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Entries in Cars (22)

Thursday
Jan122017

Mobility Business

Lets clarify a point or will it be a few points.

Today there are a lot of folks talking about mobility which is immediately interpreted as some sort of "self driving" or "autonomous" conveyance. Its also become an interesting catchword for a lot of folks.

When you reflect on it for a moment..."An auto dealer is in the people business to provide mobility".

You want or need a vehicle to go from A to B, and all vehicles today will get you from A to B.

Its that simple...

At Strada when we refer to mobility we prefer to think of it as the initial shift from ownership to having mobility on a monthly payment basis.

For decades in Canada we were ingrained in owning the mobility conveyance (car), there was a sense of pride in having ownership of the car.

Fast forward to today and the inexorable rise in consumer credit which is primarily driven by auto loans. It begs the question "Who owns a mobility conveyance?" Not many...

As you read the various virtues, and benefits of autonomous vehicles, from less accidents to car sharing, to vehicles returning home after a short commute...we could keep on going. In Canada we are already a few steps closer towards the model of AV's where less and less folks truly own a vehicle or are seeking an equity position in a vehicle.

Its costing me "So much per month" to have a conveyance that provides mobility.

Obvious that a lot of folks will still own their "toys" be it a car, a truck, motorcycle, hot rod. But the conveyance that is relegated to commuting, going from A to B, doing the errands. That one is on a "So much per month" basis.

Canada is steadily progressing in the "So much per month for mobility" since the past few years. Its the reason that we are seeing record sales.

 

 

Wednesday
Dec282016

Driving in 2016

Way back in the day when cars were completely unsafe (compared to today), roads were not as congested, there was a liberating feeling driving most cars.

Obvious there were special moments, when driving a car that appealed to your emotions.

Back in the day, driving especially on the highway was liberating, and connecting. The car was the mobile phone, Internet, Facebook, Twitter, to name a few.

Obvious that back in the day the car was also a personal branding tool, folks did not have a Linkedin profile, but they showed up in "what car?"

We could keep on going, and going some more from when the car was a multi faceted tool. While driving with an unsafe vehicle was always an adventure.

How about driving in 2016?

Its a necessary evil to go from A to B on congested roads.

Cars are dramatically safer, more reliable, comfortable; do we really drive much faster? The speed limits have not changed, although its more relaxing with a modern car.

Today the fun factor last seconds, back in the day it could be several minutes.

Good thing that modern cars have fuel injection, and all sorts of technology to control the timing, spark advance, shift points. At the amount of time these vehicles spend congested traffic. An old school car would require all sorts of maintenance.

The challenge is that the distractions in amodern car are several orders of magnitude higher than in an old school car which basically had the radio buttons. Reflect on this for a moment. Distracted driving is a HUGE problem in 2016.

 

Tuesday
Dec132016

Global Sales November 2016

When a chart tells the whole story...

Click on chart to enlarge

 

 

Monday
Dec122016

Special Cars

The other day we were reading a few articles about enthusiasts acquiring special cars in one fashion or another. These cars become projects, and often require various levels of work.

Then it crossed our minds that some things change while not changing at all. Yes...the times change, the technology changes, but it also does not change after decades.

Several years ago we embarked on a first car dialogue and several folks contributed. This was The Colonel's first car...click. Agreed, a 1963 Chevrolet is over 50 years old today.

When you are young for some reason time moves slower, there is an abundance of physical energy and resources, with usually a scarcity of financial resources. Technology was non existent, everything was mechanical.

As an enthusiast you absolutely had to acquire an innate understanding of cars, how they worked, how to fix them usually on a tight budget. There was no Internet, no forums to exchange information, or acquire information.

Every car was special, and its interesting to see that special cars still exist today.

What was/is a special car?

Its usually a car that requires a fair amount of TLC, or has some sort of potential after a bunch of work is invested in the car. Work more than money.

Agreed...it was special in the eyes of the beholder and perhaps the immediate friends. Everyone else might conclude that it was a miserable POS.

Interesting enough that special car thing stays with you through the years, and the more cars you own, see, drive, deal with...the more some cars are special. Its not necessarily that its a good car, or a fast car, its just a special car.

Lets look at some special cars...from the past

1963 Chevrolet Biscayne Coupe - it was special, priceless in its own way. Required a ton of constant TLC to keep it running.

1979 Camaro Z28 - still very special, still in the garage, how to have your own collectible. Back in the day a ton of work went on that car.

The other thing that makes cars special is that if you own them for long enough they become a part of the family. The Z28 has been around for 38 years.

Lets not forget that mechanical cars are special in their own way. When you need a key to unlock a door, to start a car, in 2016 its special.

Lets not forget a 1995 C220 that has been around Strada for over 11 years, a priceless car in its own way.

If you are an enthusiast most if not all the cars you own, and will own always have something special that resonates with you...they are rarely just a car.

 

 

 

Thursday
Oct132016

Internal Combustion Engine

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.

 

 

Friday
Sep302016

Vroom Room and 10 Years

 

Good Morning,

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

Its 10 years that we publish Strada.

A huge THANK YOU to all the folks that read our publication, follow us on the various platforms, and share their thoughts, and comments with us.

As we said last year, and its worth repeating:

By now you know that "we don't follow, we lead", as well as not being in the eyeball business, we are in the thought provoking business. We constantly urge folks to apply their intelligence, look ahead, while taking a 360 degree perspective, to push the envelope, connect dots, and be remarkable in their own way.

What do we know of the auto business as we call it? The Colonel's father was a mechanic a couple of generations ago. We did not have an auto epiphany, we grew up, evolved, earned a living with cars, and we persist in being PASSIONATE about cars, and the business surrounding cars.

We are not in the habit of honking our horn...for 10 years all our content is available and searchable, while having folks from mostly Canada and the US but also from all over the planet read our thoughts. Its like "Wow we have been doing this for 10 years, still having fun and looking forward to many more years".

We urge you to try the search feature for yourself.

Our usual old race cars from the Coronado Speed Festival 2016.

 

Monday
Sep262016

They Are All Good Cars

At Strada we are the first to admit that "They are all good cars, or utilities, or trucks". Every manufacturer builds a good car.

This morning we have The Colonel enjoying a coffee with us, lets get his thoughts.

Q: They are all good...you agree?

A: Absolutely, we have reviewed over 100 vehicles through the years, they are all good.

Q: Folks have their preferences, as well as you.

A: Yes, folks are increasingy migrating towards utilities. I have my preferences, by now we all know that I prefer sedans with a V8.

Q: How about common part suppliers?

A: Think of it, global industry, global suppliers, most components come from the same suppliers for all manufacturers.

Q: Cost cutting...

A: That is a pandora's box. Every manufacturer is on a mission to control costs. Some are obvious, other are very subtle and harder to detect.

Q: Care to elaborate a bit more on cost cutting, and common suppliers?

A: Its common platforms to save development costs, and spread them out, common suppliers with perhaps slightly different specifications, its a complex and sophisticated design and cost cutting process.

Q: Leading edge components, technology, materials cost money, irrelevant of the manufacturer?

A: Precisely...you want Brembo calipers it will cost more money. You want softer leather, it will cost more, makes no difference in which car, or which manufacturer.

Q: Price point for the segment.

A: Every manufacturer know precisely, down to the penny how the build a vehicle to meet a price point for the segment. Be it a compact sedan or utility, mis size, and so on.

Q: What happens when the technology content increases.

A: A manufacturer will either raise the price, or save money "somewhere", as technology becomes mainstream the price of the technology diminishes. Case in point an adaptive cruise control which is now mainstream.

Q: You still maintain that they are all good?

A: Absolutely...keep in mind that we all have our preferences.

Q: There have to be some bad cars...somewhere.

A: We have our preferences, our dislikes, cars that strike our dislike buttons are less good than cars that appeal to us. Expecting features, materials, performance in a "premium economy" that are beyond the price point.

Q: When you compare cars...

A: At Strada we do not compare cars, they are all taken at face value. We focus on the car at hand, and its price range. Surprisingly each car has a value proposition that equates to the price, and other have interesting value surprises.

Q: They are all good, and it costs more that have superior components and features in any car.

A: Precisely...

 

 

Tuesday
Sep202016

Brands-What Do You Expect?

We all evolve with brands, we formulate our thoughts, and expectations about specific brands, and values.

What were clearly defined brands, values, and expectations have increasingly become blurred especially during the past few years.

If you see a specific brand be assured that the folks at the brand are on a mission to preserve various forms of brand identity, to keep the brand going. On the premise of, if you see this brand this is what you will get, this is the value proposition.

But what do you expect from specific brands, and especially as you move up the food chain of brands, and the level of expectations increase.

What brands? What versions, models of brands are benchmarks for you? Agreed...it becomes personal, and we each have our preferences.

Its a complex product, and human algorithm, with most marketers on the planet seeking ways to find an advantage within the algorithm.

Let's bring it to the auto business, and luxury sedans in the 6 figure price segment.

Does anyone need a 6 figure sedan to go from A to B? We all know the answer - NO

You don't need one, but you want one, and obvious its within your budget.

We all know the contenders in this segment, and the various 6 figure sedans tend to have the same features, up to a point the same specifications on paper, and are all a showcase for the latest automotive technological marvels. These cars are bristling with techno features, the dashes are a video arcade, and they are all on the cusp of driving themselves.

In the meantime you still have to drive the car, and not be distracted by the various techno features.

When it comes to 6 figure sedans the Mercedes-Benz S Class with a V8 still rules as the benchmark car in this segment.

Its a no brainer, go out and get yourself an S550, and the need is solved.

We are all different, and if for some reason the Mercedes-Benz brand in a luxury sedan does not resonate with you. There are several other offerings that can satisfy your needs in a luxury sedan.

At the same time, you need to focus on your expectations for this 6 figure luxury sedan, which of your expectations have a higher priority, and which are literally a deal breaker.

You can access a ton of opinions, comparisons, reviews regarding the various contenders in the segment, as well as some recent interlopers gaining a foothold.

Its your money, your expectations, how much of a "fuck you factor" do you need, and how much "waftability" do you need. The back up camera, adaptive cruise crontrol, self parking, massaging rear seat, LED lights, quickly take a secondary or even further back the line position.

Its a personal decision to fill your "wants"...since you don't really need a 6 figure sedan to go from A to B.

So which brand, and which metal truly resonates with you?

Care to share your thoughts? Leave a comment.

 

Monday
Sep192016

Cobble Beach 2016

We always look forward to the Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance, we have been going to Cobble Beach since the first concour in 2013.

This year the climatic conditions were simply spectacular, a wonderful September Sunday with a bright sun. In our case it was a different experience we had an opportunity to drive up to Owen Sound in a Cadillac CT6 Platinum. The CT6 is simply a phenomenal car...which kept on impressing us.

As usual Rob McLeese and his folks do an awesome job organising and staging this concour.

What caught our attention this year.

The Auburn Boatail which won best of show.

The Stanley Steamer running was a unique sight.

An interesting display of Porsches 356, with one roadster having a unique stinger exhaust system.

The Aston Martin DB6's were a reminder of the various James Bond movies.

Packards V12's these cars continue to have presence today.

A black 1970 Chevelle SS454 with an L71 and a rock crusher M22 making all the appropriate sounds, a quick reminder of the drive in scene from a few decades back.

There was a 1964 GTO with 3 carburetors on the 389...yes the one that started the muscle car segment, and think about it, over 50 years ago.

Wooden boats again this year.

Pick ups too...do you remember Mercury pick ups?

Motorcycles with Indians and Harleys.

Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance is a unique automotive experience, a feats for the eyes, it always brings back various memories, and obvious the setting is simply spectacular.

We have a photo gallery...here click.

Another on our flickr page...here click. As they say a photo is worth a gazillion words.

 

Thursday
Jul282016

Passion and More

The other day we were reflecting on how often we have expressed our thoughts and beliefs on passion.

Have you noticed that in a world filled with technology we occasionally hear of passion being discussed or even mentioned.

Are we going to do another take on passion? Not really we have shared our thoughts often enough if you just go to the search feature it will show you, or simply click here for a quick overview of how it all started in our case.

During these Dog Days of Summer, become reflective, find out what you care about, what really turns up your emotions, and what resonates with you. We could keep on going but you know what we mean.

Here is another...replenish with passion what technology has removed or depleted. Its what makes us humans.

Its like cars...some metal resonates more than other, and if the metal of your car resonates with you, the car performs better for you...think about this.

Technology is an equalizer, empower yourself with more passion.