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

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

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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Historiography: Of Thanksgivings Past

Thanksgiving 2007 Downtown Minneapolis 2
All Photos by Randy Stern

The Holidays can be both exhilarating and exhausting. It can also be joyous and frustrating. It is a collision of comfort, joy, and all other feelings, emotions, and memories.

The stretch from November towards the end of the calendar year is laden with anticipation. We anticipate our plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukah, and New Year’s. We make those plans, check them twice, look over our smartphones to see who’s naughty or nice.

The holidays are fine and dandy. Yet, I also had a love/hate relationship with them. I love them because it is a reminder that you can do something special for someone when they truly need it. I also loathe them because there is always some form of drama that will rear its head even in the worst possible situations.

It can also be a lonely time. Continue reading

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#VOTY18 – Here Are Your Finalists!

2018 Kia Stinger GT2 AWD
All photos by Randy Stern

The scores have been tabulated. The Panel has convened and given their input on the Long List of Nominees. Therefore there is only one last step to take: Your vote!

It is now time to #VOTE4VOTY!

What are you voting for? The five finalists for #VOTY18.

They came from a field of 41 nominees. Each one scrutinized by various attributes to finally compile a score good enough for your consideration. These five survived the test of objective and subjective input. A panel of 23 journalists and influencers weighed in to provide their feedback on the Long List of Nominees. Not to mention your social media engagement was measured towards deciding these five finalists.

And, now, you get to vote for one of the following Finalists for #VOTY18… Continue reading

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Commentary: The Day The Guns Fell Silent

Victory Memorial on Veterans Day
,i>Photo by Randy Stern

One hundred years ago today, the guns fell silent on what could have been the war to end all wars.

The significance of this day yielded a day of Remembrance. Americans call this Veteran’s Day. Either title is appropriate, as we focus on those who served their nation with dignity and pride.

We have been through many conflicts since the end of hostilities on November 11, 1918. We have seen the bravery of our veterans in conflict repeatedly. We mourn the losses, we honor those who have served, and we promise ourselves to be a better nation because of their efforts in service to their flag.

Many of those who returned from conflict have settled back into the world. Continue reading

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A New Edge On The Market

2019 Ford Edge Titaniun Elite
2019 Ford Edge Titanium Elite – All Photos by Randy Stern

A Victory & Reseda review of the 2019 Ford Edge

For years, I have been trying to figure out where the Ford Edge sat within the segments of the SUV market.

It is not a compact SUV since it is too large for the segment. Besides, the Ford Escape resides there. It appears to be a bit small for the mid-sized segment, as the Ford Explorer exemplifies that segment perfectly. It was such an outlier among SUVs that, eventually, other vehicles were designed to compete directly against it.

Being unique helped the Edge’s cause since its introduction in 2006. It has always been a two-row SUV that has been right for small families, businesspeople, and folks with active lifestyles. Today, it serves a different function for Ford – a “larger” SUV for the European market. It may have found its niche In Europe. There, the gasoline engines have been swapped out for diesels and there is a manual available, along with a luxury Vignale model. You would also find the Canadian-built Edge in Australia and New Zealand under the Endura name.

For 2019, the second generation Edge receives a mid-cycle refresh. Continue reading

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