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Thursday
Jul312014

Wheels and Tires

15 inch wheelLets take a look at wheels and tires for a moment. Agreed we get whimsical during the "Dog Days of Summer".

Today we take bigger wheels and low aspect ratio tires for granted.

If you are of a certain age, you surely remember the standard 75 aspect ratio tires with 14 inch rims. Back when 9.00 x 14 were as big as you could get. Yes some cars even had 13 inch wheels.

The advent of wide oval 70 aspect tires, and subsequently the advent of 60 aspect tires still on 15 inch wheels. You surely remember "wide oval" tires.

If you had an interest in hot rodding the classic American Racing 5 spoke 15 inch wheel was to die for at the time. Or the Halibrand kidney wheel on a hot rod.

These small diameter wheels (by today's standards) of the time provided limited room for brakes, and limited brake performance on cars.

At one point 16 inch, then 17 inch, up to 20 inch wheels emerged, with aspect ratios of 55, then 45, and 40. and 35.

The larger diameter wheels provide room for dramatically bigger brakes, no wonder braking performance of all vehicles has improved. 

18 inch wheelObvious the lower aspect ratio tires, especially when they are high performance provide a higher level of grip.

As well as a higher rate of wear. Modern performance tires have a short life expectancy. Especially when aggressive driving is involved.

If back in the day you could hit a pot hole with a 75 aspect tire and it was not a big deal, hitting the same pot hole with a 35 aspect ratio can quickly become an expensive deal.

Often the tire and rim are damaged.

Needless to mention that modern tires, and larger rims are a vast improvement raising the performance level of any vehicle.

Yes...we prefer that larger rims and lower aspect ratio tires within bounds of reason. The old school tires feel vague compared to today's tires.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul302014

Leadership

This morning we have The Colonel sharing a coffee, and his thoughts with us.

Q: Colonel Good Morning, you look refreshed as usual.

A: Thank You, and just back from a road trip.

Q: What is going on with leadership. As you know there is constant talk about leadership.

A: There is lots of talk about leadership, and when the proverbial s#%t hits the fan, there is a lot of ducking.

Q: What is going on with leadership at dealerships.

A: Great question, what leadership?

Q: Are you implying that dealers owned by "groups" are lacking leadership?

A: It goes beyond that.

Q: Care to be specific?

A: Dealers are in the people business through cars (vehicles). Its that simple, and that complex.

Q: It should be easy to be in the people business with social media, various platforms, and so on.

A: It probably is not easy, its confusing, and misleading. Dealers have all sorts of "techno apps" that often do not flow well together while augmenting the confusion.

Q: Are dealers missing the essence of being in the people business for a lack of leadership?

A: Precisely, its getting lost in the trees, and  missing the forest.

Q: There has to be some leadership, some sense of direction?

A: Absolutely, there is some, but is it enough for 2014?

Q: You point is vague.

A: Good observation, it can be interpreted as vague, and perhaps its the vagueness that is perplexing too many individuals. You need more leadership now, than 10 years ago.

Q: Its more challenging to keep folks aligned and focused on achieving results, closing deals as an example.

A: Precisely, in 2014 the focus must be laser sharp.

Q: Some dealers have exceptional leadership, which seems "old school".

A: Absolutely, it seesm old school because human nature is "old school".

Q: With all the technology one would think...

A: There lies the competitive advantage...

Q: Let the techno apps do all the grunt work, freeing the humans to lead humans.

A: Its quite an advantage for the folks that grasp the "forest".

 

 

Tuesday
Jul292014

Private Sales

Call it a private sale, a sales event, a special, or a myriad of other names. Its been around for years in the auto retail business.

The "private sale" generates incremental business, attracts opportunistic buyers, and yes also provides a competitive advantage. 

In Canada this year one manufacturer and its dealers have deployed the "private sale" strategy to a new level with success. If you don't know which manufacturer...if you are in the auto business you should. 

Yes...the timing of the sales is "strategic" to capture a monthly advantage. In addition to holding these sales across extended geographical regions.

At a time of increased awareness of social media, technology, informed buyer, demanding prospect, punctuated by a general void in showroom selling experience, buyers visiting less than 2 dealers to finalise a decision. Dealers should be doing this, that, adopting this technology, using that platform, be visible on several social fronts. 

The ability to deal with the reality of the auto retail business, yes "horse trading" with trade ins remains an intrinsic and enduring part of the business. The neophites in the showroom are challenged by this unique aspect of the auto business. 

We could keep on going here, there is an intrinsic vacuum in most showrooms on how to close a deal. Accompanied by a lack of management leadership that is attuned to closing deals.

Here comes the private sale.

 

  • Attracts existing customers.
  • Tempts opportunistic buyers.
  • Facilitates closing deals (especially with trade ins).
  • Steals business from the competition.

 

The lingering question: "How long can it last?"

In the meantime: "Its working, its moving iron".

 

 

Monday
Jul282014

Powered by People

If you are in the auto business especially at the retail level in dealerships. Hopefully you have reached the conclusion that the business is powered by people.

After all the technology, the systems, the processes, the pedestrian talk. Its the people that make all the difference. We wonder how often the message is lost in the noise of technology that its the people that make all the difference.

Its mind boggling, to see countless instances of the most important aspect of the business mismanaged by managers that have presumed experience, and should know better.

Its always been the people.

Even with all the technology that deals with a myriad of routine details, its still the people.

Fascinating to see folks get lost in the noise of technology. Agreed there is a ton of "techno noise" reinforced by a ton of "social media noise" to envelop folks in a fog overlooking the relevant point that its the people that make all the difference.

Revealing to see managers hiding behind computer screens, tablets, to presumably manage their business.  

What do you think?


 

Saturday
Jul262014

F-Type V6 S vs SLK55 AMG

Another episode of Head 2 Head...see who wins.