Asbury Now Coast-to-Coast, Gains In-House F&I Products in Larry H. Miller Deal

First Up 09/30/21

Asbury Now Coast-to-Coast, Gains In-House F&I Products in Larry H. Miller Deal

When Asbury Automotive Group Inc.'s pending acquisition of Larry H. Miller Dealerships is complete, Asbury CEO David Hult will have gone from leading the industry's smallest publicly traded dealership group to one of the largest, reports Automotive News. The $3.2 billion megadeal for Larry H. Miller's 61 stores announced Wednesday positions Asbury to spread its dealership network coast to coast, add thousands of new customers for its Clicklane digital retailing platform and operate its own finance-and-insurance company. "We believe that this acquisition is truly transformative for Asbury," Hult said in a statement. In addition to the $5.7 billion in expected annual revenue from Larry H. Miller, Asbury also announced Wednesday that it has stores representing another $900 million in annual revenue under contract. It's the second supersized deal since Hult was promoted to the CEO post in 2018, following Asbury's $735 purchase of eight Park Place luxury dealerships in Texas last year. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

Toyota to Top GM in U.S. Sales Again in Q3, Edmunds and TrueCar Predict

A pair of industry forecasters think Toyota Motor North America sustained the not "sustainable" and will beat General Motors in U.S. sales for a second consecutive quarter as microchip and other supply shortages wreak havoc on traditional market shares, reports Automotive News. Most automakers are expected to announce their September and third-quarter sales Friday. Edmunds and TrueCar predict that the industry will report a substantial drop in the quarter, as dwindling inventory hindered sales. The two forecasters expect that Toyota will once again top GM, as it weathered the supplier storm for at least part of the third quarter better than its Detroit competitor. For September, Edmunds projects the seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate will be 12.3 million, while TrueCar expects it to be 12.2 million. The SAAR in August was 13.09 million; in September last year, it was 16.5 million. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

China's Electric Carmakers Make Their Move on Europe

China's electric carmakers are darting into Europe, hoping to catch traditional auto giants cold and seize a slice of a market supercharged by the continent's drive towards zero emissions, reports Reuters. Nio Inc, among a small group of challengers, launches its ES8 electric SUV in Oslo on Thursday - the first foray outside China for a company that is virtually unheard of in Europe even though it's valued at about $57 billion. Other brands unfamiliar to many Europeans that have started selling or plan to sell cars on the continent include Aiways, BYD's Tang, SAIC's MG, Dongfeng's VOYAH, and Great Wall's ORA. Yet Europe, a crowded, competitive car market dominated by famous brands, has proved elusive for Chinese carmakers in the past. They made strategic slips and also contended with a perception that China, long associated with cheap mass-production, could not compete on quality. Read more here (Source: Reuters). 

Japanese Prosecutors Seek Two Years in Prison for Former Ghosn Aide Greg Kelly

Former Nissan Motor Co. executive Greg Kelly should spend two years in prison for his alleged role in helping hide former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn’s pay from the public, Japanese prosecutors told a Tokyo court on Wednesday. According to The Wall Street Journal, Messrs. Ghosn and Kelly “worked to conceal income through 2018,” said prosecutor Yukio Kawasaki. “The failure of governance is a deep problem for such a socially significant company.” The sentencing request came during prosecutors’ closing arguments in the case at Tokyo District Court. Mr. Kelly says he is innocent, and the court’s three-judge panel is expected to issue a verdict next year. If he is found guilty, the court would also decide his sentence. Mr. Kelly, 65 years old, was charged with violating a regulation governing public disclosure of executive salaries. Under the law, the maximum sentence in Mr. Kelly’s case would be 15 years, but prosecutors said two years would be appropriate. Read more here (Source: The Wall Street Journal). 

Rolls-Royce Goes Electric, Ditching Gas: Automotive Brand Teases First EV, the Rolls-Royce Spectre

Rolls-Royce, the automotive brand known for massive engines and ultra-luxury (and ultra-expensive) design, is ditching gas, reports USA Today. The British subsidiary of German automaker BMW announced Wednesday that it will convert its entire lineup into electric vehicles by 2030. At the same time, it teased its first-ever electric car, saying it will arrive in the final three months of 2023. It marks a sharp departure from the brand's gas-guzzling ways. One of its signature vehicles is the $406,000 Rolls-Royce Wraith with its 6.6-liter, twin-turbocharged, 12-cylinder engine generating 624 horsepower. The move comes as several mainstream and luxury automakers have signaled plans to transition to only electric vehicles, including General Motors, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz. Read more here (Source: USA Today). 

Just the FAX Offers Practical Advice Buying During the Inventory Crunch

With inventory so hard to come by, the Just the FAX Podcast is offering practical tips for dealers looking to stock their lots cost-effectively. In the 13th Episode: We’ll Buy Your Car, hosts Bob Grill and Darrell Sherwood discuss how dealers can take advantage of consumers who walk in off the street with cars to sell. With so many people looking to get out from under their current vehicles; dealers have a number of options for taking advantage of current trends. Listen in here.   

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