Automotive News Canada - November 2017 - 10
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Canada as a sales Uber's trade-off: Tough for
taxis, potential for dealers
of a country
IN A PAGE 4 STORY THAT REFERENCES JIM
Hackett's vision for Ford (he replaced Mark
Fields as company CEO) and the potential fallout for Canadian auto plants, there's something missing. Or someone, rather.
There are 850 words in Robert Bostelaar's
finely crafted story, but "Canadian CEO Mark
Buzzell" are not among them. In this kind
of situation he's a bit of
a ghost. So are others.
Maria Stenstroem is
a VW Canada CEO who
has managed to get
through most of last 18
months since Automotive
News Canada began publishing without discussing product
mix, plans, or, most relevantly,
Why is Jim Hackett the centre
the VW diesel-emissions scanof a story in a Canadian
dal in Canada.
publication? Because Ford
It's during times of drastic
is a U.S. company and he
change, and perhaps even
calls the shots. ( P H O T O : F O R D )
moderate to severe crisis,
where this ghosting effect is most obvious: There appear to be few
Canadian executives who are in truly definitive leadership roles.
Look at the top Ford job in Canada. The CEO post could be
referred to as a regional position. Buzzell
actually reports to North American chief
Raj Nair and not to Hackett. Meanwhile,
Stenstroem is being shuttled out of
Canada because, as we found out from
VW's communications department and not
Stenstroem herself, she's nearing the end
of her five-year work visa. Stenstroem was
a temporary transplant from Germany.
Buzzell is a U.S. transplant. So was his
predecessor Dianne Craig, who now has a
bigger sales job back in the United States.
I certainly don't mean this as a put-down to either Buzzell or
Stenstroem. Not at all. It just seems to be the way that their
respective businesses are structured when the headquarters are in
So, when big things happen - good or bad - ghosting means
that we often have to turn to U.S. executives for answers, which is
unfortunate on several levels, most importantly because, real or
perceived, Canada is still largely treated as a sales region rather
than a country. There's a false sense of autonomy and in some
cases national pride. As Canadians in business, we want to believe
we have a say. That we have some control. That we create.
It's not like this across the board, though. GM Canada's Steve
Carlisle, Hyundai's Don Romano and Nissan's Joni Paiva are three
examples of leaders who are most definitely not ghosts. They're
big personalities who instill in us that Canada is actually, well, a
real thing. We need more of that. - ANC
If Canada can't
it can have
within its borders
PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
KEITH E. CRAIN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
K.C. CRAIN, GROUP PUBLISHER
JASON STEIN, PUBLISHER
DAVE VERSICAL, DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL OPERATIONS, AUTOMOTIVE NEWS GROUP
PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
JEFF MELNYCHUK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, 506.854.5024, JMelnychuk@autonews.com
DAVE GUILFORD, MANAGING EDITOR, 313.446.0321, Dguilford@crain.com
Karen Rentschler, 313.446.6031
I'M A LATE CONVERT WHEN IT
comes to Uber.
I downloaded - and deleted - the app twice before giving it a permanent home on
my mobile phone.
For some reason, I always
harboured a soft spot for cabbies. Maybe because I had
used cabs to safely get to and
from bars and parties in college, representing some of the
best times of my life.
But while in Houston this
past May, my friend pursuaded
me to try the Uber app -
again. I'm finally sold.
It's usually quicker and more
convenient than calling a
switchboard, and there's some
sense of security that comes
with being able to know exactly
where your ride is and when it's
going to arrive. No guessing.
Just watch the little icon drive
toward your location/dot on the
screen with a readout of the
number of minutes it will take.
No more wondering if a cab will
actually arrive - or if you
somehow missed it - or
whether said cab is mechanically worthy to get you where you
need to go in one piece. Uber
indicates what kind of car will
pick you up and who the driver
will be and his or her rating.
Uber rides are generally spotless
and if the driver takes the wrong
way - or the long way - you
aren't charged extra.
But while I'm certainly sold,
several Canadian politicians
aren't. The legislative fight over
just what to do with and how
to regulate Uber is ongoing in
Quebec, Manitoba and B.C.,
where provincial governments
have refused or made it more
difficult to allow the ride-hailing
or ride-sharing - whichever
term you prefer - app and
drivers to work.
There's a bit of a standoff
between the old taxi guard and
Uber, the disrupter. In Quebec,
Uber doesn't like the fact its
drivers will require more training. In B.C., the NDP government has safety concerns. And
in Manitoba, politicians fear the
taxi industry will suffer if Uber
starts operating there.
What no one is talking
about, as best I can tell, is the
fact Uber means jobs. Drivers
use their own vehicles. These
are vehicles bought at local
dealerships, in need of detailing, regular maintenance and
in some cases winter tires.
While not a Canadian example, I look to Texas again. As
far back as 2015, Automotive
News reported that Toyota of
Plano was selling 200 cars a
year to Uber drivers, accounting for about six per cent of the
3,200 new cars the store sold
At home, Ontario Chrysler of
Mississauga has a page on its
website dedicated to detailing
how an Uber driver can finance
a vehicle in the Greater Toronto
And yet, everyone seems to
be fighting for an outdated and
archaic cab industry but few
are fighting for Uber, the disrupter that could spell more
business for local dealerships.
Additionally, instead of fighting Uber's model, why aren't
cab companies adopting it?
The law is already on their side,
after all. - ANC
Dealers need to educate drivers
on clean use of remote starters
AS WINTER SETTLES IN ACROSS CANADA,
dealerships are working overtime on oil, filter and
tire changes, and doing brisk business selling and
installing remote vehicle starters that afford customers the convenience of getting into a warm
vehicle no matter the temperature outside.
It's an option Canadian drivers have embraced
in growing numbers in recent years, but one that
seems completely incongruous with global automakers' goal to
know that an
unable to adequately heat its catalytic converter, pollutes at its
worst as it sits in the driveway or street-side,
warming up for the morning commute? Many
people, evidently. Perhaps the real question
should be: Does anyone care?
The fact is, remote starters have become part
of an important revenue stream for dealerships
across Canada, and a popular Christmas gift for
many drivers. They won't be going away anytime
soon. Used wisely, they can bring both convenience and comfort in summer and winter, but
the simple fact is that they are used by many to
Some starters, though by no means all, shut
themselves off after 10 or so minutes of operation. Some drivers strictly monitor the idling they
do and keep it to a minimum, though they clearly
are in the minority.
Public education is the key to reducing the
damage caused by these vehicular conveniences.
Automakers and dealerships are uniquely posi-
tioned to widen people's understanding of the
cost - to the environment, to their vehicles and
to their pocketbooks - by excessive idling.
Natural Resources Canada says for the average vehicle with a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine,
"every 10 minutes of idling uses over one-quarter
of a litre in wasted fuel, and up to one half of a
litre if [the] vehicle has a 5.0-litre engine."
Multiplied by millions of idling vehicles, that's a
lot of fuel burned, and cost and pollution generated.
But automakers and dealerships can help cut
such unnecessary pollution by taking the initiative
to educate their customers about excessive idling.
Information can be given to customers at the
time of purchase or installation, or when buyers
order the devices installed on their new vehicles. It
could be as simple as including a fact sheet outlining the problem and how to minimize it.
For despite the idling epidemic, many people
made aware of the problems caused by it will
choose to idle less if they know the facts and are
made aware of ways to lessen the impact.
That won't solve the problem, of course, but it
might help alleviate it. - ANC
Excessive idling costs the environment, a
vehicle's engine life and its driver's bank
account. ( P H O T O : J O E K N Y C H A )