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Entries in Canada (47)


Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, leave a comment.

Its June, a fresh month heading towards mid year, its warmer, the sun is shining, and lets not forget that we are heading towards the "Dog Days of Summer". Its exciting...

What else is new...Canadians are in debt. Not to sound repetitive at Strada we have been mentioning the debt load, and the reality/fact that CMS (Citizen Main Street) has been carrying the Canadian economy for quite some time.

Perhaps the question is if CMS has been carrying the Canadian economy for too long, and too far?

Canadian Sales

After a record shattering April, that May would be a little softer is only normal. Still a strong May, still appreciably ahead of last year by 5%...still good. Although you have to wonder what is going on at GM with their focus on "retail sales". An aside last year at the end of May it was 40% cars and 60% trucks. This year its 35% cars and 65% trucks its inexorably becoming a "truck" (pick up, utility) market.

If you watched any of the racing this past week end, while tolerating a race till the end, you were more patient than us in enduring the idiosyncrasies of the day.

Monaco was a game of tires from hard to ultra soft, and brain fades, on top of the rain.

Indy developed into can they run 10 laps without someone hitting the wall, and out comes the menagerie of vehicles each time. What's up with the pit stops?

Charlotte, did not even bother.

An impressive photo gallery of the Mille Miglia 2016.




Canadian Sales - First Quarter 2016

Our thoughts on Canadian sales for the first quarter.



Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti join the conversation.

As you have probably heard Ed Welburn is retiring as head of Design for GM. A few years back we had the opportunity to be a participant in a presentation from Ed Welburn. struck us that he was a cool car dude.

Some individuals in the auto business exude coolness, and Ed is one of those, upholding a tradition started by Harley Earl, and continued by Bill Mitchell. Did you know that a few decades back The Colonel had the unique opportunity to visit the Styling building at the GM tech center.

By now you know...we are firm believers that "styling" sells.

Have you noticed how folks in the auto business in Canada have a tendency of mixing up US information / data / opinions with Canada. We are a different country, and if the old times 10 rule would apply they would be close to 20M not 17M new units in the US. What do you think?

If you are in Canada and are just becoming aware / focusing on Certified Pre Owned, that has literally been around for at least a couple of decades. You have to ask yourself where you were hiding.

Have you noticed that the price of gas, a barrel of oil, and the CDN dollar are creeping up lately. Gas we know in the GTA gas companies have an issue with gas below $1.00 a liter. The barrel of oil from our perspective some folks on this planet are realising that market share, and low prices are a costly experiment. Although a compelling wake up call for everyone. The CDN dollar is tied at the hip with the barrel of oil.

Our usual old race cars from HMSA LSR Invitational 2016...impressive photography.





What's Happening to Sedans?

Remember the reference to the "family car" which was used for decades, and often stll used today.

It was always a car, starting with a coupe for younger individuals or couples with no kids, migrating to a sedan, or perhaps even a station wagon.

There were all sorts of coupes, from the 2 door post, to the hardtop, same for sedans the 4 door post, and the hardtop. Obvious that the hardtops were the more popular versions. The versions with the post were always offered in the lower line models.

Let's not forget station wagons from back in the day.

At some point the mini van came along, and station wagons started fading away. Yes...a mini van is more useful than a wagon, perhaps even becoming the defacto family car in many instances.

Light Duty Trucks

Way back in the day what we collectively call a utility vehicle in 2016 was a light duty 1/2 ton truck. Notice the model designators, 1 for 1/2 ton, 2 for 3/4 ton, 3 for 1 ton, and 4 or 5 for a heavier duty 1 ton.

Keep the light duty trucks in the back of your mind for a moment, as well as station wagons.


When you start morphing light duty trucks and station wagons at some point the current 2016 versions of utility vehicles becomes a reality.

This current crop of utility vehicles are more station wagons than trucks, more car than a truck even a light duty truck, often with an innovative all wheel drive version which truly resonates in the Canadian market.

Let's not forget the higher seating position of a utility vehicle.

The morphing is inexorably displacing sedans as the "family car" now its the "family utility".



Creeping Auto Loans

Our thoughts on longer auto loans in Canada...




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

You have to wonder when the mainstream media starts clamouring that CMS (Citizen Main Street) wants too much car, and are paying for it with longer finance terms. The classic case of someone published a study and concludes that CMS is in deep yougurt with car loans.

What else is new CMS is in deep yogurt with real estate, and now presumably car loans.

The reality is that CMS is seeking mobility at an average monthly of $500 per month. Forget the loan term, forget when there will be equity in the vehicle. That is an antiquate ownership thought process, while CMS is in mobility mode, enabled by manufacturers, financial service providers, dealers.

Yes...this week end is the Amelia Island Concours, and the accompanying auctions.

Is carbon fiber the new aluminum for body panels? What do you think.

Have you noticed that when manufacturers run tests on self driving and or autonomous vehicles, there is often an inflatable obstacle. When you are trying out some of the autonomous driving features there are no inflatable obstacles. Its the real world with "hard obstacles" think of this for a moment.

We often suggest to connect dots. At CIAS 2016 the president of Jaguar Canada was conspicuous by his absence, with an appearance by Ian Callum which was cool. Why was the president MIA? Simple there is a new president.

Instead of our usual old race cars, we have a comprehensive photo gallery of the Geneva Auto Show.





Epic Canadian Sales

We all know that last year (2015) was a record year, and the previous year (2014) was a record year too.

We are all aware of the inexorable shift from sedans to trucks, be it utilities or pick ups.

Yes...2016 is developing into an epic record year, with epic truck sales.

There have never been almost 228 thousand vehicles sold in Canada in the first 2 months of the year.

We could come up with a bunch of reasons from unusually mild winter especially in eastern Canada, to pent up demand for trucks. As well as an enduring slowing economy in the oil patch, and Volkswagen sales continuing to derail.

The fact remains that in recent history sales never broke the 210 thousand mark, for the first two month, and this year they are at 228 thousand.

Agreed...2 months especially the first 2 do not make a year, and a lot of stuff can develop from now till the end of the year. 

It remains a strong start to 2016.

We continue to believe that the model is shifting from ownership to mobility.

Imagine for a moment if Canadian sales hit the 2 million mark this year.



Leap Year

How often do we get an opportunity to share our thoughts on February 29? Simple every 4 years, on a leap year. 

Lets get going with some LEAP YEAR thoughts and in no particular order.

Self Driving / Autonomous Vehivles: 

We are in Canada with winter conditions literally across the country for several months. It will take a while longer for AV's to be fully functional in all climatic conditions, especially when stuff starts freezing up in winter. 

Canadian Sales:

In the next few days we will see how February developed, but it will be increasingly challenging in 2016. Manufacturers and dealers that have a customer base with an equity position will perform dramaticall better than those with an increased deficiency customer base.


Perhaps we are mistaken, but we have the feeling that in Canada its better than it was a few years ago. Not a great experience, but better. are trading money (cost of a ticket) for time.


We do not get involved in politics, and with a low CDN dollar, low price for oil, high debt load for CMS (Citizen Main Street), a looming federal defecit. The discussions can get interesting, and partisan. The reality is for Canada to step out of its economic funk.


Most folks are becoming skeptical about all the "technology" that is available, especially in a work environment. Is it the technology, or a lack of deep, meaningful understanding, or a combination? What do you think.


If you have an opportunity to travel across Canada, especially to places that are less travelled. Its a fascinating country. winter the climatic conditions can get interesting.

Daily Rentals:

For the sake of being competitive, and advertising low daily rates which are not reality. Will we reach the point where compnonents of the vehicle are optional? What do you think?

Canadian Dollar:

After the dust settles it seems to be joined at the hip with the price of oil. Interesting scenario, oil is up or down, the value of the CDN dollar goes up or down.


Is increasingly in the "eyeball business" especially the various forms of online media.

Dealer Groups:

The shift is relentless especially in bigger markets. Its simple the "mom and pop" dealers are inexorably selling to groups. While manufacturers have a common strategy to interface with groups. It will be interesting in the years to come.


Fortunately life goes on, most folks are engaged in their activites, and life progresses.



Market Metrics January 2016

By now you know that JD Power publishes a monthly Canadian market metrics which is informative, and often provides a glimpse into the future.

Let's take a look at January 2016

Days to Turn:
Inventories of both new and used are higher that the previous year. Which puts increased pressure on dealers to "move the metal".
Monthly Payments:
Are creeping away (higher) from the magical $500 per month, to be expected as prices of new vehicles increase due the the low CDN dollar.
Price vs Customer Facing Price:
The lower value of the CDN dollar has raised retail prices (MSRP) and obvious the customer facing price.
Percent Loan Terms Above 72 Months:
January was a record month at 76%, it increasingly begs the question "How much deficiency can continue to be repackaged?"
Negative Equity:
Its almost a constant although the amounts are creeping up.
Where is 2016 going?
  • The customer is in an enviable position although monthly payments are increasing.
  • Dealers are under increased pressure to "move the metal" and repackage negative equity to close deals.
  • Financial service providers will continue to calibrate the loan terms and risk to uphold the sales momentum.
  • Manufacturers will probably resort to increased incentives to generate sales.
  • There are a few additional cross roads and bumps on the horizon for 2016 compared to 2015.

What to Watch in 2016?

What do you think? Share your thoughts, leave a comment.




The Winter Tire Episode

When The Colonel travels and requires a vehicle at an airport its usually through the same daily rental company. For a multitude of reasons it been a long running tradition to deal with this company and the service is usually quite good.

On a few occasions there have been hang ups that have been resolved very quickly.

Once there was a situation of a car with badly worn tires which was absolutely not safe, and it was resolved immediately.

This last time its been an interesting, and eye opening experience.

We all know that in winter there is a ton of snow in the Maritimes. We reserved a car, the pick up is at a smaller airport, and the question "Do you want a car with winter tires?" absolutely, look outside its snowing, its windy.

We get a car with winter tires which is the safe way to drive in winter conditions in the Maritimes.

Upon returning the car, we observe that the final total is "elevated", and notice a daily charge for winter tires.

Its the Maritimes, its winter, how can anyone in the business of renting vehicles charge for winter tires?

Go figure...

In the meantime we contacted the company through Twitter and received a timely response.