Calif. Data Law Could Send Dealers Scrambling

First Up 07/08/19

Calif. Data Law Could Send Dealers Scrambling
Starting next year, California dealerships that improperly manage customers' personal information could be in regulatory jeopardy as the state gives consumers more liberty to access or delete the data dealerships collect on them, reports Automotive News. Facing the daunting task of tracking every piece of data and where it might go, some dealers and their vendor partners are already racing to prepare for the new law. The California Consumer Privacy Act, effective Jan. 1, will give consumers in the state the right to take more ownership of their data. Among other requirements, the bill orders businesses to honor consumers' demands to access personal information collected about them; know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom; and opt out of the sale or sharing of personal information. Consumers can also demand that a business and its affiliates, such as vendors, delete their personal information. The California law could set a precedent that eventually affects dealerships in other states. Read more here. 

BMW CEO Steps Down
BMW CEO Harald Krueger is stepping down in the wake of the luxury automaker's weakest earnings performance in a decade, reports USA Today. The German company said Friday that Krueger, 53, would not seek an extension of his contract, which expires at the end of April 2020. The board of directors will meet to discuss the issue of a successor on July 18 and Krueger will remain in his job until a decision is made. The news comes after BMW lost money on its automotive business in the first quarter of the year after the company was hit by a 1.4 billion euro ($1.6 billion) charge for an anti-trust case and by higher upfront costs for new technology. Only the financial services and motorcycle divisions kept the group as a whole in profit.  The automotive loss was in sharp contrast to the steady profits and fat profit margins that the carmaker used to rack up quarter after quarter. Read more here. 

SUVs Are Bumper-to-Bumper on Dealer Lots, With More on the Way
Sport-utility vehicles became big hits with Americans looking for roomier rides, prompting automakers to roll out a range of models of different sizes and price points. Now, reports The Wall Street Journal, some dealers and analysts say car companies may have gone too far, and expect an overcrowded market to lead to deflated prices. Sales of crossovers and SUVs are slowing, while models are sitting longer on dealership lots before being sold and companies are resorting to more sales promotions to keep inventory from piling up, analysts say and industry data shows. And yet, automakers are getting ready to roll out even more sport-utility offerings in the next few years, further packing U.S. showrooms. Some dealers say carmakers are falling back on old habits of overbuilding to keep factories running and then turning to discounts when the demand doesn’t materialize. “We don’t need any more SUVs right now,” said Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota in North Palm Beach, Fla., who worries manufacturers have given consumers too many choices already. Read more here. 

8 First-Half Sales Tales
U.S. auto sales aren't tumbling down a cliff, but they're clearly no longer in flat, steady territory either, reports Automotive News. After six monthly declines to start the year, the industry is down 2.4 percent halfway through 2019. It is on pace to finish at slightly more than 16.9 million, which would be the first time shy of 17 million since 2014. That's still strong by historical standards. And all analyst bets are off if the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates this year, as rising auto loan rates have hurt demand. Crossovers, which have been the hottest segment in the industry for years, is on track to shrink in 2019. Meanwhile, there's no sign of slowing momentum for pickups. Full-size pickups rose 1.5 percent in the first half of the year, with Ram taking share from most of its rivals, and the Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator pushing midsize pickups to a 15 percent gain. Read more about what’s happening in the U.S. auto industry at the mid-year point by clicking here. 

BMW and Daimler to Team Up in Push Toward Self-Driving Cars
BMW and Mercedes-manufacturer Daimler announced a new partnership on Thursday to develop autonomous driving, reports CNBC. Some 1,200 technicians from the two German auto giants will team up in a bid to develop self-driving technology. The engineers will work toward driver-assistance systems, automated driving on highways as well as parking. The firms say the technology will be specified to what industry insiders call SAE level 4. “Further talks are planned to extend the cooperation to higher levels of automation in urban areas and city centers,” BMW said in a joint statement. SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) levels determine the automation capabilities of vehicles, ranking from zero to five. Level 4 vehicles can intervene if things go wrong or if there is a system failure. The car can perform all functions itself, although a manual override is available to a driver. Read more here.

Around the Web

Inside the NYPD's New Hybrid Cars [CBS]

Toyota Testing Improved Roof for Electric Cars That Can Charge While Driving [TechCrunch]

How Hackers Are Making Your Vehicle Less Vulnerable to Attack [USA Today]

Lexus LC Convertible Aimed for Production [Autoblog]