Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Roundup

This just in: It's been reported that approximately 660,000 old vehicles were traded in for new vehicles inthe CARS program. According to the U.S. Transportation Department, these vehicles were the top movers during the Cash For Clunkers Hoe-Down:

TOP 10 vehicles sold in "clunkers" program

1. Toyota Corolla
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Ford Focus FWD
5. Hyundai Elantra
6. Nissan Versa
7. Toyota Prius
8. Honda Accord
9. Honda Fit
10. Ford Escape FWD

(Notice there are no vehicles represented by the new GM government-managed car manufacturer?)

Top 10 "Clunkers" trade-ins

1. Ford Explorer 4WD
2. Ford F150 pickup 2WD
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
4. Ford Explorer 2WD
5. Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
6. Jeep Cherokee 4WD
7. Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
8. Chevrolet C1500 pickup 2WD
9. Ford F150 pickup 4WD
10. Ford Windstar FWD van
(Notice there are no foreign nameplates being clunked.)
What next? How about Cash for Cons? or maybe, Assets for Appliances (get those old Maytags off your kitchen floor and into a city dump), or Funds for Furs (the fur industry has really taken a hit lately)
Source: U.S. Transportation Department

Friday, August 21, 2009

Last photos from Kenosha....

Inside the Innovation Works building, a couple of visitors take a look around. Andy Ginger, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, explains Snap-on's renewed commitment to problem solving through innovative solutions.

Another one of their new toolbox graphics.

The rear of the futuristic Carbon Motors police vehicle, scheduled to hit the roads in 2012.

Rear seat is one-piece, molded to allow for handcuffed arms.

The Snap-on Chevy. Again, just look for the cool Snap-on details.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More No Compromise Tour Photos

The Snap-on 57 Chevy. Over 1,000 hours in customization time. The lug nuts are actually Snap-on sockets. Note the trim - Snap-on wrenches.

A 1958 Rambler
I didn't realize I had taken so many photos the other day in Kenosha, but my file of photos is saying - yes... you did.
Here's a nice shot of a Ranchero, age and manufacturer unknown. (I know I'll hear from a car buff or two on that one.) a Ford!

Unconventional toolbox design, unconventional welding helmets. Target market: Younger techs

Traditional tool storage, definitely designed for the mature professional technician, or perhaps for a start-up shop or dealership.

This is not a Beetle, though it resembles one. It is a Citroen, notably the "Deux Cheveaux", for 2 hp. It was built before WWII and was designed to be able to go long distances on little fuel, be comfortable, and allow two farmers to carry a crate of eggs to market without breaking any, all the time traveling over rough roads or ploughed fields. Because it was so revolutionary, the French buried the prototype during WWII to keep it from the Nazis. The original was made from aluminum, but after WWII a new material was chosen for the body.
Snap-on uses it in their Innovation Center as a prime example of a solution to a problem that was faced by many people in Europe during the late 20's, early 30's. Roads were horrible, gas was expensive and so were cars. This had many solutions to keeping costs low - a 2-cylinder engine, a direct-drive shift stick, seats that came out for easy cleaning. And they only quit production on this in the 1980's.... The Citroen inspires the Snap-on Innovation team to think creatively about solutions to problems that techs face. This Citroen was technologically advanced and innovative, yet extremely utilitarian and deceptively simple in the bodywork. If you look closely at the car below, you'll see little red signs all over it. These point out specific solutions the Citroen provided to specific problems the car driver faced.

Another Ford, this time for the Air Ford-ce...

Lots of older vehicles brought out the Snap-on retirees. (seme, literally.)

The associates were treated to games of chance, where they could win Snap-on branded merchandise.

Or they could buy it, like the rest of us folks.

Inside a Rambler
Outside a Rambler

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Snap-on No Compromise Tour stops off in Kenosha, WI

This was a very nice event, hosted by Snap-on World Headquarters in Kenosha, WI. I think it may have been partly sponsored by several local Snap-on Distributors. It was a beautiful day yesterday. The heavy rains from the day before had passed through, leaving a perfect afternoon to spend outside, looking at cool cars, cool tools and other Snap-on products.
This is a car from Carbon Motors, currently in development for U.S. police departments across the country. Very cutting edge, they spoke with thousands of police officials and developed this car for them from the ground up, coming up with a total of 11,000 solutions to problems the police officers faced in their current vehicles. Snap-on is working with Carbon Motors on additional solutions.

AMC Javelin (thanks Jack!)

Inside Snap-on's Innovation Center, you'll find continually changing exhibits, similar to this.

Meanwhile, while I was getting a tour of the inside facilities, the Snap-on associates were enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers with their co-workers.

This is the back end of a 1957 Chevy. Note the Snap-on wrenches. More photos of this amazing car to come in tomorrow's post. The use of Snap-on tools was quite clever.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The Snap-on NO COMPROMISE Tour is headed to Kenosha next week and so am I. Assuming there are no issues between CLE and ORD airports, I'll have a nice early start on the day. Should be a beautiful day for a drive from the Chicago airport up to Kenosha...

What is the NO COMPROMISE Tour you ask? It's venue that Snap-on developed to bring tools to the public. And, after a year of traveling the country, The Snap-on Tour is headed home to Kenosha, WI with a tour stop scheduled for August 18 at Snap-on World HQ.

It will be open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m. As a special added bonus, the renowned Ring Brothers will have their 2008 Hot Rod of the Year Camaro on display and NHRA Nitro Funny Car drivers Cruz and Tony Pedregon will be on hand from 4 to 5 to sign autographs.

The Tour was developed to provide visitors with the opportunity to speak with Snap-on officials about how Snap-on Toos can help them get the job done faster and easier. Alicia Smales, VP of marketing for SO says, "the NO COMPROMISE TOUR is designed to give "Snap-on Nation" an interactive opportunity to see the newest and most exciting products Snap-on has to offer. We wanted to create an informative, but fun, traveling tour that would appeal to everyone and I know we have accomplished that with the NO COMPROMISE TOUR." (sorry, I'm not yelling that at the top of my lungs, that is just how all their PR prints it out with a TM next to it.)

So - any questions you want me to ask the Snap-on officials that will be on hand? I already have a few of my own ready, but will be happy to add yours to the list and report back next week!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

This just in.... A discussion from the Linked-in network posted a poll, asking: "Do you Think the Federal Cash for Clunkers program should be continued?" With 352 responses posted so far today, the majority of voters say YES (53%). That is all.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Danaher posts negative results, but is on track w/Expectations

Recently, Danaher Corp. (Parent of Matco Tools and Coats Hennessy) (DHR - Snapshot Report) reported negative second-quarter results. However, they were in line with expectations considering the weak global economy.

Net earnings for the quarter were $296 million, or $0.89 per share -- an 18.5% drop from a year-ago profit of $363 million, or $1.09 per share. However, it surpassed the Zacks Consensus estimate of $0.85 per share.
Despite the challenging economic environment, EPS was above expectations primarily on savings generated from the restructuring actions initiated in 2008 and taken in the first half of 2009 as well as reduction of material costs and operating expenses across the company.
Quarterly sales were $2.67 billion, 18.5% lower than the $3.28 billion reported a year ago. Core revenues fell 15% in the quarter, compared to the second quarter of 2008.
Revenue from the professional instrumentation segment decreased 17% for the quarter with core revenues down 15.5% primarily on lower sales volumes and incremental impact of year-over-year restructuring costs incurred during the quarter.

Environmental platform revenue fell 3.5% in the quarter with core revenue down 1%. ChemTreat revenue was essentially flat year over year as unseasonably cool weather in April and May briefly delayed sales to boiler cooler applications. Test and Measurement revenue declined 30.5% in the quarter with core revenue down 30% reflecting a very challenging market environment.

Tools and Components revenue were down 23% with a core revenue decline of 22.5%.
Danaher’s free cash flow performance is encouraging. It was $438 million at the end of second quarter 2009. Moreover, free cash flow to net income conversion ratio was 148%. Like many in our industry, they appear to be "saving" their way through the recession, not improving their top line.