Monday, 25 April 2011

Automotive Perfect Storm?

134.2, 135.3, 133.9. Are these numbers I picked out of a hat?  NO. These are the prices we are seeing at the pumps.

How are we coping? According to Bill Visnic, analyst and senior editor at Edmunds' there has been a spike in drivers trying to unload their gas-guzzling SUVs and a ripple effect in the small used car market. Visnic notes that in addition to the gas situation, the shortage of parts in Japan because of the earthquake and tsunami have added to pressure on car prices. In addition, the fact that the economy is improving is sending all used car prices higher, not just for small cars.

Also, in wake of production stoppages in Japan incentives from Japanese brands have evaporated and price increases are being seen even of rival models that would be the closest substitutes for these Japanese brands.

According to Edmunds' proprietary measure of car prices, a three-year-old Honda Accord has soared in value by 24 percent since last September. A similarly aged Hyundai Sonata is up 22 percent, the Honda Civic is up 13 percent and the Nissan Sentra has risen 12 percent.
"Particularly the Civic and Sentra are the standard bearers in the fuel efficient category," Visnic says.
Sounds like the brewings of the 2008 Automotive Crisis all over again only the economic picture looks a little better now then it did back then. Are we going to witness what we did then? GM & Chrysler slipped into bankruptcy in a perfect storm of gas prices, the credit crunch and lack of consumer confidence. Will we see Japanese manufacturers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan file for bankruptcy too? Maybe I'm jumping the gun or does it have all the ingredients to whip up the storm:
  • Parts Shortage
  • Japanese Automobile Shortage
  • High Gas Prices 
  • Prices of used cars Increasing

(Should I add Toyota's "100-millionth" recall that it just announced after a whistleblower in Vietnam leaked information about the Toyota Sienna?)
Too soon to tell? What's your opinion?
Sources: msnbc; automonster 

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

BMW: Return your Iphone for a Blackberry

So my BMW Rep comes to see me to talk over what we have in the pipeline (meaning: status of ordered vehicles for my clients) only to ask me what phone I use. I tell him I'm going to be upgrading - probably an Iphone. "Oh, no" he says. Blackberry all the way - but it has to have OS-6 (operating system). He goes on to tell me the QMS system (?) in the BMWs is now a powered by RIM. RIM swooped in to get the Bimmer biz and now all 2011 BMWs (with the technology package) have awesome integration. So, whether you want some no-emotion "bot" to read out your texts or the navigation to take the address out of your client's v-card and map it for you, you'll be loving every minute of it. Oh, did I mention multi-tasking to the max: Email via Bluetooth!! Get your emails on the screen or send them via Bluetooth. 

This is your boss's answer to paid slavery and now you have literally no excuse that you couldn't respond. Poor you - but hey, you did get the boss to lease you a 2011 BMW right? Small victory right? or hours of torture to repay his/or her kindness?

Imagine this said "Don't come in - You're Fired". Think it would cause an accident?

So, I'm sold on the feature - Am I trading in my car for a new BMW?  Hell, no! GM what's taking you so long? Pick up the phone, call up RIM, ask them if they would like to be in 5% of the 592,545 units you sold in the last quarter in the US alone. Start pulling rank! I want this option in 2012 Cadillacs and I won't be telling anyone that I have it!

Video Demo:

GM sales number source

Friday, 15 April 2011

You know you’re not the first. But do you really care?

"You know you’re not the first. But do you really care?". That was the headline on the full-page ad for used cars at Dale Wurfel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ltd., a dealership located in Strathroy, Ont., just west of London.

Catchy right? Supposedly not, the dealership faced a backlash on the web after prints of the ads were scanned online. Some Internet bloggers blasted the marketing campaign as sexist and objectifying, while others lauded it as clever (one would be me!).

The full-page ads ran separately in the London Free Press on April 8 and 9. “I took responsibility for this matter by immediately pulling the advertising campaign and personally handling all phone inquires,” said Dale Wurfel, president of Dale Wurfel Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ltd.

The campaign was also noted by online readers for its similarity to a 2008 BMW ad featuring a woman lying provocatively alongside the phrase “You know you’re not the first.”

On Friday, Wurfel said his dealership had made a donation to the Women’s Rural Resource Centre in Strathroy in response to the outcry.

Seriously, are the people complaining about the ad even customers? Makes you wonder - because if they were customers they'd know he was poking fun right? Exactly! So why don't we get off our high horses and buy some used cars!

P.S. Dale, love the ad! And hopefully all press is good press?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Drunken Jaguar Designer: 2011 Infiniti M37X

If my girlfriend knew this car was in my showroom she would flip: the 2011 M37X. Her dream car - Yawwzaaaaah! Nice and shiny; just brought over by the dealer for some lucky big spender to enjoy for 36 months of his or her life.  I walk by it with my colleague and just stand there admiring. My colleague looks at it in disgust and says he just doesn't like the M. What? This can't be true - not like the M? He says "It's too curvy for me.... this is supposed to be a car not a woman!". So, he likes curvy women but not curvy sedans. Go figure.

Check out the curves on the sides

He continues berating the interior: "Look! It's like a drunken jaguar designer made this interior". Ok, this comment makes me ask, "What?". "Yes, like he was trying to create a classy Jag interior and was just too drunk to do it". He shows me the knobs and how weirdly they are placed on the dash. The knob is high and you have to drop your wrist to turn it - makes you rethink if it's worth lifting your hand for. Ok, maybe he has a point there. Honestly, I have never liked the look of the steering wheel on the Infiniti's but that doesn't mean I'd take the vehicles off my Richter scale. The cockpit does have a classy feel and I have to say I do feel like a million bucks in the driver's seat..what the hell, in the passenger seat too.

The knob is just a little too high
I look at the paint and mistake it for black, no wait burgundy? Wait, this is the notorious Malbec Paint isn't it? I hadn't seen it up close until now - wow - really nice. For someone who gets bored with paint colour, this colour's for you! At one angle it's black, the other it's red-burgundy. Reminds me of black cherry? on the Cadi's I think it was? It just takes that luxury vehicle look one step higher: I'm better than you - my manufacturer put 2 colours on me! (you think this could be a line in the new Disney: Cars 2?)
Close shot of the Black - it's burgundy!

And be still my heart - BOSE! I can just feel my eardrums bursting.
Check out the logo

So, who wants an overpriced Nissan? I do, I do!
P.S. I'm taking orders - they are forseeing a shortage - who wants??
Photos (and there's a video!) stolen from Edmunds.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Gallardo Demolition

After complaints to the head of Lamborghini and Volkswagen failed to appease an owner of a 2011 Lamborghini Gallardo with his claims against the dealer whom he suggests made his problems with the vehicle worse by damaging the bumper and chasis, decided to hire a crew of men to destroy his vehicle on World Consumer Rights Day in China last month. This staged protest was a very expensive one (to the tune of $202-232,000 US dollars) and note this vehicle was purchased in October 2010. He must have assumed it was a sunk cost and had no value to him? I'm not sure.
The Gallardo costs £140,000 in the UK but more than three times as much in China where it would have cost the owner a staggering £465,000.


Makes you wonder does Lamborghini stand behind it's product? Or just it's dealers?
Before the massacre
Did Lamborghini even respond?
I think I'm going to be sick!
How much do you think the salavage price on this would be?!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Shocking News: Men like looks

Men like looks and speed while women go for practicality in cars, a survey done by says in a study of 8 million purchases in the U.S. The study showed women were more cost-conscious and purchased fuel efficient vehicles while male purchasers were completely opposite - big and brawny or a high-performance vehicle.

The top ten models that had greater than 50 percent retail sales to females in 2010 were: 

  • Volkswagen New Beetle --> not a shocker
  • Kia Spectra --> ditto
  • Nissan Rogue --> ditto
  • Volkswagen Eos --> ditto
  • Hyundai Entourage --> it's a van, enough said?
  • Volvo S40 ---> ok, I'm shocked about this one
  • Jeep Compass --> makes sense
  • Honda CR-V --> for sure
  • Nissan Sentra --> i can see that
  • Hyundai Tucson --> oh, yah, total chick CUV

Chick CUV

And for males in 2010 were: 

  • Porsche 911 --> a given
  • GMC Sierra --> it's truck!
  • Chevrolet Corvette --> chick magnet
  • Chevrolet Silverado --> truck again
  • Ford F-Series --> ditto
  • BMW M3 --> not surprising
  • Ford Ranger --> truck
  • Toyota Tundra --> ditto
  • Dodge Ram --> ditto
  • Audi S5 --> awesome car, but surprising
Chick Magnet

Did we need a study to tell us this (because I don't think any of this is shocking news)? To quote Homer Simpson "People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14 percent of people know that"...but did we need those statistic-making people to run a study just to prove what we think is true, is?  

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

GAS-OUT April 15, 2011

Does everyone know about this: "Don't Pump Your Gas on April 15, 2011"? supposedly in April 1997, there was another one of these "gas out"s to protest the gas prices and gas plummetted 30 cents per litre? What??? Ok, so I went to check it out because maybe I just don't remember a boycott in '97? But I remember hearing of one...maybe it was 1999? Well, anyways, it goes on to say that it will put a dent in the gas business and to fill up the day before (14th) or the day after (16th). You know what I think: what the hell? let's do it! I'm supporting. Every little bit helps...even though I don't think it will but if we stand as one - we can do anything - and that's something I do believe. So my pledge is: Check my tank on April 13-14th to make sure I have gas and NOT fill on the 15th. Best of luck everyone trying to do the same (I am notorious for waiting for my car to yell at me when the tank is low!)

Ok, I like this and I just wanted to add it .. fitting, no?

Who's with me?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

2013 Malibu Unveiling

Chevrolet has decided to follow Ford (er) create a social media fan base by revealing it's 2013 Malibu on it's Facebook Page on April 18, 2011 at 8:30 p.m. and simultaneously reveal the new model at the Shanghai Auto Show. 

During the unveiling, Chevrolet is directing questions about the car via Twitter using the hashtag #MalibuReveal. Members of the Chevy team will be on hand to answer those queries. (Sneak peak on the GM website)

It will be exciting to see people's reactions first hand and I'm sure if there are some "not-so-great" reactions, GM will have it's Social Media Spin-doctors on-call to respond with their policitian-like responses.

As for waiting for the 2013 Malibu, should you buy the 2011 or the 2012? The 2012 will be hit with a larger and faster decrease in value in it's first year once it's re-designed counterpart releases. It always happens when there's a redesign, but you know who also knows this? GM! So they may actually offer up larger-than-normal incentives just to make it move faster off the shelves. Small victory right?

Teaser Photo of the 2013 Malibu

So, will you be watching on April 18th?