Jan 28

GM To Build New V8 Engine

General Motors (GM) has recently announced plans to invest $22 million into its Spring Hill Tennessee plant to build a new variant of V8 engine for the company’s large pickups and SUVs.

GM has made claims in regards to their new engine that it will have Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM) technology. It is said that this is the industry’s first cylinder deactivation tech. Which makes it both new and innovative, as it can operate in seventeen different cylinder patterns in order to optimize performance. Interestingly enough, the engine will only activate the cylinders needed for the job at hand.

In the long run, this has amazing potential to reduce emissions for the environment. For example, if it is done correctly, it will not burn extra fuel for the average person driving in the city, since, for all intents and purposes, they are likely not going to be using turbo on city streets.

According to Mary Barra, the CEO of GM, “this investment will enable our Spring Hill team to continue building our award-winning engines enhanced with technology that will improve fuel efficiency and performance for our customers,” as reported by Automotive News Europe, the fuel efficiency of the new engine could be 6.2 liters.

As good as it is that these new GM engines will help curb some of the emissions damaging the planet there remains one sizable obstacle in GM’s way — electric vehicles. Cities are trying, more and more, to push its citizens towards not using combustion engine vehicles as they are clearly harmful to the environment. And with the addition of monetary fees creeping up against those that drive emission vehicles, life for gas powered vehicles is getting more and more difficult, while favoring those that drive electric powered vehicles. For GM specifically, they are going to need to find a way to convince people to buy any new products that they plan on introducing that could be harmful to the environment. While introducing environmentally friendly options for their newer vehicles could help in convincing people to buy their products, it might still be a bit of an uphill battle.

Overall, GM’s new engine technology definitely has potential, but it really depends on how it is executed and how effective it really is. While many governments are trying to push people towards more environmentally friendly options, we have no doubt that GM’s hardcore fans of their line of pick-ups and SUV’s will at the very least give this new product a try.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Jan 25

Ford Has A New SUV Planned For Europe

Ford is said to be revealing a new compact SUV for the European market within the next year. The announcement is part of Ford’s plan to make Europe one of its more profitable areas.

The vehicle in question is going to be a new compact SUV which will also serve as a replacement for the Kuga SUV.

Steve Armstrong, CEO of Ford Europe stated that, “Crossovers and SUVs are an area that consumers are moving towards and we will continue to grow and develop that business.”

Ford’s new compact SUV will likely be built at the company’s manufacturing plant in Craiova, Romania. According to Automotive News Europe, the vehicle might be called “Puma”, and while it could potentially take on a similar style to past compact SUV’s (with upgraded aspects, of course), it’s currently not clear what the final design could be.

All in all, the new SUV is said to be part of Ford’s restructuring plan for Europe as over the past two decades it has not yielded a consistent profit margin for the storied company.

Despite that, Ford has stated that it had sold around 250,000 SUVs in the European market, which contributed to a fifth of its overall vehicle sales. This could signify a bit of a shift for Ford in Europe as the newfound interest in larger vehicles such as SUV’s and pick-up trucks may translate to more successful profit margins for the company.

In addition to the changes that Ford plans on implementing within the European market, they also have plans to launch smaller variants of their SUV’s in the USA as well. One of which is a smaller version of the Bronco off-roader, dubbed the baby Bronco, which is seeing a revival of sorts with an expected release date coming sometime in 2020.

All new vehicle announcements aside, Ford will still have some issues to contend with in the European market – electric vehicles. Car enthusiasts are gravitating more and more to electric vehicles in an effort to being more environmentally conscious. Namely, the low-emission zones and their reported fees, at least in the United Kingdom, makes the decision of buying a gas-powered vehicle a bit more difficult. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as the best way to combat these issues is for Ford to make their vehicles environmentally friendly and gas efficient, which they easily have the means to do so. Otherwise, the repercussions of building traditional gas-powered vehicles could be way less sales than Ford might have anticipated.

At the end of the day, this can turn into a very good move for Ford, if they play their cards right – making cost-efficient, environmentally friendly compact SUV’s – now who doesn’t want to get behind that.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Jan 24

Waymo Is Nearing A Major Expansion

The self-driving car company Waymo is expanding into Michigan by planning to build a 200,000 square foot manufacturing center, with the potential to hire four-hundred employees as a result.

The move was recently approved by The Michigan Economic Development Corporation alongside an $8 million incentive for the company. The entire facility is expected to cost $13.6 million to build. However, according to The Verge, there are conditions that Waymo must meet in order to build their new structure, one of which is to create a minimum of 100 jobs in the state of Michigan. In addition, Waymo would only be entitled to the cash incentive if it were to exceed the creation of 400 new jobs which may prove to be somewhat difficult to achieve.

While it may be a challenge for Waymo to create 400+ positions, they will more than likely hit the 100-job minimum threshold. Some of the positions they are looking for include engineers, operations experts, and fleet coordinators.

The new facility itself will focus on the mass production of Level 4 autonomous vehicles. The facility will also be responsible for installation and retrofitting, a process that involves adding components that the vehicle did not have when manufactured.

Alas, the creation of the new facility doesn’t necessarily mean that Waymo’s vehicles are ready to be mass produced for the world just yet. They’re still being tested and perfected in various cities across the United States. Despite this, progress is being made, as the company launched a limited commercial taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona.

At the end of the day this is still a win for self-driving vehicles and a clear sign on how they are becoming increasingly popular within the driving community.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we will be happy to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Jan 23

Diesel Cars Will Cost You More In The UK

 Drivers of diesel cars are facing a possible reality of a fuel hike if they drive in London, England. The increase in cost is said to be around £24 (approx. $31 USD) due to an introduction of an Ultra-Low Emissions Zone.

The zone, which may go into effect in April 2019, will slap drivers of vehicles that don’t meet the emission requirements a £12.50 (approx. $16 USD) daily fee. On top of that, there’s another fee known as the ‘Congestion Charge’. It adds an additional daily fee of £11.50 (approx. $15 USD) for anyone driving said banned vehicles between the hours of 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM from Monday to Friday within the designated zone.

One affected vehicle type are the Euro 6 diesel cars. They’re also the majority of new cars that were manufactured before 2015. In addition, there’s also the Euro 4 petrol cars, which were typically built before 2006.

If someone decided that they didn’t want to pay the fee, they could expect to be hit with another fine altogether. More specifically, they would have to pay £160 (approx. $208 USD) — a bit of a deterrent for those that are a little rebellious.

All in all, this signifies an increase in the cost of running a vehicle that goes against these regulations. In around one year’s time, those who use the effected zones on a regular basis will be paying roughly £7,552 (approx. $9,840 USD) per year. It goes without question that this is a huge blow for those running diesel cars, however, the benefits of such an initiative are meant to improve the environment as a whole along with the overall health of residents.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, stated that, “a predicted 45% fall in harmful emissions within the zone should be a great start to improving the lives of millions of Londoners.”

This move to try and get more individuals driving environmentally friendly vehicles is a clear sign on the government’s part in attempting to reduce the amount of pollutants in the air. According to Express.co.uk, air pollution is out of control in the city and it’s something that citizens need to address on a daily basis.

At the end of the day, London is making necessary moves to improve the overall health of the citizens living in the city, and that is what is most important.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we’ll be glad to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Jan 22

The Car Is Not Dead

Many people might think that the traditional gas powered vehicle is on its last legs and basically dead. However, that may not be the case just yet.

Several people at the Detroit Auto Show representing companies such as Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, and Honda wanted to let everyone know that they probably shouldn’t get attached to the thought of the dead car. According to MSN.com, it seems that automakers are confident that their sedans can still remain profitable.

This is a bold statement since other automakers like Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors have all expressed some level of confidence in being able to sell SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) and pickups. These types of transport vehicles apparently account for around 70-75 percent of the market in the United States.

Henio Arcangeli Jr., Senior Vice-President of Automotive Operations for Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. unit, said: “Many people are talking about the demise of the passenger car, but if you just do the basic mathematics, there were over 5 million passenger cars that were sold last year and will be sold this year — that’s a huge market.”

Despite their confidence, it doesn’t really hold up in every part of the world. The Asian and European manufacturers sell the sedan in locations where it is both profitable and popular. This means that they’ll likely be able to hold onto that model for a longer amount of time when compared to drivers in the U.S market, which typically favors larger vehicles.

Oddly enough, the automakers making a push toward electric vehicles are still keeping themselves in the gas powered sedan market. The bottom line is that the sedan has the ability to present an affordable option when compared to an SUV. When looking at Nissan, the company may have gotten around 60% of volume last year from light trucks, but it will still keep an eye on cars. As Chief Planning Officer Philippe Klein put it, the company doesn’t see “the sedan going to zero.”

It’s obvious that companies want to make more money, but don’t want to ditch an entire market area since that would hurt their profitability, especially if the demand for that specific type of vehicle was to increase in the future.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we’ll be glad to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Jan 21

Honda And Toyota Team Up For Hydrogen Refueling Stations

It’s not every day that you’re going to hear about competing car manufacturers teaming up to do something great for the consumer. But it does happen from time to time and this is one of those cases.

Both Honda and Toyota sell hydrogen-electric vehicles — the Honda Clarity and Toyota Mirai. However, according to Driving.ca, there’s one issue with these types of vehicles, and that is how you would go about fueling them. The refueling options are limited, which can mean that the distance one can travel with these cars is extremely short when compared to gas powered cars.

Hence why both companies are moving forward with trying to install hydrogen fuel-cell infrastructures in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Jean Marc Leclerc, the Honda Canada Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing stated: “For Honda Canada, this investment in hydrogen infrastructure is about supporting progress in clean mobility options.” He also mentioned that “In the short term, this investment will create an environment where we can continue to test our products and educate Canadians on the vast potential of hydrogen-powered vehicles today, knowing that mass adoption could take some time.”

This is seen as a good thing as the main obstacle preventing people from making the switch to electric or hydrogen-electric vehicles is minimal infrastructure for refueling (or re-energizing). This is why many individuals prefer the traditional combustion engine car as opposed to the hydrogen-electric one, there are just more gas stations than there are hydrogen stations.

With that in mind, one of the reasons this is being done is to help achieve Honda’s goal of reducing greenhouse gasses in a significant manner by the year 2030.  Honda, on the other hand, has been at this for a little while already, in fact, their lineup of vehicles has some of the lowest emissions in the industry.

All in all, it’s clear that Honda and Toyota want to improve the world of cars by introducing more sustainable options. While Honda has got large goals set in place, it doesn’t really mean that their goals are going to be reached just yet since they need to fight the battle of educating the consumer about it, as well as showing results in all areas of development — especially refueling.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we’ll be glad to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Jan 19

How Would A Fuel Ban Work

 Many people believe that an outright ban on vehicles that use petrol or diesel will result in less pollution. As a result, the United Kingdom plans to ensure that all new vehicles are at a zero emission standard by the year 2040.

As reported by the BBC, the ban on these specific types of transport vehicles is due to a few reasons. Chief among them being poor air quality, resulting in roughly 40,000 premature deaths per year. This in turn placed the British government in a position where they had to come up with a plan to try and lower the high levels of nitrogen dioxide — one of the hazardous gases emitted by vehicles.

While it may sound like the ban covers every car that makes you fill up at the pump, that simply isn’t the case. Hybrids, a car that can use both gas and electric forms of energy, will not be included in the plans.

The British government believes that the ban would effectively remove 15,000 of the most pollution prone diesel and petrol vehicles in the form of a car scrap scheme. This means that the worst of the bunch could be taken off the road in as little as one years time. However, in order to make this initiative an attractive one (and one that would see widespread adoption), drivers would be given £8,000 (~$10,351 USD) to allow them to purchase a more environmentally friendly vehicle. The total cost of the entire campaign would amount to roughly £110m (~ $142.3 million USD).

While the entire project is great for the environment, the overall impact to the planet will be incremental. Looking at it on a macro level, it’s estimated that the car scrap plan could help reduce gas emissions by a mere 0.02%.

Despite the low reduction in gas emissions, an additional plan would involve the implementation of a clean air zone (CAZ) in the most polluted towns and cities. This would have the power to lower emissions by blocking certain vehicles from going into the zone or imposing a daily tariff on drivers of these specific vehicles. This means that someone would either need to pay to use a specific car type while being in the CAZ, or they wouldn’t be allowed to drive in the CAZ at all. However, all signs point to the government not wanting to impose this, despite it having the potential to reduce emissions by around 18%.

Whatever the case may be, it’s clear that at least in the United Kingdom, the future of both diesel and petrol powered vehicles is not entirely certain.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many, many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we’ll be glad to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Jan 18

Firms Starting To Look Into Electric Vehicles As The Future

The world of electric vehicles (EV) seems to be getting some more attention from manufacturers who are traditionally dealers and creators of combustion engine vehicles.

According to the BBC, Ford is said to be putting in $11 billion by the year 2020 to create a lineup of forty cars that are both hybrid and electric. What this means is that consumers might see a slight shift towards the hybrid market and as technology improves, perhaps, an entirely reliable and electric car.

Even Cadillac, owned by General Motors has plans to come up with a new electric vehicle architecture. This seems to be a new design for the vehicle type since Steve Carlisle, who’s the Cadillac president claimed that the design would essentially allow for battery packets to fit into the car in the same manner as “ice cubes fit into a tray”.

In terms of Cadillac, there wasn’t much of a time-frame for it all. So, we might all see this in two years or in a decade. GM’s chief executive Mary Barra apparently talked about making Cadillac GM’s flagship brand for the vehicle type. If this was to happen it’d be a unique take on a brand that has traditionally remained gas powered and is actually known for having high end gas powered vehicles. In short, this would be a take on Tesla since they’re currently the best option if someone is eyeing a high-end electric vehicle.

All this means that the world could soon see two things. The first is a new form of electric vehicle since there seems to be a want for more innovation in the sector. Some of those would be sports utility vehicles (SUVs), which have been a tool for car companies to rely on in their efforts of restructuring. The second would be new competition, which is actually a good thing since it forces companies to make the best and cheapest possible product that consumers would enjoy.

Despite all of the talk, it doesn’t mean that there are working models of everything just yet. You see, many of these devices are works in progress, this means that they’ll likely get better with time as issues are solved.  With that in mind, there was one SUV that appeared at the Detroit Auto Show. It was the Infiniti QX Inspiration, a fully electric SUV concept, but it unfortunately stalled and was unable to drive itself on stage.

Better software. Better support. Better value. For over thirty years, Bluebird Auto Rental Services has been supporting its many happy customers around the world. Our flagship product, RentWorks, provides all the tools you need to run every aspect of your car rental business or service loaner department from the front counter to the back office.

Call us today toll-free at 800-304-5805, or email us at sales@barsnet.com and we’ll be glad to walk you through Bluebird’s Auto Rental Services.

Sep 19

Bluebird Puts Car Rental in the Palm of the Renter’s Hand

Your customers can now book, rent, and return vehicles with no need for any rental staff to be present with the Bluebird PaaK (Phone-as-a-Key) Mobile App.

 

 

PaaK is a branded/private label mobile app that offers the following features:

– Customers can make reservations without needing to go to your website

– Branded/private label mobile app with your own company logo and information

– Inclusion in the Apple and Android Mobile App stores (again, with YOUR logo)

– Complete Back-end Telematics, including the ability to transmit the fuel level and odometer reading to RentWorks

– Vehicle locator on the phone map

– Damage reporting

How does it work?  A small black box, called the Telematics Control Unit (TCU),  is installed into each vehicle.  It doesn’t matter if the vehicle has a push-button start or requires a key.  The TCU is very easy to install as it simply connects via one cable (or two for non-push-button starters) to the vehicle’s ODB Port.  Then smartphones communicate directly to the TCU via lightning fast Bluetooth.  This allows the PaaK to work in areas when cellular network is down or where no mobile cellular system is available, e.g., ten floors underground in a parking garage.

Are you ready to save money on staffing and still satisfy your customers all day and night? Reach out to Bluebird today at 973-989-2423 to find out more about PaaK.

Jul 26

Go Paperless with Electronic Signature Pad

Are your file cabinets overflowing? It’s easy to go paperless with the electronic signature pad for RentWorks.

Electronic Signature Pads Eliminate Need for Paper

There’s no need to use all that paper for signed rental documents. It takes up far too much space in your office. In addition, it’s much more environmentally friendly to stop using so much paper. Why kill trees if you don’t have to?

With the electronic signature pad available for use with RentWorks, paper documents can be a thing of the past.

Here’s how the pad can help your rental business.

  • The large screen electronically captures your customer’s signature upon check-out.
  • You can also prompt the pad to accept or decline additional coverages or features, like insurance, GPS, or satellite radio.
  • The signature pad stores the images electronically. This eliminates the need to save hard copies.
  • The pads can program all necessary wording to display on the screen to meet legal requirements.

The minimum system requirements for an electronic signature pad are RentWorks 4.1 and the Web Client.  Remote Desktop Protocol/RDP via Terminal Services will not work with version 4 Signature Pads. Only one signature pad can be used per workstation, along with the appropriate user level software license.

For more information on how to get electronic signature pads for your workstations, contact Bluebird today at 973-989-2423.

 

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