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Monday
Dec152014

Winter Driving

Last week for the first time this winter season we had an appreciable snowfall on Thursday. We all know the routine, school closures, school bus cancellations, and municipalities to save money perform selective plowing.

You can probably undrestand the selective plowing on the premise that more and more folks are driving around with SUV/CUV/AWD/Pick Ups that plowing should not be an issue.

In addition everyone is going around with an arsenal of technology to improve the winter performance of any vehicles.

While the winter constants remain the same year after year.

Lets look at a few of these:

Plowing:

Obvious that during a sustained snowfall, if municipalities plow once the snow stops they save money while making everyone's driving experience more challenging. Especially when its the snow that packs easily to increase the challenges.

Technology:

Although most vehicles are full of technology to enable driving in winter conditions, most folks have a limited knowledge of how this technology actually works.

Tires:

What works best in serious snow conditions is "tall and skinny", what is on most vehicles is "low and wide" you can arrive at your own conclusions. Even with winter tires "low and wide" loses an advantage when roads are not plowed.

Driving:

We are increasingly reading about self driving vehicles. In the meantime we are not there, and in winter conditions the individual driving is the most important factor. We often seem to forget that the Brain on Board is the most important safety feature.

Snow:

There are all kinds of snow, the light and fluffy is easy to deal with, the unrelenting fine version which lasts for hours and hampers momentum is more difficult to negotiate. In today's commute realities any snow is totally unproductive.

 

 

Saturday
Dec132014

The Beast of Torino

Cool video...see when the engine fires up...

An informative article and comments from our friend at Dean's Garage.

 

 

Friday
Dec122014

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Deuce with a Nailhead & Dual QuadsIts Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

What does the price of a barrel of oil have to do with the auto business?

Think of one thing, the 3rd largest auto market in Canada is Alberta, need we say much more. Oil is pervasive through the entire Canadian economy. The fact that many Canadian companies are sitting on mountains of cash, and CMS (Citizen Main Street) is well leveraged with loans. It will come back to haunt us in 2015.

A while back we shared our thoughts on Cadillac. Put it this way, even Mark Reuss who was profoundly involved with the ATS, is on the thought vector that the cars are better than the current sales figures. Go figure...someone puts together an incredible car, and someone else makes sure it does not sell all in the same company.

From Business Week...The 85 Most Disruptive Ideas.

This week you surely noticed that CMS (Citizen Main Street) in Canada is highly levereged with a variety of credit instruments, starting with mortgages. Regarding auto financce that we have been talking about for months. You have to wonder if someone from the Bank of Canada is reading our publication. Yes...we told you so.

The Deuce in the photo is a reminder of the early days of hot rodding, chopped top, steel wheels, baby moons, nailhead Buick, dual quads, even what looks like a generator, and black. It does not get much cooler.

Our old cars today...The Baillon Barn Find.

 

 

Thursday
Dec112014

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber has been around for a few decades. This week we are fortunate to have The Colonel hang out with us most mornings. We are going to prod The Colonel to share his thoughts on carbon fiber.

Q: Colonel, good morning almost the end of the week, and getting closer to Christmas. As usual you look refreshed and invigorated this morning.

A: Good Morning guys, the cappuccino is excellent as usual, yes the Christmas decorations are all up too.

Q: Wgat is your knowledge of carbon fiber.

A: My technical knowledge is non existent, but I know its light and strong, race cars, planes are assembled with numerous carbon fiber components.

Q: It seems to be taking time for carbon fiber to reach mainstream applications in autos.

A: Guys, think of this...a few generations ago aluminum was an exotic material, it was light and reasonably strong. Its taken a long time for aluminum to sort of make its way to mainstream autos.

Q: Aluminum engines were a rarity at one time.

A: In the mid 1960's (50 years ago) GM had an aluminum 215 cubic inch nail head engine in Buick Skylarks, ZL1's (aluminum big block) which started in Can Am cars. Agreed aluminum engines were rare for decades.

Q: Now with the Ford F 150 an aluminum body is truly in the mainstream.

A: Yes, and its encouraging to see a quantum leap in saving weight.

Q: Back to carbon fiber...it seems to be taking a long time.

A: Its much easier, economical to uphold a steel process, and make the steel thinner especially for body panels.

Q: BMW is pioneering carbon fiber with the i3?

A: Yes, think of it batteries are very heavy, to compensate the structure and shell of the car is very light with carbon fiber.

Q: BMW is also pioneering a sort of mass production for carbon fiber.

A: Yes they are...its a brave new world.

Q: Do you think that carbon fiber will become widespread in autos.

A: No...it requires additional steps, more time, not really conducive towards cost conscious mass production.

 

 

Wednesday
Dec102014

We Told You About Auto Financing

We have been mentioning for some time that free flowing money from Canadian banks have supercharged auto sales.

Last week we shared our thoughts on the evolving ownership model.

Today the Bank of Canada:

Industry estimates suggest that, following the pullback from
automakers’ financing arms, the share of leasing in auto
financing has declined to below 30 per cent from a peak of
66 per cent in 2007 . Instead, auto loans have become more
“lease-like,” as innovations such as longer amortizations serve
to lower regular monthly payments .
 These features, which
have become increasingly popular, involve greater risk taking
on the part of both the lender and the borrower .

 

The following graph from BoC merely reinforces that banks are supercharging sales...