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CBT Automotive Newscast: September 1, 2020

Today’s Featured Interview:

Annette Sykora Shares Her Journey in Automotive and Becoming NADA’s First Chairwoman
Women continue to gain prominent leadership roles in automotive as the industry continues to evolve. Annette Sykora joined our show to talk about her journey in the industry. Annette was the first female to hold the role of Chairwoman for the National Automobile Dealers Association in 2008, one of the most turbulent years on record for dealers. She is currently the dealer principal of Smith South Plains Ford Lincoln, in Levelland, Texas. Watch the full segment here.

Top Headlines:

Hurricane Laura caused substantial damage to southwest Louisiana and eastern Texas last week. According to the Associated Press, the number of reported deaths has reached at least 14. Several dealerships experienced structural damage from heavy rain and winds up to 150 miles per hour. While dealers focus on the safety and well-being of their staff, the damage to inventory remains unknown. Many dealers in both Texas and Louisiana moved vehicles to different locations to protect them from damage. The hurricane is the latest of many challenges that have plagued inventory numbers in the last three months.

Volkswagen is all-in on new online efforts to spark EV interest. The German automaker debuted a new website to streamline the buying of its upcoming ID.4 electric vehicle in the u.S. The initiative aims to expand online ordering and offer transparent digital purchasing. Volkswagen plans to unveil the new EV next month and start selling models in the U.S. by the end of the year.

Tesla confirmed that it was nearly compromised by a malware attack. The FBI arrested a 27-year-old Russian man who allegedly offered a Tesla employee $1,000,000 to help him launch a ransomware attack on the automaker. The attack would have given the hacker control of Tesla’s computer network and would have demanded a payment to relinquish control. The plan was obstructed when the approached employee alerted authorities who took the necessary measures to prevent the attack and placed the criminal in federal custody.

Amazon placed a mass order on electric delivery vans from Mercedes-Benz. Amazon added 1,800 battery-electric delivery vans to its growing fleet. In announcing the deal, Mercedes’ parent company Daimler AG noted that it has joined Amazon’s “The Climate Pledge” program. The initiative calls on member companies to be operating net carbon-free by 2040. Daimler has already laid out their own plans to get there before 2040 with their own “Ambition2039” program.

News Stories & Opinion:

Labor Day Sales Volume Expected to be High and Sedans Surge
Dealers can make the most of the Labor Day weekend in 2020 as more than half of car shoppers plan to wrap up their buying experience. Since intent is high and vehicle inventory for both new and used is relatively thin, holding higher gross profit averages should be a target. As well, the new-to-ownership buyers and the regular travelers are an excellent opportunity for higher penetration for protection items in the F&I office. Read More

How Dealer Body Shops Can Navigate the Restart
In April 2020, traffic volumes across the US were reduced by 30 to 60 percent as COVID-19 restrictions kept much of the public at home. As a direct result, fewer collisions occurred nationwide. Los Angeles, for example, noted roughly a 50 percent decrease in collisions in April compared with last year, or roughly 15,000 less fender benders. That’s great news for the general public, and LA also noted approximately 6,000 fewer injuries due to fewer collisions. But what’s happened is that collision repair facilities across the nation had a commensurate decrease in business. But it’s not as it seems. The decrease is not fully due to collisions. In fact, only 1 in 9 repair orders is collision-related. Read More


Did you enjoy today’s automotive newscast? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic with host Jim Fitzpatrick at jfitzpatrick@cbtnews.com.

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