Macky's Minutes


Winter Tires for 2018
 

Here we are again late in October, contemplating the right set of tires for the upcoming season of foul weather. It's starts off with cold rain, snowflakes, soggy leaves and then blam-o we're hit with five cm of snow, and it's only November the 17th.  A mixed bag of uh-oh before the real snow settles in for a long spell.  One thing is for sure, the slippery factor will begin to notch steadily upwards even before winter becomes that fourth season.  We don't need snow tires in December we need winter tires right now to help us deal with the changing road conditions!

If you're a Honda vehicle owner with AWD that believes their car's traction control system can get the job done with all season tires until December please consider swapping your three season tires for a set of Midland Honda winter tires as soon as possible. It is true that your AWD will assist in accelerating your vehicle on seven degree Celsius pavement but it won't help when trying to stop. Four-wheel drive helps control the tires, but that doesn't mean much if the tires aren't flexible enough or don't have a channeled tread design to handle aquaplaning on cold asphalt.

Some of you might like watching hockey or maybe some prefer curling this time of year from the comfort of your living rooms. The way the puck slides and the stone curls over the ice is engaging for the spectator. I think we can all agree that being the puck or the curling stone on a city street or highway is not very much fun at all, in fact it is unnerving and somewhat terrifying! Let the service people at Midland Honda erase that image of lack of control by installing the right winter tires for your vehicle soon.

New tire designs improve a car's ability to accelerate, brake and steer, even when the weather is cold and dry. The goal of winter or cold weather tires is to expand the range of conditions in which the tires retain grip, providing traction when regular tires would be sliding.  The more supple rubber compounds stick better to frosty road surfaces.  Your investment in the car's handling will make the early morning drives safer and more satisfying.

We know this will be the great snowy Midland soon enough.  Midlanders are proud of being able to survive some of the most miserable winters anywhere and in so doing they realize that winter preparation at home and on the road is the right approach for everyone's safety.  Please seek the friendly advice from the knowledgeable team of tire experts at Midland Honda. Your driving safety and your family's well being is their concern as well.

Until next time

Macky


Midland Honda's 3rd Annual Customer Appreciation Movie Night!

 

On September 3rd customers and their families once again enjoyed Midland Honda's Movie Night at the Midland Drive In Theatre. This year, the kids' bill showed Hotel Transylvania 3 and the parents witnessed Tom Cruise running continuously at full speed in Mission Impossible: Fallout.  The large assembled crowd of Honda and, ahem….some fine Toyota and Dodge owners witnessed another stellar big screen digital film projection.  

While driving into Midland that night with my wife Lynn I came to realize that Heritage Drive from King St. to the theatre just past Highway 93 is definitely turning into Honda Heritage Drive every September. The new Midland Honda lot showing several gleaming cars at one end is bookended by more Civics and Accords parked at the theatre entrance. Almost time to break out the street banners!

Always pleasant to see Michelle Allan, Midland Honda's Brand Ambassador and her assistant Lisa Booth at the gate. It was a nice surprise to receive a large package of Cherry Nibs with an interesting affixed card offering to pay patrons a Midland Honda finder's fee for new clients who purchase a Honda at the store. 

I'm fond of driving around the entrance bend to your special spot in front of the screen.  A summer night ritual that is somewhat nostalgic yet old is made new with better sound piped through car speakers and better picture quality for your viewing pleasure. I did a double take at the screen when I saw Midland Honda's screen graphic welcoming all guests before the kids' film started. Nicely done!

Kids Kids Kids, all ages, dodging, darting rolling around on the grass having fun with the face painting and the Trolls. It all added up to great memories for the whole family. Indeed, one family was doing it right just before dusk. They backed their 2019 Odyssey into position then opened the tailgate.  This allowed a few pajama-clad youngsters a great viewing platform for the animation to come. The only thing missing was one of their Labrador dogs drooling, just waiting in the back for one of the kids to drop some more popcorn.

The customer appreciation night is pure fun and that is just what Midland Honda aspires to convey to its customers. It is in part a thank you for your business relationship with Midland Honda and this annual cinematic event helps nurture one of Honda's goals, which is that everyone should have a little fun with their Honda vehicle!

Until next time, 

Macky


The 2018 Accord - Honda hits another home run!

I can't imagine a better time for Honda automotive design and engineering than right now. For the past couple of years they have been rolling out exciting model designs that combine a keen appreciation for their racing heritage with the practical awareness of what customers need for their transportation needs. An increasingly inspired blend of mindfulness and daring that is not only evident with the body and interior design but with new engines that are powerful and efficient and suspensions that are modern and responsive.

The super comfortable 2017 Ridgeline truck, the hi-tech family mover Odyssey, the SUV segment leader 2018 CRV, and the multi-faceted Civic family of cars have set the stage for what will become one of the great Honda success stories of 2018.  The new Honda Accord is the beneficiary of all the design and technology decisions that have given these Honda vehicles plenty of positive press over the past year. This sedan is the culmination of efforts from across Honda platforms that will place it at the pinnacle of this market segment for 2018 and beyond.

One of the first Accord mission statements went something like this:  to be an affordable, spacious and comfortable conveyance for people and stuff. O.K. this says we want to be the sensible choice that doesn't attract too much attention.  Over time the Accord mission statement evolved to include a sense of well- being while driving. Like the Civic family well-being can be enjoyed differently by purchasing variations on the main theme.  Recently, the Accord's mature expression of a driving enthusiast's model could be found in the two-door coupe with the V6 engine. This was a great example of Honda's engine bravado and design grace. The fondly remembered coupe, although not a top seller, represents a fine book end to the evolving development of the Accord.  Honda has moved forward and delivered on the Accord customers' core expectations of affordability, spaciousness, safety and comfort while injecting just the right amount of style and performance.  This is the promise of the 2018 Accord.

One prevailing thought concerning sedans is that they have lost a lot of ground to the mid-sized SUV. There is no doubt that the CRV is selling like hotcakes. I see more and more 2018 CRV's on Toronto roads every month. They are an attractive, practical, rational choice just like the sedan used to be.  The present CRV and Civic athletic body designs demanded that the 2018 Accord prioritize its design style and driving dynamism to appeal to consumers shopping for a family vehicle that looked like a mature sports sedan, tranquil and composed when you want it to be but ready and willing to play when asked.

 

The fast back roofline, used successfully in the Civic Hatchback made in Swindon, is again used in the new Accord to establish the sports car look.  The pronounced crease on the side of the car just below the belt-line gives the car a sinewy athletic stance. The wheelbase on the Civic platform has been stretched out two inches, thereby enhancing the impression of an elegant touring car. Being slightly wider and lower in height adds to the performance characteristics. The front hood has been tapered downward to provide greater visibility and this design feature complements the back swoop of the roofline.  Fifty five percent of the body is made with light strength steel. Depending on the trim level the new Accord is 110 to 176 lbs. lighter than outgoing models while thirty two percent stiffer in terms of torsional rigidity.  With such an emphasis on appearances one might expect some functional sacrifices to be expected but this is where Honda's engineering packaging know how comes into play. The fast back roof line has reduced head room in the rear seats by only 0.2 inches thanks to a scooped out headliner and a lower seating position that allows for plenty of headroom. The trunk space has increased to 16.7 cubic feet, the biggest trunk in this market class. Due to the elongated wheelbase the rear passengers have two more inches of luxurious legroom. Crossing your legs on a long trip will be a casual doable experience. Passenger space and comfort is a priority.

The high level of interior quality alone has made such a massive leap forward from the outgoing Accord. Sound dampening insulation, soft touch plastic mouldings on the dash and doors, quality dash instrumentation, controls and storage areas and comfortably bolstered seats all set impressive benchmarks. Maybe more importantly all trim levels will include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with auto braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist and the rear view camera. The Honda sensing suite has become the foundation technology no model can be without.

The new high-quality MacPherson strut front suspension and a more compact multi link rear suspension are common components that are used throughout the six different Accord trim lines.  The suspension is designed to be taut. It can handle sharp cornering, hard acceleration and severe braking forces yet it is dampened enough to make wheel impact absorption fluid and non-jarring. This balance provides the everyday driver a smooth comfortable ride and the more demanding driver the capacity to push the Accord to its handling limits.

Honda created a sports sedan that has the dual personality, even in the base trim.  The introduction of the peppy and efficient 1.5-liter turbo engine last year in the CRV has been fitted to the Accord with a CVT transmission. This 192 HP engine is more than up to the task of moving the Accord with enthusiasm. The CVT transmission has also been upgraded to better apply the power to the front wheel drive.  At this point Honda encourages consumers to ask themselves how much enthusiasm are you willing to experience. The engine and suspension offerings become even more exciting as you move into the Sports badge.

 Except for the Mazda 6 all of the Accord's competitor's have dropped their clutch pedals in recent years. Honda is leaning into the enthusiasts' desires by offering a six speed manual transmission for the 1.5 and the 2.0-liter engines.  A family car you say with a stick shift…nicely done Honda! Both Sport variations have similar driving characteristics although the larger engine's turbo power keeps pulling hard until the 6800 rpm redline. Driving is bliss when you can run through the gears while your back is pinned to the bolstered seat! This 252 HP engine has a substantial 273 lb-ft torque but none of it is translated into the dreaded torque steer on a fast start.  This is the Civic-R engine with less performance parts. It has a smaller turbo with less boost and it is tuned to run on regular gas. The Accord 2.0 Sport also has a great profile with the larger rims. I especially like how they have blacked-out all the chrome on the front grill. Super-sharp.

Of course the Accord Touring model has all the cabin comforts and tech available, including the heads up display (HUD) but this trim level offers something more that really sets the 2018 Accord Touring, I believe, into the Gran Turismo category of cars. It is arguably the best value for money front wheel drive GT on the market! Honda engineers went over the top and developed a brand new ten-speed transmission and coupled it with the 2.0-litre turbo. Paddle shifting if you wish and a choice to set the adaptive suspension into Sport mode. It's luxurious, smooth and fast. This refined ride, the luxury features, the great ergonomics of the cabin, the levels of technology for safety, information and entertainment makes you question, what is Acura doing? The 2018 Accord Touring is the cat's meow and it can be purchased very soon at Midland Honda!

The 2018 Honda Accord...a fantastically well-rounded sedan that does a great job of sprinkling some happiness into the mundanity of daily travel!

 

Until next time

Macky


Midland Honda's 2018 Red Hot Tent Event

The corner of Highway 12 and Jones Road was busier than normal the week of August 7th - 14th, largely because Midland Honda began showing and selling Honda cars and used vehicles at their new building location during the 'Red Hot Tent Event'.  In the peak of the summer heat, a 30ft by 60ft festive red and white striped circus tent was erected. This signaled to the curious and customers alike, that a different and fun experience was about to happen. It was a new place to meet the Midland Honda team and become more familiar with the great line-up of Honda vehicles. This event served to illustrate the spirit of an innovative dealership that is on the move! It was a momentous occasion that allowed Richard Davies, Peter Brenzel, Nick Gagliardi, Rick Iwanchuk and the sales staff, an opportunity to paint a picture of what the future dealership store will be like in a most relaxing atmosphere.

If the large perimeter Midland Honda signage and the colourful balloon clusters didn't stop you in your tracks as you drove by this prominent knoll of land, then possibly the inviting aroma of a barbeque drew you inside the big top to see what was going on.  People anticipate that a tent sale event is out of the ordinary, special and is something different than the showroom sales experience. Midland Honda didn't disappoint those who decided to drop in and have a complementary coffee, donut or later in the day a juicy burger. Red Hot Tent sales incentives included interest rates as low as 0.99% on new cars, a spin to win wheel with prizes up to $1000.00 in finance office cash for new and used cars and rebates up to $750.00 on new cars. For some people walking around the lot checking out the cool wheels with a fresh bag of popcorn was positively casual and stimulating!

The impressive Red Hot Tent Event was a total Midland Honda team effort in a somewhat challenging rustic environment. Hats off to the drivers who positioned a large part of the Midland Honda inventory to the new store site and also made sure the Midland Honda's service personnel were able to enjoy a burger and mingle with customers at the tent location. The hardest part for the sales staff working off site, was writing the deals up on laptops with somewhat tricky hotspot Internet connections…multiple staff cell phones had to be utilized to get the job done.

By all accounts the Red Hot Tent Event was very successful and Midland Honda appreciates everyone who came to the roadside attraction. This was the start of something special at the new location! Midland Honda will continue to amaze their customers and the local community as they build towards opening day in 2020!


Until next time,

Macky

The Millennial Effect

I bet everyone has noticed that all new cars require a dizzying variety of steering wheel inputs and infotainment screen swipes and taps that test a driver's ability to cope while driving.  The vehicle's dashboard is far from being just a passive gauge of how fast the car is travelling. Gone are the days when you could just check the rear view mirror, your speedometer, the side mirrors and then the fuel gauge or the engine temp in three seconds.  Now you really need a fighter pilot's HUD (Head's Up Display) to help you manage all the car's sensory cues while driving. Even after you push the start engine button you wonder, do I need to do a S.O.P. (standard operating procedure) check list before proceeding to the first intersection? Sure, your seat might slide into place thanks to an auto setting, but fidgeting with an electric braking system, the desired traction system, the multi-layered infotainment/phone system can be overwhelming, for my generation, without HANA at your side (Honda Automated Network Assistant).  Integrated voice command and control is not keeping pace with car tech advancements; yet, every year the vehicle controls becomes more layered and complicated to use. What is going on?  Well, in part the tap hungry 18-35 demographic has pushed car manufactures into offering technology that millennials have come to expect.  This elusive cohort of vehicle purchasers not only needs to be persuaded that a brand is worthwhile but manufacturers need to coax them into buying period. The push is on to attract this group to the showroom or maybe the virtual showroom.

 

All age groups are not uniform but they do show trend lines that have been influenced by the general economy and contemporary culture.  Car manufacturers have shown that they are willing to spark this generation's car buying interest through technology. This hyper-connected diverse group, with complicated views about cars, represents a growing market that will shift its focus from usage and ownership delayed to ownership as it transitions into the necessities of family life. 

 

Here are some bullet points that characterize the millennial car-buying group.

 

·         Market group is mainly urban

·         Owning a car is no longer a status symbol

·         Buying is less aspirational and more utilitarian

·         Environmentally conscious

·         Student debt and cost of housing curb plans to buy

·         Rather spend money on experiences than material goods

·         Drive less than previous generations

·         Belief that Skyping a friend is cheaper than visiting a friend by car

·         Missed experiencing cheap gas

·         Question the reliability and capability of electric cars

·         Engaged in ride sharing programs, like Uber, Car2Go or public transportation

·         Hold belief that ownership and vehicle maintenance is a hassle

·         Value smartphones and laptops over cars

 

Despite these challenging attributes to the leading edge of the millennial group they have represented a larger part of the car buying public since 2010.  28% of the market in 2013 and by 2020 their market numbers will swell to 40%.  One reason for the jump in sales can be attributed to the rise in the cost of larger family housing in urban centres. The ongoing population move from big city condo dwellings to the edge communities that surround megacities, like the GTA, insures that owning a car will be a necessity for shuttling the family and buying the groceries.

 

Media savvy millennials do more of their pre-buying investigative work online than making a move to kick tires in car showrooms. For some, the notion of brand loyalty or brand appreciation doesn't register initially because it is their first car or they feel that all manufactures supply relatively the same hardware.  The young consumer wants to be motivated by an x-factor. They can see online what high tech is offered by the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) but are keen for an out of the showroom experience.  For instance, some male buyers might prefer setting up a new car test drive near their home after experiencing an online dealer sponsored virtual reality session with a particular model. This could be what the super connected customer needs to make a commitment to lease or buy.  Honda is quite close to offering the VR experience.  Although the following CivicR video is not a true VR experience it suggests that Honda is prepared to apply the latest image capturing tech to reach its customer base.  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2DPAnkOPkA&feature=youtu.be

 

In the meantime I will be waiting for Midland Honda to ask me whether I want my new car to have HANA programmed with the voice of William Shatner.  Now I can get behind that!

 

Until next time.

 

Macky

 

Midland Honda and Ontario's Best Butter Tart Festival 2018

When do strangers stand around downtown Midland to have heated discussions about the nature of the perfect butter tart recipe? Usually June 9th and apparently this happening has become a treasured annual event.  Bakers and would-be tart connoisseurs now ritually exchange recipes and sometimes not so polite opinions about this memorable desert offering in public, no less.  Midland can be proud that Barb Rowlandson, Midland's influential authority on butter tarts, conceived the festival in co-operation with the Midland Chamber of Commerce in 2013.

Barb had been selling her homemade tarts at her family's appliance shop in 2013 and couldn't get over the number of people who had great stories to tell her about butter tarts sold at their church bazaars, bake sales or tarts found in country stores near their cottages. It became clear to her that Ontarians carried fond memories of this humble confection and it would be wonderful if everyone from bakers to consumers could join hands in Midland to celebrate, have fun and enjoy this desert in pleasant surroundings.  The first Butter Tart Festival was an unexpected success with ten thousand curious hungry patrons tasting their way down King St. Today more than fifty thousand seasoned butter tart aficionados parade up and down the main drag.

This year the ever-increasing crowds were able to funnel out into an expanded event space near David Onley Park. Patrons could enjoy a waterfront display of art and music and most importantly visit Midland Honda's butter tart booth, which was set up in partnership with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Simcoe. The day began with the local Pipe and Drum corps connecting all the participants with a formal opening march from the top of King St down to Bayshore Drive. Midland Honda was pleased to have been able to offer the public this year's ceremonial butter tart showcased in the 'March of the Tart'.

You would have thought that a sleek Ridgeline and a prominent CRV in front of a large Midland truck and trailer would have drawn people immediately to the Honda - Big Brothers/Sisters anchor position on the waterfront, but the initial crowd action was concentrated up town, as usual. The Midland Honda Tart Team comprising of Richard Davies, Michelle Allan, Kristin Smith, Hilary Smith, Dawn Downer and Dave Owen huddled up quickly and decided to get the free sample tray in action. In no time, word of mouth had spread the news that the Honda Heritage tarts were A-1 and that all proceeds from the sale of tarts, popcorn and water would be donated to the Big Brothers and Sisters Organization of Simcoe.  The rush to buy was on and the booth was so busy that they were sold out by the end of day. 3000 plain, walnut and raisin tarts evaporated into the crowd raising $2000.00 for the BBBS organization. It was an exceptionally good day for butter tart lovers and a fantastic day for the Midland community.  Midland Honda thanks everyone who visited the Midland Honda/BBBS tents and contributed to a very successful event!

Until next time,

Macky

 

Beyond the Yellow Tiled Road

Honda Canada recently recognized Midland Honda's 2017 business success by sending Peter and Richard to Japan for an infusion of Japanese culture. It was a great opportunity for both of them to check out the bustling cities, the quiet gardens and the Honda show case car museum. The places, the food and the bullet train travel all served to instil more understanding of why and how Honda creates success and how the Japanese manage to get along in a densely populated geography. When I spoke with Richard about the trip he was impressed with the overall mindfulness of the Japanese culture.

Their culture is ancient and it has developed core beliefs that are maintained through the appreciation of ceremonial actions and the creation of contemplative places. Central to the nation's psyche is harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. These traits permeate the life-blood of Japanese society and they can be found in how people interact with government and how businesses succeed at home and abroad. Honda's success has a direct lineage to a philosophy that has been practiced over many centuries.  One facet of how the Japanese maintain their mindfulness is found in their attempts to perfect the somewhat secretive traditional tea ceremony.

Buddhist monks introduced tea from China into their daily routine during the 9th century. The tea ceremony became a structured ritual that would wake people up both physically and spiritually. It is a complementary process that works to bring a deep inner peace and tranquility to those involved by bringing mind and body together. Both hemispheres of the brain are stimulated equally in order to deliver a chance for insight to the practitioner. The outer form of the ceremony happens in a somewhat unadorned room with a central fire that heats a large pot that contains the tea. The tea pouring and serving is done in a manner that accentuates a person's inner life - simplicity and naturalness. The perception of articles in the room such as weathered, aged materials or objects emphasizes the outer portion of the ceremony, the material life. By understanding the inevitability of impermanence (sabi) and the simplicity of the inner being (wabi) one can grow towards a state of consciousness in this life. This is an art form like samurai swordsmanship or ink painting and the Japanese eagerly join clubs and devote themselves fully to become a tea master.

The Japanese devotion to becoming well balanced, artistically inclined and thoughtful spills over into the streetscape as well. Richard remarked that he didn't understand why a policeman was waving at him and motioning him to watch where he was standing on the sidewalk near a particular yellow tiled line that split the walkway. He found out soon enough that the line was comprised of tactile walking surface indicators. A system of textured ground markers placed on footpaths, stairs and train stations to assist pedestrians who are visually impaired. Serichi Mizake developed the original tactile paving system in 1965. First introduced in Okazama city in 1967 it gradually spread through Japan and now it is a mainstay for the visually impaired throughout the world. Straight bands of yellow tiles mark a safe walking path without obstacles. Beaded surfaces warn of intersections, obstructions, doors or the end of train platforms. A society that goes to the trouble of taking care of everyone is harmonious. Although Richard was surprised to see the yellow tiled walkway it was just one of many Japanese experiences that exceeded his expectations. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

Mr. Honda lived, thrived and promoted this feeling first in Japan then as his businesses grew worldwide he developed his own philosophy of the three joys. Exceeding the needs and expectations of each customer fosters the Joys of Buying, Selling and Creating.  These joys are founded on mutual trust and pride in representing Honda products to the client.  Honda's goal, to maintain the joyful experience, is achieved by the company's dedication in supplying products of the highest quality, at a reasonable price, for worldwide customer satisfaction.

The ancient Japanese tea ceremony and the Honda way have more than one thing in common. It is all about becoming perfect not being perfect. This will take more than a lifetime of work.


Until next time

Macky

Driving Through Horrendous April Weather

I was on a mission, April 14, to travel from Toronto to Bracebridge for lunch with my father In-Law then zip up to Huntsville by 3pm to get his taxes done. Afterwards it was to be a straight trip down Highway 11 to the 400 Highway back to Toronto. I say mission because some friends thought we were crazy to drive last Saturday due to the winter storm forecast that was to bring various forms of ice-rain and snow to south and central Ontario roadways. It wasn't as if I was on an Allied bombing run from London to Berlin but to some it may have seemed so.  My safety was assured in part by the Michelin Latitude X-ice snow tires that were still on my CRV.  I had not succumbed to the popular notion that one should complete the winter tire swap just after the first week of warmer April weather snaps us out of the winter doldrums.  My run up north would have been more stressful and dangerous if my all season tires had been carrying the load.

The need to swap too quickly could be caused by the easing of season affected disorder (SAD) for some, practicality for others and finally pride of ownership for people who need a visual change. Just after mid-March many of us need to shed that sluggish feeling. As the days get longer and warmer, we spend more time thinking about gardening, cycling and hiking and we desire more natural sunlight.  Prolonged optimism can lead to increased energy and an upbeat, high mood, but it can fool us into believing that sunny warm days are here to stay.  Romans believed that the Ides of March was the deadline for settling your debts. We should consider the Ides of April, April 15th, as the time to be wary of winter's passing. Let us wait until the end of April and the beginning of May to arrange for the spring transition to all season tires.

The saying goes we wait too long to put the snow tires on and we take them off too soon. The safety argument for having a softer tire compound on a colder, slicker road is well known and the media experts have also drummed into our psyche that we should not run our winter tires above ten degrees Celsius.  Tire wear will increase dramatically. The softer compound just can't take the heat! I think this is an oversell on the modern winter tire's lack of durability and it contributes to headlong rush to change over when we have had 10-15 degree weather for a couple of weeks. Good winter tires will not degrade, shred or become unsafe when you decide to run them in warmer weather until the early May swap.

I'm tired of looking at the steel rims on my CRV and I would hazard a guess that most people this time of year are looking forward to having their sporty aluminum rims once again showing on their Honda Civic, CRV, Accord or Fit.  This time of year I find myself looking around at other cars and saying to myself, am I the only guy left with steel rims. The mental pressure to change up and follow the pack is real, especially in Toronto where more people don't change their rims or tires during the winter. You just want to get your car looking the best as soon as possible. I get that feeling but I know its best to just tamp that impulse down for a couple of weeks until we get consistently good weather. 

It wasn't a bad decision to drive up north on that foul Saturday because I was confident that my Michelin snow tires would provide the CRV excellent grip on snow covered roads, greater turning ability on wet or slushy pavement and improved stopping ability.  I had faith in my machine and in my ability to vary my speed according to the road conditions.  We saw four accidents on our trip and I noticed that two separate cars in the ditch were running all season tires, now that's just crazy! 

Photos by my wife/co-pilot Lynn McIntyre

Until Next Time!

Macky

Canadian International Auto show: The New Movement? Well, only for some.

Bob Redinger, President of the 2018 Canadian International Auto show, welcomes the over 350,000 attendees with the following upbeat message in the CIAS official program. "Welcome to THE NEW MOVEMENT. This is the big one. The movement that sets the standard for how all of these (technological) innovations combine to work communicate and share data with each other. It's the movement that has turned the automobile into an infotainment center, a WI-FI hotspot, a navigation hub, a link to emergency services and has arguably now made your car an essential personal assistant, making everything in your life work smoother…Cars are now customized on many levels to our lifestyle and have become seamless partners in our everyday lives.  Evolution. Convergence. A paradigm shift. Whatever you may call it-this is The New Movement." Bob's energetic and optimistic statement is in keeping with such an event and the Toronto car/transportation & lifestyle show does deliver on showing many of these futuristic promises; however, I did not see one car model with a built in toaster or a food replicator for that matter. CIAS 2025 perhaps?

There is no doubt the Ontarians love the auto show at the Toronto Convention Centre. I usually make an annual pilgrimage, shuffle into the familiar street level line up area along with the hundreds of others, get my ticket scanned, have my hand stamped then ascend the escalator into auto heaven. Everyone is there and I'm not just speaking about the manufacturers. My wife seems to think this event is still a guy thing. Not entirely. There was a rich mixed bag of potential buyers, tire kickers, families, women and young men looking for their dream machines. I arrived on family day around 11:00 am and by 12:30 you could barely walk around a display car without saying, "Sorry, sorry for bumping into you".  CIAS should really do the moving sidewalks for next year. It works for Ripley's Aquarium down the street!

Exiting the escalator I turned and started walking towards the main floor display and was drawn immediately to the huge Honda Power of Dreams floor display. Chrysler had their displays snugged up to Honda on the right side and it occurred to me right then that here was Honda, a representative of the New Movement sharing space with a Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat/Jeep a manufacturer of Old Movement ideas that by and large depended on showcasing sixties inspired muscle cars.  On an elevated podium was placed the Dodge Demon, an insane 800hp, straight-line racer that just reeked of high-octane gas and burning rubber.  Two Dodge Hellcats, sat across the aisle waiting for customers that could only stomach 500 HP.  Are muscle car concepts long in the tooth and backward thinking? Maybe these last of breed models will die off when high octane gas hits $2.50 per litre in the next five years. The worldlier Honda contrasted the visual impression of Chrysler North America neatly.  I felt Honda exuded the New Movement ethos of light, fuel efficiency, high-tech and community engagement.  Chrysler screamed the Old Movement ideology of being wasteful, heavy, brutish and solitary.  Not a very promising world-view in my estimation.  Even the Jeep brand was content to show an overblown gas powered Grand Cherokee instead of some new hybrid version. Honda was lucky to have such a lug head organization beside them. The differences between manufacturers were plain to see.

Honda's Power of Dreams sign was big and bright and beside it on the wall was another more subtle sign that celebrated The Honda Canada Foundation.  Its aim is to support people and organizations that focus on four pillars: Family, Environment, Engineering and Education. This allows Honda to make a positive contribution to Canadians everywhere. Now that's a great complementary message to the product offerings on the showroom floor!

There was plenty to see on the Honda floor. I was drawn immediately to the 1978 Blue Civic celebrating Honda Civic as Canada's top selling car for the past twenty years. This Civic was tiny, smaller than the present day BMW Mini clubman. It probably had 78 ponies under the hood!

I was really interested in Honda's hybrid cars on display. The Clarity, an electric plug hybrid will receive about $14,000.00 in Ontario government rebates. Even though it has the gas engine for additional range the electric engine is primary and the separation between the two allows this car to receive the government grants. The new, gorgeous 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid was on display for the first time in Canada. It doesn't have the plug in capability so therefore it will not receive the electric discounts. No word from the brand reps on whether we will be seeing a CRV hybrid any time soon. Here's hoping that they make the jump from Europe to Canada soon! One, in the know Honda customer, mentioned to me that Honda is not fully engaged yet with Hybrids or all electric yet because of their west coast commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology.

One little electric that I saw and liked was the GM Bolt. It can travel 383 Km on one charge. No range anxiety here. Passed one on the QEW just the other day. Looked great and it is a hatch just like the Honda Fit. Let's go Honda. Electrify the Fit and compete head to head with the Bolt!

The CIAS is always a busy fun blast of sensory overload. Gathering all the manufactures together for a face off is great for the consumer. I encourage everyone to make the trip to the Toronto Convention Centre even for a couple of hours. You're bound to experience something new and be moved to a greater level of understanding.

Until next time

Macky.



The Myth of Automation


Last January I wrote about new advances in car automation and Ai at CES 2017. This year it is worth revisiting the topic with a focus on whether the implementation of this technology in society has been fully thought out. It can be argued that vehicle manufacturers are in a competitive uncoordinated rush to unleash sophisticated technology on the road without fully appreciating the consequences to the whole driving and pedestrian community. The end game is Level 5 automation but is the ongoing hype to this end realistic and is the path to this driving nirvana safe and worthwhile?

We can identify the big bang of vehicle automation as the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge held in the Mojave Desert. The U.S. Defence Advance Research Project Agency offered a monetary prize to the first private sector company or educational institution to have an autonomously driven car negotiate a rally course.  The first timed race was a failure, no car finished but the die was cast and subsequent races proved to the world that driverless car technology could and would be adapted for commercial use. The achievement was also an engineering team success.  Today, the concept of the team approach, a driver utilizing driverless tech has been obscured by the car industry's promotion of a romantic and unwise use of the word autonomous. The consumer is being conditioned to anticipate the day when you can release the wheel to let your attention drift off to more important things like business briefing notes or YouTube videos. 

The word autonomy is a combination of two Greek terms signifying self (auto) and governance (nomos). There are two popular meanings in everyday usage. One, self-sufficiency, the ability to take care of oneself or itself and two, self-directedness, the freedom from outside control.  The truth is there could be nothing worse for the public than relying on a fully autonomous driving technology.  The problem with strong silent automation is that it fails to communicate effectively those things that would allow humans to work interdependently with it.  In this scenario no signals are offered that allow the operators to predict or control what the vehicle is or will be doing.  It's the smart machine that can't tell you what it's doing, why it is doing something or when it will be finished.  What would be more frustrating or fearful than an operating system that is incapable of responding to human direction or common sense when something goes wrong in the driving environment. This concept of self-directedness and self-sufficiency is being measured on the single ordering scale of increasing levels of driverless autonomy. We have now entered level three where drivers shifts safety critical functions to vehicle under certain traffic or environmental conditions and are told to expect level five shortly where a fully auto system is equal to that of a diver in every driving situation.  There needs to be a more wholesome view about autonomy where effective teamwork involves task distribution and where AI systems support and enhance each member's performance. A good autonomous driverless system is not autonomous.  No entity or person is capable enough to be able to perform competently in every task and situation. Car manufacturers should review how they are selling their belief in the linear progression of technology and complexity as it applies to the five levels of driverless automation. Technology has unintended consequences. Sometimes they are large and it is worth trying to figure them out ahead of time.

Roy Amara, U.S. scientist and futurist, penned the adage, "People tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run." There is a peak of inflated expectations followed by a trough of disillusionment.

The car industry tends to overestimate how quickly Level 5 autonomy will come and how widespread Level 4 autonomy will become in the near future. Despite their frothy predictions of imminent road infrastructure adjustments and car computer improvements helping move massive change to an autonomous driving tipping point the public shouldn't regarded these prognostications as inevitable. The marketers see only the technical possibilities not the resistance that will come when the autonomous agents inhabit more human spaces and encroach on the civility between drivers and pedestrians. Societal friction between the haves, the Level 4 drivers in the HOV lanes, and the have-nots driving level 0-1 vehicles in the other lanes may well occur as alienation and resentment between differing groups of drivers ramp up in the transition to  self-driving cars.

Can levels of government and the public get behind the grand plan to have multi-standardized autonomous driving and Ai technology competing on our roadways? Major cities have not been able to fully automate mass transit systems without accident yet now we are asked to have faith in individual consumers who might have the training and competency to operate self-driving cars safely in a mixed car environment? It hardly seems possible.

What further stretches our imagination is whether drivers will be willing to relinquish control of the vehicle to Ai in circumstances where a 'right' ethical decision needs to be made. We are potential entering into a moral quagmire by relying heavily on engineered decision making.  Take the example of a fully autonomous car that needs to adjust the car's position to avoid hitting a pedestrian. How does the car decide to do less or more harm to the pedestrian or the driver. Who sets up the ethical parameters of the outcome, the car manufacturer or you? How do you program such a decision into an algorithm? What data could the Ai access to process such a decision? If there was a fatality who should be criminally punished, the driver, the pedestrian or the programmer? Industry pundits will argue that we should give control to the machines because they are much better at the task of driving vehicles with out killing people. The distracted, the incompetent and the impaired drivers will kill many more than Ai in autonomous cars. This may be a fair counter argument to any moral conundrums concerning self-driving cars.  Humans use common sense and reasoning powers that we apply and most of the time we do the right thing. Computers are lacking in common sense and can't anticipate everything that can happen on the road.  Can manufacturers successfully develop the driver/Ai partnership or 'team effort approach' for the operation of autonomous vehicles on our roadways? Honda believes that supportive, learning Ai, like we might see in Honda's automated network assistant, HANA will be part of the foundation for the collaborative driving experiment that will taking place in the public square soon. I don't think I'm alone about being concerned about the car type blend on the roads during the up coming transition period. One hopes that manufacturers, consumers and the various levels of government complete the right amount testing before granting Level 4 and 5 self-driving vehicles the right to travel on our roadways.

Until next time

Macky




Midland Honda's New Phone App

 

I just downloaded Midland Honda's new phone app from Apple to my iPhone and I feel that I'm truly part of the Midland Honda family and can now start calling Richard Davies, Uncle Rich. One more step in the process of bringing all Honda owners together and providing every customer a fuller more satisfying experience.

 

During the past seven years the smart phone has increasingly opened the technological door for convenient comparative shopping and investigation. Digital grazing has become the focus of customer interaction with online business organizations.  The challenge for Midland Honda is to capture and integrate more of these cell phone interactions into a coherent consumer decision journey where these micro moments, which are represented by many interactive experiences, can be harnessed by the car dealership. The Midland Honda app will hopefully offer both the consumer and the dealership a mutually beneficial experience over the lifetime of their journey together.  It will change the way we shop for vehicles, service our vehicles and consult with staff. Consider the present version of the Midland Honda app as the first great step in having a Midland Honda info blanket right at your fingertips. Moving forward you will see changes that reflect technological innovations that will allow consumers to have a more immersive experience with an application that will cross over to many other customer devices. Today you need to earn the customers' consideration or action moment by moment. A brand app must make it easier for a smart phone user to find answers quickly and accurately. The Honda Midland app has been designed to achieve these goals.

 

The average car purchaser makes just two visits to the dealership before purchasing a new or used vehicle. Before setting foot in the showroom customers have formed opinions due to their research online. They are now relying on micro moments to help select the perfect vehicle for their needs. Consumers are heavily influenced by YouTube videos from OEMs, traditional expert industry reviewers and homegrown viewpoints. Individual showcase reels or comparative head to head showdowns leave both subtle and striking impressions in the minds of the consumer. Depending on the source they can be accurate, false or misleading. A successful branded dealer app should offer links to support and reinforce accurate online product representations and shed light on inaccurate reporting.  An app can assist in the decision to become a customer or remain a customer. There are presently four basic things that an app must do for the consumer. The app must 'Be There' with info, model descriptions with text, stills and video for new and used inventory. The app must 'Be useful' to make service appointments, value a trade in and make the mobile experience as easy as the desktop experience.  The App should strive to 'Be experiential', link with social media and develop virtual or augmented reality experiences for the consumer. The app should 'Be quick', navigation should be fast and frictionless linking to valid content.   

 

The new generation of vehicle buyers expects to do business with dealerships online seamlessly. In today's mobile-driven world dealerships must not only adapt to mobile technology but continue to enable the sales and service departments to respond to the expectations of this growing percentage of their customer base. A dealership app can improve the business/customer relationship, drive future sales growth and foster customer retention. These goals can be leveraged through CRM, customer relationship management.

 

CRM is a term that refers to practices, strategies and technologies used by a business to manage all the company's relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers throughout the customer lifecycle. A CRM car dealership system is designed to compile customer emails, phone calls, vehicle work flow tasks and social media interactions that are archived then organized in order to create a more complete customer profile. I will hazard a guess and say that the ultimate goal of Midland Honda's future third generation app will be to help create a 360 degree view of a customer in as close to real time as possible.

 

The app works because it becomes the social agent, the direct pipeline to the needs and desires of the customer. Midland Honda's app can and will increasingly improve on the following functions.

 

Social publishing: Pushing new apps, social media to client. Will allow for calendaring of shared events, encourages content sharing and management

 

Social engagement: Monitoring and listening ability to respond to social network users, maintenance of single view of customer, customer service.

 

Social analytics apps: use of data mining, natural language processing and text analytics to gain insight into what is being said between customer and dealership

 

Social networking selling opportunities: Call to customer action, purchase, service activity.

 

Product/Service advocacy: Identify and grow relationships with product advocates and discounts.

 

The next big challenge for Honda is to integrate cell phone generated interactions with multiple technology platforms. There will be a move away from just silo based information gathering and sharing into the full integration of dealership apps with text messaging and consumer devices such as laptops, tablets, watches, glasses and of course Honda vehicles. Honda will integrate apps with the Internet of things and they will successfully manage the customer relationship across all device channels simultaneously.  I'm hopeful that in ten years time Peter and Richard will become Honda's northern gateway for personal robotic assistants, by then my wife and I could be living with a valued member of the Midland Honda family!

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukkah everyone!

 

Until Next time

 

Macky

 

P.S.  info gathered from: 1.) CRM: The Foundation of Contemporary Marketing Strategy by Robert J. Galka & Roger j. Baran 2016 Routledge

2.) Micro-Moments Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile by Google


Midland Honda 2nd Annual Customer Appreciation Movie Night!



The word was out last year. Families had so much fun at the first Midland Honda customer appreciation night they were pleased to be reminded this year that Peter, Richard and the Midland Honda team were ready to do it again with a little more pizzazz! If the dealership's giant posters didn't pique your interest in the event then the personal invitations surely got all the new and returning customers excited about making the short journey to the edge of town for some old fashion fun on a super late summer's evening.

 

How nice it was to have clear warm weather for the 6pm start of the festivities. This year Midland Honda staff greeted cars and trucks with tickets for popcorn and drinks as well as a ticket to be entered into a draw to win a Platinum Detailing Package valued at $300.00. With approximately 115 cars showing up by 9pm the odds were good to win a complete refresh for your vehicle.  

 

I noticed last year the kids loved to play under the big screen before the first movie. Just tossing a ball or Frisbee to one another was a joy to watch. It must have been quite a nice surprise for them this year when out popped three Minions to mingle and dance with them on the lot. Let's not forget Mable Moon, the face painter, who added the comical minions and other designs to their faces. The giant soccer ball game certainly did help burn off lots of youthful energy. In short, everyone was happy and having a blast while waiting for dusk to come along.

 

Anticipation in the popcorn line was evenly balanced between thinking about receiving the heavenly popped buttered corn along with the soda fountain drink and making it back to the car before Despicable Me 3 started. Patience, patience you say. It is a hard virtue to swallow when you're an eight year old in the middle of the line. Well, most patrons made it back to the comfort of their Hondas by 9pm just as the animated hijinks began on the big screen.  The kids will always remember these good times just like I did so many years ago. Making good memories that will be carried through life might well be the new motto for Midland Honda.

 

By 10:30 pm the first movie was coming to a close and I bet some of the youngsters were yawning or already in La La Land.  As the intermission commenced the parents were a little more alert, probably searching for their winning platinum detail ticket that had somehow got wedged between the front seat and the center storage bin.  A bit of anticipation for the parents as well.  The radio announced the winning number but not everyone heard it of course because they were busy in line for another round of popcorn and cold pop. Others were still in the dark and curious about who got lucky that night, I mean who had the winning number.  Finally, one customer came up to Midland Honda's brand ambassador, Michelle Allan, and said she had missed the announcement, her mother said, "you'd better go over there and check it out".  So she did and to her amazement her number matched wonderfully to the winning ticket.  Excellent car care will now be only an appointment away.

 

The Wonder Woman saga was a fitting movie then to end the evening's entertainment. Thank you for expressing your positive feedback and appreciation to Peter, Richard, Michelle and the Midland Honda staff.  Midland Honda was very happy to celebrate another successful evening with our customers at the Midland Drive In Theatre!

 

Until next time, Macky.


 

Is it time to purchase new tires from Midland Honda?

Spring is just around the corner and so is your Midland Honda appointment for the winter tire swap. It's a nice seasonal ritual that transitions the car and driver into the better weather and more comfortable driving conditions.  It may also be time for some of you to consider replacing your older all season tires with a new set from Midland Honda. 

Tires should be considered as one of the most important stability control systems on a vehicle because they transfer braking and driving from the vehicle to the pavement. Modern tires last longer and offer superior fuel efficiency; however, even with improvements in their long-term durability tires do have a set life span.  Problems caused by the breakdown of rubber components starting between the fifth and sixth year of the tire will create safety issues when the tires are asked to perform at highway speeds or with heavy workloads.

Tire degradation depends on many factors. The type of driving you do, under or over inflation of the tires, car or truck load, climate, road hazards, improper maintenance (not completed at Midland Honda), structural defects in the tire and tread wear. The driving public is well aware of these pitfalls to the health and longevity of the tire, but there is one less noticeable factor that debilitates tires from the inside out.  Oxidation is the enemy of rubber and despite the fact that you're not racking up many kilometres, you drive with a light foot and your monthly visual walk around inspection shows no wear and tear your ageing tires will still become a road hazard at the six year mark.

Joanne Will, car columnist for the Globe & Mail, I think says it best, "Unlike port or a fine single malt whisky, tires don't improve with age. Whether they're attached to a vehicle or stored in the cellar tires do degrade over time"

Tires age from the inside out and when the rubber on the inside of your tires becomes hard and non-flexible it starts to crack. The cracking makes the inner rubber layers of the tire delaminate from the steel belts. The most common consequence of these changes is a blown tire, a damaged wheel and a crashed vehicle. These inevitable changes can be hastened by the quality of the inner butyl rubber liner, which helps slow down the rate of oxidation.  A cheaper tire may skimp on the quality of the liner and allow for greater oxidation when the tires are heavily loaded or when the tires become hotter with increased speed.

Each tire sidewall is date stamped at the end of the Tire Identification Number (TIN). After the string of letters and numbers you will see the last four digits. The first two digits represent the week of manufacture and the last two numbers represent the year the tire was made.  When you do buy new tires check this code. Tires that have been sitting on the rack unsold for two years should not be sold to you, they should be sent back to the manufacturer.  Stale new tires will become hazardous in less time than you think.

There is nothing stale about Midland Honda's tire inventory. Please discuss the health of your tires with the knowledgeable service staff at the store so that you can complete the winter tire swap with a little more peace of mind!

Until next time

Macky.

 
2017 Honda Civic Si

Racing has been a core part of Honda's DNA for over sixty years and this year Honda has gone to great lengths to offer different shades of that racing heritage in their Civic line-up. The heart of a racecar is evident in the U.K. produced Civic Hatch Sport the awesome Civic Type R and in the North American designed Civic Si. If you are a person who loves cars than one of these Civics will sharpen your senses and improve your driving skills.

The unveiling of the 10th generation Civic Si has kicked off a vigorous debate amongst Civic Si fans about whether this new version of Honda's affordable racer is indeed an improvement over previous models and more importantly does the 2017 Si match up to the competition. There seems to be a great deal of concern expressed on blogs, like CivicX.com, about the lack of performance which is based on the less than sizzling horse power "HP" figures announced in Honda's roll out of the car. The HP and torque numbers were not that surprising for the Si fan base who may have been dreaming of a de-tuned 2.0 litre Turbo Type R engine for the Si. The Civic Type R definitely raised the bar of expectations for Si fans and this has led to some disappointment and confusion on where the Si model is going even before the cars become available for sale.  Not only was 205 HP and 192 lb. ft. of torque less than awe inspiring, the adoption of turbo technology has been seen, by some die hard Si aficionados, as blasphemous.  They believe that Turbo technologies shouldn't be part of the Si bloodline. Hey now… these are of course the super-enthusiasts!

When cars had carburetors the novelty of fuel injection was worth marketing and Honda played up the association of Sports cars and engine tech in the mantra 'Si' or Sports Injected. This term became synonymous with Honda's high revving VTEC engines that symbolized the strength of the brand. Si owners enjoyed the scream of the engine as peak power output was achieved at high RPMs. Car tuning magazines and after market products helped support the notion that Si culture was primarily about high rpms at top speed. The introduction of the 1.5 Liter turbo engine into the Si world then has been a shock to the prevailing belief system.  The old engine scream has been replaced by the new sound of the turbo spool up and the engine output is now achieved at a lower RPM.  Those shaking their heads at this change complain that the new Si will not be able to compete with the likes of the 220 HP VW GTI, the 252 HP Ford Focus ST or the 268 HP Subaru WRX.  Well, maybe not in a straight drag race, but the new Si was not designed and powered to be a straight-line street racer.  I'm sure that the 'fast and the furious' contingent of the Si owners group will use after market parts on the 2017 Si to achieve higher HP outputs and in the end will be satisfied with their modifications, or maybe they will consider moving up to the 300 HP Civic Type R. The upgrade would be more money up front but that said you would be able to achieve dependable extreme grunt off the line without worrying about paying for non-factory engine modifications.  

Honda has made a conscious effort to make the 2017 Civic Si a great every day performance car. Fun doesn't have to be expensive.  There are many features in the 2017 Si that make it a more balanced road handling car than its competitors with more HP.  Honda engineers have been focused on creating a Civic Si engine that has a very favourable power to weight ratio in order to optimize driver engagement and chassis dynamics. Having a smaller 1.5-liter engine helps keep the curb weight down to under 2,900 lbs. This is very good in comparison to other manufacturers in this market segment. A lighter car that is not nose heavy is more balanced going into and out of corners. The Si has a different flavour of performance, it is meant to feel more nimble and precise. The adaptive dampers work in conjunction with 30% more rigid stabilizing bars up front and 60% more rigid bars in the back. The Civic Si has solid front and rear compliance bushings and ultra-rigid front upper control arms that it shares with the Civic Type R.  The suspension in the normal or default driving mode initiates a ride that is more comfort oriented yet well controlled while in the Sports mode the suspension damping characteristics plus steering and throttle response are adjusted for a more taut and direct driving experience. 

Engage Sport mode when you feel like hunting for the perfect corner apex. As you enter that apex the large, 12.3 inch front disc brakes will have finished setting up your turn… you quickly downshift, then turbo your Civic Si around and out of the corner in the mid range of your power band. Peak horsepower arrives 1300 rpm lower in rev range than the previous Si engine and the increased peak torque is produced at 2300 rpm earlier and this is sustained over 70% of the rev range. A driver's smile is guaranteed after negotiating your favourite corner with the short throw six-speed gearbox!

Any accurate cornering would cause G-forces that could only be subdued by the impressive Si badged bolstered driver and passenger seats. The sport seat with the red stitching locks the driver comfortably into a good driving position.  Feeling great while driving makes the experience memorable. Looking great in a Civic with a little zing is also good for the soul.  Honda has injected sports car cues inside the cabin to set this Civic in the race zone.  The red sports stich carries through on the doors, the steering wheel and leather shift boot. The shift knob is aluminum and so are the driver's pedals. Dry metal Carbon trim is used to accent dash and door areas. The list of car operating features is comparable to Honda's touring trim level but two things stuck out as being new for the Si, remote engine start and walk away door locking. I'm puzzled about the remote start with a manual transmission.  I will always remember starting a sporty manual four banger in gear without depressing the clutch, whoa!  Lurching the car forward is an embarrassing surprise. Honda must have a secret way.

The whole line-up of 2017 Civics appears to me to have been sport injected. You can see the low slung aggressive stance with sleek lines both in the coupe or Sedan.  The pinched in side panel under the door centerline just makes the Civic look like it going to pounce its way down the thoroughfare.  The Civic Si brings more sportiness to the table with a front aero package that brings the car closer to the ground. The 18 inch two tone alloy wheels, with lower profile tires really enhance the race feel for the side profile. LED headlights and taillights will make the Civic Si a real head turner on the highway.

Choosing either the Civic Si sedan or coupe could be the toughest decision one makes if you are in the market for this hot Civic.  You may feel like that James Hinchcliffe looking actor in the Honda ad with his wife in the passenger seat. Your dreaming I want this to be a monster green two-door coupe that I can eventually drive at Mosport. What traction, what acceleration, what fun…and then you realize that you also need to make room for a couple of kids, so you decide in favour of the black four door sedan and get a little more practicality without losing any of the performance or handling! Both the Honda Civic Si Sedan and Coupe have the heart of a racecar!

I'm looking forward to test driving the 2017 Civic Si from Midland Honda. Soon after I will probably mention to Richard Davies, "I just had a phenomenal drive!"

Until next time

Macky

         

When was the last time you saw a silver hubcap lying in the brown grass near the side of the road. Back in the day I suppose you would have seen many and if you were very lucky you would have seen a full sized maroon Mercury Marquis lose one while careening around a corner. That was always amusing to watch. The cap flying off, rolling and teetering to a unknown resting place. Sadly today this sort of humor has left the byways of our great province primarily because most car manufactures wrap their tires around aluminum wheels instead of steel wheels.

Now let it be said that steel wheels are still offered on lower trim models and most people who have winter tires put them on steel rims. A heavier rim creates more un-sprung weight and this helps the rubber bite the snow harder. Having a car with dampened acceleration and agility and a lower centre of gravity helps promote the sense of control and certainty while driving in poor winter conditions.

We are now ready to cast off the steel rims that have helped us through the winter months in favour of the most appealing, light and sporty aluminum wheels that Midland Honda has stored away for you. Time to pump the tires with nitrogen and get back some of the agility and acceleration that your Civic Si or touring Accord was designed to show.

Some people have shoe fetishes while others have rim obsessions. I can relate to those drivers who find that hot wheels make and finish the look of a sedan, an SUV, a truck or a hatchback. Even a Honda Odyssey looks better in a sporty set of wheels! All manufacturers have been improving the look of their wheels for many years. It is now a common practice for companies to create rad wheel design patterns thereby upping the ante in the war to attract customers. Its a given that if the rim looks fast and sporty then the wheels on that Honda Fit could help break the Nurburgring's sub-compact car lap record! It is a visual tease, but I like it.  The thing is, Honda doesn't design and make these important visual components for their cars. Just like many other parts, like electric harnesses or air bags, wheels are made by OEMs (Original Equipment Manufactures). Honda contracts the wheel manufacturing to companies such as Enkei and BBS.  Valued OEM partners that help shape the success of each Honda model. 

OEMs rely on their ability to drive down the cost of production through economies of scale. Using an OEM allows Honda to obtain needed components or products without owning and operating a factory. Unlike the American big three - GM, Ford and Chrysler, where suppliers continually battle the manufacturer on price, design, quality and delivery, Honda has a supplier relationship based on 'Keiretsu'. Close knit networks of vendors that continuously learn, improve and prosper along with the parent company. This model, born in the culture and society of Japan, has been successfully replicated in the Honda supplier webs in North America. Consequently, Honda enjoys some of the best supplier relations in the N.A. auto industry, maintaining the fastest product development processes, reduced costs and improved quality year after year.  The new Honda CRV's greatness is due in part because Keiretsu creates innovation and cost effectiveness that is passed on to the consumer. In other words Honda provides the customer more than what is expected for the vehicle's price.

Enkei produces a lot of wheels for Honda and they also make wheels for the after-market buyer. Their relationship with Honda engineers and designers is shrouded in mystery. It is difficult to discover who or what team of people is in charge of this important design challenge. I have learned that Honda and Toyota engineers give their tire suppliers vague specifications for new tires. Honda doesn't spell out the level of resistance it expects from a tire, it will only say that the tire has to have the right feel and that it will be adjusted as the vehicle is designed. Toyota's engineers have developed special words to describe the effect of tires on passengers. They use gotsu gotsu to refer to the low-frequency, high impact motions tires transmit to passengers' lower backs and buru buru to describe the high-frequency, low-impact vibrations they feel in their belly. Each company expects suppliers to understand and translate their terminology to identify design solutions.*

 I can imagine Honda asking an Enkei engineer, we need a light-weight, stiff, aluminum alloy wheel that says Hayaku Hayaku (fast faster) to the consumer.  Enkei, using their Durville Die Casting and MAT process would turn out a daring design that would have the technical OEM specs suitable for the Civic R.  The engineering and design process between Honda, the tire OEM and Enkie would be an interesting video for Honda to share with its customer base. Let's hope Honda World starts producing some entertaining and informative vignettes for their web site.

Until next time …Macky

*Harvard Business Review: Building deep supplier relationships, Jeffrey Liker, Thomas Y. Choi



Counting on Honda's Service 
Network

 The cottage life experience can be more than warm lake water, barbecues, games and bug bites. Lynn and I found out how much more the other weekend when we were heading home from our friend's cottage on Lake Shawanaga near Parry Sound. The cottage is at the end of Running Bear road. A twisty, up and down dirt track that was pockmarked by water, rocks and sticks, about one and a half cars wide. We were taking it easy, following our host in his Nissan SUV, stopping occasionally to close road gates. The end of the 5Km was almost reached when we heard, "Thump, Thump, Thump", from the rear of the car. Stop we did and I hopped out to check the source of the wheel-well noise. Wow, a very large steel spike had punctured the middle of the tire and one end of the spike was almost through the tire's sidewall. Hmm, what to do? Yanking on it didn't seem to help and it was just as well that I didn't pursue this line of investigation. Needed the tire to remain inflated for a little while yet. We proceeded, driving gingerly on the last of the dirt road to Lorimer Rd to a point just across from the Tim Horton's Memorial Camp. Our friend suggested a towing company in Parry Sound that we could call and I replied that from this point onwards we would be relying on Honda Road side assistance to get our car safely on the road again!

Checking my Midland Honda key fob I found the 1-800 roadside assistance number and then dialed them up. A pleasant woman from Quebec took my call and asked first if I was O.K. then what the problem was. Soon she began to zero in on where I was parked. Honda can find your location by your cell phone co-ordinates, but we relied on Google maps, the road name and the Tim Horton's camp location. The operator dispatched a towing company from Parry Sound and guaranteed that they would be fixing my car in 55 minutes. Presto, the gears were in motion to fix the tire. All I really had to do was remember to complete the Honda satisfaction survey that was to be emailed to me in a couple of days. That was easy.

Well, it was a nice afternoon so I decided to take the cooler out of the back and start preparing the spare for the service guy. I unraveled the tools and placed the car jack under the jack lift point just forward of the bad tire. I looked at the small 'J'tire iron and thought I should have packed my iron cross. It's more substantial and it would allow for more leverage for the removal of the wheel lugs. A passing thought for a driver who probably could have changed the wheel on a nice summer day but decided to take the easy way out. I'm glad I did.

Jonah from Constable Towing and Recovery arrived fifty minutes later. He immediately brought over a professional garage jack, an electric air pump, a cordless impact driver and a professional torque wrench for the lug nuts.  Jonah topped up the pressure on the skinny spare then proceeded to swap the tires. While tightening the nuts back on the car he explained that if you do use the supplied car jack you need to block the front tires to prevent the car from rolling. He also mentioned the lug nut tightening procedure with the wheel off the ground and on the ground. Most importantly he did remind me that I should only travel around 80Km per hour and when on the 400 use my emergency flashers to warn trucks they were approaching a slow vehicle. Some good tips from the young dude who finished the job in twenty minutes. We were on our way back to Midland Honda for a tire replacement at an uncomfortably slow speed.

I was travelling between 80-90 km per hour in the slow lane and constantly looking in my rear view mirror for faster traffic. This was a challenge on the 400 series highway and I found myself wide-eyed at some lug heads that made the decision to change lanes just before clipping my rear bumper. I think the big rigs appreciated the hazard light heads up. Well, we made it and rolled into Midland Honda on a Monday afternoon and the store was super-busy as usual.

Being busy has never stood in the way of Midland Honda's service desk working with you quickly to solve your car issue. Steve House had my tire rolled over to the parts desk where Mike Safko and a repair technician shook their heads at the nasty spike. My Dunlop tire was unfortunately not in stock and a replacement tire couldn't be ordered for delivery until the following day. This was a problem for us because we were heading back to Toronto.  Mike started diligently working the phone and the computer checking other dealerships between Midland and Toronto and found that Bolton Honda had my tire. With contact info in hand we left in a dash to get to Bolton before closing time. Mike's Honda networking was more than just finding out where I could find a tire at a dealership. His conversation with Cameron Lynch, the service advisor, at Bolton Honda guaranteed that a valued Midland Honda client would be taken care of before their closing time.

Did I say 80 km max speed; well let's just say the spare performed beautifully at 95Km per hour. Cameron kept a technician past 5:15 pm and we were able to have our new tire replaced and the car washed by 6:30. It was a great client hand off between two Honda dealerships. Looking back on the day the Honda experience was a seamless series of successful handoffs from the first contact with Madame Roadside assistant to the moment I shook Cameron's hand and said thank you for your service. The Honda/ Client touch points were definitely enhanced because we had the tire and rim repair and replacement insurance on the CRV. This coverage reduced my repair costs considerably. You tend to forget about the tire and rim coverage but when accidents do happen you remember and say to yourself, no problem.

Let me review the costs without protection. My new Dunlop tire retails at about $245.00 plus tax. Installation would have been around $20.00. Total cost - $265.00 plus tax. With my plan I paid Bolton Honda $69.00 plus tax as a result of the damaged tire's depreciated value caused by tire wear. There would have been no cost to me at all if the tire had been fairly new. Consider this scenario. Let's say that I had picked up that spike on the 400 and shredded the tire at speed causing rim damage. A new touring CVR rim is $400.00 and so the cost keeps climbing to $750.00 tax in. Hard to believe a fifty-cent spike can have that much impact on your bank account.

I paid $400.00 for my 48-month tire and rim repair and replace insurance package. The plan keeps working throughout the term, even if you have multiple tire or rim failures. Car rental and accommodation expenses are also available if necessary. Purchasing my tire and rim insurance was the right decision for me when I leased Furyossa from Midland Honda. Yes, that's right, my copper coloured CRV is named Furyossa. Now, after our summer driving adventure, my little beasty is lookin' good, driving well and ready for more country miles near cottage country. Next stop, Bark Lake for a fishing excursion with some friends. 

I hope everyone has good driving experiences this summer but if you do have a car problem away from home feel confident that you can rely on the Honda roadside service network and Midland Honda to help get you and your family where they need to go.

Until next time….Macky

 

 

Midland Weather Alert

Snow squalls expected to develop. Roads partly ice covered with bare and wet conditions with an increased likelihood that roads will be snow covered by dawn! Yikes…its back even before you have raked up all of the fallen leaves and finished your last pumpkin spiced latte. 

For me this transitional time of year is marked by daylight savings, Remembrance Day and varied weather and road conditions.  Remembering our fallen warriors on November 11th is the most important event this time of year and the time we take to pause and reflect on their sacrifice is the least we can do. 

The mindset moving into the winter could be summed up as remembering not only our civic obligations but also remembering how to keep our families safe and comfortable while travelling during the winter months.  I can't stress enough how important it is to your vehicle winterized by the qualified service staff at Midland Honda before experiencing another snow belt winter in the Midland area.

Get your vehicle winter-ready with a maintenance check-up. Don't wait for winter to have your tires, battery, belts, hoses, radiator, oil, lights, brakes, exhaust system, heater/defroster, wipers and ignition system checked. Make sure that your vehicle is mechanically ready for winter conditions. Keep your fuel tank sufficiently full - at least half a tank is recommended. Always be sure you have sufficient windshield washer fluid in the reservoir. You may wish to keep an extra jug in the vehicle.

Have your tires checked before winter begins. Remember to check tire air pressure frequently, as it decreases in cold weather. Also, double-check the tightness of each tire's wheel nuts to ensure your tires have not come loose; this is especially important for those who seasonally change their winter and all-season tires. The condition of your vehicle's tires is important. Worn or damaged tires can affect your ability to drive safely. It is best to replace tires before the tread depth reaches the regulatory minimum of 1.5 mm.  Studies indicate that a 3 mm deep tread can stop a vehicle on wet pavement in a 25% shorter distance than a tire with a 1.5 mm deep tread. Drivers should check the manufacturer's wear indicator mark on tires to see if they need replacing. All tires have tread wear indicators, which are small bars of rubber found between the tread blocks of a tire. When the tread is worn flush with the tread wear indicators, the tire has reached its wear limit and must be replaced as it no longer provides sufficient traction in the rain or snow. Regular or all-season tires, including wide and high-performance tires, may be adequate in some areas, but may not be suitable for driving in the Midland Snow Belt region. If you live and drive in this area, consider using winter tires. They provide better traction, braking and handling during frost, snow, slush, and particularly under icy conditions. Installing four winter tires provides greater control and stability. Never mix tires of different tread, size and construction. Also, consider traction and stability control options when selecting your next Honda vehicle.

You may think you don't need winter tires because your car has all-seasons,  but truthfully, if you live somewhere that actually has all the seasons, you need winter tires.

All-season tires braking on snow pack take on average five feet more road to stop than winter tires. Five feet may mean the difference between a fender bender and an accident-free winter. Braking distances on snow may be the best reason to fit a set of winter tires on your car.

Many balk at the cost associated with winter tires; not just the rubber but the fitting or the second set of wheels. The fact that winter-tire use extends the life of summer tires is often overlooked. Yes, soft winter compounds wear faster than summer or all-season tires, but the benefits of safe handling and accident prevention are well worth the investment, no matter which winter tires you purchase.  Additionally, some insurers offer a 5% discount on your auto policy if you use winter tires. This time of year Midland Honda is offering economical tire and rim packages that will work within your budget.

To remember is a choice to keep remembering is a commitment!

Till next time

Macky

Honda Civic-R Design


 

30 years ago I don't think many people would have said Honda builds excitement.  Even though Honda was always successful with auto and motorcycle racing their racing heritage was never fully realized in a passenger car until the debut of the 2017 Honda Civic-R.  I would humbly say that this is the hottest looking hatch back on the market right now.  Sure, the Civic-R exterior design is on steroids, but this forward leaning design shows that Honda is more than ready to be the industry leader in car design.  Consider the Civic-R as the flag bearer for all other Honda models that are being refined or newly designed for 2017.  I believe that Honda's current design vision is to create cars that are exciting to view and fun to experience.  A design philosophy established by Soichiro Honda and currently expressed by Daisuke Tsutamori, the lead exterior designer for the Civic R.

Mr. Honda had some requirements for good design*. Universality: basic body forms remain even after yearly versions.  Innovation: be ahead of the design curve, design should always be fresh. Service Orientation: design must align with the trends in human society and of the era. The design must be a symphony appreciated visually that incorporates shapes, lines and colours that create a personality that is the most amazing at present.  Although balance and harmony should be highly regarded, one should not be pre-occupied with a design unity in order to please everybody. True design should elevate the appeal and beauty of any dissonant parts while also having them completely satisfy the requirements for practicality.  Soichiro also believed that design is about understanding what it takes to be loved, in other words how can a designer please people and make them fall in love with your product. 

Mr. Tsutamori's design for the Civic-R elevate defines the notion that form and function are one. The efficient design reflects a car developed to perform at speed.  A purposeful stance and a focus on aerodynamics ensure high speed stability and high down force.  Every feature of the external design has a meaning, and all of the features are functional.  The improved driving performance requires a wider front with trapezoidal lower air intakes for aerodynamic control and brake cooling.  The front splitter attached to the bumper helps reduce lift and directs air across the flat bottom to the rear aero diffuser.  A striking rear airfoil has been wind tunnel designed to optimize down force without a significant increase in drag at higher speeds.  The rear wing is functional and dazzling and it serves another secondary purpose. Mr. Tsutamori comments, "from a non-functional, non-designer perspective - it looks pretty bad ass", and that my friends, is one reason why some car enthusiasts will fall in love with this vehicle.  

Today, the sporty and dynamic Civic and Civic-R designs embody the lessons of the past and incorporate new remarkable, innovative and distinctive design features that provide the customer a 'Honda experience' that will surely enrich their life's story.

Until next time

Macky

*Shin'ya Nagasawa, Wasenda Business & Economic Studies,  Design Management Seen at Honda, Permeating a Design Mindset, 2013

The Power of Dreams

 

Honda Canada and Midland Honda are poised to harness the power of dreams to realize and fulfill distinct goals in 2017 and it all starts with the 'Honda Way'. The Joy of creating quality products that have a positive impact on all our lives is the Honda Way.

Midland Honda has just announced that the new Honda dealership store will be located at the corner of Jones Rd and Highway 12! Right across from the new LCBO. Plans are now underway to build a store that will be beautiful and energy efficient. The premium design will create a modern environment that will engage clients, providing them with a high level of service that is convenient and trusted. The Midland Honda staff will be working together to make this dream a reality by 2020!

The CR-V is celebrating its 20th anniversary and the dream of the fifth generation model becoming #1 in sales and customer appreciation is very reasonable when you consider that the 2017 CR-V is a brand new vehicle from top to bottom. Honda has pulled out all the stops to retain its leadership position in this market segment.

The 2015 CR-V won Motor Trend's Golden Caliper award for the best SUV. Honda's achievements were based on a careful reworking of the best seller, executed with typical Honda thoughtfulness. It was a winner that showed that the economical family car with a good dose of fun factor could maintain its market leadership. During 2016, the competition in this SUV segment was substantial. Toyota's Rav4, Nissan Rogue and the Ford Escape, to name a few, were all looking to be named best of breed. For 2017 Honda rightly decided to retire the 2015 repackaging strategy in favour of a plan that defined class above benchmarks. The commitment to re-define this SUV and raise the bar for consumers meant that the new CR-V components were created for the Civic platform.

The new CR-V's wheelbase is 4 cm longer and it is 3.5 cm taller and wider. This creates the feeling that the car has a larger exterior presence. Coupling this visual weight with sharper body lines and slightly flared wheel arches creates an overall impression of aggressive sportiness. The larger overall size yields improvements in the interior space - improved passenger seating legroom and a larger cargo area. The 60/40 back seats now fold flat to the rear cargo floor, which also can be raised or lowered to accommodate goods that need to be stacked in the back…a great new storage feature for 2017.

The body structure is stronger yet lighter. Overall car weight has dropped 26 kg. The C-RV, which utilizes the Civic chassis has been revised to provide less body roll and greater noise reduction. The multi-link rear suspension has a floating sub-frame that better isolates and reduces road noise. Fluid filled bushings also reduce road noise and harshness. Other car handling improvements include: a more powerful braking system and a quicker variable electric steering rack that requires less steering wheel rotation from lock to lock position - this means more precise steering at lower speeds.

Honda is offering the upper trim models the new 1.5 L turbo charged engine that outputs 190 hp and 179 lb feet of torque. Power is coupled to a newly designed CVT transmission that mimics traditional stepped-gear transmissions. I think this could be more of a psychological enhancement for the driver. The new CR-V power train has more get up and go and better handling at speed. Wheel slip caused by varying road and weather conditions is virtually eliminated by a newly designed AWD system. More power can now be sent to the back wheels when necessary. I always wondered how the power was being distributed to the wheels in my 2016 CR-V. Well wonder no more folks, Honda has added an instrument panel monitor that graphically shows the torque spread to all wheels. A fun digital gauge that CR-V drivers can observe while driving on a back country road.

Digital is now the operative word when describing the rest of the dash instrumentation on the upper trim CR-V models. Clean, bright and modern. Honda's sensing suite of safety features that help avoid on coming objects and lane departures now include driver monitoring. If the car notices that you are ready to have a micro sleep while driving a dash alarm lights up. A steaming cup of coffee is the symbol used to inform you of your tiredness. I predict that the 2018 CR-V will infuse the cabin air with the scent of freshly brewed coffee if you start to nod off. That was easy, now I'm awake.

A lot of new car reviewers are praising Honda for listening to their customers' complaints about radio volume control on the 2015-16 CR-V radio. This year the 2017 CR-V has added a volume knob to the new 8-inch infotainment screen. I'm just glad they have up-graded the navigation system to Garmin.

The list of new features goes on: Apple Car Play and Android Audio for the Entertainment system, more comfortable electric seats, even the co-pilot can have one now, better centre armrest storage area, 2 USB power jacks for passengers in the back row, low speed adaptive cruise control for stop and go situations, remote engine start, electric parking brake - three cheers for Honda, for removing the mechanical cumbersome brake by your left foot, heated steering wheel and heated back seats! This is just incredible. The CR-V is way out in front of the competition for 2017. Honda has definitely set a new benchmark for the mid-sized SUV. The dream has become a reality.

The Midland Honda Dream of a new home is just off the ground. Peter, Richard and the rest of the Midland Honda staff will be sharing more information about what will take shape on Jones Road in the months to come. Exciting times for Honda customers are about to commence.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Macky

Honda Civic-R design

 

30 years ago I don't think many people would have said Honda builds excitement.  Even though Honda was always successful with auto and motorcycle racing their racing heritage was never fully realized in a passenger car until the debut of the 2017 Honda Civic-R.  I would humbly say that this is the hottest looking hatch back on the market right now.  Sure, the Civic-R exterior design is on steroids, but this forward leaning design shows that Honda is more than ready to be the industry leader in car design.  Consider the Civic-R as the flag bearer for all other Honda models that are being refined or newly designed for 2017.  I believe that Honda's current design vision is to create cars that are exciting to view and fun to experience.  A design philosophy established by Soichiro Honda and currently expressed by Daisuke Tsutamori, the lead exterior designer for the Civic R.

Mr. Honda had some requirements for good design*. Universality: basic body forms remain even after yearly versions.  Innovation: be ahead of the design curve, design should always be fresh. Service Orientation: design must align with the trends in human society and of the era. The design must be a symphony appreciated visually that incorporates shapes, lines and colours that create a personality that is the most amazing at present.  Although balance and harmony should be highly regarded, one should not be pre-occupied with a design unity in order to please everybody. True design should elevate the appeal and beauty of any dissonant parts while also having them completely satisfy the requirements for practicality.  Soichiro also believed that design is about understanding what it takes to be loved, in other words how can a designer please people and make them fall in love with your product. 

Mr. Tsutamori's design for the Civic-R elevate defines the notion that form and function are one. The efficient design reflects a car developed to perform at speed.  A purposeful stance and a focus on aerodynamics ensure high speed stability and high down force.  Every feature of the external design has a meaning, and all of the features are functional.  The improved driving performance requires a wider front with trapezoidal lower air intakes for aerodynamic control and brake cooling.  The front splitter attached to the bumper helps reduce lift and directs air across the flat bottom to the rear aero diffuser.  A striking rear airfoil has been wind tunnel designed to optimize down force without a significant increase in drag at higher speeds.  The rear wing is functional and dazzling and it serves another secondary purpose. Mr. Tsutamori comments, "from a non-functional, non-designer perspective - it looks pretty bad ass", and that my friends, is one reason why some car enthusiasts will fall in love with this vehicle.  

Today, the sporty and dynamic Civic and Civic-R designs embody the lessons of the past and incorporate new remarkable, innovative and distinctive design features that provide the customer a 'Honda experience' that will surely enrich their life's story.

Until next time

Macky

*Shin'ya Nagasawa, Wasenda Business & Economic Studies, Design Management Seen at Honda, Permeating a Design Mindset, 2013

Midland Drive-In Customer Appreciation Night 

Friday September 9th 


There is something special about driving to the outskirts of your town or city to find and enjoy a Drive-In theatre. My last venture to the outdoor movies was to the 5 Drive-In near the Ford Plant in Oakville, and that was fun and nostalgic. The modern twist there was having the car radio produce the audio not the big old silver metal box that would hang from the driver's side window. The 5 Drive-in still had the film projection system that showed the goofy film trailers that encouraged you to enjoy a hotdog and pop before the movie started. Beneath the large screen there was a space for the kids to play. My young daughter was able to burn off some energy before the show started.  So it was with some satisfaction that I was able to experience the simple pleasures of a drive-in theatre again thanks to Peter & Richard at Midland Honda.

A nice display of Honda vehicles greeted all that made their way through the gates of the Midland Drive-In.  The ramp up bump for the car park is always a choice that tests your viewing preferences. Many Midland Honda owners were there in attendance lining up their grills like they were on parade. I had the opportunity to speak with a couple that came to the event in a new Honda Fit. Harry and Tracey Patterson moved to Midland not so long ago and they are happy to be living in a community that is safe and close to the beautiful countryside. Not only were they great boosters for growth and prosperity in Midland, Harry and Tracey are life-time fans of Honda cars.  Harry has been driving Hondas for 45 years. He owned one of the first Civic cars that came ashore that was sold in Saskatchewan. That lasted until he picked up an Accord sedan with a stick shift that he used as a first responder on the province's rural roads. The Honda took a lickin' but as the saying goes, it kept r ight on tickin'! Harry and Tracey tried another brand of vehicle but quickly realized the value of owning a Honda. They were pleased to show me the spacious interior of the new Fit. It was a pleasure meeting them both at the Drive-In.   

I also had the pleasure of meeting the staff of the Midland Drive-In just before the crowd really started to roll in. Darren, the manager, had a great crew working for the Honda event. Alyssia, Amber, Taylor and Cathy did their very best to make the event a success.  The girls must have popped at least 100lbs of corn kernels for the patrons in the line.  Taylor showed me the drive-in's new digital projector, which certainly made that big screen come alive. No more reels of film with scratchy prints. Today's films are all stored on hard drives that are plugged into the projector.  The Secret Life of Pets and Jason Bourne looked fantastic on the big screen. 

Settled in my 2016 CRV with popcorn in hand, we watched the kids in pjs and their families play Frisbee beneath the big screen as the daylight faded into the summer night. The show was about to start, the radio was tuned, the dash lights turned low, soon the out-door movie event would begin.  A moment of pure Canadianna brought to us all by the Midland Honda team.

 Midland Drive-In Customer Appreciation Night Friday September 9th

There is something special about driving to the outskirts of your town or city to find and enjoy a Drive-In theatre. My last venture to the outdoor movies was to the 5 Drive-In near the Ford Plant in Oakville, and that was fun and nostalgic. The modern twist there was having the car radio produce the audio not the big old silver metal box that would hang from the driver's side window. The 5 Drive-in still had the film projection system that showed the goofy film trailers that encouraged you to enjoy a hotdog and pop before the movie started. Beneath the large screen there was a space for the kids to play. My young daughter was able to burn off some energy before the show started.  So it was with some satisfaction that I was able to experience the simple pleasures of a drive-in theatre again thanks to Peter & Richard at Midland Honda.

A nice display of Honda vehicles greeted all that made their way through the gates of the Midland Drive-In.  The ramp up bump for the car park is always a choice that tests your viewing preferences. Many Midland Honda owners were there in attendance lining up their grills like they were on parade. I had the opportunity to speak with a couple that came to the event in a new Honda Fit. Harry and Tracey Patterson moved to Midland not so long ago and they are happy to be living in a community that is safe and close to the beautiful countryside. Not only were they great boosters for growth and prosperity in Midland, Harry and Tracey are life-time fans of Honda cars.  Harry has been driving Hondas for 45 years. He owned one of the first Civic cars that came ashore that was sold in Saskatchewan. That lasted until he picked up an Accord sedan with a stick shift that he used as a first responder on the province's rural roads. The Honda took a lickin' but as the saying goes, it kept right on tickin'! Harry and Tracey tried another brand of vehicle but quickly realized the value of owning a Honda. They were pleased to show me the spacious interior of the new Fit. It was a pleasure meeting them both at the Drive-In.   

I also had the pleasure of meeting the staff of the Midland Drive-In just before the crowd really started to roll in. Darren, the manager, had a great crew working for the Honda event. Alyssia, Amber, Taylor and Cathy did their very best to make the event a success.  The girls must have popped at least 100lbs of corn kernels for the patrons in the line.  Taylor showed me the drive-in's new digital projector, which certainly made that big screen come alive. No more reels of film with scratchy prints. Today's films are all stored on hard drives that are plugged into the projector.  The Secret Life of Pets and Jason Bourne looked fantastic on the big screen. 

Settled in my 2016 CRV with popcorn in hand, we watched the kids in pjs and their families play Frisbee beneath the big screen as the daylight faded into the summer night. The show was about to start, the radio was tuned, the dash lights turned low, soon the out-door movie event would begin.  A moment of pure Canadianna brought to us all by the Midland Honda team.

 

The 2017 Honda Ridgeline

This might well be the right pickup truck for you.

Ridgeline fans have said it before and they're saying it again! It's more than a midsized truck; it's a Honda, after all. This means that first you're getting a precision built uni-body vehicle that offers a ride compliance that is a marvel of engineering. If you're looking for a truck with a rough, back jarring ride then don't pick the Ridgeline, pick a competitor with a solid, fixed axil. If you're looking for a truck that has a complicated four wheel drive system then choose another brand. The 2017 Ridgeline's traction control system is easy to use and dependable through snow, mud and sand conditions.

Truck enthusiasts will enjoy the ease of operation and they will also appreciate the Ridgeline's lifestyle features that set it apart from the pack. A two way open tail gate, a deep storage well with water drain and let's not forget about the speaker system integrated into the bed of the truck. I could easily see myself relaxing in the back of a Ridgeline at a Midland summer event, chilling with a cold beverage from the ice filled well while listening to my favourite tunes. Now that's progress!  

Now, Bro-country music fans may feel that the 2017 Ridgeline is too smooth. A soft car in trucks clothing and a little too much Accord for its own good.  It is true that the 2017 Ridgeline has an independent suspension but it has been upgraded and stiffened to take on the secondary roads with a heavy load and it also provides a highway drive that is unmatchable by any other mid sized truck. Comfort, utility and enough traction control options to manage challenging off road situations. Look at the Ridgeline. Honda has blended technology, practicality and fun into a winning truck package.  Tim McGraw might even say - 'Truck Yeah'.

2017 NSX

Ferrari LA Ferrari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1 are the names of hyper-cars that will shock you with their performance and generate a sense of awe that will surely leave you wondering why car companies invest extreme amounts of money in order to create such a limited run of vehicles for their customers. It is astounding that there are car enthusiasts that will put down one million dollars to own one of these machines. Whether they know it or not, Arab princes, Italian moguls and Chinese businessmen, are part of an international race to find the most efficient way to transport the average person and cargo around the block, through the city and across the country.

Honda is part of this global race and like Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren they are developing hybrid engine technology to create highly efficient performance ratings for their racing and sports cars.  This cutting edge technology will trickle down to the Accord, the Civic and the Pilot sooner than you think. Honda's chief executive, Takahiro Hachigo, announced recently that by 2030 two-thirds of all Honda vehicles sold will have electric or hybrid engines. Honda is confident they can achieve this lofty goal, in part because they have already started refining their hybrid engine technology at Honda's Marysville Ohio Performance Manufacturing Centre. It truly is a showcase for engineering knowledge.

Honda's super-car, the 2017 Acura NSX, is built at the Marysville plant. Their motto is, "Precision Crafted Performance". The production of each NSX car is really a marriage between robotics and fourteen highly trained members of the assembly crew. On the one hand you have eight MIG weld robots that surgically complete 900 welds as the car's space frame rotates a full 360 to achieve superior weld accuracy. On the other hand in the Anna engine plant two master mechanics hand assemble each internal combustion engine, testing and breaking in each engine before it is installed.   

The NSX is designed with three electric motors. Two for the front wheels and one situated with the gas engine. What's really cool about the two up front is that the car's management system can apply power in varying degrees separately to each wheel, which makes for greater steering agility in varying driving conditions.  This is just one example of how Honda tests and implements high tech solutions for greater performance, safety and driving satisfaction. Lucky, are those owners of the 2017 NSX. They get to experience the ultimate expression of Honda's Hybrid vision right now!  Please take a look at Honda's Performance Manufacturing Centre.