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Weekly roundup: Asbury acquires Jim Koons dealerships, Toyota’s Tri-Gen power, Ford’s hybrid F-150 ambitions

Earlier this week: Asbury Automotive Group expanded its reach with the landmark acquisition of Jim Koons Automotive, which included 29 car brands across 20 storefronts. In sustainable energy news, Toyota partnered with FuelCell Energy to unveil a groundbreaking “tri-gen system” for renewable power. Meanwhile, Ford reacted to consumer hesitations about all-electric pickups by ramping up production for its hybrid F-150s. Lastly, Toyota provided a sneak peek into its future EV strategy, and more headlines to stay on top of this week in automotive industry news.

Asbury Automotive Group has agreed to purchase Jim Koons Automotive Companies, marking the first dealership merger of this size since 2021.
Pictured (from left to right): Chairman of Jim Koons Automotive Companies Jim Koons, President and CEO of Asbury Automotive Group David Hult

1. Asbury Automotive and Jim Koons Automotive sign massive acquisition deal

Asbury Automotive Group has agreed to purchase Jim Koons Automotive Companies, marking the first dealership group merger of this size since 2021. According to a press release, the transaction will integrate 20 storefronts representing 29 different car brands into the Asbury Automotive network, alongside six additional service centers. During its 50 years of business, the Jim Koons dealership group has operated locations across Virginia, Delaware and Maryland, including one of the busiest Toyota and Stellantis stores in the country. Read More

Shawn Fain, president of the United Auto Workers union – Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

2. What a UAW strike would mean for vehicle availability and affordability

Detroit’s major automakers are running out of time to prevent a strike as the deadline for the United Auto Workers (UAW) contentious contract negotiations approaches. According to analysts, if a strike is limited to a few factories, it’s unlikely it will increase the cost of most vehicles. Partially because the majority of cars that are available on the market are that the UAW, including Teslas, Hondas, Toyotas, and other companies, didn’t make. Additionally, dealers already have a stockpile of inventory of several UAW-produced models. Read More

Toyota and FuelCell Energy have completed what they call the world's first "tri-gen system," capable of producing renewable electricity.
Image Source: FuelCell Energy, Toyota

3. Toyota port facility to use renewable energy system with hydrogen byproducts

Toyota and FuelCell Energy have completed what they call the world’s first “tri-gen system,” a power generator capable of producing renewable electricity, hydrogen and water. In a press release, the automaker revealed it had installed the new system at its Port of Long Beach facility, making it the first site of its kind to generate its own fully renewable electricity. The manufacturer has signed a 20-year deal with FuelCell Energy to continue using the “tri-gen” system for its operations at the plant. Read More

hybrid F-150 pickup truck.
Vice President of Ford Blue unit Andrew Frick

4. Ford doubles down on the production of its hybrid F-150 pickup truck

As a precaution against American truck buyers’ reluctance to switch to all-electric pickups, Ford aims to double the production of its hybrid F-150 pickup trucks in 2024. The automaker stated it’s planning to equip 20% of the best-selling model lines in the U.S. with gas-electric powertrains by 2024. The hybrid powertrain will sell at the same price as a truck equipped with a six-cylinder “EcoBoost” combustion powertrain. Vice President of Ford Blue unit Andrew Frick claimed, “We are building some upside into the production schedule.” According to Frick, demand for hybrid powertrains, now available as a $3,300 option on some F-150 models, has increased over 10% of all F-150 sales. Read More

Image Source: Toyota’s 2026 EV Concept | TOYOTA

5. Toyota reveals next-generation EV batteries, promising a 497-mile range

Toyota has unveiled additional details about the new, advanced batteries that will power its next-generation EVs after announcing a new battery electric vehicle facility that will begin producing new models in 2026. The Japanese manufacturer will rely on four types of next-generation batteries: one solid-state battery and three new liquid electrolyte battery types. Additionally, the automaker estimates these batteries will power 1.7 million of the 3.5 million BEVs it expects to sell globally by 2030. The new generation of battery technologies will be essential to appeal to a more extensive customer base. Read more

Serra Automotive employs 3,000 employees across seven states and manages a network of 54 dealerships, 66 auto franchises, and 25 brands.6. Serra Automotive’s Joe and Matt Serra on fostering a great culture and future plans for the 50-year-old dealer group

Recently, Jim Fitzpatrick had the opportunity to visit the Serra Automotive headquarters in Fenton, Michigan. On this episode of the Executive Profile, he is joined by the President and CEO Matt Serra, and Chairman Joe Serra in commemorating 50 years of incredible accomplishments for the auto group. Serra Automotive is ranked number 12 overall on Automotive News’ Top 150 Auto Groups Lists. However, it’s the country’s sixth-ranked privately held dealer group. Watch now

Colin Carrasquillo joins Inside Automotive to discuss how dealership digital marketing strategies are changing in response to EVs and AI.7. Preparing your dealership’s digital marketing strategies for EVs and AI — Colin Carrasquillo | Nielsen CDJR

To reach the right consumers with the right message, small business owners must stay up to date on the evolving digital marketing strategies and trends for their industry. On this episode of Inside Automotive, hosts Shyann Malone and Jim Fitzpatrick are joined by Colin Carrasquillo, digital marketing director for Nielsen Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. Carrasquillo is a self-described “experimarketer” who has dedicated his career to building relationships with consumers through unique, narrative-driven campaigns. Watch now

loyalty marketing program8. Crafting effective marketing campaigns for modern dealerships — Dave Spannhake

On this episode of Kain & Co., host and founder of Kain Automotive David Kain is joined by Dave Spannhake, founder and CEO of Reunion Marketing. Spannhake has spent years researching data analysis and consumer behaviors to develop effective marketing campaigns for his dealership clients. Reunion Marketing has helped drive revenues and sales up across the nation’s vehicle retailers. Watch now

On today’s episode of CBT Now, we’re joined by Jennifer Suzuki, acclaimed sales trainer and the President of e-Dealer Solutions, to share some of her sales strategies.9. Transform your dealership’s success with these key sales strategies – Jen Suzuki | eDealer Solutions

On today’s episode of CBT Now, we’re joined by Jennifer Suzuki, acclaimed sales trainer and the President of eDealer Solutions, to share some of her essential sales strategies. Jennifer Suzuki is the Founder and President of eDealer Solutions, the 21-year-old automotive digital sales education organization. Over 1,000 dealerships have embraced eDS’s customer experience sales techniques to enhance show appointments, sales, and administration procedures. Watch now

On today's episode of Inside Automotive, Brian Moody, Executive Editor at Autotrader, joins us to share insights on the latest data from Cox Automotive.10. How new vehicles are trending in today’s market – Brian Moody | AutoTrader

The average transaction price of a new vehicle has increased since last year, but not by much. Could this be the incentive and relief consumers are looking for? On today’s episode of Inside Automotive, Brian Moody, Executive Editor at Autotrader, joins us to share insights on the latest data from Cox Automotive. New vehicle prices are still astronomically high compared to pre-pandemic levels, although the more notable price rises have decreased to less than 1%. These elements are driving prices down because there is more inventory available. Watch now

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