NAIAS 2018: All Of The Stars of The Show

2019 Ford Ranger – Photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Company

We waited a very long time for this…the 2018 edition of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Being the most important show in terms of the North American automotive market, you expect the big reveals to happen, the big news to be made, and the big awards to be given out. While all of this true this year, it has been just a fraction of the star power seen this week in the last few years.

You could argue either way, however. But there seems to be a huge level of significance in terms of the debuts at Cobo Center that has made this show more exciting – even from afar.

Perhaps I am waxing too poetic here. Here are my headlines from Detroit – albeit observed from afar.

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Commentary: More on 2018 from V&R-Land

Looking forward… – Photo by Randy Stern

Perhaps in the past few weeks, everyone came out with either a “looking back” article or a “looking ahead” one. Obviously, I had a few of these on here. Just your standard fare here…

However, I had a few thoughts about those posts in comparison with other posts that are all over the interwebs and social media. I did a list of my favorite vehicles of the year. I also looked back at the highlights of the year. Then, I took a final look at 2017 with a look ahead at 2018.

OK, fine, I covered all of the bases. What else should I say about 2017…or 2018?

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Commentary: A Minor Change In The Law and The Reaction Thereof

Photo by Randy Stern

Oregon and New Jersey had the distinction of being the only two states to not let their citizens – or any visitors – to pump their own gas. For someone used to self-serve gasoline, it seemed illogical or a throwback to the days of gas pump attendants armed with squeegees and towels.

However, the number of states preventing self-serve gasoline has been reduced to one. But, not entirely.

January 1, 2018, marked the date where the State of Oregon allowed for its citizens and visitors to pump their own gasoline. It is on a restricted basis, where the counties with the smallest populations – up to 40,000 people – can allow the self-serving of gasoline between 6:00 PM and 6:00 AM. The rest of the state will retain full-service gasoline as before.

The methodology behind this law is to allow for motorists to pump their own gas during the evening hours if they run int a gas station without an attendant. This is set to prevent being stuck somewhere instead of getting to their destination.

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A Different View – 2018 Toyota C-HR

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE
Photo by Randy Stern

Recently, I mentioned that Victory & Reseda are doing some collaborations with the new media company slashMedia. You already saw one of the first fruits of that collaboration through imaged by Kevin Tran and Rezal Scharfe, as demonstrated in the 2018 Mazda3 article.

Now, the third member of the slashMedia team, Josh Dvorak, came through with a video of our last vehicle review subject, the 2018 Toyota C-HR.

As I mentioned in the review, the C-HR was originally designated to be sold as a Scion in this market. Continue reading

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On The Dial: Charting 2017

Photo by Randy Stern

Your infotainment system – OK, radio – has been an entertaining you all year long. You tune it in and your song comes on…

Then, someone records the playback of it. Another records the purchase of the song for your smartphone or other musical devices you use these days. In the end, Billboard magazine publishes a year-end music chart that tells you the best of the year. You compare your files to see if they match what Billboard has on their annual chart.

In the past, song sales were based on actual record sales. Actual vinyl records with a big hole in the middle. They were played on a turntable at 45 RPM. They called them “singles.” Some charts even took into consideration how many times those singles were played on their respective radio stations across the country. Then, Billboard publishes them in their charts.

And, remember when radio stations actually played those songs that made you buy those singles?

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The 2017 End-Of-Year Sales Sweepstakes

2018 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4X4 Platinum
Still the champion… – All Photos by Randy Stern

The numbers are in. How did 2017 fare at the car dealerships?

There was a moment when the goal of scaling over 17 million automotive units in the USA was in doubt. A few strong months helped to keep the goal intact. In the end, 17.25 million vehicles were sold in this country, although overall sales were down by 1.7 percent over 2016.

Here are some breakdowns of what transpired in 2017 for automobile sales in the USA…

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High Riding in Subzero Temperatures

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE
2018 Toyota C-HR XLE – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2018 Toyota C-HR

Remember Scion?

For the few enthusiasts that have championed the brand its youthful outlook and expanding canvas for creative personalization, it is truly missed. Maybe some of the practices might not be fondly remembered, as you can now get more leverage on deals for the former Scion models now sold as Toyotas.

Still, Scion was a brand that wanted to engage with young automotive customers and enthusiasts. In the end, Toyota tried to do that with products that were for enthusiasts (FR-S), post-college graduates (iM), and even younger consumers starting out on their car ownership journey (iA).

One thing that was missing was a crossover/SUV. The market dictated a trajectory where people preferred stepping up into a vehicle, than down. The same young customers looked towards SUVs and crossovers as their salvation, as older customers already exhibited with the segment’s fast growth. The solution came in a concept that was small with lots of style. From that concept came a proposed production model – the C-HR.

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Commentary: Welcome to 2018

2018 Toyota C-HR XLE
Photo by Randy Stern

Welcome to 2018!

As with every new year, the anticipation of new tidings and opportunities await. To make resolutions seem a bit aspirational, but how many of us stick to them? Many fall by the wayside on the third day of the year.

Goalmaking has always been an equal crapshoot. We all have goals, but how many of us meet them? If you stuck to them and meet them – congratulations!

Perhaps you see some trepidation in these first few words of the new year. Continue reading

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Commentary: 2017 in a Nutshell

Photo by Randy Stern

What did 2017 yield for you? Hopefully good tidings. Yet, we can all agree how challenging this year has been on many fronts, as well as our personal triumphs.

When I look back at this year, I often think of how far I have come as Victory & Reseda over the past six years. I also think of how far I have grown as an automotive media person since my first gig in this new frontier back in 2001.

On a professional basis, the good did outweigh the bad. I was back in the swing of things locally and beyond. I was able to experience some new activities that yielded positive results. There had been some changes professionally that swung towards the positive in the immediate and near term.

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Progress in Motion

2018 Hyundai Accent Limited
2018 Hyundai Accent Limited – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2018 Hyundai Accent

Did you know that the Hyundai Accent has the longest lineage of any vehicle in the brand’s lineup?

Yes, it’s true. The Accent comes from a progression of small Hyundais dating back to the first one to be sold in the USA – the 1986 Excel. For Canadians, you can go back further to the Pony that introduced Hyundai in North America a few years earlier. The Accent has traced back seven generations – the last four wearing the current badge for this market.

Fascinating isn’t it. With a line that dates back to the original “cars that made sense,” you would think that it would be the most revered model in a diversified lineup. Sadly, no. Hyundai has produced more popular larger cars – such as the Elantra and Sonata – and are banking on SUVs to compete in that highly coveted segment with the Tucson and the Santa Fe family.

The Accent has another challenge ahead. Continue reading

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