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Entries in Canada (129)

Thursday
Jul302015

Recession

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. Agreed...at $100 a barrel it was all good...at $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.

Recession:

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.

 

 

Friday
Jul242015

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.

 

 

Tuesday
Jul212015

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"...it 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 participation...no 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.

 

 

Monday
Jul202015

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.

 

 

Friday
Jul102015

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. Yes...you 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.

 

 

 

Friday
Jul032015

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 solution...it might just turn into a "no signal".

 

Wednesday
Jul012015

Canada Day

Have a great day with your family and friends...

 

 

Friday
Jun122015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

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

Have you noticed that when folks are in "prominent" positions they at times start believing their own "s**t" which often turns into a situation of not so good, and if you include a dollop of greediness on top it becomes even more interesting.

In Canada we have all sorts of examples of this stuff...

Ray Tanguay formerly of Toyota as the Canadian Auto Czar to attract auto business to Canada, that is a good thing, since lately its all headed south. Yes...Canada will continue to have to buy the business to keep it here.

As Cadillac "dares greatly" customers have no problem "regretting nothing" and opting for another make. Good thing the Slade is saving the day to show an increase in sales. Reminds us of a boastful press conference by some Cadillac folks at CIAS this year. Which begged the question, do they know something, or do we know something?

At times you get windows of smooth flowing traffic, a few days ago while returning the Ram pick up we hit an interesting early evening window in the flow of traffic. It just flows, everyone is on its best behavior, its a little faster too. Obvious that some folks with performance machines will attempt to take advantage of such a situation, or at least try something.

Agreed...smooth flowing traffic is an exception.

Tomorrow is the start of the Le Mans race, we are still Corvette fans, while keeping an eye for the GT-R LM.

Superlative photo gallery from the Modena Trackdays 2015 at Spa.

 

 

Friday
Jun052015

Vroom Room

Good Morning,

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

Does climate change mean that we alternate from air conditioning, to heat, on a regular basis in the house? What do you think?

In case you missed it, we have done some vehicle reviews take a look...here. Really...how could you miss it.

You know that we don't follow, we lead, and we are not in the eyeball business either. Late last year we shared our thoughts on Premium Economy which was a continuation of The Merbimau Advantage. As you start hearing increased comments from a variety of individuals remember that you heard it here first.

In the world of business there is an ongoing constant, the population of Assholes does not diminish (perhaps its increasing). At times you have to wonder if the population would diminish, would we be in a better world. Agreed...its optimistic to say the least.

Canadian Sales for May:

Last year May was a record month, imagine trying to beat May 2014 this year. Its a done deal May 2015 is 1% ahead of 2014. As you can imagine with an increase of only 1% the month was a game of push and shove. With manufacturer bonuses based on sales objectives (usually surpassing them). There is a rumour that some manufacturers were calling dealers on an hourly basis on the last day.

Is there the possibility that some vehicles were called sold, and are still waiting for an owner? What do you think?

Still a huge accomplishment for the month...yes those guys again MerbimAu were way ahead of the game last month...

You will increasingly start reading and hearing about infotainment overload in vehicles. Where some or a lot of the technology in the centre of the dash (yes the screen) is not being used by customers. Do we still need a CD player in vehicles? Do we need voice recognition? Do we need a myriad of touch functionalities on the screen? What do you think?

Our usual old race cars impressive and extensive photo gallery of the Spa Classic 2015.

 

 

Tuesday
May122015

The Canadian Comsumer is Smart

As you know we often mention the Canadian Consumer as CMS - Citizen Main Street.

We are of the opinion that CMS is not as dumb as some media and pundits would like you to believe. More important CMS is quick to adjust to the economic environment. 

The Canadian economy is powered by CMS having evolved into a consumer economy.

Looking at Canadian auto sales:

We mentioned sometime ago that free flowing money was powering auto sales. Sales records are broken on a monthly basis. 

Now presumably CMS is in deep yogurt with long term loans and rolling over deficiencies, and it begs the question how long can this last before it blows up?

If you remember in the good old days of leasing the question a few years ago was how long can it last before it collapses under the weight of residual risk?

The reality, free flowing money has raised auto sales to new heights that have shattered records forthe past couple of years.

While CMS is contantly evolving from an ownership to a mobility model when it comes to vehicles.

Consider the most successful manufacturers in Canada have improved, tweaked, calibrated, at times pivoted the mobility model. These manufacturers were not exclusively in the ownership model, and have successfully expanding their own mobility model.

While the pundits are waiting for the sky to fall. The Canadian Consumer is offered a myriad of monthly incentives, from competing manufacturers, is enabled to roll over deficiencies, all at a constant monthly payment.

The other Canadian Consumers that have been on the mobility model for a longer period of time simply replace one leased vehicle with another.

As the pundits have an ongoing discussion of "social media" relating to the auto business, and other pundits discuss the disadvantages of long term financing. The Canadian Consumer keeps on expanding the mobility model empowered and enabled by manufacturers and the financial services.

With increasing talk of autonomous vehicles, which consumer wants to keep any vehicle for any lenght of time?

We could keep on going...what do you think?