Tag Archives: Madison

The Shiny One In The Middle

2012 GMC Terrain 23

The question is no longer “what is a crossover.” It is “what size do you need?”

Since petrol prices scaled up to $4.00 a gallon nationwide earlier this year, the North American automotive market saw a general shift towards smaller, more efficient vehicles. Benefitting from this downsizing shift is the small crossover segment. If you scour over the sales charts, you will notice the astounding growth in sales of these smaller utility machines.

It is also a field that is getting a bit crowded. On the top of the segment’s charts are the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Ford Escape. These three vehicles practically boosted this segment’s profile from the onset. However, it appears that almost every manufacturer that sells vehicles in North America has at least one to offer.

As a byproduct of the growth in small crossover sales, there are now niches within this segment. While Toyota, Honda and Ford rule the more mainstream sections of this class; there are now luxury models available for the more discriminating consumer. Even the luxury models are experiencing boosts in their sales figures – evidenced by staggering month-to-month increases by the greatly improved BMW X3.

When you have two distinct sub-segments within a market class, no one seems to be concerned about “the middle.” After all, the North American market had been divesting away from the middle of the market by eliminating entire brands – Mercury, for example.

The arguments are plenty as to the reasons behind diverging away from the so-called “middle.” Still, consumers want something that is not too pretentious…and not too plain, either. The BMW X3 is a wonderful machine, but it can be priced too dear for most families. The Toyota RAV4 may offer three rows of seats, but some consumers complained it’s too cheap and plastic for their tastes.

There is good news, however: The “middle” still exists and it lives right in the heart of the small crossover marketplace.
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V&R’s Road Trips: Epic Relocation

The Capitol 2Wisconsin State Capitol 2

At what point does a relocation became a classic road trip?

Moving is a lot of work. We all know this. We pack what we can into our vehicle – our own or a rental truck – and head off. It takes a high level of effort to ensure that nothing is broken, destroyed or stolen.

When I moved out of California, I packed what I can in four bags and flew out on a red eye from Los Angeles International Airport to Dulles Airport near Washington, DC. That was two days after Thanksgiving in 1996.

Four years later, America as about to go to the polls to vote for George W. Bush. The Clinton era was effectively over in Washington. The white gloves of contract officers were wiping up enough dirt to re-compete contracts and lay off semi-essential workers. I left my IT procurement contract position at a defense agency in September of 2000 and hoped for the best. Continue reading

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Corn Juice – An Experiential Update

Tweet The 2010 Chevrolet Impala LT used on my recent trip to Madison, Wisconsin. Photo by Randy Stern Petrol just reached $3.29 a gallon range throughout the Upper Midwest today. There are plenty of explanations for this. In some cases, … Continue reading

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