We are in the second half of the month, you surely have noticed the frequency of automotive ads in the various platforms increase in intensity. You can dare greatly with an SRX, snap your fingers and get a Ford, ya ya ya to a Jetta to name few that caught our attention.
In Canada now that the Federal Budget is a done deal, and the Duffy Trial continues, its been fascinating to observe the various opinions from a myriad of pundits, experts, analysts. Yes...you have to be your own editor.
Our friend Michael Banovsky spent a few days with a Viper in Los Angeles, and generated an interesting story in Petrolicious with an historical perspective on Vipers. Which reminded us of a Black Viper Roadster, chromed wheels, Fort Lauderdale, cruising on the A1A with the Strada Crew a few years back.
You must have noticed that we pay little to no attentionto fuel economy of vehicles. Must be the lasting horsepower thing that "it takes gas to make horsepower".
With sales of trucks, SUV/CUV steadily increasing in Canada. One wonders who really pays attention to fuel economy. As you can appreciate when vehicles are higher off the ground the frontal area, and wind resistance increases. Pushing air requires horsepower. JD Power has just published an informative study Fuel Economy Economics which reinforces the element of fuel economy perception.
Our usual old race cars from the David Love Memorial.
Strada started in 2006...yes 9 years ago; its always been on the Squarespace 5 platform.
As you can imagine 9 years ago, or going back even a few years mobile was not as prominent as it is today. Some technology that folks use today was a figment of the imagination only a few years back.
If you have a publication and/or web site you usually do your updating, editing, make new entries from a PC, and we tend to remain in the PC mode of seeing how the site/publication is viewed by visitors. Being around for 9 years the publication is constantly crawled by a variety of search engines, especially Google.
A couple of years ago, Squarespace launched version 6 of their platform. In our case migrating from 5 to 6 was not possible since we would have lost a good quantity of our content in the migration. Keeping all our content was a priority for us. We decided to remain with the Squarespace 5 platform.
Obvious that we have looked at our publication from a PC (most of the time), different versions of iPhones, and iPads. With Squarespace, and Google analytical tools we have noticed the inexorable increase in mobile traffic especially in the past year.
As you probably heard, last week Google advised that "mobile friendly" is a factor in determining search results. In addition Google will analyse your site and advise you if its mobile friendly.
Here is the deal...
Its not if you have a web site, but your site is certainly PC / laptop friendly, and probably looked a little hard to read / navigate on a smart phone, and if you used a tablet it was only marginally better.
In our case this past week end, we went from PC - Lap top - different models of iPhones - iPad to view Strada. We strongly urge you to do the same with your site, while having your family and friends share their thoughts on the ease of use on the various devices.
You have these devices, have used them for long enough, and are keenly aware of the expectations and forms usage of the different devices. Ensure that your site / publication is friendly. Agreed there are a ton of different devices but the screen resolutions are very similar.
Do keep in mind that a change here, a tweak there, often cascades into a chain reaction.
As an alternative you can wait for a conference a few months down the road to tell you that your site must be mobile friendly to optimise your SEO.
The one thing it did not do this past year is go to the Caribbean, The Colonel opted for a smaller briefcase.
Yes...still attracts attention especially in airports.
Dave Munson of Saddleback is correct, after 4 years still looks new, with hardly any wear showing. It actually looks better now with the start of a patina.
Remains very useful to carry all sorts of technological devices (laptop, smart phones, camera), and old school stuff like a writing pad, pens, spare change, lip balm to name a few.
Especially if you have an aversion to syntethic material, wheeled cases with a handle that are so common in airports. Lets not forget the usual back packs that you see all over the place.
Its a unique, cool, durable leather briefcase in our case ideal for business use and travel.
The auto business has always been competitive, and will continue to be competitive.
With the emergence of big data, the competition has made quantum leaps in sophistication, harnessing a myriad of variables. Needless to say that gaining a competitive advantages is increasingly demanding, complex, and at times simpler.
In the auto business everyone knows, or should know that once an advantage has gone public, has hit the street, its immediately diluted, and can be replicated by a competitor.
A simple example:
Its a well known fact that the actual purchase month is from 10 to 40 as an example. Customers delay their decisions towards the end of the month, which often implies an incrementally better deal. Although all the product and pricing information is readily available on the Internet. The various incentives/bonuses from manufacturers to dealers are not available.
There are usually month long incentives, while depending on the sales volumes, there might be addtional incentives towards the end of the month. Interesting that these month end incentives that are geared to facilitate a decision are nowhere to be found on the Internet. Reflect on this for a moment...
Once any level of infirmation becomes common knowledge, its empowering for one individual, and of little value to another. It usually narrows the perspective.
As we have seen during the first quater of 2015, the competition among manufacturers, dealers, and customers availing themselves to the best deals increased. When auto sales reach new records, to gain incremental sales entails that one gains, and another loses. Its in the nature of the auto business...
The other often heard mantra "Cars last longer consequently finance terms can be extended." Which implies that CMS (Citizen Main Street) will keep a car for 5-8 year time frame. The lenght of the finance term.
As we often mention the auto industry runs on a 36 month cycle, always did, and always will.
With record new vehicle sales in Canada for the past few years, you have to wonder where all these old cars are hiding, who is driving them, who is maintaining them.
Yes...all manufacturers have access to immense computing power, and can deal with massive amounts of data. Which permits them to acquire market insight that was not available a few years ago.
In Canada MerBimAu (hate to always bring these guys up) has been doing a phenomenal job in selling more vehicles, adding new models, remarketing, increasing CPO sales. We also know that the bulk of the new vehicles they sell are leased.
Lets break it down some components...
Lease Term: Ideally 36 months, with the occasional stretch to 49-40 month to better position the return of the vehicle, improve the residual risk factor.
The vehicle returns in 36 months, not 60 or 72 or 84, the magic number is 36. It has a remainder of factory warranty, can be reconditioned at a reasonable cost, can apply an addtitional factory extended warranty to CPO the vehicle.
Remarketing / CPO: The idea is to make money twice with a vehicle, dealers that leased vehicles 2 generations ago knew that when the lease reached its term the vehicle would come back offering an opportunity to lease another vehicle to the lessee, and remarket the lease return.
In many instances the lease return is remarketed as a CPO and the supporting financial instrument is a 36 month finance term with a balloon amount at the end of the term.
The Chain Reaction: In the auto business having a chain reaction, taking trade ins, retailing used vehicles has always been a key to generating additional business, and obvious making more money.
Think about this...where are all these older cars? Are they still with the original owner?
I you are of a certain age you remember Volvo P1800's not the fastest car, but a cool car in its day. The Colonel remembers taking many Sunday morning rides in a P1800...enjoy the video.
Its Friday, its the Vroom Room make yourself comfortable we have cappuccino and biscotti. Join the conversation.
The days are getting longer, and finally the climatic conditions are milder...must be that time of year. Hopefully you started you motorcycle.
Have you noticed how RM Auctions presents vehicles in catalogues for auctions? The catalogue for the upcoming Andrews Collection is simply stunning...take a look.
Yes...we are Ferrari fans, been like that for a few decades, there are all sorts of stories, reviews, road tests about Ferrari's from a myriad of pundits. Interesting that after he passed away a few year ago, it seems everyone knew Luigi Della Grotta, and Nicola in Montreal, although less people knew George Wooley from way back in the day.
Take a few moments or bookmark it, this is a fascinating experience/story about, Fiorano, an F12, and Kimi.
It would seem that The Benniss from last week attracted attention. Agreed we took a different and imaginative approach.
Have you noticed that every manufacturer is scouring the planet to find a more cost effective location to assemble vehicles. Technology empowers this scouring, while robots that handle complex tasks on assembly lines make it simpler to relocate to cheaper locations.
Needless to mention that Canada is on the losing end.
If like us you have an interest in older cars, and follow auction results. This report of the Auction America Ft.Lauderdale sale offers unique insight with comments on 99 cars, that sold, or did not sell, how much they were paid, how often they have been at auctions.
We urge you to take a few moments to review the article...here.
Pundits talk about luxury cars, SUV/CUV, interiors, amenities, and rarely talk about luxury engines.
What is a luxury engine?
Go back a few generations when luxury cars of the day had an engine with more cylinders, more power than regular cars. Duesenbergs with a supercharged straight 8, Cadillacs with V12's and V16 to name a few.
From our perspective V12's are the ultimate luxury engine, and if you have never owned and/or driven a V12 with serious horsepower. Put it in your bucket list to spend some time in a car with a V12, to experience of how it delivers power is unique.
There are are V8's, 6 cylinders, 4 cylinders and so on. You surely grasp what we are saying.
As superchargers, be it a blower or turbo have gained in popularity engines have down sized in cylinders, and displacement. Often for the sake of fuel economy. Ford as an entire line of Ecoboost engines topped by a V6.
A V8 with a turbo is comparable to a V12, a V6 with a turbo to a V8, and a 4 cylinder with a turbo is comparable to a V6...on a spread sheet it all makes pragmatic sense.
But...we are humans, and emotional and when it comes to luxury what is under the hood is part of the luxury value proposition and package. When most econo boxes are powered by 4 cylinders, powering a luxury vehicle with a 4 cylinder even with a turbo misses the luxury mark.
Agreed...there are a ton of "premium economy" vehicles powered by a 4 cylinder; with a ton of folks acquiring or leasing these vehicles. As you probably know 4 cylinders over 2 liter displacement have rough spots, accompanied by the rough 4 cylinder sound.
From our perspective to uphold the traditional essence of luxury, a vehicle must have a "luxury engine".
Have you noticed the emerge quest for simplicity?
When an individual is very good at doing "something" it looks simple and easy.
When most folks have shortened attention spans, keeping it simple, short, impactful, is a "de rigueur" requirement.
At t time when everyone can generate and publish content, being your own editor as we have been saying for years now is essential.
You have to wonder when the auto business in general will embark on a heightened quest for simplicity. Taking a myriad of complex components and making it simpler, easier, more intuitive for folks to understand and use.
A rear view mirror is simple.
A back up camera which should be simple is complex with a myriad of different settings, to almost ensure that you will bump into an obstacle until you get used to its specific distance settings.
Do you really need a computer in the center of your dash?
Think about this for a moment...if you just paid more money to have a premium sound system, why are there so many settings to fine tune or completely mess up the sound coming from the system.
How many ways do you really need to see a map? With a computer and the myriad of settings you can possibly get lost within the map, let alone getting there.
Back in the day of mechanical cars it was simple, intuitive, pre set.
Have you experienced the drive settings in cars.
Economy is often giving up on horsepower, accompanied by totally relaxed shifts from the transmission.
Normal is usually what you would expect while being somewhat conservative especially with the newer multispeed automatic transmissions.
Sport is either what normal should be or totally over the top thinking you are on a track with a vehicle that is not track oriented from the outset.
Today its complex, often counter intuitive, and infinitely variable.
Think about this, some products command a premium price...they use technology to simplify complexity, make it intuitive, and control the variables.