Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.
What does the price of a barrel of oil have to do with the auto business?
Think of one thing, the 3rd largest auto market in Canada is Alberta, need we say much more. Oil is pervasive through the entire Canadian economy. The fact that many Canadian companies are sitting on mountains of cash, and CMS (Citizen Main Street) is well leveraged with loans. It will come back to haunt us in 2015.
A while back we shared our thoughts on Cadillac. Put it this way, even Mark Reuss who was profoundly involved with the ATS, is on the thought vector that the cars are better than the current sales figures. Go figure...someone puts together an incredible car, and someone else makes sure it does not sell all in the same company.
From Business Week...The 85 Most Disruptive Ideas.
This week you surely noticed that CMS (Citizen Main Street) in Canada is highly levereged with a variety of credit instruments, starting with mortgages. Regarding auto financce that we have been talking about for months. You have to wonder if someone from the Bank of Canada is reading our publication. Yes...we told you so.
The Deuce in the photo is a reminder of the early days of hot rodding, chopped top, steel wheels, baby moons, nailhead Buick, dual quads, even what looks like a generator, and black. It does not get much cooler.
Our old cars today...The Baillon Barn Find.
Carbon fiber has been around for a few decades. This week we are fortunate to have The Colonel hang out with us most mornings. We are going to prod The Colonel to share his thoughts on carbon fiber.
Q: Colonel, good morning almost the end of the week, and getting closer to Christmas. As usual you look refreshed and invigorated this morning.
A: Good Morning guys, the cappuccino is excellent as usual, yes the Christmas decorations are all up too.
Q: Wgat is your knowledge of carbon fiber.
A: My technical knowledge is non existent, but I know its light and strong, race cars, planes are assembled with numerous carbon fiber components.
Q: It seems to be taking time for carbon fiber to reach mainstream applications in autos.
A: Guys, think of this...a few generations ago aluminum was an exotic material, it was light and reasonably strong. Its taken a long time for aluminum to sort of make its way to mainstream autos.
Q: Aluminum engines were a rarity at one time.
A: In the mid 1960's (50 years ago) GM had an aluminum 215 cubic inch nail head engine in Buick Skylarks, ZL1's (aluminum big block) which started in Can Am cars. Agreed aluminum engines were rare for decades.
Q: Now with the Ford F 150 an aluminum body is truly in the mainstream.
A: Yes, and its encouraging to see a quantum leap in saving weight.
Q: Back to carbon fiber...it seems to be taking a long time.
A: Its much easier, economical to uphold a steel process, and make the steel thinner especially for body panels.
Q: BMW is pioneering carbon fiber with the i3?
A: Yes, think of it batteries are very heavy, to compensate the structure and shell of the car is very light with carbon fiber.
Q: BMW is also pioneering a sort of mass production for carbon fiber.
A: Yes they are...its a brave new world.
Q: Do you think that carbon fiber will become widespread in autos.
A: No...it requires additional steps, more time, not really conducive towards cost conscious mass production.
We have been mentioning for some time that free flowing money from Canadian banks have supercharged auto sales.
Last week we shared our thoughts on the evolving ownership model.
Today the Bank of Canada:
Industry estimates suggest that, following the pullback from
automakers’ financing arms, the share of leasing in auto
financing has declined to below 30 per cent from a peak of
66 per cent in 2007 . Instead, auto loans have become more
“lease-like,” as innovations such as longer amortizations serve
to lower regular monthly payments .
These features, which
have become increasingly popular, involve greater risk taking
on the part of both the lender and the borrower .
The following graph from BoC merely reinforces that banks are supercharging sales...
We continue our conversations with The Colonel this week.
Q: Colonel, we notice that most automotive pundits take a narrow perspective, overlooking many relevant factors and variables.
A: Guys...you really want to get me going and rant this morning. Narrow perspective is being polite on your part. Perhaps most folks are trying to keep it simple when its increasingly complex.
Q: The auto business and the product is evolving into a complex environment of interconnectedness.
A: Yes it is, but until you talk about disconnected, presumably stand alone points/facts its simpler, and easier. Communicating disconnected morsels, while generating content.
Q: Its a narrow perspective, and misses the full spectrum.
A: Yes it does...way back in the day everyone knew something about cars, there was a ton of pedestrian knowledge (if you could call it that) floating around. Its not different today, there is a propensity of pedestrian knowledge being disseminated on a daily basis.
A: The product is increasingly complex, and disruptive. The business is moving into another phase, and stage.
Q: Yes it is...I agree. The pedestrian knowledge is at least one phase behind; primarily dealing with the past. Its driving with the rear view mirror.
A: Folks in the auto business go to a myriad of conferences, and derive a myriad of take aways.
Q: Its the human condition that if its communicated at a conference its "valid". Conveniently omitting that by the time it reaches a conference its pedestrian knowledge, its mainstream, its common, it lost its edge.
Q: There's content in Strada from years ago, that is disseminated today as novel perspectives.
A: Glad that you guys understand...that Strada is ahead...we don't follow, we lead.
Q: Could you call this pedestrian knowledge a form of "autotainment" (automotive entertainment)?
A: Absolutely, publications need to generate content, need is say more....
Q: If you omit to connect a few points/perspectives there is the real possibility of arriving at the incorrect conclusion, conveying the wrong message.
A: Brilliant deduction...there is a lot of s%&t going around.
Q: Its probably easier to monetise, and attract advertisers if its simplistic, while missing the real issues.
A: You have a point...probably is easier to monetise.
Q: Easier to disseminate "morsels", to try and monetise narrow perspectives, to bow down to guilds.
A: Yes...and its archaic, its bureaucracy, its upholding the past while suffocating the future. I can keep on going...better stop.
Q: Do you think it will change?
A: I don't think so, its an established order, the bureaucracy, the guilds, the narrow view, its enduring. Keep in mind that change requires an additional effort.