CBT automotive newscast: January 10, 2022

Featured Show:

What motivates this tech entrepreneur’s passion for innovation?
Welcome to another episode of Founder Focus, a CBT original series that dives into the inside stories behind some of the automotive industry’s most impressive entrepreneurial journeys. Join us for intimate conversations with innovative entrepreneurs and the great companies they have built. Today, host Steve Greenfield is joined by the Co-founder and CEO of Otonomo, Ben Volkow, who oversees strategy and vision for the company, Ben has extensive entrepreneurial experience and a successful track record, having founded three additional ventures. Watch the complete segment here.


While a lot of recent industry announcements have been related to fully electric vehicles, new numbers show hybrid vehicle sales hit a record high last year, totaling over 800,000 in the United States. According to analysts at Wards Intelligence, this was a 76% increase and made up 5% of total vehicle sales. Toyota and Honda saw the highest jump in hybrid sales across the market, and Hyundai CEO Jose Munoz recently told Reuters that hybrids are attractive options for consumers who are hesitant to make the transition to a fully electric car.

Rivian stock continued to drop last week, with the electric vehicle producer seeing a 3% dip on Thursday following rival Stellantis’s announcement that it will be partnering with Amazon for certain software and cloud services. The press release also said Amazon will utilize Stellantis’s electric RAM Promaster delivery van, which means the e-tail giant is making deals with other automakers alongside the existing, non-binding agreement it has with Rivian for 100,000 of its electric delivery vans. Despite shares dropping, a Rivian spokesperson said last week’s announcement was “good news for the industry” and assured reporters that Rivian’s agreement with amazon is “intact, thriving, and growing.”

Qualcomm has found the first user of its Snapdragon ride platform, as General Motors announced it will be debuting the so-called Ultra Cruise software in its electric 2024 Cadillac Celestiq sedan. GM unveiled the platform to investors last year and plans to replace the current Super Cruise system with it. The Super Cruise platform currently offers hands-free highway driving on roads that are clearly mapped and divided, but GM says the Ultra Cruise platform will feature hands-free driving on 95% of roads, including highways, city roads, and some rural roads. GM’s Chief Engineer Jason Ditman further said the platform will handle more specific driving maneuvers such as turns, stoplights, and merges onto highways.

December’s fleet sales continued to lag behind those of December 2020, ending 32% down year-over-year, but up 9% from November. Fleet sales totaled over 113,000 for the month of December, and the largest decrease year over year was seen in rental sales, which were down 59% from December of 2020. According to a Cox Automotive report from last week, fleet sales for 2021 totaled around 1.6 million vehicles, down 4% from 2020’s 1.7 million. Comparing fleet sales across brands, no manufacturer saw an increase throughout 2021, but Toyota saw the largest decrease while Ford saw the smallest.

News & Opinion:

hours per RO4 innovative ways to grow your service department’s hours per RO
Among the top KPIs your service department should be evaluating, the hours per RO is one of the most important. After all, you don’t want a bunch of service advisors that are content to deal with simple oil changes all day. You want a team that’s always hunting down new opportunities and chances to increase revenue. Thankfully, we have some innovative ways to grow hours per RO without putting forth too much effort. Read more

vendorsVendors you should have in place to support the service department
A service department can run like a well-oiled machine. Technicians diagnose concerns, order parts, install them, and send the customer on their way with a repaired vehicle. However, a few situations come up in every shop that can grind a repair order to a halt.  It can be parts shortages, a staff error, or an infrastructure issue, and it takes hours of frustratingly tedious attention that not only takes away from satisfying customers, but it costs your department potential revenue. It can even hit the bottom line. With the right people on speed dial, some of these problems vendors can be solved swiftly. Outside vendors can be a lifesaver and they’re just a phone call away. Read more

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