New Jersey dealer Tom Maoli on inflation, EVs, interest rates, and more

Tom Maoli

Welcome to another edition of Inside Automotive with Jim Fitzpatrick. Today, we’re pleased to welcome back Tom Maoli, President and CEO of Celebrity Motor Car and host of Go Big or Go Home on iHeartRadio, to discuss challenges in the US economy and how they could affect auto dealers.

Maoli believes the slight drop in inflation correlates to the decrease in gas prices. Looking at stock value data since the Great Depression reveals trends that follow a reduction in energy costs. When energy prices go down, it hits consumers and industry pocketbooks immediately.

One of the primary contributors to the inflation rate is car sales. As a result, both used and new car prices have increased. The effects are now rippling through the economy.

“That’s an interesting take that we in this industry may be contributing to this,” anchor Jim Fitzpatrick said.

Maoli noted, “The supply chain issues still exist. You can raise rates up to 20%, but you can’t bring the demand rate down when there are supply chain issues still in effect. So I don’t see a thawing of that anytime soon.”

interest rateRising interest rates are also a concern for many buyers, resulting in higher monthly payments. Customers are saying they expected to pay around $600 per month for their new car, but after financing is factored in, monthly payments are edging closer to $800.

Gas prices have also fallen, leaving many to wonder if it has impacted customer traffic. Maoli says that it has helped to drive people to his business. However, Maoli worries it may not be enough. “With the winter coming up, I’m concerned about what will happen when everyone starts burning oil again. It is possible that we may see some concerns arise at that time.”

When asked about concerns about the state of the c, Maoli cited low inventory, lack of labor, and lack of parts as a problem. He thinks the issue will not be resolved by the end of this year or early next year.

OEMs are focusing on EVs, but Maoli believes they are doing so to the detriment of other aspects of the automotive industry. He thinks EV infrastructure is not yet developed enough to support widespread interest in EVs. For now, consumers are not interested in EVs from non-Tesla brands. Maoli says that this brand loyalty will stick around for the next 3-5 years but can look to shift back to major brands like Mercedes or Lexus.

Related: Barriers and opportunities the auto industry must address to achieve an all-electric future

Another concern for Maoli is that the current crop of technicians is not prepared to handle the new wave of technology that comes with EVs. Most technicians are only familiar with tires and brakes on EVs. It is clear that training needs to start immediately to ensure that auto technicians can keep up with the new technology. However, it is also important to note that this training will take some time, and it is not something that can be accomplished overnight.

Eighteen months ago, the automotive industry was in a different place than it is today. Today, there is less inventory and less competition, which has caused prices to stabilize. From Maoli’s perspective, the current market is an excellent opportunity for businesses to adapt and thrive. Working together could create an even better automotive industry for everyone involved, which Maoli hopes will eventually lead to people experiencing the exact pricing across the board at any dealership they visit.

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