2014 Fiat 500L Lounge. All Photos by Randy Stern
A Victory & Reseda Review of the 2014 Fiat 500L
Talk about good timing…the Fiat 500L was welcomed in time for its big spotlight in the Twin Cities.
The week the 500L came in for its review, the Twin Cities Auto Show opened its doors. Just so happens that it is the Official Car of the show. A huge boost for the Fiat brand as it continues to grow upon its return to the North American market.
Though the auto show was a mere backdrop for the arrival of the Serbian-made Italian small MPV/Crossover, one would believe that the 500L is worthy of its Official Car status.
There are more questions to answer beyond just its auto show spotlight. Continue reading
Photo by Randy Stern
The Home Auto Show Advantage has returned.
Saturday denotes the opening of the 41st Twin Cities Auto Show. The Minneapolis Convention Center will be the focal point for shoppers and enthusiasts alike with every brand sold in the Twin Cities represented there.
2014 Volkswagen Jetta SEL All Photos by Randy Stern
A Victory & Reseda Review of the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SEL
Fact: Volkswagen’s volume seller in the USA is the Jetta.
Makes sense, does it not? The Jetta has held the role of leader amongst VW’s since its second generation. The compact sedan tapped into America’s want of a trunk with all of the notable traits a front-engine/front-drive VW exhibited in its time. Through every generation, Jettas found owners more than the Golf and Passat since 1984 – despite itself being passed up by Asian and North American competition.
Despite current market conditions, why is the Jetta the big seller for Volkswagen in this country?
All Photos by Randy Stern
We all have hobbies, right?
If you ask an emotional health professional, hobbies are usually suggested for those who are dealing with stress or worse. Something to keep the mind occupied away from the grind of work, struggles in relationships and so forth. Hobbies offer an escape away from these stressors and provide positive reinforcement towards the good things about the individual.
Hobbies manifest in many ways. Collecting is one where it stimulates the want of the chase for a particular item, while solidifying the connection between the collection and the individual’s interest level.
Me? I have a hobby. I had it for quite a long time. It had many starts and stops, but at its peak, I had amassed quite a collection. That was…oh…the mid-1980s.
My hobby…er, my collection… Continue reading
Posted in Commentary
The first order of business… Photo by Randy Stern
For those of us who thought Acura for “lame,” you have seen the NSX prototype right?
Before we get into the NSX and the potential to give Acura some legs in this market again, this Speculator was rooted in a challenge. You see, Honda North America wants to position Acura back to what it once was – the original Japanese premium brand in this market. By “original,” Acura wants more than a piece of the Lexus/Infiniti business and cache, but to do so the way they originally set out to be.
Remember when Acura actually stole sales from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac? That was the late 1980s when Honda sold the Integra and Legend to a new kind of consumer. Their pricing was on point – a discount off of the Germans and American luxury brands. They were also well built, well designed and lasted quite a long time. Not only that, Acura raised the level of sales and post-sales relationships with their customers. Consider the four J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Index wins Acura achieved in their first years as a brand.
Instead of lamenting what happened since 1991, Acura is looking forward – advancing the brand further. Continue reading
2014 Acura MDX All photos by Randy Stern
A Victory & Reseda Review of the 2014 Acura MDX
When the world throws a lot of stress in your face, you simply need some luxury in your life.
This is life. A job that pays fine, but not without a few contingencies to make things interesting. There are weather patterns that frustrate you, people who irritate you, despite their friendship or connection and so forth.
But, life should not have to hold us down. It should be celebrated. When you celebrate life, the joy of everything around you becomes clearer. Thus, you need a little luxury to uplift you.
What kind of luxury do you want? Continue reading
#TheNew… Photo by Randy Stern
There is a lot to be said about a television commercial.
If you consider the millions of dollars spent on a minute or two to capture our attention away from the lopsided Super Bowl, could you remember which commercial you enjoyed? Or, was there a commercial that still resonate with you?
For me, it was the Maserati commercial that provoked many questions about the brand’s approach to gaining traction in this market. For a company that normally has a global marketing approach, Maserati’s Super Bowl spot was decisely American. Perhaps it was apt for the Trident’s to use Quvenzhane Wallis’ voice and image, as she guided us through the climax – her uttering the word “strike” cueing the sound and fury of the new Ghibli sedan.
Maybe we were puzzled by a coherent Bob Dylan’s tale of American industrial and cultural values leading to the 2015 Chrysler 200? Perhaps Chevrolet’s delivery of a bull stud to get the first cow’s eye off of the trailer – pulled by the 2015 Silverado HD pickup nonetheless.
However, the National Football League’s ultimate contest had some competition. If you watched the NBC broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the 32nd Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, you saw a different kind of automotive commercial.
2014 Jeep Cherokee Latitude. All Photos by Randy Stern
A Victory & Reseda Review of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee
Has Jeep lost its soul?
This was the question upon the introduction of the Compass crossover (and its Patriot companion) back in 2006. The idea of a compact crossover with Jeep overtones threw everyone in a tizzy. That was until it was facelifted for 2011 – giving it a Grand Cherokee look and adding some needed “Trail Rated” components.
Did it work? Sales were up, but the bulk of the brand’s consumers went to the Grand Cherokee and the Wrangler. The latter being considered the definition of the Jeep brand.
The same question was brought up when images leaked ahead of last years New York Auto Show of the new Jeep Cherokee. All eyes focused on a nose cap that still featured the seven-slotted grille, but with a new shape and interesting positioning of the lights. The response was polarizing – ranging from extreme hatred to absolute and unconditional love.
The concern was not just about the face of the Cherokee. Continue reading
2014 Buick Regal. All Photos by Randy Stern
Yes, the story is about coming home, honoring my hometown and seeing what transpired in my time away. But, this is not just a travelogue or a reliving of history.
Needless to say, I did not travel alone. I had a companion with me – an appropriate one. This one would be welcomed in the Reseda of my youth as it would today.
If it was still open, you could pick one up at a dealership on Sherman Way, a half-block west of Tampa Avenue next to Lorenzen’s Mortuary. Then again, I saw that the mortuary is gone, too.
Therefore, this is not just a travelogue through my hometown, it is a Victory & Reseda Review of the 2014 Buick Regal.
All photos by Randy Stern
This trip back to my hometown was about reconnecting the past with the present. Consider the following as a bonus.
There was a weekday available for me to indulge in visiting two museums in Southern California. These are not museums that are readily open to the public, but you can arrange to visit for one and have an agenda for another. Both of these locations fly very low under the tourist radar.