Auto Dealers Finally Have Cars to Sell Again

First Up 05/23/23

Auto Dealers Finally Have Cars to Sell Again

The availability of new cars and trucks on dealership lots is bouncing back, and for some brands is stronger than expected. Buyers are finding a bigger selection of models to choose from this spring selling season, in large part because of easing supply-chain woes and more stable factory output. The replenished inventory also is shaping up to be an important test for car companies, many of which have said in recent years they would keep availability permanently constrained, reports The Wall Street Journal. Some brands, such as Jeep and Buick, are already getting heavy on stock, according to industry data. If supplies get bloated, it could put an end to the lofty prices and big profits the industry has enjoyed since the pandemic’s early days, analysts say. “We had times where you could have a helicopter land on my lot,” said David Kelleher, president of a dealership group based in Glen Mills, Pa., that sells the Chrysler, Ram, Jeep, and Dodge brands. Now, he is seeing stock levels swell, including on some specific models, he said. Click here for the full story.

Toyota, Honda, and GM Best Automakers to Work With, Suppliers Say

Automotive suppliers say Toyota, Honda, and General Motors are the best automakers to work with, and the same group is voicing concerns about significant headwinds buffeting them in 2023. According to Plante Moran’s 23rd annual North American OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index (WRI) Study, the three companies excelled or improved in a variety of areas, with General Motors seeing its overall score jump 10 points — the second largest this year. Toyota and Honda remained No. 1 and No. 2, despite dropping 7 and 3 points respectively. Nissan, Ford and Stellantis round out the group. Ford remained in the top five despite a 23-point decline year-over-year. The study uses feedback from more than 450 Tier-1 suppliers to assess the state of relations between the six largest car companies and the supply chain, reports The Detroit Bureau. GM, Nissan and Stellantis improved their overall WRI scores while Toyota, Honda and Ford fell. Stellantis showed the greatest improvement with a gain of 17 points, followed by GM’s 10-point gain and Nissan’s 6-point uptick. Nissan took over fourth place from Ford. Click here for the full story.

Dealers are Stayin’ Alive as Retail Continues to Shift

“There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.” That well-known quote may sum up the situation many car dealers currently face. Wards’ January report noted the most prevalent 2023 wish by dealers was more inventory. Well, that wish was granted – and then some – for many dealers who report their lots now are flooded with inventory. But that’s not true throughout the retail landscape. In general, the availability of most models across vehicle segments remains below historical levels. Although U.S. new-vehicle inventory finished April at nearly 55 percent above April 2022, the overall 35 days’ supply pales compared with pre-pandemic norms of 65 days or more. Light-duty trucks are one exception to the lower-than-usual inventory. During the chip shortage, automakers tended to focus on producing high-margin models, such as pickups, so less pent-up demand existed for the trucks once the chip crisis began to ease. Industry insiders have long predicted that the demand for vehicles of the past few years would end once chip availability rebounded, production increased, and pricing weakened. That is now coming to fruition, with control of the market shifting more toward buyers and away from sellers. Click here for the full story.

BMW Touring Coupe Concept May Get Limited Production Run

BMW has resurrected the spirit of the original Z3 Coupe with the Concept Touring Coupe and is considering limited production of the two-seat shooting brake, which was originally developed as a one-off model based on the Z4. The concept, unveiled here on the eve of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este classic car show, is intended for the joy of traveling together, BMW says. The Touring Coupe is for “two people and their luggage, enjoying their drive from Munich to Como,” Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group design, told Automotive News. Drawing on design ideas first explored on the Z3 Coupe that was launched in 1998, three years after the Z3 roadster, the Touring Coupé retains the familiar styling of the latest Z4 roadster at the front but has a long roofline and a tailgate at the rear to provide added everyday practicality. It draws inspiration from the 328 Touring Coupe that won the 1940 Mille Miglia as well as the 2002 Touring from the early 1970s, BMW said. The interior features leather from the Italian company Poltrona Frau and custom luggage from Schedoni. Click here for the full story.

Volvo Cars Opens Design Studio in Shanghai

Volvo Cars opens its latest global design hub in Shanghai as it seeks to expand the brand further into Asian markets. The automaker’s Design Studio Shanghai joins its existing studios in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Camarillo, Calif. This studio aims to mirror its design headquarters in Gothenburg and will enjoy all the design functions needed from concept to production, reports Wards. Claimed capabilities will allow modeling production up to full-size models for interior, exterior, color and materials, as well as UX design. On top of milling machines, 3D printers and workshops for producing accurate models, Shanghai designers also have access to virtual-reality environments. The 59,200-sq.-ft. building draws on Scandinavian design principles with floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive staircases. It has seating for more than 100 designers and creative engineers. At its center is a 10,760-sq.-ft show hall and features an outdoor viewing garden. Jeremy Offer, Volvo Car’s head of global design, says: “Our Shanghai design team is a crucial and integrated part of our global design network. The new premises and the latest technologies help strengthen the collaboration across our three design studios globally, as we continue to take Volvo Cars’ premium Scandinavian design to the next level.” Click here for the full story.


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