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Is The Last Quarter A Pivot?

October is the first month of the last quarter of 2016, big deal we all know that. Absolutely, and in a few days October will conclude, and we will get an improved overview of how the quarter will develop, the year, and the horizon for 2017.

Its a loaded sentence...lets take a look at the auto business in Canada.

  • At the end of the 3rd quarter it remained a record year with signs of a slow down.
  • The mortgage rules changed half way in October. What does it have to do with the auto business, perhaps nothing...
  • CMS (Citizen Main Street) by now fatigued of powering the Canadian economy.

Are we reaching a pivot point?

  • Longer term financing has remained a constant for the past few years.
  • The auto business is pulling ahead on the terms and rolling over deficiencies.
  • CMS can easily pull back on the terms, and seek an elusive equity position.

In a few days we will have a clearer picture of the landscape.



Change and More Change

At a time when anyone can publish, how often do we read nuggets or longer sound bites about change here, disruption there, innovation somewhere else, often all in the same sound bite.

By now we should all be so proficient at it, they collectively we could get flipped over, turned 180 degrees, and it would be perfectly normal.

Somewhere in the various discussion, and conversations, the fact that we are humans, that we are an old classic model going back a few thousand years is overlooked.

At some point you come across a few hard questions, or choices, the image, the branding quickly gets diluted and you start seeing the "primer coat" of folks around you. Its a fascinating process, often filled with anxiety, stress, and a myriad of other human emotions.

These are not life and/or death situations, its merely being in business, being innovative, being disruptive, being prepared to change. Agreed...there is a difference between reading about it, and being an active player in the process.

At times a minor tweak or incremental adjustement that is barely noticeable. What starts as an infinitessimal ripple, can at some point become a tsunami of change.

We always urge you to connect dots, to be astute and connect your own dots especially the ones that resonate with you.

The sound bites are all over the place, the facades, the branding, the optics are a constant reality. Seek the insight that is usually hidden from plain sight, or is staring at you in plain sight.

What does this have to do with the car business?

Perhaps nothing, perhaps a whole lot...its your decision.

One thing is certain when change comes your way, if you are ill prepared, have not done your due diligence, lacked vision and boldness. At some point you will lose, you will be empowered to control the magnitude of your loss.

In the auto play the game to WIN.



Mercedes-Benz 500E and Porsche 928

A cool video with interesting V8 cars, and stark scenery...enjoy.




We All Make Choices

You are certainly aware that we all make choices, on a daily ongoing basis. Some choices are almost instinctive with little thought, others are made with our intuitions, others are researched using the "internet", and a few are excruciating.

On a daily basis we colloctively make a gazillion choices regarding anything, and everything.

Its a decision here, made by a choice there, which will generate a result. At times we are even offered various choices, and we make selections in an order or sequence.

Ever think of all the influence, suggestions, that float around all over the place to prompt, alter, redirect our choice process. You have to love the "Make a choice, and we will see what we can do for you". Most of this stuff is not a life or death situation, we usually deal with it in a cursory fashion of its not a big deal, and requires limited energy or effort.

In addition to the usual "I did my research on the Internet prior to making a choice, and decision."

Agreed...we are all individuals, we all arrive at choices and decisions in our own way.

Agreed too...we are all educated, trained, empowered, informed...and so on. By a mainstream media, by an education system, research, white papers, and so on and on.

Yes...we all make choices, that are influenced, at times prompted or nudged, to arrive at decisions, that at some point will also generate results.

At some point you make choices "To do your own thing" to keep yourself satisfied, and the stakeholders around you satisfied too.





Citizen Main Street and Money

Sometime ago we coined "Citizen Main Street" or CMS for short as the average individual in Canada. From our perspective at the time CMS was a better term than consumer, or customer, or prospect, or owner, or credit card holder, and so on.

We all know who we are, what we do, how we do it, the possessions we have, and so on, and on.

Take this individual put him on main street, anywhere in Canada, and that is CMS.

CMS buys all sorts of stuff, including cars, utilities, real estate to name a few. CMS has kept the Canadian economy humming along for a few years now.

We has been flowing freely in Canada for several years, and there is an entire generation of CMS that has grown, evolved, with easy access to various forms of credit.

Obvious there are the pundits, experts, analysts, and various organisations all expressing opinions, and lately increasingly dire messages, about dire consequences towards CMS, and Canada.

We keep on hearing about the great depression of 2008/09 which sort of never happened in Canada. We know that many Canadian companies, or the Canadian arm of companies from other countries are sitting on a ton of money, and not investing it in Canada.

Yes...CMS cannot keep the Canadian economy going on indefinitely...we all knew that...or should have known that years ago.

Hopefully you grasp our direction here.

What does it have to do with the car business? need prodigious amounts of money to make the business work.

There is an entire generation of CMS that has evolved with computers, technology, smart devices, easy access to credit, easy access to loans for education, easy access to loans for vehicles, and easy access to mortgages.

In many instances "big brother" was somewhere in the back ground facilitating the various "financial services" in one fashion or another. Like all human endeavors there are always areas for abuse, and perhaps even for greed to kick in.

Now "big brother" is altering the ground rules in some areas of the financial services applicable to real estate. Which is generating a myriad of opinions from literally everyone, with an undertone of dire consequences.

What does it have to do with the auto business in Canada? What do you think?




BMW 507

Its a cool car that was owned by Elvis Presley at one time...

Here is the restoration of the car...




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation, and please tell your friends.

Have you noticed the propensity of hatchbacks lately? Do you remember how unpopular hatchbacks were a few years ago? Agreed...a hatchback is an off shoot of a utility vehicle, reflect on this for a moment. Agreed too its more useful than a trunk.

It reinforces the movement towards "utility". Are folks really clamouring for so many utilities? Or is it manufacturers offering an alternative to keep sedans on the map? From our perspective its a bit of both, you don't want a sedan with a trunk, and you don't want a boxy is the hatchback.

The price of oil is slowly, creeping back up? Keep an eye on oil, while the Canadian dollar remains in the dumpster, and CMS (Citizen Main Street) pays more for gas, food, and has to raise more cash to buy a house.

Ever notice the "flat" paint on some mostly German cars? Back in the day it was "flat" today its "matte". The paint has a look, and a constant reminder of a flat black 1949 Mercury coupe, or a hot rod that is not completed yet. A few weeks ago, we saw a flat grey German hot rod sedan, that was dropped, black diffuser in the back, black vents on the hood, modified exhaust system, and hopefully a tweaked engine too.

In case you did not know, Strada uses Squarespace our publishing platform...yes its 10 years that we are on Squarespace, the servers are somewhere in New York city, and possibly somewhere else too by now. We are reluctant to update the design, and migrate to another version of the platform since we would lose some of our content.

Obvious that keeping all of our content (10 years) published, and searchable is a higher priority, than having a slicker design.

Our usual old race cars from the CSRG Charity Challenge 2016.




Internal Combustion Engine

If you are an auto enthusiast or a die hard gear head, or just an admirer of transportation in one fashion or another the internal combustion engine has always been at the center of providing motivation (power) for a myriad of vehicles from cars, to heavy duty trucks to name a few.


Yes, there are gasoline engines, and diesel engines and both appear in cars, and trucks.

We have gone from smelly, obnoxious exhaust fumes, and emissions to dramatically cleaner fumes and emissions. Imagine for a moment caught in our daily commuter grinds, without an air conditioner, opened windows, and exhaust fumes from the late 1960's. It would be a truly intoxicating experience.

Or a big block Corvette roadster from the late 1960's with side pipes. The sound is intoxicating, and the fumes drifting into the car stopped at a traffic light reinforce the intoxication of the sound.

In heavy duty trucks the diesel engines remain the same size usually between 13 or 15 liters in size. The current discussion / it better to have a smaller engine working a little harder, or a bigger engine working more relaxed? Interesting debate in the trucking industry.

With cars we have gone from 7 liters down to 1 liter, and from 3 speed automatics to 10 speed automatics.

Its fascinating with technology what we can do with an ICE be it with gas or diesel.

Remember when we were approaching "peak oil" all these engines using fossil fuels were on the path of extinction at some point and time.

Back in the days of the "North American Land Barge", vehicles were big, heavy, imposing, with 7 liter engines.

When a full size crew cab pick up endures as the best selling vehicle in Canada, with a 3.5 liter twin turbo engine. Is it that far removed from the land barge of old?

Then electric motors caught your attention. Usually an hybrid, usually a milder than more aggressive hybrid the whole experience was "mild" and you quickly grasped that batteries deplete very quickly.

You understood why all this hybrid stuff did not go mainstream, it remains a niche propulsion system for vehicles. Easy to understand why CMS (Citizen Main Street) sees more value in a 1 liter turbo motor than an hybrid.

From way back in the day we all know that gas engines have a strong top end (horsepower), diesels have a stronger low end (torque). Torque is good but for an enthusiast top end is fun.

The immense advantage of ICE is the well established infrastructure to "keep them going" (gas stations). Think about it in about 5 minutes you quickly and efficiently reload a 500 kilometer range in any vehicle with an ICE and an average gas tank.

Agreed at some point in the future electric motors will replace ICE power in vehicles...its in the future at some point.




Canadian Sales Three Quarter 2016

It keeps on going...




Evolution of Utility Vehicles

Lets see if we can connect a few dots this morning, and what tentative conclusion will come of the dot connections.

If you have been in the auto business or a gear head for a while, you will remember some of these vehicles. Today a myriad of utility vehicles (trucks) are displacing sedans in the sales numbers.

How did this utility movement start?

Back in the early 1970's International had the Scout, GM developed the Blazer/Jimmy, Ford the Bronco, and Chrysler the Ramcharger. They were basically shortened pick ups with a fiberglass roof over the rear passenger area.

The majority were real 4x4 with a transfer case, low range, and free wheeling front hubs. They were small back then, but big by today's standards and captured the imagination of a market segment. If the metal must resonate, these smaller utilities resonated.

It was a case of your personal utility/toy with only 2 doors; not really family oriented.

At one point (late 1970's) every one seemed to have a down sized pick up, and a down sized utility vehicle still a 2 door.

At some point (early 1980's) the Jeep Grand Wagoneer with wood paneling similar to the station wagons captured the attention of a wider market segment. It had 4 doors, leather interior, all the convenience features of the day, transfer case, low range. It was big but smaller than a Suburban.

Lets keep in mind that in 1977 when GM down sized the full size cars, Suburbans became increasingly popular as a replacement for the pre 1977 full size station wagon.

At some point the down sized utilities added 2 doors, now they have 4 doors, the Grand Cherokee is the darling of the segment, while the Ford Explorer is very popular.

These vehicles become the "family kicker" the "mommy car" and the go anywhere its a 4x4 with a frame, transfer case, low range. A family would have a sedan, and a "kicker".

At a certain point in the new century, the frame morphed into a unibody and common platform, the transfer case became a viscous copling, the low range dissapeared too. Now we have an AWD vehicles that is cheaper to build, with a common platform.

Manufacturers have constantly removed the barriers to reach a larger market segment. Poor fuel economy, not so much now. Too much truck, now it might be too much car. Not enough amenities, not anymore.

In the meantime the "utility vehicle" segment continues to grow, and grow, and grow some more.

What is the current utility vehicle?

Is it a sedan? NO but its probably on a sedan platform

Is it a station wagon? NO but it sort of looks like a wagon

Is it a truck? NO but still identified as a truck.

Its a UV (utility vehicle) and getting smaller, more luxurious, and increasing its appeal.

So what is it?

Its a boxy station wagon on stilts without the wood paneling.