Car Culture

Car Culture

The National Association of Manufacturers released its Outlook Survey for the third quarter of 2023, which registered the lowest level of optimism among NAM members (65.1%) since Q2 2020, as the sector continues to confront a tight labor market, unbalanced federal regulations and critical policy debates in Congress. 

“Manufacturers continue to be challenged in today’s economy, but what this survey makes clear is that unbalanced federal regulations are harming families and communities, with nearly two out of three manufacturers reporting that the regulatory burden is preventing them from hiring more workers or increasing pay and benefits,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Congress and the administration can help correct this trend by restoring sensible regulations, enacting further permitting reforms, taking action to keep our tax code competitive and other bipartisan steps to strengthen manufacturing in America and build on the progress we achieved with tax reform, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act and more.”


Key Survey Findings:

  • Only 65.1% of respondents felt positive in their company’s outlook, edging down from 67.0% in the second quarter. It was the fourth straight reading below the historical average (74.9%).
  • Concern about an unfavorable business climate was the highest in six years (Q2 2017). 
  • The survey found that 69.1% of small manufacturers, and 63.2% of all respondents, would hire more workers or increase compensation if the regulatory burden decreased.
  • More than 70% of manufacturers would purchase more capital equipment if the regulatory burden on manufacturers decreased, with 48.6% increasing compensation, 48.6% hiring more workers, 42.5% expanding their U.S. facilities and 38.4% investing in research. 
  • The top challenges facing manufacturers include attracting and retaining a quality workforce (72.1%), weaker domestic economy (60.7%), rising health care/insurance costs (60.1%), unfavorable business climate (56.7%), increased raw material costs (45.5%) and supply chain challenges (37.8%). 

The Detroit Auto Show announced that Malcolm Gladwell, author of six New York Times bestsellers, will be the featured speaker at the Detroit Auto Show’s new Mobility Global Forum on Sept. 14 at Huntington Place in Detroit. The Forum is a two-day event featuring powerful perspectives from thought leaders and CEOs in mobility, design and technology. The Mobility Global Forum is Sept. 13-14, and the Detroit Auto Show is Sept. 13-24.

Gladwell is the author of “The Tipping Point,” “Blink,” “Outliers,” “What the Dog Saw,” “David and Goliath” and “Talking to Strangers.” He has been named one of the 100 most influential people by TIME magazine.

“We’re extremely pleased to launch the first year of our Mobility Global Forum with a phenomenal best-selling author who has taken the business world by storm,” said Detroit Auto Show Chairman Thad Szott. “Mr. Gladwell’s presentation, together with the incredible roster of speakers we have planned over two days, will provide a compelling look at the dynamic world of new mobility and our place in it.”

In addition to Gladwell’s featured presentation, the Mobility Global Forum will include a powerful speaker lineup of 30+ top executives and industry experts from numerous mobility and technology companies.

A complete schedule of all presentations will be released soon.

Thomas Bowler has been promoted to Director of U.S. Retail Operations at Ziebart International Corp., a worldwide leader in premium automotive appearance and protection services. 

Bowler first started at Ziebart in 2016 as a Product Sales and Technical Support Specialist. He most recently served as a Regional Sales Manager for the last three and a half years, working closely with Ziebart’s franchise owners. After spending years gaining extensive knowledge of Ziebart’s sales process and coaching franchise owners on day-to-day operations and providing regular support, Bowler said he looks forward to extending his skillset to include the corporate side of the Ziebart umbrella.

“I’m thrilled to be offered this incredible opportunity to take on more responsibility and accountability within the Ziebart brand by leading our corporate stores,” Bowler said. “My number one career goal has always been to grow with a company that takes care of their people – and that’s exactly what I’ve found with Ziebart.”

As Director of U.S. Retail Operations, Bowler will oversee Ziebart’s 11 corporate-owned stores, handling all of their day-to-day operations, while leading the charge on decisions for the stores, and working with store managers to help continue to move sales in a positive direction.

Ford Motor Co. continues its commitment to support the 28th annual Woodward Dream Cruise as presenting sponsor for the sixth consecutive year. Each year, around 1.5 million people come out to enjoy more than 40,000 cars ranging from muscle, street rods, custom builds, collector cars, and special edition vehicles. This summer’s Woodward Dream Cruise is set to be held on Saturday, Aug. 19.

“It’s incredibly special to celebrate Ford’s 120th Anniversary with Henry Ford’s first race car along with our entire portfolio to help power the Woodward Dream Cruise,” stated Bryan Guldi, Ford U.S. branded activations manager. “Collaborating with the Woodward Dream Cruise is very important to Ford Motor Company because we strive to contribute and give back in meaningful ways to the communities where we live, work… and cruise.”

A 1970 Plymouth Cuda at the Woodward Dream Cruise, Detroit, MI.

To pay homage to one of the classic pony cars, the all-new Mustang Dark Horse is depicted in this year’s official 2023 Woodward Dream Cruise logo. Debuting this summer with its updated looks and sleek design, all while maintaining the manual transmission, Ford has outdone itself once again with a modern twist to a classic. In addition to the Mustang Dark Horse, Ford will also be spotlighting the Bronco Raptor and its off-road, adrenaline-inducing prowess capable of pure adventure. Keeping up with the eco-conscious times, the all-electric, zero-emission F-150 Lightning will be making another appearance at this year’s event.

“The Woodward Dream Cruise is an event that not only brings together the Michigan car community, but also families and friends from around the country,” said Michael Lary, president of the Woodward Dream Cruise.



Auto impresario Don Williams often said he wanted to “touch every great car in the world,” and in the process of doing that—buying and selling, collecting, and sharing great cars— Williams touched a multitude of car people, too.

“Friendship is the glue that connects the car world globally,” said Sandra Button, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Chairman. “The word ‘friend’ doesn’t seem like a big enough word to describe Don and his influence on the whole of the collector car world. But it describes exactly what Don was: a friend to all.”

Williams shared his cars at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for over 50 consecutive years. Image: Kimball Studios/Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Now Williams’ friends want to pay tribute to him by funding a program that trains underserved youth to be mechanics and restorers.

The idea to remember Williams in this manner emerged in a conversation between Button and her husband, Martin, along with Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson and his wife, Carolyn, the auction company’s chief philanthropy officer.

“Don was a beloved member of our Barrett-Jackson family and the collector car community as a whole,” said Craig Jackson. “For five decades, Don was a vital part of our auctions. A trusted advisor, we shared a love for restoring cars and it’s an honor to make this donation in his memory as we fuel the growth and prosperity of this hobby that Don loved for generations to come.”

The Buttons and the Jackson Family Foundation have made substantial contributions to bring this idea to life—and they invite others to join them.

Their teams went in search of the best recipient for these funds—and found it in an emerging program focused on collector car restoration at Rancho Cielo, one of the Pebble Beach Concours charities. Rancho Cielo was founded in 2000 to provide education, workforce training, counseling, and a variety of services to youth that have not done well in traditional school systems and communities.

Corewell Health Foundation – Southeast Michigan announced that the Feldman Automotive Group, in partnership with Mark Wahlberg, will once again be the title sponsor of the Feldman Automotive Children’s Miracle Celebrity Invitational.

The Invitational will take place Aug. 28th at the Detroit Golf Club. All proceeds benefit Children’s Miracle Network at Beaumont Children's and the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation. The goal is to raise $1.5 million this year.

The Feldman Automotive Children’s Miracle Celebrity Invitational is Metro Detroit’s largest celebrity golf event, featuring more than 50 national and local celebrities. Jay Feldman, chairman/CEO for the Feldman Automotive Group, is also part of the event committee.

“We got involved with Corewell Health because giving back and helping children is important to me and my family,” Feldman said. “It is gratifying to see so many celebrities, whose presence drives participation, get behind this event to help our cause.”

The Invitational provides a full day of golf on the premier courses of the Detroit Golf Club and hospitality. New this year is the debut of the Golf Ball. This after-golf cocktail party and strolling dinner gives guests the opportunity to mingle with the celebrities attending and bid on over-the-top experiences.  

A snapshot of some of the participants joining Jay Feldman and Mark Wahlberg and Mark’s brothers Robert, Paul and Jim include local celebs like Michigan State Basketball Coach Tom Izzo to actor/comedian Kevin James and boxing great Evander Holyfield, among many others.

Support for Children’s Miracle Network at Beaumont Children’s provides life-saving services, vital pediatric equipment and funds for patient scholarships given to families unable to afford needed care. The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation will utilize funds to improve the quality of life for youth in Detroit, Boston and nationwide, by providing financial resources and community support to youth services. 

The University of Aftermarket, through Northwood University, is accepting registration for this year’s Leadership 2.0 series.

“Leadership 2.0 consists of robust discussion and learning related to the challenges and opportunities confronting the automotive and heavy-duty aftermarket,” stated Dr. Thomas Litzinger, executive director of the University of the Aftermarket and the industry chair for aftermarket education at Northwood University.

The Leadership 2.0 experience includes a blend of industry research and market analysis, lively discussion and debate on the challenges confronting the light vehicle and heavy-duty aftermarket, competitive strategies, interpersonal communication skills, contract negotiations, conflict resolution, organizational culture, cyber-security best practices, insight into supply chain solutions, and other challenging and evolving industry topics and trends.

The program Leadership Development 2.0 is designed for mid-level to upper-level managers who want to enhance and develop their leadership skills. 

“Professionals searching for direction and guidance on how to become a better leader, develop enriched communication, people skills, assess improved cyber-security, and supply chain, sales management, and organizational culture techniques should attend this series,” Litzinger added.

Leadership 2.0 is facilitated by Northwood faculty, senior aftermarket executives, and industry leaders. The program is comprised of two, five-day sessions. Session I is conducted at Northwood University’s Midland, Michigan campus at the Sloan Family Building for Aftermarket Studies. Session II’s location is to be determined at this time.

Students who complete this course will be able to: 

  • Discuss the current and emerging trends within the automotive and heavy-duty aftermarket.
  • Identify strategies to distinguish their organizations from the competition and dominate the marketplace.
  • Debate best practices associated with cyber-security and supply chain governance.
  • Compare the challenges connected with creating a vibrant organizational culture.
  • Define values, beliefs, and behaviors.
  • Debate methodologies surrounding conflict resolution and contract negotiation.
  • Prepare team projects.

The series starts with Session 1 from Aug. 20-24 at Northwood University, 4000 Whiting Drive, Midland, Michigan.

The cost is $6,650 per attendee, including tuition, materials, snacks, and lunch. Students who complete the course will earn seven continuing education units (CEUs) toward their automotive professional designation.

To learn more, visit the course webpage HERE. The deadline to register is today, Aug. 11.

President and CEO Tim Zilke and senior vice president of communications Trish Serratore have retired from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. The transition to new leadership began today with Dave Johnson taking on the role of president and CEO designate.

Johnson brings over 30 years of automotive industry experience to ASE. He previously served as global director, service engineering operations at Ford Motor Company where he led all vehicle repair support activities.

On Jan. 1, Johnson will assume the title and responsibilities of ASE president and CEO upon Zilke’s retirement, and Donna Wagner will transition from assistant vice president of the ASE Education Foundation to the role of vice president of industry and media relations for ASE.

Zilke joined ASE in 1991 and was promoted to president and CEO in 2008. Serratore joined ASE in 1988 and was promoted to senior vice president of communications in 2008. She served six years as president of the ASE Education Foundation, and in 2017, rejoined ASE as senior vice president.

“I am honored to take on the mantle of leadership of this important industry organization,” said Johnson. “I look forward to working with the great ASE staff to serve our technicians, service providers and vehicle owners while communicating the amazing mission of ASE.”

Two New Jersey firefighters lost their lives and five others were injured fighting a fire Wednesday night on a docked cargo ship carrying more than five thousand vehicles, Newark Fire Chief Rufus Jackson said at a news conference on Thursday. The fire broke out on an Italian-flagged cargo ship, the Grande Costa d’Avorio at the Port of New Jersey.  

The ship, built in 2011,  is owned by one of Italy’s leading ship owners, the Grimaldi Group. The company specializes in the maritime transport of cars. Grimaldi Deep Sea said in a statement that the fire had broken out on the ship’s 10th deck when it's 28 member crew and local dock workers were completing the loading of more than 1,200 new and used cars, vans and trucks bound for West Africa. The ship had arrived several days earlier after loading vehicles at the Port of Baltimore.  

Around 5,000 vehicles were on-board the cargo ship that caught fire. 

Responding firefighters found five to seven vehicles on fire on the 10th floor when they arrived on scene around 9:30pm Wednesday.  The firefighters,  Augusto “Augie” Acabou, 45, and Wayne “Bear” Brooks Jr., 49 were lost when the blaze quickly engulfed the 11th and 12th floors creating an intense heat that pushed the firefighters back. 

The Grimaldi Group statement said the cause of the fire is unknown, but it will investigate in cooperation with authorities. The company said the crew immediately activated on-board fire suppression procedures and that no electric cars nor hazardous cargo was on board, no fuel spills have been detected, and the stability of the ship has not been compromised.

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of two Newark firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” N.J Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.


Six of Carvana’s Top 10 mid-year best sellers were sedans, signaling that affordability and accessibility are critically important to customers when shopping the used vehicle market.

Of the tens of thousands of vehicle purchases customers made on so far this year, the 2023 Mid-Year List of the Top 10 best-sellers in order of units sold follows:

  • Honda Civic
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Nissan Altima
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Ford Mustang
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Accord

“Our 2023 mid-year sales data suggests that consumers shopping on are looking for efficient, cost-effective, and reliable options,” says Brian Boyd, senior vice president of inventory at Carvana. “Over half of our mid-year list consists of sedans, which clearly indicates to us what our customers are looking for, but also helps to set Carvana apart in what we offer regarding vehicle accessibility.”

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