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CBT automotive newscast: May 20, 2021

Featured Interview:

Asbury CEO David Hult and George Karolis of The Presidio Group discuss the company’s exceptional M&A activity
Mergers and acquisitions in retail automotive reached astounding levels in 2020, and the market shows no signs of slowing down. One of the biggest acquisitions in recent memory, was by Asbury Automotive Group which acquired several luxury Park Place dealerships. This deal added 12 franchises and a reported 1.7 billion dollars in annual revenue for Asbury. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome David Hult, president and CEO of Asbury Automotive Group and George Karolis, president of The Presidio Group to discuss this unprecedented activity in the M&A market. Read more

Top Headlines:

White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy announced this week that President Joe Biden is continuing his quest to find ways to incentivize consumers who buy electric vehicles, possibly by offering an immediate point-of-sale rebate. McCarthy said this would be part of Biden’s multi-trillion dollar infrastructure package that would also include 500,000 EV charging stations nationwide. While financial specifics for possible point-of-sale rebates were not provided, consumers who buy EVs can still currently get up to $7,500 in tax credits.

Volkswagen of America announced on Monday that it will need to shutter production at its Chattanooga plant for two weeks due to the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage. This means production of the Atlas and Passat models will be suspended, but Volkswagen said it will use the two weeks to find line and quality improvements, as well as train and prepare for the production of its ID4 electric crossover. The production shutdown will begin on June 7 and Volkswagen plans on resuming operations on June 21.

The global semiconductor chip shortage is also getting a lot of attention from Congress, with the Senate introducing emergency bipartisan legislation that would provide $52 billion for U.S.-based research and development of the chips over the next five years. This would be part of a larger $120 billion package that would fund technology research to help the U.S. compete with China. The U.S. currently manufactures just 12 percent of global semiconductor chips, and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said the U.S. can no longer rely on foreign countries to supply them.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden visited Ford’s Rouge electric vehicle center in Michigan to test drive and promote the automaker’s new electric F-150, which the company is calling the “Lightning.” Biden spoke about the electrification of the auto industry and how the U.S. needs to expedite research and development to stay competitive with China. Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $174 billion specifically for EV development. After taking Ford’s Lightning for a test drive, Biden commented, “This sucker’s quick.”

News & Opinion:

Memorial DayMemorial Day road trip predictions show return to pre-pandemic travel in US
It’s estimated that Americans will be driving this Memorial Day weekend at higher rates than even before the pandemic began. Arrivalist is predicting that 38.5 million Americans will take a road trip this Memorial Day weekend, reflecting a massive rise in road travel of around 46%. At that rate, it will exceed 2019 road trip figures by more than 2%. The data is taken from Arrivalist’s Daily Travel Index that compiles data across all 50 states. In most cases, road travel is more than 100% higher than last year’s long weekend travel while much of the nation was under lockdown. Read More

BidenPresident Biden visits Ford plant for F-150 EV reveal
President Joe Biden continued to show his push towards electrification of the auto industry during a visit to Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan on Tuesday. Biden’s visit was partially a showcase of his “American Jobs Plan,” which allocates $174 billion to investing in electric vehicles (EVs) as well as rebates to EV buyers, incentives and grants for charging stations, and the electrification of federally-owned vehicles. Should the plan work as intended, it would create jobs in both traditional infrastructure upgrades (e.g., roads) as well as climate-friendly manufacturing technologies. 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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