Monday, January 25, 2010

Russo & Steele Auction Closed By High Winds, Muscle Cars Damaged By Tent Debris, Auto transportation, car haulers

The Phoenix area is a hotbed of classic cars, as two large car auctions, the Barnett-Jackson and Russo and Steele actions are being held in Scottsdale this week; that’s going to mean a lot of auto transportation opportunities this week in the Southwest. However, the bad weather that dumped two feet of snow in Flagstaff to the north of Phoenix brought high winds that damaged and disrupted the Russo and Steele Auctions.

When you look at the Russo and Steele website, the overriding vision is of classic cars under large tents. The problem with tents is that they don’t do well in heavy winds, and two of the big tents were blown over, with tent poles sent crashing into cars and the tents themselves getting blown onto the 101 beltway. According to Autoweek, $1.5 million dollars of damage was done to vehicles at the site. adds that about half of the 600 cars on consignment at Russo and Steele were damaged, with damages averaging about $500 a car.

Russo and Steele held a consignees-only meeting Saturday morning, where that million dollars of bad news was likely being discussed. The normal Wednesday-Sunday format is tentatively slated to extend into Monday, which will throw people’s schedules and hotel plans into a tizzy. That includes car haulers who were slated to be taking cars to their new owners this weekend; they might wind up hanging around the Phoenix area a bit longer than planned.

The Barnett-Jackson auction centralized activity in one main tent on Thursday night, putting tractor-trailers around the tents a shield for the fierce winds, but otherwise stayed on schedule.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The K Line Fleet of Car Carriers, Fleets of car carriers, Car Haulers

One of the most recognized line of supersized car hauler vessels in the world and one that can be seen quite often in American ports is the K Line fleet of supersized vessels. They’ll be easily distinguished from the other ships by the double stacked red containers that will be displayed across the deck of the ship.

The K Line also has a fleet of grain carriers and bulk carriers that make runs up and down the coastline of the United States and around the world, bringing the goods into and out of the ports of America that are delivered by rail and truck.
The 84 car haulers of the K Line can be seen delivering big and small vehicles from various ports around the world and big pieces of equipment and heavy machinery on a daily basis in many American ports. In total the K Line fleet moves millions of vehicles back and forth across the oceans of the world and represents one of the largest fleets of ships dedicated to bringing the cars Americans drive into the ports of the United States.

The K Line is one of the most modern car hauler fleets in the world and implements a damage prevention strategy that’s renowned around the industry for its effectiveness at keeping cargo safe and undamaged during transport. This is one of the most important aspects of transporting cars to market as the value of cargo can go down considerably if damaged.

The Positive Leader and the Michigan Highway are two K Line fleet ships that can often be seen bringing cars into American ports from across the oceans. These two ships are capable of carrying thousands of vehicles at one time and span a distance of close to 200 yards when you look down the side of one of these huge car carriers. If you sit and watch and are observant you’ll notice that once they unload the ship, it sits quite a bit higher in the water, which is a testament to how much weight is carried on one of these vessels.

Kruse Controls, Auctioneer In Financial Trouble, Car Haulers, Car Transporters

It’s urban legend that the term “doozie” was coined off of the Duesenberg luxury cars of the 1920, but we’re seeing a doozie of a financial problem in Auburn, IN, the home of the Duesenberg, where the Kruse auction house is going through some financial difficulties. I recall driving past the Kruse facility just off of I-69 just inside the Indiana border with Michigan as my wife told of staying in Auburn when her family would visit friends their.

The Kruse family auctioned off a pair of Duesenbergs, and the winning bids were far lower than expected, leading many to think that the Kruses were looking to raise cash to get them through this current rough stretch in the custom car auction market, in which they excel.

Kruse had some problems getting money from customers in 2009 which led to a lot of disgruntled sellers not getting money from Kruse. In order to keep this year’s winter auctions in Arizona going, Kruse had to promise to put the proceeds from the auctions in escrow.

Many car haulers specialize in the custom car market and the auction market. An auctioned car will often mean a job for one hauler taking the car to the auction and a job for another hauler taking the car to the new buyer. Fewer auctions means less work for car transporters. However, there is enough of a business there where another car auctioneer might step in and buy Kruse. KAR Auctions, headquartered towards the current southern end of I-69 in Carmel, IN, might be a good candidate for a white knight.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Car Carrier Catches Fire, A dangerous job

Commuters traveling along Interstate 95 between exits 39 and 40 near Milford, Connecticut could see the smoke rising above the highway as they drove past on Monday morning as several cars being carried to destination upon a tractor-trailer were burning after the car shipping carrier caught fire. The fire was reported as starting around 6 a.m. but surprisingly, the first report that reached that authorities was sometime around 6:30, so people were stopping to watch, but nobody thought to inform anybody. This isn’t an unusual thing, since everybody always thinks somebody has already done it and they don’t even ask around to see if somebody has reported an incident.

Unfortunately, a few expensive vehicles could be seen burning in the pile, including a Mercedes or two, and other valuable pieces of merchandise. Apparently, one of the car carrier’s wheels was destroyed by fire for some reason, and the fire grew to include the vehicles the car carrier was transporting. The driver did report hearing a strange noise just before the wheel was seen on fire and they think the fire could be due to a problem with the operation of the car carrier.

The incident did result in two lanes being partially out of commission for a few hours and traffic was delayed, but no one was hurt in the incident and this is the most important thing. After a few hours everything was back to normal and traffic was flowing once again.

They’re still investigating the cause of the fire and if we get any other word, we’ll pass it along to you at a later date.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Channel Ferries Overwhelmed, Snow, Chunnel Bugs Force RORO Traffic, Car Transport

Here’s some good news for car ferries across the English Channel; the Chunnel car carrier Eurotunnel has more cars than it can handle. A number of trains broke down when the cold of a harsh snowstorm created too much condensation when the outside cold air hooked up with the warm tunnel air.

Given that the passenger trains have broken down as well, it leaves plane and ferry travel the two remaining options for travelling from the UK to France and the rest of the European mainland, taking things back to the days of yore before the English Channel tunnel was built.

For car transport, the ferry would be the only option, where everyone can sing RORO Row Your Boat. The ferries that carry a lot of truck across the Channel are now being swamped with car passengers, creating a “hell on earth” for ferry companies. The bad weather and clogged roads are making it hard for the ferry crews to get to work. However, trucks backed up on the M20 expressway leading into the port of Dover are staying off to the side to allow passenger traffic through as the trucks wait to get their ride across the Channel.

England and France aren’t designed for a lot of snow, although this is southern England’s second major snowstorm of the season, they hadn’t seen one of that magnitude since 1991. We’re seeing a change in climate, but maybe not the climate change that global warming mavens are expecting, and there may need to be some adaptations in some quarters.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Customs Catch-22, Vietnamese Looking for Non-existing Form

Our vocabulary phrase of the day is circulation tax, which in most places where it is used is a yearly excise tax on the value of the car. It is common enough in Europe where the EU had to work on harmonizing the application of circulation taxes.

With that in mind, we had a car importer trying to bring cars from Oregon to Vietnam, where a circulation tax certificate is one of the items on the needed paperwork to import a car. That creates a minor problem; Oregon (like most, if not all, US states) doesn’t have any circulation tax and thus doesn’t have any circulation tax certificates to hand out. Thus, the poor importer is in a Catch-22, trying to conjure up a document that doesn’t exist. In the meantime, the cars are sitting in limbo in Ho Chi Minh City (the post-war name for Saigon) waiting for the regulators to clear up the snafu.

I’m not sure if this isn’t a non-trade barrier for US cars; the lack of circulation tax paperwork can block US cars from the market. However, the old saying is that you shouldn’t attribute to malice what can better be attributed to stupidity; they might have forgotten that some places didn’t do circulation taxes, or if they did something similar, didn’t call it that.

Car haulers might need to fully understand where cars are going and to make sure they have the needed paperwork. There may be places where “we don’t have that form here” won’t be a valid answer, especially if you have a over-diligent customs clerk not wanting to make a mistake.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Used Cars Becoming Scarce, Buyers Buy Online and Ship Cars Home

Finding a cheap used car is becoming harder and harder these days. People are still buying cars, just not new ones. As local deals get scarce, buyers are forced to go further away from their home towns to find reliable and affordable used vehicles. It's a good thing vehicle carriers are there to help them out.

Instead of hopping on a plane or train to pick up a car bought online, used car buyers are finding affordable vehicle carriers to bring the car home. The shrinking economy has brought down volume, so car hauling rates are also down. This lets buyers find the best deal, anywhere in the country, and have a vehicle carrier deliver the car to their doors.

The shortage is affecting dealerships as well. Auto dealers say cars are getting scarce because of the government Cash for Clunkers program and fewer trade ins. In the down economy, drivers are only buying a car out of absolute necessity. As a result, used car prices are up about $1,000 over last year. Some vehicles are nearly impossible to find, such as GMC pickup trucks that are only available for excessive prices.

Dealers are having difficulty even keeping lots stocked and are turning to the Internet to find used cars they can sell on their lots. The used car market is all that keeps some dealerships in business since new-car franchises have been terminated by many major car manufacturers. Dealers can buy at online auction and just press a button for a vehicle carrier to give him a shipping quote.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Auto Transport, Checking for Legitimacy

Auto transport can be a little tricky for first time shippers. To make sure that you are dealing with a reliable and of course, reputable company you would need to check with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration –this is a federal government agency that has files on registered companies. If you do not find a match of your auto transport company of choice, chances are they are not legit. If it shows that the said company only has Common Authority or Contract, it means that the company is not licensed to do the shipping for you, they are just brokers and outsource the shipping to trucking companies. About 80% of trucking companies listed online or even in phone books operate like this, giving them the leverage to make a few extra bucks through booking commission –and this is at your expense.

If you choose to do your auto transport transaction with brokers and end up with shipping problems, the government will not be able to do anything in your behalf so booking with a licensed trucking company is the most important step.

The next agency to check with is the BBB or the Better Business Bureau. Before going to their website though, you would need to know where the auto transport service of your choice is located. If you have their phone number that would work well at the BBB site. You can also call the Better Business Bureau for a report. The agency does not endorse certain trucking companies or any other company for that matter but they do keep records of problems and unresolved complaints.