Dealers' #1 source for auto industry news, content, coaching & analysis

CBT automotive newscast: March 5, 2021

Featured Interview:

virtual sales managerHow a virtual sales manager can improve dealership operations – John Connelly, Acura Columbus
As remote work and virtual meetings become the norm, dealers must be able and willing to meet the expectations set by consumers. John Connelly, President and Owner of Acura Columbus (Ohio), is meeting those expectations with a virtual sales manager. Connelly joins the show to talk about the virtual experience and how digital retailing has helped his business operations through the pandemic. Watch the full segment here.

Top Headlines:

General Motors may have found the site of its next battery plant. According to the Wall Street Journal, GM and South Korean joint venture partner LG Chem are close to completing an agreement to locate the plant in Tennessee. The new plant will be used to build batteries for GM’s rapidly expanding EV lineup. The companies have already started building a $2.3 billion battery plant in Ohio that is expected to open in 2022.

This week, CarMax announced that it will give bonuses to 22,000 employees to recognize their efforts during the pandemic. The used-car retailer said that full-time employees will receive a $500 bonus and part-time employees will receive $250. CarMax CEO Bill Nash said no one could have predicted the challenges the company had to face in 2020 and praised the associates for their hard work in making the best of a difficult situation.

Several automakers reported drops in sales for the month of February. Ford Motor Company reported a drop of 14% as many of its markets were hindered by severe winter weather. Mazda also reported a sales drop of 8.4% while Honda U.S. sales fell 11.6%. Subaru, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia all reported sales drops as well.

As EVs continue to grow, a new study shows that consumers currently prefer hybrids over battery-powered electric vehicles. According to data collected by Cox Automotive, seven of the top ten considered electrified models in Q4 of 2020 were hybrids. Japanese automakers took the top three spots on the list with the Toyota Rav4 hybrid coming in first followed by the Honda CR-V hybrid and the Toyota Highlander hybrid.

FedEx has announced plans to become carbon-neutral by 2040. The company plans to invest $2 billion toward sustainable energy initiatives such as electric vehicles and carbon capture research. As part of its investment, FedEx will give Yale University $100 million to establish the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture.

The electric highway coalition made up of six major U.S. utilities companies has unveiled plans to add electric vehicle fast chargers to connect major highway systems across the country. The coalition is made up of American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corp, Southern Company, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Each company will provide charging stations within their service territories. The announcement comes as President Biden has prioritized EVs, promising to build 550,000 new EV charging stations across the U.S.

News & Opinion:

serviceEmbrace technology in the service department for faster turnaround times
With the service department making up 49% of the dealership’s gross profit, it must continue to grow with the times. If dealerships don’t adopt new technologies before the other dealers in the area, customers and profit will be lost. As the automotive industry continues to change with higher customer expectations, margin compression and increased competition, fixed operations offer great potential to bring more income. Dealers must use technology to create a customer-centric department. These changes go beyond putting Wi-Fi in the waiting area. Here are some ways to leverage technology to improve sales and the customer experience. Read more

CarMaxCarMax issuing bonuses for 22,000 staff to reward efforts during COVID-19
On Wednesday, CarMax announced that around 22,000 of their associates nationwide can expect to receive a bonus. The initiative is an acknowledgement for working through the difficulty that COVID-19 has presented. According to the press release, the used car chain is honoring “their commitment and dedication to provide excellent customer service and introduce new innovative offerings in the midst of a challenging year”. Full-time employees are slated to receive a $500 bonus while part-time workers employed on March 1, 2020 or earlier will receive $250. Anyone hired after March 1 can still receive a bonus, but at a prorated amount. Read more

Did you enjoy today’s automotive newscast? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch-up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.


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.

Related Articles

Manufacturers In This Article

More Manufacturer News

Latest Articles

From our Publishing Partners