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Carmakers Finish Strong in 2014; Are Even Better Days Ahead?

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Dodge Ram pickup trucks are on display on the lot at Landmark Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Morrow, Ga. Buoyed by a resurgent economy, holiday sales, cheap gasoline and a love affair with pickup trucks, Americans headed to car dealers in droves last month, pushing full-year sales to what's likely to be the highest level since 2006. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Dodge Ram pickup trucks are on display on the lot at Landmark Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM Monday, Jan. 5, 2015, in Morrow, Ga. Buoyed by a resurgent economy, holiday sales, cheap gasoline and a love affair with pickup trucks, Americans headed to car dealers in droves last month, pushing full-year sales to what’s likely to be the highest level since 2006. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writers
DEE-ANN DURBIN, AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) — Confident in the economy and cheered by cheap gas, Americans are likely to push new car sales to their highest level in a decade this year.

Analysts expect sales to reach 17 million for the first time since 2005. That’s close to the record of 17.3 million set in 2000.

Low gas prices are giving buyers more confidence, whether they’re buying their first subcompact or upgrading to a larger SUV. Gas prices started this year at an average of $2.23 per gallon, down 33 percent from the beginning of 2014, according to AAA. The Energy Department estimates that lower gasoline prices will save U.S. households $550 this year — about four months of lease payments on a 2014 Honda Civic.

Popular new vehicles, like the Jeep Cherokee and Subaru Outback, are also drawing buyers.

Sales have now grown for five consecutive years — a rarity in the volatile auto industry.

While sales are growing, the pace has slowed from double-digit increases in 2011 and 2012. That’s good news for buyers, who can expect to see bigger discounts in competitive segments like midsize cars as automakers fight to steal sales from each other.

Alec Gutierrez, an analyst with the car buying site Kelley Blue Book, thinks sales could stay in the 17-million range for the next two or three years if interest rates stay low and the U.S. economy remains healthy.

December, with its holiday discounts and warmer-than-usual weather, brought buyers out in droves, with sales up 11 percent over the previous year. Automakers reported December and full-year sales Monday.

For all of 2014, sales were up 6 percent to 16.5 million vehicles, according to Autodata Corp. That was the biggest year for the industry since 2006.

Back then — as now — the Ford F-Series was the country’s best-selling vehicle and the midsize Toyota Camry was the best-selling car. The top-selling SUV was the Ford Explorer, but it was only No. 14 among all vehicles sold, according to Ward’s AutoInfoBank. In 2014 two smaller SUVs — the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape — cracked the top 10 in sales as customers turned away from small and midsize cars as car-like handling and low gas prices made such vehicles more appealing.

Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and General Motors all reported 2014 sales increases, and Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai and Honda reported record numbers for the year.

Ford’s sales were flat, but the Ford brand remained the top-selling brand in the U.S. Among major automakers, only Volkswagen’s sales fell.

Here are more details about 2014 and trends to watch for this year:

BEST-SELLERS: General Motors — with its Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC brands — sold the most vehicles in the U.S. in 2014 despite a scandal over the delayed recall of faulty ignition switches in older small cars. GM sold just over 2.9 million vehicles, up 5 percent from 2013.

— WINNERS AND LOSERS: Among major automakers, Subaru was the biggest gainer, with sales up 21 percent to 513,693 vehicles in 2014. Subaru’s three new utilities — the Crosstrek, Forester and Outback — drove sales. FiatChrysler was the year’s other big gainer, with sales up 16 percent to 2 million, thanks to strong demand for its Jeep and Ram brands. Volkswagen had a difficult year, as sales fell 10 percent while the German automaker waited for new vehicles to hit U.S. showrooms. Mini also struggled as gas prices fell, with sales down nearly 20 percent.

— SUV BOOM: Gas prices accelerated the switch from cars to SUVs. Light trucks, the category that includes SUVs, outsold cars in 2014 — the first time that’s happened since 2011, according to car shopping site Edmunds.com. That’s partly because automakers are offering more types of SUVs, including fuel-efficient subcompacts such as the Buick Encore, to appeal to young families and Baby Boomers. The trend is likely to continue in 2015 as more small SUVs, like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3, hit the market.

— LUXURY GROWTH: As the stock market rose, so did sales of expensive vehicles. BMW, Audi, Porsche and Land Rover all reported record U.S. sales in 2014. Lexus luxury sales outpaced mass-market sales last year, and they’re expected to do so again this year. Luxury makers are offering more models, like the new Maserati Ghibli sedan and Lincoln MKC SUV, and they’re expanding their customer base with lower-priced models like the Mercedes GLK-Class and Jaguar XE due out this year. Mercedes-Benz was expected to be the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S. for 2014.

— PICKUP WARS: Ford’s F-Series, the best-selling truck in the U.S. for 38 years, saw sales drop in 2014 as the company temporarily halted production to prepare for its new aluminum-sided F-150. The new truck arrived at dealerships in December, but inventory won’t be at normal levels until the middle of 2015. In the meantime, rivals are offering big deals to lure customers away. Ram truck sales rose 24 percent in 2014, while Silverado sales gained 10 percent.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Business

Don’t Be Chick’n and Try Something Vegan!

What was originally known as Compassion Meals in Sacramento has now rebranded and blossomed into a vegan fried chick’n food truck based at Lake Merritt in Oakland, called Don’t Be Chick’n (DBC). 

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Outside of the Don’t Be Chick’n Food Truck at 277 Grand Ave. in Oakland. Photo by Isabelle Price.

What was originally known as Compassion Meals in Sacramento has now rebranded and blossomed into a vegan fried chick’n food truck based at Lake Merritt in Oakland, called Don’t Be Chick’n (DBC). 

Owned and operated by Nkoyo Adakama, the food truck that began operations July 3 serves vegan soul food based around the star theme of the truck, the vegan fried chick’n. 

While Adakama’s start in the food industry was rough due to racial attacks against her and her business in Sacramento, Don’t Be Chick’n seems to have received great traction in Oakland. Before the food truck, DBC had pop-up locations at New Parkway Theatre and Au Lounge on Broadway that were such a success that they led the way for the food truck to make its debut. 

The prices for the food are a bit on the higher end and the wait, not including the line, for the food is roughly 30 minutes. However, if you are looking to support a business owned by a Black woman and want to try some solid vegan soul food while enjoying Lake Merritt, I would recommend going to this food truck. Adakama’s food reminds me of a vegan dupe for Raising Canes.  

The truck is located at Lake Merritt, usually at 277 Grand Ave. in Oakland, generally from about 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Both the location, hours and menu may vary during the week, so it is important to follow their Instagram account for frequent updates. For any questions or catering requests, they can be emailed at contactus@dontbechickn.com. 

All information for this article was gathered from Don’t Be Chick’n Instagram and website and an Oaklandside story. 

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Business

August is National Black Business Month

August 1st kicks off National Black Business month. And although Black businesses should be supported year-round, all month long people across the country are encouraged to recognize and support Black-owned businesses. 

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Black woman owned business/Photo Credit: Isabelle Price

August 1st kicks off National Black Business month. And although Black businesses should be supported year-round, all month long people across the country are encouraged to recognize and support Black-owned businesses. 

The origins of National Black Business Month can be traced back to 2004 when Frederick E. Jordan teamed up with John William Templeton, president and executive editor of eAccess Corp., a scholarly publishing company, to have August recognized as National Black Business Month. 

Jordan and Templeton also encouraged local government officials, community leaders to address structural barriers that adversely and disproportionately impact Black-owned businesses—namely a lack of access to capital. 

“It’s important that we take this time not just to promote Black Business Month, but support Black businesses,” said Ronald Busby, president and CEO of the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce.

“As we reopen America, it’s important we acknowledge the wealth gap that exists between Black families and White families has grown. The real way to address the wealth gap through the creation of new black-owned businesses and broad support of those businesses. In order for there to be a Great America, there’s got to be a Great Black America,” he said.

Busby encourages readers to visit the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce’s website to learn about programming, events and resources available to Black entrepreneurs and businesses. 

Busby also acknowledged the impact the COVID-19 has had on the Black businesses, who he says were hit the hardest. According to a report by the House Committee on Small Business, between February and April 2020 Black business ownership declined more than 40%–which is noted to be the largest decline across any racial group. 

According to the United States Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy there are more than 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the U.S. Black businesses realized a 34% uptick from 2007-2012. Black-owned firms generate an average of $150 billion dollars in annual receipts.

Firms owned by Black women continue to grow at an exponential rate. According to Forbes  businesses owned by Black businesses grew 67% from 2007 to 2012, compared to 27% for all women, and 50% from 2014 to 2019, representing the highest growth rate of any female demographic during that time frame.

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Bay Area

Nancy Lieberman Congratulates Kaplan and AASEG, continues to support efforts to Bring a WNBA team to Oakland

This week the AASEG (African American Sports and Entertainment Group) has moved forward to secure the exclusive rights to bring a WNBA team to the Oakland Coliseum.

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Nancy Lieberman/ Wikimedia Commons
This week the AASEG (African American Sports and Entertainment Group) has moved forward to secure the exclusive rights to bring a WNBA team to the Oakland Coliseum.
Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan was pleased to hear that National Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman was pleased too. Both parties had a lengthy conversation back in February, about the business of the WNBA and some of its hurdles. Kaplan told Lieberman the AASEG ( www.aasegoakland.com), and the motion she brought forward received a resounding approval (6-0-2) vote from Oakland City Council members to pursue terms to acquire the City’s 50% interest of the Coliseum Complex.
This critical vote came just three days after the Alameda County Joint Powers Authority unanimously approved a resolution to begin negotiating with the AASEG to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.  With these successive actions, the AASEG can formalize negotiations with City staff toward a Purchase and Sell Agreement for the Coliseum Complex.
Nancy Lieberman is one of professional basketball’s most celebrated female players and an American sports Icon. Nancy truly represents the theme of what is being proposed by the AASEG investment group. The council heard Ray Bobbitt, of AASEG and 97-year-old Gladys Green, present the goal of women leadership and ownership of a WNBA franchise as its primary agenda.Nancy Lieberman has an established record for being a leading advocate and supporter for social and racial equality her entire professional career. She has often credited the African American community, for supporting her and inspiring her possibilities. Now, that she is on the other side of her legend, she wants to pay it forward. Nancy and her business advocate Gary Reeves, said they plan to join a conversation with Ray Bobbitt and Rebecca Kaplan to review a potential alliance soon.

Nancy Lieberman loves the community outreach and civic leaders, who have paved the way for this opportunity. She cited the AASEG for its extensive community support. She said she is looking forward to meeting the AASEG community members and to give high praise and thanks to Rebecca Kaplan for her full-court press-style of support for AASEG, women’s sports, minority businesses, housing and job opportunities for the homeless and formerly incarcerated populations. Lieberman and Gary Reeves, her Bay area-based business advocate, want to meet and work with Gladys Green who is the inspirational leader of the East Oakland community and to congratulate Gay Cobb for the Post News Group’s extensive coverage and the recommendation that AASEG make an offer to purchase the coliseum.

In addition to working as Nancy Lieberman’s business advocate, Gary has been campaigning for support from a Who’s Who list of philanthropists and investors to support a home ownership pledge for those that need their down payments bridged to help them become home owners. During the pandemic his group, along with Lieberman, provided over 1 million dollars in free PPE and clothing for those in under-resourced areas. Oakland was also a benefactor of that program with BPL campuses and the Al Attles Foundation, ACE (Attles Center for Excellence)

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