Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, come in make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.
After enduring the coldest February on record, we will hopefully get a warmer March with spring like climate. Warmth as we all know is conducive the car sales at this time of year.
The Geneva Auto show opens this week, as you can imagine there was extensive coverage of the various press events on the interwebs. Yes...the Ferrari 488 GTB caught our attention, yes the AMG GT3 has a captivating Mercedes nostalgia look.
Our perspective on Canadian sales as of February, just scroll down.
Yes...we started doing reviews for this year, its hopefully a little warmer with less snow. As you can appreciate doing reviews in winter is challenging, especially the photo shoots. Stay tuned...
We found it interesting to read comments from some established auto journalists that for some reason still think that "someone owes them something" and are slowly realising that its a new reality. Its been a new reality for a few years.
A few weeks ago we mentioned that oil companies were absolutely not comfortable with the price of gas below a dollar a liter. You have surely noticed that gas is up to over a dollar since the past few weeks. While the price of a barrel of oil is almost a constant for the past month.
Our usual old race cars from the Goodwood Member Meeting, a superb photo gallery.
February generated spectacular near record Canadian auto sales...a Wow moment.
Lets take a closer look at the results, and while most folks compare numbers. This morning we are taking a different perspective.
Its was a record year in Canada with 1.85 M vehicles sold a truly remarkable achievement.
The executives at the various manufacturers in the waning months of 2014, looking ahead to 2015 are reflecting on how to improve on a record year. Its an auto business mantra that you always have to achieve higher numbers.
To make it interesting there is increased volatility in the air, with a tinge of uncertainty.
How much more do you improve on 1.85 M? At best probably a few percentage points (< 5%).
The astutes are grasping that mobility at a monthly payment is surpassing ownership.
Financial services (free flowing money) will continue in 2015.
The weak players (manufacturers) will adhere to their tried and true (stale) play book. The stronger players will need to displace "someone" in one fashion or another to increase sales. Other players have fortresses and moats around their market segment.
Hopefully all manufacturers condensed their voluminous big data to uncover market segments with a strategic advantage.
We could keep on going but you surely grasp that for any manufacturer planning for 2015 offered opportunities and posed challenges.
Strong Start - In the auto business its a given that you start strong, in drag racing its known as a "hole shot" a strong start in January provides an advantage and creates quick momentum. Especially with increased volatility in the Canadian landscape.
Conquer New Customers - If one manufacturer conquers another loses, need we say more.
The Migration to SUV/CUV - Which manufacturer will generate a "utilities" strategy to provide a quick start, and advantage.
February 2 Months Into 2015
Its an understatement to say that the auto business is competitive and unforgiving. If anyone misses a month its a salvageable situation. If anyone misses 2 months especially if they blinked due to a competitor its an arduous challenge and task to overcome a 2 month miss.
"The climate was just awful in eastern Canada we held back on programs till March, watch us now." Its a good PR line to deflect reality that they are in deep yogurt.
At the end of February sales in Canada are ahead by 3% a stunning achievement especially after a record 2014, and a strong December.
Who Caught Our Attention
MerBimAu - we would have been shocked if Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi did not continue increasing their sales.
Toyota - made it clear from the start of 2015 that they are more aggressive.
Korea - these folks have enjoyed their windows of opportunities a few years ago, and are facing unrelenting competition.
Detroit - they are collectively waiting for March to overcome the Alberta effect.
Subaru - the niche is expanding.
Nissan - the Micra effect endures.
Honda - a serious blink after only 2 months.
VW - the momentum continues.
It will be interesting to see how March and the first quarter develops.
By now you know that we have an inherent affection for V8's, and The Colonel has never owned vehicles that made a statement towards fuel economy.
Here is the deal.
We constantly hear one comment or another towards fuel economy, and for the past few months the price of gas, and anything and everything that can be mentioned in between.
If you live in a major urban area you certainly endure traffic, congestion, and taking double the time to travel any distance. It struck us that with all the talk of fuel economy, the transportation infrastructure is totally against fuel economy.
Back to the V8, the other day we travelled 32 kilometers at an average speed of 28 KPH, generating a fuel economy of 18L per 100 kilometers. There were hundreds if not thousands of other vehicles in the same situation...
The car used almost 6 liters of gas over $7.00 to crawl in highway congestion....with cheaper gas saved about $2.00 while using the same amount of time. Time is the most precious commodity.
Manufacturers have to meet fuel economy standards, which by they way have altered in favor of larger vehicles. Perhaps CMS (Citizen Main Street) uses fuel economy as a purchase or lease decision. Mind you with the rash of SUV/CUV and pick ups it leads one to question the importance of fuel economy in the decision process.
While the vehicle transportation infrastructure of any urban center is totally counter productive towards fuel economy. There is no longer a specific rush hour, now its 24/7 of heavy or congested.
If you factor in the thousands of folks that use one form or another of public transportation and park their vehicles in the various commuter parking lots. Imagine all those folks on the road with their vehicle, making a contribution towards increased congestion and even poorer fuel economy.
The fuel economy of any vehicle is dramatically impacted by the transportation infrastructure.
The last Friday of the month, its the Vroom Room, come in make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.
Looking back its been a positively frigid month. Although global warming is a reality, February was influenced by an unrelenting cold jet stream all month long. In addition to breaking a myriad of records for COLD. Must be winter...
Good thing gas is less expensive, and perhaps we are old school; with cold overnight and early morning temperatures we believe in warming up any vehicle for a few minutes.
Did you notice the empty stands?
A typical NASCAR race at Daytona, which culminates in yellows, frustration, and NASCAR that tries to end a race on a green flag. Good thing the teams have appreciable budgets to wreck cars, and endure the litany of yellows, then red if a yellow is not enough.
Its the business of racing, not the sport of racing.
The exercise becomes intellectually insulting...and generates empty stands.
Congratulation to Joey Logano for the win, and being at the right place at the right time.
It will be revealing next week to see the February sales numbers for Canada, and the initial impact of the Alberta effect will start making its presence felt. As well as the frigid climatic conditions in eastern Canada.
If you missed our Apple and Cars take a look for our perspective.
Sebring Saga 1965, yes...50 year ago.
If you are of a certain age you remember reading that in 1963 (over 50 years ago) Chevrolet had a big block mystery motor for the Daytona 500.
At the time, what we understand today as a big block Chevy intrigued a ton of people, Junior Johnson, and Smokey Yunick were involved with this mystery motor.
It was the engine that would replace the venerable 409.
Watch an epic dyno run of an original over 50 year old Smokey Yunick tweaked mystery motor. Notice the simplicity, the timing light, the age of the guys around the engine.
With all the current talk and opinions from pundits on autonomous cars.
Ever wonder how these vehicle would behave in winter, or even inclement weather?
The current driver aids shut down when the climatic conditions are not auspicious or block certain sensors.
Smart Cruise Controls in a driving rain stop functioning, and will alert the driver. Obvious that snow is even worse.
We all know, at highway speeds a good amount of snow, slush accumulates on the front (bumper-grille) of any vehicle.
Lane Departure is the same, if the sensors no longer see the lines on the road to verify the location of the vehicle.
Fascinating that in Canada all the conversations of autonomous vehicles overlook the reality that we have snow, slush, feezing rain for several months of the year. The highway (401) that connects the 2 most populous cities (Montreal-Toronto), as well as one of the busiest border crossing further west (Detroit) in winter is always affected by unpredictable conditions.
Will autonomous systems comprehend climatic and snow/ice/slush conditions better than humans? What do you think?
At some point in time we will have autonomous vehicles in Canada, that will be fully autonomous for 6 months of the year.