Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Automobile Capital of the World?

Scout Motors South Carolina factory rendering
    Scout Motors future factory, Blythewood SC Image couresy of SCOUT motors


Let's play a little game! WHERE do YOU think is the automobile capital of the world? 

What's fun about this game is that EVERYONE IS A WINNER, there is no specific definition of "auto capital of the world", so any answer is OK. Let's go. 

How about Germany, the home of the first automobile by Mercedes? They've got Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, and Porsche also. Maybe they're not all made in the same city, but hey, they've got lots of beer and schnitzel too!

One answer most of us in the USA might say is Detroit Michigan, long time home of our Big Three of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. But, Chrysler was bought out by FIAT, which was then merged with some French makers, and now falls under the Stellantis brand. I'm still waiting to see some Stellantis company Lancias, Vauxhalls, and Citroens here in the US, but I guess I'll have to wait. 

OK, how about another answer: China! Number of automobiles sold by country is lead by China, so pick a factory or two and narrow it down to a specific city, or just stick with China. In 2022, there were 10 MILLION MORE cars sold in China than the US. They have a lot more people too, so I think China is the winner in this race!

Also, India has a huge population, and their auto sales continue to grow, now the 4th biggest auto market in the world, following China, USA, and Japan. Tata Motors sold over 10 Million vehicles last year, not bad!

Looking to the future of electric cars, maybe Tesla is the big dog in the room, so let's name their home factory in Fremont California as the world's capital, out there by San Jose and San Francisco. 

I have a new entry for you, and to be honest this is what inspired this post, and that's the center of the automotive world is now...



The big news is that the VW funded brand Scout (like the old US brand International Scout pickups) will be built in a brand new gigantic factory in the original home of NMS-North,  Blythewood SC. Combine this with the enormous BMW factory in Greer SC (the largest BMW producer in the world), a Mercedes Sprinter Van factory near Charleston, PLUS the only Volvo factory in the USA (also in Charleston), then throw in the associated suppliers like parts/tires/robots industry, and you have a LOT of autos getting built in the Palmetto State. An electric line of SUVs and pickups with the SCOUT name could be a big seller, judging by the return of other names from the past, like the Chevy Blazer, Ford Bronco, and heck even the new Ford Maverick pickup! Here's one article on the Scout facility: 


Tuesday, March 28, 2023




The NMS-South designed CONEAVORE t-shirt has returned and is now for sale TODAY ONLY at the following link: 

Friday, March 24, 2023

New Car Search


While every single day it's fun to think about cars, NMS is seriously thinking about buying a new car. Heck, maybe two! The bottom line is that it is usually cheaper to buy a good used car, but with the economy going the way it is, some recent model used cars are hardly any cheaper than their brand new versions. 

Anyway, the main point for me is to look at what do you need your vehicle to do? If you need to haul your tools and plywood or drywall, you likely need a full size pickup with an 8 food bed. If you need to haul your 10 kids, then you might be shopping for a 12 or 15 passenger van. At the heart of the matter, a car or truck is an appliance that helps you get something done. Despite that, well, it would be fun to buy a used NASCAR race car (RACECAR, the world's greatest palindrome forwards and backwards!)  too, but that wouldn't be the most practical way to go get groceries and grab lunch at Burger World. Or the Big Kahuna Burger if you are a Quentin Tarantino fan.

So one side of the NMS garage, we've been very happy with our 2011 Toyota Camry. Other than tires, one set of spark plugs, and new brakes/rotors, we've only had to replace some shocks and suspension parts, which is probably to be expected at 170,000 miles. We're looking at upgrading a bit, but sticking with the Toyota company, and maybe going hybrid to increase fuel economy. Lexus is their fancy brand, and the make several SUVs, so we're looking into the smallest/cheapest one, the Lexus UX. Or a Corolla hybrid, who knows?

The UX for 2023 only comes in hybrid, and gets a combined MPG of 42. Taking a test drive will help make the decision. Shoot, with a 12 years newer car it's probably got all kinds of fancy tech that we've never had, like Apple CarPlay, and all those warning/safety things. 

On the Cayman side of the garage, we're holding onto this car, but thinking about another vehicle for everyday driving. Again, I'm leaning to the hybrid side, and believe it or not, the Ford Maverick hybrid small truck looks like the pending winner in this horse race. It's got a small bed, but room for 4-5 people, and is one of the cheapest hybrids available. Speaking of prices, it still amazes me how expensive all cars have gotten, with the average retail price of new vehicles in the US now hitting $49,388 according to the folks at Kelly Blue Book. Dude, that's 50 G's!!!! The NMS budget is under that, and the hybrid mileage especially around town should fit us just nicely thank you very much. The cheapest XL model Maverick is around $24,000.

OK, the Lexus UX and Ford Maverick don't have huge back seats, and won't tow 7,000 pounds, but for the two of us we don't need those features, so we're looking forward to a little car shopping later this year after the HQ moves to SC.