Workforce

Volvo covering the cost of tools, training for new service techs

The Volvo Technician Tool Program will provide much-needed tools to automotive technicians who normally have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy their own.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Training to be an automotive technician has one large monetary obstacle for many - tools. In addition to paying for training and certification, most name-brand car retailer employers also expect technicians to own their own set of repair tools. Combined, training and tools can cost upwards of $20,000.

The Volvo Technician Tool Program eliminates that cost by providing technicians free and permanent access to the tools they need to do their jobs.

Volvo Car USA has worked with Wurth Tools to assemble a 72-piece set of hand and cordless tools that will enable service techs to get off the ground with their career. Volvo estimates the tools will allow them to perform 80 percent of their jobs they would encounter at a certified Volvo Car Service Center.

Volvo Technician Tool Program Retailers are responsible for the tools and will replace missing and broken equipment.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Tools are organized and stored in a custom locking cabinet installed by the retailer, who is responsible for maintaining and replacing individual pieces.

"The Volvo Technician Tool Program (VTTP) addresses one of the biggest challenges facing the automotive industry: the need for more technicians," said Scott Doering, Vice President, Customer Service at Volvo Car USA. "With this initiative, we see substantial value delivered to our retailer partners, especially given the nominal VTTP investment relative to the cost of recruiting or replacing a technician."

"We have spent the last six months validating these toolsets in our in-house workshop and our technicians' feedback has been resoundingly positive," Doering said. "We expect retailers will feel the same."

Earlier this year, Volvo announced a hiring initiative aimed at U.S. military veterans. The company's Veteran Technician Careers Program U.S. military veterans as well as National Guard and Reserve members, for careers as Volvo Quality Level Technicians and Volvo Hybrid Specialists across its U.S. dealership network.

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Electric vehicles

NHTSA looking into Tesla's in-car video games

Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game console youtu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3 Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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Insurance company Hagerty compiled a list of cars it thinks will climb in value and price.

Hagerty

Vehicle prices have grown across the board this year, but collector car prices have been on the move for years. The world of online car auctions and car shows such as Radwood have driven attention to obscure and otherwise unknown cars, pushing their prices. Insurance and overall automotive lifestyle company Hagerty is stepping in to help. It complied a list of vehicles that it believes are currently a good value and have potential to climb. The Hagerty Bull Market List covers ten vehicles of all types.

Hagerty’s list is expansive, covering several vehicle types, prices, and time periods. The list features vehicles built between 1963 and 2012, and is designed to nudge people into buying cars before they become unattainable. This is especially important now, as online auction sites have moved the markets for some previously obscure cars well past the point of reason.

The Bull Market List isn’t intended to give you an inside track on car values so that you can flip them for quick profit. Instead, the list should give you the push you need if you’re already on the fence about buying a car to keep and drive a cool vehicle. Hagerty wants people to buy the cars and have the ability to pass them on to other enthusiasts without charging exorbitant prices.

The Bull Market List includes (with excellent condition pricing):

  • 1965-1970 Cadillac DeVille ($28,800)
  • 1969-1974 Ferrari 246 Dino ($365,800)
  • 1983-1997 Land Rover Defender ($61,400)
  • 1979-1985 Mazda RX-7 ($17,600)
  • 1962-1967 Mercedes-Benz 230SL ($80,500)
  • 1963-1967 Pontiac GTO ($100,200)
  • 1992-1995 Porsche 968 ($38,000)
  • 1985-1995 Suzuki Samurai ($10,200)
  • 2008-2012 Tesla Roadster Sport ($97,000)
  • 1975-1993 Volvo 245 ($15,800)

If you’re considering one of the vehicles on the list and have the means, it’s a good idea to act in the near future. Vehicle prices are rising due to supply chain shortages to the point that even older cars are climbing. That, plus the effects of online car auctions, have made it hard to find a good value car.

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