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Connecting Dots - 1

We urge you to connect your own dots, to consider points that seem disconnected; you will be surprised as to your conclusions.

When you connect dots the outcome must be simpler, smoother, seamless, more human, less technology.

Lets continue with The Colonel and connect more dots...

Q: Service...

A: Under chassis service is enduring its the same dots from decades ago, some things don't change.

Q: Crawling under cars...

A: Love it, from a young age with jacks and cars on stands, to walking under cars on a lift, its enduring, the same dots all connect.

Q: Showroom...

A: A ton of dots, that most folks are overlooking. Still in the people business, always in the people business. Still have to close a deal, and still horse traders. Folks today are connecting the wrong dots.

Q: The showroom can turn into a lengthy discussion...

A: Absolutely, its not the time.

Q: Success...

A: Through the years you can measure success in a myriad of ways, and read a gazillion opinions. Its always the same dots, the same parameters. While dealing with an increased level of "you know what". Succes in 2015 also implies heightened empathy.

Q: Leadership...

A: Its a loaded word in 2015...and a rare commodity. The dots are all there, with many folks trying to connect them differently. While leaving numerous dots unconnected. "Why put your behind on the line when you can hide behind a Powerpoint?"

Q: Competition...

A: The auto business races the product it sells, when the product races its "head up". You can also subscribe to "bracket racing" and/or "spotting lengths" (to use drag racing terms). The most exciting is heads up, its also the one that is more demanding. Its the same dots from decades ago...

Q: Big data...

A: You can connect, and uncover new dots with big data. Premium Economy is the result of using big data. Common platforms too. Used astutely it connects disparate dots that generate an advantage. Big data brings hidden dots to the forefront.

Q: We can keep on going for quite some time...

A: Yes we can...but should we?

Q: Should folks make an additional effort to connect dots that seem totally unrelated.

A: Technology is an equaliser, it empowers, but also equalises. In the auto business you need an advantage, you play to win. Where do you find the advantage? By using the same technology that equalises, and empowers everyone else?

Q: You could say the same thing about life.

A: Precisely, but we are not here to tell folks how to lead their personal lives. We do suggest that you build your own intelligence data base, while being your own editor, and connect dots.





Connecting Dots

The morning we have The Colonel with us, we are going to pick his knowledge base on "connecting dots" lets get going.

Q: Colonel Good Morning, you are looking invigorated this morning, how is the coffee.

A: Guys, good morning, the cappuccino is good, invigorated is complementary makes me feel a little younger.

Q: What is it with connecting dots.

A: Although the car business is about product, vehicles, and a bunch of other stuff, especially with the myriad of pundits that share their thoughts/opinions. Its also about connecting dots, especially if you have been in the business a few years/decades.

Q: Do you have some examples of connecting dots, and perhaps epiphanies too.

A: Decades ago on the 401 with a 5 cylinder diesel, I had an epiphany that diesel engines are good for trucks not cars. It endures to today, the VW thing flies under our radar.

Q: People...

A: You can connect a ton of dots, we are in the people business through cars. The dots still connect like decades ago, its all changed and nothing has changed. The change is that we focus on technology, instead of people. We should connect the same dots...resonating with 2015.

Q: Luxury...

A: Its a sedan with a V8...that simple. Connect all the dots you want for decades, its still a sedan with a V8 with waftability. An SUV is a truck.

Q: Utility...

A: Its the family kicker, everyone goes through a stage in life where you need a family kicker, very useful, gets kicked around, and with AWD is even more versatile.

Q: Performance...

A: If you are a gear head performance is paramount, and you have your own preference for what performance is all about. Its enduring through the decades.

Q: How do you understand performance...

A: In my case its a V8, its Chevrolet...

Q: Sounds old school...

A: It is old school performance that connects a ton of dots, memories, emotions, experiences, learning curves, bruised knuckles, drag racing, Trans Am and Can Am racing, to name a few. As well as mechanical cars...

Q: How about trucks...

A: Working trucks are performance machines, you quickly connect performance dots between a working truck and old school performance. Its a fascinating intellectual exercise.

Q: Technology...

A: Has made obscene horsepower possible in cars from a performance perspective. Vehicles are dramatically safer with technology. From punch cards to hand held smart devices...its truly impressive.

Q: Technology has democratized horsepower...connect more dots please.

A: Back in the day it was a wild camshaft, ported heads, a monster carburetor. The catalytic converter in the early 1970's killed all of that, the fun was gone. Technology enabled horsepower again. Back in the day performance cars were in their own way "lethal weapons" when used foolishly, not the case today.

Q: Massive horsepower is safe today...

A: Precisely, back in the day it was safe with select individuals, not the masses. The reason that back in the day everyone stopped at 425 HP. Its the same dots reconnected with technology.

Q: Connect dots with Chevrolet...

A: I grew up with GM, at a time when GM ruled the automotive world in North America. Its been a lasting, enduring influence. Chevrolet is the small block which is still around today, it was easy to get small blocks, and increase the power. Think about rodding still exists.

Q: The 1979 Camaro connects a bunch of dots for you...

A: Absolutely, its a mechanical car, warmed over small block, carburetor, 4 speed, a clutch pedal, positraction, miserable brakes. Its my own barn find that I have owned since new. It connects a gazillion dots from another time, and to today. The rumble from the small block is as timely today as in 1979.

Q: Care to connect a few dots with Mercedes-Benz...

A: By the early 1980's GM had absolutely lost its way, a ride in a 450SEL (116) was a complete revelation as to what a proper sedan should be back then. Experiencing a 6.9 for a few days was a mind altering experience. The cars had archaic features compared to a Cadillac, but the performance was on another level.

We will continue...




Premium Economy in Canada

We have shared our thoughts on Premium Economy for almost 2 years.

You could see the established players primarily MerBimAu start in what we call the premium economy segment; with new models that have impeccable branding at popular pricing.

Especially the premium economy CUV segment with a turbocharged 4 cylinder is a hotbed of activity from several manufacturers.

With a new model here, another there, the immediate surge in pent up demand. Its a case of lets wait and see how this new premium economy develops in the market. Agreed...we could have a lengthy discussion regarding the luxury aspect of premium economy (is it really luxury?), and what is a luxury car, SUV, or CUV.

Agreed too...we had our reservations...especially where is this going to go in Canada. How many sales will get cannibalised? How will it impact the established luxury models?

Our thoughts...

The "Premium Economy" space/segment works well in Canada, generating a viable alternative for customers, and incremental sales for the players in the space. Especially in the CUV segment, the rising tide even raises the current (old) Cadillac SRX as an example.

Are there manufacturers losing sales to premium economy...absolutely. The various players in premium economy are stealing sales.

Cannibalising sales from established incumbent models, is a minor factor, the rationale is the following: Sell an additional 10 in premium economy of which 2 are cannibalised, still ahead by 8.

The biggest player in the premium economy space in Canada? Mercedes-Benz

Agreed...we can have an interesting discussion about BMW, Audi, the rising premium economy tide, Acura, and Lexus. Infiniti playing catch up, while Cadillac and Lincoln except for the CUV's are almost out of the space. Lets not forget Porsche with the Macan, or a resurgence of the Evoque.

How does the premium economy segment impact the established luxury models of a brand? This is the thought vector that captured our attention from the outset. There is some cannibalising of the mid level sedan segment, think E Class, 5 Series, A5. While there is also a shift from sedans to utility vehicles. You could say that the tea leaves get blurry. Overall there is an upside in sales. Top line models are not affected. 

The individual that seeks a top line luxury sedan or utility will not gravitate towards premium economy.

What is the impact of financial services?

The folks that gravitate towards premium economy are in a better equity position with their existing vehicle. Its easier to do a deal with improved continuity in the transaction be it a lease or a finance with a balloon payment at the end of the term.

From our perspective premium economy has struck a chord that resonates with potential customers in Canada. The brands in the segment are well entrenched, while being aspirational.

Are the new premium economy offerings all winners, not really, there remains incremental repetition which is confusing, some models are of questionable esthetics. Although most of the metal resonates with a cross section of customers that are new to the brand.



Canadian Sales - Third Quarter 2015

Our thoughts on remarkable Canadian sales at the three quarter point...




1971 Toyota Celica

Its a 44 year old car, great conversation with Jay Leno on the Celica...





Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation. can leave a comment.

A couple of weeks ago The Colonel discovered a brochure dating back to 1979 on the GMC Truck Centre, took the time to scan it, and we published the brochure last week. A brochure back in the day was the equivalent of a web site today. Some things change, while not changing.


Years ago The Colonel concluded "We are in the people business through cars". Between the Internet, technology, social media, all sorts of plug in apps. Have we lost sense that in 2015 we are even more in the people business?

We have all sorts of elaborate, sophisticated technology to deal with a bunch of routine stuff. We get so immersed in the technology, that we forget what business we are in. Think about this for a moment.


We refer to the Ahhh moments as epiphanies. Especially when we put ourselves in different positions that we are supposed to know and understand.

> The metal must resonate to close a deal, if the metal does not resonate, its dramatically more challenging.

> We are clueless into what is going on with the software code in any vehicle.

Yes...just 2 epiphanies this morning.

Did you ever think for a moment that the VW "thing" was being conducted several layers down the management structure, that it might have been a rogue employee, that no one really knew about it. Its emerging that it was well thought out...lets leave it at that for now.

Make it a point to vote on Monday.

Our usual old cars from the Chantilly Concours d'Elegance...stunning photography.



Urban Mobility At The Tipping Point

An informative and fascinating article...




Actions Are Louder Than Words

By now you surely know that its easy to publish words in 2015, been like that for a while. We always mention to be your own editor , while making a choice in what is published, its transparency or opacity and so on.

At a time when anyone can publish, and transparency is the operative word, we often forget that humans are an old model of a common platform (to use auto terms)...we don't change that much, although some folks would like us to believe differently.

Having been around for a few thousand years you would think that by now we would have an improved understanding of humans. Especially with the communication devices that we access. Augmented by the myriad of pundits, that willingly share opinions, snippets of knowledge, and so on.

One example...

If you are in the retail auto business, you need to understand Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z, have enough technology that half of the folks that work in a dealership could potentially stay home, and business should be a breeze...a walk in the park.

Get this app that plugs in, and it will solve that issue, get that other app it will solve another issue, and so on.

In the meantime in 2015 dealers are closing appreciably less deals in their showrooms that the previous year. Go figure...while everyone has well worn, antiquated answers.

Another example...

Company A just acquired company B, or company C just sold division D, we read about this stuff everyday. The CEO comes out and makes glowing statements about the acquisition, the synergies, the increased reach and cost savings. Or whatever other flavor of the day is popular.

In the meantime this old model on the common human platform endures a litany of corporate verbiage on a grand scale, accompanied by a multitude of platitudes. The capacity of humans to deal in an opaque fashion with other humans is to be admired. Especially at a time when "transparency" is the operative word.

One more example...

In Canada we vote for a new federal government next week, in 2015 there is the regular vote, the strategic vote, the intelligent vote, the researched vote, the old fart vote, the young person vote, we could keep on going.

To have higher voter turn out the one thing you can't do is vote online...go figure.

While the professional pollsters have no clue of what is really going on, even with all the technology that is available.

Reality Check...

In 2015 in many instances our actions are almost opposite to our words, and we collectively create additional bumps when in effect it should be smoother.

We all know about the Internet, we all know about the informed customers, we all know about technology, we all went to the latest summit, and we close less deals in the showroom.

How about the company that was arrogantly selling "clean diesels".




Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us...



Ferrari F40

A bit of nostalgia this morning...