CBT automotive newscast: March 4, 2021

Featured Interview:

Tom MaoliTom Maoli on the importance of improving infrastructure to support the EV market
Today, we welcome Tom Maoli to CBT News. Maoli holds a number of different titles, including President and CEO of Celebrity Motor Cars, President and CEO of Real Estate Opportunity Investments LLC, and host of the show Go Big or Go Home on the iHeatRadio Network. Maoli joins the show to provide his perspective on the EV market, automakers selling directly to consumers, and other challenges facing the industry. Watch the full segment here.

Top Headlines:

President Joe Biden has announced that he expects every adult in the U.S. to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of May. The announcement comes as the White House continues to work to increase the production of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID vaccine. Less than a month ago, Biden predicted that the U.S. would have enough vaccine supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July.

The Ohio State Legislature has introduced a new bill that would allow Lordstown Motors to sell directly to consumers in the state. The bill is specifically for the startup as it’s the only vehicle manufacturer with a corporate headquarters in Ohio. This week, the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association said that they oppose the bill. According to Zach Doran, President of the state’s association, major automakers that operate in Ohio are currently developing EVs and will sell them through the state’s dealer network.

2020 was a breakout year for online retail companies. According to research conducted by Cox Automotive, the percentage of car buyers that visited the website of a “new form online retailer,” such as Carvana, Shift, or room, was up 17% in 2020. The pandemic accelerated changes in auto retailing and revolutionized the car buying process for online retailers and dealers alike.

Certain states are beginning to lift mask mandates and other coronavirus-related restrictions. Texas and Mississippi have both announced that public restrictions have been lifted, allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity. Automakers with factories in the states have said they will continue to take a cautious approach to operations. A spokesperson for Toyota said that no immediate changes are expected for the company’s plant in San Antonio. General Motors also said it will continue to require its 13,500 employees in the state to work while wearing a face covering.

News & Opinion:

salesThe National Retail Federation projects retail sales growth in 2021 with effective vaccine rollout
The year 2020 was a challenging one—particularly for the automotive industry. During the start of the pandemic, U.S. vehicle sales fell as much as 52%. Nevertheless, the industry went on to rebound and see year-over-year growth in new vehicle sales. This showcases the automotive industry’s resilience, especially auto dealers who found innovative ways to offer car buyers a convenient and safe car purchase process. However, according to BCG, there are concerns about projections that auto sales will not rebound to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2023. Read more

marketingTailoring your automotive marketing for 2021
Marketing your dealership to your customer has historically been a fairly straightforward task. There are nuances in using data, but the data has been consistent year over year – except for this past year. And if 2021 is any indication, we may have another year of profound social, economic, and technological disruption. The pandemic and associated events served as a catalyst that propelled new behaviors already engaged in by bleeding-edge early adopters. Concierge services are in demand by all consumers, increasing how to integrate a digital buying and service process for vehicles. Cause marketing also showed up as something to consider for inclusion into your business plan. Read more

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