Car Dealers Seek Commonsense Solutions in Washington
WASHINGTON, DC - April 18, 2022: The AIADA newsletter reported that Automotive News has published AIADA Chairman John Connelly’s latest blog post. It was good to see that the Biden administration took the time this month to meet with auto executives beyond those from Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis to discuss the future of electric vehicle production and infrastructure in the U.S. Our message that all automotive manufacturers need to have a seat at the table, not just manufacturers that employ UAW members, is working. That being said, the proposal to give an additional $4,500 refundable tax credit for the sale of only union-made EVs is still part of the administration's wish list. The budget reconciliation bill known as Build Back Better has now morphed into Building a Better America, but don't be fooled — the same business-destroying language is on the table and it only needs the support of 50 senators. It would be nice instead to see our government applaud the enormous investments that international automakers are making in America to create thousands of well-paid, stable manufacturing jobs. Click here for John’s full opinion piece.
Mercedes-Benz Chairman Emphasizes Sustainability
Mercedes-Benz is confident that, despite the automotive industry’s current huge transformation process, individual mobility solutions will grow and the industry will grow with it. Wards reports that’s the view stated by Chairman Ola Källenius during the extended presentation of the automaker’s ESG Conference. “We are convinced that demand for individual mobility is still on the rise,” he says. “Global car markets will grow, and our mission is to meet this need in a sustainable way. Climate change is the most important task of our generation.” However, Källenius acknowledges Mercedes-Benz has a lot of work to do to meet its climate and economic targets in the coming two decades. “First, let’s have a look at our goals,” he says. “Sustainability is one of the guiding principles in our strategy and our path to carbon neutrality is ambitious. We have set ourselves measurable goals. “In 2022, we want to achieve CO2-neutral production. In 2025 we want to have up to 50 percent of our sales as XEVs, and by the end of this decade we will be ready to go all-electric wherever market conditions allow. By 2039, along the whole value chain, we want to be CO2-neutral. Click here for the full story.
Barriers to EV Ownership Give Pa. Dealer Andy Wright Pause for Concern
Despite the acceleration of digital retailing, research suggests that many customers across the nation still enjoy walking into car dealerships. CBT News interviews Andy Wright, Managing Partner of Vinart Dealerships, who shares his perspective on the current state of automotive retail and how his market in Pennsylvania is responding to it. Vinart Dealerships operates Acura, Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche franchises, all of which are located in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, approximately one hour north of Philadelphia and an hour west of New York City. Lehigh Valley is the third-largest market in Pennsylvania and, up until two years ago, Vinart operated the number one Honda store by volume in the state. Today, the group has around 430 associates and retails approximately 7,000 cars each year. In the Lehigh Valley market, Wright says there’s no question that the demand and interest in EVs are rising. In fact, Vinart has been selling EVs for almost three years, and back in February, they started to sell Hyundai’s Iconiq 5 for the first time. Click here for the full interview.
Hyundai Design Chief SangYup Lee on the Company's Design Future
Twenty years ago, Hyundai was known for bland, cheap A-to-B transport. It would have been hard to imagine that the company would ever build a reputation for creative and stylish vehicles. But with bold designs like the 2023 Palisade and the retro-futuristic Ioniq 5, Hyundai has now become a design leader. Car and Driver spoke with Hyundai's design chief, SangYup Lee, at the New York auto show and he gave us insight into the company's current and future design philosophy. Hyundai has established its eye-catching style with large grilles that dominate the faces of its gas-powered models. While some of these grilles, like the gaping maws on the Sonata and Santa Fe, have made the vehicles look like hungry catfish, Hyundai hit a home run with the armor-like grilles on its 2022 Tucson and Santa Cruz. Both models disguise the daytime running lights as part of the grille — which Hyundai calls the "hidden jewel" design — and Lee said positive feedback on the Tucson prompted the grille design to spread to the 2023 Palisade. "This is a very unique characteristic so we want to really capitalize and make a statement," he explained. Click here for the full interview.
In-House Digital Display Ads Help Car Dealerships Bring Sizzle to Fixed Ops
To James Stephens, using dry-erase whiteboards and lifeless posters taped to walls to promote fixed ops services is so yesterday. "A lot of what you see inside dealerships today is very outdated," says the fixed ops director at Nashville-based Beaman Automotive Group, part of Hudson Automotive Group. But that's not the case at the four Beaman stores, which feature sleek big-screen monitors that display attention-grabbing content in service lanes and most customer lounges, courtesy of Digital Dealership System. Automotive News reports the company specializes in customized, in-house digital ad solutions for dealerships. "I wanted to replace all those antiquated and less attractive in-house displays with something vibrant and welcoming — portray a more modern atmosphere," Stephens said. The transformation began in early 2017 at Beaman Ford in Dickson, about 40 miles west of Nashville. In the store's service lane, a giant monitor features a "Dare to Compare" display, which contrasts the store's prices for routine services with competitors' prices. Click here for the full story.