About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Friday, May 6, 2016

May 6: Mothers' Day gift ideas

This is Friday, May 6th, so if you have a mother and if you want to get her a gift, you better shape up fella (or gal) because Sunday is forty eight hours away and time is running out. And if you have any smarts, you'll avoid this coupon idea. Big deal, give mom a clean car - she'll love you forever or maybe wonder what went wrong with the way she has raised her kid(s). Nevertheless, a few folks think that this will take the place of chocolates, dinner out or a big hug (well, maybe the hug idea goes without saying). Even in the old days, this clean car for mom idea had some traction (and she looks so happy)........


I have other ideas to help you in your quest for the ideal, she'll love you forever gift. Real car guy/gal gift ideas that. will give new meaning to the phrase, Mom, I love you.

How about shouting it out to the entire neighbourhood that, she is the one and only? And if you do this, you can surprise her the next day with a car wash. Of course, you know that, she'll want these expressions of your love and affection to stay on her ride until the next rainy day. And even then, she'll probably keep it in the garage.


Or if you want something a little more meaningful monetarily..........



Sure, you're a roller, so get her a new ride. Don't like the pretensions of having her drive around in a new white Mercedes soccer mom suv? I understand. You are a domestic car kind of person, so something a little more subtle, such as a pink Cadillac, but it must be an Escalade. After all, she still has all those motherly duties to perform and a car, just wouldn't cut it. The ribbon is a nice touch in both cases.

But hey, who are we kidding? Very few of us have the coin to spring for a new ride for her highness. Just tell her, you were considering it and that will be enough. Now, back to the realm of bad idea gifts.........


This one ranks right up there with the Mothers' Day car wash. Take her to a car show and if you are really lucky, it will be on the Saturday, so you can go golfing on Sunday and not feel the least bit guilty. Ah, those southern boys know a great gift idea, don't they? Maybe throw in a bbq'd turkey leg to really make her day?

So, you are not buying her a new car and you sure aren't taking her to a car show with your buddies, so maybe a nice ride in the country? Dress up for her, as you know how much she likes that........


Simple, loving and if topped off with a sushi lunch, well, does it get any better?

So, let's conclude this unusually serious blog with a cute Mothers' Day type of pic, featuring that perennial cutie, the smart car (yes, it is lower case) and that other little cutie, the Little Tike........


Sweet!

Since my own mother passed years ago, all I can do is try to guide and advise my readers, but thankfully, I don't have those weighty gift decisions to ponder for myself.

Happy Mothers' Day!

Until next time.......



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3: Relax, it's just Talladega

 According to past Sprint Cup champion and winner of last Sunday's race, Brad Keselowski, it was just another day at the office. This assumes you work in an office that, moves at just over 200 mph (320 kph) and those high speed crashes involve thirty five of the other forty office workers. Sure, just another day at the office. Did that sink in? Just under 90% of the cars in that wild race were involved in those wild wrecks. Unbelievable.

Talladega, the speedway we are referring to, is a monster of a track. Just over two and a half miles long and the drivers' never (NEVER), lift their foot off of the gas, even for a moment. Get that? Imagine having your "pedal to the metal" for five hundred, edge of your seat, nerve wracking miles. And add to it, another thirty nine cars inches from you. Sound like a recipe for excitement..........or disaster?


Gives meaning to the word "trust". But, of course, things happen and at Talladega, when they do, they happen in a big way, no mere fender benders here.......
















Nope, when these guys wreck, they wreck and the good news (you mean there is good news?) is that in every single accident the driver walked away, maybe a little wobbly, but they did walk away, even our girl, Danica, as seen here.......



Testament to the safety of these cars that, when flying at 200 mph and landing, the driver can walk to the ambulance on his own and then after a quick once over at the infield care centre, they can face the cameras, claiming, it was just another 'Dega Sunday........



Thank God!

But this last Sunday was "special" even by the low standards that the Talladega races  have set over the years. You know that there is always going to be a "big one", where lots of cars get involved (21 in one crash), but on Sunday, there were several "big ones". Getting thru the race unscathed would become almost a monumental task. Brad was one who did.

Ever wonder what the bottom of a NASCAR racecar looks like?


Or if the guys who do the infield lawn maintenance can bear to watch the race?


Questions that obviously need to be asked, don't you think?

No wonder that the Talladega race packs them in........


.......and no wonder that most drivers are glad to say good-bye to this track until the Fall race. Most drivers, that is, except last Sunday's winner, Brad Keselowski. Supremely confident in himself and his car, Brad is ready to come back for more (at least this is what he says). Maybe if he finished second, his interview might be slightly different. Let's ask him again in the Fall.

Until next time........


Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29: From China with love?

As I said in last Tuesday's blog, the Beijing Auto Show is increasingly important, due to the growing size of people in that country, who can afford four wheels, a motor and a body to cover them. China is now also probably the biggest market for ultra luxury cars. But as I said, Beijing is an important show, so watch what is introduced there specifically for their market, or at least that is what we are being told.

Let's take a look at what was unveiled this past week........


This pic is of the Honda Avancier and no, I have no idea what the heck that means, but possibly it is "vehicle sold in the east that, will never see North America". But that is just a guess. No so sure with this one. Look at all the four door "coupe" crossovers that are being introduced in Europe and also in our market. Wouldn't this one be perfect for Honda showrooms or was the embarrassment of the ill conceived Crosstour too much to bare? Give it a good name or a combo of letters and watch it fly out the showroom doors.

Speaking of Honda, this brings me to Acura's new, for China only, CDX.......


Believe it? Neither do I. With the RDX and the MDX supporting their North American line up, wouldn't it be smart for Acura to add an even smaller suv or crossover (whatever you want to call them)? After all, look what the competition is doing, for example the Audi Q5, Q3, now Q1. Also Mercedes (GLA) and BMW (X1). To me, the CDX has success written all over it. Expect to see it over here in the next year or so.

The Infiniti QX70, formerly the FX35, has been with us for too many years without a major revamp, so time to shake it up. At Beijing, the QX Sport Concept was shown, supposedly indicating what a new QX might look like........


Translation? This is the new QX70 and not a single line will be changed form this concept. Don't think so? Ok, fair enough, but check out the concept that led to the new QX30. Identical. Infiniti designs are getting pretty wild these days, so count on this one coming here for 2018 and not a day too soon. So, now Infiniti, let's get that long in the tooth Q50 a brand new set of clothes.

Good ol' Mazda has had great success with their Mazda6 sedan. Just kidding, they are nailed to the showroom floor and more's the pity. No, I was going to say their new smaller suv's, the CX-5 and the 
CX-3. Both get very good reviews and are driving Mazda sales in Canada and the US. So, let's see what Mazda showed in China.......


This is another one that went from concept to production with hardly a line altered. And once again, there is that "coupe" roof line. Not planned for North America? Are these guys nuts? Is there something in their sake? Look at it. This would be a perfect edition to their line up over here and I'd be very surprised, if it didn't top their sales charts in short order. Will we see it? Hope so, but knowing Mazda, kinda hard to say. I'll go out on a limb and say there is a 60% chance (are you writing this down?).

Think that the Nissan Juke has run its course? Maybe, since niche vehicles like that, have a relatively short life span. Time to move on? If so, then the Nissan Kicks concept that was shown at Beijing, would be a good choice for the Juke's replacement. Up to date and full of the new Nissan design language.

 

Be in our Nissan dealerships by 2018? I'd bet on it.

Before I conclude, let's check out a new model that will definitely never grace our shores. Remember the Land Will? It was China's take on the Land Rover Evoque and shared a line or two with the vehicle it copied.......



Obviously a tongue in check comment, since as you can see, the only slight difference in in the last part of its name, "Will" as opposed to "Rover". This is what weak or nonexistent copyright laws will get you. Ok, this is old news, but let's check out China's latest home market suv.......


 Porsche Macan? One might think so, but this is the brand new Zoyte SR8 or T700. Direct copy? Absolutely. Anything Porsche can do? Nope! Price? Maybe about one third the price of their hot selling Macan. I think I'd like to be a car designer in China, since all I'd have to do, is change the name on some of my favorite cars and make them at one third the price. Maybe there is a Lambo in my future after all. I'm packing my bags as I write this!

Want to look into the future? Easy, check out what is happening at China's biggest car shows.

Until next time......






Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 26: China - a little bit longer, please!

I loved my Cadillac ATS. Sure, there was very little room in the back seat, but, hey, I was never back there and in the run of a year, it might have been used half a dozen times. No big deal, right? Except, when someone actually did want to sit back there, it was going to be very cramped, unless it was one of my vertically challenged friends. What I wouldn't have given for a few more inches. How many, you ask? Well, even a measly four inches, would have helped. How about it Cadillac, any chance of this happening?

Well, wouldn't you know it, my prayers have been answered.........


Note that front identification plate......ATS-L. No folks, this image has not been photo shopped, now there actually is an ATS-L. Of course, the caveat to this, is that our Chinese friends will be the only people to experience that extra back seat room (four inches to be exact). Back seat room is very important in China, since quite a few cars are chauffeur driven and if Cadillac wants to sell the ATS, then it has to be the ATS-L.
Will we ever get this car in North America? One should never say never, but I think in this case you can.

There must be other cars in this same situation. So, you've figured out the topic of today's blog. Recognize this one?


This is the latest BMW X1, but it's different than what we see in Toronto, since this is, you guessed it, the Xl-L. It's all about that extra back seat room.

And how about Audi's volume model, the A4? Notice anything different in this pic?


How about that extended wheelbase, which makes this (wait for it).........the A4-L. Gosh, will this ever stop?

The Beijing Auto Show is this week's big car event and if you don't think the market in China is ultra important, just check out all the new model intros and I'm not talking about those swanky and sultry looking females, who are draped over every new car.........


Yes, I agree, nothing says "Jeep", like a model dressed in just about enough leather to make a small pair of gloves.

Anyway, enough of the human eye candy, let's get back to the topic at hand. Who else might benefit from that large back seat? The VW Passat doesn't need a stretched model, since VW is huge in China and the recent Passats were initially designed with this market in mind. Check out their back seat, it is enormous.

Even the new Mercedes E Class, is relatively spacious, but not quite enough, since at Beijing, the brand new 2017 E Class was unveiled to the world, as was an ultra luxurious LWB (long wheelbase model)........


Did I say, ultra luxurious? I think I did. Get the idea, this model is going to be sold as a mini Maybach? I believe that the purple mood lighting is an option (seriously).


Who needs an S Class?

But if you prefer old British charm (you should probably look elsewhere) with your luxury, then the now Indian owned Jaguar, has added an L version to their newly revamped XF line.........


Of course, this was also introduced at the Beijing show. Now, do you understand the importance of that market?

Let's conclude today's look at what we can't buy in North America, but one that just might end up here, if you can pry loose one of their extremely exclusive (50) stretch models, before it is air freighted to China...... 


From Bentley's bespoke line (meaning, you pay for it, they'll make it for you), comes their new stretched sedan. Huge back seat, of course, with just enough room for that special companion. No hanky panky going on here unless, of course, you are dating a Cirque du Soleil performer. But what an impression you'll make on her (or him).

Back to reality. Want a huge back seat? Buy a Passat. Want your back seat in one of the cars shown here, then move to China. You could do worse and imagine the great dim sum you will feast on.

Until next time.....





Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22: Book 'em, Dano!


Police car business is big business for the car manufacturers in North America, accounting for tens of thousands of sales annually. So, based on those numbers, do you think the car companies take this business seriously? You bet they do. Yet, I don't recall seeing any ads for police vehicles these days. Maybe let the general public know how good your cars are, if they can stand up to police abuse? It's not like they are shy about them, since Ford actually labels their police cars with this designation on the left side of the trunk. By the way, when the car is past its prime and is sold at auction, these nameplates are taken off, so no pretenders can drive around acting like Johnny Law (well, they can, but there won't be this label).

Back to the old days again, when the companies actually ran ads in magazines, telling everyone about these special cars. Ads like this one from the early '50's........


......or moving up a few years........


Yes, sir, pull up to the doughnut shop in one of these and everyone takes notice. Might even get you a complimentary coffee (or is that a thing of the past?).

Ford has always been been big in this business and has grown more so over the years. I believe last year they held about 60% of the North American market, which means huge numbers. This market is important enough that, Chevrolet imports and sells their Caprice, only to police departments and government agencies. But no ads.

Not like the '70's.......



......which actually seemed to be the last decade, when one would run across these ads in everyday magazines or newspapers. The '50's and '60's seem to be the time when these ads were most common and Dodge and Plymouth were the stars of police departments across the country (those thumping big engines helped) ........

 




 And of course, back to the current king of police vehicles.........

Kind of a shame, since those ads were interesting, at least for me, who likes police vehicles and tracks the changes and differences between these cars and what us normal folk drive. It's not a matter of slapping on some graphics and a light bar. And speaking of light bars, did you notice that only one of these ads shows a car with them? Another way things have changed over the years. I think only the Michigan State Police use a single light on top these days. It's their tradition.

But those ads. Another change that time has wrought. Good or bad, I'm not sure, but interesting? Absolutely!

Milestone day, as this is my 500th post! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Until next time......


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 19: Art cars again

Art cars? Yeah, you know, those strange looking apparitions, which appear from time to time covered with their owners unusual assortments of various types of collectibles or garbage. I wrote something like that a couple of years back, when doing an art car blog and got a very offended response from someone, who happened to stumble across my  post. Lighten up, folks, this is all done in jest (unless, of course, it isn't). But this blog on art cars, is about "real" art cars. Those cars that, the manufacturer has had legitimate artists paint for the betterment of all mankind. Kind of like this dud(e) is doing to his (or hopefully his) Mercedes......

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but Bentley's eyes thought that this would be a good way to decorate a new cabrio.......


......and to do so, they invited famous British artist, Sir Peter Blake (seen above) to make this car stand out more than it normally does. Like pop art or not, this Bentley is gorgeous. The hood? Well, shall we just say everyone will have an opinion. But Sir Peter's work is subtler than most of the art cars we've seen done over the years. Just a quick hood and grille surround redo and once again this prestigious Bentley looks prestigious.

Want something with a little more complete coverage? Something outrageous like a new Vette?


Something like this one, which was done by art students for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. It probably broke their hearts to mess up this great looking car, but maybe not, since this is a dynamic looking paint job on a dynamic looking car.

Not sure if BMW was the originator of the art car concept, but I think they might have been with their famous artist cars of the 1970's. Cars like this M1 done by Andy Warhol........


.......or this 6 series coupe by Alexander Calder.........


Calder was famous for his unusual canvases, since he also did a number of planes for Braniff International Airlines around this same time. Did he actually wield the brush or just do the design? Ask a dumb question will you?


Everyone knows the name Roy Lichtenstein and his paintings of famous sporting events, so of course, BMW also had him work his magic on a 3 series........


Different? I'd say so.

Well, that was BMW back then. Over the years, they've kept their hand in, by keeping the tradition alive. Their latest effort is another 3 series, actually a 4 series, since their nomenclature changed a couple of years back. Compare this Jeff Koons original to the Bentley at the beginning of my blog.......


Sort of out does that tower in the background, doesn't it?

Art cars or artists' cars. Either way, it's probably an inexpensive way to get lots of free publicity, no matter what the artist was paid for this commission. Got my attention didn't it, so I'd do this blog. Point proven.

Until next time......