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Thursday
Apr302015

Milestones

Its the last day of the month, we have The Colonel with us this morning; we heard that he has a couple of Milestones on the immediate horizon.

Lets pick his thoughts...

Q: Colonel you have been in the sun?

A: Yes in the back yard cleaning the left overs from winter.

Q: We heard that you have some milestones.

A: Do you really want to go there. Times goes by really fast, and is accelerating.

Q: We heard something about 50 years

A: It hit me the other day that in 2015 its 50 years out of high school, not a big deal.

Q: High school is not a big deal, 50 years might just be a big deal.

A: Precisely, its the time that goes by quickly, half a century...

Q: We heard of another milestone...something about 45 years.

A: This is getting very interesting, where are you picking up all this stuff, and trying to go back in time.

Q: We heard that stuff...

A: I'm sure you did, hopefully its all good stuff.

Q: Are you being evasive this morning...what's with the 45 years.

A: Simple guys...45 years ago I graduated from what was then Loyola of Montreal, now Concordia University.

Q: What is the first car magazine you bought?

A: That's easy Hot Rod.

Q: You are being evasive, Hot Rod...what year?

A: You did not ask it was the August 1959 issue of Hot Rod...I was a kid.

Q: Next year will be another milestone...10 years of Strada.

A: Absolutely...it all started here...click.

Q: That content from 9 years ago, remains relevant today, seems it was written this morning. Although many of the links no longer work.

A: I agree with you guys, its still timely just goes to show as we always say "We don't follow...we lead". The links its almost comical that at a time of big data, inexpensive storage, content seems to evaporate.

Q: The Strada content is all there.

A: Absolutely, our content on Strada is all available.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Apr292015

Individuals

We subscribe to the mantra that we are not in the car business, we are in the "people business through cars".

Especially at the dealer level with mainstream social media, and mobile usage we are increasingly in the people business.

The auto business is also a great arena to cultivate various egoes, and to assist in displaying these egoes in a positive and negative fashion. Somedays we get the impression of the wheel being reinvented a gazillion times in 24 hours.

We all know the saying "The buck stops here" accompanied by another famous saying "Don't tell me, show me".

Obvious that when you put several individuals together there is the real possibility that it will get political in one fashion or another. Folks hide behind e-mails, use spreadsheets and powerpoints to obfuscate.

Agreed there is always a rampant collection of assholes.

We could keep on going, but you surely get the idea...

In the auto business through the decades there has been a fascinating collection of individuals at every level of the business. In many instances these individual made compelling contributions, at times made monumental mistakes, and often made a difference in one fashion or another.

They were literally a force in the business. We are certain that you can come up with your own names of individuals that made an impact.

Last week we saw a Teutonic individual that had cast a shadow for decades. His passing was in the Teutonic tradition with the required cast of assholes.

The question: Are we going to see more individuals in the auto business in the years to come?

What do you think?

 

 

Tuesday
Apr282015

Lunch Break

From eGarage...if you have an appreciation for Rottweilers like we do its totally cool.

 

 

Saturday
Apr252015

Lamborghini Huracan

Interesting comparison of the Huracan and Countach...enjoy.

 

 

Friday
Apr242015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

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

We are in the second half of the month, you surely have noticed  the frequency of automotive ads in the various platforms increase in intensity. You can dare greatly with an SRX, snap your fingers and get a Ford, ya ya ya to a Jetta to name few that caught our attention.

In Canada now that the Federal Budget is a done deal, and the Duffy Trial continues, its been fascinating to observe the various opinions from a myriad of pundits, experts, analysts. Yes...you have to be your own editor.

Our friend Michael Banovsky spent a few days with a Viper in Los Angeles, and generated an interesting story in Petrolicious with an historical perspective on Vipers. Which reminded us of a Black Viper Roadster, chromed wheels, Fort Lauderdale, cruising on the A1A with the Strada Crew a few years back.

You must have noticed that we pay little to no attentionto fuel economy of vehicles. Must be the lasting horsepower thing that "it takes gas to make horsepower".

With sales of trucks, SUV/CUV steadily increasing in Canada. One wonders who really pays attention to fuel economy. As you can appreciate when vehicles are higher off the ground the frontal area, and wind resistance increases. Pushing air requires horsepower. JD Power has just published an informative study Fuel Economy Economics which reinforces the element of fuel economy perception.

Our usual old race cars from the David Love Memorial.

 

 

Thursday
Apr232015

Mobile Friendly

In case you did not know, how could you not know?

Strada started in 2006...yes 9 years ago; its always been on the Squarespace 5 platform.

As you can imagine 9 years ago, or going back even a few years mobile was not as prominent as it is today. Some technology that folks use today was a figment of the imagination only a few years back.

If you have a publication and/or web site you usually do your updating, editing, make new entries from a PC, and we tend to remain in the PC mode of seeing how the site/publication is viewed by visitors. Being around for 9 years the publication is constantly crawled by a variety of search engines, especially Google.

A couple of years ago, Squarespace launched version 6 of their platform. In our case migrating from 5 to 6 was not possible since we would have lost a good quantity of our content in the migration. Keeping all our content was a priority for us. We decided to remain with the Squarespace 5 platform.

Obvious that we have looked at our publication from a PC (most of the time), different versions of iPhones, and iPads. With Squarespace, and Google analytical tools we have noticed the inexorable increase in mobile traffic especially in the past year.

As you probably heard, last week Google advised that "mobile friendly" is a factor in determining search results. In addition Google will analyse your site and advise you if its mobile friendly.

Here is the deal...

Its not if you have a web site, but your site is certainly PC / laptop friendly, and probably looked a little hard to read / navigate on a smart phone, and if you used a tablet it was only marginally better.

In our case this past week end, we went from PC - Lap top - different models of iPhones - iPad to view Strada. We strongly urge you to do the same with your site, while having your family and friends share their thoughts on the ease of use on the various devices.

You have these devices, have used them for long enough, and are keenly aware of the expectations and forms usage of the different devices. Ensure that your site / publication is friendly. Agreed there are a ton of different devices but the screen resolutions are very similar.

Do keep in mind that a change here, a tweak there, often cascades into a chain reaction.

As an alternative you can wait for a conference a few months down the road to tell you that your site must be mobile friendly to optimise your SEO.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Apr222015

Saddleback Leather - 4 Years

Saddleback Large Chestnut BriefcaseTime really goes by quickly, the Saddleback briefcase is 4 years old. It keeps on travelling across Canada, under plane seats, in overhead bins, on cars seats, in trunks.

The one thing it did not do this past year is go to the Caribbean, The Colonel opted for a smaller briefcase.

Yes...still attracts attention especially in airports.

Dave Munson of Saddleback is correct, after 4 years still looks new, with hardly any wear showing. It actually looks better now with the start of a patina.

Remains very useful to carry  all sorts of technological devices (laptop, smart phones, camera), and old school stuff like a writing pad, pens, spare change, lip balm to name a few.

Especially if you have an aversion to syntethic material, wheeled cases with a handle that are so common in airports. Lets not forget the usual back packs that you see all over the place.

Its a unique, cool, durable leather briefcase in our case ideal for business use and travel.

 

 

Tuesday
Apr212015

Heightened Competition

The auto business has always been competitive, and will continue to be competitive.

With the emergence of big data, the competition has made quantum leaps in sophistication, harnessing a myriad of variables. Needless to say that gaining a competitive advantages is increasingly demanding, complex, and at times simpler.

In the auto business everyone knows, or should know that once an advantage has gone public, has hit the street, its immediately diluted, and can be replicated by a competitor.

A simple example:

Its a well known fact that the actual purchase month is from 10 to 40 as an example. Customers delay their decisions towards the end of the month, which often implies an incrementally better deal. Although all the product and pricing information is readily available on the Internet. The various incentives/bonuses from manufacturers to dealers are not available.

There are usually month long incentives, while depending on the sales volumes, there might be addtional incentives towards the end of the month. Interesting that these month end incentives that are geared to facilitate a decision are nowhere to be found on the Internet. Reflect on this for a moment...

Once any level of infirmation becomes common knowledge, its empowering for one individual, and of little value to another. It usually narrows the perspective.

As we have seen during the first quater of 2015, the competition among manufacturers, dealers, and customers availing themselves to the best deals increased. When auto sales reach new records, to gain incremental sales entails that one gains, and another loses. Its in the nature of the auto business...

 

 

Monday
Apr202015

The Paradox of Older Cars

By now we are all familiar with the mantra that "Cars (vehicles) are better, the quality is up, they last longer, and the population of older cars is increasing."

The other often heard mantra "Cars last longer consequently finance terms can be extended." Which implies that CMS (Citizen Main Street) will keep a car for 5-8 year time frame. The lenght of the finance term.

As we often mention the auto industry runs on a 36 month cycle, always did, and always will.

With record new vehicle sales in Canada for the past few years, you have to wonder where all these old cars are hiding, who is driving them, who is maintaining them.

Yes...all manufacturers have access to immense computing power, and can deal with massive amounts of data. Which permits them to acquire market insight that was not available a few years ago.

In Canada MerBimAu (hate to always bring these guys up) has been doing a phenomenal job in selling more vehicles, adding new models, remarketing, increasing CPO sales. We also know that the bulk of the new vehicles they sell are leased.

Lets break it down...some components...

Lease Term: Ideally 36 months, with the occasional stretch to 39-40 month to better position the return of the vehicle, improve the residual risk factor.

The vehicle returns in 36 months, not 60 or 72 or 84, the magic number is 36. It has a remainder of factory warranty, can be reconditioned at a reasonable cost, can apply an addtitional factory extended warranty to CPO the vehicle.

Remarketing / CPO: The idea is to make money twice with a vehicle, dealers that leased vehicles 2 generations ago knew that when the lease reached its term the vehicle would come back offering an opportunity to lease another vehicle to the lessee, and remarket the lease return.

In many instances the lease return is remarketed as a CPO and the supporting financial instrument is a 36 month finance term with a balloon amount at the end of the term.

The Chain Reaction: In the auto business having a chain reaction, taking trade ins, retailing used vehicles has always been a key to generating additional business, and obvious making more money.

Think about this...where are all these older cars? Are they still with the original owner?

 

 

Saturday
Apr182015

Volvo P1800

I you are of a certain age you remember Volvo P1800's not the fastest car, but a cool car in its day. The Colonel remembers taking many Sunday morning rides in a P1800...enjoy the video.