Now that the long drawn out federal election is a done deal, we can move on to other "things" to captivate the mainstream media. Although it was informative to see how the election was covered, and the various opinions from a myriad of pundits, analysts, observers, pollsters, editorials.
From our perspective CBC did a phenomenal job in covering different perspectives of the election, and more important the opinions of CMS (Citizen Main Street).
Yes...CMS wanted change in Canada, and made sure that it would happen...it was a clear message on Monday night.
The other day we came cross a Rolls-Royce Wraith, the car captures your attention, and then the styling truly captures your imagination and the question "Who buys/leases such a car?". The metal on that car does not resonate with the Strada Crew.
Have you noticed the various online ads from MTU for the old 2 cycle Detroit Diesel? Should we conclude that there is still a good number of these old Detroits around, and with new liners, pistons, injectors, and rebuilt blowers they are still going and going.
As an aside The Colonel at one time sold trucks with 53-71-92 series engines...yes the 2 cycle Detroits will always have a special place in the memory bank for a ton of reasons.
This month our editorial direction focused on people, at Strada we firmly believe that people make the real difference.
Vintage cars, racing, and photos from the 1955 Targa Florio.
When you connect dots the outcome must be simpler, smoother, seamless, more human, less technology.
Lets continue with The Colonel and connect more dots...
A: Under chassis service is enduring its the same dots from decades ago, some things don't change.
Q: Crawling under cars...
A: Love it, from a young age with jacks and cars on stands, to walking under cars on a lift, its enduring, the same dots all connect.
A: A ton of dots, that most folks are overlooking. Still in the people business, always in the people business. Still have to close a deal, and still horse traders. Folks today are connecting the wrong dots.
Q: The showroom can turn into a lengthy discussion...
A: Absolutely, its not the time.
A: Through the years you can measure success in a myriad of ways, and read a gazillion opinions. Its always the same dots, the same parameters. While dealing with an increased level of "you know what". Succes in 2015 also implies heightened empathy.
A: Its a loaded word in 2015...and a rare commodity. The dots are all there, with many folks trying to connect them differently. While leaving numerous dots unconnected. "Why put your behind on the line when you can hide behind a Powerpoint?"
A: The auto business races the product it sells, when the product races its "head up". You can also subscribe to "bracket racing" and/or "spotting lengths" (to use drag racing terms). The most exciting is heads up, its also the one that is more demanding. Its the same dots from decades ago...
Q: Big data...
A: You can connect, and uncover new dots with big data. Premium Economy is the result of using big data. Common platforms too. Used astutely it connects disparate dots that generate an advantage. Big data brings hidden dots to the forefront.
Q: We can keep on going for quite some time...
A: Yes we can...but should we?
Q: Should folks make an additional effort to connect dots that seem totally unrelated.
A: Technology is an equaliser, it empowers, but also equalises. In the auto business you need an advantage, you play to win. Where do you find the advantage? By using the same technology that equalises, and empowers everyone else?
Q: You could say the same thing about life.
A: Precisely, but we are not here to tell folks how to lead their personal lives. We do suggest that you build your own intelligence data base, while being your own editor, and connect dots.
Q: Colonel Good Morning, you are looking invigorated this morning, how is the coffee.
A: Guys, good morning, the cappuccino is good, invigorated is complementary makes me feel a little younger.
Q: What is it with connecting dots.
A: Although the car business is about product, vehicles, and a bunch of other stuff, especially with the myriad of pundits that share their thoughts/opinions. Its also about connecting dots, especially if you have been in the business a few years/decades.
Q: Do you have some examples of connecting dots, and perhaps epiphanies too.
A: Decades ago on the 401 with a 5 cylinder diesel, I had an epiphany that diesel engines are good for trucks not cars. It endures to today, the VW thing flies under our radar.
A: You can connect a ton of dots, we are in the people business through cars. The dots still connect like decades ago, its all changed and nothing has changed. The change is that we focus on technology, instead of people. We should connect the same dots...resonating with 2015.
A: Its a sedan with a V8...that simple. Connect all the dots you want for decades, its still a sedan with a V8 with waftability. An SUV is a truck.
A: Its the family kicker, everyone goes through a stage in life where you need a family kicker, very useful, gets kicked around, and with AWD is even more versatile.
A: If you are a gear head performance is paramount, and you have your own preference for what performance is all about. Its enduring through the decades.
Q: How do you understand performance...
A: In my case its a V8, its Chevrolet...
Q: Sounds old school...
A: It is old school performance that connects a ton of dots, memories, emotions, experiences, learning curves, bruised knuckles, drag racing, Trans Am and Can Am racing, to name a few. As well as mechanical cars...
Q: How about trucks...
A: Working trucks are performance machines, you quickly connect performance dots between a working truck and old school performance. Its a fascinating intellectual exercise.
A: Has made obscene horsepower possible in cars from a performance perspective. Vehicles are dramatically safer with technology. From punch cards to hand held smart devices...its truly impressive.
Q: Technology has democratized horsepower...connect more dots please.
A: Back in the day it was a wild camshaft, ported heads, a monster carburetor. The catalytic converter in the early 1970's killed all of that, the fun was gone. Technology enabled horsepower again. Back in the day performance cars were in their own way "lethal weapons" when used foolishly, not the case today.
Q: Massive horsepower is safe today...
A: Precisely, back in the day it was safe with select individuals, not the masses. The reason that back in the day everyone stopped at 425 HP. Its the same dots reconnected with technology.
Q: Connect dots with Chevrolet...
A: I grew up with GM, at a time when GM ruled the automotive world in North America. Its been a lasting, enduring influence. Chevrolet is the small block which is still around today, it was easy to get small blocks, and increase the power. Think about it...hot rodding still exists.
Q: The 1979 Camaro connects a bunch of dots for you...
A: Absolutely, its a mechanical car, warmed over small block, carburetor, 4 speed, a clutch pedal, positraction, miserable brakes. Its my own barn find that I have owned since new. It connects a gazillion dots from another time, and to today. The rumble from the small block is as timely today as in 1979.
Q: Care to connect a few dots with Mercedes-Benz...
A: By the early 1980's GM had absolutely lost its way, a ride in a 450SEL (116) was a complete revelation as to what a proper sedan should be back then. Experiencing a 6.9 for a few days was a mind altering experience. The cars had archaic features compared to a Cadillac, but the performance was on another level.
We will continue...
We have shared our thoughts on Premium Economy for almost 2 years.
You could see the established players primarily MerBimAu start in what we call the premium economy segment; with new models that have impeccable branding at popular pricing.
Especially the premium economy CUV segment with a turbocharged 4 cylinder is a hotbed of activity from several manufacturers.
With a new model here, another there, the immediate surge in pent up demand. Its a case of lets wait and see how this new premium economy develops in the market. Agreed...we could have a lengthy discussion regarding the luxury aspect of premium economy (is it really luxury?), and what is a luxury car, SUV, or CUV.
Agreed too...we had our reservations...especially where is this going to go in Canada. How many sales will get cannibalised? How will it impact the established luxury models?
The "Premium Economy" space/segment works well in Canada, generating a viable alternative for customers, and incremental sales for the players in the space. Especially in the CUV segment, the rising tide even raises the current (old) Cadillac SRX as an example.
Are there manufacturers losing sales to premium economy...absolutely. The various players in premium economy are stealing sales.
Cannibalising sales from established incumbent models, is a minor factor, the rationale is the following: Sell an additional 10 in premium economy of which 2 are cannibalised, still ahead by 8.
The biggest player in the premium economy space in Canada? Mercedes-Benz
Agreed...we can have an interesting discussion about BMW, Audi, the rising premium economy tide, Acura, and Lexus. Infiniti playing catch up, while Cadillac and Lincoln except for the CUV's are almost out of the space. Lets not forget Porsche with the Macan, or a resurgence of the Evoque.
How does the premium economy segment impact the established luxury models of a brand? This is the thought vector that captured our attention from the outset. There is some cannibalising of the mid level sedan segment, think E Class, 5 Series, A5. While there is also a shift from sedans to utility vehicles. You could say that the tea leaves get blurry. Overall there is an upside in sales. Top line models are not affected.
The individual that seeks a top line luxury sedan or utility will not gravitate towards premium economy.
What is the impact of financial services?
The folks that gravitate towards premium economy are in a better equity position with their existing vehicle. Its easier to do a deal with improved continuity in the transaction be it a lease or a finance with a balloon payment at the end of the term.
From our perspective premium economy has struck a chord that resonates with potential customers in Canada. The brands in the segment are well entrenched, while being aspirational.
Are the new premium economy offerings all winners, not really, there remains incremental repetition which is confusing, some models are of questionable esthetics. Although most of the metal resonates with a cross section of customers that are new to the brand.
A couple of weeks ago The Colonel discovered a brochure dating back to 1979 on the GMC Truck Centre, took the time to scan it, and we published the brochure last week. A brochure back in the day was the equivalent of a web site today. Some things change, while not changing.
Years ago The Colonel concluded "We are in the people business through cars". Between the Internet, technology, social media, all sorts of plug in apps. Have we lost sense that in 2015 we are even more in the people business?
We have all sorts of elaborate, sophisticated technology to deal with a bunch of routine stuff. We get so immersed in the technology, that we forget what business we are in. Think about this for a moment.
We refer to the Ahhh moments as epiphanies. Especially when we put ourselves in different positions that we are supposed to know and understand.
> The metal must resonate to close a deal, if the metal does not resonate, its dramatically more challenging.
> We are clueless into what is going on with the software code in any vehicle.
Yes...just 2 epiphanies this morning.
Did you ever think for a moment that the VW "thing" was being conducted several layers down the management structure, that it might have been a rogue employee, that no one really knew about it. Its emerging that it was well thought out...lets leave it at that for now.
Make it a point to vote on Monday.
Our usual old cars from the Chantilly Concours d'Elegance...stunning photography.