In December of last year, Feldman Automotive Group, a partnership founded in collaboration with actor Mark Wahlberg, celebrated the grand opening of their 19th dealership; the first freestanding Jeep dealership in Southeast Michigan. On this episode of Inside Automotive, Jay Feldman, the group’s chairman and CEO, sits down with host Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss the new location and the future of the automotive market.
The new Feldman acquisition comes at an interesting time for the auto-industry. The COVID pandemic and its subsequent fallout saw significant impacts to the global automotive market, with supply chain disruptions, material shortages, financial constraints and interest rate hikes wrecking havoc on the U.S. However, despite the economic headwinds, demand for vehicles stayed surprisingly consistent throughout 2021 and 2022, and with some analysts suggesting a normalization may hit in the latter half of the year, many dealerships are hoping this year has even better surprises in store.
Feldman Automotive’s new Michigan Jeep storefront is 15,000 square feet, and three acres, with full service sales. Stellantis allocated new inventory for the standalone facility, and the group hopes to bring electric vehicles to the dealership as well, such as the Jeep Recon, an all-electric SUV arriving next year. After setting up shop, the building was immediately fitted with equipment to care for EVs, including its service center. The CEO notes that the future of zero-emission cars is unclear, since the logistical issues surrounding their production and powering have yet to be resolved. However, he notes that his customers largely share automaker enthusiasm for the technology, a good sign for the future.
The new Feldman dealership is an excellent indicator for the strength of the auto industry. While manufacturers and retailers alike have focused on the difficulties they encountered over the last two years, they fail to notice the resilience their businesses have shown. While challenges still lie ahead, the hard work of automakers and retailers to keep the industry afloat shouldn’t go unnoticed.