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Auto News Recap – June 22nd, 2017

The Canadian economy is more dependent on the automotive sector than it realizes.

 

With a total of $673 billion in trade between the United States and Canada, $134.5 billion, or 20%, of it was directly from the automotive sector. By state, Michigan received the most Canadian automotive exports totaling $33 billion with total Canadian exports to Michigan accounting for 16.8% of national exports alone.

This would mean “Michigan would be Canada’s second largest trading partner, ahead of China.” according to Statistics Canada. California and Ohio follow Michigan as Canada’s next largest U.S. trade partners by state.

Source: Automotive News

Auto News Recap – June 20th, 2017

Is Mercedes’ new A-Class the key to reaching Millennial buyers?

 

Mercedes-Benz has confirmed a long-time rumour of bringing its successful A Class vehicle to the North American market. This recent North American product expansion is carrying some unique features with it and it has investors excited.

First, the new A Class will not be a hatchback like it is in the European market. This decision was made off the disappointing sales of the hatchback models of the C-Class introduced in 2001. Instead, Mercedes will be building their new generation of the A Class with strictly a sedan trim. This new generation will also take advantage of the company’s innovative MFA2 platform.

This means the car will be built on a modified four -wheel drive compact base which creates extra room in the vehicle. Along with being packed with all the latest and greatest technology Mercedes is going to price this vehicle at under $30,000.

Mercedes-Benz’s strategy is to grab a hold of the millennial generation with a low-priced luxury entry vehicle. Mercedes is looking for the new A Class to account for 5% of their US sales by the end of 2020.

 

Source: Automotive News

Auto News Recap – June 14th, 2017

The end of car dealerships as we know it?

Are North American car dealerships destined to be the next business to fail due to advancing technology? James Arbib and Tony Seba of RethinkX certainly think so. A technology investor and a Stanford economist respectfully, they put out a report recently that details the reasons why North American car dealerships are going to start disappearing in 10 years.

The report cites the growing benefits of ridesharing programs and more importantly the role of electric vehicles. As electric vehicles become less expensive ($20,000 range) and have further battery ranges they will be widely adopted, and that then becomes a problem for the service department of these dealerships. A traditional vehicles has 2,000 moving parts in the power train, an electric vehicle has 20. The result is less cars needing to be fixed and less profit being seen for a dealership owner.

However, industry experts disagree with the report explaining how the industry has only flourished as of late and shows no sign of slowing down and liken the RethinkX report to that of the hype that surrounded hybrid cars 17 years ago. Arbib and Seba are none the less determined that their report is accurate and warn dealers by referencing companies such as Nokia and Kodak whom also feel by the way side to rising innovation.

Source: Automotive News Canada

Auto News Recap – June 12th, 2017

Are autonomous vehicles about to shake up society?

“Autonomous vehicles could constitute the biggest disruption to society since the introduction of the automobile.” says Michael Polowin of Gowling WLG Law Firm. Mr Polowin is referring to the liability companies, and the government, will face with the introduction of fully autonomous or “Level 5” vehicles.

Level 1 and 2 vehicles already exist as vehicles with cruise control or lane-departure assistance with a Level 5 as a fully autonomous vehicle with no driver input. Companies see Level 3 and 4 vehicles as too much of a grey area for both the driver and from an insurance standpoint and so manufacturers are heading straight into Level 5 development.

The biggest problem however, is the governmental restrictions prohibiting the testing of autonomous vehicles or even their existence in different parts of the country. Underlying all of the above is the ethical dilemmas developing from Level 5 vehicles.

A recent study found that those surveyed agreed it was ethical that if a pedestrian dangerously crossed in front of a Level 5 vehicle the vehicle should prioritize the safety of the pedestrian over the driver but the same study found that if a consumer knew a vehicle was designed this way they would less inclined to purchase it.

Although, according to Blackberry’s Grant Courville, Level 5 vehicles are not thought to be a reality until 2032. This gives the government, and society, the time to decide what they think is more important.

Source: Automotive News Canada

Auto News Recap – June 9th, 2017

Is getting into your vehicle Bell’s next big move?

 

Bell’s latest move has been announced by Hyundai’s subsidiary Hyundai AutoEver Telematics America (HATA). Bell is planning on providing wireless services in new Hyundai and Kia vehicles starting with a few of their 2018 models.

Emergency roadside assistance, automatic collision notifications, remote start, climate control, local search, remote door lock/unlock, maintenance alerts, and on-demand diagnostics are the features Bell will link with Hyundai’s BlueLink and Kia’s UVO networks. With the purchase of a new 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT or Sonota and Kia’s 2018 Rio or Optima a complimentary 5 year contract will be provided for the new service.

The service is cited as helping to provide greater safety and an innovative driving experience. This deal will also open up a door for third party apps to play a role in the driving experience down the road. This endeavor is just another way that Bell is looking to play a bigger role in the Internet of Things.

Auto News Recap – June 7th, 2017

Where is Canada in the growing electric vehicle market?

Where is Canada in the growing electric vehicle market?

A new report by the International Energy Agency boasts that there are now two million electric vehicles on the roads of North American, Europe and parts of Asia. A 60% increase from the year before the numbers sound all good until put in perspective.

Electric vehicles still only make up 0.2% of cars on the road today and to make a real difference to climate change there needs to be six hundred million electric vehicles being used by the year 2040.

Where does Canada fall in to all of this? Neck in neck with Norway for quick growing electric vehicle market Canada is still only 8th in the world with the Chin, the United States and Japan leading the charge, no pun intended.

According to the report Canada’s biggest obstacle to further growth is the lack of public charging stations across the country with electric car ownership six to one for public charging stations. The report seems to say that until the infrastructure for electric cars is built up, like it is in China, the Canadian market will be hard pressed for continued growth.

Auto News Recap – June 5th, 2017

Is bamboo the new carbon fibre?

Ford may think so. The automaker is currently investigating the feasibility of combining bamboo fibres with resins to create car parts that could be as strong, if not stronger than, carbon fibre.

The plant would be a renewable and more natural alternative to the synthetic fibres that are currently used in making parts. It has an incredible growth rate, as it can grow to full maturity between 2 and 5 years, and its strength can rival some metals. Its flexibility and heat resistance have also contributed to piquing Ford’s interest.

However, Ford is no stranger to unconventional resources, as the company has used materials like recycled cotton, denim, rice hulls, wheat, straw, and nylon carpeting to some extent in certain models.

 

Sources: Taylor, Kelly. Automotive News Canada. June 5th, 2017

                Smith, Luke. Express. June 5th, 2017

Top 5 Sports Cars Under $35,000

 

 

Auto News Recap – May 31st, 2017

How will consumers react to Tesla Model 3’s new feature?

 

The long-awaited Tesla Model 3 is to start production in July, and will be priced at around $47,000 CAD. The vehicle will be able to accelerate from 0 – 60mph in under six seconds, and comes with a very new and unique product feature. Leaks have shown a touch-screen display in the center of the vehicle’s flat dashboard, which replaces the traditional gauges and dials. All of these instruments, including the speedometer and ‘fuel’ gauge, will be accessible through this new display.

Some consumers are concerned about this new feature. They do not want to sacrifice space on the display screen to make room for the gauges, and they are worried about having to take their eyes off of the road to check their speed while driving. However, Elon Musk, company co-founder and CEO, says that drivers will not even notice the difference due to the vehicles high level of autonomy, tweeting “The more autonomous a car is, the less dash info you need. How often do you look at the instrument panel when being driven in a taxi?”

Sources: Grover, Sami. Treehugger. May 31st, 2017

               Smith, Luke. Express. May 31st, 2017

 

 

Auto News Recap – May 30th, 2017

Will Facebook become used-car dealers’ biggest competitor?

 

Facebook’s “Marketplace”, a feature on the platform which allows users to buy and sell their used items, is rising in popularity among used-car traders. Currently, the feature has great potential of becoming a big player in used-car sales, as it is convenient, has an extremely vast potential reach, and is safer than other buy-and-sell platforms such as Kijiji and Craigslist.

However, until the Facebook makes some improvements to the feature, it is likely that ‘Marketplace’ will not be too much of a threat for used-car dealers, as these dealers can offer the certified pre-owned vehicles and financing options that Facebook cannot.

Moreover, Facebook may seek to make some profit from the feature, in which case the company could offer advertising options for dealers, meaning that the feature could become an opportunity for dealers rather than a threat.

However, until we see what the future holds, dealers should keep an eye out for this up-and-coming force.

Source: Truett, Richard. Automotive News. May 30th, 2017.

 

 

Auto News Recap – May 29th, 2017

How will possible NAFTA changes impact auto parts suppliers?

 

A quarterly survey conducted by the Original Equipment Suppliers Association has uncovered the concern that is being felt by North American suppliers over President Trump’s promised revisions to, or termination of, the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Executives say that the uncertainty surrounding the trade policy is creating serious difficulty in their decision-making regarding their manufacturing needs. The survey also shows increased concern regarding shortages of skilled labour, which leaves suppliers even more on edge as they attempt to continue to meet deadlines under the anxiety that comes with such an uncertain future for the industry.

Source: Walsworth, Jack. Automotive News Canada. May 29th, 2017.

 

 

Auto News Recap – May 26th, 2017

How long will it take for electric cars to become cheaper than their gasoline counterparts?

 

Currently, batteries makes up about half of the entire cost of an electric vehicle, however research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests that battery costs will fall close to 77% by 2030. This will result in less expensive, and therefore more abundant, electric cars in North America and Europe.

As the cost of electric vehicles is dropping due to these technological breakthroughs, the cost of combustion engine vehicles is increasing due to firmer industry regulations. This means that the two vehicle-types may become equal in price by the year 2025, after which electric cars will be the cheaper option.

Source: Shankleman, Jess. Bloomberg. May 25th, 2017.

 

 

10 Totally Terrific Car Facts!

 

Here are 10 car facts that you probably don’t know about:

  1. 75% of Rolls-Royces are still in use today. (Source: The Economist)

 

  1. In Russia, it is a criminal offence to drive around in a dirty car. (Source: BBC News)

 

  1. In Los Angeles, there are more cars than people. (Source: LA Weekly)

 

  1. In 1942, Henry Ford made a car from soybeans. (Source: USA Today)

 

  1. The term used for when you cannot recall your drive is called ‘Highway Hypnosis’. (Source: Drivers Ed)

 

  1. Around 165,000 cars are produced every day. (Source: WorldOMeters)

 

  1. The average car has 30,000 parts. (Source: Protean Electric)

 

  1. It would cost $28,500 CAD to service a Bugatti Veyron. (Source: Jalopnik)

 

  1. The inventor of the cruise control was blind. (Source: Automobile Hall of Fame)

 

  1. 35% of the world’s motorists drive of the left side of the road. (Source: World Standards)

 

 

Auto News Recap –  May 24th, 2017

Honda hits 2 million Civic sales in Canada!

 

Honda Canada Inc. has officially sold its two-millionth Honda Civic in Canada since it introduced the car to the market forty-four years ago. For just under two decades, the Civic has been the country’s top-selling passenger car, and has united Canadians from all different lifestyles, building its own loyal ‘Civic Nation’.

The Civic, which accounts for 40% of Honda’s sales, is manufactured in Alliston, Ontario, where 4.8 million vehicles have been produced. This factory became the global lead manufacturer for the 10th-generation Honda Civic in 2015.

Congratulations, Honda!

 

Sources: Rivard, Guillaurme. Auto 123. May 24th, 2017.

               Mertl, Steve. Automotive News Canada,

 

 

Auto News Recap – May 23rd, 2017

Do proposed revisions to Ontario’s labour laws mean trouble for dealership owners?

 

The Trillium Automobiles Dealers Association (TADA) is not pleased with Ontario’s recent labour law revisions, which may group original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and auto dealerships as “joint employers” of dealership staff, meaning that both entities would be liable for a dealer’s employees.

TADA has expressed its concern in a letter written to Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, who says that these revisions are in place to help the Ontario Labour Relations Board clarify who is the “true employer” of dealership staff. However, TADA believes that auto manufacturers and their dealers are separate business entities which act as a franchisor and franchisee respectively, and is worried about the confusion that these revisions may cause for both parties.

TADA has asked that its members be excluded from “joint employer” provisions, writing “Let automakers design and build vehicles. Let dealers hire staff to sell and service vehicles in the local market.”

 

Source: Layson, Greg. Automotive News Canada. May 23rd, 2017.

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