CBT automotive newscast: February 16, 2022

Inside Automotive:

The simple truths about leadership and how to practice them with Ken Blanchard & Randy Conley
Throughout the hustle and bustle of leading an organization, oftentimes the fundamentals of leadership can take a back seat or in some cases, become completely forgotten. Today’s guests are saying that it’s perfectly ok to get back to the basics. Today on Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome the co-authors of “Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to be a Servant Leader and Build Trust”, Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. Watch the complete segment here.


Automakers are expressing extreme dissatisfaction with dealers who are charging customers significantly more than the manufacturers’ suggested retail prices. According to Edmunds, more than 80% of car buyers throughout the United States paid a price over MSRP last month, which is exceptionally higher than around 3% in January of 2021. So far, Ford and General Motors have expressed the most public opposition, with each automaker sending dealers warnings about the practices and threatening to reallocate new inventory to other dealerships. Despite the ongoing contention, automakers remain committed to finding ways to work with dealers to facilitate sales of new EVs and hybrids as well as manage the shift to the direct-to-consumer sales model.

General Motors said on Monday that it will be increasing its climate equity fund to $50 million, which is twice its initial investment. GM executive Kristen Siemen said the increased investment will increase inclusion and get the community more involved in the efforts to ultimately eliminate emissions. The automaker is also continuing its support of various nonprofit organizations to further facilitate its goals of creating “clean energy jobs,” “sustainable transportation,” and “community climate action.” GM also has a separate $35 billion fund geared towards the research and development of electric vehicles and charging solutions.

According to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Tesla CEO Elon Musk donated over five million Tesla shares to a charity in November. While the name of the charity was not disclosed, it was worth over $5.7 billion and the shares were donated at the same time musk said he would sell off over $16 billion in shares after Twitter users said he should. Musk has continuously faced scrutiny when it comes to his taxes, and analysts say the recent donation may give him tax benefits since donations are potentially subject to lower taxes. The recent donation is not his first, as he has continuously given billions of dollars in grants to various causes.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sonic Automotive has made some changes to its board as well as increased the compensation of four executives, and set new standards for their bonuses. At the 2022 annual meeting of stockholders, Victor Dolan and Robert Heller announced they would not be seeking re-election, while Speedway Motorsports executive Michael Hodge was named as a new board member. The SEC filing also said its Executive Chairman, CEO, CFO, and the President will be receiving 20% salary increases, and that their bonuses going forward will be dependent on adjusted earnings per share and the overall satisfaction of customers. Sonic Automotive is set to report its earnings today.

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 Edward Welburn, GM’s former Vice President of Global Design.

After being awestruck by a Cadillac he saw at the Philadelphia Auto Show when he was 11 years old, Welburn wrote to General Motors inquiring about becoming a car designer. Later on, General Motors gave Welburn an internship and he went on to spend 44 years with the automaker, 13 of which, as GM’s Vice President of Global Design. Welburn oversaw the development of iconic cars like the Corvette, Camaro, and Escalade.

News & Opinion:

What Drives Her
Image by Chicago Auto Show via Facebook

Female auto professionals honored at the What Drives Her Awards
The fifth annual What Drives Her Program was held on February 11 as part of the Chicago Auto Show’s Media Preview. Each year, female forces within the auto industry join to recognize top successes as well as share advice and their personal stories. This includes women retailers, suppliers, manufacturers, and media moguls throughout the United States who continue to succeed in the auto industry. The What Drives Her program is just one of many resources for women within the industry, which includes all women from auto buyers to auto executives. Read More

Image by Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

As border blockade ends, carmakers have ground to make up
The Ambassador Bridge is once again flowing between the United States and Canada after a week-long blockade was removed by Windsor Police. However, the days that the corridor was impeded by the protesters, has created another economic hurdle that the auto industry will need to overcome. It’s estimated that the auto industry’s related shutdowns and idled lines will cost around $300 million in losses, according to Anderson Economic Group who analyzed the effects. Of the losses, nearly $150 million are in lost wages alone, suffered by assembly plant workers when their shifts were canceled. Michigan auto workers were hit the hardest, accounting for over one-third (estimated $51.26 million) of the lost wages. Read more

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