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Cost Cutting

The other day it struck us. Yes we had an epiphany to the extent of cost cutting that is rampant in all areas of production, manufacturing, and retailing.

We have often made reference to Power Point pilots, and spreadsheet jockeys in the processes of saving money, and cutting costs.

In the auto industry, one supplier cuts costs, the component is subsequently sub par, and a myriad of manufacturers initiate recalls. Yes...they are all using the same component, from the same supplier.

Lets assemble vehicles "somewhere" (ideally with low labor costs), lets cooperate with a plant that builds components for a few manufacturers (to save money) while creating an optic that its all separate, and all independently trained. Agreed many of these initiatives are empowered by technology, and were a mere figments of the imagination a few years ago.

Go to any retailer, prices are either up, and/or quality is down to control costs. Lets not even talk about the service that is provided my a myriad of retailers.

The value equation is a constantly moving target. Understanding the value received for the funds that are used is increasingly challenging.

Do we have to say that the "brand value" is inexorably becoming a "ball of grey" as it constantly morphs from one cost cutting vector to another in the ongoing effort to bolster the bottom line.

Is it a surprise for the consumer to gravitate towards the lowest cost denominator since its all a complex ball of grey.

What do you think?





Another Take on Horsepower

The Colonel is hanging around this week, and we have done numerous entries on "horsepower" over the years. Use the search functionality to see which one grasps your attention.

Lets see what The Colonel has to say this morning, and what is rankling him.

Q: Good Morning, how are you this morning Colonel.

A: Doing very well and in a bit of a s%#t disturbing mood.

Q: Remeber your quest for 600 HP and massive torque.

A: Yes...that was a few years ago, and it cost a ton of money, and it was fun.

Q: That was prior to the 50 over, street racing laws were enacted.

A: Absolutely, and at one time we blew the doors off a Bimmer really bad.

Q: How bad?

A: Leave it as "obscenely, really bad".

Q: With the Challenger Hellcat it seems that horsepower is the flavour of the day.

A: It sure looks like it, which begs the question what do you do with it?

Q: What do you mean, it would at least satisfy some "below the belt" inefficiencies.

A: You guys are subtle this morning, but that is about it, it becomes an intellectual thing, with limited use except on a track.

Q: You always had a fascination for cars with power for decades now. In addtion to a strong preference for V8's which is perhaps archaic.

A: Yes...always enjoyed horsepower, and through the years have used horsepower in many instances. Because its been going on for years, I also understand that today its of limited use on public roads. Agreed V8's ia an enduring thing.

Q: You can use it on a track.

A: You need the correct cars, and drivers with well developed driving abilities, as well as a sizeable budget to deal with the wear and tear factor of track use. How many of those do you think are out there.

Q: We heard that these engines with blowers and turbos are heat sensative.

A: No kidding, when you get them to generate power, they also develop a ton of heat and most cars do not have the extended cooling capacities to deal with the heat.

Q: The 5.5 AMG blower motors cutting out.

A: One example, and all modern motors will shut themselves down at a certain heat point.

Q: What about brakes?

A: Good question, here is the concept, if you have 1,000 HP under the hood, you need 3,000 HP in the brakes to stop the car, and serious "rubber" (tires) to put it all to good use.

Q: If you can blast a car up to whatever, you need to slow it down even faster (feel the tug of the seatbelts).

A: Today that is precisely what you need, and as you know its a ton of power all over the place for occasional sporadic use. And a ton of money to deal with the wear and tear items for occasional use.

Q: It makes for great "halo cars" that hopefully sell the lesser vehicles.

A: Its precisely why manufacturers come up with massive HP ratings that you cannot use.

Q: It gets people to talk at the "pedestrian level" and generates buzz.

A: Precisely, it creates temporary buzz. Remember that back in the day the ceiling was 425 HP, even when the cars were packing more under the hood. 




Cars Online 2014

The latest edition of Cars Online by Capgemini...always thought provoking.




Low Riding

Comprehensive low rider coverage by Jay Leno...the 63 Chevy is unique.



Vroom Room

Good Morning, 

First day of the month, on the cusp of a long week end. Its Friday, its the Vroom Room.
Come in make yourself comfortable, we have cappuccino and biscotti.
Join the conversation, leave a comment.
Yes...what summer, July has been a good example of climate change with sporadic warmth, sun, rain, and brisk temperatures. Something is surely changing. 
Fascinating to see automotive pundits realise that closing Pontiac dealers in Canada; was a costly adventure for GM. We have been saying the same thing for the past several years. 
The Colonel is catching up, between road trips. Yes...he still has some catching up to do, so bear with us.
Some random thoughts:
  • The Colonel grew up during the glory years of the cold war, and enough nuclear weapons to erase the globe. Looking back and looking ahead, one wonders if the globe is not on the brink of some sort of event that is not palatable
  • Gone in a food store lately? Vehicles are inexpensive compared to the rise in the price of food, and the usual summer rise in the price of gas. Imagine if the free flowing money that powers vehicle sales in Canada tightens up by a few increments.Which begs the question "How much iron can you move for how long?"
  • What do you do with 707 HP besides bragging rights and burn outs. Agreed its affordable horsepower which is over the top.
  • Shaker scoops were cool on an engine with a "wild camshaft and a lopey idle" the scoop telegraphed what was going on under the hood. You surely remember when you had to raise the idle speed to get some sort of an idle from an aggressive camshaft.
  • Yes...horsepower requires gas, and generates heat, its always been a challenge to cool any engine that generates HP, especially with a blower. 
  • A "slush box" was a 2 speed Powerglide automatic transmission...don't go there.
  • Did you know that B&M was putting a clutch in front of an Hydra Matic transmission decades ago? could push start a vehicle with an Hydra Matic.


 Awesome photography of old race cars from the Silverstone Classic.