My Car Quest

December 5, 2022

These Strange Times Today

Doom, gloom and rumors of boom.

by Mike Gulett –

Things today are strange and may be getting stranger.

With Roger Federer and Serena Willams both retiring from professional tennis in the past couple of weeks it changes the sport quite a bit. If you are not a tennis fan then think of: Joe DiMaggio or Stan Musial for baseball, Michael Jordan or Bill Russell for basketball and Joe Montana or Jim Brown for American football.

The terrible war in Ukraine is having a world wide impact not just on the unfortunate people who are dying and suffering but on the supply chain for automobile parts and food production (and probably other things I am not aware of). Before this war started I did not know that Ukraine was an important automobile parts manufacturer.

My wife’s Mini Cooper needs a new computer that is made in Ukraine. The part has been on order for a few weeks with an unspecified delivery time. So, we wait with no schedule in sight.

The supply chain disruptions caused by the covid pandemic do not seem to be improving and the Ukraine war may be making it worse.

In addition to the part for our Mini we had a recall for our Porsche Mecan more than two years ago and still no word when the part will arrive from Porsche. I call the dealer every few months and the answer is the same; we will let you know when the part arrives.

So, we wait – again with no schedule in sight.

Car manufacturers cannot keep up with demand in part due to part shortages like semiconductor chips. Some cars are being shipped to the dealers and on to the customer without all of their options installed. The options are installed later. I am told by one local dealer that the new car inventory on their lot is a small fraction of what it used to be.

I wonder if my two parts availability problems mentioned above could be due to the manufacturer (BMW and Porsche in my case) using their precious parts to complete a new car instead of sending the part to me.

The Queen of the United Kingdom died recently and the UK now has a new king with only kings in the foreseeable future. It could be many decades before the UK has a Queen again. Does it matter? I do not know because it has always been the Queen in my life time. We will find out if it matters, eventually.

The weather has been unstable in many parts of the world as many of us know first hand. Politics has gotten stranger that usual over the past few years. The economy is strong except we may be near a recession. That seems strange when in the US the jobless rate is at, or near, an all time low and many employers cannot hire the workers they need. Where I live there have been some restaurants that were forced to cut back on their schedule because of a shortage of workers. Yet we may be near a recession. And so the stock market is having a fit.

Anything strange going on with you?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Pogo

Comics by Walt Kelly.
Summary
These Strange Times Today
Article Name
These Strange Times Today
Description
The supply chain disruptions caused by the covid pandemic do not seem to be improving and the Ukraine war may be making it worse. The times they are getting stranger.
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Comments

  1. if your wifes car needs a new ecu, might be quicker to source an exchange unit or have the existing one repaired

    • Peter,

      The shop did bring in a used unit but it did not work. Apparently there are many versions depending on the VIN number.

      • Update on the Mini Cooper issue:

        I was annoyed that the Mini Cooper needed a new ECU according to the mechanic we were using so I took it to another shop that had worked on my Lamborghini and AC Cobra. Their solution was that it needed new oxygen sensors not a new computer. After new oxygen sensors were installed it passed the California smog test and all is well now.

        I know that oxygen sensors can be troublesome because I have had to replace a few over the years and I regret being led down this rabbit hole.

  2. We have had a Kitchen Aid replacement oven and microwave on order for 15 months- The structure of our delays seem like your auto parts delay.
    I’ve looked at the financials of the major auto companies like Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, Ford, and GM. The elephant in the room is their debt. Using the same analytics on our Catholic Diocese, indicated it was in far better financial health than the auto companies. When you have to scroll through 300 pages in an annual report to find the basic financial statements, something is amiss.

    Many cars look and feel alike. I wonder about changes in the future of the auto dealership culture with electric cars.

    Inflation is high, interest rates, the price of money, are rising, yet gold and silver are falling. Deposit rates to savers have not kept up with interest rates banks charge. I belong to a world that does not understand ‘all this.’

  3. wallace wyss says

    Tesla should be on top of the world with the least debt compared to ICE companies. Yet their stock is in the dumps.
    But I think you have to be optimistic,and realize things can change very quickly. I remember when rotary engines were going to be the Cat’s Pajamas but then it was discovered that the trochoid housings were heat sensitive (they warp) and the Detroit automakers didn’t like paying a royalty to the German company that had bought wankel rights.Now a rotary engine car is a novelty , nothing more. I think if dealerships have nice restaurants to wait while their electric cars are being charged, they can build a loyal customer base. But if charging gets down to 5 minutes, that’s hardly enough to pour a cuppa java

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