CBT Automotive Newscast: August 14, 2020

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Today’s Featured Interview:

Todd Skelton, CEO of Prime Automotive Group

Prime Automotive CEO Todd Skelton on How Business Has Changed in the Last 6 Months
Prime Automotive Group was growing tremendously before the COVID-19 outbreak. CEO Todd Skelton was tasked with keeping the momentum up while also managing the impact of the pandemic. Todd joined us to talk about strategies for maintaining a strong business model during these uncertain times, as well as giving back through the Prime Cares community initiatives. Watch the full segment here.

Top Headlines: 

The new Ford Bronco is picking up speed as reservations continue flying in. One month after the debut of the off-road SUV, Ford is saying they’ve received more reservations than initially expected with 165,000 deposits of $100. These numbers only represent reservations for the two and four-door models. Ford isn’t releasing numbers concerning the smaller Bronco Sport, however, it’s also expected to be a hot commodity when it hits showrooms later this year.

New auto brands continue to emerge in the US market. Lucid Motors is set to unveil its first production model next month. Lucid is one of many auto brands hoping to crack into the US market in the next several years. Others include Fisker, Lordstown Motors, Bollinger, Vantas, and many more. Many EV brands are hoping to find their way to showrooms as the electric car market continues to grow. If these new entrants hit the American market, it’s likely that US buyers will have the most auto brand options since World War II.

While many automakers have reopened their plants and resumed operations, not all employees have returned. According to data collected by Orbital Insight, the average weekday foot traffic among auto plants is less than 80%. Many plants are limiting their admittance to only critical staff. The lack of staff has seriously hurt production, leading to US inventory being just a little over half of what it was in 2019.

Many auto retailers have found that technology cuts costs while adding efficiency. Penske Automotive Group has discovered more effective ways to use employees while utilizing more tech. Penske furloughed around 15,000 employees at the beginning of the pandemic. As business improved, the retailer brought their employees back, but 14% remain furloughed. Penske said it’s unsure how many more positions it really needs to fill as technology has been an effective means for marketing, sales tools, and service appointments.

News Stories & Opinion:

shift momentum4 Ways to Shift Momentum in this Uncertain Environment
This morning as I watch the wave’s crash and rest upon the sandy shoreline, it occurred to me that the waves have momentum. Sometimes, they appear as flat smooth ripples and sometimes they appear to be large and unruly. Sailors refer to the latter as an angry sea. What makes the waves change momentum? It can be the wind, tornados, or hurricanes on the horizon that can interrupt marine work, charter fishing, or inland businesses such as in the auto industry. While we may not be happy with the conditions, we must make alternative plans to pivot, as we have no control over Mother Nature or in the development of the most recent crisis with COVID-19. Read More

customersTips for Retaining Customers Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted businesses and consumers in a way most people would have never expected. Businesses of all forms are having to cut budgets, lay off employees, and miss out on a lot of face-to-face interactions that are normally a critical component for the retention of customers. While the long term global effects of the pandemic seem bleak at the moment, businesses in all industries including the auto industry need to continue to try harder than ever to retain customers and keep them coming back. Read More


Did you enjoy today’s automotive newscast? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic with host Jim Fitzpatrick at jfitzpatrick@cbtnews.com.

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