The Value – Issue #11: October 2018 Used Vehicle Retention Index

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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All-Time High!

For October 2018 the Canadian Black Book Used Vehicle Retention Index has hit yet another high point at 104.3.  Over the history of the index, which began in January 2005, two to six-year-old vehicles are now maintaining their wholesale values better than ever before.  Strong fundamentals in the Canadian economy, along with strong demand from the U.S. market for Canadian used vehicles continue to propel values to record levels.

Some of the significant movers for the month include the Compact Car segment, which is now at 109.1, a new all time high for that grouping, up 5.6 points from the same time last year.  In the adjacent Sub-Compact segment, values rose 1 point from last month and 7.6 points from last year.  With the national fuel price well below $1.20 a litre, down almost $0.10 from last month, it is surprising that the most fuel-efficient segment in our index has shown such gains this month.

The high-end Prestige Luxury Car segment is down almost 3.9 points from last year and 1 point from last month.  This contrasts with the full-size Luxury SUV segment, which is up almost 5% from the same time last year.

Minivans and full-size vans posted weak results for October, they were down 4.1 and 2.2 points respectively when compared to last year.

To download the October Index CLICK HERE.

The Value – Issue #11: Canadian Black Book Provides Revamped Customer Experience on New Website

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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New Tools For Consumers Include Industry Firsts Equity Calculator and Total Loss Report

Today, Canadian Black Book, provider of vehicle valuation data and analytics to the auto industry and Canadian car buyers, launched its new website at canadianblackbook.com.   The company first introduced its consumer website to the Canadian public in 2010, which gained vast attention at the time.  This changed Canada’s car buying and selling landscape by providing the public with CBB vehicle valuations for the first time and for free.  Prior to 2010, that information was released only to dealers, banks/lenders, and insurance providers.

Of course the new site continues to offer Canada’s leading Trade-in, Average Asking and Future Values free for visitors, however, with an interface that requires fewer steps when compared to the legacy website.  In addition to the values tools is the introduction of a Canadian automotive industry first, Equity Calculator to help Canadians determine their equity position during the course of an existing or potential loan.  The updated website also introduces a new Total Loss Report, to aid consumers in negotiating a write off situation with their insurer.

“We really jumped out of the box in 2010 opening up our data to consumers and saw an immediate interest from all corners of the country. In fact, in the first week we crashed the servers due to traffic overload,” says Brad Rome, President, Canadian Black Book, who was instrumental in the initial build nine years ago.  “Our goal is to continue to better assist car buyers and sellers with new tools available on our website that can help expedite the car shopping and buying process,” Rome adds.

The remodeled website is easier to use and faster loading on any device.  It was built using responsive design for mobile as the priority before desktop, as a result of the exponential growth in mobile traffic and usage.

The all-new listings section boasts a Canadian first market analysis to help users compare listings.  This new function plots vehicles on a two by two grid to compare average price and average mileage.  This system will identify vehicles that are below/over average price and below/over average mileage, to provide consumers with the best price versus mileage snapshot.

“The assortment of new functionality that we have built into the new website, was chosen and designed after 8 years of watching and analyzing our own web traffic and deep research and understanding into the contemporary needs and methods used by today’s car shopper.” Says Cole Reiken, VP Digital Strategy & Product Management, Canadian Black Book, the lead architect of the new site.

The revamped listings section, of hundreds of thousands of cars for sale across Canada, has new and used car listings featuring a large clear photo first.  Listings are geo relevant, which default to display listings within 100 km of a users’ postal code.  Vehicle details pages use new map integration to identify dealership locations.

Also available on the site is the new CBB Financial tool that can quickly and easily qualify users for a car loan before going into a dealership.  This system can get approvals, and book an appointment with a dealer to make the loan qualifying and buying process hassle free.  CBB Financial works in tandem with the CBB values and the Equity Calculator to provide trade-in information or calculations on carrying the balance of a loan from a previous car into a new deal.

Canadianblackbook.com now offers new content options to provide comprehensive vehicle overviews, expert video reviews of new vehicles in the market and details with new vehicle photo galleries to provide clear images of the cars.  Further to this, visitors will still find the Canadian Black Book Best Retained Value Awards winners as well as pre-owned vehicles highlighted throughout the site, including our Best Pick section exclusively featuring Ford and Lincoln pre-owned certified vehicles..

See the new consumer experience at canadianblackbook.com.

 

The Value – Issue #11: Test drive? Yes please! By: Brian Murphy

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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This month’s article is intended as an open letter to consumers, in praise of the test drive, and why you should always, always, take one or learn to live with the results.

Dear Canadian Vehicle Consumer:

At a conference I attended recently, a participant in a panel discussion commented that he had worked at a dealership that would refuse to sell a car unless the client had test driven it first.  This practice, admittedly a bit heavy-handed, was intended to reduce the chance the customer would show up a few days after, unhappy with the car, and want to return it.  Nowadays, the speaker clarified, it was no longer the practice, and they would happily close the deal if there hadn’t been a test drive.  I believe that the mandatory test drive might not have been such a bad idea in the first place, here’s why I strongly feel that way.

I asked my friends at J.D. Power, what percentage of Canadians take a test drive before buying a new car.  Their J.D. Power 2017 Canadian Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM   indicates that 80% of consumers do.  There certainly are legitimate reasons for some of the 20% that didn’t. However, to me these people are missing out on a very important part of the vehicle purchase process.  After all, would you buy a couch without sitting on it?  I didn’t think so.

I’ve spent most of my career in the car business, in my humble opinion (I’m not alone) you should take a test drive every time you buy a new or used car.  In fact, I’d take as many test drives as possible!  You would be hard pressed to find an automotive professional who would suggest you pass up that essential evaluation drive before signing on the dotted line.  If a sales person doesn’t want you to take a test drive then you may be working with the wrong sales person.  Many auto retailers will deliver a car to your home or work so you can try it out, why not take them up on it?  Before we get into the how’s and why’s of this, I should explain that I have a great deal of test drive experience and am therefore opinionated about the topic.  I am not an engineer, nor a professional driver.  However, I’ve spent many years planning future products for two Japanese OEMs, followed by several years evaluating vehicles during development as part of a global consulting team.  Now, at Canadian Black Book, I am part of a team that drives over one hundred different vehicles yearly, in order to assess competitiveness of the product, before forecasting its future value.  For example, in the last week and a half I have driven a very nice three row SUV, three pickup trucks and a really amazing 480 hp sports coupe. Based on this experience, I conclude that you should always go for a test drive, let me explain why.

First and foremost (and obviously!), a new car is a major financial commitment, second only to your home in terms of cost, for most of us.  You may spend the next seven or eight years paying for it, and even choose to keep it for longer.    If you end up with a car you hate it’s going to feel a lot longer than seven or eight years.  Getting out of a car before the end of a lease or loan can be challenging.  In a lease you are committed unless you can find someone, to take over your lease.  In a loan, you may owe more than your car is worth (also known as being upside down) making getting out of the loan potentially an expensive financial burden.

I think there is a myth out there, that vehicles “these days” are all very good and largely the same, negating the need for a test drive.  I firmly argue the opposite. Vehicles these days are more complex than ever before, with an even greater number of differences than ever before.  Just because you own a 2012 version of the same vehicle does not mean you will like the 2019, you might hate it.

Here are some pointers regarding your test drive, many of which can be checked before even leaving the dealer’s lot:

  1. How does the car drive? Are the steering, brakes, engine and transmission what you were expecting?  How about the noise levels inside the vehicle?  Make sure you try out a variety of driving scenarios(highway, city, residential, parking lot).  Do you feel safe in each of these environments?  Can you park it easily? Is it enjoyable  to drive?  You are going to spend thousands of hours behind that wheel, it might as well be a pleasant experience.
  1. Does the car physically fit you and your passengers? People and vehicles come in all shapes and sizes.  Can you operate the vehicle safely and comfortably?   Are there any problematic blind spots?  Do your child seats (if you have them or are planning to have them!) fit?  Is there room for the back-seat passengers, and will they be happy back there?  Do you have enough headroom?
  1. Are the seats comfortable? The spines and backsides of Canadians are like snowflakes, there are no two alike.   Are you comfortable? If not, does the seat adjust in a way that you are?  An extended test drive is important, some seats are comfortable for an hour, and then not anymore!  If you have never had a car with heated and cooled seats, you might want to investigate that further.  Trust me on that one.
  1. Do the controls seem easy to use and understand? If they seem more like a Rubik’s cube, then maybe that is not the car for you.  If you can’t easily understand how to use the various controls after some help from the salesperson you are unlikely to use them, despite having paid for them!
  1. Does all your junk fit in the trunk? If you are a golfer or regular carrier of 50lbs of smelly hockey gear or a stepladder collection check that it fits.  Bring it to the dealership to check, don’t just assume it fits.
  1. Does all your essential tech work? Today(if you are buying a new car) your car should support Apple’s CarPlay/Android Auto or have some phone integration that allows you to make/receive phone calls, text and get directions in a safe and legal manner.  If you own no technology whatsoever then skip this step.
  1. How will this car be at night? It’s a good idea to drive the car at night as well.  Some vehicles I have driven have horrible headlights or distracting reflections in the windows. Some offer poorly illuminated controls that make driving at night a pain.
  1. Will the car be winter friendly? Will you need snow tires?  Will you feel confident piloting your new chariot through the worst February has to offer?  If you would like a safe and uneventful winter, then AWD and snow tires might be the best money you’ve ever spent.
  1. Are you sure you have the right type of car? After the test drive it’s always a good time to ask yourself, if you are shopping for the right type of car. Are you looking at a three row SUV when maybe a moderately sized hatchback would work?  Are you thinking of buying a convertible when you really aren’t a convertible person?  Are you thinking of starting a family, yet you are considering buying a racy little sports car? Don’t buy the wrong type of car!  The test drive is a great time to validate this one last time.
  1. Trust your instincts. After you’ve had a chance to drive it, then trust your gut instinct.  If you don’t like the car don’t be talked into buying it.  Maybe you have the right brand, the right dealership, but not the right model.  Express your specific concerns to the sales person and see what alternatives they propose.  Failing that, go home, regroup and repeat as necessary.

If you, the consumer, really don’t want to drive a vehicle, obviously it’s crazy for a sales person to insist that you do.  After reading this article at least you’ve been warned.  As for me, that 480hp coupe is one that I am still thinking about many days after we gave it back to the manufacturer.  What would my monthly payment be?  I want the dark green one.

The Value – Issue #11: TalkAUTO 2018 Another Massive Success

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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2018 TalkAUTO Canada Another Massive Success
Seventh Annual Keeps Streak Alive Hosts More Auto Industry Execs Versus any Previous Year

Event Recap Video Available at: https://youtu.be/XNaKNe9dzn4 

The seventh annual TalkAUTO Canada Conference, hosted by Canadian Black Book and J.D. Power, took place November 7th and was, as in every year before it, the largest event in terms of attendance since its inception in 2012.  Over 450 executives from the auto industry, financial sector, media and more converged at the Universal Eventspace in Vaughan, to get involved in discussion, witness top tier keynotes and socialize amongst the industry’s key influencers.

The 2018 edition of TalkAUTO Canada was themed ‘Who Moved My Keys? Adapting to Change in a New Marketplace’, a play on the popular motivational business fable and New York Times Bestseller – ‘Who Moved My Cheese’.  The topic was timely given the unrelenting change in today’s auto sector..

“There is a lot of change going on, which is the theme of TalkAUTO, and we need to come together to these kind of events to share ideas and hear what we all have to say, which can help us to better position all of our businesses for the future,” says Brad Rome, President, Canadian Black Book.

A major highlight of TalkAUTO was the lineup of guest and keynote speakers who encapsulated this year’s theme.  2018 was headlined by Sheryl Connelly, manager of Global Consumer Trends and Futuring, Ford Motor Company, who grabbed the audience with deep insights into shifting global priorities, political upheaval at home and abroad, and  a spotlight on social inequity which has upended the status quo and left many feeling disoriented.

Attendees come from a wide variety of automotive industry segments, with strong representation from manufacturers, retailers, financial providers, data providers, marketing agencies, aftermarket suppliers, and media.

“We think the automotive industry is  due for change and that disruption is coming for the automotive business, which is why we are spending our time at TalkAUTO discussing how we can best adapt, and ultimately thrive,” says JD Ney, Automotive Practice Leader, Canada, J.D. Power.

Other featured expert speakers, included:

  • Jeff Schuster, President, Americas Operations and Global Vehicle Forecasts, LMC Automotive talking about his ‘Outlook Canadian Automotive Market
  • Chris Hodges, VP, Customer Experience and Digital Solutions, J.D. Power, discussing ‘Digitally Enable CX
  • Brian Murphy, VP, Research & Editorial, Canadian Black Book, presenting the ‘Canadian Black Book Market Briefing’
  • Richard Wallace, Vice President, Transportation Systems Analysis, Center for Automotive Research, explaining ‘New Mobility: Connected, Automotive, Shared (and Disruptive)’
  • Dan McGrath, Chief Operating Officer, Cineplex Entertainment, presenting ‘Staying Relevant – The Cineplex Diversification Story

As in years past, another key piece that holds the audience in the seats are the lively Dealer Panel and F&I Panel, which shine light on the issues and change affecting those spaces.  For more TalkAUTO Canada details go to http://www.talkauto-canada.com  and on Twitter follow the hashtag #TalkAUTOCanada.

For a glimpse at this year’s event:  2018 TalkAUTO Canada see the wrap-up video .

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For more information or media requests please contact:

Conrad Galambos
Media Relations
Canadian Black Book
cgalambos@canadianblackbook.com
905-979-7039
Geno Effler
Corporate Communications
J.D. Power
media.relations@jdpa.com
714-621-6224

 

The Value – Issue #10: New Dealer Tool Helps Bridge Gap Between Sales and Service

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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Vin-UP Launch in Canada Provides Acquisition Tool in the Service Bay

Mobility Sales Solutions has partnered with Canadian Black Book to power its Vin-UP offering.  The ‘in-lane’ service customer vehicle upgrade program has now launched in Canada.

The tool works through a physical handheld scanner which vin-scans vehicles while in service and outputs a coupon with a buy-back value, in combination with OEM and dealer incentives.  Canadian Black Book is the exclusive provider of valuation data to power the system as well as the sale arm for Canada.  Vin-UP is a lead generation and vehicle acquisition tool used in service departments to help feed the sales pipeline.

“Fewer and fewer customers enter the dealership from the front door today.  Vin-UP provides a very positive way to generate qualified leads from those customers entering from the service entrance,” says Bruno Lucarelli, President, Mobility Sales Solutions LLC.  “The approach is less intrusive, whereby the service lane specialist or used car manager offers to buy a customer’s car versus a sales rep trying to sell them a car,” he adds.

The theory being that, offering to purchase a client’s vehicle first is a soft sell strategy that can be easier for some to digest compared to hard selling showroom floor sales tactics.  Transitioning customers from the service bay to the sales floor is a method to retain existing clients so not to lose them to other competing dealerships.

“Canadian Black Book has come a long way from our days selling little black books to dealers.  Today we are continuously looking for innovative ways to help dealer sell more cars using our data.  This is certainly a good example of that,” says Brad Rome, President, Canadian Black Book.

Dealers would choose the vehicle model year(s) that they want to target for buy-back.  Service centers would scan all vehicles, which builds CRM data that can be easily integrated into DMS systems.  Qualified vehicle owners receive an instantly generated offer at which point they could be transitioned to sales.  If clients are not ready to sell/buy, the scan will be kept in the dealership database for future marketing and sales efforts.

As part of the Canadian launch, Vin-UP was piloted over the past 2 months, at BMW Canbec in Montreal, part of the AutoCanada Dealer Group.  “We are forever looking for ways to produce new quality leads and Vin-UP has opened our eyes to a new friendly approach to generating leads from our own service area,” says Martin Taillandier, General Manager, BMW Canbec.   “We will certainly be moving forward to deploy this tool on a full-time ongoing basis.”

The service is based on either a monthly subscription fee for the Vin-UP unit, with the dealership following up leads using its own BDC or the program offers lead follow-up services, provided by Suivitel, which only charges a fee per scheduled appointment.

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For interview requests or questions, please contact:

Conrad Galambos
Media Relations
Canadian Black book
905-979-7039
cgalambos@canadianblackbook.com

The Value – Issue #9: August 2018 Used Vehicle Retention Index

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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Canadian Black Book’s Used Vehicle Retention Index has set a new record high level of 103.6 for August, besting the previous record set last month.  The strong economy, along with favorable exchange rates for continued used vehicle exports to the US, have helped keep retained values at levels not seen during the thirteen years the index covers.

Sifting through the segments we do see that Compact Car, although down 2 points from last month’s mark remains a significant 12 points above its value 12 months ago.  Compact Luxury CUV/SUV has remained as hot as you might expect.  It is down 1 point from last month but remains at near record levels and up 31 points from the same time last year, clearly an in-demand vehicle type.  Full-size Crossovers are down 2 points this month and remain at stable levels, but down considerably from record levels set in the summer of 2016.  Similar to the Full-size SUV’s, Pickup Trucks remain strong with a gain of almost 2 points from last month, still below record levels from the summer of 2016.

Luxury Cars are down 4 points of retained value from last month, and down from their record levels set in February of this year.  Mid-size cars are up almost 6 points this month, setting a new record level for a segment that is on the endangered species list for a few OEM’s.   Sub-Compact Car, which has struggled in recent times, has posted a gain of almost 12 points this month to come within striking distance of its previous record high from 13 years ago.  Higher fuel prices are certainly helping this along, as well as much improved product offerings in the segment.

Certainly, all industry eyes are on the NAFTA renegotiations, at the time of writing this commentary.  If any vehicle types or nations are singled out for tariffs by the U.S. it is our expectation that the coming months will see some very dramatic shifts in value.

To download the August 2018 Index Click Here.

The Value – Issue #9: Maximum Loan Advance on Any Vehicle On Your Lot? Business Managers Should Know!

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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By Yves Varin, National Director Business Development, Canadian Black Book

Today’s business manager has to contend with a lot of data to finalize lending agreements and close sales.  Data comes in all shapes and sizes, from the client, the banks, from internal software and more.  That being the case and understanding that customers’ time is at a premium, it is critical that the business manager is prepared with ALL the data they need, at a moment’s notice.

A key piece to this data puzzle, is for the business manager to have a clear sense of a given ‘loan to value ratio’ before finalizing the finance deal.  Armed with an accurate maximum loan value, takes out risk and can save valuable time for the customer and the dealership.

Currently most banks and sub-prime lenders build their retail finance programs based on Canadian Black Book average wholesale values, plus a percentage ranging from 120 to 180 per cent.  The overage is used to cover the costs of aftermarket products, or in an increasing amount of cases, to absorb negative equity resulting from the past contract.  If you are not using the proper tools, the calculation of this overage percentage is far from an exact science, but it can be.

This surplus amount is not based on any secured asset (like the vehicle itself) and therefore is inherently at risk and can be a guess.  What happens today, if the customer’s credit qualifies, is that the financial institution approves this questionable amount, under pressure to fill quotas in an environment of competitive banks.  Competition forces lenders to approve these ‘over-and-above ratios’, whether they are exaggerated or not.

Lenders, by and large, already access accurate third party valuation data integrated directly into their adjudication systems.  These banks and other lending institutions rely on MSRP numbers, average wholesale values, loan values and fair market value data in conjunction with their own lending conditions to assess the value of the collateral asset. This ever-evolving matrix or scoring card, which varies from one financial institution to another, constitutes their own “secret sauce”, so to speak.

So here’s the thing!  Much of the same can happen at the dealership level first, to speed up the process and put the business manager in a position of knowing what that ‘final loan to value ratio’ is quickly.  It makes so much sense for the business manager to get the same valuation data prior to submitting a credit application to the lender.  Knowing ahead of time what the maximum advance on a given vehicle is, gives the business office a clear understanding of what amount of dollars not to exceed, allowing the deal to fit within the lender’s parameters.  The trickle down of this knowledge is that sales associates can tailor their efforts to match vehicles to buyers.

Thinking of the process in three steps helps.  First, purchase quality vehicles at auction or via the trade-in; second, match the right vehicle to the prospective buyer (especially for sub-prime); and third, submit the application to the lender pre-populated to match their criteria.

Done this way, deals would not require time consuming manual reviews by a credit officer and more often would instantly acquire the approval.  Perhaps such deals would have been accepted regardless, however, in short, this saves time and we all know that in a vehicle sale – minutes matter!

Historically, it was the norm for the business manager to have a physical ‘Black Book’ on the desk to get this data.  There was no guess work, it was just an analog process.  The revolution in technology and shift to digital at dealerships has altered this once standard business office technique.   Lenders have not changed much over the years, while a new generation of business managers have steered away from proven tactics.  But there are contemporary digital tools available that can fill this gap.  Yes, there is a cost associated, but when compared to bank reserves that quickly add up to $1000 per deal, a dollar a day per user to get the right data at the right time, will be well worth it.

Dealer principals should encourage business managers to embrace these best practices and use the right tools, following the lead of what lenders are doing.  The goal is simple…to optimize the potential of each finance deal.

The Value – Issue #9: Canadian Black Book Kathy Ward Memorial Golf Tournament Raises Over $100k For Charity

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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Newly Named ‘Canadian Black Book Kathy Ward Memorial Golf Tournament’ Helps To Raise Over $100k For Charity in 2018

September 10, 2018, Markham, ON – For the twenty-first year of the tournament, it was renamed the Canadian Black Book Kathy Ward Memorial Golf Tournament, in honour of the host’s former long-time CEO.   To cap off a very special year for the tournament was the announcement that $109,680 were raised for the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation since Kathy’s passing last December.

Since inception in 1997, the tournament has raised over $500,000 for the charity of choice of the late Kathy Ward.  Kathy’s husband Harm DeJonge and their son William DeJonge-Ward, committed generously earlier in the year to match any donations made in her name, up to $50,000.  Between the tournament itself, website donations and money raised by the TADA (Trillium Automobile Dealers Association) at its golf tournament in August, Harm and William’s contribution was maximized, making this an exceptional year for donations to the foundation.

“I really don’t have the words to express how thankful we are at Canadian Black Book in recognizing how giving the auto industry has been this year towards Kathy’s charity of choice,” says Brad Rome, President, Canadian Black Book.  “All the golfers, the TADA, Harm and William, really stepped up and provided donations that are not only welcome, but really unprecedented for our fundraising efforts to date.”

The Canadian Black Book, Kathy Ward Memorial Golf Tournament was held at one of Canada’s premier private golf courses, Magna Golf Club in Aurora and hosted 120 golfers from the auto industry from across Canada.   The tournament was sold out once again and played on Monday September 10th, in extremely rainy and windy conditions.

“William and I are committed to honouring Kathy’s ambition to send over 1000 under privileged kids to Tim’s camps (a cost of approx.. $1000.00 per child),” says Harm DeJonge.  “With the support of Canadian Black Book, all of its affiliates, sponsors and the drive of all of the golfers, we are more than half way there to fulfilling Kathy’s ambitions!  Still a way to go, but thrilled that the tournament participants were there to share in Kathy’s dream and be part of that dream.  Let’s continue to fulfill her dream,” he adds.

“Kathy was a great friend to me and the TADA.  It was our honour to focus our fundraising on a cause so close to the heart of one of Canada’s auto industry icons.” says Todd Bourgon, Executive Director, TADA.

The winning foursome, in the scramble format tournament, were Martin Douglas, Mark Would, John Christianson, and Omar Khan, who carded an impressive -7.

As in previous years, the tournament’s partner sponsors are four of Canada’s premier financial institutions: Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust.

The Value – Issue #8: Mr. Sharing Economy, in the Fast Lane!

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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By: Brian Murphy, VP Research and Editorial, Canadian Black Book

Like many of you, I have a fairly long drive into work each morning.  In some respects, I don’t mind.  It gives me quiet time to think, listen to the news, and make a few calls (hands free of course).  To be honest, I can’t say every morning I contemplate the growth of the sharing economy, as it has been called, but recently I did just that.  By sharing economy, I am referring to the businesses of the world that are embracing the idea of shared assets to generate revenue, such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Photo by ARAS Imaging (www.arasimaging.com)

So, back to my commute.  On a sunny summer morning, I “met” a member of the sharing economy.  He was driving much too slow, in the passing lane of one of Toronto’s busiest highways.  I tried my best not to get too animated about his lack of highway manners, but then I noticed the car itself.

A few things jumped out at me.  First is that it is a new car and the top trim, with AWD too.  I know the model just launched a few weeks earlier, it was the first one I had seen on the road.  The next observation I had on my slow driving friend, is that he has both an Uber and a Lyft sticker on the rear window of his car.  Interesting, and a possible dramatic ‘oh-no’ for my unhurried friend!

I know there are many people who drive for services like Uber and Lyft on a casual basis and not as a full-time job.  However, I wondered if this driver is a full timer and now is driving a brand new vehicle and could potentially drive more than 80,000 km a year as a means of employment?  If so, things may not go well, from a cost of ownership perspective.

This particular car really grabbed my interest.  I checked the OEM’s website and Mr. Sharing Economy can finance it for 84 months (seven years!) for a very attractive $100 a week, with top trim, and AWD.  Deal?  Well, it depends on how he uses it.  Most of the assumptions about ownership and depreciation today are based around a consumer driving 20,000 km per year.  If this gentleman drives the average amount, his car will have about 180,000km on it when he pays it off.  The car will still be alive, but certainly heading off to the sunset years ahead of its service life.

What if this gent has really bought into the whole sharing economy concept and he drives 60,000km per year?  His Uber and Lyft stickers seem to suggest he is at least partially involved in these two enterprises.  So, when his shiny car is paid off he will have over 400,000 km on it.  If it does make it that far, which I don’t think it will.  You can probably guess that his vehicle will be worth $100 at that point, but only if it has three quarters of a tank of gas in it.  Ouch.  He will never have any equity in the car and depending on his luck he might still be paying for it years after it has gone to the big scrap heap in the sky.  I assume that he is not leasing the car, which would be another set of nasty circumstances.

In addition to depreciation, the owner of this shiny ridesharing vehicle is probably looking at 4-5 sets of tires, and he may be required to have snow tires as well. There are likely over 50 oil changes, 500 car washes etc.  There will also be some major component failures over that time, probably about 3 or 4 brake jobs, wheel bearings, and a transmission if he is lucky.  I wonder if he has done the math.

If he accidentally writes the car off partway through this seven year loan, he might find he is in a difficult place with respect to his small insurance payout (for an extremely high mileage car!) and the rather large balance remaining on the loan.  Given all these costs just to be on the road, I wonder how he will make a living wage.  It won’t be easy and likely not a sustainable way to run his little business.

My commuter musings are not meant to be a criticism of Uber and Lyft, but rather a cautionary note to anyone who is thinking of jumping into driving for the sharing economy.  Make sure you have done the math and understand the real costs.  Furthermore, driving with a brand-new car is probably the worst thing you can do.  Consider a used car that has been through at least the first 24 months of the greatest deprecation.  To avoid maintenance nightmares, do your research into which cars are bulletproof for reliability.

To those of you in the business of financing and leasing cars, I ask – are you fully prepared for Mr. Sharing Economy?  Today, most car leases prohibit use for business, but are you protected from risks like this?  Perhaps vehicle inspections every 12 months to check the odometer could de-risk the business for you.  Similarly, on loans, the value of the car is the security you have for future payments, but what happens when the value of the asset falls to $0 in a very premature way?  Is your risk of default higher on a $15,000 loan when the asset is now only worth a faction of that amount?

As the sharing economy grows (and if it is sustainable!) I am going to predict that vehicles will need to self report their mileage regularly to the lender or lessor and have tracking technology activated to have financing in place.  If enough lenders and lessors are stung by this phenomenon, you can bet that will be the case.   Maybe even Big Brother can get this guy to move out of the passing lane?

The Value – Issue #8: TalkAUTO: A Drive Down Memory Lane

Welcome to The Canadian Black Book – The Value. Our goal is to provide our clients and partners with news, event updates, new initiatives and opinions from Canada’s trusted source for vehicle values and automotive insights. In this edition we cover:

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By: Brian Murphy, VP Research & Editorial, Canadian Black Book

TalkAUTO…This event holds a special meaning to me in my career.  I’ve been around it in some capacity since its inception in 2012.  Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of helping organize the event, moderate discussions, present my work, network with my peers, stuff materials in shopping bags, meet new people, and sit back and listen to the business and automotive knowledge being shared from the industries best.

In year one, I clearly remember how concerned we all were about getting people into the seats.   Our registration numbers were quite good, but we still questioned whether or not enough registrants would actually show up to justify the efforts put into creating this conference.  Well on November 14th, 2012, the day came and all trepidation was quelled.  Over a hundred attendees from across the industry took it in.

Fast forward, only two years later and a new panic set-in on event day.  Do we have enough seats?  The staff organizers at Canadian Black Book and J.D. Power had to stand at the back, to free up some chairs for attendees to sit in.  Now the event easily amounts to over 400 guests each year.

I have a unique perspective given that I have worked with both title sponsors of TalkAUTO, in the past with J.D. Power and now with Canadian Black Book.  Over the years, my career has demanded a hefty travel schedule, but I do whatever I can to be in town for TalkAUTO.  It really is that important to me to be there, and absorb the wisdom from all the speakers and touch base face-to-face with Canada’s auto industry movers and shakers.  And, I’ve been able to share what I know through my own presentations (which I always spend way too much time over-preparing for).

The highest compliment we could afford this event, would be to say that its content seems to always be relevant, hitting the mark on current industry issues, opportunities and trends.  It’s the content and those experts that provide it, which makes this such a desirable annual gathering, not to miss.

To me, all the efforts put into presenting this day become worth it, when after TalkAUTO each year, I get numerous emails from attendees asking for copies of any or all of the presentations they just witnessed.  This proves to me that the agenda and subsequent content, provides real value to those in the room.  And I know that I am not the only person close to the event getting asked for those decks.

Personally (and without trying to toot my own horn), I’ve taken great delight having an OEM tell me how much they appreciated my presentation.  They’ve passed it around their Canadian head office, and then across the pond to their corporate parent, where it became a helpful planning resource.

Similarly, I recall a meeting with a senior management team of a financial institution to discuss a particular industry subject.  I sensed that the one executive was in agreement with what I was saying. Always a good sign.  Then he opened his desk drawer and pulled out my TalkAuto presentation in hard copy and said he had this from the year before, and what we were talking about was on about slide five!  Again, given how much time it takes me to prepare for these, this is what makes it worth it!

TalkAUTO really is a premier Canadian auto industry networking occasion.  Given the amount of OEMs around the GTA, you might assume that more of these events would exist, but they don’t.  Gathering a strong representation from OEMs, dealers, finance, suppliers, parts, academia, media, and more provides real opportunities to talk the talk.  I know for fact, that many important business connections, deals and even jobs are had as a result of TalkAUTO.

But it is not always perfect.  In 2017, during my presentation, onstage I did have a slight mix-up where I said I worked at J.D. Power, instead of Canadian Black Book and got a few strange looks.   (Note to self, try not to make that mistake when your boss is sitting twenty feet away).  .  It was an honest mistake, yet good thing Brad Rome has a great sense of humour!

The feedback we get about TalkAUTO is overwhelmingly positive.  About the only complaint I hear about TalkAuto is that someone didn’t know about it and didn’t get registered in time or rearrange their calendar to avoid conflict with another commitment!

TalkAUTO Canada 2018 is November 7th, so mark it down!  Registration is open at www.talkauto-canada.com .  Oh, and it’s free!  I know I’d regret missing it!