1 month ago

Depot Owner Feels Railroaded By City Over Eminent Domain

Harvey Davis operates his family auto repair shop out of a grand, 1920s-era structure that was once a bustling train depot in Winston-Salem, N.C. He purchased it from the railroad in 1975 and has been there ever since.

"It's worked beautiful," Davis said. "The building is very well built. The railroad did everything to the highest standard for longevity."

But the city of Winston-Salem claims it needs the depot to secure federal funding for a high-speed rail project.

City Councilman Derwin Montgomery said there are multiple reasons why the site is needed: "Its proximity to the rail, that rail that is already laid there -- its accessibility in terms of where it is for highway access, as well, makes it a prime location to be converted back to its original use."

The city has filed to seize the depot under eminent domain -- the ability of a government to take private land for public use. According to Davis, this will be the fifth time he's given up property to City Hall, either through seizure or negotiation.

City officials have offered to cover Davis' moving expenses plus $680 thousand for the fair market value of the depot.

"We just don't feel that's the adequate reimbursement for the value of the property," Davis said.

Councilman Montgomery said the economy had taken a toll on local property values, but he insisted the process for determining Davis's compensation was fair and objective.

If Davis loses the depot, his backup plan is to set up shop on property he owns several miles away. But even there, Davis faces another battle with the city. The land is currently zoned residential and city planners envision condominiums and apartments -- not an auto repair shop.

"There is neighborhood opposition," said Paul Norby, director of the City-County Planning Board of Forsyth County and Winston-Salem. "People are afraid of some of the traffic concerns, the precedent for future commercial development."

"We are going to do what's required," Davis said. "We are going to try to fit in with the neighborhood and please everybody. But we would like to have a place for our third generation to continue, maybe our fourth."

City officials said they were sympathetic, but legally must consider each property dispute individually, regardless of who the property owner is.

This is the latest installment in Fox News' "It's Your Land" series. Click here for full coverage.

Jonathan Serrie joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in April 1999 and currently serves as a correspondent based in the Atlanta bureau.

3 months ago

How To Heat An Automobile Body Shop

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7 months ago

FTC adds seven revisions to Used Car Rule

The Federal Trade Commission has updated its Used Car Rule, implementing seven revisions that cover a variety of necessary disclosures, the commission said on Thursday.

The revisions to the rule -- which requires dealerships to display a window sticker or a buyers guide on used vehicles offered for sale -- will likely make it clearer to consumers shopping for used vehicles.

The seven revisions, which go into effect Jan. 27, are as follows:

Placing boxes on the face of the buyers guide that dealerships can check to indicate whether a vehicle is covered by a third-party warranty and whether a service contract may be available.

Providing a box that dealerships can check to indicate that an unexpired manufacturers warranty applies.

Adding airbags and catalytic converters to the buyers guides list of major defects that may occur in used vehicles.

Adding a statement that directs consumers to obtain a vehicle history report and to check for open recalls.

Adding a statement, in Spanish, to the English-language buyers guide, advising Spanish-speaking consumers to ask for the buyers guide in Spanish if the dealership is conducting the sale in Spanish.

Providing a Spanish translation of the statement that dealerships may use to obtain a consumers acknowledgment of receipt of the buyers guide.

Changing the description of an as is sale.

The FTC defines an as is sale as one without a warranty. If the sale is with a warranty, the buyers guide discloses the terms and conditions. In states that do not permit as is used vehicle sales, dealerships must use an alternative guide that discloses whether the sale is with a warranty or with implied warranties only.

The amended rule permits dealerships to use their remaining stock of buyers guides for one year after the effective date, the FTC said.

The FTCs vote to publish the revisions was 3-0.


9 months ago

Toyota case tests warranty limits for military families

Toyota is going toe-to-toe with a military family over a lemon law case, appealing a panel's ruling that ordered replacement of a RAV4 that had been taken overseas during deployment.

John and Christina Snell bought their 2013 RAV4 in Savannah, Ga., and shortly afterward were ordered by the Army to a base in Vilseck, Germany. While there, Christina Snell started having problems with the vehicle:

The dashboard lights would flash and, at times, the vehicle would stop operating while she was driving it.

According to her attorney, T. Michael Flinn of Carrollton, Ga., Snell made repeated visits to a German dealership to get the problem fixed. The problem was caused by a faulty antilock brake system actuator, which forced a recall of 295,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles in 2014. The Snells' RAV4 was not included in that recall.

On the last attempt, the dealership kept the RAV4 for 35 days before solving the problem. That exceeded the limit spelled out in Georgia's lemon laws, which say vehicles out of service for 30 or more days are considered eligible to be declared lemons.

Last September, an arbitration panel ruled in favor of the Snells, saying they should get a replacement vehicle. But Toyota is appealing the ruling, arguing that it is not responsible because the RAV4 was taken off U.S. soil.

"We need to get something done to make sure the warranties follow servicemen overseas."

T. Michael Flinn, attorney

In a court filing, Toyota said it will argue that a RAV4 sold in the U.S. is "materially different" from one sold in Germany.

The scanning tools used to diagnose problems in U.S. cars are different from those used in Germany, the company said, and the people manning the service department in Germany didn't speak English, leading to delays.

Toyota said it shouldn't be held responsible for the amount of time it took to fix the Snells' RAV4.

In a statement toAutomotive News, Toyota said it has a policy of providing "goodwill warranty coverage" to U.S. military serving overseas. "While Toyota cannot comment on the specifics of this case, we have worked directly with the Snell family to address their concerns," the statement read.

The case, which heads to the Superior Court of Georgia for trial early next year, has prompted a consumer advocacy group to lobby for a law that would force companies to adhere to their warranty promises even when products are taken overseas by members of the military on active duty. Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, said she and the Snells have been in talks with the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about creating legislation that would guarantee military members on active duty would get warranties honored.

Shahan pushed for a similar law that was passed in 2007 in California that protects military service members under California's lemon laws, even for a vehicle purchased outside California. That's important for military service people, who move every two to three years on average.

Flinn said he hopes there will be political willingness to pass a similar law that covers overseas deployments.

He said, "We need to get something done to make sure the warranties follow servicemen overseas."


11 months ago

Steering And Suspension System - Auto Parts

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1 year ago

5 Cars to Drive Prior To Deciding To Die

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1 year ago

Gen Y more likely than older drivers to trust self-driving tech, study finds

Autonomous cars are under development by automakers and tech companies including GM, Ford, Toyota, Google, Apple and Daimler.

UPDATED: 4/28/16 3:26 pm ET - adds remarks

Younger drivers are more likely than their older counterparts to trust autonomous technology, a study released today by J.D. Power found.

More than half of those born after 1976 say they trust autonomous tech, compared with 41 percent in Generation X (born from 1965-76), 23 percent of baby boomers (born from 1946-64) and 18 percent of the pre-boomer generation (born before 1946), J.D. Powers annual U.S. Tech Choice Study found.

About 59 percent of Generation Y, those born from 1977 to 1994, say they would likely be interested in fully autonomous cars, while 34 percent of all drivers expressed an interest in full self-driving tech.

Autonomous cars, under development by automakers and tech companies including General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Google, Apple and Daimler, are seen by proponents as a way to make driving safer and more convenient, though Power said the results of its latest survey show companies have a long way to go to gain older drivers trust.

The level of trust is directly linked to the level of interest in a new technology among automobile buyers, said Kristin Kolodge, J.D. Power executive director of driver interaction, in a statement. Acceptance can be increased with exposure over time and experience with automated technologies. But trust is fragile and can be broken if there is an excessive number of incidents with automated vehicles.

Speaking at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit, Kolodge said automakers might be best off installing autonomous technologies on vehicles aimed at younger people, as opposed to installing them on higher-end vehicles first.

Counter to saying lets put full automation on our premium, luxury, high-end vehicles first, what about going after this market that has the interest already with this type of technology? That gives the other generations more time and exposure to understand the benefits of those technologies, to build trust and to recognize their market-readiness, she said.

J.D. Power said safety concerns about autonomous vehicles were shared across the board, with consumers of all ages pointing to cyberhacking.

The pace at which new technologies can be introduced into vehicles will have to do in large part with how quickly the industry can gain drivers trust on reliability and security, Kolodge said.

Consumers are going to decide what technologies win, she said. Change will move as fast or as slow as it brings value to the consumers.

Younger drivers are also more likely than older ones to be interested in alternative mobility, including ride-sharing services such as Uber, and vehicle co-ownership.

Not all technology proved divisive, though. Technologies including camera-based rearview mirrors, smart headlights, night vision and self-healing paint were deemed desirable by at least 63 percent of all drivers.

But some technology became less desirable when factoring price. For instance, when drivers surveyed were told that night vision would cost an extra $2,000 and lane-change assist would cost an additional $1,500, interest in those features declined.

Technologies with the lowest interest included trailer-connect assist, at 25 percent, and trailer towing visibility, at 29 percent, both of which have a limited target audience.

J.D. Power conducted the online study of 7,900 consumers from Feb. 10 through March 10. Each respondent has bought or leased a new vehicle within the last five years.