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Free trade agreements, Toyota and hydrogen, factory explodes

Inside Automotive

Alan Haig discusses M&A activityWhy retail automotive is still going strong despite years of challenges – Alan Haig
On this episode of Inside Automotive, host Jim Fitzpatrick is once again joined by Alan Haig, founder of Haig Partners, to discuss further developments in the car business. Haig notes that dealership values have decreased roughly 10% since their peak in the first half of 2022. However, he notes that prices are still several times greater than the pre-COVID norm, and that even a 25% decline in profits over the course of 2023 would still place store values well-above average. Watch full segment here.

Top Stories

Koji Sato HydrogenToyota’s incoming CEO, Koji Sato, announced his intentions to expand the use of hydrogen fuel in the coming years. According to Sato, the company will focus on improving its hydrogen supply chain and infrastructure, even as it drastically ramps up EV production. Outgoing Toyota chief Akio Toyoda also prioritized hydrogen technology in addition to hybrid vehicles, but faced substantial criticism for his lack of interest in pursuing an electrification strategy. Last week, the automaker’s newly developed hydrogen fueled race car caught fire during a test drive. Read More

Biden Yellen free trade agreements

Efforts by the Biden Administration to expand EV tax credit coverage to foreign automakers have recently come under fire from congress members on both sides of the political aisle. Leaders in multiple countries initially expressed worries that domestic sourcing standards in the Inflation Reduction Act would damage their local economies, leading the President to seek international free trade agreements which circumvent this rule. However, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the U.S. argue that the negotiations are being pursued without required congressional approval. Politicians have also criticized the appeasement of foreign trade partners who charge high tariffs on American products. Read More

Tesla beta

Tesla vehicles are getting a long-delayed self-driving update which combines the automaker’s Autopilot and Full Self Driving Beta stacks. The software upgrade was originally scheduled to release in November of 2022, but has remained in closed testing until now. The merger of the two driver assistance packages means that Tesla owners will be able to use one system to navigate both non-highway and highway roads, environments originally split between the two platforms. Over 400,000 drivers are subscribed to the Beta, but have not received a major update since its release. Read More

Dicastal explosion

Last Friday, an explosion occurred at a Michigan facility which supplies components for most major OEM brands across the world. Dicastal North America manufactures lightweight aluminum alloy wheels for a list of brands including Ford, Stellantis, GM and Honda. According to local news, one employee was taken to the hospital with serious burns, but no deaths have been reported. As authorities investigate the cause, most automakers are still analyzing whether the explosion will cause any disruptions. Read More

For Dealers

Agency model ushers a new era: OEMs flirt with direct sales, dealers respond
As the wind of change sweeps through the automotive industry, OEMs have found themselves caught in a whirlwind romance with direct sales models. The long-standing dance between manufacturers and franchise dealerships has been the foundation of the industry for decades. However, this carefully choreographed relationship is being upended as an increasing number of manufacturers, encouraged by the sales experience brought on by the COVID pandemic, explore direct-to-consumer sales options. Read More

words5 powerful words to use when interacting with customers
In the automotive industry, it’s all about closing on a sale. Some people tend to convert every customer into a sale with decent grosses, and others struggle to make the sale. It’s also the case for service advisors upselling services, parts consultants convincing a caller to buy OEM rather than aftermarket, and F&I managers closing on insurance or protection packages. Various factors contribute to closing ratios, including a person’s appearance, tone of voice, and body language. Read More

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