Making the most out of your marketing strategy in today’s climate
As low inventory and chip shortages stick around, should dealers cut back or double down in their advertising spend? On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back Bob Lanham, Facebook’s Head of Automotive Retail, and John Fitzpatrick, Co-Founder, and CEO of Force Marketing to give us their perspective on the most effective strategy. Watch the complete segment here.
BMW is set to build a brand new, high-end model car at its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant. The factory currently makes the BMW X3 through the X7, as well as the performance models of most of the vehicles. BMW currently exports about 70% of the vehicles it produces at its U.S. plant. LMC Automotive believes BMW will produce a new crossover called the X8 at the plant, and possibly be revealed before the end of the year. Chairman Oliver Zipse told CNBC, “that the company fully supports the Biden administration’s goal to have half of the auto industry’s sales to EVs by 2030.”
General Motors has required all U.S. salaried employees to report their COVID-19 vaccination status. The number one U.S. automaker asked nearly 48,000 workers to report their vaccination status via a “confidential online reporting tool”, as a way to assess overall immunity levels and guide its safety protocols. Employees who confirmed they were fully vaccinated were asked to submit proof of their vaccination card. General Motors and other automakers have not required workers to get vaccinated, but have implemented safety measures at their facilities. UAW president Ray Curry, whose union represents over 400,000 workers, said the organization does not plan to mandate vaccines for its members, but says, they would “be open” to discussions about surveying UAW members of their status. The union isn’t tracking the vaccination rates of its members.
In other General Motors news, CEO Mary Barra, has signaled the automaker will continue its relationship with South Korea’s LG Energy Solution, the battery supplier at the center of its $1.8 billion vehicle recall, while stressing it has “multiple pathways” to secure a leading position in the transition to EVs. GM and LG Energy Solutions are still investigating the cause of manufacturing defects that lead to at least 10 bolts catching fire and pushing the company to recall over 100,000 vehicles. Barra said, the defects are limited to the Bolt and will not affect GM’s new Ultium battery platform, which is developed with LG to power flagship EVs due later this year.
With the massive recall of all Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs, General Motors is extending downtime at three of its plants until September 13. The Orion Assembly in Michigan stopped production last week but is expected to resume today. Dealers are not permitted to sell the Bolts until they have applied the recall repair, which varies by model year. Ford’s Oakville plant, Kansas City plant, and its Dearborn truck plant will all sit idle this week because of the semiconductor-related parts shortages. Both the Kansas City and Dearborn factories build the bestselling F-150 pickup. The Oakville plant produces the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus crossovers. The company plans to work through the majority of some 60,000 to 70,000 unfinished vehicles that are sitting in lots around assembly plants by the end of the third quarter.
News & Opinion:
EV adoption hindered by poor range, insufficient charging infrastructure
Mazda has opened reservations for their first all-electric vehicle, the Mazda MX-30 EV. Mostly comparable in size to the compact CX-30 SUV, it’s billed as “the perfect companion for your daily commute” and is expected to arrive in California this fall and in 2022 elsewhere. Yet, the MX-30 has an estimated range of just 100 miles. How does Mazda justify the shorter range? According to the Mazda website, “MX-30 owners can select a courtesy non-EV car up to 10 days a year for the first three years of ownership for a longer-range trip or personal needs.” Read more
To modernize car buying, we need to make it easier to sell
By now, everyone in the automotive industry knows that digital retailing is here to stay. Today’s customers expect to be able to buy everything online, and this has been especially true during the pandemic. But while reports have shown that digital retailing shaves time off the car buying transaction and, in turn, creates a positive customer experience, it’s clear — salespeople at dealerships are not embracing digital-retailing tools with the same enthusiasm as customers. Read more
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