Free Alignment Inspection at Any Butler Service Center

Free Alignment Inspection 2 copyIs it starting to feel like your car or truck’s out of alignment?  (Signs include uneven tire wear, vibration, and a vehicle that pulls or drifts to one side while you’re driving on a straight-away.) Don’t wonder any longer!  Print and redeem the coupon above for a FREE alignment check any of our four Butler Service Center locations.  If your vehicle’s fine, you’ll be on your way with no cost.  If an alignment is needed, and you decide to let us do the work, you’ll be entitled to $20.00 off the regular price.  It’s a win-win!  Call us to set up an appointment or just drop by.  We’ll be ready for you!

Suzuki Auto Files Chapter 11, Pulls Out of U.S. Market

2013 Suzuki

Suzuki will focus new car sales efforts on other shores.

Goodbyes are never fun but sometimes they’re imposed upon us.  That’s the case with the announcement this week that American Suzuki Motor Corporation has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will discontinue the sale of new cars in the U.S. market.

As a Suzuki dealership, we’re especially bummed.  The automaker is recognized around the globe for its quality and, while struggling to gain a foothold in the U.S. has outsold many other well-known brands elsewhere in the world, even topping Honda sales in Japan.  Chuck Butler, owner and founder for Butler Auto Group, says, “We all know what a fine product Suzuki brought to the American market and, it is unfortunate that these international financial factors impacted the profitability of American Suzuki Motors overall.”  He adds that Butler will continue to offer Suzuki service and parts, and will honor all customer warranties until expired.

Suzuki’s decision affects automobiles only;  Motorcycle and marine engine business will stay unchanged.   While that’s some consolation we’re still sad to know we’ll be taking no more new deliveries of such fan favorites as the Kizashi or the towable Grand Vitara.   So, farewell Suzuki.  We’re glad to have known you.

Look for liquidation prices to be posted on Butler Suzuki stock in the near future.  For a walk down Suzuki memory lane visit

Predicted Mechanic Shortage Offers New Career Opportunities

Are you looking for a new career, one that will weather the economic uncertainty facing so many industries these days?  One that requires a multitude of skills, puts you on the cutting edge of technology, and makes you invaluable to most of society?  Yes?  Have you considered becoming an auto mechanic?

No, seriously.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics says demand for technicians is expected to grow 17% by 2020.  Combine that with the fact that more and more high school graduates are looking elsewhere for a career and you have a serious shortage of master mechanics coming down the pike.  That’d be bad news for drivers but great news for techs who’ll be in high demand.  The BLS says techs earned between $35,000 and $60,000 in 2010.  The law of supply and demand says those salaries would rise if the predicted tech shortage becomes a reality.

Part of the problem is that many of today’s mechanics grew up working on cars.  40 or 50 years ago anyone with the know-how and the right tools could mess around under the hood.   But today’s high school grads may not have had that experience given that the cars they grew up with ran on computer-operated systems, making home-repairs more challenging if not impossible.  Another factor is that many schools have had to cut auto shop classes as budgets got tighter.

But the education is out there if you look for it.  Butler gets many of its techs from the Automotive Technology Department at Rogue Community College.  To a terrifically small degree we even help teach the class.  Butler Service Manager Curtis Hancock spends time every semester participating in RCC’s Career Day.  He gives tips on finding a job in the automotive industry, sheds light on what life in a professional shop is all about, answers questions, and keeps an eye out for recruits.  He’s looking for someone with a passion for the work.

If you think that might be you, you’re in luck.  Put on your safety glasses ‘cause the future looks bright.



Preserving the Life of Your Vehicle

Earlier this year reported that Americans are keeping their vehicles longer than ever– just under 11 years.  Visit your local used car lot and you’ll see that trend represented in a decreased supply.  The inventory that is available often sports higher than usual odometer readings.  So, if we’re hanging on to our cars longer than ever it would behoove us to take care of them, yes?

Our plan here was to assemble a list of basic car-care tips culled from a variety of sources.  But then we stumbled upon one website that did such a comprehensive job of wrapping up automotive maintenance and care that knew we couldn’t top it.  Thanks to Reader’s Digest for this list of “74 Car Care Tips to Keep Your Automobile in Topnotch Condition”:

P.S.  We’d love to hear how you take care of your car or truck… did this list miss anything?

Driverless Cars: Sci-Fi or Imminent Reality?

The Google Car

The New York Times ran a story this month about Google X, a “top-secret” lab in the San Francisco Bay Area where Google’s crafting its version of the technological future.  Among the experiments is the Google driverless car, one of which was let loose on California roads last year. Whether because I relish the act of driving, or hesitate to give up ultimate vehicular control to a computer (knowing how often my laptop freezes), I’m not sure but, the driverless car concept doesn’t sit well with me. Surely, the idea’s a sky-high pipe-dream that will go the way of boil-in-the-bag dinners and MySpace. Right?

But my research proves humbling. Who knew the autonomous car concept dates back to 1939? That’s when the “Futurama” exhibit at the New York World’s Fair promised to introduce visitors to “the world of tomorrow”, aka. 1960. Designer Norman bel Geddes created a miniature landscape complete with farm land, urban spaces, and a roadway system to neatly tie them together. Ultimately, the exhibit, which was sponsored by General Motors, was promoting a tax-payer funded, interstate freeway. But Geddes was already thinking ahead to the traffic problems that could arise in such a future so his vision included not only vehicle ownership, but specifically ownership of radio-controlled, electric vehicles.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Not only has the driverless car concept failed to fade, it’s being implemented in both the public and private sectors! Take the Netherlands, for example, where the city of Rotterdam successfully runs a public transportation fleet of six automated people movers. And just this month, Reuter’s reported mining company Rio Tinto ordered 150 driverless trucks to aid in hauling ore mined in Australia. The future is already here!

None of which makes me feel any better… the autonomous car concept still strikes me as unnatural. But then, so did CDs and smartphones and… now I’m proficient at both. Google’s already revolutionized the way we search for information. Why not let it take that forward-thinking show on the road?

Intangibles… or, What Makes Your Vehicle “Yours”?

We recently received an email from a potential customer we’d spent a considerable amount of time with; a man in search of a new car for his wife. The letter was lovely, appreciative… and apologetic. Because while he had considered all the cars we’d shown him to be excellent choices, she had not fallen in love with any of them.

“Love” is one of those words you could define for the rest of your life and never unravel its essence. When it comes to “loving” a hunk of steel on four wheels (or two… motorcycle lovers are a loyal breed) there are the pragmatic issues: Can I afford it? How’s the gas mileage? Is there seating for the whole family? There are the aesthetic issues: Do I like the way it looks? Does the color fit my personality? Will the beige interior stain when the kids spill grape juice? And then there’s the grand intangible: Does it feel like me?
There are those who say a vehicle “fits” them if they can afford it and it meets certain rational needs like towing capacity, payload, comfort. But others of us look for the *irrational*. I’ve driven – and enjoyed – lots of cars and trucks and, if given the option of having more than one set of wheels in my driveway, I might even consider signing on the dotted line. But just because I have fun in, and appreciate the many attributes of, a vehicle does NOT mean I’d want to own it. I know what I’m looking for, and it’s not stuff that can be explained (see although I do have to like the way it drives, feel safe and comfortable, and be able to afford the payments (guess the the Batmobile’s out of the picture). Other features, like power windows, I can live without. I’m looking for something low-maintenance, fun-driven, adventurous, durable… kinda like a Tonka truck. What makes a vehicle feel like it fits you? What’re your intangibles?