Auto Shoppers Abandoned Leasing Threatening Dealer Profits, Brand Loyalty

First Up 01/20/23

Auto Shoppers Abandoned Leasing Threatening Dealer Profits, Brand Loyalty

Lack of inventory and low interest rates turned consumers away from leasing new cars and trucks in over an 11-month period eroding brand loyalty and costing dealers’ profits according to a study released by global information and insights company TransUnion. There are signs, however, the trend is reversing. According to the study, the auto lease market was down almost half from 31 percent in January 2020 to 17 percent in July 2022, more than twice the decrease in auto financing over the same period. That squares with research by Cox Automotive/Kelley Blue Book which reported leasing's share of the market dropped from 31 percent in 2019 to 20 percent at the end of last year. Not only did shoppers turn their backs on leasing, those already in leases tended to end them earlier. The study examined the behavior of 3.8 million consumers who terminated a lease between July 2021 and June 2022, reports Forbes. Add to the mix the fact that during that period the with inventories low due to COVID-19 pandemic-caused production cutbacks at the end of lease periods vehicles gained value over the residual values negotiated at the start of the lease. Click here for the full story.

Do Consumers Like Buying Cars?

Let’s face it, no one likes the process of buying a car — and a new study shows we like it less than ever, in spite of having more ways than ever to make the process simpler and easier. According to Cox Automotive’s 2022 Car Buyer Journey Study, high prices, a lack of inventory, and the length of time needed to buy a vehicle irritated car buyers in 2022. Used car buyers were particularly dissatisfied, as they are frequently more price sensitive and face higher borrowing rates, reports The Detroit Bureau. “We think it is more important than ever to showcase the current state of vehicle buying in America,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of Research and Market Intelligence at Cox Automotive. “It does not have to be frustrating for the consumer. With the right digital tools and systems in place, car buying can be a highly satisfying activity, and as efficient and streamlined as consumers want it to be.” The study surveyed more than 10,000 consumers who were in the market for a vehicle in 2022 and their dealers. Click here to see the results of the survey.

Renault's Alpine Brand Sees U.S. Market as Key to Sales, Revenue Target

The U.S. market will be crucial to Alpine’s ambitious revenue and sales goals, CEO Laurent Rossi said. The Renault sports car brand has aspirations to sell two models in the U.S., a midsize electric crossover and a larger, similar model, starting in 2027 or 2028. “The U.S. is the main destination for these cars,” he said on a call with journalists. Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo has set a target of $8.6 billion in revenue for Alpine by 2030, which Rossi said equaled annual sales of “north of 150,000” by then. The brand, which was restarted under former Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2017 after lying dormant since the mid-1990s, now sells just one model, the A110 sports coupe, which registered 3,546 sales in 2022, an increase of 33 percent, reports Automotive News. “We want to go to the U.S., which will create the bulk of the extra volume above and beyond the hot hatch and sporty car we are launching in 2025, and the successor to the A110,” he said. Click here for the full story.

New Study Ranks Best States for Technicians

Auto technicians getting ready to graduate from training programs, or established technicians looking for new opportunities can now compare data to see which U.S. states might be the best fit for them. The website compiled data from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. examining such factors as the number of people working as technicians, auto technician jobs per 1,000 jobs, annual median salary, and the cost of living, reports Automotive News. Oklahoma is the top state for technicians looking for work. Median annual salary for auto techs there is $46,180 — almost $10,000 more than the median pay across all jobs in the state. Additionally, Oklahoma has the second-lowest cost of living of all 50 states, and job opportunities for technicians are better than average, with 4.9 mechanic jobs per 1,000 jobs. In contrast, Washington, D.C. ranks last in the survey. While it has the highest median annual pay for technicians at $60,590, that is well below the overall median annual wage in the district of $79,960. The nation's capital also has the second-highest cost of living in the country and has only 0.6 mechanic jobs per 1,000. Click here for the full story.

 ’23 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Plugs into Powertrain Potential

Most owners won’t deliberately toss their new ’23 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV hard into a slippery corner to test its roadholding ability, let alone take it out into a muddy field to turn a few doughnuts. But should those owners find themselves in a slick situation, they can rest assured the Outlander PHEV’s low center of gravity, rear-biased all-wheel-drive system and an array of stability and traction controls will help keep the 3-row CUV on the road until the snowplow arrives. At a media event here, Wards drove the Japanese automaker’s latest plug-in hybrid over hill and dale en route to the Polecat Training Center in Fayetteville, Tenn., where the track and off-road testing takes place. Contrary to the above shenanigans, most buyers will appreciate the Outlander PHEV’s 38 miles of pure electric driving range, backed by 26 mpg combined fuel economy when the 2.4L 4-cyl. is engaged. Put it all together and the EPA lists the vehicle’s combined efficiency at 64 mpg-e. Electric range is extended compared with the previous Outlander PHEV thanks to more-efficient motors powered by a 96-cell, 350V, 20-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, up from the previous model’s 80-cell, 300V, 13.8-kWh module. Click here for the full story.

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