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Car Trouble

car loans

Last week the New York Times ran an interesting article about cars fitted with the so-called starter interrupt device.

Many might know that some cars have an engine cut off switch that can be remotely operated. If someone steals your car you might be able to track it and turn the engine off if you have forward thinkingly fitted one. But they are becoming more commonly used today on cars that are sold with lease or debt payment.

And it is extremely simple, I sell you the car and as long as you repay the debt or lease charges the vehicle is yours to do what you will, and drive where you like. But if you miss a payment, I can remotely track your movement and at the moment I see fit I can block the car.

So one morning, you have not made the payment on Friday because you are on holiday, you go out to take your child to school, or the dentist, or the hospital because she is sick, and the car won’t start.

Now I would agree that if you want a car you should pay for it, and that if you don’t keep up payments you may lose it, but there are other knock on effects to using such technology in this way. Of course there is the problem that you might block a car that would be used in an emergency situation, like the one suggested above. But the effect of having such a ready resource in reclaiming the car may lead you to sell it to someone who might have difficulty repaying the loan. If you knew that you might have to first find the car, send a car transporter out to recover it and incur some time and financial interference, you might think twice about selling it to someone with a bad credit rating and precarious situation.

If you know you can just track the car, block it when it is in a good place for you to collect, and always know where it is, then who cares? Give them the car and get it back later.

These devices are currently fitted on about 2 million cars, and the article states that their use is helping to push the use of sub-prime auto loans. I am no financial guru but I have heard a lot of talk and read a lot about sub-prime mortgages, and they don’t get good press.

So even if we put aside the issue of privacy, as the lender can see your every move (I put it aside because if you carry a mobile phone you are in the same boat), there is the problem of physical security in case of malfunction, data protection and of course dragging people into high rate loans and all the associated black market dealings that go with debt. But we should not forget that this technology also means that people who would not be able to buy a car can get hold of one, and people might accept the device if the choice is that of car with device, or no car.

High rate loans are justified because they are high risk, so I might argue that if you take the risk out of the loan then the rate should drop, this does not however seem to be the case (surprisingly).

Read more on the argument through the link to the New York Times above, and let me know in the comments section if you have any experience.

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Using vehicle tracking to save your business money

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Vehicle tracking systems save companies money by giving managers tighter control over their assets and their employees. Adding remote asset management to a fleet of vehicles allows managers to closely track the movements of each company vehicle and the employees it contains, making sure everyone and everything is always on track.UK motorway night-times

Companies that eliminate the waste of idle working and idling vehicles save money on both fuel and labour costs.

The savings start during rush hour. When a vehicle tracker indicates that a vehicle isn’t moving, staff at the company’s base can go to work, locating an alternate route that can put the vehicle back in motion and back on the path toward meeting the day’s performance goals.

Without the GPS tracker, the driver might not be inclined to admit to the traffic slowdown, instead telling managers the call simply took longer than expected.

Getting the vehicle and the worker moving again saves both fuel and labour costs.

If workers at the company’s headquarters determine the traffic jam occurs regularly, they can avoid sending vehicles in that direction at that time of day. That means the company will never waste fuel or labour hours on that traffic hotspot again. The savings continue at break time.

Drivers who are entitled to a break while away from the office are not necessarily at liberty to use the company car to run private errands, and they likely will not be doing that any more if they know a vehicle tracking system is in place. The car stays where it should, which saves the fuel that the driver would have wasted.

After trackers have been in use for a while and employees have adjusted their habits, companies often notice a bump in productivity and sometimes even a reduction in labour costs.

As headquarters-based employees analyse GPS tracker data and identify inefficiencies, even the smallest lapses in routing or driving can be corrected, improving productivity and preventing fuel waste.

Soon, it is possible to imagine company productivity reaching an all-time high because of the savings of remote asset management.
Simply put, vehicle trackers improve labour costs by instilling in employees a sense that the company is serious about operating efficiently. They also allow for route planning that saves fuel as well as analysis of wasteful mistakes to assure they don’t happen again.

For these reasons and many others, GPS trackers make sense for companies that want to save money by exercising tighter control.