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Friday
Jul222011

Vroom Room 

Good Morning!

Its Friday, yes...its the Vroom Room come in, we have cappuccino and biscotti make yourself comfortable. 

Agreed...we have been under/in a heat bubble this week, breaking a few records.

Did you notice, The Colonel missed a Vroom Room, imagine after all these years missing a Vroom Room...he did...he atoned and shared some of his thoughts...this week.

We must have started something in Canada with Car Wars last year, with the fender to fender competition between BMW and Mercedes. When BMW blinked we mentioned that some folks were not counting correctly...this year it seems that again the count is not correct...YTD June BMW 14,454 and Mercedes 14,502 they might just start "trading paint" during the next 6 months. As usual, same as last year some folks count the Sprinter when comparing sales. Lets agree to keep the Mini, smart, Sprinter, motorcycles out of the count...what do you think?

Perhaps we should throw CPO vehicles in the count, they are fender to fender with CPO too...YTD June BMW is at 6,482 and Mercedes at 6,124. Yes we have been mentioning Certified Pre Owned for some time now.

There is a real possibility that BMW and Mercedes will be trading paint with new and CPO vehicles in the following months till year end....stay tuned.

If you remember Stanley Mouse, and perhaps had a "something" air brushed leave a comment. 

Take a moment to peruse Nowness...here.

The ALMS race is at Mosport this week end...

This week its a bunch of old dragsters, and a drag racing video from way way back in the day. The long lever is not a shifter, it the brake lever...take a look...here. If you went to drag races when the "flagman" was starting the races...leave a comment.

 

 

Thursday
Jul212011

New Product

The other 50% Everyone knows or should know that the auto industry is product driven...

Its always interesting, fascinating, to experience new products first hand and subsequently witness how they perform in the Canadian market.

Not as easy as it seems to ensure that a new product performs well in a market, there are numerous factors that can influence the performance of the product...although the actual product is at least 50% of the content....the other 50% be it price, marketing, PR, financial offers, incentives all make a contribution or detraction on the market performance. 

Lets look at a few new products we had an opportunity to experience...

2011 Hyundai Sonata: This car caught our attention...primarily the styling...it was a wow moment for us that a Korean car finally "looked good". At the time we said "In a competitive mid size sedan segment this new Sonata stands out with its evocative styling, comprehensive standard features, new engine with direct injection. Its a robust and enticing value proposition!"  The Canadian market this year is saying YTD June 2011 - 9,269 Sonatas vs 7,228 in 2010. 

 

2011 Ford Explorer: A few months ago, we had an opportunity to experience the new Explorer, easy to simply conclude that it was another SUV, among a ton of SUV's out there. Interesting truck, lots of features, family sized, and Ford did their due diligence. At the time we said "Its a superb full sized SUV for the family that is active, enjoys travelling with a vehicle, seeks adventure, requires a rear seat for adults, or full sized children. While providing exceptional on road and adverse condition capabilities that inspire confidence." The Canadian market this year is saying YTD June 2011 - 4,686 Explorers vs 2,236 in 2010.

 

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Have been around forever, they are a fixture in SUV land. There was a certain coolness about this new one, we kept on thinking that the truck drove like a Benz (it is a Benz underneath). At the time we said "Its one of the coolest SUV's we have had, the interior is superlative, it drives really nice, it has all the infotainement features with a strong sound system". The Canadian market this year YTD June 2011 - 5,024 Grand Cherokees vs 2,189 in 2010.

 

2011 Buick Regal Turbo: This version with the turbo motor is an exceptional car, evolving in a competitive segment, with established and entrenched competitors. At the time we said "Perhaps Buick did not blip your radar...may we suggest that you experience the Regal with a Turbo. Its impressive, its as good as (you know the brands), and will trigger a memorable intellectual process that Buick is a premium car." We were fearful that perhaps GM would not follow through with the other 50% to move this car in its market segment. The Canadian market this year YTD June 2011 - 1,391 Regals vs 1,116 in 2010.

 

Yes...the other 50% is a fine balancing act!

 

Wednesday
Jul202011

Styling and Design

Several years ago McKinsey published a white paper that vehicles would reach parity and become a commodity...in that they would all be pretty darn good, and reliable. 

Imagine this white paper floating around 15 years ago...needless to say...there were mostly disbelievers, how could vehicles reach parity, and perhaps become appliances ...one would shudder at the thought.

Fast forward to 2011, and most if not all vehicles are darn good, they are below 10th place on the desire of things to have in mature markets...how strong is the desire for a refrigerator? 

Agreed...the brand is still a factor...although its a diluted factors with many brands exploring a myriad of niches in the past decade.

We have come to realize, and understand that styling and design that resonates with consumers is a compelling differentiator in competitive market segments. The Koreans have understood the styling differentiator perhaps better than other manufacturers (we will not mention names).

When all the features, air bags, USB ports, Navigation systems, fuel economy have been mentioned...the vehicle with the compelling styling/design that resonates with consumers has a distinct advantage.

What do you think?

 

 

Tuesday
Jul192011

Economy

When you sell high ticket items, and vehicles are high ticket items.

You tend to keep an eye out on the economic developements, both local and global. We live at a time when "someone flushes a toilet on the other side of the planet, it might affect us on this side".

Over a Saturday morning coffee, listening to the birds chirp...did you know...the chirping is different at mid summer than spring. Taking photos of the Moon and Sun.

The conversation was....

"You know Canadian banks through the Canadian consumer have been propping up the Canadian economy for the past 24 months."

"Have you noticed for a few months now, the message is crystal clear that the average Canadian consumer is at the ceiling of available consumer credit."

"Credit cards, and all that stuff."

"Yes...." 

"This past week Canadian banks made a concerted effort to signal an expected/anticipated lowering of real estate values in Canada."

"Is it a coincidence that everyone has an opinion at the same time." 

"Perhaps...the message is clear...from all banks."

"Do you get the feeling that banks are saying that they will no longer bankroll the consumer to keep the economy going...someone else needs to step in."

"Subtle but clear message that banks will not assume more consumer credit risk to keep the Canadian economy going."

"Could there be clouds and perhaps even trouble brewing on the horizon?"....here.

"Are we so naive or so much in denial that we cannot see what is lurking on the immediate horizon".

"You mean the light...is a freight train...."

"It will be interesting to see how this freight train rolls by after the dog days of summer...."

 

 

Monday
Jul182011

Racing and Money

The other day we were reading thoughts making reference that some folks have more money than racing ability, and that it should be a case of more racing that money ability. Yes...you can certainly insert several incremental variations. 

Any form of motor racing requires resources to go a "little faster", yes...its ingrained in the human psyche to go a little faster, to be competitive, and to win. 

Who remembers drag cars with a tow bar attachment on the front, free wheeling hubs on the rear wheels for the tow, and often using a station wagon as the tow vehicle? We probably all have our own stories and recollections of racing and the various budgets. 

Usually the folks racing with the modest budgets, often made reference to the folks with the "cubic money" accompanied by "can't keep up with the cubic money". Anyone involved in racing also knows that to go really fast, the last tenth of a second requires substantial resources. 

The pit scenery has gone from a tow bar, to open trailers, to goose neck trailers and dualy pick ups, to full fledged transporter, private coaches, and in some series they have the mobile accommodations for the various PR folks and sponsors. 

NASCAR is finally evolving from carburetors to fuel injection, the carburetors/intake manifold knowledge base is being shelved for fuel injection. Yes...there are fuel injected engines running on dynos, there are various configurations of intake manifolds, and cylinder heads being considered. Yes...whoever has the most financial resources can usually explore the most creative perspectives, and often acquire an advantage.

Folks can rent/lease race cars, or various components especially engines. 

All major racing events are the same, there are the front runners (cubic money), the mid runners (less cubic money), and the back of the pack (even less cubic money) that make up the field. 

What do you think...