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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November 21: Tesla madness



Tony Stark, the fictional super hero industrialist, Ironman. Some say that his character was loosely (very loosely) based on the real life super hero industrialist and lover of all things electric, Elon Musk. I'm sure in his own eyes, Elon sees himself as some modern day superman. I mean, think of it, when was the last time someone started up a car company and actually was successful? Short list and they are usually customs made in very small numbers. Not Elon though, he started with a derivative of the Lotus sports car.........


......and from there went on to produce a high end (read expensive) electric sedan, the S, that outsold the high roller mobiles from Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Audi. Pretty incredible when you think about it. Then to really get some market share, he came up with a gull winged suv, called the X. The early production of both of these models started off slow and not necessarily by design, but like any new vehicle, there were issues. And issues resolved, our Ironman, decided to dream really big car wise, all the while working on a one way(?) passenger carrying rocket to Mars and a hyperfast tube to convey people between major centres in minutes, compared to hours. Would you say that this might resemble Elon's work plate.........


I sure would.

Now back to his big car dream, a volume model called the Model 3, that would sell in the $30k price range (before adding those necessary options). This made such a big splash, along with the promises of 500,000 cars per year by the end of 2018, that over 400,000 electric dreamers plunked down $1000 deposits. Project funded? If you said, yes, then you sure don't know the car business.

Tesla Model 3
Musk has been amazingly successful so far. Give him tons of credit for building great quality luxury cars. But ramping up production from around 100,000 cars per year to five times that in one year is next to impossible, no matter what one is producing. Our Ironman is finding that out, as the Model 3 is woefully behind schedule. Tesla is burning thru cash and doesn't have the expected money coming in from the 3 sales and won't for several months. Big problem and big problem not resolved. So what does our superhero do now?

First he introduces an incredible electric (of course) semi, scheduled to arrive in 2019! The stats for this behemoth boggle the mind, at least they boggle mine. Zero to sixty in five seconds without a trailer, twenty with one! Those are huge numbers. Also impossible to jack knife. Incredible! And to think his company can develop this, while trying to produce the Model 3 in anything resembling mass production numbers.


Stop the presses! Elon is not done yet. At the same time as rolling out his big truck, he also showed Tesla's new sports car........



......again with unsubstantiated and absolutely out of this world performance figures, like 0 to 60 in 1.9 seconds. All theory, of course, but some folks were already lining up to put down a reported $50k deposit on this proposed $250,000 hot rod. And after these intros, guess what happened. Tesla shares prices went up.

Call me a skeptic, folks, but I don't see these things happening. And it wouldn't be the first time Musk's company has missed deadlines. But I'm not talking about something as predictable as that. I'm doubtful that this company can survive long enough to hit any of these targets. Huge expenses, small cash flow and losing vast amounts of money monthly. Doesn't sound like a strong base for a good outcome.

Maybe, like I've heard said, Elon is fishing for a big car company partner, one who knows how to do volume production. Maybe he's just showing them what he can offer them in the short term. I hope this is the case, because if not, I'd be asking for my $1000 or $50,000 deposit back faster than Elon Musk can meet any of his wild goals.

Until next time.......

Friday, November 17, 2017

November 17: Mahindra & Mahindra?

Mahindra & Mahindra? Accountants or maybe one of those travelling bespoke suit companies? You know, the ones who offer three custom tailored suits for $999, but if you add a couple of sport coats, they will throw in a pair of socks as a bonus. Or, if you are a regular reader of this blog, for which I'm eternally grateful and congratulations to you for your perseverance, you will know this company as one of India's biggest conglomerates. They also own the South Korean brand Ssanysong, but manufacturer lots of vehicles under their own name in India.

Been shopping for a new tractors lately? If so, then you know that this company is already in Canada with a line of industrial equipment..........


But this farm and road stuff is only the tip of Mahindra and Mahindra's iceberg, although coming from India that may be a poor metaphor. They do a vast range of other vehicular stuff, starting with armouring for all sorts of third world rides.......


Heading to Zimbabwe shortly to cover the latest, who's really in power, story? Then check out the president's ride, more than likely M & M were the ones who armoured it up to protect this way too long ruling strongman. Need something a bit more in your face? This is not a Jeep, but M &M's version, the Rakshak....


Come on, would I kid you about the name of something this serious? The machine gun toting soldiers come with option package B. Of course, if you live in a typical small town in the United States, your local police would need something even more fearsome. Something to intimidate any up and coming mass executioner and possibly deter them from their mission in life. Something like this......


All these are from M & M's serious vehicle division, but everyday life needs everyday solutions........


......or this classic type 4x4, which every eastern car company seems to have somewhere in its product line......

......followed of course, by a newer design suv and some smaller wanna be's.........


All good and for the most part very contemporary. And this only covers a portion of M &M's line up in its home country. When you have over a billion citizens at home and many more in the surrounding areas, no wonder you'd be able to support quite a varied line up.

Wonder where the designs come from? I mean who is behind this styling? Look no further than that famous Italian design house, Pininfarina, which Mahindra and Mahindra bought not so long ago. No wonder they have dropped the third world look in many cases and have leaned toward a more European flavour.

What might be missing in this electrifying age we live in apart from bad puns?


You got it, an electric car. Watch out Tesla, as M & M is ready to spring the E2O Plus on an unsuspecting world. Cute in an ugly puppy kind of way, but Mahindra and Mahindra hope to make this as ubiquitous on the Indian roads as that country's sacred cows.

So there you have it, almost all you wanted to know about this Indian conglomerate, Mahindra and Mahindra. A home country powerhouse who in the very near future will have a name that is equally as well known on this side of the Atlantic and Pacific.

Until next time......


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14: Where is Ssanysong?

Everyone tries to make their products stand out and hopefully in a good way. For instance, take a look at this van and tell me that it is a great effort at differentiating it from the competition. I should rephrase that. This company has done an excellent job of making this model stand out. But oh, my aching eyes, why did they do it? Relax folks, this is the last version of this van, the latest one is still different, but not as hideous.

So who is this company?

Ever heard of Mahindra and Mahindra? They are a huge company from India, with fingers in a ton of pies (more on them in an upcoming blog). One of the pastries is the Ssanysong car brand made in South Korea. Ssanysong? And once upon a time you thought that Hyundai was hard to pronounce. The Rodius van pictured above is one of the products in a rather large and somewhat varied line up. Take a look at the new Rodius........


Different, but not bad and so much better than the prior model, but this is only a start. Let's take a quick look at what else they have..........


 This is the latest version of the Rexton, an suv that I've been seeing in Europe for the past several years, but this latest version looks great and stands out in an increasingly crowded suv field. Or how about the Tivoli XLV......

Clean and contemporary. Remember, that initially all those Pacific rim countries' car designs were slightly weird in our eyes, but over time and thru the hiring of great talent, they have started turning out trendsetting designs.

My question to Ssanysong is when are you coming to North America? You've seen how your compatriots, Hyundai and Kia, have done and right now, you are missing out on a huge opportunity in the world's second biggest car market. The folks know how good South Korean quality can be and you've got a strong product line. Few sedans, but these days they are a detriment, not an asset. I've wondered about this question for a while now. Eureka! Just yesterday, I saw on one of the many auto related websites I frequent, that Ssanysong is indeed investigating an entry into our market with an announcement due soon.

What else might they have to show us? A nice little crossover (aren't they all these days?), another Tivoli, this time the Tivoli Sport.....
..
Want something smaller, but like the vibe Ssanysong seems to be generating? May I present the Korando.....

Similar in size to the hot selling Chevy Trax. Stock a few and stand at the showroom door with order book in hand.

If you aren't selling suvs, then you better have a pick-up somewhere in your roster. Honda has the Ridgeline and even Hyundai is planning on dropping a pick-up "light" on the market in the next year or so. No problem here, as Ssanysong already has the Actyon Sports.........



What better way to cover all your bases? But about that name?

Notice that Hyundai and Kia are eyeing the high end luxury car market with the Genesis line and Kia's K900 (would you please just shoot the person who comes up with these non names?). Ssanysong also has this base covered, if you really felt it was necessary........


Ah yes, the Chairman W, another of the names, which might have to be changed, once the entire Ssanysong line up is expanded outside of South Korea. Coming in around $70k USD, this might be a car that they hold back, while populating the marketplace with suvs and that semi pick-up.

North America. Seems to be ripe for the picking, if your company has the right product line, good quality and is not North American. And it gets even better, as Ssanysong also plans to have an electric vehicle in place within a couple of years. Important fact: Mahindra and Mahindra is currently building a big factory in Detroit! Now that's just plain insulting, isn't it?

Yet another stay tuned moment folks. Which upcoming auto show will have the priviledge of announcing the imminent arrival of yet another competitor for our hard earned dollars? A couple of European brands are also considering setting up shop again on our shores. A surfeit of choice for sure, but my bet is on that South Korean company, which will beat them all to it.......Ssanysong.

Until next time.......

Friday, November 10, 2017

November 10: A new Century


Picture yourself sinking into the rich cloth back seat of this very limited luxury ride, while your driver gets ready to waft you to your next appointment in the style to which a person of your stature has become so accustomed. Ah, those cloth seats, just like the days of old, when the chauffeur had the leather, while his passengers were coddled in that ultra soft and expensive cloth back seat. You can see for yourself, that not a luxury feature has been left out of this executive class automobile, including reclining and massaging back seats.

Now, I know that you are wondering, what the heck car is this with a cloth interior at this level? Ok, fair enough. I'll give you a big hint by showing you its hand engraved logo.......


Any help? Probably not and you are thinking that this is a joke, as that logo looks like an emaciated chicken. Well folks, this is a Toyota. And not just any Toyota, this is the Toyota Century. A car that only the top creme de la creme of Japanese society will ever get to experience.

Starting way back in 1967, Toyota decided it needed a halo car at the very pinnacle of what was back then, a rather mundane line of cars. Toyota needed a home grown car, that the emperor and those who felt like an emperor would ride in and which could compete with the prestige of a Mercedes or a Rolls. Conservative, but classy, the 1967 version was made up until 1997..........


........and then it was replaced by the brand new Century.......


.....which in turn will be replaced by a new and up to date regal ride, the 2018 Century.......



Following in the Century tradition of black conservatism and not deviating too much from the older designs, so those lower classes will recognize greatness, as it slides silently by, side curtains (yes, it has curtains) drawn.

Annual production at six hundred, just enough for the emperor, his friends and those very wealthy nationalists, who want their rare luxury ride to be a product of the Land of the Rising Sun. Size? Think a little bigger than a Rolls Ghost. Production line? Not a chance, all hand built. Can I buy one? Out of luck, friendo, as this is a Japan only luxomobile. What else do you need to know? Oh, right, what is the price? Surprisingly affordable by handcrafted standards, at a mere $200,000 CDN. Not bad, eh?

Of course, the emperor's ride has always been a little more custom.......


I know, I know, you are longing to be among the elite, so you too can enjoy a ride in a Century, but alas you are merely wealthy. The solution?



Yep, this rare luxury treat has also been converted into a few hearses for those fortunate few, who can afford to have a Century take them for their final ride, not that they will know it. I always say, its not important to have died, it's just important to go in style. And going in a Century is definitely the ultimate in style.

Corollas, Camrys, Lexus. All look up to the Century, as what they would like to be when their tired metal is recycled years down the road. Even cars dream and in Japan you can't dream bigger than a Century.
Until next time........







Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 7: Speaking of two toned cars


There she is the darling little Car Modeling Cat (CMC), looking over research material for the model build, that rests in front of her furry little head. If you've seen our builds before you know that we strive for accuracy, so this one is no exception. A couple of weeks back, I blogged about the start of a trend towards two tone cars, or as they said back in the day, tutone cars. Coincidentally, the CMC and I happened to be working on a classic multi-toned car from where else but the 1950's.

Ah yes, those days, when paint schemes and bright colours were the norm. A silver or gray car would stand out back then, like a '50's paint scheme would now. And if it wasn't tutoned, well sir, it just wasn't worth driving and showing off to your neighbours.


But back to our 1959 Rambler model in a classic three colour paint job of baby blue, white and black.........


Rambler being a company that was trying to keep up with the big boys, also needed a four door hardtop wagon. Four door hardtops were all the rage in cars, but a few brands also tried them on station wagons, where they were much less popular. So the CMC and me, being creative souls made two models out of one.........


The left side is the mid-range Custom, while the right side is the up level whatever they called it. Apart from the brushed silver insert, you can see that this side doesn't have a centre post between the doors (how clever, Barry). And of course, there is that tutone, that this whole blog is really about anyway.

As I mentioned above, being one of the creations of mine and the CMC's, we strive for accuracy and detail. Of course, if you are a real Rambler fan and consider anything else in this world to be a little less important, then you might notice a blatant error in this '50's ride, otherwise you'll think how good we are. Any guesses?

I didn't think so. Time on your side (ok big brother, will you take this challenge?)? Then check into the internet for a few minutes, as it shouldn't take long to find the discrepancy. 

Anyway, two toned tutones. I'm positive that we'll never see those wild 1950's multi-toned paint schemes again, but we just might see many more simple two tones. Another stay tuned moment.

Until next time........




Friday, November 3, 2017

November 3: Sema 2017


There is only one place that a truck like this Mad Max F-150 would be unveiled and that is at the annual SEMA (Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association) show being held this week in Las Vegas. Once only the purview of those hot rod aftermarket equipment stores, that your mother warned you about going into, now SEMA attracts many of the mainline car companies. Showing new cars or wild variations of a current model, SEMA has become the place to go to in early November each year. Now back to that pic above.......this is the Hennessey VelociRaptor 6x6. Six hundred horsepower of pure road evil. Forget about that Mercedes 6x6, as this Ford variant is the Big Kahuna. Show up in this beast and even The Donald would show you respect. Price? $295,000 USD to start! Performance options available.

Not needing that much truck, but you love the versatility of a big pick-up bed, then this SEMA intro from Ford should be your choix du jour.........

A rough and tough quad cab with the world's wickedest all terrain toy stacked in its bed. What better way to go hunting for rabbits and squirrels?

But you are not into pick-ups?Then wander over to the Jeep stand, where the all new for 2018 Jeep Wrangler was being shown, at least in picture form.......


A big deal you ask? Well consider that when this Jeep had a redo many years ago and the designers put in square headlights, the Jeep lovers had a fit. So now when the Wrangler has a major redesign, they treat this icon like a Porsche  -  completely remake it, so it looks the same as the prior model. It works, so don't knock it. More Proof that the SEMA Show is in the big leagues.

More into cars? Muscle cars? Here's just the one for you........


Sure looks like a '70 Mustang and in a way, it is, but this car belonging to Robert Downey Jr and featuring much of his input, is a wild (under the skin) makeover of this classic. Subtle until you touch the gas.

Another retro classic........


The still beautiful 1969 Charger re-imagined. Re-imagined? Take a really close look. Give up? Ok, this custom has been shortened, the wheelbase lengthened, the body channeled (a slice taken out of the side). In other words, kind of making it more like a Challenger than a full size Charger. No matter, this is another of those exotic customs that shows up at SEMA.

What else might you see wandering those crowded isles? Perhaps a Toyota? You've got to be kidding.


No way, Jose'. This track ready C-HR is Toyota's answer to a question not a single person asked. A great looking street car, but with no substance, this is the answer to those buff magazine critics, who have berated this milque toast suv want to be. Don't look for it in the teachers' parking lot at your local school any time soon.

Wondering what Hyundai might show at SEMA? I'm sure you weren't, but I'm here to show you.......


A Tucson that is a bit more butch, than what is in your neighbour's driveway. Shown complete with Rockstar graphics, the better to fit your urban warrior persona. Spit on those pretenders in their Tahoes and Suburbans.

Not to be left out, VW increased the tough guy suv vibe on their newly redesigned 2018 Tiguan.......


Holding your breath for this one to show up at a Vdub showroom near you? Well baby, you'll be long six feet under before anything remotely resembling this Tig graces your 'hood.

But back to what SEMA started out as, a place for wild aftermarket parts and machinery. Then the manufacturers started introducing a few heated up versions of their North American performance cars. So this Shelby Super Snake concept fits right in.......


......and it or something very much like it could well end up at your local Ford dealer in the near future. Power? Who knows  -  pick a huge number and go with that.

Originally SEMA was all about creativity and it still is, as the old school custom and hot rodders still get a great venue to show off their new stuff. Count on the best of these wild creations to be on display. My favorite?


How about this hard to believe, '60's Ford Econoline with four (4!) blown and chrome laden motors taking up the usable pick-up bed space. You'd need a day off, just to gas it up. Not to worry though, as you'll only be going a quarter mile at a time.

Now, one more pic of that mutant VelociRaptor, so you'll recognize it when you see one in your town.......


Like who could ever miss it?

SEMA. Want to know what the next trend is? Black rims? Matte paint? More chrome? Whatever is the flavor of the day, it probably showed up at this show first. Stay tuned folks, as maybe your next ride will have four blown engines in the back.

Until next time........