Welcome to 2019

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Photo by Randy Stern

Welcome to 2019!

We hope you made it through the New Year unscathed. Our headquarters had its share of strange weather through the holidays. We had snow, then rain, more snow, icy conditions, a brief warmup, then more snow, and culminating in near-to-sub-zero temperatures.

That's what you get for living and working in Minnesota.

At this point, I should be looking forward to a lot of positive things happening in 2019. I do have a few things planned for content, event coverage, and other opportunities for you. If we concentrated on these items alone, it should be a very good year.

However, there had been some clouds forming towards the end of last year. It was not just the weather patterns we experienced here in the Twin Cities. We saw stocks in the USA drop in December to its lowest levels since the Economic Crisis of 2008. Ford posted a loss of $1 Billion in October caused by tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration. General Motors announced the closure of five plants in North America, along with the cancellation of six models across three brands by later this year. Ford will also eliminate at least two car models this year, as well.

The tariff issue remains one of the biggest worries in the automotive industry going into 2019. Though there some progress on a tariff deal between the USA and China, there are concerns about the price of materials to build automobiles, whether they are sourced in the USA or not. The fear is that we will see the cost of tariffs and related materials reflected on the price of automobiles – and the bottom line of every automaker in the USA. Let's not forget the new trade deal that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement that was agreed to a few months ago and how that will change the automotive business between the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

The problem of trade and tariffs is not just a North American issue. The deadline for the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union is less than a few months away. One would hope there is a deal between the two parties regarding trade, tariffs, and borders. One story already circulating has Jaguar Land Rover expecting losses to deepen after Brexit comes into play with at least 5,000 jobs on the line.

These are not the things you want to discuss at the onset of a new year. However, these are issues that have to watched carefully as the year moves forward. Their impact on the industry is something that cannot be ignored. I will be following these storylines as they unfold throughout the year.

There are many stories I still want to cover aside from these issues I brought up here. There are many new vehicles I could like to work with and talk about. They embody their own storylines. Without stating the names of these vehicles and their storylines, let's just say that you will be entertained with what I will come up with at every review and story they should yield.

Travel is will also play a role on this site, as well. Expect some very interesting stories from the road to fill this site – even as soon as a week-and-a-half from now. Stay tuned for this very interesting journey in due time.

I could tell you what else is brewing right now, but I rather surprise you. The element of surprise is more of an invitation to read all about it.

If you're ready for the New Year, stick with me. We'll go through the motions together.

Again, welcome to 2019.

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