Commentary: The Game of Unallocation

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“Unallocated?” – Photo by Randy Stern

It was not the news that got our attention. It was the speculation based on the news.

I already talked about this before. The way we cover news has been a mixed bag of sticking to honest and professional tenets to spinning towards the intended audience you want to rile up.

Somewhere in the middle was the coverage of a press release that General Motors released regarding their “transformation.” In all, it was an announcement of the reduction of facilities, labor, and overall corporate efficiencies.

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Is The Third Time The Charm?

2019 Honda Insight Touring
2019 Honda Insight Touring – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2019 Honda Insight

There is an overused phrase that is used in various occasions. Translated, it means that you had two times to get it right, so this third one better work.

Such is the case of the Honda Insight. The first time around was revolutionary – one of the first vehicles sold in the USA that combined an internal combustion engine with an electric motor for complete propulsion. Technology-wise, it put Honda on the map. Execution-wise, it was not the kind of vehicle most people want.

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A Thanksgiving Truck Tale

2019 Toyota Tundra 4X4 Limited Double Cab
2019 Toyota Tundra 4X4 Limited Double Cab – All Photos by Randy Stern

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and remembering wonderful times in your life. There is a sense of joy when the company and the atmosphere is right.

This year, I did not spend Thanksgiving with family or friends. I spent it with something that gives me joy and provided me with good tidings and wonderful memories.

This Thanksgiving, I spent it with a pickup truck.

At this point, I should tell you a story. Since I began this part of my career trajectory, I never thought that a pickup truck would bring out a happy disposition to my soul. I love performance cars – true. Some better than others. However, there is nothing like a full-sized, half-ton pickup truck…and, on occasion, heavy duty ones…that makes this suburban-born-and-bred, middle-aged, Jewish, gay, and single (again) man a very gleeful fella.

I said it once – and I’ll say it again – though I am not as well versed on pickup trucks as some of my colleagues. I have never towed and pulled a full load in the box to determine whether an engine stands up to its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. I do not use a truck for work or on a farm. I am the least likely demographic to own one.

However, I love trucks. I love working with them. I love driving them.

Having a pickup truck for Thanksgiving and to work with during the several days afterwards is a reason to skip Black Friday. Continue reading

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The Brand New Smile-Inducing Corolla

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE
2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

For those of us who want the Toyota Corolla to not only be a global bestseller but a damn good compact car – it appears we are in for a treat.

At this point, it’s not worth quoting the number of Corollas sold worldwide since 1966. It’s probably at around or beyond 45 million by the time you’re reading this. This year marks the introduction of a twelfth-generation model. So far, the reception of the new Corolla has been very positive.

The strategy for the world debut of the twelfth-gen Corolla was quite interesting. You see, North American models have mostly been sedans, with some coupes, wagons, and hatchbacks thrown in for measure throughout out the decades. The wide selection of Corollas helped keep it in our conscious, whether it is back in Japan, across the USA, deep into Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia – and everywhere else in-between.

For this generation, Toyota chose the Hatchback – known as the Auris in many markets worldwide – as the initial body style for the new Corolla. This includes the USA and Canada.

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The Contender in (Habanero) Orange

2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line
2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line – All Photos by Randy Stern

After being a major contender for #VOTY18 – making it all the way to the finals – I can now relax and enjoy the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta for its merits.

If you have not following this website, let me re-introduce to you to the new MkVII Jetta.

This Jetta represents a sedan that has been around for almost 40 years. Built off of the MkI Golf (which we call the Rabbit), the three-box Jetta started a new trend of sedan versions of popular front-drive compact hatchbacks in Europe. However, its biggest success was right here in North America, where the Jetta continues to be the volume seller for Volkswagen.

In a nutshell, the Jetta has bucked the SUV trend, despite Volkswagen offering two of the best in the marketplace – the Atlas and Tiguan.

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My Favorite Vehicles of 2018

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All Photos by Randy Stern

These past twelve months were absolutely amazing. Quite exhilarating, if you ask me.

Between setbacks and advancements, it was a year worth celebrating.

Last month, you were able to make your choice for #VOTY18. You selected one of the final five, from an original list of 41, to state your favorite of the year. If you voted – and I hope you all did – I thank you for participating in this social media-driven award.

However, it is my turn. My chance to tell you my favorite vehicles I have driven over these past twelve months.

Everything is fair game – vehicles in for full review, Quickies subjects, and vehicles driven at media events. Everything you see here can be referenced on this site.

For the umpteenth annual time, let me tell you my favorites for the 2018 editorial year…

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Commentary: Debriefing #VOTY18

#VOTY18
Photo by Randy Stern

It was time to celebrate, so they made a cake.

I knew it was a silly way to reveal the #VOTY18 winner. But inspiration came with friends from my friends at Joey Nova’s in Tonka Bay.

The idea was that the staff at Joey Nova’s baked a cake that would look like the actual award itself. They have done this before – last year, for example. I appreciate Gary Ezell, Anna Ledstrom, and their wonderful staff – but, I’ll tell you, they do amazing things, as I/we do vice versa.

So…we did it. Josh Dvorak and I went live on Facebook, had their shift manager open up the cake box, and – poof – your winner of #VOTY18!

The cake was not a lie. Continue reading

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#VOTY18: …And The Winner Is…

2018 Lexus LC 500
All Photos by Randy Stern

We started with 41 nominees. That list was whittled down to five. You voted. And, now, we have a winner.

It has been an interesting #VOTY. You had a diverse group of finalists this year…

  • A compact sedan that has been transformed towards a new direction for its brand
  • A concept car that turned into a production model set as its brand’s halo vehicle.
  • A new premium offering geared towards enthusiasts who want practicality and performance in one vehicle.
  • An SUV built of new construction set to change the segment for good.
  • And, a leading enthusiast’s sedan that has taken another leap towards excellence in pursuit of a new customer base.

In no particular order, these five finalists may be the most compelling group presented to the public in this award’s history. From these five must come a winner. Again, you voted…and I am proud to announce that the 2018 Victory & Reseda Vehicle of The Year Award goes to…

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#VOTY18 – The Live Ballot

Here is the ballot for #VOTY18! Go ahead and make your choice today! You have until November 27 to #VOTE4VOTY!

Create your own user feedback survey

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Commentary: Much Ado About “Le Cost Cutter”

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America



Nissan’s corporate communications team called this incident “serious misconduct.”

On Monday, November 19, the news blazed out of Yokohama that Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.’s Chairman Carlos Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly did not properly report compensation amounts to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. This was done so to report a lower compensation figure attributed to Ghosn. Nissan’s press released continued to confirm that Ghosn and Kelly were not only involved in false reporting of compensation, but of other clear violations against the company’s “duty of care of directors.”

This was reported through a “whistleblower,” in which the Japanese Public Prosecutors Office embarked on an investigation. Nissan has stated they are fully cooperating with the government prosecutors.

Nissan’s Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa has recommended the prompt removal of both Ghosn and Kelly from their positions. This has not been fully announced since there is reported to be a meeting on Thursday – Thanksgiving Day in the USA – to formally present the terminations to Nissan’s board.

From this point, the story gets interesting. Continue reading

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