3 crucial automotive industry developments that car dealers need to monitor


Welcome to this episode of The Friday 5 with Steve Greenfield, Founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures, an vehicle engineering advisory organization that allows business owners increase revenue and increase the worth of their providers.

The information cycle proceeds at a torrid pace this 12 months, and this past 7 days was no exception. It is amazing just how much adjust is coming to the business. If you blink, you may possibly overlook significant information that most likely impacts the franchise dealer design. 

This week I want to recap 3 important news goods that arrived across the wire in excess of the previous 7 days – news that sellers should largely be concentrated on checking. 

1. Purchase/Market activity

Very first up, there’s NO indicator that actual physical dealership invest in/promote activity will sluggish down whenever quickly. 

Lithia Motors has been the most ravenous of the general public acquirers, intending to get to 500 rooftops and $50 billion in income ahead of they’ve built out their planned footprint. Lithia’s aggressive speed of acquisitions has provided a ground for valuations in the current market. 

This week, Lithia declared the obtain of 10 dealerships throughout southern Florida and Nevada, which will add $950 million bucks in anticipated annualized revenue.

So far, the U.S. dealership obtain-promote industry is monitoring at a related speed to a report-breaking 2021 previous yr was greatly regarded the most important 12 months for retailer acquisitions in record.

The range of dealerships that improved fingers in the 1st quarter of 2022 was very similar to that of the 1st quarter of 2021.

In parallel, valuations continue on to bounce together at an all-time substantial. 

From my perspective, valuations will not probable get substantially larger than they are these days. When all-natural acquirers like Lithia have content their urge for food and stuffed out their prepared footprint, valuations will possible regress to historical degrees. 

Large inflation and fuel rates, minimal client sentiment, soaring curiosity rates, and stock current market declines may pace us back to extra normalized valuations. 

But for now, these record-large valuations are staying applied to report-high earnings, largely attributable to a deficiency of new-motor vehicle provide. Several dealers are having the opportunity to translate these excessive income into getting far more bodily merchants. 

Even though the seller principals I communicate with commonly focus on only under-executing retailers the place they can justify having to pay sky-higher valuations utilized to these inflated revenue. I consider some purchasers in this recent surroundings will finally really feel “Buyers Remorse” when valuations inevitably fall again to earth. 

2. Ford ends lease buyouts for EVs

Upcoming up this 7 days is attention-grabbing news from Ford Motor Firm, which announced that they have stopped letting buyers in most states to purchase their electric vehicles at the finish of a lease, a policy they say will assist handle EV battery recycling.

For illustration, Ford Credit rating mentioned buyers who lease an F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E, or E-Transit have to return the vehicle when the contract is up and can then renew their lease with a new vehicle if they decide on.

Though Ford is communicating that this initiative is to help reclaim the uncooked inputs into batteries, as rates have skyrocketed above the earlier year, I consider there may perhaps be other dynamics at engage in. 

We’re likely to see a proliferation of new EV styles about the next 18 months, and the OEMs will certainly not be able to predict residual values on all of these autos correctly. I feel this will enable Ford to manage residual value threat for new EV products that could have unstable pricing at the finish of the time period. By managing the utilized vehicle supply, Ford can closely watch and affect the selling price of employed pricing.

Both equally GM (with CarBravo) and Ford (with Blue Advantage) now handle their have on line made use of car or truck sites. By controlling the off-lease volume, they can make sure that exclusive, appealing, applied vehicles are only accessible on their proprietary web-sites. 

The Automakers have been observing new used car dynamics, like that most automobiles are coming again at the conclude of lease time period with thousands of bucks of positive equity. Ford will effectively have a simply call possibility to take part economically in any car or truck coming again with favourable equity alternatively of surrendering that revenue to the customer or the dealer. 

It is also most likely that Ford realizes that battery and charging technological know-how will progress so speedily that they could want the possibility of eliminating used EVs from the highway, which could not execute competitively versus brand new types getting marketed in the long run. 

Protecting against the buyer from currently being in a position to get the unit at the conclude of their term does make a lease feel a large amount far more like a membership merchandise. 

Let us believe about broader implications of this shift, anticipating that other OEMs will elect to comply with the exact path. It will mean far much less off-lease automobiles available to the automakers’ franchise seller networks and independent dealerships.

We’ll be seeing to see which other automakers announce related programs around the coming months. I be expecting we will see several other individuals abide by Ford’s lead. 

3. FTC cracks down on F&I departments

Past but not minimum this week, The Federal Trade Fee has signaled that amplified regulation might be coming to seller F&I income. 

This 7 days, the FTC proposed banning finance, coverage coverage, and bodily vehicle incorporate-ons that quotation-unquote “provide no benefit” and involve expanded disclosure and consent on this kind of optional products — which includes a listing of prices on the internet.

The company is also thinking about cracking down on dealerships’ promotion linked to the cost of the vehicle itself.

An accompanying information launch frequently depicted actual physical additions and F&I products as “junk expenses.” Nevertheless, the four commissioners supporting restrictions acknowledged in a independent statement that “Not all include-ons present no value.”

The FTC’s proposed rules include:

  • Bans on all products without profit. 
  • Submitting a record of all optional include-ons and their prices on the web. 
  • Bans on misleading pricing marketing.
  •  Disclosure and declining in producing of the “Cash Price tag without having Optional Incorporate-ons.” 
  • “Express, Educated Consent” on F&I products and solutions and other increase-ons.

Considering that the CFPB was largely “de-fanged” throughout the Trump administration, there has not been much threat of regulators squeezing seller finance and coverage revenue. 

We will be maintaining a near eye on this newest improvement and if the FTC, or any other governing administration entity, commences encroaching on and threatening dealership gain centers. 

I advised you the news cycle was chaotic this 7 days.

These concerns must be monitored intently by dealerships and have broad implications for the franchise dealership product and ongoing profitability into the future. 

Providers To View 

Just about every week we highlight exciting companies in the automotive know-how space to continue to keep an eye on. If you read through my month to month industry Intel Report, I showcase a handful of organizations just about every month, and we acquire the possibility here on the Friday 5 to share some of people organizations every week with you.

These days, we have two businesses to enjoy: WrenchWay and Axion.


For as very long as I recall, I have heard from dealerships that they’ve experienced issue recruiting and retaining specialists.

WrenchWay is a work-recruitment platform for both of those professionals and services departments. It is changing that dynamic by giving techs an insider’s check out of dealerships’ operations, equipment, spend ranges, business culture and other pertinent information and facts.

WrenchWay accomplishes this with its Leading Shop application. Dealerships pay a $150 month to month rate to be outlined as a Top Store, but the listing is significantly additional in-depth than a typical occupation-board article. Dealers will have to consist of precise details before posts are accepted, including shell out degrees for technicians, place of work facilities offered (factors like air conditioning and heating), and offered products.

In addition, the putting up need to consist of films displaying what the store looks like and interviews with specialists and mounted ops administration who chat about what it is like to work in their retailers. This one of a kind tactic marketplaces the dealership and the prospect to extra than just the work-seeker. 

I enjoy this firm for the reason that they are making an attempt to fix a person of the most considerable ache details for dealers’ FixedOps departments – recruiting and retaining technicians. The firm was began for the reason that a dealership needed support recruiting, and they wished to convey technological know-how and system to make their attempts repeatable and scalable. 

You can test out WrenchWay at www.WrenchWay.com.


Axion is an AI platform & predictive electronic presenting for engineers and QA management that enables consumers to efficiently mine by tons of unstructured facts to derive insights to speed up auto progress successfully. 

Axion’s mission is to empower engineering leaders with the best final decision intelligence system, to improve decisions to produce the most effective effects.

Ahead-considering engineering leaders across automotive, aerospace, and defense leverage Axion to accelerate item growth, boost plan preparing & collaboration with suppliers, and make improvements to top quality applying Axion’s predictive AI-centered digital platform. Customers include Boeing and the U.S. Air Force.

I like this enterprise due to the fact they can increase a user’s current process to extremely swiftly and efficiently mine by tons of unstructured knowledge to derive insights. Axion supplies very clear visibility into the future success of today’s choices and steps. 

Check out Axion at www.AxionRay.com.


So which is your weekly Friday 5, a swift wrap-up of the massive deals in the automotive technological innovation room about the previous week.

If you’re an early-stage automotive know-how entrepreneur looking to raise dollars, or an entrepreneur who is striving to decide no matter if and when they must elevate revenue or sell their business, I’d enjoy to talk with you.

Thank you for tuning into CBT News for this week’s Friday 5, and we’ll see you upcoming week!

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