Car Culture

Car Culture

In celebration of Hot Rod Magazine's 75th anniversary, The Hot Rod Power Tour Driven By Continental Tire will be heading southeast to Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee visiting five cities over five days in June. More than 6,000 cars and trucks of all years, makes, and models will be on display for tens of thousands of automotive enthusiasts. The tour will feature over 1,000 miles of driving, with high-octane events such as drag racing, autocross and live entertainment. Spectator tickets are free at each tour stop with online RSVP.

2023 HOT ROD Power Tour Locations:

  • Day 1: Monday, June 12 – Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga.
  • Day 2: Tuesday, June 13 – South Carolina State Fairgrounds, Columbia, S.C.
  • Day 3: Wednesday, June 14 – Rockingham Speedway, Rockingham, N.C.
  • Day 4: Thursday, June 15 -- zMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.
  • Day 5: Friday, June 16 – Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn.

Steven J. Pully has been appointed to the Board of Directors of RumbleOn Inc., a technology-based powersports platform, effective May 11. Pully has served on over 35 boards over the course of his career across a wide range of industries, including retail, entertainment, manufacturing, technology, and energy and power.

Pully’s appointment follows a number of corporate governance enhancements recently implemented by the RumbleOn Board to bolster its diversity and expertise. He replaces Peter Levy, who recently resigned from the board. Pully will serve on the Audit Committee of the Board.

Pully is a Founding Partner of Speyside Partners, a Dallas-based investment banking and restructuring advisory firm, the part-time Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Harvest Oil & Gas, and Chairman of EverView. Pully is also a licensed attorney and Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas and is a CFA Charterholder.

“I’m excited to join such a fast-growing and innovative company and to help RumbleOn expand its business and unlock even greater value through the successful execution of its strategy,” Pully said.

In the week ending May 6, the U.S. Department of Labor reported the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 264,000, an increase of 22,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 242,000. This is the highest level for initial claims since October 30, 2021, when it was 264,000. The 4-week moving average was 245,250, an increase of 6,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 239,250. This is the highest level for this average since November 20, 2021, when it was 249,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.2 percent for the week ending April 29, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 29 was 1,813,000, an increase of 12,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised down by 4,000 from 1,805,000 to 1,801,000. The 4-week moving average was 1,829,500, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised down by 1,000 from 1,828,250 to 1,827,250.

Bankruptcy filings rose slightly for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2023, but new bankruptcy cases remain sharply lower than before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, total filings rose 2.0 percent, to 403,273 new cases, compared with 395,373 cases in the previous year.

Business filings increased 9.9 percent, from 13,160 in March 2022 to 14,467 in the newest report. Non-business filings rose 1.7 percent, from 382,213 in March 2022 to 388,806 in March 2023.

This year’s 12-month filing total for the quarter ending March 31 is slightly more than half of the total reported in March 2020, when the pandemic disrupted the U.S. economy. That year’s 12-month total was 764,282.

TopMark Funding, a funding destination for commercial vehicles, opens 2023 with strong originations in the first quarter. The company set its all-time record for funded transactions in March 2023. This contributed to a 22% increase in funded transactions in Q1 FY23 when compared to Q1 FY22.

TopMark Funding, LLC is a funding partner for dealerships.

The increase in funded transactions is both the result of last year’s focus on growing valuable relationships with dealers by offering attractive solutions for their wide range of client needs and growing the salesforce through the addition of senior finance professionals, the company reported. TopMark continues to build by investing in technology and senior commercial vehicle specialists to fund more transactions. TopMark’s investment has decreased the average approval-to-funding time by more than 20% year over year.

In Q1 2023, TopMark Funding opened its second West Coast office located in Long Beach, Calif.

Personal income increased $67.9 billion (0.3%) in March, according to estimates released w2aqwsqby the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Disposable personal income (DPI) increased $71.7 billion (0.4%) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $8.2 billion (less than 0.1%).

The PCE price index increased 0.1 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 0.3%. Real DPI increased 0.3% in March and Real PCE decreased less than 0.1%; goods decreased 0.4% and services increased 0.1%

The increase in current-dollar personal income in March primarily reflected increases in compensation, personal income receipts on assets, and rental income of persons that were partly offset by decreases in proprietors’ income and personal current transfer receipts. The increase in compensation was led by private wages and salaries=-.

Mobil 1 presents the 2023 Hot Wheels Legends Tour starting May 13 in Miami, featuring live, interactive shows across 17 different countries. Custom car builders around the world can enter for a chance to have their passion projects reimagined in 1:64-scale as the next Hot Wheels Garage of Legends inductee.

The Hot Wheels Legends Tour, now in its sixth year, continues to grow, including new additions of France and Italy, making this year’s tour the largest so far. The United States will host nine regional events across the country, which culminate in the Mobil 1 Rally and Legends Fest on October 7 at the brand’s headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. As in past years, both the Global Semi Final on November 2 and the Global Grand Finale on November 11 will be presented virtually, so fans around the world can tune in to watch as the 2023 champion is crowned.  

Craig Meaux from Nederland, Texas won Hot Wheels Legend last year.  

“More than 10,000 incredible cars were entered in last year’s Hot Wheels Legends Tour and this year we’re expecting even more as the Tour continues to grow,” said Ted Wu, vice president and global head of design for vehicles, Mattel.

The U.S.-based regional events will return to Walmart stores and feature interactive analysis and coverage from the onsite hosts. Each stop will include activities for fans of all ages including a Power Wheels racing track, RC Races, a preview of the new Hot Wheels Rift Rally and play spaces where kids can interact with the latest toys.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Hot Wheels on the Legends Tour, bringing auto enthusiasts together across the globe to share their passion projects,” said Ryan Allen, brand & partnerships manager of North America, on behalf of Mobil 1.

Upcoming North American Tour dates include:

  • May 13: In-Person Event at Walmart in Miami, Florida
  • May 20: In-Person Event at Walmart in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • May 27: In-Person Event at Walmart in Atlanta, Georgia
  • June 10: In-Person Event at Walmart in Detroit, Michigan
  • June 24: In-Person Event at Walmart in Chicago, Illinois
  • July 8: In-Person Event at Walmart in Houston, Texas
  • Sept. 9: In-Person Event at Walmart in Dallas, Texas
  • Sept. 23: In-Person Event at Walmart in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Oct. 7: In-Person Event at Hot Wheels Headquarters in El Segundo, California
  • Nov. 2: Global Semi Final (Virtual)
  • Nov. 11: Global Grand Finale (Virtual)

Since its launch in 2018 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour has grown from an America-based series of local Walmart events across the United States to the world’s largest traveling car show, bringing in builders and automotive fans through both virtual and live events. 

 KAR Global has named Brad Lakhia EVP and Chief Financial Officer. Lakhia will be responsible for leading all financial and reporting functions across KAR, as well as investor relations and the company’s capital investment strategy. Lakhia also joins KAR’s executive committee and will report to KAR Global CEO Peter Kelly.

“We are committed to delivering the very best possible results for both our customers and our stockholders,” Kelly said. “Brad is a skilled financial operator who thrives in a data-rich environment—a great fit and advantage as KAR extends our leadership as a digital marketplace company.”

Lakhia brings more than 25 years of experience including treasury, financial planning and analysis, business development, mergers and acquisitions, and operational finance within large and complex companies.

“I’m delighted to join KAR at such a momentous time in the company’s transformation, and deeply admire the company’s clarity of vision and purpose,” Lakhia said.

Lakhia holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Case Western Reserve University and is a non-practicing CPA. He will be based at KAR Global headquarters in Carmel, Ind.

Vehicle Acquisition Network’s new Learning Center was launched to support dealerships to ensure that their employees are adequately trained and equipped to handle new challenges.

The center is built within the VAN Engage platform, that will provide partners with 24/7 access to training resources. It’s a significant development for the company and its dealership partners, enabling them to access training support at their convenience to enhance their skills and knowledge.

“VAN is constantly striving to bring best-in-class tools, technology and training that will enable our dealership partners to become more productive, efficient and profitable,” said VAN’s COO, Mark Curcio. 

The new learning resources will be available to all customers through the VAN Engage platform and offer various features to make learning easier and more accessible. These features include: a user-friendly interface, ensuring easy navigation; a wide range of training topics that help to improve a user’s overall efficiency and effectiveness; accessibility via various devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, enabling users to access training materials at their convenience, regardless of location.

Hyundai Capital America appointed Marcelo Brutti as president & chief executive officer, effective April 3. He will report to Ross Williams, executive vice president, head of global business division and head of Hyundai Capital Americas Region. 

“I look forward to working closely with Marcelo to focus on strategic growth initiatives, best practice sharing, and regional alignment and coordination,” Williams said. “I have no doubt that HCA will continue to thrive and build on its continued successes under Marcelo’s strong leadership.”

“HCA has a wonderful team that Ross and his fellow leaders have built over the years,” Brutti said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead HCA into the future and partner with our strong dealer network to grow the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands.”

Most recently, Brutti served as chief risk officer for City National Bank. He also chaired the bank’s Latino Community Network.

During his previous tenure at HCA from 2016-2019, Brutti served as HCA’s CRO. He helped launch new programs and strengthen residual values, established HCA’s Enterprise Risk Management program, and took on expanded responsibility for Hyundai Capital Canada as CRO.

Brutti holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and business management from Washington College and received an MBA degree from Florida Atlantic University in finance.

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