What exactly is happening in Nova Scotia? Is Michelin North America really looking to expand its Waterville plant? Is another major manufacturer moving into town? Perhaps another company wants more plant floor space? Or is it all just much ado about nothing?
For months, provincial and Kings County officials have been meeting and discussing and considering something significant, which apparently involves relocating an entire airport to make way for this something. Super tight lipped, they are, leading to an excessive amount of good old-fashioned speculation.
Except that Michelin’s Waterville plant property is hard against the Waterville Airport property. And except that the tiremaker has made some interesting comments in the local press. Such as, “We want to be able to prepare the Waterville site for any potential opportunities that could come in the future,” from Michelin North American (Canada) president Deana LaBlanc.
Except for those things, it seems nothing is really going on. Nothing to see here people, please move on.
Except the province has launched a full-blown $100,000 study on the impact of moving the entire Waterville Airport.
Certainly there are other firms that would stand to benefit if the airport wasn’t where it currently sits, so Michelin’s participation is no sure thing. And even if the airport is moved apparently that won’t be too difficult it is unclear if the government would sell or lease the open land, and under what terms.
Still, the locals are hopeful, with visions of thousands of new jobs in the heads.
“There’s certainly a lot of chatter in the community about the possible expansion and what that could mean to the county and to the province,” Kings County Warden Diana Brothers said. “I'm very much hopeful that there’s an expansion.”
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We all agree that in these tough times people are holding onto their vehicles longer and longer.
But when it comes to repairs, which states are the least expensive and the most costly?
According to a recent survey by online repair estimator CarMD, folks living in Indiana paid the least for the average repair, while Wyoming residents paid the most.
CarMD claims it analyzed some 160,000 repairs made on vehicles with "check engine" light problems in 2011.
“In Wyoming home to two of the top 10 most visited national parks motorists paid 17% more than the U.S. average for overall repairs, including 19% more for labor and 15% more for parts. Drivers in Indiana paid the least at $283.95 per transaction,” CarMD said.
Joining Wyoming as the top five most expensive states for car repair:
2 - Utah
3 - California
4 - Montana
5 - Arizona
But digging into the data a little deeper, CarMD found, “harsh weather and high altitude may wreak havoc on vehicles. Another factor in Wyoming's ranking is its more remote locations with widespread and reduced access to parts and people to service vehicles, which results in motorists' tendency to put off smaller repairs. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that catalytic converter repairs were the second most common reason the ‘check engine’ light came on in Wyoming. It shouldn't even be in the top 10, let alone ranked second. This is a very expensive repair, and often the result of putting off smaller repairs.”
Rounding out the top five least expensive repair costs were:
2 - Maine
3 - Wisconsin
4 - Iowa
5 - New Hampshire
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If you’re not fixing them, then drivers are buying new ones. And the folks at Kelley Blue Book think 2012 new car and light truck sales should roll in at 13.9 million vehicles.
While that’s not back up to pre-Great Recession levels of 15-16 million vehicles per year and well off the 14.5 million vehicle pace set through the first four months of 2012 the 13.9 million mark is better than 2011 YoY results. So there’s that.
KBB said that any continued softening in sales this year would be more reflective of normal seasonal adjustments. Or, we can assume that continuing fall-off in consumer confidence, as evidence by two major researchers, is to blame.
BTW: According to Kelley Blue Book's Market Intelligence team, the average new-car shopper owned an eight-year-old vehicle with 85,328 miles.