CBT automotive newscast: September 11, 2020

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Today’s Featured Interview:

Leveraging innovation to create a frictionless customer experience – Brian Benstock
After several dealers experienced strong months during July and August, many auto retailers are wondering what to expect in the future. Brian Benstock, partner VP, and GM of Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura has experienced great success recently as his dealership was named number the one volume Honda dealership for the month of August by Honda Motor Company. We asked Brian what his outlook was for the months ahead. Watch the full segment here.

Top Headlines:

The competitor to the Tesla Model S has arrived. Lucid Motors unveiled its Lucid Air Sedan on Wednesday. The company touted the sedan as more efficient, faster, and spacious than the Tesla Model S. Based on third-party testing, the Air is estimated to achieve an EPA-rated range of 517 miles on a single charge, easily topping Tesla’s industry-leading 402-mile range on the Model S. The Air is the company’s first production vehicle and is expected to launch into production early next year after construction of its plant in Casa Grande, Arizona is complete.

Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft are teaming up to redefine auto maintenance. The two companies announced an alliance to create “a mixed reality maintenance system.” This system is expected to help mechanics work together with factory specialists to address tricky repair problems. The goal of the system is to create quicker, more-accurate repairs that lessen the likelihood of the customer needing to return for the same problem. Christian Treiber, vice president of customer services at Mercedes-Benz USA said “it’s like having an expert on your shoulder.”

New-vehicle inventory continues to fall, especially for luxury vehicles. According to a Cox Automotive analysis of vAuto available inventory data, new vehicle inventory fell again in the month of August with luxury inventory plummeting. The total supply of unsold new vehicles in the U.S. Stood at 2.26 million units as of August 31, down from 2.33 million at the end of July and down from 3.13 million at the end of August in 2019. According to the Cox Automotive national average days’ supply, luxury vehicles saw their steepest decline in August as the days’ supply dropped to 56, down from 65 in July and 79 in June. Among all luxury vehicles, the shortage of full-size SUVs is the most severe.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week as layoffs caused by the Coronavirus continue. New U.S. weekly jobless claims came to an adjusted total of 884,000 last week according to the Labor Department. This number was higher than the consensus economist estimate of 850,000 compiled by Bloomberg. In under six months, more than 60 million unemployment claims have been filed, far surpassing the 37 million claims filed during the 18-month great recession.

News Stories & Opinion:

alliance

Collaborations and alliances in the auto industry a new normal
Last week, Honda Motor Co. announced that it had signed off on a nonbinding memorandum of understanding in relation to creating a strategic alliance with General Motors. Jamie LaReau of the Detroit Free Press reported that both auto giants would still sell vehicles under their own names but the agreement also includes “cooperation in purchasing, research and development, and connected services.” Read More

Coca-ColaPointers in positive messaging from Coca-Cola
Worldwide beverage brand Coca-Cola was quiet as the coronavirus pandemic raged worldwide. Rather than pushing their product, the global leader cut their ad spend to nil. But the move wasn’t knee-jerk to a problem – rather, it was an act to mobilize and perform acts of service. Angelina Joy, Brand Director at 72andSunny Amsterdam, said in a Create with Google ‘Meet the Makers’ feature, “When the pandemic hit, what they (Coca-Cola) decided to do was ceased all of their marketing activities, and decided to divert that spend into helping support their partners and customers that were badly affected by the crisis.” 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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