Dealer Throughput Seen Falling for Third Year

First Up 08/10/18

Dealer Throughput Seen Falling for Third Year
U.S. dealership new-vehicle throughput – or the average number of vehicles a dealer sells per store per year – is expected to fall for the third straight year in 2018, retail consulting firm Urban Science said in a new report. Automotive News reports that the number of U.S. dealerships remains stable amid a slightly slowing new-car sales environment, Urban Science said Thursday. Average throughput is predicted to fall by 11 vehicles to 936 in 2018, according to Urban Science's midyear “Automotive Franchise Activity Report.” It creates its throughput prediction by taking the number of sales forecast by LMC Automotive –17. 1 million for 2018 – and dividing it by dealer count. The number of U.S. dealerships or rooftops has grown 0.2 percent in the first half of 2018 to 18,252 as of July 1, the report said. Read more here. 

Canada Sees Return to NAFTA Talks as U.S.-Mexico Near Auto Deal
Canada could soon be returning to the NAFTA talks as the U.S. and Mexico approach agreement on a deal over cars, according to one of Canada’s top diplomats. Bloomberg reports that the U.S. and Mexico, which have been in bilateral negotiations for about three weeks, appear to be “getting close” to agreement over auto manufacturing, David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said in an interview. “If they can resolve their differences on that, then I think we can move ahead and have the three of us talk about some of the other issues that affect all of us,” MacNaughton said on BNN Bloomberg television Thursday. While a quick, three-way NAFTA deal is still possible if all nations show flexibility, Canada still opposes U.S. proposals for a sunset clause on the agreement and still wants an independent dispute-resolution process, he said. Read more here. 

U.S. Built Mercedes-Benz SUVs Held Up by Chinese Customs
Mercedes-Benz sports utility vehicles built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, are being checked for potential problems by Shanghai customs authorities, Daimler confirmed on Thursday, as a trade dispute between the United States and China heats up. According to Reuters, Mercedes-Benz GLE and GLS models, built in the United States between May 4 and June 12, 2018, have a brake issue which poses a “safety risk,” according to a Chinese customs document circulating on Chinese social media. The document said authorities in Shanghai had found the rear brakes on these vehicles to be “insufficient.” The authenticity of the documents could not be verified with Chinese authorities. Daimler said the company had been made aware of a potential brake issue related to vehicles in China imported from the United States. Read more here.

Amazon Releases Alexa Software Development Kit for Autonomous Infotainment Systems
Amazon Alexa typically is used in the home for basic tasks such as setting reminders or playing music. But now, Amazon is making it easier to incorporate Alexa into a vehicle. According to Automotive News, the e-commerce giant has released the Alexa Auto Software Development Kit, which provides developers a way to integrate all of Alexa's core functions into in-vehicle infotainment systems, Amazon announced Thursday. The kit includes source code and function libraries that enable a vehicle to process audio input and triggers and handle interactions with Alexa. It also provides the hooks required to connect to a wake word engine, local media player, local phone and local navigation system, the company said in a release. Read more here. 

Edmunds: Best Used Cars for College Students Offer Good Value and a Little Fun
It won't be long before incoming freshmen head off to college. That means it's prime time for students — and parents — to find suitable, affordable cars for the road ahead, reports USA Today. Edmunds has compiled a list of used hybrid, compact and crossover SUV vehicles that best lend themselves to varied demands of college life. USA Today chose vehicles for their strong value, utility, fuel efficiency, performance and the availability of advanced safety features. The publication also offers some other alternatives in its picks' respective classes. The prices shown are the average prices paid for the cars at a franchised car dealership, compiled by Edmunds. Read more here. 

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