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Tuesday
Dec152009

Thoughts on Financial Services

In the early days of the automotive industry in North America banks refused to lend money towards the purchase of an automobile. Its was not a prudent credit risk to lend money towards the purchase of these new fangled inventions that were slowly displacing horses.

In 2009 its sort of the same situation with a modern twist.

Homes without mortages would be challenging to sell. Vehicles being the second most expensive acquisition a consumer will make without financial services would not sell. The automotive industry is a business, any business needs to create customers, in the auto industry financial services is an intrinsic element in creating customers.

At some point some manufacturers (not to mention names) forgot that without propriatery financial services controlled by the manufacturer its an arduous task to create customers. Perhaps at one time the propietary financial services created too many customers.

Which leads to the question: Is it the product, or the financial services or a combination of both. Yes it can get very interesting especially when the variables are empowered by technology.

You can quickly conclude that a strong product requires less financial services assistance, a weaker product will get increased financial services assistance. Its easy with technology to develop and deploy a myriad of scenarios depending on the specific requirements.

The fascinating part, CSM (Citizen Main Street) has no desire to understand all the variables, and vagueries that are related to the financial services. CSM undesrtands that if he waits towards the end of the month, in all likely hood he will get a better financial services deal than at the beginning of the month.

Without propriatery financial services the auto industry in North America would not be where it is today, and will not be successful in the future.

Your thoughts?

 

 

Monday
Dec142009

Don "The Snake" Prudhomme

Its does not get much cooler than this, Jay Leno with Don Prudhomme and his 1970 Funny Car with the transporter.....its cool. Listen to Don give a description of his car!

 

Monday
Dec142009

Thoughts on Styling

by Gary SmithIf all vehicles are basically good, do we agree? Then styling, design become important, and critical features of all vehicles. Its also a personal perspective, have a few people look at the same vehicle you will get varying opinions, and preferences. 

Especially as vehicles seem to increasingly acquire bulk to accommodate the safety, and technology features that are mandated, and expected in a modern vehicle. Yes...vehicles are bulkier, heavier, and at time seem clumsier.  

They all have the same rounded, smoother front end styling which is a magnet for stone ships, and cuts down the coefficient of drag. We are trading incremental fuel economy for a ton of paint chips, and sandblasted headlamp lenses.

Its encouraging to see some manufacturers make compelling efforts to be innovative and creative with interiors. You look at the interior, the materials, you design, the fit and finish and its truly encouraging to see that manufacturers are making diligent efforts. In other cases its the opposite, you could conclude that the manufacturers sold the interior. 

In an age of product parity, feature parity, technology parity...styling, and design sells vehicles (creates customers). Its one of the reasons we always mention street presence, we firmly believe that any vehicle must have appealing street presence. We know...some have more appeal than others, its also personal. Elegant styling/design has a wider appeal, especially as we progress towards value and sensibility.

You look at a vehicle, in a few seconds the styling/design captures your heart, and intellect. Its not a long process, and perhaps a styling might grow on you, but it did not capture your heart in a few seconds. The same applies to interiors, open the door, or doors and look, is this interior communicating with you, and what is it telling you?

Yes...we can quickly express interesting remarks both positive and negative regarding styling and design, for some reason human nature excels in making "what does it look like" remarks. 

Your thoughts?

 

Sunday
Dec132009

Wave Around the Planet

Here is the deal!

Yesterday evening in a "Twitter moment" we quickly concluded that Google Wave is some sort of communication tool, seems everyone is on Wave, whether its activated or not, and everyone has a wave address.

Here's the thing!

For 2010 it would be totally cool to have a Happy New Year Google Wave go around the planet. We would like to circle the planet with a Wave. We just concluded the first decade of a new century, and are starting another decade...its a cool way to start a new decade with a Wave around the planet.

How will it get done?

I surely do not have all the answers yet, if you are a Wave expert (perhaps you work for Google) would you give us a hand to get a Wave to go around the planet for the New Year. 

Why do it?

Its cool, its doable, its a memorable way to start a New Decade. Take a moment to connect humanity for a moment.

Express your intentions by leaving message at: colonel.t890@googlewave.com or a comment here on the blog, or a DM on Twitter @stradablog

Even easier

If you have a Wave account, The Wave is public access take a look makes it even easier for you to join.

 

 

Saturday
Dec122009

Thoughts on Motorcycles

Its Saturday, its bikes...

Yesterday we were at the Motorcycle Show, you may have missed the photo gallery.

If you think that only the automotive industry has and still is experiencing challenging times. The folks in the motorcycle business are experiencing their own challenges.

You surely know that at Strada we have an affinity for motorcycles with proponents for cruisers and others for sport bikes...yes it gets interesting!

Yes we know that bikes are considered dangerous, sport bikes are blindingly fast, fast cars are fast, but sport bikes are in a completely different performance envelope....super car territory?

Why do we like motorcycles? On a bike you are in full control, and also fully exposed. The risk factor is several increments higher than in a car, and the sense of satisfaction is also several increments higher than a car. Could it be that all the safety features of cars, heighten the interest in motorcycles.

Bikes are similar to cars from a few decades ago, the mechanical simplicity is intoxicating, especially if you appreciate fully mechanical machines without electronics. If you are a hard core gear head a motorcycle has a strong mechanical attraction.

Boomers tend to like cruisers, must be the cowboy movies from when they were kids, and having your own mechanical horse.  

Motorcycles offer a "freedom envelope" that is unique and refreshing, other motorcycles offer a "performance envelope" that is mind boggling, and adrenaline pumping. Is Harley-Davidson the motorcycle evangelist of the planet? They have for years had an genuine understanding of why their customers acquired one of their bikes.

We believe that as vehicles inexorably evolve in complexity, more people seeking a simple form of freedom will turn to motorcycles, and perhaps even scooters to express themselves.

Your thoughts!