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Atlantic Racing Scene

Letter From the Editor

A Complaint for Everyone!

I’ve always been fascinated by how car sales reflect and refract world events. The recent crisis in Japan - and bless their resilience - is an incredible example of this. Not surprisingly, sales from car makers like Mitsubishi, Mazda and Toyota and others are all down a whopping 40 per cent as the country turns its attention to salvaging lives and livelihoods following the devastation wrought by one of the deadliest earthquakes in history and the tsunami that followed it. 

Running parallel with this are the steadily rising oil prices as gasps of violence permeate oil-rich countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East, causing concern over future supplies. Oil prices are inflating to about $107.00. But despite the fact that gasoline prices also continue to rise to an average of $1.25, vehicle sales were up 5 per cent in March to over 153,000 units compared with 145,000 the previous year.

These sales indicate two things. First, Canadians are naturally shopping for more fuel-efficient vehicles in an attempt to counter inflated gas prices. But what’s interesting to this writer is that truck sales are also up by about 11 per cent over last year, and much of that is driven by a higher call for fuel-efficient crossover vehicles and SUVs. 

Regardless, a gradual economic recovery also means increased truck sales and researchers claim that this will outweigh future rising fuel prices. At Canada’s top two automakers, truck sales continue to outnumber car sales. Truck sales are up by about 12 per cent  over last year at Ford, while Chrysler saw an increase in volume of eight percent. Toyota, on the other hand, plagued by a series of recalls, saw its sales plummet by about almost 14 per cent.

While the “big three” are contemplating their next move, fuel efficient car makers like Kia, Subaru and Hyundai have all reported sales growth and renewed vigour as the economy continues to slowly blossom again, like a forgotten gift suddenly found hidden behind the couch.

WELCOME TRUCKERS TO AUTO & TRUCKING ATLANTIC

We here at Auto Atlantic are always interested in trend spotting, and increased truck sales parallel the increased trucking groups we have been partnering with lately. It’s an exciting time and we look forward to continued growth and mutual benefit this increased readership brings. But part of our job is to reflect current concerns back at a readership glued to industry changes, and one of those concerns Nova Scotia’s controversial MVI program. 

This program allows longer periods between inspections for passenger vehicles and light trucks. While the intent may be there, mechanics and others province-wide suggest that these changes may in fact lead to increased tickets, fines and repair bills.  By contrast, the province’s decision to delve into the paving business seems downright hair-brained. 

With six million dollars recently invested in paving equipment, the move is drawing jeers from the NS Chamber of Commerce, among others who suggest that the province would do better by not getting into business best handled by private companies. Rightly, they gripe about the lack of consultation in the process as well.

Nova Scotia’s not the only province in the hot seat this issue though. Truckers in New Brunswick are also, shall we say, peeved, at a 2.3 cents a litre increase in diesel tax, making it the third-highest in the country.  Do we capture all that and bring it to your attention? You betcha we do.

Clearly, we have a complaint for and from everybody it seems. Naturally, we do our best to bring you the latest and greatest complaints, but don’t forget there’s also a couple of chuckles and some awards nights tucked away in here as well to remind everyone that it’s not all doom and gloom.  

Consider us as aligned as your wheels. 



Much, much more in the print addition of Auto Atlantic.
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