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Ever Wonder How Dealers Evolved Through The Years?

Who loses sleep wondering about the evolution of dealers?

Why should you have an understanding of dealers?

Big deal you usually do business with dealers reluctantly.

Consider that if you have an improved understanding, it will facilitate you decision making process, and save you time. Perhaps even get a better deal.

Yes...its from the Strada Vault




Are You Considering a Certified Pre Owned?

Perhaps you find new vehicles too expensive.

Perhaps you want "more vehicle" for a lesser price.

Perhaps you simply want or are considering a good used vehicle that fits your budget, and the specific financial arrangements that you can make. As well as peace of mind.

You are considering a CPO - Certified Pre Owned vehicle.

You are wondering what manufacturer supported CPO is all about, especially that "certified" is mentioned by everybody.

Its from the Strada Vault published a few years ago, still resonating today. Providing an overview of CPO history, and landscape in Canada.

We agree with you, when you have a better understanding, you can make better decisions.





Freedom vs Mobility

Ask yourself do you need a vehicle for a heightened sense of freedom or for mobility?


What a question, you might say, but ask yourself which one freedom or mobility?

Look around you, and arrive at your own conclusions wether most folks have a vehicle for freedom or mobility?

We agree "utility" rhymes with "mobility".

When you are considering replacing your current vehicle, will freedom have the upper hand, or will it be utility, or perhaps a blend of both.

By now you surely know that here at Strada we still place a high priority on the freedom aspect.





Collapsing Steering Column

We constantly hear safety here, and there, seat belts, air bags, ABS brakes, and so on.

Lets go back for a moment to when cars were huge, had a body on frame, everything was rigid, and no seat belts. As an aside most Boomers learned how to drive with such cars. At the time size mattered, perhaps like today with pick ups.

In the case of a frontal collision, everything above the frame pushed back appreciably, while everything in the car wanted to continue moving forward.

An absolute recipe for grievous injuries, especially for the driver as the steering column quickly made its way into the driver's side of the car.

Heavily accidented cars always presented a horrific scene especially on the driver's side when it was a frontal collision.

A walk through any scrap yard at the time, always presented several of these scenes where the steering column had made its way into the driver's side compartment. With varying degrees of intrusion, and one could speculate as to the gravity of the injuries.

The advent of the collapsing and/or energy absorbing steering column was a huge safety improvement in cars...HUGE.

Most folks look at  the newer safety features powered by technology, often if not always forgetting that the collapsing steering column started the safety momentum almost 50 years ago.




Spring Cleaning Plan

This year we have warmer than usual weather in the GTA, with most of the snow gone. Agreed its still mid March, and winter is not over yet. But it feels as if Spring is almost in the air.

Its a good time to start assessing the condition of your vehicle or vehicles, and initiate your lets call it "Spring Cleaning Plan".

Hand Wash

If you have an opportunity hand wash you vehicle with a hose and bucket. A few years back we talked about the Zen of Washing. Be observant as you wash and go over all the body panels. Do we really have to tell you that you will need a bucket, warm water, car soap (not dish soap), 2 mits one for the body, the other for the wheeel

Wash and Inspect

As you wash and rinse with the hose, you might just notice a few additional stone chips, perhaps a door ding, and whatever else winter brought along. In our case The Colonel is a magnet for stone chips, on the body and windshield.

Whar looked like a minute speck of rust is probably bigger now.

You want to develop your plan and budget to deal with the issues that you have uncovered. Agreed, if you have 2 vehicles its double the fun.


Although its a little early, inspect the interior to see what will need attention. Usually the floor mats, door sills are the first to get additional wear and tear in winter. The driver seat probably has an additonal layer of "winter" usage too.

You will quickly conclude that the interior needs to be refreshed. You can do it yourself, you can have a detailer do it for you. Ideally stay away from the "shiny stuff", find a good lether treatment if you have a leather interior (who doesn't these days).

Wether you have an old school agenda, or a modern digital one, make a note to deal with the interior of your vehicle.

Open the Hood

You thought there was no salt of the roads in winter.

Nothing like rubber gloves (not to mess up your hands), WD 40, and blue wipes to refresh the appearance of the various plastic covers under the hood of your vehicle.

You can do it yourself, its probably grimier than you thought, and the harder you look the more you will find.

In case you did not know...don't even think of using a pressure washer.

Open the Trunk

It needs to be freshened up too.

Whatever is in the trunk, do you really need it? What is not in the trunk that you might need?

You might need an umbrella, a small flashlight, gloves, to name a few.

You know what you need to do, its in your agenda, you know which products you need to get in case you don't have them.

We an age of technology, manual work is very relaxing, and gratifying on a Saturday morning.




How Does It Feel?

Reviewing a myriad of vehicles over the years.

Being in this business for a few decades, the other day it struck us that not only must the metal resonate, but a vehicle must feel right to the customer/consumer.

What do we mean by "feel"?

You get in a vehicle, start driving, and in a few brief seconds you have already made up your mind as to the "feel" of the vehicle. Call it first impressions, similar to how we formulate first impressions about people that we meet.

Does the feel meet your expectations?

It all depends what you are expecting from a vehicle. Yes...its personal, and will very by individuals, and who will be driving.

Its a wide spectrum...up to a point.

Do you want to feel power, a smooth shifting transmission, a lighter or heavier steering feel, aggressive brakes, a stiffer than smoother suspension, a longer than shorter seat cushion, and easy to use center of dash technology. To name a few variables that will impact the feel.

An example

A while back we reviewed a superb pick up that had the right feel, except for an unusually stiff suspension for a half ton pick up. Perhaps that suspension package is very popular with most customer, in our case the feel was not right due to the suspension.

Another example

In our latest Prairie Drive the car felt right, wonderful suspension, good steering feel, comfortable front seats, although the level of power for our preferences was low. Obvious that from our perspective the lack of power was a serious obstacle to the feel of the car.

One more thing

If you need satellite radio, or navigation, or an interface with your smart device, this too will impact the feel of the vehicle.

Make sure the vehicle feels right for you, your expectations, your preferences, your needs. After all its your money, and your monthly payments.





Daily Rentals

At one time or another we have all interfaced with a daily rental company, and used one of their vehicles for a few days.

At the same time everyone seems to have a magical credit card that will do all sorts of things from amassing points to dealing with potential dammage on a daily rental.

Most folks have their own vehicle insurance that might provide some sort of coverage towards a daily rental.

Who reads all the fine print on a daily rental agreement. Its always a case of sign here, initial there, do you want this option and so on.

Daily Rate

If you have the feeling that the daily rental industry thrives on showing a low daily rate for a vehicle, you might be correct.

Miscellaneus Charges

If you have the feeling that the daily rental industry thrives on a myriad of miscelleneous charges, over and above the posted daily rate. You are correct again.

Credit Card

Yes...they have an imprint of your credit card...keep that in mind.


Most companies will show an estimate of what it will cost over the period of time you require the vehicle. Invariably the estimate is appreciably higher that the posted daily rate.

Condition of the Vehicle

One fashion or another you need to acknowledge the condition of the vehicle when you are taking possession and then returning the vehicle.


Since only Quebec requires winter tires in winter. Daily rentals have magical 4 season tires, that will work in any and every condition. You want to reflect on this for a moment, while connecting a few dots for yourself.

Winter tire packages if available imply an additional daily charge.

Collision Damage

When you pick up a daily rental its insured, but you are responsible for dammage to the vehicle. Your insurance, or magical credit car might cover the dammage. Keep in mind that somewhere in the fine print you initialed that you are responsible.

Notice that the collision damage waiver offered by the rental company is almost the daily rate of the vehicle.

Our Advice

You are renting a vehicle for a few days for convenience and or business, make sure that it is a convenience for you, and if anything untoward does happen it remains a convenience and a service for you and not a monumental hassle.

Especially if you are renting for business, on a business trip which often implies picking up and returning at an airport, driving on unfamiliar roads, in a myriad of possible climatic conditions.

Ensure that you have a smooth, frictionless experience.





Look Around You

We are all individuals, we all have our personal preferences, and when it comes to vehicles in one form or another we also cater to our emotions, and budget.


Ultimately when you are spending your money, it needs to satisfy you.

Do keep in mind that there is also a vehicle market surrounding you. If you plan on owning a vehicle for the next 10 years, or the duration of the finance term, the market is of little consequence. If your plan is to be engaged in a 36 month cycle, and reap the advantages of a new or newer vehicle.

Look around you, and observe what is more popular in your immediate market.

We all know that everyone does their due diligence, with specifications, reading reviews, checking the monthly incentives, and so on. In 2016 its a mantra that everyone knows everything about vehicles once they perform a level of due diligence.

We urge you to be observant, and look around you. What is parked on your street, in your neighborhood, what you see on the streets in your area, in the parking lots of the shopping destinations in your area.

Its me, its my money, it has to resonate with me...absolutely.

Here is the deal...

Last summer we had an opportunity to spend a few days with a Ram with an Eco Diesel, great pick up, economical, it captured our attention, it was cool with a diesel engine. We are travelling in an area of Canada where Ram pick ups are very popular. Its a moment of where did all these Rams come from? The unifying symbol of all these Ram pick ups was the HEMI logo on all of them.

It became clear that in that particular market a Ram pick up without an Hemi is not as desirable as one with an Hemi, and Eco Diesels are not popular at all.

Obvious that when the time comes to trade in a vehicle, the popularity, demand of the vehicle in the specific market will have a bearing on its value.




What Sort of Vehicle Should You Get?

Whenever you read reviews or comments or opinions about vehicles its a sedan here, a utility there, a coupe somewhere else, this is rising in popularity while something else is fading.

Then there are deals on this, and that and not on something else.

Bottom line, get the vehicle that resonates with you, will make you happy, and will be useful.

Get a vehicle that will generate "moments" for you.

How does it work?

Its simple...really is.

  • Its your decision and whoever else is involved in the decision process with you.
  • The metal must resonate...absolutely.
  • At this time of the year, we always endure the mantra of going to the auto show to see what is offered prior to finalising a decision. Its your choice...
  • You have your own parameters that define what vehicle will resonate with you.
  • Its your money...make it work for you.

So go ahead finalise your decision...but wait there might be a better offering.

  • We know there is always a presumed better offering around the corner, its part of the human condition.

Get the vehicle that resonates, provides satisfaction, and is useful within your parameters at your stage in life.

One more thing...

  • Your parameters are a personal choice, if you require navigation, a killer sound system, get them!





Safety Inspection

As you certainly know the various jurisdictions in Canada, have their own rules, laws governing the inspection and sales of used vehicles to consumers.

Lets focus on the new regulations that will become effective in Ontario on July 1, 2016 regarding the mandatory safety inspection prior to selling a vehicle to a consumer.

The safety inspection that is in place now, basically ensures that a vehicle is safe to be driven on the road at that particular moment in time.

Reflect on this for a moment...the inspection ensures that a vehicle is safe to be driven on the road.

We all know the "misconception" that a safety inspection implies that its a good vehicle, as well as the trend of advertising a price for a used vehicle, while mentioning that a sefety inspection is an option above the advertised price.

We could keep on going...we are certain that you have grasped that in Ontario a safety certificate (safe to be driven on the road) is essential to to put plates on a vehicle.

Well...its all changing in a few months, and its about time too.

A quick overview

The powertrain section gains a raft of new checks to items such as the gas pedal, throttle actuator, exhaust system, driveshafts, differentials, clutch and clutch pedal, engine and transmission mounts, gear shifter and position indicator, drive belt pulleys, and fuel system. There’s also a timely new requirement related to hybrid and electric drivetrains.

Tires will be subject to a deeper minimum tread depth, and tires will fail a safety inspection if “any single point on the… tread is below the minimum.”

Requirements for structural integrity will be much more stringent, “to deal with a loss of structural integrity of cab, cargo or passenger body, frame or sub-frame, tailgate, bumper, seats and seat belts due to specified weaknesses, deficiencies, damage, seizure, wear, loss of components or material or improper repair procedures.” All door latches, handles, and hinges will be subject to more rigorous inspection, and all occupant protection systems (including airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners, in cars so equipped) must be tested “via the telltale diagnostic lamp.”

A car or light truck’s suspension will have to meet new standards for ride height, bushings, and shock/strut performance, and there are revised rules for measuring brake lining thickness and ensuring that anti-lock (ABS) and – in vehicles built on or after September 1, 2011 – stability control (ESC) systems work properly. The steering system also comes under increased scrutiny, with new requirements for components such as strut bearings and tilt/telescopic steering column hardware.

In the lighting department, LED (light-emitting diode) brake lights and turn indicators – which are becoming increasingly common – will need to meet a standard for the number of diodes (many automotive LED lights are made up of a large number of individual diodes) that must light up. As well, there are updated rules for vehicle wiring, plus other components such as the horn, speedometer, odometer, and windshield wipers.

From our perspective its about time the "safety inspection" in Ontario became more comprehensive, stringent. To reflect the reality of modern Yes...a report must be provided to the consumer.

We could keep on going here, but its great that finally a more comprehensive "safety inspection" will be required to ensure that a vehicle is safe to be driven on the road.

Think of the exploding popularity of CPO (certified pre owned) vehicles which imply inspections and reconditioning dramatically above a safety inspection.

The current pedestrian discussion is that dealers will pay less for vehicles and trade ins, and sell them for more money. Reflect on this for a moment...a good vehicle is a good vehicle always was, and always will be.