I recently completed the court-mandated buy-back process for my 2009 VW Jetta TDI, which was a turbo diesel model affected by VW's tailpipe emissions scandal. This saga went on for almost two years and included months of interaction and document uploading via a specially built web portal designed by VW and its contractors to manage claims from affected owners/lessees of VW turbo diesels.
With plenty of time to shop for a replacement vehicle, I scoured dealerships on the Westside of LA, as well as manufacturer and dealer web sites, third-party car-buying web sites, and eventually, dealer showrooms in the Valley (yes, the ultimate sign of desperation and dogged commitment for car shoppers living on the Westside of LA is having to drive to the Valley).
Car shopping. What a mess! Either you know exactly what you are looking for, and focus only on finding a specific make/model/configuration, or you enter the giant fun-house that is car shopping, and navigate the hall of mirrors otherwise known as "dealer inventory."
I realize this topic goes far beyond wealth management, a subject of which car buying is but a tiny subset, however, when shopping for a car, there are lots of financial questions, decisions, and issues to address, not only regarding the car itself, but also, cost-of-ownership, insurance cost, and, for those of us who obsess about such things, technology and, yes, what does it all mean for buying stocks? These last two points bring up fundamental issues for investing. For example: If electric cars are truly the future (no one knows for sure), the required capital investment in energy infrastructure will require the electric-grid-equivalent of building the interstate highway system. Will Tesla succeed? Who knows? With our perfect weather, ideal for electric cars, we Southern Californians experience things differently than the rest of car-buying America.
You know what interests me? High voltage transmission cables. That's right. The big, insulated cables that hang from giant towers and crisscross vast swaths of the American landscape. HVDC (high-voltage direct current) transmission cables are the arteries of the modern electrical grid. If electric cars truly take-off, the world is going to need one heck of a lot of new HVDC cables, not to mention, power plants, turbines, transformers, and charging stations.
Lots to think about, or, a no-brainer?