Pinnacle Auto Appraisers' Blog

Keeping the auto appraising industry up to date with important auto industry and appraiser information.

K-9 takes down suspected carjacker following 70-mile car chase - NBC Southern California

A suspected armed carjacker led police on a pursuit from Fontana to Santa Clarita after the vehicle he traveled in got a flat tire on the 5 Freeway.

The pursuit began in Fontana on Thursday after police responded to a report of an armed carjacking of a red Toyota Tacoma on Citrus Avenue. The driver, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, continued traveling on the westbound 10 Freeway from Fontana through the San Gabriel Valley and ultimately through Los Angeles.

While continuing to evade officers at relatively low speeds on the freeway, the driver then traveled on the 5 Freeway, arriving in Santa Clarita. It appears the truck got a flat tire from a spike strip that was deployed on the freeway, bringing the vehicle to a stop near Exit 169.

The driver almost immediately stepped out of the truck with his hands in the air and surrendered to police. Although the driver seemingly complied, a K-9 was deployed and appeared to have bitten the man on the leg. Due to the bite, a use of force investigation will be conducted as per protocol.

Police did not release the name of the driver, nor detail what charges he could face.

  7 Hits

Fear of cheap Chinese EVs spurs automaker dash for affordable cars - Reuters

LONDON/DETROIT, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The rise of inexpensive Chinese electric vehicles has upped the pressure on legacy automakers who have turned to suppliers, from battery materials makers to chipmakers, to squeeze out costs and develop affordable EVs quicker than previously planned.

"Automakers are really now only turning to affordable vehicles, knowing they've got to or they will lose out to Chinese manufacturers," said Andy Palmer, chairman of UK startup Brill Power, which has developed hardware and software to boost EV battery management system performance.

Palmer, formerly Aston Martin's CEO, said Brill Power's products could boost EV range by 60% and enable smaller batteries. The battery is an EV's most costly component.

Fears of slowing demand because EVs are expensive has increased urgency to reduce costs.

That urgency can be seen everywhere. Renault (RENA.PA) said last month it plans 40% cost reductions for its EVs to reach price parity with fossil-fuel models.

Stellantis (STLAM.MI) is building a European plant with China's CATL (300750.SZ) to make cheaper LFP batteries and recently unveiled the Citroen electric e-C3 SUV, which starts at 23,300 euros ($24,540).

Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and Tesla (TSLA.O) are developing 25,000-euro EVs.

Vincent Pluvinage, CEO of Palo Alto, California-based OneD Battery Sciences, said that on his recent visits with European automaker customers, every meeting started with the same refrain: "'Reducing costs is now more important than anything else.'"

OneD adds silicon nanowires to graphite EV battery anode material to boost range and cut charging time, saving $281 - nearly 50% - versus using graphite alone for a 100 kilowatt hour (kWh) EV battery.

This can reduce EV battery weight by 20% for the same range, Pluvinage said. General Motors (GM.N) is a OneD investor and customer.

OneD has developed a manufacturing process on relatively inexpensive machinery used in the solar panel industry, as Pluvinage said automakers dislike complex, costly new processes. OneD's first test plant will open early next year.

Hodenhagen, Germany-based Veekim has developed an EV motor with magnets using a form of ferrite, or iron powder, instead of rare earths, which five automakers and suppliers are testing for affordable EV projects.

Legacy automakers want to cut rare earths use because China dominates mining and processing. Veekim CEO Peter Siegle said using cheaper ferrite and low-cost processes - including 3D-printed copper wiring - can cut an EV motor's price by 20%. Motors can cost more than 500 euros.

It is not just startups seeking EV cost reductions.

Chip maker NXP (NXPI.O) is working with automakers to reduce the amount of electronic control units - or mini-computers - in EVs, which can number between 200 and 300, said Allan McAuslin, director of vehicle control and electrification.

Siemens (SIEGn.DE) has developed software simulation called digital twins to halve expensive EV development time.

European automakers are reacting to the arrival of lower-cost EVs from China, whose makers are planning even cheaper models.

BYD's (002594.SZ) Dolphin hatchback, for instance, starts in the UK at 26,000 pounds ($33,000), nearly 30% below the starting price for the VW ID.3 hatchback.

But U.S. automakers, somewhat protected from Chinese EV imports by subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act, also seek more affordable EVs.

GM said it has saved billions partly by developing a more inexpensive battery pack with LFP batteries for its revamped Bolt EV, which will launch in 2025, two years earlier than planned.

Ford (F.N) said it will cut costs partly through a 50% increase in "in-sourcing" of parts like batteries and inverters.

Premium automakers want lower costs for EVs, too.

Michigan-based Our Next Energy (ONE) is developing an "Ares" battery pack with cheaper LFP technology that should give automakers the same electric driving range for half the price and a "Gemini" pack for customers including BMW (BMWG.DE) that offers extended range and should cost $75/kWh compared with an average today of $130/kWh, CEO Mujeeb Ijaz said.

Suppliers said automakers particularly like less expensive parts that also reduce production costs.

San Carlos, California-based CelLink has developed a laminate sheet to replace wire harnesses - labor-intensive to make and install - that can be installed by robots.

CelLink raised $250 million from investors last year and in May announced a $362 million U.S. government loan for its Texas factory.

Since opening that plant, said CEO Kevin Coakley, "We've gotten some form of a purchase order from basically every major automaker that's come through there."

Israeli startup Addionics has developed porous, three-dimensional copper and aluminium electrode battery materials that look like sheer silk scarves when held up to the light and use far less material - including 60% less copper.

Those electrodes provide faster charging and boost EV range by 30%, CEO Moshiel Biton said. But automakers are more interested in projected savings of up to $7.50 per kWh.

"What we hear from carmakers today is, 'We don't need longer range, we want lower costs,'" Biton said.

Reporting By Nick Carey in London and Paul Lienert in Detroit Editing by Ben Klayman and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Acquire Licensing Rights, opens new tab
  9 Hits

What electric cars really cost: Your next new car will be old when you buy it - Washington Examiner

Perhaps you’ve heard that electric vehicle sales aren’t as high as the automakers and the government expected them to be. You might have also heard that EV inventories are out of control, with the average dealer sitting on over a hundred days’ worth of battery-powered stock, while many new internal combustion engine, or ICE, vehicles are impossible to get at any price. Fewer than 1 in 10 cars sold this year will be exclusively electric. This is despite lower prices at Tesla and a disturbing amount of taxpayer-funded EV subsidies.

There are many theories in the auto industry and its media to explain this slacking of EV demand, ranging from the merely fanciful to the outright deranged. But the simplest explanation is likely the best. Namely, there’s a limited number of customers for cars that cost more while offering less, and most of those customers already bought one.


A significant improvement in the abilities of electric cars, or a significant decrease in their price, could go a long way towards addressing this situation. Unfortunately, there’s no feasible technological path to better performance, at least not in the next 10 years or so, since the current crop of electric cars maximizes the physical limits of the best existing battery technology and stuffs as many pounds of these batteries as possible into each car, increasing range but compromising handling and creating an unsustainable need for mining of battery minerals. And what could possibly be done about the cost when the government is already subsidizing manufacturers, throwing up to $7,500 of your money at every possible buyer with a pulse, and, nonetheless, Ford is set to lose $4.5 billion in 2023 selling EVs at the current price?

It seems obvious, therefore, that the next car most of us buy won’t be electric after all. The same probably goes for the one after that, which is good news for those of us whose idea of a perfect vacation doesn’t include sitting at charging stations for a couple of hours every day. Less obvious and less good, but no less true, is the following: The next couple of new cars most of us buy won’t really be new.

Don’t get me wrong. That showroom-fresh Honda, Ford, or BMW you buy in 2030 or afterward won’t have any miles on it, and it won’t have empty ketchup packets under the seats. But it will feel curiously … familiar, as though it’s basically a car from 2023 or even earlier, only with a bit of window dressing on it. That’s because that’s what it’s going to be. The development of “real” cars in this country has all but come to a standstill. My contacts at the Big Three automakers from my work as a car magazine reporter confirm that not only are all future ICE vehicle programs going on the back burner as of about two years ago but also that future layoffs will come almost exclusively from those programs. If you want to keep your job, you’d better be working on EVs.

Earlier this year, Renault CEO Luca de Meo stated, "Nobody is, you know, from scratch developing a new combustion engine in Europe. ... All the money is going to electric or hydrogen technology." Some readers may imagine any improvements to the good old gasoline engine have already been made, but that’s not true. Giving up on development work on the good old gasoline engine will cost us. The internal combustion engine, particularly when paired with a Toyota-style Synergy Drive hybrid system, has significantly improved its efficiency in just the last few years, with more gains possible if someone would just put in the effort. There’s more to be done in gasoline direct injection, combustion efficiency, and hybrid economy. Yet that work isn’t being done.

Somewhat ironically, one possible pathway to an efficient ICE future is about to debut in the form of a massive 5,000-pound pickup truck. The new Ramcharger from Stellantis has a conventional V-6, but it’s not connected to the wheels. Instead, it turns a generator, which charges a battery, which then turns the wheels via electric motors. This “series hybrid” approach allows the gas engine to run at maximum possible efficiency, much like the diesels in a modern locomotive, and it’s likely to set new standards for the modern truck economy. But there’s a catch: The “Pentastar” engine that’s doing the work in this application was developed 15 years ago, and for an entirely different set of tasks. Could series hybrids be even more efficient with an engine designed from scratch around that purpose? You betcha, and not by a small amount. But it’s not going to happen.

Don’t blame the manufacturers. They’re just now recovering from COVID-related production problems, only to find themselves facing a combination of a sagging middle-class economy and interest rates that significantly affect car payments. But the government mandates to develop and build a full line of EVs continue, most recently with a dubiously legal requirement from the Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency that new car lines, on average, reach 58 miles per gallon within the decade. That $4.5 billion Ford lost chasing electric dreams? It had to come from somewhere, and the somewhere in question is ICE development and engineering.

In the next few years, the fallout will be obvious. If you want a new Chevy Camaro or Dodge Challenger, you’ll need to act fast because they’re both being discontinued with no replacement. For most vehicle lines, however, we will simply see a lack of new-generation products. It will be like the years immediately after World War II, where none of the automakers managed to introduce a genuinely new car because they’d spent the past half-decade building B-24 Liberators and Jeeps and whatnot. You’ll still be able to walk into a showroom and get a car. It just won’t differ from the car you could have gotten last year or the year before. ICE cars will be harder to get because the automakers are also decimating their production capacity in favor of new plants and lines that are EV only. Let’s hope you won’t need some sort of rationing coupon to place your order.

Expect the automakers to play along with the governmental EV fantasies until they are obviously, provably, impossible. States and the federal government are making few if any plans to generate the increased power supply they are mandating drivers will demand from the grid, much less to permit battery mineral mining on U.S. land or the sea floor. Reality, in the form of battery shortages or brownouts, will hit us like the proverbial hammer to the forehead, at which point the voters will revolt and everyone will be allowed to make a hurried switch back to ramping up production on decade-old ICE designs. This will have yet another unpleasant side effect: Chinese plants, unencumbered by labor and environmental oversight, will be able to get ICE capacity on line far faster than their Western counterparts. So your new 2032 or 2035 car won’t just be eerily similar to the one you had in 2022 but will also likely be made in China.

As tragedies go, this moronic EV development and production boondoggle isn’t exactly equal to the Dust Bowl migrations or the Great Depression. It is, however, almost certain to put a few more dents in our national character. Affordable personal transportation has been a part of the American dream since the Model T. That dream has been taken away from many people in the past few years and will be taken away from many more in the years to come. So, chances are that the worst part of buying decade-old designs out of showrooms in the future won’t be your disappointment at the performance or your resignation at the cost. It will be dealing with your odd, nagging, almost Soviet gratitude at being able to buy a car at all.


Jack Baruth was born in Brooklyn, New York, and lives in Ohio. He is a pro-am race car driver and a former columnist for Road and Track and Hagerty magazines who writes the Avoidable Contact Forever newsletter.

  8 Hits

Odometer fraud is making a comeback and could cost car buyers thousands of dollars - KSLTV

SALT LAKE CITY — Rolling an odometer used to require cracking open a car’s dashboard and spinning the numbers backwards. But now, con artists can do it with a simple push of a button.

Wendie Muhic’s story was the subject of a Get Gephardt investigation this past May. She bought an SUV that was having the sorts of issues you would expect to see on a car with a lot more miles. That’s because it has, according to a vehicle history report she pulled.

“The car actually has 180,000 miles on it and when I bought it, it had 98,000 miles on it,” she said.

Our investigation uncovered that the car’s odometer had been rolled while in Florida, and then bought and resold a few times after that. It was information that instantly cost Muhic thousands in lost car value.

“I was sick to my stomach.”

Now, new data shared with the KSL Investigators shows just how prevalent odometer fraud is. Carfax found that roughly 2.1 million vehicles on the road have tampered odometers. About 19,000 of those cars reside in Utah.

You may think that odometer fraud would go down with the arrival of digital odometers, but the data shows the opposite is true. In fact, odometer fraud is up 14% since 2021.

Josh Ingle, owner of Atlanta Speedometer, says digital odometer tampering tools used to be expensive and hard to find, but not anymore.

We found such tools selling for around $150 online.

Once connected to the car’s OBD2 diagnostic port and a couple button pushes, those tools can tweak the odometer and make the car instantly seem more valuable.

“That’s a huge incentive for scammers,” said Carfax’s editor-in-chief, Patrick Olsen.

He says on average, someone who buys a car with a rolled-back odometer loses about $4,000. To protect yourself, he touts the value of vehicle history reports. But perhaps the very best thing a car buyer can do is to have a mechanic check out the car before you buy.

“They’re going to see if shocks and struts have a lot more wear and tear to them than they ought to have for the mileage that’s on the odometer,” Olsen said.

Odometer fraud is a crime. In rare cases, the State of Utah can step in and unwind deals after the crime is discovered. But the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division says you are far better off doing your due diligence before you buy rather than trying to sort it out after the fact.

  8 Hits

China’s Electric Car Factories Are Facing a Worker Shortage - The New York Times

China misjudged the rapid expansion of its electric vehicle sector, leaving a shortfall of skilled technicians as young people shun manufacturing careers.

Several workers wearing gray uniforms sitting inside the shell of a car on a Nio production line in Hefei, China.
China’s electric vehicle market is the world’s largest and fastest growing. Credit...Qilai Shen for The New York Times

Keith Bradsher

Dec. 8, 2023, 12:01 a.m. ET

Xing Wei graduated from a vocational high school in northeastern China in 2003 and went to work as an electrician in an auto parts factory in the country’s south. The only set of wheels he could afford was a black, three-speed bicycle.

He earned $1,150 a year and shared a sweltering dormitory room with three other workers. “There was air-conditioning, but because we had to pay the electricity ourselves, we basically didn’t turn it on,” Mr. Xing said.

Two decades later, Mr. Xing, 42, makes close to $60,000 a year. He works as a senior electrician installing industrial robots at electric car factories for Nio, a Chinese automaker. Last winter, he bought a $52,000 Nio ES6 sport utility vehicle.

China’s electric vehicle market is the world’s largest and fastest growing. A frenzy of construction and expansion of factories has made electricians and robotics specialists a hot commodity.

“If you want to recruit people with relevant experience, there are relatively few people in this industry,” Mr. Xing said.

More than 1.5 million people now work at dozens of electric vehicle companies in China and their suppliers. The largest of them, BYD, has 570,000 workers, compared with 610,000 worldwide for Detroit’s Big Three combined.

As parts of China’s economy slow, Beijing needs to shift workers to sectors that are still growing fast, most notably electric vehicle manufacturing. But Beijing faces a shortfall in vocational training, as well as a surplus of young people with university degrees who aren’t interested in factory work.

Most in demand are skilled technicians and engineers like Mr. Xing. Assembly line workers at automotive plants earn less than half his salary.

Beijing estimated in 2021 that the country had more than twice as many jobs for skilled technicians as the actual number of qualified workers.

A report issued last year by the Shanghai government found that the highest-paid 10 percent of senior factory technicians earned at least $51,000 a year. Workers with these skills change jobs frequently: Before moving to Hefei in central China two years ago to work for Nio, Mr. Xing set up a stamping line in nearby Ningbo for Zeekr, a division of Zhejiang Geely.

As parts of China’s economy slow, Beijing needs to shift workers to sectors that are still growing fast, most notably electric vehicle manufacturing.Credit...Qilai Shen for The New York Times

Fueled by loans from state-owned banks and assistance from municipalities, Chinese automakers are building electric car factories faster than sales are rising, prompting a price war that has left most companies losing money. That has caused a shakeout in the industry. Nio, for example, announced in November that it laid off 10 percent of its employees. None of the cuts were in manufacturing, Nio said.

“We are already very concerned about the shortage of hands,” said Ji Huaqiang, Nio’s vice president of manufacturing.

The seeds of the labor shortage were planted years ago when the Chinese government’s economic planners failed to see the scale of the electric car boom and to train enough workers for it.

In 2016, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology predicted that the electric car industry would need 1.2 million workers in 2025, and warned that China had only 170,000 people then with the necessary skills.

To be sure, more than two-fifths of the country’s 11 million college graduates each year study topics related to science and engineering. That is double the proportion in the United States, which also has a shortfall of welders, electricians and other industrial workers.

But many of those college graduates aspire to work in white-collar jobs at internet companies and the civil service, not at factories.

For several decades, factories in China could count on a constant flow of farmers’ sons and daughters who arrived in cities and would take practically any job, no matter how dull.

One of them was Mr. Xing. He was determined as a teenager to leave his hometown, Hongshi, near China’s border with North Korea. He attended a vocational high school, where his teacher said he should look for work in southeastern China, near Hong Kong. As soon as he earned his high school diploma, he packed his bags.

In Guangzhou, he found a job at a factory that stamped out car body parts for a nearby Honda assembly plant. Whenever new equipment arrived, foreign experts connected it to laptops and made all the decisions on test runs. Mr. Xing understood little.

“I could only look at them like a dummy,” he said.

Xing Wei, in 2021, when he was the technical crew leader of stamping presses at Geely’s Zeekr factory in Ningbo.Credit...Lorenz Huber for The New York Times
Mr. Xing with his wife, Huang Caiping, and one of their sons in 2021.Credit...Lorenz Huber for The New York Times

It left a mark on him. He lived on free cafeteria meals at the factory and saved his pay, $100 a month, to buy a $1,195 IBM laptop. He studied automation on weekends through an adult education program.

The training would help set him up for a career in the electric vehicle sector. By 2019, he had bought a nearly 1,100-square-foot condo in an outlying suburb of Ningbo, 800 miles from Guangzhou. Today, his parents are living in the condo while Mr. Xing and his wife and their two sons pay $350 a month to rent a 1,300-square-foot apartment in Hefei.

The Chinese government has tried to train a generation of workers like Mr. Xing, with mixed results.

In 2014, Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, exhorted government and Communist Party officials, as well as businesses, to “cultivate hundreds of millions of high-quality laborers and technical and skilled personnel.”

But that goal has collided with the rising aspirations of Chinese parents who have shown less interest in sending their children to vocational high schools to learn the skills of an electrician, a machinist or another technician.

The number of teenagers entering vocational and technical high schools plummeted 25 percent between 2010 and 2021, the year with the most recent data. At the same time, the number of students attending academic high schools barely changed.

“Factory jobs are often associated with the ‘three D’s’ — dirty, dangerous and demeaning,” said Minhua Ling, an associate professor specializing in China’s vocational education system at the Geneva Graduate Institute. Younger Chinese “find it demeaning,” she said. “Feeling like a machine is not meaningful to them.”

About 60 percent of the Chinese population turning 18 enroll at a university. In 2000, it was 10 percent.

Companies in China have been slower than those in some countries, like Germany, to set up long-term apprentice programs to train future factory floor leaders.

“The demand rose so quickly that the education system was caught flat-footed, and it takes a few years to adequately prepare and train top-notch technicians,” said Gerard A. Postiglione, an emeritus professor of higher education research at the University of Hong Kong.

A steepening decline in birthrates adds to the urgency of the challenge.

The number of young people turning 18 each year in China has dropped by more than 40 percent since the mid-1980s. Based on the number of babies born in the past few years, the number of 18-year-olds will halve in the coming years.

China, and particularly the electric car industry, is trying to use automation to address its shortage of willing hands.

According to the International Federation of Robotics, businesses in China installed more industrial robots in 2022 than the rest of the world combined. It exceeded its biggest manufacturing rivals, Japan, the United States, South Korea and Germany.

More than 1.5 million people now work at dozens of electric vehicle companies and their suppliers in China.Credit...Qilai Shen for The New York Times
Machinery and robotics on a production line at Nio. Another of the company’s factories makes 300,000 E.V. motors a year and has a mere 30 workers.Credit...Qilai Shen for The New York Times

By 2027, Nio plans to replace half its managerial positions with artificial intelligence and a third of its factory workers with robots, said Mr. Ji, the company’s vice president of manufacturing. One of Nio’s factories makes 300,000 E.V. motors a year and has a mere 30 workers.

“All of these companies have a hard time to find blue-collar labor,” said Zhou Linlin, the chief executive of Principle Capital, a Shanghai investment firm with stakes in numerous Chinese factories. “That’s why all the companies are looking for automation and robotics solutions.”

But robots can make up for only some of China’s growing demand for factory technicians.

Volkswagen is hiring for a new research center near Nio, in Hefei, that will staff 3,000 engineers to develop electric cars, and it is preparing to build electric cars there.

That means even more demand for specialists like Mr. Xing, who already has trouble filling his own team of electricians. “We are also constantly recruiting,” he said, “and we are not able to recruit suitable, relevant personnel.”

Li You and Joy Dong contributed research.

Keith Bradsher is the Beijing bureau chief for The Times. He previously served as bureau chief in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Detroit and as a Washington correspondent. He has lived and reported in mainland China through the pandemic. More about Keith Bradsher

  8 Hits

Free Review:

If you are looking to increase your insurance coverage on your vehicle, the insurance company may require you to obtain a certified auto appraisal.   If you have a custom car, truck or motorcycle, the insurance company won't pay you more than book value. Get a stated value appraisal to cover money spent customizing your vehicle.  Have a collector or exotic vehicle?  Book value does not justify the vehicle value  In case you are in an accident, have a certified auto appraisal done.  Contact us today for a Free Evaluation!

aston martin2 dbs carbon black pinnacle auto appraiser appraisal dimished value

Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Will Professionally Evaluate Your Vehicle!


Pinnacle Auto Appraisers prides itself on quickly handling large amounts of vehicles. We routinely handle fleets for: vans, trucking, limousine, shuttle, buses, SUV, corporate, taxi, dealership, clubs, rental, and delivery companies. We handle large national chains, small family businesses, and car club appraisal(s).

fleet vehicle truck car van bus suv limo limousine rig shuttle pinnacle auto appraiser appraisal dimished value

Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Offers Quality Fleet Appraisals!


If you were involved in an accident and the insurance company deemed your vehicle a total loss, we can help.  If you don't agree with the insurance company's offer, you have the right to hire an independent certified appraiser to determine the actual cash value of your vehicle.  Our certified appraiser will go to the vehicle location, conduct the inspection and complete a certified total loss appraisal on your vehicle.  Total loss claims do require a negotiation phase which we will take care of for you at no additional charge!

aston martin3 dbs carbon black pinnacle auto appraiser appraisal dimished value

Let Pinnacle Auto Appraisers Help After A Crash!


Our Appraisers are repair shop and car club fanatics! We enjoy when local and national clubs invite us out to their local gatherings. We offer an appraisal discount that lasted all month. We love everything that has an engine and drives on the road. We do our best to help everyone in need of an appraisal!

car club corvette sport tuner custom pinnacle auto appraiser appraisal dimished value

Pinnacle Auto Appraisers - We Value Car Clubs and Repair Shops!