Welcome to Must Read, where we single out the best stories from around the automotive universe and beyond. Today we have reports from Wired, Gothamist and Details.
Service departments are important for car dealers. And with more and more automakers trying various ways to keep you from taking your car to an independent shop, there's new concern over Tesla's service strategies. But actually, Tesla isn't doing away with taking your car in. They're just making it more reasonable to keep up with regular servicing.
The first and most striking way Tesla kills the dealer service department cash cow is downloads. As part of its sales pitch, Tesla says you should think of its Model S sedan as "an app on four wheels." That may sound like vacuous Silicon Valley marketing copy, but the company isn't just being metaphorical. Software is at the heart of what keeps Teslas running. These internet-connected cars are designed to self-diagnose their problems. The vehicles can also download software fixes or updates — even new features — much like an iPhone when Apple puts out a new version of iOS. When fixes happen over the air, there's no need for a shop in the first place.
Willets Point has long been a collection of auto shops in Queens, but it's scheduled to change following a move last year to redevelop the area. Now there are more looks into why that deal was done.
Why was the Bloomberg administration so eager to push through a deal that will install yet another mall in Flushing, only blocks away from the just-completed Skyview Parc, a mall that is home to the same low-wage chain stores that will soon grace the entrance to Flushing-Meadows Park? One reason is because the City has long disdained the independent, somewhat unregulated auto businesses operating near a major sports stadium. Another reason, and one of the least remarked upon, is Bloomberg's cozy relationship with the owners of the Mets, his friends the Wilpon family. Mets owner Fred Wilpon (and, by extension, Citi Field) has teetered on the brink of ruin since the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme fell apart—in addition to taking a financial hit when Madoff went down, the Wilpons were accused of being complicit in Madoff's scheme.
Go ahead, look at some hot 25-year-olds. Cars, that is. From Brett Berk, here's a list of really expensive stuff that's finally legal to bring over.
For years, the United States deemed these foreign cars off-limits—because they were never here in the first place, they didn't conform to our safety and emissions standards. Drivers who wanted to import their own rare classics risked losing their insurance and even doing jail time if they were caught—and the cars would be confiscated and crushed. There's a little-known red-tape workaround, though, called the 25 Year Rule: It simply means these models are officially of age.
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