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CBT automotive newscast: February 8, 2022

Inside Automotive:

Are you asking customers the right questions at your car dealership?
Welcome to another edition of Inside Automotive with Jim Fitzpatrick who is joined by Sean Gardner, instructor and sales trainer with the Joe Verde Group.  For over 35 years JVG has been a leading training organization for car dealers, managers, and salespeople around the world. Today, Gardner shares his top techniques for closing more deals every month. Watch the complete segment here.


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly issued a subpoena to Tesla in November requesting the automaker provide details on its governance and compliance procedures surrounding CEO Elon Musk’s 2018 settlement with the commission. Tesla’s annual report was released this week and indicated the S.E.C. is looking into its agreement with Musk that requires him to seek attorney approval before he communicates with investors and the public. The recent subpoena was issued after Musk posted on Twitter and asked followers if they thought he should sell off 10% of the Tesla stock he owns. Musk had previously also stepped down as Tesla’s Chairman as part of the 2018 settlement with the S.E.C.

Ford is continuing to be impacted by the semiconductor chip shortage, announcing Friday that eight manufacturing plants throughout North America will be reducing production of several vehicles starting this week. This includes its much-anticipated Ford Bronco as well as Explorers, cargo vans, pickup truck models, electric Mustang crossovers, and Lincoln Aviators. The announcement comes after Ford stock dropped almost 10% at the end of last week after the automaker announced it had missed its target production goals in 2021. Despite the impacted production, Ford CFO John Lawler told reporters last week that Ford is optimistic the supply chain issues will improve this year.

Volkswagen recently said the automaker is projecting it will continue to be impacted by the semiconductor chip shortage beyond the first half of this year. A Volkswagen board member told reporters that there is optimism the supply chain constraints will improve throughout 2022 but will not stop until 2023 at the soonest. He referred to the shortages as a “volatile situation,” and added that the German automaker is trying to work with suppliers more efficiently instead of focusing on damages they have caused. Volkswagen has said it will be able to make better projections next year when the shortages have improved.

The United States Postal Service has announced it is still committed to its next-generation delivery vehicle plan, which includes the use of electric vehicles and more environmentally-friendly procedures. CEO Louis Dejoy said the initial steps of the postal service’s plan still include the purchase of 5,000 electric delivery vehicles with room to expand in the future. Dejoy cited the postal service’s “dire financial situation” and added that until more funding for these electric vehicles is obtained, other financial decisions will have to be made in order to make its fleet safer and more eco-friendly. The U.S. Postal Service has been working with Congress and various federal agencies to develop its overall plan.

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 McKinley Thompson, Jr., Ford Motor Company’s first black automobile designer.

In the early 1950s after serving in the Army Signal Corps During World War II, Thompson won a design contest in motor trend magazine and was awarded an art school scholarship. He then went to work at Ford’s advanced design studio where he contributed sketches for the Ford Mustang and conceptualized iconic attributes of the Ford Bronco.

News & Opinion:

virtual F&IIs virtual F&I here to stay? Probably, and here’s why
Since the start of the pandemic, car buyers and dealerships have had to navigate the steep learning curve of digital retailing to sell in a safer environment and in accordance with state and local mandates. Though it may seem like a million years ago since March 2020, we are still trying to shake COVID and its variants. But dealerships have continued with a more robust digital presence as customers are quite simply used to it and, in many cases, prefer it versus the old way of buying a car. Sitting for hours at the lot has lost its luster and so it goes for the F&I process. Enter the rise of the Virtual F&I experience. Read More

What is Ford doing at the Detroit train station?
While most of the recent news about Ford Motor Co. has dealt with its electric vehicle technologies, the automaker announced last week that it will be partnering with Google to work on its plans of redeveloping the Michigan Central Station in Detroit. The former train station, which has not been in service since early 1988, was acquired by Ford in 2018 with the goal of it being transformed into a revolutionary mobility district. At that time, Ford’s executive chairman Bill Ford said the automaker made the purchase because Ford “believed in a vision that reimagined the iconic Michigan Central train station and surrounding area as a place of possibility again.” Read more

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