Wednesday, 21 March 2018

CARPROOF to change name to Carfax Canada

CARPROOF has announced that it will change its name to Carfax Canada in October 2018 to better align with its U.S. equivalent, which is known as Carfax.
Both companies are owned by IHS Markit, which aims to leverage the globally known Carfax brand name in Canada in hopes of better serving its consumer and dealer customers.
“We want our customers to know that this is a change in name only,” said Shawn Vording, Vice-President of Automotive Sales at CARPROOF. “Our partners will still receive the comprehensive history and valuation information they have come to expect from CARPROOF. This decision was driven by our commitment to continuous growth and will allow us to provide better products and services to a greater audience,” he added.
CARPROOF, with its vehicle history, appraisal and valuation reports, is considered to be Canada’s “definitive source of automotive information.” The company reviews billions of data records from thousands of sources to provide used car buyers and sellers with products that allow them to make more informed decisions.

Friday, 16 March 2018


A car about to be unveiled at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show. Many automakers, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Volvo, are scrambling to produce whole lines of electric, hybrid and plug-in models, some of which will be shown at this year's show. CreditFabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images
Mike Reid loves his cherry-red 2016 BMW 335i sports sedan, especially the way this 2016 model accelerates and zips around corners.
"It's a fantastic car to drive," said Mr. Reid, an investment manager and a part-time hockey player in Ann Arbor, Mich. "The pick up is incredible."
But when BMW starts introducing a new generation of electric cars in the next year or so, Mr. Reid is not likely to be rushing out to the showroom. Although electric cars tend to have a lot of torque, he's just not sold on the idea of plugging in and charging batteries.
"I wish there were something I could get excited about, but I kind of like the hydro-carbon-powered approach to my transportation," he said.
He added that he often headed into the wilds of Michigan to hunt and hike, places where he would be unlikely to find a good way to charge the car. And he said his neighborhood tended to lose power during storms, which could sometimes complicate charging at home.
"I'm just not sold on the reliability of the technology at this point," he said. "Gas prices are pretty low. My car gets good gas mileage. So electric vehicles? No, I'm not interested."
That type of sentiment presents a big challenge for Europe's luxury carmakers. Many automakers, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and Volvo, are scrambling to produce lines of electric, hybrid and plug-in models.
Some of this next wave will be on display at the Geneva auto show, which opens to the public on March 8.
Among the models will be the Jaguar I-Pace, a battery-powered crossover that is something of a cross between a hatchback and a coupe. Jaguar unveiled the production version of the I-Pace last week in Graz, Austria, in a bid to build buzz ahead of the Geneva show.
The car is packed with advanced safety and driver-assist technologies and features two electric motors - one to deliver power to the front wheels and one for the rear axle. Together they are rated at 394 horsepower. The car is expected to go 240 miles on a single battery charge, Jaguar said.
The small vehicle, with its short hood, is also a jarring break from the classic Jaguar look of a low, sleek roof line, long hood and rounded back. "It's quite distinctive," Ian Callum, Jaguar's design director, said at the Graz event. "It's quite different. It's quite radical."
The company is hoping the vehicle will appeal to upscale buyers who want to drive an upscale car that is also environmentally friendly. "It's electric," Mr. Callum said. "Guilt-free."
Volvo is expected to use Geneva to show the V60 station wagon, a plug-in hybrid and one of the models it is adding as part of a plan to add full or partial electric power to every one of its models by 2019.
The Jaguar I-Pace electric crossover, minus the sheet metal.
Volvo and its Chinese owner, Geely, are also developing a new brand of electric cars to be sold under the Polestar name. Details of the brand's first model, the Polestar 1, will be released at the Geneva show.
Audi is expected to offer showgoers test drives of the E-tron all-electric S.U.V. that is due in showrooms this summer.
Those are only some of the electric models European carmakers have in the works. Daimler AG, the parent of Mercedes-Benz, is spending $11 billion to develop at least 10 new electric models, due on the road by 2022. Mercedes is expected to market them under the brand name EQ. BMW plans to introduce at least 12 electric models between now and 2025, including a self-driving car it is calling iNext. Before then, BMW plans to introduce improved versions of its i3 electric car and i8, an exotic sports car featuring a hybrid powertrain.
While the company will continue offering cars powered by gasoline engines for years to come, BMW expects electric cars and hybrids to make up 25 percent of its sales by 2025.
"At the core of our product offensive is a clear focus on electrification," Bernhard Kuhnt, chief executive of BMW North America, said in January at the Detroit auto show.
For the last several years, Porsche has offered hybrid versions of its sports cars and high-powered S.U.V.s, but in 2019 it is expected to add the all-electric car Mission-e. To ease worries about recharging the car, Porsche has started to install charging stations at its 189 dealers and at other locations in the United States.
"What we are doing here is creating a new world for Porsche," said Stefan Weckbach, Porsche's head of battery electric vehicles.
Carmakers are developing all of these models despite the reluctance of many car buyers. In 2017, 104,487 battery-electric vehicles were sold in the United States, less than 1 percent of the total market; 89,992 plug-in hybrids were sold.
And manufacturers that have jumped in early have had a bumpy ride. BMW's i3 has been a slow seller. Last year, BMW sold 6,276 i3s, fewer than the number of 3 Series sedans it typically sells in a single month.
But one word convinces them that they are on the right track: Tesla. It is constantly on the minds of European makers, who fret about losing to the upstart maker of battery-powered luxury cars. Tesla sold more than 100,000 vehicles worldwide last year, making it a serious player in the upper-priced levels of the auto industry.
The United States market is not the reason Europe's automakers are racing ahead with electric technology, however. The European Union and China are tightening regulations that force automakers to cut tailpipe emissions. For years, many European manufacturers were counting on selling a heavy mix of diesel models to help them meet the stricter targets.
But Volkswagen's diesel scandal - the company for years equipped diesel cars with software that cheated emissions testing - has chilled sales and the willingness of governments to accept more diesels. Several large German cities have been pushing to ban certain diesel vehicles from their streets, and a landmark court ruing last month cleared the way for them to do so.
Britain and France have said they intend to ban new diesel and gas cars by 2040. China has moved the same way on tailpipe emissions and is shaping regulations to increase sales of electric cars to combat the poor air quality in many of its congested megacities.
Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Daimler, said it was unclear when the market for electric vehicles would take off, but he was certain it would.
"It's like a bottle of ketchup," he said in a conference call in January. "It will come. You just don't know when and to which extent when you shake it."
Correction: March 9, 2018 
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated partial sales totals of battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in the United States in 2017. During the year, a total of 104,487 battery-electric vehicles were sold, not fewer than 15,000, and a total of 89,992 plug-in hybrids were sold, not about 10,000.


Wednesday, 14 March 2018



David Masson, Country Manager Canada for Darktrace
The arrival of autonomous vehicles in Canada will open the door to cyber security threats that artificial intelligence, more than humans, may be best prepared to handle, according to David Masson, Country Manager Canada for Darktrace, a machine learning company for cyber security.
Masson, who is also a former agent for Canadian and British intelligence agencies, says the cyber security threats that we face now will be the same for self-driving cars and technology, but on a much bigger scale. The quantity, quality and speed of the technology and perhaps even the threats may be too much and too complex for humans to handle.
Darktrace currently uses AI, or machine learning, to do threat detection: to view changes on a network and then assess if there is something to be concerned about. They also use AI to make judgement calls on behalf of human beings. "We're not replacing human beings, they are still making the decisions here, but AI is doing the heavy lifting for them," said Masson in an interview with Canadian auto dealer.
When asked what in particular Canadians should be aware of when it comes to cyber security and autonomous vehicles, Masson says visibility into the network will be importance. "You will  want to ensure that the data that is going to a vehicle hasn't been corrupted or changed," and that "on the OT (Operational Technology) side, you want to make sure that no one gets in to take over the vehicle and affect whether it speeds up, slows down" and so on. "The last thing you want to experience is your brakes developing a mind of their own."
Canada is already preparing for the mass arrival of self-driving cars to ensure the country is capable of handling the upcoming period of technological change.
In January, the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications released a report with 16 recommendations - some of which must tackle privacy concerns over how data is collected by the technology we will be using, and the handling of cyber security issues that could make the vehicles vulnerable to hackers.
Some of the recommendations include:
  • Transport Canada, in cooperation with the Communications Security Establishment and Public Safety Canada, develop cybersecurity guidance for the transportation sector based on best practices and recognized cybersecurity principles. The guidance should include advice on original equipment, replacement equipment and software updates.
  • Transport Canada work with Public Safety Canada, the Communications Security Establishment and industry stakeholders to address cybersecurity issues and to establish a real-time crisis connect network, and that Transport Canada report regularly on their progress.
Masson says there is also a need for federal government industry cooperation. "You will need to set standards for something that is applicable Canada-wide, and even North-American continent-wide, because autonomous vehicles will be crossing borders."


Friday, 9 March 2018



CARY, N.C. - 
Onboard vehicle cameras and pet-friendly car amenities.
One is for keeping your vehicle safe and secure; the other for keeping your car clean and your furry friend happy.

At first blush, these features may not appear to have much in common, except for being accessories in an automobile.
But search data in the debut Automotive Trends Report from Google reveals they are two key opportunities the auto industry has to better fulfill the demands of consumers.
And they're opportunities in the here and now.
"The auto industry is undergoing major shifts: adapting to electrification, the rise of mobility services and a future driven by automation," the Google report notes.
"But with such a focus on tomorrow, what are the opportunities that OEMs might be missing today?"
As such, the report takes a dive into the vehicle tech and accessories revealed by Google Search data to be of interest to consumers.
Auto Remarketing caught up with one of the report's authors, Google trendspotting project lead Yarden Horwitz, to find out more.

'What cameras are pointing at'

Consumer searches onboard cameras are soaring, but as a Google infographic accompanying the report notes, "It's not just about the cameras. What's truly revealing is what the cameras are pointing at."
According to Google Internal Data in the U.S. from September 2015 to August 2017, front and rear camera searches were up 185 percent year-over-year, with 360-degree camera searches up 70 percent. This emphasizes the importance placed on getting a view of the car from multiple angles, Google said.
There is also a desire for these cameras to be seamlessly integrated into the vehicles. That same Google infographic data points to a 598-percent increase for mirror cameras and a 29-percent hike for hidden cameras.
Additionally, "smarter" cameras are of interest to searchers, as interest in GPS (up 10 percent) and parking mode (up 51 percent) features with cameras has climbed.
The full report examines the U.S., Japanese and German markets and found that "the biggest in-vehicle search trend across all three markets is onboard (in-car) cameras."
And it goes beyond back-up cameras, the report notes. Again, it's about getting every angle of the vehicle captured, the camera seamlessly blending into the car and multiple uses for the camera.

Safety and security top priorities

And those uses start with the safety of the driver and passengers as well as the security of the vehicle.
"Right now, we're at the beginning phases of really integrating them into the car, and it is coming from more of this logical standpoint," Horwitz said by phone in February. "So this idea of safety and security, those are the two main things that we're seeing in the data."
She gives the example of blind spots, acknowledging that it is kind of odd that blind spots would still exist. But blind spots, she said, are "something that consumers are looking to address right away."
That might be done through things like 360-degree or multi-direction cameras, as well as front and back cameras, Horwitz said.
Point is to get more angles to view.
"But on the other hand, beyond safety, there's also the security aspect. And that's more around surveillance - watching your car from a remote location or if you come back to a parking lot and you see a scratch on your car, going through the footage and understanding what happened," Horwitz said.
It's an interesting notion, this of "the consumer evolving" in other various commerce categories like homes, which already have surveillance features that be monitored via smartphones, she said.
So that begs the question, "Why doesn't this exist yet for the car?"
To be clear, she explains, it does exist for vehicles; however, it is an aftermarket feature.
But consumers are looking in searches for something that can be more seamless and integrated, she said, rather than having to add on an onboard camera.
"They don't want something added on. They don't want it to be a clunky addition," Horwitz said. "They want it to be integrated across their car. And we're seeing a ton of searches around mirror and hidden (cameras) and that just goes to show that consumers want something that's more stylized and just a seamless experience."

Pet accessories 'a bigger thing in auto now'

Looking specifically at U.S. data, the Google report unveiled another key search trend: accessories and equipment designed for car owners with pets.
While noting that these searches were still common in the two other markets, the report said the likelihood a U.S. consumer searches for pet amenities for a vehicle is 36 times higher than for someone in Germany and 10 times higher than it would be for a person in Japan.
According to the report, top trending terms in this area include dog car seat, dog car seat cover, car seats for dogs, pet car seat covers, dog car hammock, small dog car seat, dog car seat belt and dog steps for car.
But pets have been around for generations obviously. What's driving pet searches now?
Horwitz explains.
She said that Google has conducted similar reports for other industries, like fashion, beauty and food. This is the first time the company has done the report for the automotive business.
"And with auto specifically, the product lifecycle is a lot longer. It takes about 10 years for a new type of model to come out," Horwitz said.
So while trends - like pet-related accessorizing - may be more easily and quickly integrated into fields like fashion, food and beauty, "They take a while … to actually hit the auto industry," she said.
"And so something like pets, which has actually started taking shape in other categories already, is starting to become a bigger thing in auto now."
In fact, U.S. data shows that in terms of what Google considers Seasonal Risers - "seasonal trends that are likely to come back even stronger" - dog car seats ranked near the top in terms of search volume.
Likewise, dog car seat covers was high on the list of Sustained Risers, or searches that have shown "steady growth over the past years," the report said.
It also notes: "When it comes to in-vehicle-related search trends, Americans are putting their pets first. Dog- and pet-related rising search queries are particularly prominent across the top trending lists in the U.S. when compared to the other two markets. Pets are like family now and people's search interest reflects that."

'An extension of the living room'

One interesting side note to the discussion with Horwitz was this: Could the U.S. follow Japan's lead with vehicles becoming more like the living room?
It is unclear at this point, but it is worth watching, Horwitz said. 
She notes that Japan has been cutting-edge within the beauty industry, for instance, and some of those trends have spread to the U.S. As far as automotive, Japan may be ahead of the curve when it comes to this particular aspect of the vehicle.
"And so with auto, we're seeing that Japan is turning their car into an extension of the living room. And so they're integrating things such as fridges and humidifiers, and they're adding pillows and carpets and curtains, to make it feel more like a home," Horwitz said.
"We're still quite a little ways away from complete autonomous driving, but it's really interesting to see that as Japan's already starting to think of their vehicle as a home or another area of living, how will that translate in the U.S. as we begin to use our cars in different ways?" she said. "So what other type of inspiration can we, maybe, take from the home and hospitality industry as well?"
Does she see that happening in the U.S. market?
 "I think it's something to keep our eyes open for," Horwitz said. "And I think that's what really beneficial about looking at different markets is (that) it creates awareness and just helps us re-think how we're doing things in the U.S."


Wednesday, 7 March 2018


Toyota Motor Corp. announced plans to drop diesel models from its European portfolio this year even as Volkswagen AG, which sparked the fury over the technology, predicts a rebound.
The diverging views of the world's two largest automakers reflect the uncertainty over the future of diesel, which has faced a steady drumbeat of bad news since Volkswagen's cheating scandal erupted in September 2015.
The German auto giant is expecting consumers to forgive and forget soon, as cleaner diesels hit the streets.
"Diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realize that it was a very comfortable drive concept," Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said at the Geneva auto show.
"Once the knowledge that diesels are eco-friendly firms up in people's minds, then for me there's no reason not to buy one."
The comments are bold considering Volkswagen put aside about $30 billion in provisions to cover fines, retrofits and legal costs stemming from rigging diesel-emissions systems to dupe government pollution tests.
The fallout has been wide ranging. Germany is now considering potential bans of diesel vehicles from cities, and governments including China, France and the U.K. have put in place plans to phase out the internal combustion engine.
Consumers have also begun to shun diesel, with its share of German car sales tumbling to a third from half since VW's cheating scandal.
In contrast to VW's upbeat prognosis, Toyota is getting rid of diesels in Europe, the main market for the technology.
After refraining from a diesel variant of the C-HR crossover in 2016, Toyota will extend that decision across its portfolio, including offering the redesigned Auris compact with two hybrid powertrains and one turbocharged gasoline engine.
There's more at stake than consumer choice. European carmakers have been counting on diesel - a profitable and fuel-efficient alternative to gasoline vehicles - to meet tighter environmental regulations until electric cars become more viable.
"We need diesel to get to the CO2 goals," Herbert Diess, who heads Volkswagen's namesake mass-market brand, said after presenting the all-electric I.D. Vizzion concept car that's capable of driving as far as 650 kilometers (404 miles) on a single charge.
"Electric vehicles in many cases won't keep frequent drivers happy."
While Ford Motor Co. still backs diesel, the technology's role may be further diminished by tighter environmental rules, as regulators target the fuel's emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides, according to Steven Armstrong, chief of the automaker's European operations.
"We still see a future for diesel, although on some smaller vehicles I do believe it will progressively disappear," Armstrong said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
"We have to work hard to gain consumer trust to make sure they believe the messaging" that new diesels are clean.
Toyota, a pioneer in hybrid technology, has had doubts about diesel's ability to meet modern environmental rules since 2011, Didier Leroy, executive vice president at Toyota, said in Geneva.
Now, there's a risk to consumer sentiment, with a "real potential" for driving bans to hit diesel cars in European cities beyond Germany, he said.
While VW and other proponents argue diesel's merits from a regulatory and technology perspective, it's uncertain how customers will react to the threat of driving restrictions and falling prices for used vehicles.
"At the end of the day, consumers have the final world," Carlos Tavares, CEO of PSA Group, the maker of Peugeot, Citroen and Opel vehicles, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. "We have a very clear strategy in terms of multi-energy platforms, which means we can assemble on the same assembly line petrol cars, diesel cars, electric-powered cars."
German manufacturers like Volkswagen are more exposed to diesel's demise than European rivals because they make more powerful vehicles. Mercedes-Benz parentDaimler AG said the CO2 emissions of its vehicles rose last year, as buyers traded up to bigger models. The hurdles are only getting tougher.
Carmakers in the EU need to lower fleet emissions to average 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2021, from an average of 118 grams CO2 in 2016. Lower demand for diesel cars - which emit about a fifth less carbon dioxide compared to equivalent gasoline vehicles - could force automakers to aggressively push unprofitable electric cars to meet these targets.
"The rules of the game in the EU in relation to climate protection and emissions goals on CO2 are so challenging that governments cannot do without diesel," VW's Mueller said. "We're doing everything to avoid" coming up short, but "if there's less diesel, then getting to that goal just gets tougher."

Wednesday, 28 February 2018


Automaker reportedly joins Porsche, Toyota in abandoning fuel following industry-wide scandals

The four-year plan to drop diesel cars and trucks from the company's lineup will apparently be revealed at the beginning of June, though officially FCA declined to comment.
The Italian-American automaker is one of several reportedly planning to nix diesel-powered vehicle sales: Porsche last week said it was also removing diesel vehicles from its range, and Toyota last year told the FT it probably would "not launch another model with a diesel engine."
Other automakers are conversely expanding their diesel offerings, like Hyundai, which will be bringing a new diesel Santa Fe to Canada for the 2019 model year.
Once promoted by many government as a cleaner-burning fuel, diesel sales have been dropping globally in the wake of the Volkswagen "dieselgate" scandal of 2015, when it was discovered the German automaker had tweaked the software in its diesel cars to cheat emissions tests while emitting higher-than-legal levels of pollutants in real-world driving. Several automakers have been accused of similar cheating in the years since, including Fiat Chrysler
The insider information leaked to the FT suggested that while Fiat Chrysler would stop the sale of diesel passenger vehicles in the next four years, it would continue building diesel commercial vehicles, and that it may still offer diesel engines in its Canadian-market pickup trucks, like the Ram 1500.


Wednesday, 21 February 2018


 The Price Better Be Right
When buying a new car, few people think about the "cost-per-mile" to own and operate the vehicle, but the American Automobile Association (AAA) publishes a guidebook every year that examines just that called "Your Driving Costs." The publication helps vehicle owners understand the total estimated cost of owning and operating their vehicle each year and breaks that cost down to an approximate cost-per-mile driven. It is a useful resource for anyone looking to purchase a new vehicle. With the rapid rise of ride-hailing via companies like Uber and Lyft, does it make sense for a new-vehicle shopper to forego their purchase and simply transition exclusively to becoming a ride-hailing customer to meet their transportation needs?
Using AAA's guidebook as a baseline, additional research helped determine an answer. Truth be told, making the comparison wasn't easy; it required some effort.
According to the Department of Transportation, the average American vehicle owner drives about 13,474 miles per year, or about 1,122 miles per month. According to the EPA, the mean fuel economy of a new vehicle in America is 24.8 miles per gallon, which means the average vehicle consumes about 45.2 gallons of fuel per month. At the current national mean price of $2.58 per gallon (according to AAA), the average new vehicle owner spends about $116 per month on fuel.
With that information in hand, it was time to research other costs. Some monthly costs were pro-rated based on estimated average annual costs, while others are estimates based on personal and anecdotal evidence. Take a look:
  • Average monthly car payment: $503 (according to Experian)
  • Average monthly insurance payment: $100 (can vary widely, but estimate $100)
  • Average monthly price of vehicle registration: $20
  • Average monthly spend on gasoline: $116
  • Average monthly spend on maintenance: $20
  • Average monthly spend on car washes: $30
  • Projected monthly spend on tires (based on four tires that need to be replaced every four years at a cost of $600): $12.50
  • Average monthly spend on public parking: $10 Average monthly total: $811.50
So, the average monthly cost to own and operate a newish vehicle is a little more than $800 (just under $10,000 annually). And since the average consumer drives 1,122 miles per month, the cost to a consumer of owning and operating a vehicle is approximately $0.72 per mile.
Looking at the price of using a ride share service, there are many variables, including the type of vehicle booked, the location of the booking, the distance traveled and the time of day when the vehicle is booked (e.g., low-traffic periods vs. peak-traffic periods).
Using the UberX option as an example-which is the cheapest personal Uber available-the cost in the Los Angeles area is about $0.90 per mile, plus $0.15 per minute, plus a flat booking fee of $2.10 per ride, regardless of time and distance. I, for example, live 8.2 miles from my office. Uber regularly quotes a price of $10.57 for the trip, or the equivalent of $1.28 per mile. This is nearly 80% higher than the average cost of driving my own vehicle. While Uber's pricing is much lower than a traditional taxi, at this price point, it doesn't make financial sense to give up my vehicle and transition to ride-hailing.
Uber and other ride share companies are experimenting with different service packages (e.g., pre-selling 20 rides up front at reduced prices, ride share carpooling and others) to bring down the price-per-mile of using a ride share service.
However, ride-hailing services do offer some inherent advantages over vehicle ownership in terms of convenience: there would no longer be a need for administrative tasks like making car payments, insurance payments or registration payments; there would no longer be a need for vehicle maintenance tasks like refueling, car washes and oil changes; and worries about parking would be eliminated, while more time could be dedicated to other more relaxing and/or productive pursuits during a commute. Moreover, ride share drivers with whom I've interacted have been exceedingly polite and professional, their vehicles have been impeccably cleaned and maintained and the total experience has been hassle free.
These are all enormously attractive selling-points. But for consumers who first and foremost look at the bottom line, the key to converting new-car shoppers to full-time ride-hailing customers will require a substantial reduction in price. Until that time arrives, consumers-me included-will be heading to the showroom to pick out their next new ride.
# # #
Tim Dunne is director for analytical center of excellence at J.D. Power. He will continue to do the math on ride-hailing but, for now, has no plans to give up his vehicle.
The information contained herein has been obtained by J.D. Power from sources believed to be reliable. However, because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by our sources, J.D. Power does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from use of such information.