CBT automotive newscast: August 12, 2021

Featured Interview:

LewisWhy management training can make or break your car dealership – David Lewis
On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back David Lewis, President and CEO of David Lewis and Associates, and also the host of CBT’s original series, Straight Talk. He joins us today to discuss the vital importance of management training. Watch the complete segment here.

Top Headlines:

The U.S. Senate has passed the massive $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will likely face changes as it heads to the House. For automakers, key pieces of the bill include $7.5 billion for expanding the EV network. During negotiations, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, said, “the bill just passed won’t get voted on until the larger $3.5 trillion package is also available to be voted on.” The smaller bill is more focused on ‘conventional’ infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. The larger bill expands views of infrastructure with funding for childcare, carbon emissions reductions, forest fire mitigation, and more.

With the administration facing challenges to setting up a nationwide EV charging network, Kansas City is creating its own solutions. The city is next in line to install as many as 60 EV chargers in streetlight poles, the same approach is being piloted in L.A. And Montreal. Streetlights and could provide hours-long and overnight charging access to EV owners who can’t charge at home. Streetlights also convert from sodium lamps to less power-hungry led lighting. EV owners who plug into the new Kansas City chargers will pay 22 cents per kilowatt-hour for energy, plus any regular parking fees.

In other EV news, the Cadillac CT5-V, and CT4-V Blackwing stand as the brand’s final gas-powered performance cars. Yes, this is the end of an era for Cadillac, but the company says, they are still all about performance. The CT5-V is said to be one of the most powerful and fastest Cadillac production models in history, with a top track speed of more than 200 mph. The CT4-V is the most powerful and fastest ever Cadillac subcompact. The first 250 builds of both models sold out within minutes. Cadillac hopes to have an all-electric lineup by 2030, with plans for the Lyriq electric crossover, to launch in 2022.

Fisker stock rose nearly 20% this past Tuesday, after a boost from Morgan Stanley, which said the electric-car maker is the rare EV startup likely to launch its vehicles on time. The stock has room to more than double in a year’s time. The carmakers have moved to contract with auto parts, electronics, and other makers in a bid to diversify its’ production portfolio. In August, Fisker reported a narrower quarterly loss than wall street expected and remains on track to start producing its first vehicle, an all-electric SUV.

Amazon-backed EV startup Rivian is in discussions to invest a minimum of $5 billion to build a plant near Fort Worth, Texas. The factory, codenamed “Project Tera” will be able to make 200,000 vehicles per year and create no less than 7,500 jobs by 2027. The proposed 2,000-acre Walsh Ranch site would include 12 million square feet of vertical construction. The company has committed to completing its initial investments by the end of 2024. No final decision has been made on where the plant would be located. Several states are still under consideration, but texas has become the front runner for Rivian.

News & Opinion:

billSenate passes $1 trillion infrastructure bill
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted to pass a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that includes goals to repair existing infrastructure as well as implement new initiatives that include climate protection and the expansion of broadband capabilities. Ohio Senator Rob Portman stated that “it’s going to improve the lives of all Americans,” and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the bill would “strengthen every major category of our country’s physical infrastructure.” Read more

fleetFleet servicing is the target for dealers as fleet sales numbers remain low
By the end of July, sales of fleet units in the US have regained some modest ground. Cox Automotive reports that year-to-date fleet sales – a combined tally of commercial, large rental, and government vehicle purchases – account for 1.09 million units. That figure represents an increase of just 6% over YTD at the end of July 2020 and a huge 40% drop over the same period in 2019. Though the numbers aren’t surprising given the financial impact the pandemic has had on businesses and government spending, it is a problem for auto dealers. As it relates to retail auto, the commercial fleet customers are where profits aren’t coming in as they once were. Read more

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