Dealership Throughput Forecast to Slip for Third Year

First Up 02/13/18

Dealership Throughput Forecast to Slip for Third Year 
U.S. dealership throughput – the average number of new-vehicle sales per dealership – is expected to slip 2.9 percent to 920 vehicles in 2018 from 947 in 2017, automotive consulting firm Urban Science predicts. Automotive News reports that if so, 2018 would have the third consecutive decline in per-store sales, Urban Science's annual Automotive Franchise Activity Report said. U.S. dealership new-vehicle throughput slipped 1.9 percent in 2017 to 947, from 965 in 2016 and from a high of 966 in 2015, as sales fell and the number of dealerships edged up. U.S. new light-vehicle sales slipped 1.8 percent to 17.2 million in 2017, ending a seven-year streak of increases. Meanwhile, the U.S. dealership network held essentially stable, inching up to 18,213 rooftops as of Jan. 1, from 18,170 rooftops at the start of 2017. The report found that 97 percent of local markets in the U.S. had virtually no change in the number of dealerships, meaning they had a gain or loss of no more than a single rooftop. Read more here

What Do Americans Want in Their Cars? More Cameras and Dogs
According to AutoBlog, Google gathered and parsed automotive searches from September 2015 to August 2017, adjusted the results for seasonal fluctuations, then filtered the search topics into trends. Aiming to understand a trend further, Google analyzed YouTube videos on related topics, and spoke to 1,000 consumers. The search giant organized all of that data into four groups: market-specific trends for the U.S., Germany, and Japan, and overall trends for those three markets. The result, which wants to answer the question, "How are consumers looking to enhance their driving experience?," is the first Google Automotive Trends Report. Each trend comes in six flavors, three uptrends and three downtrends, divided according to strength, cyclical pattern, and abruptness. In the U.S. market, the top two Sustained Risers ranked by search volume are car wraps and steering wheel covers. But the fifth-largest search in that category is dog car seat covers, and dog car seats come up second in Seasonal Risers after backup cameras. America shows a searching love for its animals — well, its dogs at least — that the other two markets don't have; Germany had the only animal-related search, a hundegitter auto, German for a protective dog grate or cage. Read more here

Air Bag Danger: Ford, Mazda Add 35,000 Pickups to Do-Not-Drive List
According to USA Today, Ford and Mazda are adding more than 35,000 pickup trucks in North America to a list of vehicles that should not be driven because they have Takata air bag inflators with a high risk of exploding. The warning includes 33,428 Ranger and 1,955 Mazda B-Series small pickups from 2006 model year, according to both companies. Ford, which made the B-Series for Mazda, found test results showing that the trucks had inflators that ruptured or recorded high internal pressure readings, spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said Monday. The companies and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said dealers will tow the pickups to service bays to replace the faulty inflators and provide loaner vehicles. Parts for the repairs already are available. Rangers added to the do-not-drive list were built between Aug. 5 and Dec. 15, 2005. "Affected owners are urged not to drive these vehicles and to contact Ford and Mazda immediately to schedule a free repair," NHTSA said in a printed release. Read more here

Best Cars to Buy New Instead of Used
Though it doesn’t have the allure of driving a brand-new vehicle off of a dealer’s showroom floor, purchasing a used car or truck is almost always the better deal, according to Forbes. However, there are instances where factory-fresh vehicles can be as good a deal – perhaps even better, depending on the circumstances – as their one-year-old pre-owned counterparts. That’s according to a study of new and used-car transactions monitored by the automotive data and research company The website identifies nine 2018 models that basically hold onto their resale values so tenaciously, there’s no significant financial advantage to choosing a year-old version. Eight of the nine models on the new-over-used list are in-demand trucks and SUVs, with Jeep, Toyota, and Honda accounting for two models each. The sole passenger car on the list the rally-race-ready Subaru WRX, which is a perennial favorite among fans of hot hatchbacks. Forbes is featuring all nine vehicles in a slideshow. Read more here

Toyota Teases Sporty Coupe Developed with BMW
Toyota's Supra performance coupe looks likely to debut in concept form at next month's Geneva auto show after the automaker released a teaser picture for a "modern racing concept." According to Automotive News, Toyota said the concept's unveiling at the show on March 6 shows its "commitment to bring back to the market its most iconic sports car." The new Supra is being developed in partnership with BMW. BMW showed a concept last year previewing its version of the same car, the Concept Z4. The production model will be a convertible badged as the Z4 that replaces the car of the same name that went out of production in 2016. Toyota's version is expected to be a coupe only and to put more emphasis on performance. The Supra name is still widely known among performance car enthusiasts. Toyota built four generations of the model running from 1979 to 2002, gaining a strong following, but the company has largely withdrawn from sports cars since. Read more here

2018 Car Buyer Journey Study
For the past five years, Cox Automotive has conducted studies designed to gain an understanding of consumer car-shopping behavior and perceptions of the dealer experience. The 2018 Car Buyer Journey, commissioned by Cox Automotive through IHS Automotive, explores how consumers complete the entire vehicle purchase process by exploring when, where and how consumers decide to start their research, make their decision and close the deal – and how dealers can best position themselves to be their store of choice. Click here to read more

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