3 crucial automotive industry developments that car dealers need to monitor

Raymond S. Hughes

Welcome to this episode of The Friday 5 with Steve Greenfield, Founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures, an car technological innovation advisory business that assists business owners elevate funds and optimize the benefit of their firms.

The information cycle proceeds at a torrid speed this yr, and this past 7 days was no exception. It’s amazing just how a great deal alter is coming to the sector. If you blink, you might skip large news that probably impacts the franchise vendor product. 

This 7 days I want to recap a few critical information items that came across the wire more than the earlier 7 days – news that sellers should generally be focused on monitoring. 

1. Acquire/Provide exercise

1st up, there’s NO indicator that physical dealership invest in/sell exercise will slow down at any time soon. 

Lithia Motors has been the most ravenous of the community acquirers, intending to get to 500 rooftops and $50 billion in earnings before they’ve developed out their planned footprint. Lithia’s intense rate of acquisitions has presented a floor for valuations in the market. 

This 7 days, Lithia declared the invest in of 10 dealerships across southern Florida and Nevada, which will add $950 million bucks in envisioned annualized earnings.

So much, the U.S. dealership invest in-offer industry is monitoring at a related rate to a history-breaking 2021 previous 12 months was extensively regarded the most important year for retail store acquisitions in record.

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

In parallel, valuations proceed to bounce alongside at an all-time higher. 

From my point of view, valuations will not probable get a great deal larger than they are nowadays. When all-natural acquirers like Lithia have glad their appetite and crammed out their planned footprint, valuations will possible regress toward historical ranges. 

Large inflation and gasoline charges, very low buyer sentiment, mounting interest premiums, and inventory market declines may possibly pace us back to far more normalized valuations. 

But for now, these file-substantial valuations are currently being applied to report-large gains, mainly attributable to a lack of new-vehicle offer. Many sellers are having the opportunity to translate these surplus earnings into buying a lot more bodily merchants. 

Whilst the vendor principals I communicate with typically target only less than-carrying out retailers wherever they can justify paying sky-substantial valuations utilized to these inflated revenue. I envision some customers in this current environment will sooner or later truly feel “Buyers Remorse” when valuations inevitably fall again to earth. 

2. Ford ends lease buyouts for EVs

Subsequent up this week is interesting information from Ford Motor Corporation, which announced that they have stopped making it possible for shoppers in most states to buy their electric vehicles at the conclude of a lease, a coverage they say will aid regulate EV battery recycling.

For case in point, Ford Credit rating stated consumers who lease an F-150 Lightning, Mustang Mach-E, or E-Transit have to return the motor vehicle when the contract is up and can then renew their lease with a new vehicle if they choose.

Though Ford is speaking that this initiative is to help reclaim the uncooked inputs into batteries, as charges have skyrocketed over the previous year, I imagine there might be other dynamics at engage in. 

We’re heading to see a proliferation of new EV types around the subsequent 18 months, and the OEMs will absolutely not be ready to predict residual values on all of these cars accurately. I consider this will allow for Ford to regulate residual value threat for new EV styles that could possibly have volatile pricing at the finish of the expression. By controlling the utilised vehicle provide, Ford can intently watch and affect the price tag of employed pricing.

Both of those GM (with CarBravo) and Ford (with Blue Edge) now handle their have online used automobile internet websites. By controlling the off-lease quantity, they can assure that exceptional, interesting, applied vehicles are only obtainable on their proprietary web-sites. 

The Automakers have been observing the latest employed car dynamics, including that most cars are coming back at the finish of lease term with thousands of dollars of constructive fairness. Ford will effectively have a simply call solution to take part economically in any motor vehicle coming back again with favourable equity rather of surrendering that financial gain to the customer or the vendor. 

It’s also very likely that Ford realizes that battery and charging technological know-how will progress so swiftly that they may possibly want the solution of eliminating utilized EVs from the road, which may not complete competitively as opposed to brand new versions becoming marketed in the future. 

Protecting against the customer from being able to acquire the device at the finish of their phrase does make a lease really feel a whole lot a lot more like a subscription solution. 

Let us consider about broader implications of this shift, anticipating that other OEMs will elect to observe the same path. It will suggest considerably fewer off-lease cars available to the automakers’ franchise vendor networks and unbiased dealerships.

We’ll be watching to see which other automakers announce very similar ideas more than the coming months. I be expecting we will see quite a few other folks stick to Ford’s lead. 

3. FTC cracks down on F&I departments

Last but not least this week, The Federal Trade Fee has signaled that elevated regulation may be coming to supplier F&I gains. 

This week, the FTC proposed banning finance, insurance plan protection, and physical car or truck include-ons that estimate-unquote “provide no benefit” and involve expanded disclosure and consent on such optional products — together with a list of costs on the web.

The company is also considering cracking down on dealerships’ marketing associated to the price tag of the car by itself.

An accompanying information launch consistently depicted bodily additions and F&I items as “junk fees.” Having said that, the four commissioners supporting regulations acknowledged in a individual assertion that “Not all increase-ons deliver no price.”

The FTC’s proposed rules consist of:

  • Bans on all goods devoid of gain. 
  • Publishing a checklist of all optional include-ons and their price ranges on the web. 
  • Bans on deceptive pricing advertising.
  •  Disclosure and declining in crafting of the “Cash Cost without the need of Optional Increase-ons.” 
  • “Express, Educated Consent” on F&I products and solutions and other add-ons.

Due to the fact the CFPB was mainly “de-fanged” throughout the Trump administration, there has not been significantly danger of regulators squeezing vendor finance and coverage gains. 

We will be trying to keep a close eye on this most current development and if the FTC, or any other govt entity, starts encroaching on and threatening dealership profit centers. 

I informed you the information cycle was active this week.

These problems need to be monitored closely by dealerships and have wide implications for the franchise dealership model and ongoing profitability into the long term. 

Corporations To Observe 

Each week we emphasize interesting providers in the automotive technological know-how room to continue to keep an eye on. If you go through my monthly field Intel Report, I showcase a couple providers every single thirty day period, and we get the chance right here on the Friday 5 to share some of those corporations every single week with you.

Today, we have two businesses to check out: WrenchWay and Axion.


For as extended as I keep in mind, I have listened to from dealerships that they’ve had issues recruiting and retaining professionals.

WrenchWay is a career-recruitment system for the two professionals and company departments. It is altering that dynamic by giving techs an insider’s view of dealerships’ operations, gear, pay back levels, company tradition and other pertinent information and facts.

WrenchWay accomplishes this with its Top Store application. Dealerships fork out a $150 month-to-month charge to be detailed as a Major Shop, but the listing is significantly extra in-depth than a normal task-board article. Dealers must contain unique facts just before posts are acknowledged, such as fork out levels for professionals, workplace facilities offered (issues like air conditioning and heating), and accessible tools.

In addition, the putting up need to incorporate videos exhibiting what the store appears like and interviews with technicians and set ops management who chat about what it is like to function in their outlets. This unique solution marketplaces the dealership and the chance to a lot more than just the job-seeker. 

I love this business due to the fact they are trying to fix one particular of the most considerable soreness factors for dealers’ FixedOps departments – recruiting and retaining experts. The corporation was begun mainly because a dealership essential support recruiting, and they wished to bring technological know-how and procedure to make their efforts repeatable and scalable. 

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


Axion is an AI platform & predictive electronic featuring for engineers and QA management that allows buyers to proficiently mine by way of tons of unstructured information to derive insights to accelerate motor vehicle growth successfully. 

Axion’s mission is to empower engineering leaders with the most effective conclusion intelligence system, to improve choices to provide the best outcomes.

Forward-pondering engineering leaders throughout automotive, aerospace, and protection leverage Axion to accelerate solution advancement, boost program scheduling & collaboration with suppliers, and improve good quality making use of Axion’s predictive AI-primarily based digital platform. Shoppers consist of Boeing and the U.S. Air Power.

I enjoy this firm since they can augment a user’s present approach to extremely quickly and efficiently mine by tons of unstructured information to derive insights. Axion provides obvious visibility into the long run outcomes of today’s decisions and steps. 

Examine out Axion at www.AxionRay.com.


So which is your weekly Friday 5, a speedy wrap-up of the massive specials in the automotive technologies place above the previous week.

If you are an early-stage automotive technological innovation entrepreneur seeking to raise funds, or an entrepreneur who is attempting to make your mind up irrespective of whether and when they should raise funds or sell their small business, I’d adore to discuss with you.

Thank you for tuning into CBT News for this week’s Friday Five, and we’ll see you following 7 days!

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