Frank Stronach was inducted into the Auto Hall of Fame this past week.
Toronto, Ontario -- July 27, 2018 -- In today's Friday Fun: Hero collision repairers bruised in battle, Canadian King of Autoparts, Frank Stronach, makes the Auto Hall of Fame, and much, much more.
Construction crews in North Carolina continue to work through the rubble around the front of a local auto body shop. As reported in this space a month ago, a truck slammed into the front of the shop, putting the structure at risk. The local building inspector is still not sure whether the whole building will have to come down or not. And so the owners continue to wonder what to do with a shop with no front wall.
A father and son team from a collision repair shop intervened to break up what seemed to be a domestic assault situation and ended up suffering injuries as a result of the heroic move. According to a media report from down south, a Rhode Island firefighter has been arrested for severely beating an auto body shop owner and his son. According to a local news report, “Police charged the 45-year-old Providence firefighter with felony assault Tuesday in connection with the attack at Cranston Collision. Authorities say the firefighter was yelling at a woman in the shop's parking lot Sunday when he was approached by the owner and his son.” According to Cranston police the firefighter, “... attacked both men, leaving the son badly beaten and bleeding profusely when officers arrived…” Providence officials later said the firefighter was “… on leave without pay for reasons unrelated to the assault.”
Frank Stronach, the colourful and controversial founder of Canadian auto parts giant Magna, was inducted into the Auto Hall of Fame this past week during a ceremony in Detroit. Stronach is one of Canada’s richest people, often landing in the top twenty of wealthy Canadians. He ran for Canadian parliament in the ‘80s. His daughter Belinda was eventually elected to the house years later and famously crossed the floor to the Liberals, spurning her then boyfriend Conservative minister Peter McKay in the process. But it is the story of how Frank Stronach emigrated to Canada in 1954 with $6 in his pocket that is the legendary. The 21-year old tool-and-die maker would sleep next to his lathe in the early days. He went on to turn, “... a one-man tool shop in Toronto called Multimatic into Magna, the third-largest automotive supplier in the world.” He came to symbolize for many the opportunity in the Canadian immigrant experience. Today, Magna is a global giant. Frank is a billionaire. The family lives on a massive enclave in Aurora, Ontario. And while the patriarch of the family is no longer active at Magna, he does hold the honourary chairmanship of the company he founded. Years ago the brash businessman famously enraged shareholders in Magna by spending huge amounts of company money buying up horse racing tracks in the U.S. The horse racing company was eventually spun off, and today Belinda runs that. The organization basically controls the horse racing industry in America now. During his address Frank told the audience that, “You couldn’t do these things alone,” and went on to thank the, “... directors, executives, engineers and employees who helped build Magna over the years.” Winding up, the legend said, “Life is really of fate and circumstances. If you’re at the right place at the right time and have the right ingredients, a lot things can happen. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, I think you also have to be a bit lucky. Lady Fortune always looked favourably on me.” Mike Jackson, founder of dealership company AutoNation Inc., and Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of Toyota, were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.
An article in the National Post this week noted the various reasons gasoline is selling for $148.79 a litre in Vancouver. That’s at least ten cents more than any place else in Canada, and the highest for any North American City. According to an article in the National Post, there are a couple reasons for this:
The existing Trans Mountain pipeline, “… can’t meet the needs of an expanding Lower Mainland and it’s already full… The one pipeline is full, the only refinery is maxed out and thousands of Vancouver cars and busses are kept on the road exclusively by whatever fuel can be imported by truck or barge.”
Despite a booming population there is only, “… one small refinery, the Burnaby Refinery, which processes about 50,000 barrels per day, maybe one third of daily demand in the city. Three refineries on the Lower Mainland have been shut down since the 1990s. As a result Vancouver’s gasoline is refined elsewhere. Importing liquid products from other regions means the city is hit with larger than average price spikes.”
B.C. also has unique regulations that require certain amounts of renewable fuel to be mixed in with gasoline and diesel. This makes it harder to ship gasoline into the city straight from, say, a U.S. state. You’re always going to pay more for artisanal gasoline.
One third of Canadian gas prices are typically taxes, according to the Post, “... Vancouver adds 7.78 cents per litre for a carbon tax, 1.75 cents per litre for a provincial motor fuel tax and a 17 cent per litre municipal levy to fund TransLink.” That is, the wholesale price of gasoline in the area is $ 0.96, almost twenty cents higher than the $ 0.77 distributors pay inn Halifax.
Ever wondered what happens if you get in an accident while test-driving a new car? A promotional article from the insurance industry this past week tackled that subject. According to the article (published in the U.S.), “… there's a chance that your personal car insurance may be considered responsible, but that's not as common as you might think.” The rules vary by region. And while, “no one keeps track of the exact numbers as a proportion of test-drives taken,” accidents do happen. "A collision on the car is normally covered by the company that is handling inventory for the dealership," according to an industry source quoted in the story, "By and large, they buy the coverage on the total inventory.” And how much does that cost? Insuring a dealership lot full of vehicles varies depending on size, but a “single-point dealership in an average size town might spend between $40,000 and $60,000 for a year of coverage. A multi-location dealership will spend anywhere from $100,000 up to millions of dollars.”


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