CBT automotive newscast: September 10, 2020

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Today’s Featured Interview:

Google’s automotive retail head Lissette Gole, discusses meeting modern consumer demands
Digital retailing has become a necessity for dealers in the midst of the pandemic. However, tracking consumer activity online can be a challenging process. Lissette Gole, head of automotive retail for Google, joined the show to lend her perspective on digital trends and the activity of online shoppers. Watch the full segment here.

Top Headlines:

KAR Global has signed a definitive agreement to acquire BacklotCars, Inc. pending regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The acquisition was announced in a press release on Tuesday. BacklotCars is an app and web-based dealer-to-dealer wholesale platform. The platform features a 24/7 ‘bid ask’ marketplace and vehicle inspections performed by automobile mechanics. The acquisition is expected to deepen KAR Global’s digital capabilities. The purchase price of the deal is $425 million and the transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.

Nikola shares are skyrocketing after GM took an 11% stake in the electric truck maker. Shares of Nikola have surged as much as 53% and GM’s were as high as 9.1%. The partnership has helped Nikola grab the attention of stockholders in a big way. The company took a hit after its earnings report last month mainly due to not having a partner to produce its highly anticipated Nikola Badger. Now that GM has filled that role, Nikola is reaping all the rewards from market investors.

After suffering its worst single-day loss in the history of the company, Tesla made a solid rebound on Wednesday. The EV maker’s stock closed poorly on Tuesday down 21.06%. However, the company saw a nice increase during pre-market trading on Wednesday as it jumped 7%. Tuesday’s drop brought Tesla’s market valuation down by roughly $82 billion; and while Wednesday’s recovery was nice, Elon Musk’s EV company was left off the S&P 500 by the committee that decides on new additions to the index.

The Labor Day weekend brought air-travel its highest numbers in nearly 6 months. The number of people screened by the transportation security administration reached 968,673 on Friday, the highest since March 16th. During the holiday weekend, nearly 3.3 million passengers passed through TSA checkpoints, down nearly 60% from Labor Day weekend in 2019. However, the number of flyers over the weekend was an improvement for airlines from the initial blow of the pandemic in April when passenger volume was down 95%. Labor Day weekend marks the end of the busiest travel season, and with the effects of COVID-19 still lingering, travelers are expected to continue using personal vehicles to get where they need to go.

News Stories & Opinion:

fuelLow fuel prices here to stay, according to AAA report
A report from the American Automobile Association on September 8, the average gas price nationally between Memorial Day and Labor Day was $2.15 per gallon. That’s the lowest it has been during the unofficial summer months since 2004, and it’s well below the 2018 and 2019 averages of between $2.60 and $2.85. Decreased fuel prices are directly tied to the dramatic reduction in demand from this spring and summer as COVID-19 continues to depress the economy. Demand for fuel dropped from 9.16 million barrels per day to 8.79 barrels per day. The overall supply of gasoline is more than 5.2 million barrels higher than it was this time last year. Read More

F&IFour F&I tips to prepare for uncertain times ahead
We are over five months into the COVID-19 and it seems that it’s not done with us yet. As the car industry has been slowly coming back to life over the last few months, dealers are finding that the market has changed quite a bit. Internal processes have changed. How customers are buying cars has changed. Financing programs are shifting back to pre-COVID terms. Everything has changed. 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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