Dealership Count Up, Throughput Falls in '22

First Up 03/27/23

Dealership Count Up, Throughput Falls in '22

The number of U.S. dealerships rose slightly in 2022 after dropping two years in a row, though new-vehicle sales per franchise, or throughput, declined nearly 9 percent amid reduced new-vehicle availability, according to Automotive News' annual dealership census. Automotive News counted 18,271 franchised dealerships on Jan. 1, up 0.4 percent from a year earlier. The number of new-vehicle franchises fell 0.2 percent to 31,366 between Jan. 1, 2022, and Jan. 1, 2023. Each franchise on average sold 425 new vehicles last year, an 8.8 percent decline, according to the census. The census ranks 42 brands for throughput, a measure of dealership network health. This year's census was the first to include Polestar, which had 29 franchises as of Jan. 1. Across the industry, the number of exclusive dealerships rose 1.6 percent to 12,151. The number of import-badged exclusive dealerships jumped 2 percent last year. Other brands seeing double-digit gains in standalone stores included Hyundai with an increase of 80, Mazda with 21 more, and Kia and Mitsubishi each adding more than 10. Jeep also grew its exclusive-store count by more than double from a year earlier. Click here for the full story.

Industry Scurries to Develop an Alcohol Detection Technology

The $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act from late 2021 captured public attention for funding a wave of electric vehicle charging services. But buried deeper inside was also a mandate for a new technology that has nothing to do with EVs. The law calls for a final rule to be issued next year requiring all vehicles sold in the U.S. to have the ability to passively detect when drivers are under the influence of alcohol and prevent them from driving. That's a piece of technology that does not exist yet — at least, not as a commercialized market-friendly original-equipment vehicle component. Asahi Kasei is now working with a consortium of interested parties, including automakers, Tier 1 suppliers, and government agencies, to move the technology into commercial feasibility — and to do so in a hurry, said Mike Franchy, director of North American mobility for the company. The law could ask to see the feature on the road as early as 2026. "To be honest, I think it took everybody by surprise, not only in our company, but at all the OEMs and Tier 1's that this legislation appeared," Franchy told Automotive News. Click here for the full story.

Study Finds Parking Information the Top Requested Connected Car Service

A new study has found that the ability to determine parking space availability near destinations has become the top requested in-car connected technology for drivers. The latest Connected Features Interest Survey Report put together by TechInsights assessed 28 connected car features across 4,990 drivers in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Italy, and China. Carscoops reports, the study also delivered some other interesting results and revealed that the connected car services being demanded by drivers vary slightly between markets. Drivers in China said in-car parking information was the most valuable feature while motorists in Europe said it was the second-most important feature and just 1 percent behind their top choice. In America, respondents also placed it as their second highest priority, just 3 percent behind live traffic information technology. The demand for parking information stretches across generations. “As our roads get busier and drivers’ lives become more hectic, we are not surprised to see demand for journey-related connected features that make driving safer and more convenient, continuing to rise,” chief product officer at Parkopedia, Duncan Licence, said of the survey results. Click here for the full story.

Made-In-U.S. Rules for EV Batteries Shift in New Law's Fine Print

The interpretation of a few words of regulation by the U.S. Treasury Department could upend expectations for how tens of billions of dollars in new electric-vehicle tax incentives will be distributed. Autoblog reports, at stake over the coming weeks is the extent to which a critical part of the battery supply chain will end up being made in North America or remain where it’s currently concentrated, in Asia.  By the end of the month, Treasury and the IRS are expected to issue guidance for tens of billions of dollars in EV incentives over the next decade. One of the most consequential parts involves complex rules for where the most valuable battery materials must be sourced in order to qualify for the $7,500 EV subsidy in the 2022 IRA.  A white paper released by the department described its intentions for the forthcoming guidance. It would treat anode and cathode active materials as processed critical minerals rather than as battery components, as they are categorized in another section of the text of the IRA itself. That change would widely expand the countries where the materials can be sourced under the law. Click here for the full story.

Hyundai Exploring Branded U.S. Charging Network

As the charging infrastructure landscape in the United States continues to underwhelm many users, Hyundai may have a solution. A senior U.S. executive with the automaker says it is exploring establishing its own charging network. “We actually have branded examples of EV stations in Korea, and is that something we may perhaps want to consider for America?” Olabisi Boyle, vice president-product planning and mobility strategy for Hyundai Motor North America, tells a small group of analysts and media. Wards reports, she says the network would be similar to the one Mercedes-Benz is going to establish, in that it would be in partnership with other companies, not wholly owned and operated. In the case of Mercedes, it is partnered on the U.S. portion of its forthcoming network with ChargePoint on equipment and with MN8 Energy on renewable energy. Hyundai two years ago opened a fast-charging station in Seoul, in a converted gas station, in partnership with SK Networks. The station, in the Gangdong district of Seoul, has a café and lifestyle store for drivers to patronize while their vehicle charges. The automaker also in 2021 announced proprietary stations, called E-Pit, for the Korean market. Click here for the full story.


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