By Ken MacQueen - Friday, December 21, 2012 - 0 Comments
A hero in a Hummer and other lifesavers in the past year
Say what you will about the Hummer, that ungainly beast of a motor vehicle can be a lifesaver in the right hands. On Aug. 31, Darrell Krushelnicki, a 46-year-old energy-company worker in Fort Nelson, B.C., sacrificed his 2006 Hummer H3, at no small risk to himself, to stop a speeding car from slamming into four young pedestrians on an Edmonton crosswalk.
It was 4:30 p.m., and Krushelnicki, in Edmonton to visit his family, was exiting the Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre parking lot. Traffic was stopped for three teens and a three-year-old child on a crosswalk with amber lights flashing. Krushelnicki was edging the Hummer out onto the road to make a left turn when he noticed a grey Pontiac speeding down the street, the driver allegedly talking on a cellphone. Krushelnicki edged out further, but it was clear the driver was oblivious to the kids on the road.
“He was accelerating, and I had to make a decision, I felt, and that was to stop the vehicle,” he later explained. He gritted his teeth, braced for impact and drove directly into the path of the car to shield the young people. There was a loud bang, a clatter of debris, and the two vehicles skidded to a stop just feet away from the stunned foursome, who had been unaware they were even at risk. “If it wasn’t for that guy, I’m pretty sure I would be dead,” a shaken 15-year-old Janice Marett told a CBC interviewer. “He could have died if it hit the wrong way. He risked his life for four kids he didn’t even know. It’s amazing.” Continue…
By Jason Kirby - Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 1 Comment
But will people refuse to spend once things improve? Plus what do you get when you mix a deep recession with Miley Cyrus?
Meet the Walkers. They’re the latest embodiment of the culture of thrift said to be sweeping America. And their story, after it was reported a few days ago in the Washington Post, lit up the Web as another sign that things truly have changed. You see, the old, conspicuous Walkers used to travel to the Caribbean, shop at Nordstrom, and tell friends all about their consumer exploits. Now, with money tight, Seigrid Walker has found joy in flaunting her frugality. They stay in, eat pizza, and watch Madagascar “over and over again.” Forget about keeping up with the Joneses. It’s all about keeping up, or is it down, with the Walkers.
Since the recession began, thrift has been touted as the new black. It’s more than a matter of trendspotting. Consumers make up 70 per cent of the U.S. economy. Any recovery is wholly reliant on them getting back into the malls. So when analysts tell us Americans are simply unwilling and unable to spend any more, the implications are dire. But there’s a huge gulf between unwilling and unable, and a recovery hinges on which one is truly the case.
By Colin Campbell - Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 8:00 AM - 36 Comments
As GM files bankruptcy, a look at who’s to blame and what’s next for the U.S. auto industry
UPDATE (June 1, 2009): General Motors, the once proud icon of U.S. capitalism, filed for bankruptcy Monday. In the following piece, published last November in Maclean’s, Colin Campbell navigates through the rise and fall of the U.S. auto industry. In doing so, he identifies what went wrong at GM and explains whether the car company is even worth saving.
In hall No. 5, tucked far away from the main action at the high-profile Paris Motor Show last month, visitors who looked hard enough would have found the booth belonging to General Motors Corp. Those who went to the trouble—and not many did—were disappointed with what they found.
Paris was the place GM had decided to raise the curtain on a critical piece of its future in a world increasingly focused on efficiency and economy—the Chevy Cruze. The Detroit company is pinning its hopes on the lightweight Cruze to lure car buyers in Asia, Europe and North America away from bestsellers like the Honda Civic. Yet there were none of the usual showbiz trappings at its unveiling: no models leaning against the hood, no rock-concert special effects to usher in the age of the Cruze. Just a plain white stage and the car itself: a conventional, even understated, four-door family sedan. It “had all the pomp and circumstance of a Tuesday,” noted one auto critic. Perhaps it was just as well then that few journalists bothered to show up.
Most automakers look to the Paris show to highlight their next small, fuel-efficient wonders. It’s a science fair disguised as a car show. Mercedes-Benz and BMW were unveiling their first hybrids. Nissan snagged attention with its tiny Nuvu. Hyundai brought along its new mini-car, the i20. But at GM’s second-floor exhibit, visitors were confronted by a collection of massive Hummers and a hulking Cadillac Escalade. “This was emblematic of GM,” says Maryann Keller, an independent auto analyst who has covered the industry since the 1970s. “Here’s this show dedicated to small cars, new technologies, electric vehicles. Why, to Paris, would you bring Hummers, the Escalade and a Camaro? What planet are you on?” Continue…
By Jason Kirby - Friday, July 25, 2008 at 5:35 PM - 0 Comments
There’s never been a worse time to try to sell a used Hummer. On…
There’s never been a worse time to try to sell a used Hummer. On Wednesday the New York Times Wheels blog looked at the deluge of Hummers available on Craigslist, and the steep price cuts sellers are having to swallow in order to unload their 3-ton, gas-guzzling beasts. Now the B.C. government is trying to sell a tripped out Hummer that police seized from a Vancouver Island drug dealer. And judging from the auction so far, it’s not going well either.
As the picture shows, this ain’t no typical Hummer. According to a press release, the 2003 H2 has “Lamborghini-style hydraulic doors, a $16,000 custom audio system with four huge rear-facing speakers, a navigation system, and TV screens mounted in the front headrests of its beige leather seats.” Perfect for those long stretches between drug deals in Comox and Duncan. Along with a second SUV, a relatively plain 2002 GMC Denali, the government pegs the combined value at $60,000 and says the money will go to support community projects.
Good luck getting that kind of dough. So far the auction (you need to register to see it) has garnered a top bid of just $20,600, yet according to a pricing calculator at VMR Canada an H2 with similar specs (not including the TVs, custom stereo and wigged out doors) is worth $29,375. There’s still 11 days left in the auction, mind you, so maybe there’s someone out there who doesn’t care that it’ll cost $140 to fill up the tank. Besides, when all those Prius drivers flip you the bird, you can be assured your money went to a good cause.
By Colin Campbell - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 at 11:02 AM - 0 Comments
The oil crisis continues: General Motors announced today that it will close four North…
The oil crisis continues: General Motors announced today that it will close four North American assembly plants including its pickup truck factory in Oshawa. It’s also thinking of selling its Hummer division (Hummer, official brand of the conspicuous consumer). With gas prices so high, demand for trucks and SUVs, the bread and butter of U.S. automakers, is plummeting. The National Post describes the dramatic decline in sales of SUVs here. And let’s not forget the ongoing fallout in the airline industry. It now costs $68,948 dollars to gas up a Boeing 777 in Toronto. With expenses like that, the International Air Transport Association says the industry will lose $2.3 billion this year. Ouch.