Getting Your Car Ready for winter

Getting Your Car Ready for winter

With frigid winter weather on the way for a large portion of the country, it pays to make sure your car is ready. The rigors of ice and snow can really take a toll on your vehicle. Here are some maintenance issues to handle before the first flakes fall.

A Tire Inspection

Your tires are what keeps you on the road in bad conditions, so you will want to check their condition and pressure before cold weather comes. You can insert a penny into the tread and see how much remains—make sure it goes in as deep as Lincoln’s head. The pressure can be checked at any gas station with an air machine, and you can add air at the same time, if needed. Should you live in an area that experiences a lot of snow, you may also want to consider getting a set of snow tires for more traction.

Change the Oil

Colder weather causes oil to get thick, so you will need to change out the summer-weight oil for something thinner. Your operator’s manual can advise you as to the proper type and weight to use in colder weather.

Wax the Entire Vehicle

Salt and other compounds used to treat the roads are corrosive, and sand and ash used for traction can create scratches in the paint. By carefully waxing the entire vehicle, you are applying a barrier that will seal and protect the paint and any exposed metal. This will help avoid scratches and rust.

Check or Change Your Antifreeze

Your antifreeze does exactly that in cold weather, but sometimes people top off the reservoir with water in the summer. The mix is supposed to be an even 50/50 split between antifreeze and water. Any additional water in the system can lead to freezing, which will damage your engine and rack up an enormous repair bill.

Check All Belts and Hoses

The rubber used in belts and hoses can become brittle in cold weather, so make sure they are in good condition. Also check the clamps for any sign of corrosion.

Taking the time to prepare your vehicle for winter will make for a safer driving experience and a worry-free holiday season. As always, consult your mechanic if anything doesn’t look right on your car or it isn’t operating properly.

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Company NewsGeneral

AutoZone to Join Penske Racing in 2014

AutoZone to Join Penske Racing in 2014

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (November 5, 2013) – Penske Racing announced today that AutoZone will join the organization as an associate sponsor for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

AutoZone and Penske Racing will embark on an extensive business-to-business relationship as the company’s logo will be prominently featured on the C-post of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion driven by 2013 Chase driver Joey Logano beginning next season. AutoZone will also work with other Penske Racing partners to increase its presence in the racing community. In addition, the Memphis, Tenn.-based company will launch a marketing campaign focused around Penske Racing and Logano.

“We are very excited to welcome AutoZone to the Penske Racing family,” said Roger Penske. “We take great pride in the companies like AutoZone that invest in our organization. This partnership will help us continue to grow at Penske Racing and provide an opportunity for the rest of our partners to work with yet another great company in Auto Zone.”

AutoZone is the nation’s leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories with more than 5,000 stores in the US, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Each store carries an extensive line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured hard parts, maintenance items and accessories. Since opening its first store in Forrest City, Ark. on July 4, 1979, the company has joined the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: AZO) and earned a position in the Fortune 500.

AutoZone has an extensive history in motorsports, including various sponsorships in NASCAR, powerboat racing and regional racing series around the country. This marks the automotive company’s first sponsor relationship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

“When you decide to enter into an agreement like this, you want to work with a company that everyone respects and that’s what Penske Racing is, especially in the motorsports world,” said Bill Rhodes, President and CEO of AutoZone. “We are all really excited to form this new partnership with Roger Penske and his first-class organization. Already from the beginning, they’ve made us feel very welcome. And to get to work with an up-and-coming driver and a car guy like Joey Logano is about as good as it gets.”

Logano, who is in his first season driving the No. 22 Ford Fusion for Penske Racing, has posted career-high numbers in 2013 with one win, two poles, 11 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes. He qualified for his first Chase for the Sprint Cup this season in his fifth full-time year competing in the series. Logano has also won three races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013, giving him a total of 21 wins in the series since 2008.

“It’s pretty cool to see a new company come into our sport and to get involved at the level that AutoZone is planning to do next season,” said the 23-year-old Logano, who won at Michigan International Speedway earlier this season. “To have a company come in and be really excited about working with you and your team, it really makes you feel good. Having Auto Zone on board starting next season is great for our sport and Penske Racing and it makes me want to go out there and win even more races for them.”



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Company NewsGeneral

Penske & Alvernia Team Up for MBA

Penske & Alvernia Team Up for MBA

Penske Truck Leasing and Penske Logistics are partnering with Alvernia University to offer a Master of Business Administration degree. Alvernia, a 3,000-student, 121-acre private institution in Reading, Pa., is bringing its MBA professors to Penske’s global headquarters in Reading, Pa., for a program that begins Oct. 23. The two campuses are separated by 4.3 miles.

According to Penske senior trainer Colleen Kunkle classes will meet weekly and the 17 enrolled students are expected to earn their degrees in three years (the number could increase to 20 by the time classes start). The program follows a cohort model: students start collectively and graduate together.

Penske associates will receive a discounted tuition rate.

Of the 17 students, 13 are employed by Penske Truck Leasing and four from subsidiary Penske Logistics.

Six associates work in a finance capacity, while the rest support the company’s supply chain, fleet services, truck vehicle maintenance, used trucks, quality and information technology groups.
Cilia Torres is a project manager for Penske’s used trucks product line where she works with the company’s vendors and its various sales channels. She earned a criminal justice bachelor‘s degree from Alvernia and has been with the company for nine years.

“I was researching various MBA programs and I thought that this was a great option,” she said. “Having the program here at Penske gave me the push to start now.” Torres is also pursuing her Six Sigma black belt certification.

Kevin Bender has spent 13 years in the supply chain industry, earning a bachelor’s degree in business logistics, with an operations management minor, from Penn State University. He has been with Penske for a little over a year as a manager for carrier relations, involved with the company’s third-party logistics transportation network.

“I was looking to enter a graduate program for a number of years,” Bender explained. “This is a good program for family life and work balance – I have two small children at home. I feel like this is the last piece to help me get to the executive level.”

Penske Truck Leasing HQ While Penske spends millions on training each year for the company’s 18,300 global associates, and has a long history of promoting educational and developmental opportunities to their associates, this is the first time they have partnered with a university to bring classes directly to their associates.

“I would call this relationship with Alvernia another progression of our learning efforts,” explained Ken Hurley, Penske senior vice president of human resources. “We promote high levels of learning and career development here at Penske. At every level of the organization there are opportunities for our associates to learn, grow and develop – both personally and professionally.
“As a company we care about our associates and one way we do that is by showing an interest in their personal and career growth through our tuition assistance program,” he stated. “Programs like this are a great way to help develop the next generation of Penske leadership talent.”

Penske has a long-time relationship with Alvernia and has employees who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the school.

Alvernia has offered its MBA program on locations at other area companies. Its business faculty conducts regional leadership and training seminars.

“We really believe that partnerships like this are important for professionals in the community,” said Daria LaTorre, Alvernia dean of graduate and adult education. “If we can make it easier for Penske employees to gain a career advantage with minimal impact on their busy lives, then it’s well worth the effort.”


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GeneralIndustry News

Palo Alto to require electric car charger pre-wiring in new homes

Palo Alto to require electric car charger pre-wiring in new homes

The city of Palo Alto, in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, is already on the cutting edge of modern technology, as the home of Tesla Motors, Hewlett-Packard and Stanford University. It also has large facilities run by Facebook, Apple, Google and PayPal. Outside of the private sector, though, there’s not a lot to distinguish Palo Alta from other very wealthy ZIP codes.

A move is in the works to change that, though. According to both the San Jose Mercury News and Green Car Reports, all nine members of the Palo Alto City Council voted to change the city’s building code, requiring new homes to feature pre-wiring for 240-volt, level two, in-home chargers. It tacks on about $200 to the overall cost of a new home, which as Green Car Reports notes, is a mere fraction of what retrofitting would cost.

The city council also voted to streamline the process of obtaining a permit to install a fast charger. “It is important that we create the infrastructure necessary to allow [electric cars to catch on]. In Palo Alto, of all places, we should absolutely do that,” Council Member Marc Berman told the San Jose Mercury News.



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GeneralIndustry News

Apple iTunes Radio Chooses Nissan as Exclusive Automotive Launch Partner

Apple iTunes Radio Chooses Nissan as Exclusive Automotive Launch Partner

Apple, Inc. recently launched the iOS7, which is an enhanced version of the original iPhone operating system and can now interface not only with iPhones, iPads and iPods, but the new Apple iTunes Radio as well. The iTunes Radio functions in the same manner as Spotify and Pandora; it is a free radio that lets users choose their own stations and create personal playlists of their favorite genres and songs. Additionally, iTunes Radio listeners have the ability to purchase any song they listen to since the songs are linked to the iTunes store.

To help launch iTunes Radio, Apple chose Nissan as its first automobile launch partner. Just as the free versions of other Internet radio stations contain advertisements, iTunes Radio will also have advertised content and much of it will be Nissan-specific. New models will be featured and Nissan will use iAd, a marketing ploy that allows advertisements to be directly inserted into various apps. The exclusive partnership also means that users will be privy to unique video as well as audio content on all of their Apple devices: the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV and Mac.

Nissan, now partnered with Renault, is the sixth largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Its original vehicles were called Datsuns, which enjoyed huge popularity, particularly their line of trucks. Today they have a wide variety of car models, including a luxury model line called Infiniti and an electric model called LEAF. The new exclusive partnership with Apple’s iTunes Radio is bound to exponentially raise awareness for the Nissan brand even without the exclusive and targeted Nissan ads on the radio stations. Apple, Inc., after all, is one of the most recognized brand names in the world with millions of customers who already have intense brand loyalty to all things Apple.

The new iOS7 technology that fuels the iPhone Radio will initially be available in the 2014 Nissan Rogue compact SUV, the all-new 2014 Nissan Versa Note and the hot-selling Nissan LEAF electric vehicle. These are currently the only vehicles in the world that will play iTunes Radio in the car.

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5 Best Cars for Tall Drivers

5 Best Cars for Tall Drivers

Motorists come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, tall drivers often have a difficult time finding a car that has enough room for their long legs or lengthy torsos. Here are the five best cars for tall drivers.

2013 Cadillac XTS
For decades, Cadillac has treated tall drivers to a tremendous amount of interior room. The 2013 Cadillac XTS continues the tradition by delivering a premium luxury car that suits the dimensions of a tall driver. With almost 46 inches of legroom available, the XTS has one of the most spacious driver’s seats in its class. Prospective buyers will love its responsive V6 engine and slew of high-tech amenities.

2013 Kia Optima
The 2013 Kia Optima has all of the attributes that tall drivers seek. Not only does the sleek sedan provide a comfortable seating position, but it also has one of the best values in the segment. For tall drivers that are looking for a quick sports sedan, the available SX model with its turbocharged engine and sports-tuned suspension will fulfill those desires.

2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
This luxurious German sedan is sculpted just right for a tall driver. Its powerful V8 engine has enough power to induce a sly smile during hard acceleration. If you are a tall driver that is in the market for a well-crafted driving machine, then the S-Class may be just what you need. The available amenities are also second to none on the car market.

2013 Hyundai Sonata
Sharing the same platform as the Kia Optima, the Hyundai Sonata also has plenty of front-seat space. The Sonata packs quite a punch under the hood, especially when equipped with the available turbocharged engine. The best part is that all of the trims still get over 30 mpg during highway driving. Tall drivers will be able to maneuver behind the wheel of the Sonata with no issues.

2013 Hyundai Azera
The Hyundai Azera offers some of the best luxury features in its class. It is surely an affordable alternative to some of more expensive nameplates on the market. Its smooth ride and superb warranty make the Azera such an intriguing choice. Tall drivers that are looking for a bargain luxury sedan should not hesitate to put the Azera on their radar.

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GeneralIndustry News

Nismo Smartwatch Concept Tracks Both Car and Driver


While Samsung is out touting its wares in the smartwatch category, an unlikely colleague is sharing the attention in the emerging market. Nismo, Nissan’s racing development team, has taken the idea of a smartphone watch and fine-tuned the technology to aid and improve the driving experience. The challenges that face Nismo in this concept watch are instantly clear. In a vehicle, the real estate to house any technology — no matter how complex — is readily available somewhere in the car. Can Nismo really pack impressive and useful features into a wristwatch?

Staying “Connected” … to the Road

The language of connectivity has infiltrated our lives. It is only natural that developers of technology proceed down the path of increasing connectivity. So how can this smartwatch improve on the driving experience through enhanced “connectivity”? The press release shows the screen of the watch alerting the driver to icy conditions in the road. Will the driver need to take their eyes off the road and a hand off the wheel to read that warning?

Luckily, no. The watch is able to connect via Bluetooth. However, reading the press release, it is hard to find a feature in this watch that is not already available in most new cars. The only feature the watch can possibly offer that is unique is a reading of the driver’s heart rate. While that is a fun feature to show your friends, it is not something that any driver will rely on. The unimpressive list of features for the watch include reading and displaying fuel consumption, average speed and performance data.

Nissan invented a system to monitor and display that — and much more — when they released the GTR. That system, modeled after features from the best-selling video game franchise “Gran Tourismo,” is still revolutionary. It is also displayed right in front of the driver on a beautiful touchscreen. Why wouldn’t Nissan just redesign a slightly less expensive central display that utilized that technology? That system recorded everything from g-force to tire pressure. It literally is the epitome of keeping the driver connected to the road.

Funding Wearable Technology the Enzo Ferrari Way

“Wearable Technology” is a broad category that has been around a long time. It’s also the only category that is perpetually experimental. Nissan’s marketing director Gareth Dunsmore says that wearable technology is growing fast and they want in. Great, but then the three key technologies they point to for further development are all geared towards improving Nissan’s racing team. Dunsmore claims this watch was created to “enhance” the experience of “Nismo ownership.” But it’s reminiscent of Enzo Ferrari’s motivation to sell road cars; he did it only to fund his race team. Since the Nismo driving team stands to gain the most, the motivation may not be far off.

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Company NewsGeneral

Keselowski Wins the Richmond Race


Brad Keselowski, driving the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang, won the race held at Virginia 529 College Savings 250. It was Keselowski’s fifth victory of the season in Hertz colors and 11th win for Ford in 2013. This is the first year of the team’s partnership.

Keselowski started the race, which was held on the night of September 6, 2013, at the fourth position. He worked his way into the bottom line after giving up several spots during the initial laps. This is the preferred line on the Richmond International Raceway, known as the victory lane.

He made his first pit stop at lap 69, where Jeremy Bullins, the chief crew, adjusted the air pressure and track bar. Keselowski had earlier radioed Jeremy that the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang was tight in the center but loose on the exit and corner entry. By the time he made another pit stop at lap 135, he had worked his way into the top five cars.

Brian Scott was in the lead for most of the race in his No. 2 racer, but Keselowski eventually passed him at lap 240 during a late-race restart. He again held Scott at lap 245 and cruised to the win.

When Scott was asked about the race, he said Keselowski was involved in a questionable restart. However, Keselowski responded that the restart box was a zone, and they had gone right at the start without giving Scott a second to catch up.

Asked what it meant to win the 1,000th nationwide series race, Keselowski said he was still too close to the race to understand it well. He said the question could only be answered well with the benefit of hindsight.

Explaining that it was a great honor to win such a distinguishing race, Keselowski appreciated every member of the No. 22 Hertz Ford Mustang team. He gave Jeremy more credit than himself for positioning them where they had a very fast car, particularly during the last few runs. He said that whether he was making passes or restarts, he was simply making executions as everything came together for the team.


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