Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable with a cappuccino and biscotti.
Agreed its been chilly this week.
Stuff that caught our attention:
"Pick Up sales have exploded due to cheap gas" - Really?
"The Canadian consumer will save billions at the pumps" - Agreed, although CMS (Citizen Main Street) will pay up all over the place to compensate for the lower dollar.
"GM had a record year in Canada in 2014" - Really, a distant 3rd behind Ford and Chrysler in Canada. Its a record alright.
"Oil might reach $40 a barrel" - Everyone in the oil business will keep on pumping the stuff to uphold cash flow.
"Self Driving, connected cars" - Its inexorably moving in that direction, although with CES this week there is some hyperbole.
"Making a dent, leaving a mark" - This week we were quickly reminded how some folks prefer to leave a mark on the world...and its not love.
As if you needed a reminder, next week is the Detroit Auto Show (NAIS)...the start of the season.
Our usual old race cars from the Old Timer Grand Prix.
Usually December in Canada is a slower auto sales month since at some point everyone starts competing with Santa Claus.
This past December from the activity in online, radio, TV, print advertising one could sense that most if not all manufacturers were motivated to generate a strong month. Literally break from recent tradition, especially in light of several events, the price of oil being one.
December concludes 16% ahead of the previous year, the strongest December in the past 10 years with 131.4K units for the month.
Think of this...1.85 Million vehicles were never sold in Canada in any year.
From our perspective its gratifying to see all manufacturers throttle up, get hyper competitive. We had not seen such competitiveness in several years.
How do you power sales?
New Product: Its still the major part of the equation.
Incentives: They are a compelling motivator to finalise decisions.
Free Flowing Money: What can you say...2014 was a watershed year in money powering sales.
Pick Ups: The love affair continues, not the cheap gas, the enduring love affair with pick ups.
Chrysler and Ford were trading paint to who would finish as number 1 in Canada. December was the deciding month with Ford winning by a bumper.
The Koreans and Japanese have their ongoing scrap for market space.
When everyone gets competitive, the incentives are strong, the money flows, fascinating to see how much iron can be moved in Canada.
Its a beautiful thing...
We mentioned The Colonel a few times. As you know he is our publisher, editor, and "eminence grise" when it comes to all things automotive, and a few others too.
This morning The Colonel is with us enjoying a cappuccino, lets get him to share his thoughts.
Q: You look relaxed, invigorated this morning, and ready for action.
A: Guys...thank you, you also look relaxed. As you know had a wonderful Christmas, and New Year. Back into a home not just a house like last year. It was all cool. Yes...totally ready, with a touch of aggressivity.
Q: Will Strada be different in 2015?
A: You know that we stay the course, we uphold our editorial philosophy, that will not change for 2015. Its who we are, and how we see the world.
Q: Through the years you have always been subtle, perhaps you should get more pointed and controversial.
A: We have never been in the "eyeball business". We are an auto publication, and as you know have been in the auto business for a few years/decades.
Q: You keeping the Vroom Room on Friday's, do vehicle reviews, do the quarterly Canadian sales analysis, and as usual share your thoughts.
A: Precisely...nothing will change in that regard...occasionally we might get a little more pointed and opinionated...we will see how it goes.
Q: What is Vision 2020?
A: Its a new initiative for 2015, it will evolve as the year goes by...perhaps we will get increased participation from folks in the auto business. Hopefully we will provoke a thought process that inspires.
Q: Basically Strada remains a boutique publication for individuals that are seeking a provocative perspective.
A: Absolutely...I like the boutique publication description...its cool. Its essential to be disruptive, provocative, insightful...I believe that Strada has been doing this for a few years (being humble).
Q: Some years ago thought leadership was mentioned on a few occasions.
A: Thought leadership is scary stuff, with many old school guilds trying very hard to ensure their survival. As you know we don't follow we lead...it says it all.
Q: How about passion.
A: Real simple, if we would not be passionate would we be publishing? We are in out 9th year...reflect on that for a moment. Safe to say that we ooze PASSION.
Spread a bit of love, understanding, compassion, humility...
Tell your friends to do the same...
We might just make the world a better place...
We urge you to give it a try, we will in 2015...