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Entries in Canada (133)


Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

On the cusp of the long week end, the end of the Dog Days of Summer, and an immersion into reality.

Concluding a busy summer, you have to ask yourself if you want to be part of all the "conversations" or you would rather be spared, or spare yourself from some the of "conversations" that are unproductive from your perspective. have to be your own editor, and your own conversation filter.

From the Strada vault...Bespoke Vehicles when dealers ordered vehicles by option, not packages that simply raise the price. Today you want this on a vehicle, you have to buy another 4 of something else, and obvious for dramatically more money than just the option you want.

Canadian Sales:

With the gyrations of the financial markets, accompanied by dire talk on the Canadian economy. Vehicle sales continue to set records. The power of new products, demand for trucks, and free flowing money. Its really the power of CMS (Citizen Main Street)...think about it.

From a few months back...The Transparency Spin, as you get back to reality be aware of the various spins that are applied to usually influence the transparency.

When the yogurt hits the fan...

Its interesting to observe human nature when some unpleasant stuff hits the fan, as much as there is all sorts of tehcnology to permit a ton of activities. The typical human response is timeless...head for cover, look out for number 1, seek out a level of security...guess somethings will never change.

Since there was no Bonneville Speed Week this year, a photo gallery from a few years ago.

Have a wonderful long week end with your family and friends.




Random Thoughts on Money

A few years ago we wondered where all the money went with Where Is The Money. It still resonates today.

Auto Business:

The auto business requires cubic amounts of money to function, operate, generate results. Some things never change through the years.


Specifically credit powers sales, especially in Canada, where we have seen a robust sales increase during the past few years...powered by banks enabling credit.


At the retail level money is scarcer, and scarcer as the years go by, with a myriad of ramifications. You can fill in your own blanks and comments.

Dealer Groups:

Have the advantage to move money around, while taking advantage of group results. Most folks focus on the sales results, overlooking the various benefits of moving money around at the group level.


Having access to money, enables manufacturers to offer aggressive leasing terms, assuming residual risks. Remember when a few manufacturers could no longer raise money to lease vehicles?


Credit facilities enable the financing of inventories at the dealer level. Especially new vehicle inventories.


Are all the folks, stakeholders, in the auto business aligned to make money? Some areas of this business continue to struggle to arrive at optimum alignment, and dealing with disruption.





Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its the last Friday of the month, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti.

Our hearts go out to the family of Justin Wilson.

The gyrations of the global financial markets is enough to make anyone dizzy at this point. Hopefully your seat belt is fastened, there is more to come. Canada its been anything but a quiet, or relaxing summer this much for the "Dog Days of Summer".

You know the saying "The only constant is change"...we are seeing, experiencing a ton of change this summer.

A few days ago we invested some time to review manufacturer's web sites, configuring vehicles, and calculating payments. We were impressed as to how easy it is to configure a vehicle, calculate a price, payments, and even find inventory at dealers. These are activities that were an intrinsic part of the showroom. Which reinforces that when CMS (Citizen Main Street) does the due diligence online, by the time they start interfacing with a dealer they are ready to do business.

But...there is always a but...finding the vehicle that fires up the emotions is still a very human endevour. Up until a vehicle does not have an emotional appeal...its a chellenge to close a deal.

There is a chasm between the "online" and "physical" in finalising a purchase decision.

Did you have a feeling that all this technology in the center of the dash...

A new study from J.D. Power suggests that automakers are investing billions into technologies that a considerable number of drivers aren’t using.

J.D. Power’s first 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report found that at least 20 percent of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured.

You have to wonder who has time and desire to get totally interactive and fully interface with their vehicle.

Brilliant photography of the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance.



Random Thoughts on Luxury Brands

A few days ago we took a moment to read "Luxury Branding Below the Radar" in the latest issue of HBR. It struck our imagination and thought process.

This morning we have The Colonel with us...yes he has spent a few decades dealing with luxury cars, and luxury brands. Lets pick his thoughts.

Q: Colonel, you are well tanned.

A: Good Morning guys, yes its summer, working outside on week ends will generate a tan.

Q: From your perspective what is going on with luxury brands?

A: I surely don't have all the answers, but they do not resonate as they did is my first impression.

Q: You mean there is an entire generation that unless they are part of the 1% do not assimilate with luxury brands.

A: Up to a point you are correct, Millenials that through their parents have been exposed to a myriad of luxury does not impress them in the least bit.

Q: Luxury cars are selling very well in Canada.

A: Yes...the premium economy versions of the luxury brand is doing very well...I stress premium economy.

Q: A Saddlback briefcase is expensive especially with the low CDN dollar today.

A: Precisely, its expensive, its rugged, its not luxury, it generates comments.

Q: A Rolex is expensive too...and luxury.

A: Yes...and who really cares about a Rolex in 2015? Its a personal experience, more than flashing the brand on your wrist. It used to be the other way.

Q: We could keep on going, perhaps you are correct that luxury is becoming a personal experience, more than an outward display of the brand for other to see.

A: I believe that "luxury" is becoming an one time there was a thought vector that was leaning towards democratising luxury...its happened. Now its the experience.

Q: Luxury can have different aspects for different folks.

A: Precisely...but flashing the brand resonates less.

Q: A bunch of folks are flashing the brand with cars.

A: Agreed...its premium economy (affordable aspirational luxury), its good for sales, is it really good for the brand?

Q: Is luxury still synonymous with quality and durability.

A: You would hope so, although everyone is on a cost saving mission.

Q: Where do you think luxury is headed.

A: With the exception of the 1%, luxury in the past few years has been democratised, diluted, more accessible at a lower price. We have a good indication of where its headed.

Q: Closer to home in the auto business.

A: Its premium economy that will generate the bulk of the sales for the gain of some at the expense of others.






Have you noticed the "Dog Days of Summer" are more exciting than usual. Its not the quiet summer that most folks anticipated. 

How come?

Well...the Pan Am games have created their own level of excitement, and a ton of medals for Canada. Its a unique instance where Canadians truly feel like winners. Watching athletes bring in the gold.

The looming campaign for the federal election.

The burning question...

Are we in a recession, are we not in a recession, why use the "R" word in the first place.

Lets take a look...

The Canadian Dollar:

Its in the dumpster, CMS (Citizen Main Street) will spend more for the same "imported" stuff, and feel poorer while doing so. Keep in mind the feel poorer aspect...

The "Its great for manufacturing, jobs, exports..." we have heard that tired mantra for so long now that you truly have to wonder about its validity at this point. Did appliance making return to Canada? Did furniture making return to Canada?

Low Interest Rates:

At this stage its a big yawn, who cares anymore, they have been low for such a long time that its a given they will stay low. If the rates increase...think Walmart, Dollarama.

Price of Oil:

The oil industry in Canada, needs oil priced at $70 US a barrel to have a viable business model. We have known that for decades...nothing new here. $100 a barrel it was all $50 a barrel no so good. Its a new reality.

Auto Sales:

Through the roof, even with Alberta the 4th largest market in Canada behind this year. Go figure...easy CMS has no desire for ownership, its mobility for a monthly payment. Canadian banks have been empowering CMS to truly adopt the mobility model. Observe the increased share of leasing with the lower CDN dollar.

Real Estate:

Its over valued, its on fire, a crash is just around the corner, where is all this money coming from? Reflect on this for a moment...CMS feels in control with real estate, Canadian banks aided by the government have encouraged CMS to be in control.

Think about this too...its our collective money that is guaranteeing a "shit load" of mortgages.


The future direction of Canada is in a recession...reflect on this for a longer moment.

Canada has been at a pivot point since the presumed great recession of 2008/09 which never really occured in Canada. Besides solidifying the position of Walmart and Dollarama.

Canadian companies are very adept at making money with CMS. While CMS is adept at taking care of himself.

We could keep on going...

Canadian economic thinking is in a recession....must be the reason everyone wants to stay away from the discussion. The longer this "recessionary thinking" endures...the more interesting, and deplorable its going to get.

The "cloudier" Canada's future will be...

Must be our rant of the day.




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

1958 Buick Station WagonIts Friday, its the Vroom Room, make yourself comfortable enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti, join the conversation.

You have to be proud of all our athletes at the Pan Am games winning a bunch of medals, especially gold. Sort of makes up for the traffic congestion with the HOV lanes all over the place.

Have you noticed the downward spiral of the Canadian dollar, agreed its only a question of time before a myriad of prices will creep further up. Agreed too...CMS (Citizen Main Street) has been carrying the Canadian economy for the past few years.

There are several automotive platforms on the interwebs that encourage "automotive digerati" with a glancing knowledge of anything and everything to share pedestrian opinions on a wide range of subjects. Reminds you of back in the day when folks would openly mention that they knew everything about cars in one fashion or another. When the conversation got serious the knowledge base was pedestrian at best. Yes...we are being polite and subtle...

Mind you it probably attracts a bunch of eyeballs, while keeping these platforms going. As you know at Strada we are not in the eyeball business.

Have you read some reviews lately where the opinion of the reviewer is often very subjective, and somewhat detached from reality. At times you have to wonder if the review is to feature the product or the personal brand of the individual doing the review.

Why the Buick wagon? The photo caught our attention, back in the days of 4 door hard tops, station wagons, lots of glass and chrome...the "utility" vehicles of the day.

Our usual old race cars from The Hawk at Road America.




Lunch Break

During the Dog Days of Summer at times its easier to schedule a lunch with an old acquaintance that is in the auto business.

As you can imagine the conversation ranges from catching up, the family, kids, to the auto business and issues that are on the forefront / top of mind for one reason or another. One individual sees the Canadian automotive landscape from one perspective, and the other from a different perspective. The conversation is always interesting, and a great rapid fire exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Some snippets of the conversation:

1- The Canadian dollar is down 10 points from last year / earlier this year it must be impacting strategies. Yes...its having an effect.

2- What is happening to Cadillac after all these years and billions of dollars? Great cars, really great cars, the price point is too high, the showroom experience is not aspirational compared to the Germans.

3- Close ratios are down on trade ins. Simple the customer is better informed than ever. Nothing new here, although there continues to be a churning of sales consultants. Which has a negative impact on closing deals. Remember Showroom Craftsmanship?

4- Buy and sell of dealerships, some deals are complete "head scratchers" begs the question "why would they do that"...and lets leave it at that.

5- CPO programs take time to fully develop, especially with consistent dealer kidding! Once its running well with strong participation the benifits are multifaceted.

6- New models in a segment provide opportunities as well as a down side of taking sales away from an established model. Some manufacturers are tripping on their shoe laces with new models.




Canadian Sales - First Half 2015 

Our thoughts on Canadian Sales for the First Half of 2015.

Want to see photos and reviews click on the links.




Vroom Room

Good Morning,

HorsesIts Friday, its the Dog Days of Summer, its the Vroom Room. Enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti join the conversation, leave a comment.

You have to wonder if the Canadian economy is really "tanking" as the mainstream media would like us to believe. In the meantime our dollar persists on a downward spiral.

Did we forget all the media noise about China and the debt in Greece?

You know the saying...we always learn something new. It was informative last week to drive on the 401 with a conventional cruise control, and compare it to our drive with an adaptive cruise control. If you missed it just scroll down.

Don't you love it, reading that there is a pondering here, a mulling there, a possible somewhere else, and so on and on. have to be your own editor.

Canadian Sales:

A record breaking first half of the year...what else can you say...spectacular, impressive. Are we destined to drive around in a "square" utility vehicle of one make or another? What do you think?

Behind the scenes at the Goodwood Festival of Speed...impressive photo gallery.





Vroom Room

Good Morning,

Its Friday, its the Vroom Room come in make yourself comfortable, enjoy the cappuccino and biscotti join the conversation.

We are officially in the Strada Dog Days of Summer, and encourage you to do the same.

Especially if you turned Canada Day into a long week end.

Did you know that Riviere Du Loup was a Dog Days of Summer hub several generations ago?

Is gridlock the appropriate name for traffic and congestion that is not moving fast, or going anywhere in a hurry. These past few days in the GTA its been a case of not going anywhere fast especially with folks taking a few days off to enjoy a long Canada Day week end.

There are moments when everything moves and flows, and other moments when its just snarled up.

The other day we had an opportunity to look at a Camaro Z28 up close in a showroom. It was black on black which for some reason does not work on the car. The thought flashes "Who would buy such a car?"...its barely streetable with those tires. Did we forget to mention 80K for a Camaro.

On a track it must be a ton of fun...and 80K might start looking like good value and a deal. But static in a showroom black on black...not so much.

Reminds you of the convertible on the used car lot in July..."its summer it will sell".

The other day we needed to convert a VGA outlet to HDMI which is the new VGA sort of thing. Here is the deal, you can get a VGA to HDMI converter which will not plug into your VGA outlet, you can get an HDMI coupler just in case, as well as an HDMI cable. 

You sort of make all of this work, or think its going to work.

From a mechanical perspective its like having a 1/4 inch drive connected to a 1/2 drive ratchet, connected to a 10 cm extension then an adapter to 1/4 inch 20 cm extension. If it sounds like its all going to fly apart the moment you apply some force...we would agree.

With the VGA to HDMI it becomes a case of "no signal" at a most innoprtune time. Which reinforces that "if it looks a little flimsy connecting all sorts of stuff together...don't think you have the final might just turn into a "no signal".