Mercedes 300sd turbo diesel for sale

Green Cars

2012.03.28 18:10 fernandizzel Green Cars


2013.08.20 06:38 trorer The most interesting cars for sale on the web

Unique/interesting/ridiculous/fascinating cars that are for sale!

2017.08.02 10:19 BEARD_LICE GNARPM

The world's worst car show with Mike Tornabene.

2023.03.29 02:43 Successful-Dig2818 Left a deal yesterday because I don't want to be pressured into a huge purchase, should I come back to the table?

Background (PersonalFinance shit): I'm 24, after I do my taxes this evening I should have $30k+ in savings, after taxes and 401k I bring in $2000 bi-weekly, I need to get my expenses down but worst case if I'm making big purchases I'll spend $3k in a month. I walk to work, and mostly drive to the grocery store and the gym, then maybe around to friends' places, all of which is city driving, and is mostly necessary because I live in Houston, the least walkable city on earthTM. Any other questions about my situation just ask.
The main course: My 2004 Crossfire is about to hit 225k and after a control arm snapped on me, I'm ready to get something stable. I test drove a manual Mazda3 premium turbo, didn't think it was fun enough to justify the price, drove a Hyundai Elantra N that could be had for $30k and decided I wasn't in love with it enough to justify getting a "fun car", went back for the Mazda3 Select. Same guy, sweet old man but definitely just expects you to buy. MSRP is $24,950, and he came back with $30,200. I said sorry man, I was looking at the sedan for $23,950 and was looking to sit around $25k, $30k isn't doable for me. Manager came over and threw the textbook at me, felt like I was getting pitched at by a coked up Randy Johnson. She hit me with everything and capped it off with the "oh no! This is the price for the CX-5, I canNOT be showing you that! But since I already offered it I guess I have to stick to my word, I really shouldn't be doing this, and I'm using the saturday discount" etc. She pulled the add-ons down to $590 which she said was breakeven rather than the $1800 they originally tried to snag me on. Ending price was $27,XXX, I believe it was in the middle of that range. I felt comfortable paying but I didn't get a second to think and consider, she said "why are you hesitant?" I explained that I'd do a month of research on a pencil and so hearing a price that is above what I walked in with will take me a second to consider, she then basically wrapped it up saying "general life advice, you need to learn to jump on deals because interest rates are going up and this car will be gone tomorrow."
The question: $27k is more than I was hoping to pay for a boring, reasonable car coming into the buying experience, but I clearly had the ability to work them down to MSRP + tax + ceramic tints and some key scratch prevention crap (not that I need those, but it's what they had on hand). However, the manager walked away from me because I refused to be sucked into a deal within 5 seconds of hearing about it. Is this worth coming back to the table for, and can any more haggling be done, or am I just being pressured into jumping up to the hatchback and the add-ons?
Literally as I finished typing this out the sales manager emailed me the typical "We want to make sure that all of our clients are treated with courtesy and respect, as well as provided the information and opportunity for you to have a hassle-free purchasing experience. If there is anything that I can do to help you, please contact me personally at the following number" so I certainly have a reason/means to contact them either way
Edit: Aaaand the salesman sent me the "vehicle information I requested" immediately following.
submitted by Successful-Dig2818 to askcarsales [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 01:50 specu12 (SELLING) cheap movies - $2 and up

flash sale - google play HD redeems $1 each Avengers: Endgame (2019) Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Black Panther (2018) Finding Dory (2016) Frozen (2013) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Oz The Great And Powerful (2013) Planes (2013) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
All codes are US, HD/blu-ray unless marked otherwise
UHD/4k movies: Disney/Marvel, no DMDMI, all port UHD/4k to MA: itunes redemptions only (splits) $4 each, unless noted otherwise Aladdin (2019) Avengers: Endgame (2019) Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Big Hero 6 (2014) Cars 3 (2017) Finding Dory (2016) Frozen (2013) Frozen II (2019) Good Dinosaur (2015) Maleficent (2014) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) Toy Story 4 (2019) Zootopia (2016)
UHD/4k movies: vudu or MA redemptions only, port 4k to MA $3 each, unless noted otherwise none atm
UHD/4k movies: vudu redemptions only, do not port to MA $4 each or any 3 for $9, unless noted otherwise: 3 From Hell (Unrated) (2019) Cabin In the Woods (2012) Force of Nature (2020) John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) $2 Last Witch Hunter (2015) Saw (Unrated Version) (2004) Survive the Night (2020) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (2012)
UHD/4k movies: itunes redemptions only, port 4k to MA $3 each, unless noted otherwise Let's Be Cops (2014) $2
UHD/4k movies: itunes redemptions only, do not port to MA $3 each, unless noted otherwise 3 From Hell (2019) (Theatrical) Cabin In the Woods (2012) Deepwater Horizon (2016) Force of Nature (2020) Hunger Games (2012) John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) $2 Last Witch Hunter (2015) Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011) Saw (Unrated Version) (2004) Survive the Night (2020) Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (2012) Wonder (2017) $2
HD movies, MA or vudu redemptions only, port to MA: $2 each, unless noted otherwise The Fate of the Furious (Theatrical) (2017) Turbo (2013)
HD movies: itunes redemptions only (splits), port HD to MA $3 each, unless noted otherwise Oz The Great And Powerful (2013) Planes (2013) Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) The Pirate Fairy (2014)
HD movies: itunes redemptions only, port HD to MA $2 each, unless noted otherwise none ATM
HD movies: vudu redemptions only, do not port to MA $2 each, unless noted otherwise Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) The Hunger Games (2012) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 (2012)
HD movies: itunes redemptions only, do not port to MA $2 each, unless noted otherwise The Last Stand (2013)
Disney/Marvel HD movies, no DMDMI, all port HD to MA: google play redemptions only (splits) $3 each, unless noted otherwise Aladdin (2019) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Avengers: Endgame (2019) Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Beauty and the Beast (2017) Black Panther (2018) Captain Marvel (2019) Cars 3 (2017) Coco (2017) Doctor Strange (2016) Dumbo (2019) Finding Dory (2016) Frozen (2013) Frozen Sing-Along Edition (2014) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Inside Out (2015) Iron Man 3 (2013) Maleficent (2014) Moana (2016) Mulan (2020) Oz The Great And Powerful (2013) Planes (2013) Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) The Jungle Book (2016) The Lion King (1994) The Lion King (2019) The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018) The Pirate Fairy (2014) Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Toy Story 4 (2019) Zootopia (2016)
I take paypal f&f and venmo
also check out my For Trade Post on uvtrade
Also got a few free codes for Free trial of HBO Max - 30 days - just comment if you need one, thanks for reading this far
submitted by specu12 to DigitalCodeSELL [link] [comments]

2023.03.29 01:07 Gullible-Beautiful16 Not sure which route to go for save for. LS1 turbo or m52 turbo kit

First and foremost, Most of the manual e36’s in my area are abused, drift cars for sale or etc.
I would like to make around 500hp-600hp but take the reliable safe route for either choice but would like opinions as well, especially since I would like to keep this project long term and as a drift car from time to time. Was also debating on a ls3 swap and MAYBEEE in the future doing a turbo kit but can’t find any ls3 crates for a good prices. I do have several other vehicles so this wouldn’t be my daily. Most work would be done professionally/at a shop as well if engine swapped I’m ball-parking prices but if off, I wouldn’t mind saving extra for the build to be done correctly the first time.
Seems like the two choices I narrowed it down to is
A. Get a Low mileage automatic 328i(5-6k), manual swap(3-4k), m52 turbo kit(5k) Roughly $15-$17k total spent Most of the work beside the turbo kit I would be able to do myself with some help.
B. Get a cheap e36(2.5-4), ls1 engine(preferably crate with warranty:3k), T56 transmission (3k),Sikky stage 3 W/supporting mods(5.5k), turbo kit(5k) Roughly $20k-$25k I’m assuming due to labor cost as well of engine swapping and etc. Due to how many parts would be swapped out and etc. I would like to mainly get this option done professionally
Any advice, other engine swaps or etc to hit 500-600hp reliably on a budget under 25k would be appreciated as well. As mentioned before I would love to keep this car long term for many years to come. Thank you guys!
submitted by Gullible-Beautiful16 to BMWE36 [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 23:24 paradigmGT Turbo tax or CPA for me? single filer with stocks, rental property

I have been using Turbo Tax for the last 7 years, and now I am considering a CPA.
I own dividend paying stock, I made no sales but I did make purchases. I have a rental property with multiple apartments. I have a primary residence home. I am a single filer.
I am reading some people get higher results with a CPA, others state that they did better with Turbo Tax. Is my situation complicated enough to use a CPA, or should Turbo Tax be able to ask me everything to maximize any potential return?
submitted by paradigmGT to tax [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 23:15 thefenceguy 2006 Int'l 4300 DT466: lots of work, still low on power

Hi Diesel techs,
I have a 2006 4300 with a DT466 that is low on power and hard to start when it cold (like low 30's° F cold). This truck runs and idles smooth and doesn't smoke. A little while back, the truck blew a coolant hose and the guy driving it limped it a bit too long.
Lots of work was done to the truck to sort it out. New turbo, MAP sensor was plugged (cleaned and replaced), fuel regulator replaced. I had a full PM done at the dealer at this time too.
Where would be a few good places to look for reasons for the low power? I have a decent shop, but no super specialty tools.
The truck basically has to run the rpm's up super high to get moving. It's like the turbo is not building pressure at low rpms.
Any advice is helpful. Dealer was thinking that the injectors could be bad, but it doesn't stumble at all.
Update: Thanks for all the advice. It looks like my course of action is going to be to check turbo actuator and oil rail seals and injector seals. We shall see how it goes.
submitted by thefenceguy to DieselTechs [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 22:07 whitejaguar [H] Steam gifts, collectors games and removed games [W] TF2 keys, Tether, Bulk offers

Have - Steam gifts (ROW, unrestricted, if you can't see the game in my inventory, it is still available, so add me for the trade)
Game name Price Notes Stock Game Status
3D Ultra Minigolf Adventures offers Gift
Age of Empires Legacy Bundle 25 keys Gift
Agricultural Simulator 2011: Extended Edition 2 keys Gift
Amnesia Memories 3 keys Gift
Arena Wars 2 1 TOD Ticket Gift
Back to the Future The Game 25 keys removed game subID 6970 Gift
Barbie Dreamhouse Party 400 keys removed game Gift
Battle Los Angeles offers removed game subID 11488 Gift
Borderless Gaming 5 keys Gift
Broken Age 2 keys Gift
Call of Duty World at War 25 keys Gift
Castle of Illusion 3 keys Gift
Circuits 2 keys Gift
Cities XL 2012 15 keys removed game Gift
Clive Barker's Jericho 40 keys removed game subID 531 Gift
Commandos Pack 2 keys Gift
Crusader Kings II Collection 5 keys subID 26483 Gift
Deadpool + Merc with a Map Pack DLC 500 keys removed game 28777 + 29453 Gift
Deathgarden BLOODHARVEST 4 keys Gift
Demigod 1 TOD Ticket Gift
Deus Ex Game of the Year Edition 2 keys Gift
DiRT 2 100 keys removed game subID 14293 Gift
Dirt 2 100 keys removed game subID 2493 Gift
Droplitz (Holiday Sale 2011 Gift) offers removed game subID 12638 Gift
Ducati World Championship 2 keys Gift
Dungeon Defenders 3 keys Gift
Euro Truck Simulator 2 4 keys Gift
F1 2011 offers removed game subID 11620 Gift
F1 2011 offers removed game subID 12677 Gift
F1 2012 offers removed game Gift
Faerie Solitaire 2 keys Gift
Farming Simulator 2013 Titanium Edition 9 keys Gift
Fast and Furious Showdown 30 keys removed game subID 27803 Gift
Football Manager 2014 20 keys removed game subID 30274 Giftable copy/add me
Fortified 1 TOD Ticket Steam key/add me
FUEL offers removed game subID 1878 Gift
Ghostbusters The Videogame offers removed game subID 1693 Gift
Grid offers removed game Gift
Grim Fandango Remastered 3 keys Gift
Hero Academy - Tribe Pack - Hatless Gift 4 keys Gift
Hitman Collection (ROW) 23 keys subID 49903 Gift
Hospital Tycoon 2 keys Gift
Ice Age 4 30 keys removed game subID 19227 Gift
Infestation Survivor Stories Classic 1 TOD Ticket Gift
Iron Storm 6 keys Gift
Iron Warriors T - 72 Tank Command 2 keys Gift
Jurassic Park The Game offers removed game subID 7705 Gift
Kane & Lynch 2 DLC Alliance Weapon Pack offers Gift
Kane & Lynch 2 DLC Multiplayer Masks Pack offers Gift
Kane & Lynch 2 DLC The Doggie Bag offers Gift
Kerbal Space Program 10 keys Gift
Kingdoms Rise offers removed game Gift
Left 4 Dead 4 keys Gift
Legendary 2 keys Gift
Lord of the Rings War in the North 50 keys removed game subID 12158 Gift
Lucius 2 keys Gift
Maelstrom The Battle for Earth Begins 3 keys Gift
Max Payne 2 The Fall of Max Payne 12 keys Gift
Medieval Engineers 1 TOD Ticket Gift
Metro Last Light Complete offers removed game subID 39286 Gift
Middle Earth Shadow of Mordor Season Pass 4 keys removed game subID 51210 Gift
Mount & Blade Complete 6 keys subID 38003 Gift
Move or Die 2 keys Gift
NASCAR The Game 2013 45 keys removed game subID 28448 Gift
Natural Selection 2 2 keys Gift
NBA 2K16 Michael Jordan Edition offers removed game subID 73028 Gift
Nexuiz 2 keys Gift
Painkiller Hell & Damnation 2 keys Gift
Paradox Grand Strategy Collection 6 keys Gift
PAYDAY 2 Gage Weapon Pack 02 1 TOD Ticket Gift
PAYDAY 2 The Goat Simulator Heist 3 keys Gift
Pinball FX3 - Star Wars Pinball 5 keys Gift
PlayWay's Sim Bundle 5 keys subID 51669 Gift
Please Hold 50 keys subID 92974 Gift
Post Apocalyptic Mayhem 1 TOD Ticket Gift
Pro Cycling Manager 2012 offers removed game subID 15175 Gift
Pro Cycling Manager 2013 offers removed game subID 28407 Gift
Pro Cycling Manager 2014 6 keys Gift
Punch Club 3 keys Gift
Ratz Instagib 2 keys Gift
Resilience Wave Survival 4 keys Gift
Retro City Rampage DX 2 keys Gift
Roogoo 2 keys Gift
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Bundle 10 keys Gift
Saints Row IV - Child's Play Pack 1 TOD Ticket removed game subID 35488 Gift
Section 8 Prejudice offers removed game subID 11106 Gift
Shannon Tweed's Attack Of The Groupies 2 keys Gift
Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai Collection 10 keys subID 17095 Gift
Sins of a Dark Age Early Access Gift 2 keys Gift
STAR WARS Empire at War Gold Pack 7 keys Gift
SteamWorld Dig 1 TOD Ticket Steam key/add me
Sugar Cube Bittersweet Factory 3 keys Gift
Super Meat Boy 3 keys Gift
Super Meat Boy Soundtrack offers removed game subID 12323 Gift
Super Monday Night Combat 1 TOD Ticket Gift
Test Drive Unlimited 2 offers removed game subID 12636 Gift
The Amazing Spider-Man + DLC Bundle 400 keys removed game Gift
The Amazing Spider-Man - All DLC Bundle 40 keys removed game Gift
The Bureau XCOM Declassified 5 keys Gift
The Desolate Hope 2 keys Gift
The Holiday Express 4 keys subID 35154 Gift
Incredible Adventures Van Helsing 4 keys Gift
Incredible Adventures Van Helsing Arcane 1 key Gift
Incredible Adventures Van Helsing Blue Blood 1 key Gift
Incredible Adventures Van Helsing Thaumaturge 1 key Gift
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified 6 keys Gift
The Lord of the Rings Online Helm’s Deep Base offers removed game subID 32781 Gift
The Lord of the Rings Online Quad Pack offers removed game subID 32775 Gift
The Lord of the Rings Online Steely Dawn Pack offers removed game subID 18483 Gift
The Political Machine (2012) offers removed game Gift
The Ship 1 TOD Ticket Gift
The Sims 3 Diesel Stuff 10 keys Gift
The Sims 3 Generations 10 keys Gift
The Sims 3 Pets 10 keys Gift
The Sims 3 Seasons 10 keys Gift
The Walking Dead Survival Instinct + Herd DLC 40 keys removed game 26399 + 27013 Gift
The Wolf Among Us 7 keys Gift
theHunter Primal offers removed game Gift
Total War Master Collection Sept 2014 15 keys subID 51362 Gift
Train Simulator 2013 - Trains vs Zombies 2 10 keys Gift
Trine Collection 4 keys subID 28358 Gift
Uncrowded offers removed game subID 67613 Gift
Unreal Tournament 2004 Editor's Choice Edition offers removed game Gift
Watch_Dogs Complete 20 keys Gift
What's under your blanket !? offers removed game subID 89803 Gift
Who Wants to be a Junior Millionaire offers removed game subID 26732 Gift
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire offers removed game Gift
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Football offers removed game subID 14925 Gift
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Movies offers removed game subID 14928 Gift
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Music offers removed game subID 14923 Gift
Who Wants to be a Millionaire SciFi Pack offers removed game subID 17122 Gift
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Sports offers removed game subID 14926 Gift
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Star Trek offers removed game subID 14927 Gift
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Trivia Booster offers removed game subID 14924 Gift
Who Wants to be a Millionaire Video Games offers removed game subID 15611 Gift
Winter Voices Episode 1 Those who have no name 2 keys subID 6648 Gift
World Basketball Manager 2010 2 keys Gift
Xcinerator 3 keys Gift
Your Doodles Are Bugged! offers removed game subID 8256 Gift
Zombie Driver HD 2 keys Gift
Sending Trade Offers
Trade offer link:
Steam inventory:
Inventory listing by TradeStarter
submitted by whitejaguar to SteamGameSwap [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 21:32 jimmyfloyd182 Resources for researching vehicle accident history for 2014 C300 4matic Sport

I am looking at a low miles Red 2014 C300 4matic Sport, 24k on it, and the car shows a clean carfax when I look at it here:
However, if I look at the same car on TrueCar, which uses Autocheck, it reports that the vehicle was involved in an accident:

I inquired about an accident from the dealer, and they mentioned it had been to the body shop 2 times in the first 4 years, none of which show up on Carfax, and likely only one showing up on Autocheck. I was told the first incident was vandalism to the front that did $5k in damage to the hood area when it was still new on the dealer lot, and the other was $4k in damage to either the left front or rear ( forgot to write that part down ) when the car was about 4 years old.

Are there any other resources available for finding out the accident history or history of body work aside from these two sources? Are there any things I should be concerned with or look for when checking the vehicle over pre-purchase? The car is very clean, so I will likely have to make a quick decision.
submitted by jimmyfloyd182 to w204 [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 20:57 ovrdrv3 Why does it seem like 991s are going for less than 997s right now?

Mods, please remove if this doesn't fit into the sub or if you would like for me to remove any links 👍 sorry
I have been looking at 996s, 997s, and 991s, and it seems like you can get an 80K odo 2012 991 Carrera for the same price as a 50K odo 2007 997 Carrera S / 4S / turbo.
It seems odd how close these are coming in my anecdotal pricing analysis. There may just not be enough data I've seen to represent a clear picture of what is going on.
Does anyone have any insight on this?
It seems like there are the auction / enthusiast crowd and the wealthy crowd that just like Porsches and don't mind taking a bit of a loss for a quick sale, does that have anything to do with it?
I am really beginner with all this but enthusiastic about the make / model. Timeless design across the board.
997 -
submitted by ovrdrv3 to porsche911 [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 20:49 CountryPitiful Top F1 Driver Earns $55m/yr, but Liberty Media (F1's new owner) earned $12 Billion...

I was watching 'Drive To Survive' on Netflix and learned that a top F1 driver (Max Verstappen) will earn $55M this year...
This sent me down an F1 Rabbit hole. I've learned a few things that I think are useful to builders:
Liberty Media is the strategic force behind F1. They bought the business for $4.4B in 2017. Since then, they've grown it into a $17B empire.
Here's The Business:
Meet - Liberty Media. Across its portfolio, it generates $12B/yr in revenue (F1, SiriusXM, The Atlanta Braves, Live Nation).
But how did they increase F1's value by $12B in just 6 years?
Here's How F1 makes Money:
It has 3 levers:
1) Race Promotion: In 2022, F1 secured 23 annual circuit contracts. Each pays an annual fee. For example - Saudi Arabia pays $55m/yr to host its race.
2) Media Rights: Broadcasters pay up for exclusive partnership deals with F1.
3) Sponsorships: The stickers you see on the cars & tracks are expensive. Advertisers like Rolex, DHL, Heineken, and Crypto .com paid F1 a total of $650M in 2022.
So how did Liberty Media create so much value in so little time?
Here's How They Revived The Business:
1) Budget Caps - In 2019, Mercedes spent $443M on its team. Williams (last place) could only afford $132M. Top teams would reinvest everything to win and recoup profits through indirect sales of their core products (e.g Ferrari, McLaren, RedBull).
2) "Build in public" - Next, they broke the secrecy behind F1 and partnered w/ Netflix: - The show "Drive to Survive" attracted 16M viewers. - US viewership went from 537k (2018) to 1.4M (2022).
3) Be Accessible - They doubled down on the US market by aggressively adding new locations. Miami & Las Vegas are their most recent additions.
Why Does It Matter?
Even F1, one of the largest and oldest (Founded in 1950) sports organizations in the world, can take their eye off the ball. By reassessing its business it was able to ~4x its value in 6 years.
This is what stood out to me:
1) Use Data To Improve Your Product - If you let your biggest customer make the product decisions, you may miss the obvious. For F1, its "product" is your attention that it can sell to advertisers. If they just listened to their biggest partners (Mercedes & Ferarri) there would be no product evolution.
2) Increase awareness by "building in public" - The Netflix show 'drive to survive' lifted the curtain and removed the secrecy behind the sport. This opened up an entirely new audience. We can all build in public (I'm about to).
3) Increase accessibility - Your goal as an entrepreneur is to understand what part of your product brings value to your customer and get them to that point in as few steps (or clicks) as possible. By putting new racetracks in top cities across the US they've dramatically increased customer access.
Thanks all! Lemme know what you think.
I research companies & share my learnings here.
submitted by CountryPitiful to Entrepreneur [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 20:47 CountryPitiful Top F1 Driver Earns $55M, but Liberty Media (F1's new owner) earned $12B.

I was watching 'Drive To Survive' on Netflix and learned that a top F1 driver (Max Verstappen) will earn $55M this year...
This sent me down an F1 Rabbit hole. I've learned a few things that I think are useful to builders:
Liberty Media is the strategic force behind F1. They bought the business for $4.4B in 2017. Since then, they've grown it into a $17B empire.
Here's The Business:
Meet - Liberty Media. Across its portfolio, it generates $12B/yr in revenue (F1, SiriusXM, The Atlanta Braves, Live Nation).
But how did they increase F1's value by $12B in just 6 years?
Here's How F1 makes Money:
It has 3 levers:
1) Race Promotion: In 2022, F1 secured 23 annual circuit contracts. Each pays an annual fee. For example - Saudi Arabia pays $55m/yr to host its race.
2) Media Rights: Broadcasters pay up for exclusive partnership deals with F1.
3) Sponsorships: The stickers you see on the cars & tracks are expensive. Advertisers like Rolex, DHL, Heineken, and Crypto .com paid F1 a total of $650M in 2022.
So how did Liberty Media create so much value in so little time?
Here's How They Revived The Business:
1) Budget Caps - In 2019, Mercedes spent $443M on its team. Williams (last place) could only afford $132M. Top teams would reinvest everything to win and recoup profits through indirect sales of their core products (e.g Ferrari, McLaren, RedBull).
2) "Build in public" - Next, they broke the secrecy behind F1 and partnered w/ Netflix: - The show "Drive to Survive" attracted 16M viewers. - US viewership went from 537k (2018) to 1.4M (2022).
3) Be Accessible - They doubled down on the US market by aggressively adding new locations. Miami & Las Vegas are their most recent additions.
Why Does It Matter?
Even F1, one of the largest and oldest (Founded in 1950) sports organizations in the world, can take their eye off the ball. By reassessing its business it was able to ~4x its value in 6 years.
This is what stood out to me:
1) Use Data To Improve Your Product - If you let your biggest customer make the product decisions, you may miss the obvious. For F1, its "product" is your attention that it can sell to advertisers. If they just listened to their biggest partners (Mercedes & Ferarri) there would be no product evolution.
2) Increase awareness by "building in public" - The Netflix show 'drive to survive' lifted the curtain and removed the secrecy behind the sport. This opened up an entirely new audience. We can all build in public (I'm about to).
3) Increase accessibility - Your goal as an entrepreneur is to understand what part of your product brings value to your customer and get them to that point in as few steps (or clicks) as possible. By putting new racetracks in top cities across the US they've dramatically increased customer access.
Thanks all! Lemme know what you think.
I research companies & share the learnings here.
submitted by CountryPitiful to EntrepreneurRideAlong [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 20:01 KhoaFraelich REVIEW BMW 220d Coupé M Sport offers driving thrills without the thirst

REVIEW BMW 220d Coupé M Sport offers driving thrills without the thirst
The 2 Series is one of the few modern BMWs not styled with a contentiously large grille. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
The sensible turbodiesel engine was somewhat out of kilter with the racy looks of this low-slung coupé as the car’s athletic shape seemed to call for high-revving petrol power. But that’s not to say the BMW 220d Coupe M Sport is deficient in the performance department.

The four-cylinder 2.0 turbodiesel engine has been a stalwart in BMW’s range, powering several of its larger models with verve and efficiency, and its 140kW and 400Nm feel satisfyingly lively in the light and compact 2 Series.

The respectable seven-second 0-100km/h sprint and 237km/h top speed attest to this, and the 220d has peppy pace when the throttle is thrust in anger, scooting off the line with spirit and almost no turbo lag. There is enough power whenever you need it, whether stealing gaps in traffic or punching past long trucks on the open road.

It’s just that the quiet and low-revving engine has an easygoing demeanour that doesn’t inspire hard-throttle driving, which contributed to the economical 6.8l/100km average we attained in the car.

At R889,706 the 220d seems like the most sensible buy in the 2 Series Coupé range for its mix of performance and economy. The car is also available as the 220i coupe M Sport (R842,590) with outputs of 135kW and 300Nm, and the flagship M240i xDrive Coupe with 285kW/500Nm (R1,138,662). The M2 will arrive later this year as the Alpha of the range, wielding 338kW and 550Nm.

Despite being one of the Munich firm’s smallest cars, the new 2 Series delivers the typical business class BMW experience. The second generation 2 Series Coupé, now more closely based on the larger 4 Series, is more grown up than the 1 Series-based coupé that preceded it in 2014. At 4,537mm the car is 105mm longer than the model it replaces, with increases in width and wheelbase too, and with its 12% improvement in torsional rigidity it feels impressively solid.

Chassis components carried over from the 4 Series further distinguish the new 2 Series Coupé from the compact 1 Series. Standard M Sport suspension and low-profile 19-inch tyres give the car a ride that’s on the firm side, but without being uncomfortably jarring, while the lengthened wheelbase prevents it from feeling choppy. Though there is some noticeable jittering over bumps and potholes, the car generally delivers an acceptably smooth ride.

It may not be Munich’s most powerful beast, but the 220d Coupé delivers the typically slick and pointy handling of compact rear wheel drive BMWs. It’s a treat to throw this car through a curve and experience its pressed-down nature and well-weighted steering, and there are eco, normal and sport drive modes that affect throttle, steering and gearshift responses.

There’s enough power to kick the tail out when you apply the juice too hard, though electronic nannies ensure such playful diversions are kept safely in check.
Inside the new 2 Series the executive flair is laid on with high-quality trimmings. The sporting appeal is raised by leathesuede bucket seats and M colour trim on the doors. The obligatory digitisation comes in the form of an infotainment touchscreen and a digital instrument panel, but user-friendly physical controllers, including the tried and tested iDrive knob, remain for many of the oft-used functions.

Despite the car’s increase in size, the two rear seats remain cramped for adults and are best suited to small children. Boot space is a creditable 390l , however, and the split rear seats flip down to provide extra loading space.

Gadgets include a reversing camera, doors that automatically unlock and lock when you approach/leave the car and USB chargers. Like most German premium cars, the 220d is not overly endowed with features, and items such as electrically adjustable front seats, adaptive cruise control and parking sensors all have to be ticked in the options list.
Larger and lower than its forerunner, the new 2 Series is a more grown-up car. Picture: DENIS DROPPA
The 2 Series is one of the few modern BMWs not styled with a contentiously large grille, and has conventionally sized air intakes — much to the relief of some, we suspect. Instead of oversized nostrils it uses flared wheel arches and a “power dome” on the bonnet to relay a youthful and extrovert aura, aided by sitting 28mm lower than its predecessor for a more sporty and pressed-down look.

Two-door cars are rare these days and the BMW 220d Coupé M Sport makes no pretensions at family practicality. It’s a car that will be enjoyed for its athletic looks and sporty driver appeal, with the thirst of a teetotaller as a bonus.

Tech specs


Type: Four-cylinder petrol turbo

Capacity: 2.0l

Power: 140kW

Torque: 4000Nm


Type: Eight-speed Steptronic automatic


Type: Rear-wheel drive


Top speed: 237km/h

0-100km/h: 7.0 seconds (claimed)

Fuel consumption: 4.8l/100km (claimed); 6.8l/100km (as tested)

Emissions: 126g/km


Electronic stability control, ABS brakes, six airbags, run flat tyres, electric windows, LED daytime running lights, adaptive headlights, climate control, keyless access, cruise control, driving modes, rain sensor wipers, automatic headlamps, tyre pressure sensor, sports suspension, trip computer, infotainment system, suede and artificial leather seats, navigation.


Warranty: Two years/unlimited km

Maintenance plan: Five years/100,000km

Price: R889,706

Lease: R18,998 a month

*at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit

BMW 220d Coupé M Sport

WE LIKE: Fun-to-drive nature, styling, fuel economy.

WE DISLIKE: Cramped rear seat, not overstocked with features.

VERDICT: Driver’s car without the thirst.

Motor News star rating

Design ****

Performance ****

Economy *****

Ride ***

Handling ****

Safety *****

Value For Money ****

Overall ****

The Competition

Audi A3 sedan 40 TFSI S line, 140kW/320Nm — R725,600

Mercedes A200d sedan AMG Line, 110kW/320Nm — R816,095

Source: Heraldlive
submitted by KhoaFraelich to CarScannerOBD2 [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 19:41 Click-N-Loans Ways You Can Put Capital to Work for Your Small Business

Ways You Can Put Capital to Work for Your Small Business
Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, but often face the challenge of not having enough capital to grow and expand. This is where the wise use of capital can be a game-changer. Capital refers to the money or assets available to a business, which can be used to invest in growth opportunities, improve operations, or even pay off debts. Here are some ways you can put capital to work for your small business:


Investing in marketing and advertising is like planting seeds for your business's growth. With the help of capital, you can create compelling campaigns that speak to your ideal audience and put your business in the spotlight. From snappy social media ads to captivating billboards, the options are endless. You can also invest in quality content for your website or social media pages, such as blog posts, videos, or infographics, that not only entertain but educate your audience, and position your business as an authority in your industry.


Offering a diverse range of products or services can help you attract more customers and generate more revenue; it is like adding spices to a dish to make it more flavorful. With capital, you can invest in researching and developing new products or services that complement your existing offerings. This can help you attract new customers, increase sales, and retain loyal customers who are looking for variety. By staying ahead of trends and anticipating customer demands, you can create a loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more.


Investing in new technology can help you streamline your operations, improve efficiency, and reduce costs in the long run, giving your business an overall turbo-boost. With the help of capital, you can invest in software or equipment that automates tasks, tracks inventory, or manages customer relationships more efficiently. This can help you cut down on time-consuming manual work and free up your employees to focus on more value-adding activities. By staying up to date with the latest technology, you can streamline your operations, reduce costs, and stay ahead of the competition.


Hiring new staff can help you scale your business and provide better customer service. With capital, you can invest in hiring talented employees who bring fresh perspectives, skills, and expertise to your team. This can help you scale your business and provide better customer service, and ultimately drive growth. By investing in your employees, you can create a culture of innovation, learning, and collaboration that fuels your business's success.


If your business has outstanding debts, paying them off is like clearing clutter from your house. Using capital to pay them off can free up cash flow that can be reinvested in your business. This can help you improve your credit score and qualify for better financing options in the future. By taking care of your financial responsibilities, you can create a solid foundation for your business's growth and success.
Capital is like a fuel that propels your small business forward and helps it reach new heights. If you want to succeed and stay ahead in today's competitive market, you need to put your capital to work in the right ways. Whether you opt for boosting your marketing efforts, diversifying your product range, upgrading your tech infrastructure, expanding your team, or settling outstanding debts, the smart use of capital can pave the way for your business's growth and success. So, don't let the lack of resources hold you back, unleash the power of capital and watch your small business soar to the next level!
We're committed to helping you get your small business the financial solutions it needs. Apply here at or call us at (561) 525-5497 to speak with a funding specialist today!
submitted by Click-N-Loans to u/Click-N-Loans [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 19:27 Lamumba1337 Firmenwagen im Sales Außendienst wo gibt es was?

Hi Sales Kollegen,
Mich interessiert Mal welche Branche ihr arbeitet und was ihr so an Dienstwagen und Ausstattung zur Auswahl habt. Ich bin bei meinem zweiten Salesjob und im ersten war es so entweder irgend ein Renault der durfte auch voll sein, oder später nach harten kämpfen C Klasse mit Mini Budget für Extras und Motor ich hatte ein S220d mit Stoffausstattung innen, ich wollte die Akustik Verglasung haben wurde nicht gewährt, nur zwei Pakete die mit dem Händler verhandelt wurden. Im neuen Job ist es so Skoda deiner Wahl (muss Diesel sein) oder BMW bis X3/3er bis 60k. Darfst dir auch ein X1 oder so bestellen mit mehr Ausstattung.
Habe mich für ein X3 und bin ganz zufrieden damit, mehr wünscht man sich immer denke ich.
Wo gibt es 5er oder gar X5 oder Mercedes Audi Pendants?
submitted by Lamumba1337 to Finanzen [link] [comments]

2023.03.28 18:22 Hot_Temperature_5754 HOTEL LATVIA: SELL OUT, HANG IN OR PARTNER?

In mid-2013, Amit Sandis sat back in his chair to watch the sunset, wondering what the future would hold in Latvia. Business was starting to look up, and he had a new family to take care of. They had just a few days left in their summer vacation in the Maldives before returning to Latvia to join his two co-owners in making a critical decision. Sandis, together with his two best friends, had, in 2002, followed an entrepreneurial dream to build a five-star hotel in the cultural centre of one of Latvia’s top seaside cities, Liepaja. To achieve that dream, the three co-owners had negotiated and survived many challenges over the past decade.
After several early years of confidence and profit, the co-owners had spent the past five years struggling, due to the massive downturn in the Latvian economy, as a result of the European Union (EU) financial crisis and subsequent slow recovery. Since the crisis began, the business had declined from generating an annual profit to its present situation of making a loss or just breaking even. Now, however, the EU was showing signs of recovery, business confidence was returning, bookings were recovering and income generation was starting to look up. The co-owners’ frustration with the situation in recent years had at times been so bad that on several occasions they had spoken about selling the business while they could still break even. Now the question confronting them was whether they should put all their struggles behind them, retain the ownership of the hotel and look forward to enjoying the potential days of profit that lay ahead. With these questions on his mind, Sandis thought about the meeting he had planned in a week’s time with his two partners in Latvia. Many variables needed to be weighed before they decided on the strategic direction they should take. The co-owners were his two best friends, and they had spent many years working together.
In Latvia, the winter temperatures fluctuate between –25 and –2 degrees Celsius; and during the daytime, it is grey and dark after 4 p.m. Because of this climate, observers often say the Latvian people can, at times, seem a little depressed and not so joyous or communicative, compared with those in southern Europe. For those who live in warmer Mediterranean climates with year-round sunshine, life appears comparatively more relaxed and carefree. Because of Latvia’s northern location, in the winter, Latvians go to work in the dark and when they finish work, they return home in the dark. The long cold winter stretches from November to April. In contrast, Latvia’s climate from May to October is delightful.
Sandis spent 25 years working as a high-ranking city official in Latvia during what he described as “the good times under Soviet control,” when Latvia enjoyed high levels of employment, productive manufacturing plants and very little corruption due to the tight security and military and police control. Even though wages were low, most Latvian people led simple lives and were happy.
Not long after 1991, when Latvia gained independence from the Soviet Union, discussions commenced toward it becoming a member of the EU. From then onward, most of the Soviet-backed manufacturing plants began closing down, unemployment increased, uncontrolled corruption grew and the country’s gross domestic product dropped significantly. Many security professionals and soldiers who had worked for the Soviets no longer had a job, which led to a new industry of private protection and security services, although some of those involved had questionable standards of corporate governance.
With independence, Latvians started looking forward to a new-found freedom. The Latvian people felt excitement and confidence in the media and in government officials promoting successful growth. Celebrating their new independence, the Latvian politicians were riding the wave of popularity. However, Sandis had worked in a government facility and had an insider’s view of how these elected representatives really operated. He felt that most of them worked hard only near an election, but after the election was over, their overall priority was to make money. Sandis’s long-term experience led him to conclude that when an election was coming, government leaders would show great care for the public, make unrealistic statements about positive strategies for the future but after they had been re-elected, they often forgot most of the promises they had made.
After more than two decades working as part of the Soviet security establishment in Latvia prior to 2001, Sandis and his colleagues, Johachim Kaspars and Kemat Valdis, had developed strong bonds, friendships and acquaintances with many powerful government and military officials, some of whom were in high office. They had also endured many years working under tough conditions and were now ready to try to do some private business of their own. Their belief and research had heightened their expectation that tourism was likely to grow in Latvia, as the country became a full member of the EU. In addition, all economic indicators suggested the demand for tourism facilities and accommodation was likely to grow. After long hours of discussion and consideration, the three former Soviet servants were confident that collectively they had now accumulated enough money and trusting relationships with bankers to be successful in realizing their dream of building a five-star hotel in the centre of Liepaja, Latvia’s resort and seaport city.
Politically, the relationship between Latvia and the EU was also evolving. Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis felt that the enthusiasm and the West’s growing confidence in the Latvian business environment made it the right time to invest in the hotel industry. With good planning and management, they were confident of success at a time when the Latvian economy was entering a period of expected growth.
The co-owners registered their new business in the Latvian Official Company Register for €200s, and their application was approved after they had established their company bank account containing a minimum deposit of €3000s. Their first taste of what lay ahead was the realization that, at that time,
running a company in Latvia meant an almost constant need to satisfy the demands of the Revenue Service (RS).
In what seemed to be an after-effect from the Soviet era, Latvia company bookkeepers and accountants devoted a large portion of their daily work time to ensuring their company was complying with RS rules. At times, this task proved to be all encompassing and an unwanted difficulty as the RS decision makers were prone to making changes to the countries taxation rules on very short notice. As Kaspars lamented, “Such legalistic changes were liable to happen up to 200 times during any given year.”
Another complication was that when the RS changed a taxation rule or created a new rule, companies were not given any standard period of time to adjust but were expected to immediately correctly implement and abide by the new law or rule. Tax rates and taxable items were constantly changing, which led to complaints among members of the business community. But it made no difference to the RS officials, as they exercised total control and were not afraid to use their power. Unless one had a strong relationship with an RS insider, these government tax officials were rarely prepared to listen to any complaints. Consequently, company bookkeepers were under constant pressure to keep up to date. They needed to constantly be on the lookout for RS Information Releases and continually consulted their RS contacts and communication networks so they could implement any given changes in a timely manner. Complicating the matter further was that the RS sometimes gave only minimal directions and explanations on how new rules and laws should be correctly interpreted and implemented. The lucidity and interpretations of the changes could vary greatly, and the RS would not hesitate to impose a fine on any company found applying the new rules in an incorrect manner.
Although Latvia was now a part of the EU, the senior RS officials had spent all of their working life operating under the Soviet system. They knew no other way and were reluctant to change or respond to training. Their type of communication, thinking, behaviour, management and work environment continued to exhibit characteristics from their Soviet past, when the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) had previously controlled Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Estonia, countries whose people had followed the socialist philosophy of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Most people holding senior positions in the Latvian RS had started working there when Latvia had no private companies, restaurants, shops or hotels, and everything was owned by the state and operated under the Soviet socialist philosophy. In those times, private ownership was banned, and people had to prove they could work hard, be honest and share communal facilities. The general public had little power to make their own decisions regarding how much they were able to spend or what they would spend it on. The buying choices were usually narrow (e.g., only three types of car could be purchased — if anyone could afford one), and the socialist ideology promoted the philosophy that owning any property was bad and that capitalism only exploited working people.
Latvians thus experienced a significantly different style of thinking and government from the norm for people in the EU and Western market economies. After Latvia gained independence, change was initially slow. A significant period of time passed before senior government officials and employees, long entrenched in government positions under Soviet conditions, chose to retire or to adjust their thinking toward the characteristics of the EU market economy. Latvia had supposedly become an open-market economy, and many new emerging entrepreneurs who had worked hard to become successful now enjoyed the fruits of a market economy. These successful businesspeople could afford to own a modern car and a private house, yet they were still being made to feel guilty under the former Soviet ideology. As Sandis explained:
If you were making money, the members of older generations made you feel like you had robbed somebody or you had stolen something and they were usually angry with successful modern business people. Sometimes they would say it to your face that they “are so angry with you being successful and making money, driving a Mercedes and having a nice place to live” even though you may have worked hard to get all of these material things. Some of my friends in Latvia got so tired of this attitude that they decided to sell their business, sell all of their possessions and leave the country. These successful people were paying a lot of tax and the older generations working in the government offices didn’t understand that their salaries come from these taxes. My colleague who had worked in the Revenue Service from the middle of the 1990s started telling me that the biggest taxpayers were the bureaucrats. I had to stop him and say that “I’m sorry my friend, the source of your salary and the bureaucrats is from taxation charged on private businesses.” This was the way the older generation that grew up under the Soviet rule continued to think although small changes are slowly taking place and it is starting to become a little bit easier for successful modern business people in society. Many of my friends, even from outside Latvia, believed it would take two generations for this attitude and type of thinking to be fully eroded and perhaps gone. Now we are trying to explain this new concept to the 40-, 50- and 60- year-old employees that worked in the Revenue Service or Finance Police Department all their lives under the Soviet control.
Latvia became independent in 1991 and immediately after fell into a deep crisis. Jobs, money and opportunities dried up, and by 2000, many skilled people were leaving Latvia to seek a job abroad. They would try to find a job in another EU country, then save some money and later return to Latvia to buy a flat and maybe set up a business to improve their living conditions.
Introducing Latvia into a market economy had led to many problems, and the average workers were the people who suffered in the long term. The Latvian government was not ready for this change and took no action to avoid a significant banking crisis that was incubating due to its vague transition strategy and questionable governance. The banking crisis began not long after Latvia had been granted independence from the Soviet Union and the commencement of its new membership in the EU. Under the new EU policy and conditions, banking officials responsible for granting loans started being paid bonuses on the amount of money they could loan, not on the ability of borrowers to realistically repay the loans. This approach was a complete change in policy from the former Soviet banking environment; as a result, Latvian loan officials soon realized their opportunity and started to take advantage of the situation by approving loans much too easily, without conducting due diligence on prospective borrowers. As a result, borrowing money became much easier, and credibility checks on those applying for loans were often questionable and minimal. Bank officials were taking the opportunity to make more money than ever before and were unconcerned with the ability of borrowers to actually make repayments or repay their loans in full. The bank officials’ main motivator was the commission they would be paid, based on the size of the loan.
When Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis decided to pursue their Hotel Latvia dream, they had been unaware of any of these developing credit problems or the difficulties they could create for their new venture in the future. Feeling confident, they made a request to the bank for a loan of €22 million in 2002, and were surprised as to how easy it was to gain approval.
Sandis explained:
When we gained the €22 million loan to finance building our hotel, our bankers were coming and asking “Why did you take only this amount? Why don’t you take more?” We said, “We don’t need more. What we have been loaned is enough.” We didn’t know the bank officers responsible for providing the credit would get bonuses from the amount of money they loaned to the people. Their checking and due diligence was almost non-existent and they were not even asking for credit records or proof of income. Instead they were asking questions like, “If you need more money or a new car then why don’t you take a bigger loan?”
Prior to purchasing the land on which they would build their hotel, Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis had first built one large apartment building in the central historical area of Riga, the Latvian capital, as a test case to provide them with the opportunity to measure the market, gain some experience in the real estate market, develop a better understanding of the construction industry and begin to generate some income while their larger project was developing. Enjoying success on this first smaller project saw their confidence grow toward the construction of their much larger Hotel Latvia complex. With their larger loan secured, the Hotel Latvia project started in 2002, when Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis identified, researched and purchased land in the centre of Liepaja, Latvia’s resort and seaport city. They wanted to build the hotel in the old part of the city, as it was in a central location, which would be attractive for customers. Because of the location, they expected they could charge slightly higher rates when serving their target markets of businesspeople and tourists who expected quality facilities. In preparing to build, they needed to remove from the existing site the remains of a few old decaying structures that were in serious danger of collapsing. They thought it would be easy to clear and start construction soon after; however, gaining the approvals to demolish these old ruins for their much larger project proved to be significantly more complicated. In a frustrated tone, Kaspars recalled the situation:
You could not imagine the politics involved when you want to build something in the historical part of Liepaja. On the proposed Hotel Latvia site we had purchased, there were several crumbling down and neglected ruins that had no official status or any conditions existing on them saying that “they needed to be restored.” The buildings were totally ruined and we had proceeded to commission three private, official, independent assessments of the proposed site that all concluded they were impossible to restore and that the only safe action to take would be to demolish them. These on-site ruins were in danger of collapse at any moment. However, despite this evidence, the government said there is no possibility that we could demolish them and build something new in the historical part of the city.
To try to change the decision we had to arrange several meetings with several politicians and government officials to get approvals from their respective departments to undertake the construction. It was a big headache to get all of these approvals. Although we could demolish most of the buildings the government departments informed us that each of the front facades of the ruins had to be restored. As a condition of the approval, we had to pay all restoration costs. Another building company we knew who were building in a nearby city also had problems and were not allowed to demolish even one wall of an old decaying building on their site even though it had large cracks in the building and the façade was not even traditional. The one they wanted to demolish was a very ordinary building with no historical value. On one occasion they were officially granted permission from the Architectural Authority to proceed with the demolition at 10 a.m. and then later on the same day at 11.45 a.m. received a second notification from another department saying that “permission to demolish it had been refused.” Today, this building still remains untouched in the centre of the city. Unfortunately, we learned of their experience well after we had begun our building process.
In Latvia’s new market economy, the officials who granted permissions were taking advantage of their newfound power. For businesses to gain any kind of documented approval, they now had to offer the officials something extra to get their signature of approval. Many approvals could not be completed by dealing directly with the officials responsible but had to be done through networks of connections. Valdis was frustrated and threw his arms in the air, stating “You had to use somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody.” Before Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis could even consider beginning construction, much more time was wasted and “under-the-table” fees needed to be paid to a portfolio of connections. Then, after construction had commenced, if the authorities wanted to stop the process to extract some additional favours, they could always find a mechanism whereby someone could complain and put a halt to everything. So, in total, it took the group several years to get all of the approvals to actually go ahead and commence the building construction.
When construction of Hotel Latvia finally commenced, a new problem confronted Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis. The builders and construction employees knew demand on construction services was vastly outstripping the current supply in Latvia, as only a limited number of building companies could build such large structures. As a result, the pressure on at the worksite was always intense, and the co-owners looked at using three builders to carry out the construction. If the builders arrived in the morning to commence the day’s work and if all of the materials or equipment were not there, or if some problem prevented them from starting immediately, then the builders would pack up and head off to work on another site. When this happened, the disruption resulted in the builders having to return later, and the price of construction would increase. This interruption in the schedule also resulted in frustrating delays; sometimes the builders would not return for several days. The hotel was a big project, and in the end, Valdis had to spend every day at the worksite to supervise the building company’s employees and ensure they were working. If no building company supervisor was present on the worksite, then the employees would often not work to capacity, significantly reducing their productivity. The construction companies knew that they were in a strong bargaining position. Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis were in a tough situation, as Latvia had too many buildings under construction, most were only partly completed and Latvia lacked a sufficient number of companies that were competent enough to do all the construction.
Valdis reflected:
We had a separate contract with a German company to do all the installations on the ground floor comprising the hotel’s entry, front desk area, bar and all the other features and facilities. They did a quality job and did it very quickly. The local Latvian builders were working on another part of the hotel at the same time, and the German builders had commented how at times the Latvian builders could not be found, were smoking outside or just sitting around doing nothing. In the end, I had to go to the site every day to supervise their work for the last four months including on the weekends, from the morning to the evening. Sometimes we had to threaten the builders to make sure they were doing their job because they took short cuts, time off or left to work on other building sites.
The German building company had designed the hotel and brought with them all of the materials to complete the entrance hall, and another German company came to install all of the lamps in the hotel. The German lighting employees were professional and efficient, and it took only three employees to complete the job in three days. For the Latvian construction companies, progress was much slower. After having to apply constant pressure on them to keep working effectively, the construction of the hotel was finally completed in one and a half years.
Finding the talented employees to staff the hotel was another issue. A large number of applications were received; however, finding the right standard and quality of employee suitable to staff this five-star operation required intense interviewing and a comprehensive training program.
The Hotel Latvia finally opened in 2006, and business started well. The hotel’s initial marketing campaign was successful: after six months of business, it was performing better than its competitors but was still not generating enough income to meet the co-owners’ strategic target. In the first two years, they generated enough income to service their loan but sometimes needed to contribute their own money to meet the repayments. Some adjustments were necessary, and halfway through their second year of operation, they sold their initial trial investment in Riga and asked the bank to deposit the funds from the sale into an offset account to reduce the interest being paid on the loan.
By the third year, Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis had also renegotiated an increase in the term of their loan from 20 years to 25 years, with the goal of reducing their repayments and, thus, the level of financial pressure. This strategy helped them to adjust to the change in market conditions and encouraged the untried entrepreneurs to become more contingent. Following the 2008 financial crisis, the level of tourism declined sharply in Latvia in 2009 and 2010. By then, due to the significant drop in tourist numbers, the co-owners were generating only 60 per cent of the revenue required to meet their business target.
To try to cope with the downturn in bookings and reduction in income generation, they needed to make some strategic changes. These changes included downsizing the staff by 18 per cent, closing one of the guest floors, eliminating one of the elevators to reduce power costs and opening their five-star restaurants only on weekends.
During the downturn, not only did individual people stop travelling but companies, government and universities stopped holding conferences and/or reduced the number of delegates they were sending to conferences. These changes resulted both in universities, governments and associations reducing their number of conferences and in many existing industry conferences significantly decreasing their budgets.
Said Sandis:
We had many solid and developing contracts for annual conferences and tours but at the beginning of 2009 there were many cancellations and a sharp drop off in group tours and individuals coming to stay at the Hotel.
At about this time a Dutch professor I knew came to Latvia for a short term on foreign exchange to give some lectures and organize some student exchanges. After a time, he told me he believed a high percentage of the Latvian university students will leave Latvia for Germany and other countries after they graduate. Although he was a foreigner, he was worried about the situation in our country. He believed the IMF [International Monetary Fund] had made a mistake to place such heavy austerity measures on Latvia and it had created a very bad situation that would be difficult to recover from. Although it was not openly reported in the Western press, Latvia was in trouble much earlier than Spain, Greece and Italy with their gross domestic product declining by 18 per cent in 2009. Most of the decline was in construction because, during the preceding period of steady growth, the real estate and construction sectors grew out of control and too many buildings were built for the demand at that time. This had resulted in the problem of an oversupply of rooms in the hotel sector.
Eventually, the Latvian economy collapsed, real estate prices declined, companies and many individuals holding loans went bankrupt, salaries decreased by 30 to 40 per cent, and many people lost their jobs with unemployment rising significantly. The government was in financial difficulty and could afford to pay people who had been retrenched only a small percentage of their promised redundancy or unemployment payments. Even worse was that the government’s unemployment financial assistance following redundancy usually lasted only nine months; and when these payments ceased, the unemployed persons had to take care of themselves.
The downturn delivered to Latvia a market economy reality check that very few people who had lived under Soviet control could predict, understand or imagine. Huge excesses had occurred at the beginning of the growth phase in 2002, when bankers and financiers had enjoyed considerable wealth, and they now had to be paid for. Not conducting the required due diligence on those who wanted to borrow the money when times were good and giving out poorly backed or unsupported loans was now having a severe and adverse effect on the Latvian economy.
Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis had worked hard and had built their hotel from the ground up during the peak in construction activity; as a result, their construction costs had been higher than expected. After the slowdown, business did not run according to their expectations and, like many others, they were in a difficult situation regarding loan repayments to the bank. Many people had taken out large bank loans and mortgaged everything, including their homes, to ride the boom. After the downturn, many companies went bankrupt, were taken over by the banks or closed down because they could not afford to make the repayments. Most were overexposed with too much debt and no liquidity to make the repayments. Although this situation was happening throughout Latvia, Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis still had the liquidity to continue making repayments, though their strategic options were severely reduced.
Due to their tight fiscal management, the three Hotel Latvia owners did not have to sell the hotel but began to consider whether they should get out while they were still able to break even. They realized that to go on trying to make money from the hotel would be hard work, and the venture had not delivered their expected outcome. They started wondering about their future risk on the amount of return they could generate. Were the hardest times over, meaning it would now be a mistake to sell? Solving all the approval problems during the years of construction had taken its toll, and with the building problems and increase in costs, it appeared that if they sold now, they could make a zero net gain in value on their decade of hard work and investment. At another time, the outcome would have been very profitable; however, the business environment following Latvia’s entry into the EU had taken its toll on and had disadvantaged Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis, as a result of a tough combination of factors: the Latvian people’s slow adaptation to the evolving market economy, corrupt bankers and government officials, building contractors taking advantage of the excess demand in the construction industry and the sudden economical crash.
Despite their situation, their bank was not currently concerned about their financial situation and was not putting pressure on them to liquidate their property or make any extra repayments on their loan. The bank had many other poorer performing loans and associated issues to worry about and its main concern was the number of its bad loans. Many lenders owed their banks substantial amounts of money, and many companies found themselves overextended and facing bankruptcy.
Valdis expressed his concern:
When we saw some good businesses being taken over by the banks without warning or with very short notice, we became concerned. We anticipated we may have to sell the hotel not long after it was completed because the cost of construction had gone 18 per cent over budget and, as a result, our monthly repayments and period of the loan had both grown significantly. Our business had started so well we thought the future would be profitable. Following the EU crash, it appeared some type of recovery had started and we thought there may be an opportunity to sell it in 2012 as Latvia’s credit and investment ratings proposed by the International Rating Agency, Standard and Poor’s, were improving and looking better.
But another serious problem was looming in the hotel sector. Latvia’s average price per room had dropped sharply because many hoteliers were in deep trouble and had started slashing their prices because they were located in less marketable locations. One example was the Reval Hotel that boasted 240 rooms in suburban Riga. Facing very poor occupancy, the operator in charge had suddenly slashed prices and had begun to sell rooms to large groups of tours at prices that were so low that they decimated the whole market. Once the Reval Hotel owners found out what their managers were doing, they immediately dismissed them and changed their operator but it was too late. For the rest of the market, the damage had already been done through the reductions in their bookings and through agents and customers who were no longer prepared to pay the former prices.
This incident happened at a critical time, when Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis were considering searching for a new partner to purchase 30 per cent of the hotel, in an effort to help reduce their loan pressure. Ideally, they needed a partner who had the cash to buy a portion of the property, and then the co-owners could use the money generated to offset or repay a larger part of the loan and thereby reduce their debt. With a fourth partner joining the group, it would have made it significantly easier to survive but after the Reval Hotel had slashed its prices, that option was no longer possible. The unpredictable situation drove away all potential buyers; they were afraid to invest and had decided to wait until the situation improved. Kaspars’s connections in a different bank informed him that the financial markets did not know what the situation may be for the future in Latvia, and much doubt surrounded the industry and marketplace. Some price targeting had broken out from time to time, and the reduced number of customers who required accommodation in Latvia were enjoying quality deals.
Upon reflection, compared with most of the businesses at that time, Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis were among the lucky ones. Despite their many problems, they still believed that, if necessary, they could still sell their hotel, pay off their debt and get out without losing money. Looking at the market around them, they saw many others lose everything; gone was the confidence that had existed before the crisis. Wisely, they had made sure they had mortgaged only the property on which the hotel was being built; none of their own private dwellings were included as part of their collateral on their original €22 million loan.
The Hotel Latvia was built on a prime piece of land in coastal Liepaja, so it retained most of its value following the crisis and did not decrease by in real estate value as much as other properties further from the centre of the city or in less marketable locations. As time wore on, many competitors disappeared completely. Those that had managed to survive had experienced significant decreases in income. At the beginning of 2012, Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis again commenced negotiations with a large global finance company based in London in an attempt to sell the hotel. They found that from 2008 to 2011, the sale price of the hotel had decreased by approximately 35 per cent. Their agents had tried selling the Hotel Latvia to different investment companies, and their responses had initially been positive. However, when investors saw the predicted future of Latvia and its poor credit and investment ratings, the buyers’ interest had ceased, and it was difficult for the agents to generate any serious interest.
Selling agents would tell us, “We know you guys have a good hotel but the country is no good. The climate for business and investment is poor and the future is not good.”
In the seven years following the boom that had begun in 2002, most of the surge in business activity, income generation and increases in prices had been in the construction industry. As a result, when the decline hit the construction companies, the support industries and related jobs were the worst affected. Only when the credit and investment ratings began to rise a few points in early 2013 did any purchasers begin to show any real interest in buying the hotel. Western investors were becoming interested again but their offers were still much below what the co-owners considered to be an acceptable price.
As Sandis explained:
They all came with the idea that they could buy our hotel for what we describe as “sandwiches.” I mean, for a very cheap price, and we thought they really wanted to buy it for nothing. The poor prices and demand were as a result of the construction bubble throughout Europe. Believe me, the politicians and bureaucrats could see it coming long before the crisis arrived but they did nothing because they were all set to make a lot of money out of it.
By the beginning of 2013, a slight recovery had begun, especially with the number of Russian tourists again beginning to grow. To Russian tourists, Latvia was now being marketed as an EU country and hence an international destination. In addition, rumours had begun that the EU was beginning to emerge from the recession, and that the steep austerity measures currently imposed at the time were soon to be eased.
Sandis, Kaspars and Valdis were at the point where they now had three options. One was to keep the hotel and continue working hard to enjoy the fruits of the supposed upturn that appeared to be commencing. The second option was to now find another partner to purchase a share in the company and to use this money to reduce their debt repayments and risk. Their third option was to sell the hotel completely and walk away with approximately the same amount of funds they had started with in 2002. Were there any other options?
Sandis knew the meeting with Valdis and Kaspars would occur on the evening after his return to Liepaja. He sat in the chair in his bungalow on the Maldives and wondered what they should do.
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