AutoNation Profit Triples, Expects Demand for New Vehicles to Stay Strong

First Up 07/19/21

AutoNation Profit Triples, Expects Demand for New Vehicles to Stay Strong

AutoNation Inc said it expects strong demand for new vehicles to continue into next year, as low-interest rates and consumer preference for personal transportation during the pandemic helped drive a three-fold jump in its quarterly profit, reports Reuters. The top U.S. auto retailer on Monday reported adjusted net income from continuing operations of $384.9 million, or $4.83 share, for the second quarter ended June 30, compared with $123.9 million, or $1.41 per share, a year earlier. "Consumers are buying vehicles before they even arrive at our stores. We expect the current environment of demand exceeding supply to continue into 2022," Chief Executive Officer Mike Jackson said. Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based AutoNation’s gross profit per new vehicle jumped 89% to $4,157 in the second quarter, while the gross profit per used vehicle rose 24% to $2,240. Read more here (Source: Reuters). 

VW's 'New Auto' Strategy Lays Path to Lead Electrified Industry

Automakers have been elbowing each other out of the way to draw attention to their electrified product plans, but the bold prognostications of Volkswagen Group's future might top them all, reports Automotive News. CEO Herbert Diess — who this month secured a contract extension until 2025 — laid out a vision of a much different automotive world than the one that exists today and said the group is poised to take full advantage of those changes. In laying out the plan, Diess and other executives more fully detailed plans to merge VW's two existing EV platforms — MEB and PPE — into a single Scalable Systems Platform, or SSP. The transformation will begin with a project underway at premium brand Audi called Artemis and another for its mass-market brands in progress at VW dubbed Trinity. The company said that it would be possible in the future to "build models from all brands and segments on the SSP — more than 40 million group cars throughout its life cycle." Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

With Biden Order, 'Right to Repair' in Federal Focus

President Joe Biden's executive order to promote competition in the U.S. economy rachets up the pressure on the Federal Trade Commission to take action on "right to repair," an issue that has often pitted automakers against independent repair shops and aftermarket parts retailers. According to Automotive News, the order signed this month by the president urges the FTC to issue rules on repair restrictions imposed by manufacturers, potentially tipping the scale in favor of independent shops and consumers and forcing automakers to settle their grievances on the long, drawn-out battle over access to vehicle repair information and parts. Biden's directive comes as major automakers continue to challenge a 2020 amendment to Massachusetts' right to repair law in federal court, with a decision by the judge expected in August. The president's expansive order — and pending action by the FTC — lends further momentum to right to repair, positioning the issue as a federal priority. Read more here (Source: Automotive News). 

Selling Your Used Car? You Could Turn a Profit

Once thought of as the ultimate depreciating asset, some car owners are finding their vehicles are worth as much as—if not more than—they originally paid for them, dealers and analysts say. And, reports The Wall Street Journal, certain popular preowned models, such as the Kia Telluride and Toyota Tundra, are regularly selling for thousands of dollars more than the list prices of the brand-new versions as auto retailers run historically low on preowned vehicle inventory, industry data show. The recent jump in used-vehicle pricing is the latest in what has been a topsy-turvy year for the U.S. car business.Prices for used cars and trucks leapt again, by 10.5%, in June, according to the Labor Department, contributing to an overall rise in the consumer-price index and further stoking fears of U.S. inflation. “We have a long way to go before prices come down,” said Tyson Jominy, an auto analyst with research firm J.D. Power. Read more here (Source: The Wall Street Journal). 

J.D. Power: Pandemic Reinforced OEM Brand Loyalty

J.D. Power said vehicle owners remain vastly loyal to their specific brands, in part due to the effects of pandemic lockdowns. Experts made that assertion as part of the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Automotive Brand Loyalty Study released last week, reports Auto Remarketing. With many vehicle shoppers hesitant to venture out to showrooms, J.D. Power vice president of data & analytics Tyson Jominy explained that they often relied on their relationship with their current dealer. “The bottom line is finding a vehicle required working closely with a dealer and, when presented with obstacles, shoppers turned to the dealer they already knew. As a result, the level of increased loyalty this year is remarkable,” Jominy said. Lexus ranked highest among premium brands for a third consecutive year with a 51.6% loyalty rate. Porsche (50.2%) came in second, followed by Mercedes-Benz (47.0%), BMW (45.6%), and Audi (45.5%). Subaru took the top spot among mass market brands and highest overall in the automotive industry for a third consecutive year with a loyalty rate of 61.8%. Toyota followed in second (61.1%), followed by Honda (59.3%), RAM (56.8%) and Ford (53.9%). Read more here (Source: Auto Remarketing). 

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