  The reason GM continues to reject this deal is because they feel it would hurt them in the Asian market and replace them the primary parts and technology provider for Saab.

It is fun to see how Saab continues to stay alive while constantly hanging in that place of business limbo.  For those Saab is in debt to, the same cannot be said.  Saab has failed to pay off their debts for some time now, shielded by court order creditor protection.  That could end by this week, which would leave Saab circled by all it's creditors with nowhere to hide.  It seems, however, that Youngman Lotus has taken a keen interest in Saab and would likely prevent that from happening while taking hold of the company reins.  We'd be lying if we said we weren't engaged in where this story will eventually end up.

Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors Writer

( Source : Reuters.com )

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do electronics really interfere with airplanes?

With recent news surrounding the online petition to ban the FAA's sky law prohibiting the use of electronics during take-off and more entertaining gossip regarding Alec Baldwin's recent run in with American Airlines, the truth of electronics on an airplane have been called into question.  Namely, does your cellphone or ipad or laptop really put you at risk when being used on a flight?  Lucky for us, NBC's Today Show fielded the question willingly.  What they found might surprise you.

According to the Today report, when asking if the signal of your cellphone or electronic devise interferes with the navigational system of an airplane, the short answer is no.  Simply put, the navigational system is not in question, but rather, the radio is the thing being interfered with.  Today revealed that the electronic displays of a phone, not the GPS or cellular signal is what interferes with plane radios during a flight.  Since the radio is used for specific instructions, especially during take off and landing, this could be a potentially dangerous thing.  However, one cell phone is not going to bring an airplane spiraling and dropping out of the sky.  In fact, there has been no proven evidence that a plane crash has resulted from the use of electronic device, according to Today.  We would think it highly unlikely that technology as conflicted with an everyday item as an ipod or blackberry would be used in something that soars several thousand feet above the surface of the Earth.

What does this mean?  Well, the FAA looks at it in terms of hypothetical.  While a single electronic device, placed in the right area, will interfere with the radio to a mild level, how much interference would a plane full of these devices do?  Given that a passenger might have one to five devices with them on any given flight, the FAA's rules are in place to prevent the overloading of a minimal interference.  Today reported that while not proven, the FAA believes one airplane crash was caused by a pilot's cell phone interfering with the radio from the cockpit.  Again, this was never proven, but if it was true, wouldn't it make sense to prevent the use of such a device when there are theoretically hundreds of these little techs available in the cabin.  Of course, if they allowed the use of electronics during the crucial parts of a flight (the ascent and descent) people would be rifling away with rabid fingers to keep themselves busy or prevent boredom, or maybe like Alec Baldwin, they will be engaged in a vicious verbal campaign that needs a victor.

If it is known that an issue does occur between the radio system and electronic devices, then how does one lobby against the FAA rule banning the use of electronics while below the 10,000 feet height?  As we learned last week, the online petition to remove this ban has been going strong.  The players behind the movement, recognize that the correlation between the myths and the math are far between anything consistent to keep them from stowing their electronics.  At least according to Today, this is only partly accurate.  For now, rules are rules and whether Alec Baldwin like it or not, we have to power down our devices.

If you'd like to see the video, it's available here:  Can our electronics interfere with flights?

Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors Writer


Friday, December 9, 2011

The Spot Delivery Scam

The Spot Delivery Scam

Who's involved? - New and Used Dealerships

What is it? - The Spot Delivery Scam is a clever bait and switch style tactic involving either used or new dealers.  The idea is for a preliminary deal between you and the dealer to be put into motion based on "on the spot approval" regarding your financing.  The way it works is that they entice you to take the vehicle home with you based on the idea that the deal is done, it only needs to be processed the next day.  Why they do this is to tie you to the car.  By taking in home, you are considerably less likely to renege on your agreement, even after the original arrangement has been altered by the dealer.  Even if you do want to kill the deal, you'll be roped into legal trouble because the car is in your possession and has been driven by you.

It works in a number of ways.  They will talk you into a sale, or comfort you into trusting them, but before you can get the financing or before a finalized deal can be in place, they will attempt to get you to sign incomplete or blank documents, promising to have their financial consultant handle the paper work first thing the following morning.  The dealer will wait you out a few days, dulling your awareness to the switch and then call claiming the initial deal could not be reached.  Now you're liable for a larger down payment or a higher monthly rate and can do very little to simply return the car and walk away.  After all, you've driven the product and made it used in the process.

How to avoid? - Avoiding this type of fraud tactic is easy; never, ever sign anything until financing has been officially approved.  Also, never drive a car off the lot unless all the documents are in order.  Dealers can't pull off the switch if you haven't taken the product off the lot.  If they say something about how they're financing firm or department is closed, that should be a tip-off to get up and come back in the morning.  It's easier to wait until a deal is in order and approved than to pay more later.  Still, we suggest being pre-approved for financing from a trusted source before you ever enter a dealership.  If the dealership can beat your pre-approved arrangement, then you can consider switching over.

Terms & Trigger words to avoid? - "Right of recession"; this is a term taken from a contract that if you sign, you agree to allow the dealer to change the conditions of the contract without consulting you.  You should never sign something with these words in it.  EVER!

Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors Writer

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011 : The Last Stop

News spread last week of Saab's failure to meet the deadlines to pay back wages to their workforce.  The Swedish automotive manufacturer had buyers in-line to purchase controlling interest (and then some), but were vetoed by General Motors due to the deal hurting the future business structure of GM.  Like they have for the past several months, Saab procrastinated past the point of no return and in an effort to show Swedish courts and labor unions they were trying, Saab had arranged a deal with their proposed Chinese investor, Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile and an unnamed Chinese Bank to find instant funding and strike a deal that might appease everyone.  Today, it was reported that GM has once again, denied Saab of any signs of life.

In an article on Autocar.co.uk, GM's position on Saab's "new" offer was made perfectly clear.  The spokesman of GM was quoted in the article as saying, "we have reviewed Saab's proposed changes regarding the sale of the company.  Nothing in the proposal changes GM's position.  We are unable to support the transaction."  Although the details of the deal are undisclosed, it seems apparent that Saab really hasn't listened to GM's position on the matter.  The American company is concerned with competition in Asia as well as the lose of a significant portion of income through parts and services that GM provides to Saab currently.  Selling the company to Chinese based companies, regardless of who it is, has GM concerned about the matter.

At this point in this drudging courtroom dance, it is hard to be subjective or even apathetic for the shot callers of Saab.  The owners, Swedish Automobile, purchased the manufacturer from GM less than two years ago and has driven the company into ruins in a spectacular implosion of empty promises and failed tactics.  Granted, GM is partially responsible, but if these last months revealed anything about the way Saab is being run, it's that Saab is not being run well at all.  Failure to meet any deadlines thus far, it is a huge surprise that the Swedish courts, who are the only thing keeping Saab from being gutted by their debtors, has kept them alive so long.  Let's not forget, they continually refused the advances from the Chinese investors only until it was far past their deadline to present to their restructure solution to the court.  After that, they had to submit and accept a total buyout from Youngman and Pang Da Automobile.  It's this kind of absurd high mindedness that has lead them down this spiraling sink hole of a situation.

The bottom line is that Saab is out of options and on December 15th, they will have to explain themselves for the very last time to the courts who are protecting them.  Guy Lofalk, the administrator appointed by the courts to manage Saab's reorganization process, has already filed the motion to kill Saab's court protection from creditors.  Saab, however, will attempt to make a case and ask for a new administrator be put in Lofalk's place.  With the Chinese deal being blocked by GM and a slew of owed invoices and wages in their way, how could the courts see it sensible to side with Saab?  By next week, we'll know, but until then, Saab remains alive, grasping to whatever short straws are left in the hand of fate.

Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors Writer

( Source : Autocar.co.uk )

Monday, December 5, 2011

Luxury car pile-up in Japan


What started as a luxury car joyride amongst automotive enthusiasts ended in an expensive 14 car pileup on a Japanese freeway over the weekend.   ABC News reported this morning on the accident as perhaps the most expensive crash in the world, estimated at $3 million (although the police have not issued the actual estimate).

 The accident included three Mercedes-Benz, a Lamborghini and a staggering eight Ferraris.  The driver responsible for the costly crash was one of the Ferraris drivers, who decided to accelerate past the pack in an attempt to take over the lead sled position.  This led to the Ferraris hitting a median and losing control.  The car came back across and hi the adjacent luxury cars in the pack.  After that, it was bump, grind and collide as the expensive rides each either lost control or attempted to avoid the building collision.  At the time, the cars were reportedly travelling at around 140 KPH or 90 MPH.

The crash shut down the Chugoku Expressway for a reported six hour stretch as cleanup crews and police worked to remove debris from the vehicles.  Nobody involved in the accident was seriously injured; however 10 people were treated for cuts and bruises at a local hospital.  The same cannot be said for the egos and wallets of those involved in the incident.

Tyler Baker; One Stop Motors Writer

( Source : ABC News )

Follow us on Twitter @OneStopMotors and read more of our articles at the OSM Resource Center!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011 : The Hail Mary

On Monday it was reported that the troubled Saab was under the gun to at least begin the process of paying back owed wages to their over 4000 employees.  Failure to do so could have resulted in an entire breakdown of their proposed buyout from Chinese investors as well as their creditors protection that was in place to keep them restructuring.  Well, there has been no word out saying that Saab has paid anyone.  Instead, the NASDAQ.com reported that Saab has offered a new proposal for ownership of their company.

There was a deal made late in October between Chinese investors and Saab that would see Saab lifted back into business but turn over the company to Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automotive Co.  This did not go over well with General Motors, who even after selling the Swedish based manufacturer last year, provides Saab with a number of parts and technologies.  The saw this deal as a hit to their own production as well as feeding into their Asian market competition.  Since GM still has voting privileges against any deal that Saab might make to sell themselves, GM voiced their veto publicly.  They would not approve of the hand-off as long as their interest was being hindered.  Since then, Saab's deadlines for their tentative deal with the Chinese and to pay owed wages have both come and gone.  Now, however, Saab has a new idea.

In the article this morning, Saab has apparently proposed a new arrangement that would downgrade China's control over the company's stock.  To appease GM directly, Saab offered an arrangement that would give the two Chinese automotive corporations 40% less stake in Saab.  They would instead buy up all the remaining stock in Saab which stands at a cool 60%.  They would still have controlling interest, but both Pang Da and Youngman would get 20% appease less in total stock.  The article reports that is seems unlikely that GM will agree to anything that hands the Swedish company over to the Chinese.

For those who have been following the story for months now, you can probably read into the desperation Saab seems to be under.  While it could be argued that Swedish Automobile, the company that bought Saab from GM last year, has done everything in their power to redeem a dying star, it actually appears as if they keep holding out for something to be given to them.  Why else would they wait over two weeks to respond to GM's denial of their China deal?  Why wait until after your deadlines have passed to try and strike a deal?  This is an unknown and while the company hangs between life and death, one can't help but feel like they simply don't know how to handle the situation.  After all, two months ago they turned down the Chinese offer to buy them out because they didn't want to lose the Saab name.  A month after that, they were against the wall and had no choice but to accept a buyout.  Once more, here they are, procrastinating and postponing their demise.  That is, for now.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer.

( Source : NASDAQ.com)

Follow us on Twitter @OneStopMotors and visit the One Stop Motors Resource Center!

Monday, November 28, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011 : Crunch Time

Since signing a tentative agreement with Chinese investors to help restructure and ultimately resurrect the zombified, never-say-dead automotive manufacturer, Saab has been quiet.  Even after General Motors announced they would not support Saab with supplies if the takeover was ratified, Saab remained quiet.  When the deadline on their agreement with Youngman and Pang Da expired, Saab remained quiet.  After all the silence and the shadowed games of musical chairs, the car company may not be able to be mute much longer.  It was reported by Just-Auto.com today that Saab has a deadline to pay owed salaries and the deadline is tomorrow.

According to the article, the due date for wage settlements for white collar union employees and management is tomorrow (29th).  The owed wages for IF Metall, the blue collar union, was due last Friday.  Saab has not paid into any of them thus far.  While this makes sense, seeing as Saab is currently penniless, they have claimed that the Chinese investors were supposed to pay salaries by today.  Even still, IF Metall will meet at Saab Headquarters in Trollhattan this afternoon.

The more pressing concern for Saab is that failure to at least show the signs that they are in the process of paying their 4000+ work force. Failure to at least have money in the bank account designated for paying the wages could lead to an even bigger delemma.  According to IF Metall legal advisor Darko Davidovic, "if they don't have the money for salaries, they don't have the money for anything."  Apparently, the courts may see it that way as well.  If no money is moved or paid out in the next two to three days, the issue could leave the labor union bodies' hands and carry over to the administrator of Saab's bankruptcy protection.  This means that that Guy Lofalk, the administrator in question, could file to have Saab's court approved reconstruction status lifted.  This move would leave Saab unprotected against a slew of rabid creditors and employees all looking to get the money they were entitled to months ago.

With the due date for the white collar union and management salaries due tomorrow, it will be interesting to see if Saab or the Chinese will come through with the cash.  With the pressure on and the potential breakdown of everything looming on the backburner, we can only play the waiting game on this Saab circus.  Check in with us later in the week to learn more as it develops.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

( Source : Just-Auto.com )

Follow us on Twitter @OneStopMotors and visit the One Stop Motors Resource Center!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tony Stewart takes the NASCAR Championship the hard way

Last night, in what most are calling the greatest finale to NASCAR's Sprint Cup chase of all time, Tony Stewart beat out Carl Edwards both on the track and in the standings to win his third championship.  The truly amazing part is that Stewart and Edwards finished the Ford 400 in first and second (Steward in front of course) and tied in the Sprint Cup Standings.  That is something that until yesterday, had never happened in NASCAR history before.  Unfortunately for Edwards, there had to be a winner and Stewart had the tie breaker on lock.  Having won five of the last ten races of the year and three of the last four, Stewart easily edged Edwards who has only won once this year.

It is an outstanding feat for Tony Stewart to come out on top after starting the year with spectacular disappointment.  He was losing and his team was under-performing on every cylinder.  According to an article on ESPN.com, Stewart was quoted as saying, "If we're going to run this bad it really doesn't matter whether we make the Chase or not."  After that, it seems everything turned for the Stewart-Haas Racing team.  Stewart came storming back into the standings, snagged a spot in The Chase (NASCAR's version of playoffs) and the rest is history.  Now he sits atop the pack, holding the Sprint Cup as evidence of his legendary run.

After the race, Carl Edwards congratulated Stewart for his victory on the track and in The Chase.  To think, Stewart started the race at 15 and at one point was running all the way back at 40 for a time.  Being the skilled driver that he is and the tough competitor he will always be, Stewart managed to weave his way through the pack and into the number two spot behind Edwards, where the two battled for the final 36 laps of the race.  Even though Edwards had led the most laps of the race (119 of 267), Stewart shot past him, going low on a turn and help Edwards off to take the checkered flag.

For those who thought NASCAR has had trouble adjusting to new car styles and teamwork dynamics, the Ford 400 will go down as sacred ground in motorized racing history.  One thing is for sure, NASCAR is far from dead.  Same can be said about Tony Stewart, who is 40 as of this year.  The bad news is the season is over and we'll have to wait till next year's Sprint Cup to see this new age of racing continue.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

( Source : ESPN )

Follow us on Twitter @OneStopMotors or visit us at www.OneStopMotors.com!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chrysler pitches in $1.7 billion to replace Jeep Liberty

It was reported in an article by Autoblog.com today that Chrysler has announced it will invest $1.7 billion in the development of a new vehicle to replace the Jeep Liberty.  According to the article, $500 million will go to an expansion of the Ohio based Toledo Assembly Complex which produces the Jeep Liberty and the Dodge Nitro.  Included with this will be the creation of over 1,100 new jobs by 2013.

First introduced in 2002, the Jeep Liberty has been a constant performer for the Jeep name, despite lackluster reviews on it's safety performance.  Last year Chrysler reported that they sold nearly 50,000 Liberty vehicles.  While this may not be as staggering a number as the 170,000 plus Toyota RAV4's sold or Chevrolet's Equinox which just missed 150,000 sold, it is a decent number.  Chrysler apparently believes that a replacement model, more geared towards a mixture of it's competitors and it's parent company, Fiat, will help re-establish the Jeep brand and raise sales.  For now, Jeep Liberty will be on the market until it gets benched forever.

Tyler Baker, OSM Writer

( Source : Auto Blog )

Visit us at www.OneStopMotors.com!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mitsubishi lose two as U.S. execs resign

It was reported this morning by Left Lane News.com that two U.S. executives from Mitsubishi Motors will step down from their exalted board room seats.  According to the article, the company's North American vice president of marketing and product strategy, Gregory Adams and Mike Krebs, the vice president of corporate planning and incentives have both stepped down from their positions as of October 31st.  Mitsubishi has stated that they have no immediate plans to fill the recent vacancies, but assure consumers that business will continue at the same quality as it always has.

It was also reported that Mitsubishi is seeing a 51% increase in U.S. sales this year, but that they have been struggling to maintain sales at a significant volume.  They have already pulled certain models from the North American market, one of which happens to be the Eclipse sports car.  While they appear to be withdrawing their enthusiasm from American markets, it seems apparent that they Mitsubishi will put their focus on electric and more proven models.  Whether this news is an omen for a new future for the company, one can't help but consider this anything more than trimming the corporate fat and scaling back salaries on what appears, in title only, as two unnecessary positions.  Who knows, maybe this will spark other companies with bloated salaries to consider taking from the top instead of cleaning out capital at the bottom.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

( Source : Left Lane New )

Visit us at www.OneStopMotors.com!

Monday, November 7, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011 : GM questions China deal

11/07/11 - The developing deal between Swedish Automobile and Chinese investors, a deal that would resurrect Saab from its current financial coffin, may be dead on arrival. According to an article on Reuters.com this morning, GM is considering killing the deal that would send Saab over to Chinese automotive companies Youngman and Pang Da. The deal, worth 100 euro million, has until November 15th to be accepted by a slew of invested parties. One of these is General Motors, who as the former owner of Saab, still holds some preferred shares in the Swedish company. The company has been reported as being indifferent to the state of Saab, but rather concerned with their own role in this changing of chairmen.

It was reported late Friday that GM would deny the option for Chinese investors to take control of Saab if it meant that it would affect their interest in China and beyond. The reason being, is that GM still provides several components and services to Saab Automobile and if the deal went through, the American auto manufacturer could be replaced by a Chinese counterpart. That would hurt GM where it matters to them most; their wallets. Anticipating this, GM has made it clear Friday, they would consider turning down the sale.

This morning, Kevin Wale, president and managing director for GM's China operation, reiterated GM's statement to Reuters in a phone interview. He was quoted as saying, "It doesn't make sense for us to support any change that might adversely affect us. We use global architectures and those global architectures are used in a number of products we make at SGM." SGM or Shanghai GM is GM's Chinese branch that the company has worked furiously to build up over the past few years.

While it makes fiscal sense to be worried about the deal, rejecting the sale could very much end Saab all together. In that case, GM would lose that aspect of their production either way. Still, this could be a tactic implemented by GM to strike a side deal with Pang Da and Youngman Lotus. By voicing their concerns publicly, GM may be greasing their wheels in a way that could get a contract in place between the Chinese investors and GM to continue their service to the Saab name.

This move is not that different than what Saab's current owner, Swedish Automobile had done two weeks prior to the deal. Feeling vulnerable by the Chinese insistence to buy out control of Saab, Swedish Automobile announced they would end the agreement between them and the Chinese. As we all know, that lasted for about three days, until Saab announced the deal would send Saab to China in exchanged for a fair price on the bankrupt manufacturer.

For now, GM is firm in their position. Whether this will stay as is, will be revealed no later than the 15th of the month, when the deadline to make the sale is set to expire. One thing is for sure, however. Saab's future is still up in the air.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

( Source - Reuters.com )

As always, we encourage you to visit us at www.OneStopMotors.com!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011 : The Journey East

11/01/11 – Welcome to another update of One Stop Motors continued coverage on Saab Automotive’s developing story.  Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for SAAB WATCH2011!  The East Coast is currently being blanketed in a snowy blizzard, but it appears as though on the Eastern Hemisphere, it’s raining money.  Reported today on Bloomberg.com, the Chinese investors who have arranged a deal to purchase the Saab brand from owner, Swedish Automobile NA, have gotten the blessing from Swedish courts to keep Saab protected from creditors.  This will allow them to restructure, redistribute and realign as they start to resemble an actual company for the first time in a long time.  Of course, this has everything to do with Chinese companies, Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile, who are set to invest $844 million (610 million euros) into the Swedish car manufacturer over the next several years.   This pledge, according to Bloomberg.com, has satisfied courts and coaxed them into extending the companies protection.
In an immediate move, Pang Da and Youngman will be providing a bridge loan of 50 million euros to keep the company afloat while it reorganizes.  Unfortunately, this is only the good news.  The bad news comes to 500 to-be-determined Saab employees who will lose their jobs over budget cuts.  Saab’s current Chairman, Victor Muller, was reported saying, “But we have a lot of work ahead to even get the investment approved, and Saab has suffered tremendous damage to its brand and supplier base that must be overcome.”  His optimistic words at least somewhat implies Muller may not be in that wave of 500 who lose their jobs.  Still one thing is certain, nothing is really certain.  Saab is stuck waiting on the investment from the Chinese to be approved by the appropriate channels.  Until then, there is still a looming potential for a breakdown in business.
The Chinese have also outlined a plan that would use their $844 million to make Saab profitable by 2014.  According to Bloomberg.com, Saab’s new plan hinges on their expectation to sell 35,000 to 55,000 cars next year.  By 2014, they expect to sell 130,000 to 150,000 cars.  This may be a gross overestimate seeing as Saab hasn’t sold over the 100,000 mark since 2007 (then owned by GM).  Last year they only sold 32,048 and the year before that, 20,905.  2011 wasn’t that great of a year either, with the assembly line shut downs and the bankruptcy spectacular.  Having damaged their relationship with everyone but the Chinese (which they almost ruined last week), it will be interesting to see how Saab fares in the next year or two.  Until then, they are alive; leaner and meaner, but alive.
Tyler Baker; OSM Writer
( Source : Bloomberg.com )
Visit us at www.OneStopMotors.com!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ford attempts to resurrect the 60′s, brings back Mustang

As we all know, there is nothing quite like the Ford Mustang.  It’s a fuel injected mechanized manifesto that stands testament to the history of America’s awesomeness.  When the world calls into question our swagger, we need only to point to the harnessed high end horsepower stallion developed by Ford Motors back in 1964.  The Mustang is the beast of the western automotive world and it is so because it has proven time and time again to uphold the justifiable gaudy nature of our American taste.  It’s stylized, it’s loud and above all, it’s fast.  Currently, the Ford Mustang is in it’s fifth generation redesign since the first model of the car back in 1964.  While she may look, sound and act different, she has continued to rein as the coveted sweetheart of good old fashion car crazy Americans.  Recognizing this, Ford Motors has recently announced they will be reproducing the original first generation model of the 1965 Mustang.  Well, sort of anyway.
According to an article in Yahoo Autos over the weekend, Ford has been working carefully to develop their retro sides.  Either that, or they want to bring modern society back into the 60′s.  In an attempt to reward their relationship with their loyal customers and fanatics, Ford has slapped an approval on a new stamping for the steel bodies of the first generation Ford Mustang and it will only cost $15,000.  This is great news for classic or muscle car lovers.  The even better part is that you’ll be able to put your own engine, interior and axels of your choice into it.  No, seriously, you have to put it together yourself.  Ford may be making the body of the classic car, but they’re leaving the rest up to the consumers.
While this news is both exciting and deflating at the same time, you should take comfort in the fact that not only is there enough reproduced parts for the first generation Mustang model, but it is that way because it is America’s most restored vehicle.  Finding the parts to build your life sized version of the scaled toy model of the life sized version of the 65′ Mustang is the easiest part of the process.  The esembly will be the tricky part, but Ford has a hunch, this news will infest the dreams and desires of every engine-specific fanboy of the beloved pony car series.
Since Ford has announced they will be developing a new Mustang generation for 2014 and that the concept of which will not be taken from the old ghosts of Mustangs past, it seems only fitting that they would put the original model back into the market.  Assumable, if someone were going to invest in a new model, it would run them upward of $23,000 at a base level.  For perhaps the same price, they could invest in a project that has them riding in a  sleek classic with the piston-pumping heart of an infant.  That may be something Ford hopes will drive in new sales.  The idea of another option for future Mustang owners.  Since they already have the 1967-1970 bodies available to the public, it appears as if they want to appeal to the nostalgia of their clientele.  Either way, the world rejoices.
Tyler Baker; OSM Writer
( Source : Yahoo! Autos )

Friday, October 28, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011...The Saga Continues!

10/28/11 – In a stunning turn in the SAAB WATCH 2011 saga, Saab Automotive announced early Friday that the company would be sold for $142 million to Chinese industry investors Pang Da Automotive Trade Co. and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automotive Co. Ironically, these are the same parties that Swedish Automotives rejected handing over the Saab reigns to late last week. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, this week, they have not only agreed to give up controlling interest in the troubled 60-year company, but to sell off the entire brand in a 60/40 split (60% to Youngman and 40% to Pang Da). It is still unclear as to how much current Saab Chairman, Victor Muller, will be involved in the future of the Swedish automotive manufacturer, but one has to think any high ranking suit in the Saab infrastructural will be replaced by a Chinese counterpart.
Saab was on the final day before they could possibly lose their creditor protection (equivalent to declaring bankruptcy) and had already pulled the plug on their restructuring process due to lack of funds. It seemed bleak that they would bounce back after refusing the original July deal with Chinese investors for a reported $245 million in loans and funds in exchange for 54% stake in the company. The Chinese held out, weighing their options, something Saab ran out of as time elapsed. When Saab realized the Chinese funding was being re-evaluated and the Chinese wanted to take complete control, the board publicly killed the deal between them. They were afraid the Saab name would be lost if sold overseas. Now it appears that Saab has been so backed up into the corner that they had no other choice but to sell. The two Chinese companies will now invest a higher price than the $245 million the original deal was for according to Mr. Muller, but the $142 million will buy out the currently issued stock held by Saab investors.
According to WSJ, Swedish Automobile (then called Spyker Cars NV) purchased Saab from GM in February 2010 for a price tag of $74 million. It claimed Saab would turn a profit by 2012, but instead, in 2012 Saab will have it’s third owner in three years. While the deal is still subject to approval by a slew of parties including GM and Chinese authorities, this is still the most comforting news for Saab in seven months filled with litigation, speculation and legal actions. It also stands out for the Chinese Automotive industry, which has been aggressively shopping for Western manufacturers to expand their international reach. Unfortunately, they have had little success. Besides Volvo, which was bought by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. from Ford Motors last year, Saab will only be the second purchase of a foreign manufacturer by a Chinese based auto maker.
A memorendum of understanding has been signed between the two Chinese investors and Swedish Automobile and will be valid until November 15 of this year. This, however, will need to go through Saab’s laundry list of creditors who must approve the purposed reorganization process. They meet on Monday of next week to discuss the takeover. Until then, Saab is still in the woods, but a the clearing seems to be just ahead. Check in again with One Stop Motors as we continue our coverage of SAAB WATCH 2011 and feel free to visit us at www.OneStopMotors.com.
Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

Thursday, October 27, 2011

SAAB WATCH 2011!

If you’ve been following along with One Stop Motors as we’ve covered breaking news regarding the ongoing state of emergency at Saab Automotives (if so, respect), then you know Saab is standing at the edge of the financial plank, looking down. As the situation progresses, it appears as if the 70 year old company can’t catch a break. Still, the boardroom shuffle and court mandated drama has made Saab’s monitory misfortunes an entertaining spectacle for the world to watch. In honor of Saab’s constant grind between life or death and our unhealthy adore for a good news blizzard we at One Stop Motors are proud to present SAAB WATCH 2011!
10/27/11 – Today, Reuters.com reported on the current position Saab has situated itself into. While that may be a personal opinion, it seems hard to refute that much of Saab’s recent hardships were brought on by themselves. As Reuters reported, the Saab administrator in-charge of it’s bankruptcy prevention asked the Swedish courts, who have been protecting Saab from it’s creditors for the past month, to end the administration process of their corporate restructuring. The reason given was that Saab had insufficient funds to keep the restructuring process running.
While on the outside it may look as if Saab simply saw the wrong side of a fate, those who are familiar with the events of last week, will know it is the opposite. Late Sunday, Saab killed it’s deal with Chinese investors Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. that had been in place since June. What would have gotten Saab $340 million in loans and funding, was dropped by Swedish Automobile (the parent company of Saab) based on their unwillingness to hand over controlling interest of the doomed car manufacturer. Instead, they’ve elected to look for investments from other parties. With one day left before Swedish courts can put an end to Saab’s bankruptcy protection, it seems unlikely that the courts will side in the company’s favor (though they said they will hear the company out until they make a decision). Saab has already missed the deadline to react to the administrator’s request. It’s this kind of carelessness and negligence that leads us to assume the courts will release an injured Saab out into the wild for it’s creditor preditors to pounce.
The question become, does Saab deserve to be rescued? To avoid potentially losing the Saab name all together, they cut ties to the fastest and potentially only significant financial pipeline they had. Yes, they have issued $10 million worth of stock to North Street Capital LP and accepted an additional $60 million in loans from the U.S. based hedge fund managment firm last week. This must have boost their confidence quite a bit, as a few days later, they denied the Chinese investment deal. Suddenly, however, they’ve had to scramble to find some breathing room before their protection gives out. Even though the Chinese investors continue to claim that the deal between them and Saab is still valid and they plan to come through with the capital, it is uncertain how involved Saab is willing to be with this. Trading in immediate debt relief to save a name brand seems foolhardy on Saab’s part. Especially when you consider that the move alone could cripple their recovery entirely. What is really worst then? Losing a name or losing everything (including over 3,000 jobs)? To Saab, at least, the name is more important. Perhaps they have a few cards still left face down.
We will continue our coverage of SAAB WATCH 2011 as the news breaks. Check in with us regularly to learn the latest developments in the Saab story. As always, we encourage you to visit us at OneStopMotors.com; you’re one stop for buying and selling used vehicles online. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Tyler Baker; OSM Writer
( Source : Reuters.com )

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saab says goodbye to Chinese investors

By now, most of the world is aware that Swedish car manufacturer, Saab Automotives, is on a railway running low on track. They’re manufacturing plant is already a ghost town, the Swedish courts have already awarded them temporary amnesty from creditors and now Saab is running out of gas and there doesn’t appear to be a gas station in sight. According to Autoweek.com, Saab has ended their proposed deal with Chinese investors and as a direct result, they have lost their last wild card in their hand.

As it was reported in recent weeks, Saab has been waiting on a $340 million investment deal from Chinese automotive companies Pang Da and Zhejiang Youngman Lotus. The deal, originally intended to drive Saab out of debt and back into the grind of automotive manufacturing, has been speculated on for months now. Earlier in the month, Saab was set to receive the first part of this million dollar deal as a loan to pay off parts providers. They had thought the rest of the deal would come through by now, but the Chinese investors reportedly wanted to reevaluate the agreement. The result? The Chinese investors decided it would be more practical to buy out the majority of shares in Saab stock and take over ownership of the troubled manufacturer. The leaders of Saab did not find this to be a good thing. They announced they were killing the deal all together.

Believing that allowing Youngman Lotus and Pang Da to take control of the company would bring the eventual end to Saab, Swedish Automotive CEO Victor Muller deemed the agreement unacceptable and ended the agreement Sunday after the Chinese side did not specify they would provide the original investment that had been agreed upon already. The two sides are still in contact, though this may be as far as the two parties go together.

Towards the end of last week, US private-equity firm, North Street Capitol, announced they would be buying $10 million worth of shares in Saab’s parent company, Swedish Automotives. They also claim to be providing the company with a $60 million investment loan to pay for the reorganization of Saab. One can’t help but feel that this announcement has lead Saab to feel stronger in the passing days. Strong enough, at least, to refuse the continual shadow games played by the Chinese investors who had been holding out for unknown reasons.

Whether or not this is the best strategy for Saab, who without enough capitol to bail themselves out would have to accept defeat and liquidate entirely, is uncertain. What is certain is that any light of redemption in the near future for Saab has dimmed immensely. They have a lot of bills to pay back before they can even make another car, let alone pay new parts and wages fees to produce it. It is because of this that Sunday’s move from Saab is somewhat puzzling. Their new found bravery may end up steering Saab off the edge of the world either way. If that happens, it wouldn’t have mattered if Saab might have been lost under a Chinese regime change. Saab won’t exist. At least for now, they still do. We’ll see about next week.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

( Source : Autoweek.com )

Friday, October 21, 2011

Crazy vs. Cops on US Airways flight

In a bizarre tale set thousands of feet above the earth’s surface, the passengers of a US Airways flight heading to Honolulu were witness to one passenger’s sky insanity. The man in question, unnamed to this point, had reportedly progressed from a mild case of an airplane-set panic attack to full-blown lunacy in minutes. The result? The man began frantically flailing about the cabin, screaming, removing clothing and charged for the cockpit. Before he could get there, however, he was tackled by two travelling Jersey City cops.

As reported by NJ.com, the incident is still under investigation. The reasoning behind the maddened passenger, who allegedly intended on getting off the plane at the elevated height of 40,000 feet, is uncertain. According to Jersey City officers Paul Fennel and Robert Taino Jr, who were on their way to Hawaii for a co-worker’s wedding, the man was causing a commotion in the cabin before eventually making a dash for the cockpit. They were two hours out of Honolulu when the incident began. Taino explained how he had noticed that no one was being served and then the flight attendants went flooding to the back of the plane with an oxygen tank. He made it aware to the sky staff that he and Fennel were police officers. After that, everything turned and a man in a sweater came barreling up the aisle claiming he was going to get off the plane. The airline attendants blockaded the emergency exits with their bodies as the man pulled off his shirt and began to yell, “He’s got a gun! Who’s going to shoot me?” The man sprang into a speeded step for the cockpit and an attendant shouted, “Stop him!” Officers Taino and Fennel, along with two other passengers piled on the panicked man.

From there, Taino cuffed the man using plastic wrist restraints provided by a flight attendant. The two Jersey cops guarded the man for the remainder of the flight and then handed him over to the FBI who were waiting at the gate. According to the article, Fennel is a recipient of his departments Excellent Police Service award and Taino of the Combat Cross award. Even off duty and on vacation, they acted with decisiveness and bravery.

Neither US Airways nor the FBI have commented on the situation in the sky as of yet. For now, it will stand as a strange story with a safe ending. All of this, of course, is thanks to Officers Fennel and Taino along with the unnamed passengers who also aided in the accosting of the unruly man. Taino and Fennel are currently in Honolulu enjoying the wedding of their peer, a Jersey City Police Sargent. It’s safe to say they will have quite the wedding tale to tell.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

(Source : NJ.com )

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dan Wheldon dies during IndyCar Series season finale

It has always been known that motorized racing is a dangerous game. Regardless of all the rules and regulations, the hazard protocols and safety modifications made to the sport, at the end of the day, the risk involved is an unbelievable one to take. Unfortunately, car crashes are an integrated occurrence in the lap game. Sometimes tragedy hits the raceway and the world around it stops. It is then that we’re all reminded how much professional drivers are forced to surrender for the pursuit of entertainment. Yesterday in Las Vegas, we were reminded once more of this sacrifice as the reigning Indy 500 champion, Dan Wheldon, was killed in a fifteen car collision during lap 11 of the IndyCar Series season finale.

In one of the most devastating days in auto racing, English born driver, Dan Wheldon, was caught in the thick of a pile-up that scattered around turn two of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. According to ESPN.com, the contact that caused the accident came about when Wade Cunningham’s car swerved on the turn and Hildebrand drove over the left rear of Cunningham’s car. In the replay shown during the broadcast, it is clear that the initial contact came from Sebastian Saavedra, who rubbed against Cunningham’s front bumper, setting off the chain of events that led to the red flag accident. Within seconds, Cunningham was in the wall, Hilderbrand was airborne and many of the cars behind them were caught up in the collision. One of these was Wheldon, age 33, who had no time to react to the slew of flying car shrapnel and clouds of engine smoke. From there, Wheldon’s car flipped as he flew through the air and sailed into the catch fence, which is the reinforced fence separating the crowd from the track.

Rescue workers were quick to respond and can be seen in the replay waving madly for more help. Wheldon was pulled from the wreckage and airlifted from the track at 1:19 pm local time Sunday. He was then transported to University Medical Center, but his injuries were “un-survivable” as authorities stated. IndyCar Series CEO, Randy Bernard made the announcement of Wheldon’s passing and the speedway was soaked in silence. When his colleagues learned on the tragic news, their grief was instant. Driver’s openly sobbed on the track. The entire speedway filled with the still infused shock that one of their own had been lost. It was as if a part of IndyCar had been instantly lost along with Wheldon. Soon after announcing Wheldon’s passing, Bernard revealed that the race had been cancelled, but the drivers wanted to pay tribute to their brother in arms with a five lap salute. It was a moving testament, but nothing could do justice to the man that Wheldon was.

Many of his peers spoke highly of Wheldon as being a close friend and passionate driver. Dario Franchitti, who clinched the 2011 IndyCar title despite the tragedy, called him a “good friend” and a “charmer”. That was Dan Wheldon to a lot of people. An ambassador for the art of IndyCar, he was primed to take over Danica Patrick’s duties as the new Go-Daddy sponsored driver for Andretti Autosport next year; a contract he was set to sign following Sunday’s race. He leaves behind his devoted wife, Susie and two sons, Sebastian (age 2) and Oliver (six months old). He also leaves behind his legacy, spanning 16 wins over 9 years including a 2005 and 2011 Indy 500 championship as well as the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year and the 2005 IndyCar Series Champion. He was highly regarded and well respected in the sport not just for what he did on the track, but for who he was as a person, a family man and a spokesperson for the auto sport industry.

We will regret the years we’ve been robbed of Dan Wheldon’s magnanimous presence. A fun spoken, quick witted soul with a sparkling smile and a great respect for others, Wheldon will be remembered for what he brought to the IndyCar sport. A hard competitive edge, a cool running mentality and a big, beating heart unlike any other. As Formula One driver Jenson Button said of Dan Wheldon, “we’ve lost a legend in our sport but also a great guy.” He wasn’t like some of the hot headed, lead foots found in the NASCAR circuit today. He was something else. Something fierce on the track but gentle to the fans. A champion’s champion. A class act. Without Dan Wheldon, the world is at a loss today and everyday after.

Tyler Baker; OSM Writer

(Source : ESPN.com )