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Zeigler Automotive Group expands amid economic challenges and shifting EV market – Aaron Zeigler

In April, Zeigler Automotive Group opened its newest location, Zeigler Subaru of Schererville, and Subaru of America’s President and COO Jeff Walters was in attendance. Aaron Zeigler, president and CEO of Zeigler Auto Group, joins us on today’s episode of Inside Automotive to discuss the group’s recent acquisition.  

Key Takeaways 

1. Aaron Zeigler discussed the recent acquisition of two new Subaru stores in Lafayette and Fort Wayne, Indiana, along with the opening of a newly built facility in Maryville, Indiana. Subaru’s strong brand loyalty and successful marketing strategies have contributed significantly to its growth, making these acquisitions valuable for Zeigler Automotive Group.

2. The interview highlighted the contrasting effects of economic conditions on car sales. Despite higher interest rates posing challenges, pent-up demand and increased inventory levels have driven sales up year-over-year. This pent-up demand is partially attributed to the lack of vehicle availability during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a backlog of customers entering the market.

3. It is important to note that leasing has increased despite having declined during the pandemic. OEMs now offer aggressive lease payments, making leasing an attractive option for customers seeking lower monthly payments. This trend is particularly significant in large lease markets like the Midwest, where a substantial percentage of customers make purchasing decisions based on monthly payments.

4. Zeigler discussed the mixed reception of electric vehicles (EVs), noting that while EVs remain expensive and face infrastructure challenges, hybrids are gaining popularity as a more practical alternative. He emphasized the current slow movement of EV inventory and the potential overestimation of market readiness by manufacturers and the government. The interview also touched on political actions, such as tariffs on Chinese-made EVs, which aim to protect the U.S. auto industry.

5. The uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential election and its potential impact on the auto industry was a significant concern for Zeigler. He mentioned the difficulty in making long-term investment decisions, particularly regarding EVs, due to the unpredictable regulatory environment. Nonetheless, Zeigler Automotive Group remains in acquisition mode, continually seeking growth opportunities to support the long-term dealer model and create advancement opportunities within their organization.

"There's a lot of uncertainty... how much you invest in things like EVs and how much you don't. Until we get through November, it's kind of a wait and see." - Aaron Zeigler

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