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CBT automotive newscast: March 3, 2021

Featured Interview:

How NAMAD is investing in the next generation of minority dealers
There are currently only 1,234 ethnic minority dealers out of the 18,200 franchise new-car dealers. The National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) is helping support these dealers and bring up the next generation of minority automotive professionals through NAMAD NextGen. Today on the show we sit down with a panel of minority dealers that are closely tied to the NextGen program. Members of the panel include Damon Lester, President of NAMAD, Perry Watson IV, President of NAMAD NextGen, Karmala Sutton, previous President of NAMAD NextGen, and Andre Palmar, member of the NextGen program. Watch the full segment here.

Top Headlines:

This week, Volvo Cars officialized its plans to become an electric-only brand by 2030. The company also announced that all Volvo EVs will be sold exclusively online. When asked about how this will impact the automaker’s global retail network, Volvo officials stated that no closures are planned. The company plans to keep its dealership locations open for servicing vehicles and to help customers make online purchases.

Fiat Chrysler has admitted its role in paying millions of dollars in personal expenses for senior union officials. From 2009 to 2016, $3.5 million in prohibited payments were paid and delivered by FCA to officers and employees of the United Auto Workers Union. The payments were funneled through a worker training center jointly overseen by FCA and UAW officials. The money was used to cover the cost of meals, parties, clothing, golf, and other personal expenses. FCA has agreed to pay $30 million for its crime and submit to an independent compliance monitor for three years.

Lithia Motors continues to accelerate its growth and expand its footprint. Yesterday, the retailer announced the acquisition of five new locations, all in the Tampa, Florida market. The newly acquired stores expect to add $430 million in annual revenue for Lithia. The most notable store in the deal was Hyundai of New Port RIchey, the largest-volume Hyundai location in the United States eight years in a row.

Some cities are charging up for the arrival of EVs, while others are more skeptical. LawnStarter recently conducted a study that compared the top 200 cities in the U.S. To determine the best places to own an electric car. The state of California dominated the list, as 21 of the top 25 cities came from the Golden State. Irvine, Riverside, and Sacramento took the top three spots. To see more on the study, be sure to read our full-length article right here on CBT News.

News & Opinion:

FCA North America pleads guilty in labor corruption scandal
On Monday, an executive for Fiat Chrysler North America acknowledged that the carmaker indeed conspired to pay in excess of $3.5 million in bribes to union leaders over the course of years. Now part of Stellantis, the automaker has agreed to pay a settlement of $30 million for the criminal charges associated with violations to the Labor Management Relations Act.  Read more

Five Star Dealer Awards recognize those at the peak of customer service
On Tuesday, Edmunds announced the ninth annual Five Star Dealer Award recipients. Dealers who received this year’s award are being recognized for their extremely high standard of customer service as seen in the eyes of the customer. Edmunds hands out the awards annually to dealerships who participate in their Dealer Partner program and have received overwhelmingly positive reviews. In total, 106 dealerships earned the Five Star Dealer award while 13 were recognized with the Five Star Premier Dealer designation, a prestige given to those with the highest-performing customer service. Read more

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CBT News
CBT News
For over 11 years, CBT News has been informing and helping automotive retail professionals grow their businesses and thrive in their careers through an awarding-winning, on-demand streaming platform. With exclusive interviews featuring the biggest names in the industry, daily newscasts, up-to-date market data, and exclusive articles covering the latest trends, CBT News is your #1 source for auto industry news and content.

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