You are certainly aware that we all make choices, on a daily ongoing basis. Some choices are almost instinctive with little thought, others are made with our intuitions, others are researched using the "internet", and a few are excruciating.
On a daily basis we colloctively make a gazillion choices regarding anything, and everything.
Its a decision here, made by a choice there, which will generate a result. At times we are even offered various choices, and we make selections in an order or sequence.
Ever think of all the influence, suggestions, that float around all over the place to prompt, alter, redirect our choice process. You have to love the "Make a choice, and we will see what we can do for you". Most of this stuff is not a life or death situation, we usually deal with it in a cursory fashion of its not a big deal, and requires limited energy or effort.
In addition to the usual "I did my research on the Internet prior to making a choice, and decision."
Agreed...we are all individuals, we all arrive at choices and decisions in our own way.
Agreed too...we are all educated, trained, empowered, informed...and so on. By a mainstream media, by an education system, research, white papers, and so on and on.
Yes...we all make choices, that are influenced, at times prompted or nudged, to arrive at decisions, that at some point will also generate results.
At some point you make choices "To do your own thing" to keep yourself satisfied, and the stakeholders around you satisfied too.
Sometime ago we coined "Citizen Main Street" or CMS for short as the average individual in Canada. From our perspective at the time CMS was a better term than consumer, or customer, or prospect, or owner, or credit card holder, and so on.
We all know who we are, what we do, how we do it, the possessions we have, and so on, and on.
Take this individual put him on main street, anywhere in Canada, and that is CMS.
CMS buys all sorts of stuff, including cars, utilities, real estate to name a few. CMS has kept the Canadian economy humming along for a few years now.
We agree...money has been flowing freely in Canada for several years, and there is an entire generation of CMS that has grown, evolved, with easy access to various forms of credit.
Obvious there are the pundits, experts, analysts, and various organisations all expressing opinions, and lately increasingly dire messages, about dire consequences towards CMS, and Canada.
We keep on hearing about the great depression of 2008/09 which sort of never happened in Canada. We know that many Canadian companies, or the Canadian arm of companies from other countries are sitting on a ton of money, and not investing it in Canada.
Yes...CMS cannot keep the Canadian economy going on indefinitely...we all knew that...or should have known that years ago.
Hopefully you grasp our direction here.
What does it have to do with the car business? Simple...you need prodigious amounts of money to make the business work.
There is an entire generation of CMS that has evolved with computers, technology, smart devices, easy access to credit, easy access to loans for education, easy access to loans for vehicles, and easy access to mortgages.
In many instances "big brother" was somewhere in the back ground facilitating the various "financial services" in one fashion or another. Like all human endeavors there are always areas for abuse, and perhaps even for greed to kick in.
Now "big brother" is altering the ground rules in some areas of the financial services applicable to real estate. Which is generating a myriad of opinions from literally everyone, with an undertone of dire consequences.
What does it have to do with the auto business in Canada? What do you think?
Its Friday, its the Vroom Room make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, and please tell your friends.
Have you noticed the propensity of hatchbacks lately? Do you remember how unpopular hatchbacks were a few years ago? Agreed...a hatchback is an off shoot of a utility vehicle, reflect on this for a moment. Agreed too its more useful than a trunk.
It reinforces the movement towards "utility". Are folks really clamouring for so many utilities? Or is it manufacturers offering an alternative to keep sedans on the map? From our perspective its a bit of both, you don't want a sedan with a trunk, and you don't want a boxy utility...here is the hatchback.
The price of oil is slowly, creeping back up? Keep an eye on oil, while the Canadian dollar remains in the dumpster, and CMS (Citizen Main Street) pays more for gas, food, and has to raise more cash to buy a house.
Ever notice the "flat" paint on some mostly German cars? Back in the day it was "flat" today its "matte". The paint has a look, and a constant reminder of a flat black 1949 Mercury coupe, or a hot rod that is not completed yet. A few weeks ago, we saw a flat grey German hot rod sedan, that was dropped, black diffuser in the back, black vents on the hood, modified exhaust system, and hopefully a tweaked engine too.
In case you did not know, Strada uses Squarespace our publishing platform...yes its 10 years that we are on Squarespace, the servers are somewhere in New York city, and possibly somewhere else too by now. We are reluctant to update the design, and migrate to another version of the platform since we would lose some of our content.
Obvious that keeping all of our content (10 years) published, and searchable is a higher priority, than having a slicker design.
Our usual old race cars from the CSRG Charity Challenge 2016.
If you are an auto enthusiast or a die hard gear head, or just an admirer of transportation in one fashion or another the internal combustion engine has always been at the center of providing motivation (power) for a myriad of vehicles from cars, to heavy duty trucks to name a few.
Yes, there are gasoline engines, and diesel engines and both appear in cars, and trucks.
We have gone from smelly, obnoxious exhaust fumes, and emissions to dramatically cleaner fumes and emissions. Imagine for a moment caught in our daily commuter grinds, without an air conditioner, opened windows, and exhaust fumes from the late 1960's. It would be a truly intoxicating experience.
Or a big block Corvette roadster from the late 1960's with side pipes. The sound is intoxicating, and the fumes drifting into the car stopped at a traffic light reinforce the intoxication of the sound.
In heavy duty trucks the diesel engines remain the same size usually between 13 or 15 liters in size. The current discussion / debate...is it better to have a smaller engine working a little harder, or a bigger engine working more relaxed? Interesting debate in the trucking industry.
With cars we have gone from 7 liters down to 1 liter, and from 3 speed automatics to 10 speed automatics.
Its fascinating with technology what we can do with an ICE be it with gas or diesel.
Remember when we were approaching "peak oil" all these engines using fossil fuels were on the path of extinction at some point and time.
Back in the days of the "North American Land Barge", vehicles were big, heavy, imposing, with 7 liter engines.
When a full size crew cab pick up endures as the best selling vehicle in Canada, with a 3.5 liter twin turbo engine. Is it that far removed from the land barge of old?
Then electric motors caught your attention. Usually an hybrid, usually a milder than more aggressive hybrid the whole experience was "mild" and you quickly grasped that batteries deplete very quickly.
You understood why all this hybrid stuff did not go mainstream, it remains a niche propulsion system for vehicles. Easy to understand why CMS (Citizen Main Street) sees more value in a 1 liter turbo motor than an hybrid.
From way back in the day we all know that gas engines have a strong top end (horsepower), diesels have a stronger low end (torque). Torque is good but for an enthusiast top end is fun.
The immense advantage of ICE is the well established infrastructure to "keep them going" (gas stations). Think about it in about 5 minutes you quickly and efficiently reload a 500 kilometer range in any vehicle with an ICE and an average gas tank.
Agreed at some point in the future electric motors will replace ICE power in vehicles...its in the future at some point.
Lets see if we can connect a few dots this morning, and what tentative conclusion will come of the dot connections.
If you have been in the auto business or a gear head for a while, you will remember some of these vehicles. Today a myriad of utility vehicles (trucks) are displacing sedans in the sales numbers.
How did this utility movement start?
Back in the early 1970's International had the Scout, GM developed the Blazer/Jimmy, Ford the Bronco, and Chrysler the Ramcharger. They were basically shortened pick ups with a fiberglass roof over the rear passenger area.
The majority were real 4x4 with a transfer case, low range, and free wheeling front hubs. They were small back then, but big by today's standards and captured the imagination of a market segment. If the metal must resonate, these smaller utilities resonated.
It was a case of your personal utility/toy with only 2 doors; not really family oriented.
At one point (late 1970's) every one seemed to have a down sized pick up, and a down sized utility vehicle still a 2 door.
At some point (early 1980's) the Jeep Grand Wagoneer with wood paneling similar to the station wagons captured the attention of a wider market segment. It had 4 doors, leather interior, all the convenience features of the day, transfer case, low range. It was big but smaller than a Suburban.
Lets keep in mind that in 1977 when GM down sized the full size cars, Suburbans became increasingly popular as a replacement for the pre 1977 full size station wagon.
At some point the down sized utilities added 2 doors, now they have 4 doors, the Grand Cherokee is the darling of the segment, while the Ford Explorer is very popular.
These vehicles become the "family kicker" the "mommy car" and the go anywhere its a 4x4 with a frame, transfer case, low range. A family would have a sedan, and a "kicker".
At a certain point in the new century, the frame morphed into a unibody and common platform, the transfer case became a viscous copling, the low range dissapeared too. Now we have an AWD vehicles that is cheaper to build, with a common platform.
Manufacturers have constantly removed the barriers to reach a larger market segment. Poor fuel economy, not so much now. Too much truck, now it might be too much car. Not enough amenities, not anymore.
In the meantime the "utility vehicle" segment continues to grow, and grow, and grow some more.
What is the current utility vehicle?
Is it a sedan? NO but its probably on a sedan platform
Is it a station wagon? NO but it sort of looks like a wagon
Is it a truck? NO but still identified as a truck.
Its a UV (utility vehicle) and getting smaller, more luxurious, and increasing its appeal.
So what is it?
Its a boxy station wagon on stilts without the wood paneling.
Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, and tell your friends.
We again urge you to connect dots, its a fascinating learning experience that can provide you with a competitive advantage. This week we connected dots with a Corvette Gran Sport.
Have you noticed the recalibration in Canadian mortgage rules? You have to wonder if it will have an impact on auto sales? What do you think? A concise overview of the housing landscape in Canada...click.
A challenging 3rd quarter but still ahead for the year by 3%. Simply remarkable. Yes...we believe in the mobility business model adopted by the Canadian consumer. Trucks, and more trucks remain the current infatuation. We told you so months ago. FCA after months of steady, unrelenting increases, generates a substantial drop in September.
In one fashion or another we all work each for our own reasons. Yes...for money too.
The entire "work bubble" changes, morphs, changes again, its in constant evolution, with upsides and down sides. Ask yourself...why do you work? What motivates you about your work? Agreed we could keep on going.
Like a good hot rodder, tweak it, adjust it, make it fit, and make your work a great experience for yourself, and those around you.
Have you noticed how many folks identify incentives on vehicles as being stuck with a non selling iron. If you remeber the old days of "Buy a car get a check". By now you should surely know that incentives are an intrinsic part of the auto business.
Incentives move iron, its that simple.
Our usual old race cars from the 2016 Tour Auto Rallye.