When the leaders of the G20 meet this weekend, they’ll look to Canada’s conservative but durable banking model as a template for the rest of the world. Since the Liberal reign of Paul Martin as Canada’s Finance Minister, Canada’s been the “Wealthy Barber” of the developed world, deploying bland but solid fiscal policy to great effect. And now, more sense from the current Canadian Finance Minister, Conservative Jim Flaherty. CTVNews reports that Jim isn’t too keen on giving the ailing Canadian auto industry the US-style bailout that’s currently being debated in Washington. Why not? Well sometimes, the story just tells itself: “Nobody wants to see taxpayers’ money taken — and then in effect wasted — where a company is not going to survive … we want to see the plan for survivability,” he said. In order words, before the FinMin spends one cent of taxpayer dollars propping up Canadian production, he wants to see a turnaround plan. You know – the same kind of plan GM has failed to publish ever since it first bled red under its current CEO Rick Wagoner. Don’t hold your breath, Jim.
Posts By: Samir Syed
Last year, Premier Jean Charest’s fellow Québécois faced the worst winter the Province had seen in over five decades. So he directed his government to make winter radial tires mandatory. From December 15 until March 15, snow shoes for you, eh? Two weeks ago, I spoke to a mechanic in Nashua, New Hampshire who lamented a shortage of winter tires. New Hampshire being almost Canada, I should have twigged. Then, two days ago, a Montreal tire shop was burned to the ground in what the Montreal Gazette called a “supicious tire fire.” Still didn’t click. Finally, the Canadian press put two and two together for me, declaring that Quebec’s winter tire law is causing a shortage and, c’est vrai, a tire war in the province. This being the first year such a law has been in place for any Canadian province, the demand for tires in Quebec has inevitably led to shortages in neighboring provinces and bordering U.S. states. In case anyone in the Northeast needs winter tires for a Ford Mustang, I happen to have a pair that I’d part with for, say, $20b dollars. U.S.
On June 23, 2008, GM announced it was hiring Citigroup to help it in a strategic review of the HUMMER brand. After being inflicted with a base H3 for a week, I’d suggest the venerable the General skip to the denouement and sell off the brand to anyone who wants it. By offering vehicles like the base H3, GM demonstrates it is/was unwilling and/or unable to nurture what is/was the most focused brand in its bloated portfolio.
One day, we’ll look back fondly on the rivalry between Xbox and Playstation. Inevitably, we’ll discuss the competing pairs of game that these consoles offered, genre by genre, sequel by sequel. We’ll debate Final Fantasy vs. Oblivion, Halo vs. Resistance, and ,of course, Gran Turismo (“GT”) vs. Forza Motorsport. And everyone will pick the Playstation(s)’s GT series. That said, Xbox owners need not lament as the Xbox’s own flagship racer is a solid game indeed and one of the most intuitive, purest racing games available today.
Evaluating the Canadian-designed, built and sold Acura CSX without mentioning the Honda Civic is no easy task. (See?) Comparisons are so tempting, namely because the latter is an excellent car in its own right. The feeling’s mutual. Honda of Japan loved the Acura CSX so much that it served as a template for the JDM Civic. And why not? The CSX delivers an excellent compact luxury package without the reliability issues bedeviling certain (cough German cough) imports. Said otherwise, the CSX is the penny-pinching—I mean, thinking man’s luxury compact.
As Reuters notes, 90 percent of the vehicles Ford builds in Canada end-up in the U.S. So, despite the fact that the Ford F-series is still the best-selling vehicle north of the border, Ford Canada is suffering. All of which leads to the suprise (really?) resignation of Barry Engle, Ford of Canada's president. Though Engle has served for several years for Ford and Chrysler, working in several capacities around the globe, he decided to exit the auto industry just six months after assuming FoMoCo Canada's top job. Engle's new job will be in his native Pennsylvania, working for an agricultural equipment company; IMHO he's using "family time" as a smokescreen. Time for a Lilly Pulitzer: did he fall or was he pushed? And why?
How does a Mustang fare in a harsh, North-eastern winter? More specifically, Canada. I only ask because last year, Montreal, where I live, was covered with over 200 inches of snow. I've already done the rear wheel-drive-in-winter thing in my first car. I was behind the wheel of a Chevette with about four hp and two ft.-lbs of torque (slight exaggeration). In other words, it came standard with engine-limited traction control. A buddy of mine tried to negotiate last winter in his Twin Turbo Supra. Fancy snow tires and 200 lbs. of gravel in the trunk still made it the worst winter car in the universe. He ended up buying a Hyundai Accent to get through the season (ouch). True fact: in my entire life, I think I can count on one hand the amount of winterized Mustangs I've seen, complete with ugly black wheels and skinny winter tires. So, do the other Mustang owners who leave theirs in the garage all winter know something I should know?
Buzz Hargrove doesn't mince his words. As demonstrated in Part 1 of this interview, the outgoing Canadian Auto Workers leader is fully aware of the Detroit domestics' dire financial peril. What's more, Buzz understands the balance between his members' welfare and the health of the automotive industry. Or lack thereof. "My first responsibility is to look after the interests of my members," Buzz admits. "But I tell my boys to look after the industry too. At every meeting." So, how's that going?