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CBT automotive newscast: February 15, 2022

Inside Automotive:

Cox Automotive’s Dale Pollak shares his best practices for sourcing used car inventory in today’s climate
Dale Pollak grew up a dealership kid in Indiana and worked alongside his father Les, to learn the car business. Dale ran his own line of successful stores for years until he followed his interest in computer science and eventually founded inventory management software juggernaut, vAuto. vAuto, now part of Cox Automotive, has been at the forefront of innovation for nearly two decades. Dale has written prolifically about the dynamics of the car business.
Watch the complete segment here.

Headlines:

Ford continues to be impacted by the global semiconductor chip shortage, announcing Monday that it will be continuing the shutdown at two of its manufacturing plants and decreasing hours at others. In an email sent Monday, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker said the automaker’s Ohio assembly plant and the production of the Transit van at its Kansas City plant will remain shut down, while three of its truck assembly plants will operate at reduced hours. Earlier this month, Ford announced that the chip shortage would cause a reduction of overall production throughout the quarter.

Rivian automotive got a notable new investor last quarter, as Soros Fund Management invested more than $1 billion in the electric automaker. According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the investment firm belonging to Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros purchased almost 20 million shares of the company, making it one of Rivian’s largest investments to date. Rivian stock has been volatile in the last few months, dropping over 40% year-to-year due to production shortfalls and a failed battery-production agreement with Samsung SDI company.

A New Jersey Ford dealership is facing scrutiny after significantly rising vehicle prices above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Last week, a customer reported that All American Ford in Old Bridge was selling two 2021 Ford Broncos at very large markups, with one being 42% over MSRP and the other being 66% over MSRP. A sales manager at the dealership defended the prices, saying that the dealer is being forced to make so-called “market adjustments” to compensate for the dangerously low supply of vehicles it has. Ford recently issued a warning to dealers who are inflating vehicle prices and said these dealers could be last to receive new inventory including the electric F-150 Lightning truck.

A critical bridge between Canada and the United States has been reopened after a Canadian judge got involved in the weeklong protests regarding COVID-19 restrictions. Approximately 25 protestors were arrested on Sunday night, and many of their vehicles were towed to unblock the road. The bridge closure had a large impact on the auto industry, as automakers such as Toyota and Ford were forced to cut production in both Canada and the U.S. due to logistical disruption. The closure of the bridge linking Michigan and Ontario initially began on February 7 when protestors blocked off the bridge and forced motorists to try to find other ways to travel between the countries.

Celebrating Black History Month:

This February, in honor of Black History Month, we want to celebrate and recognize the achievements of black retail automotive professionals past, present, and future. Today, we’d like to highlight Ralph Gilles, current head of design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Gilles also previously served as President and CEO of Chrysler’s SRT brand, which included high-performance cars like the Dodge Neon SRT-4, the Dodge Viper SRT-10, and the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

After his aunt submitted one of his car designs to none other than Lee Iacocca, Chrysler’s Head of Design K. Neil Walling wrote back, encouraging 14-year-old Gilles to pursue design school. He did just that and joined Chrysler’s design team in 1992. He is responsible for the design of the Chrysler 300, a pivotal model for the brand at that time.

News & Opinion:

catalytic converterState laws introduced to curb catalytic converter theft
In Washington State, catalytic converter theft increased 3800% from 2019 to 2020. Such a shocking rise in blatant thefts has given rise to a new law introduced at the Washington State Legislature that requires specific documentation for scrap dealers to purchase old converters. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Cindy Ryu, passed by a margin of 68 to 30 votes on Saturday evening. The bill still needs to be brought to the Senate and passed before it becomes state law. It’s the second bill to head to Senate in recent weeks. Another bill, SB 5495, would prohibit scrap metal dealers from purchasing used catalytic converters from anyone other than vehicle owners and commercial enterprises. Read More

cold weather3 tips to help drivers avoid cold weather mishaps
With the majority of U.S. consumers back on the road driving every day, unexpected weather changes and frigid temperatures offer an opportunity to provide support for cold weather car care and maintenance care. In addition to routine maintenance and repairs done in the shop, service departments can be instrumental in helping their customers prepare for wet, snowy, and icy weather conditions. Properly preparing for cold weather, can help prevent drivers from experiencing unexpected car trouble when the temperature drops or they’re faced with less than ideal road conditions. Read more


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