February 23, 2024


Automotive to Us

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 auto engineering advisory business that will help entrepreneurs raise funds and increase the value of their firms.

The news cycle carries on at a torrid pace this yr, and this past week was no exception. It is extraordinary just how a lot improve is coming to the marketplace. If you blink, you could miss out on big information that most likely impacts the franchise vendor model. 

This week I want to recap a few vital information products that arrived across the wire around the earlier 7 days – information that sellers should really predominantly be concentrated on checking. 

1. Get/Market action

Initial up, there is NO signal that physical dealership purchase/offer exercise will sluggish down at any time quickly. 

Lithia Motors has been the most ravenous of the community acquirers, intending to get to 500 rooftops and $50 billion in income in advance of they’ve developed out their planned footprint. Lithia’s intense speed of acquisitions has supplied a ground for valuations in the marketplace. 

This week, Lithia introduced the buy of 10 dealerships throughout southern Florida and Nevada, which will insert $950 million bucks in envisioned annualized income.

So far, the U.S. dealership obtain-sell market is monitoring at a related speed to a record-breaking 2021 final yr was widely viewed as the greatest calendar year for retailer acquisitions in heritage.

The quantity of dealerships that changed palms in the 1st quarter of 2022 was equivalent to that of the 1st quarter of 2021.

In parallel, valuations continue on to bounce alongside at an all-time superior. 

From my viewpoint, valuations will not most likely get substantially greater than they are today. When organic acquirers like Lithia have satisfied their appetite and filled out their prepared footprint, valuations will very likely regress towards historic levels. 

High inflation and gas selling prices, small consumer sentiment, increasing desire rates, and stock market place declines might velocity us back again to much more normalized valuations. 

But for now, these history-substantial valuations are currently being used to document-superior earnings, mainly attributable to a lack of new-motor vehicle supply. Several sellers are using the opportunity to translate these excessive profits into getting more physical retailers. 

Although the vendor principals I converse with normally goal only less than-doing merchants wherever they can justify paying out sky-substantial valuations utilized to these inflated gains. I consider some potential buyers in this present ecosystem will finally come to feel “Buyers Remorse” when valuations inevitably slide again to earth. 

2. Ford ends lease buyouts for EVs

Future up this 7 days is appealing news from Ford Motor Corporation, which introduced that they have stopped permitting consumers in most states to buy their electrical vehicles at the close of a lease, a coverage they say will help take care of EV battery recycling.

For example, Ford Credit reported buyers who lease an F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E, or E-Transit need to return the auto when the deal is up and can then renew their lease with a new vehicle if they pick out.

Although Ford is speaking that this initiative is to help reclaim the raw inputs into batteries, as prices have skyrocketed above the earlier yr, I consider there could be other dynamics at perform. 

We’re heading to see a proliferation of new EV models in excess of the future 18 months, and the OEMs will absolutely not be able to predict residual values on all of these automobiles properly. I believe this will make it possible for Ford to command residual value hazard for new EV designs that may have volatile pricing at the stop of the time period. By controlling the utilised vehicle supply, Ford can carefully check and influence the price tag of made use of pricing.

Equally GM (with CarBravo) and Ford (with Blue Edge) now take care of their own online utilized automobile internet sites. By managing the off-lease quantity, they can make sure that distinctive, eye-catching, made use of autos are only offered on their proprietary web pages. 

The Automakers have been observing latest used automobile dynamics, including that most automobiles are coming back at the end of lease phrase with thousands of dollars of positive equity. Ford will effectively have a contact solution to participate economically in any auto coming back again with beneficial equity rather of surrendering that financial gain to the client or the supplier. 

It is also very likely that Ford realizes that battery and charging technologies will advance so swiftly that they may perhaps want the solution of eradicating used EVs from the highway, which may perhaps not perform competitively vs . brand new types being bought in the upcoming. 

Stopping the consumer from becoming ready to get the device at the end of their phrase does make a lease truly feel a ton a lot more like a subscription item. 

Let us think about broader implications of this move, anticipating that other OEMs will elect to comply with the very same route. It will imply significantly much less off-lease automobiles available to the automakers’ franchise supplier networks and impartial dealerships.

We’ll be seeing to see which other automakers announce very similar ideas more than the coming months. I anticipate we will see numerous other people abide by Ford’s lead. 

3. FTC cracks down on F&I departments

Previous but not least this week, The Federal Trade Fee has signaled that increased regulation might be coming to dealer F&I gains. 

This 7 days, the FTC proposed banning finance, insurance plan protection, and bodily motor vehicle insert-ons that quote-unquote “provide no benefit” and demand expanded disclosure and consent on this sort of optional items — such as a checklist of selling prices on the internet.

The company is also looking at cracking down on dealerships’ marketing related to the cost of the automobile itself.

An accompanying news launch frequently depicted actual physical additions and F&I merchandise as “junk costs.” Even so, the four commissioners supporting polices acknowledged in a separate assertion that “Not all increase-ons offer no benefit.”

The FTC’s proposed polices contain:

  • Bans on all merchandise without having advantage. 
  • Publishing a record of all optional increase-ons and their rates on the internet. 
  • Bans on misleading pricing marketing.
  •  Disclosure and declining in writing of the “Cash Price tag with no Optional Add-ons.” 
  • “Express, Knowledgeable Consent” on F&I products and solutions and other add-ons.

Since the CFPB was largely “de-fanged” for the duration of the Trump administration, there hasn’t been substantially threat of regulators squeezing vendor finance and insurance gains. 

We will be preserving a close eye on this most current advancement and if the FTC, or any other authorities entity, commences encroaching on and threatening dealership revenue centers. 

I informed you the news cycle was busy this week.

These difficulties should be monitored closely by dealerships and have broad implications for the franchise dealership design and ongoing profitability into the long term. 

Organizations To Enjoy 

Each individual week we emphasize interesting organizations in the automotive engineering room to keep an eye on. If you read my every month business Intel Report, I showcase a couple of companies every single month, and we choose the chance in this article on the Friday 5 to share some of all those firms every single 7 days with you.

Right now, we have two organizations to check out: WrenchWay and Axion.


For as extended as I bear in mind, I have listened to from dealerships that they’ve experienced trouble recruiting and retaining experts.

WrenchWay is a position-recruitment platform for equally specialists and assistance departments. It is changing that dynamic by giving techs an insider’s check out of dealerships’ operations, tools, pay back degrees, enterprise tradition and other pertinent data.

WrenchWay accomplishes this with its Top rated Shop program. Dealerships pay out a $150 month to month cost to be outlined as a Best Shop, but the listing is significantly extra in-depth than a normal career-board put up. Sellers will have to incorporate unique facts before posts are recognized, such as pay back stages for professionals, workplace features supplied (factors like air conditioning and heating), and accessible tools.

In addition, the putting up should incorporate movies displaying what the shop appears to be like and interviews with technicians and mounted ops management who talk about what it is like to operate in their stores. This unique strategy markets the dealership and the possibility to a lot more than just the job-seeker. 

I appreciate this firm simply because they are trying to clear up one particular of the most significant agony points for dealers’ FixedOps departments – recruiting and retaining experts. The business was started since a dealership essential aid recruiting, and they required to provide know-how and approach to make their initiatives repeatable and scalable. 

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


Axion is an AI system & predictive digital giving for engineers and QA administration that enables buyers to successfully mine by way of tons of unstructured details to derive insights to accelerate auto advancement effectively. 

Axion’s mission is to empower engineering leaders with the most effective decision intelligence platform, to strengthen selections to supply the very best benefits.

Forward-contemplating engineering leaders across automotive, aerospace, and defense leverage Axion to accelerate products enhancement, improve application organizing & collaboration with suppliers, and strengthen quality making use of Axion’s predictive AI-dependent digital platform. Buyers incorporate Boeing and the U.S. Air Drive.

I enjoy this corporation because they can augment a user’s present process to very promptly and competently mine by tons of unstructured facts to derive insights. Axion presents clear visibility into the future results of today’s conclusions and actions. 

Test out Axion at www.AxionRay.com.


So that is your weekly Friday 5, a brief wrap-up of the large deals in the automotive technological innovation room in excess of the past week.

If you’re an early-phase automotive technology entrepreneur seeking to elevate money, or an entrepreneur who is seeking to make your mind up irrespective of whether and when they really should increase money or market their organization, I’d like to discuss with you.

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

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