Feds Double Down on Voluntary Self-Driving Regs

First Up 10/05/18

Feds Double Down on Voluntary Self-Driving Regs
The Trump administration unveiled the federal government's third set of guidelines for self-driving cars in three years on Thursday, doubling down on a voluntary approach to autonomous vehicle regulation that has drawn the ire of safety advocates. The Detroit News reports that the guidelines, released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, promise to adapt the definitions of "driver" and "operator'" in federal motor vehicle rules that currently require cars to have a human behind the wheel "to recognize that such terms do not refer exclusively to a human, but may in fact include an automated system." In doing so, the agency says it is opening the door to cars without traditional features like steering wheels, control pedals, or mirrors. Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will consider changes which would open the door to self-driving passenger buses. Read more here.

Automakers' Accessories Sales Programs Draw Criticism
Three-quarters of U.S. dealership executives aren't greatly impressed with automakers' accessories sales programs, a new survey concludes. What's more, reports Automotive News, these attitudes haven't improved in the past year, the study suggests, amid complaints about the price and unavailability of popular factory accessories and inadequate sales training by automakers of dealership employees. Between mid-July and mid-August, the consultancy Carlisle & Co. of Concord, Mass., surveyed about 3,000 executives at dealerships that sell 14 auto brands. Most respondents were sales managers, although the sample also included dealer principals, general managers and sales consultants. On average, fewer than one-fourth of the respondents gave the highest grade for overall satisfaction with automakers' accessory programs they work with. Just one-third said that their satisfaction has improved over the past year. Survey participants expressed the greatest satisfaction with the quality and warranty support of factory accessories. They were most dissatisfied with automakers' accessories pricing and sales training. Read more here. 

New Honda Ad Campaign Focuses on Crossovers, Minority Consumers
Honda Motor Co.'s latest ad campaign emphasizes three key crossovers as it looks to tap into growth opportunities with minority consumers, reports Automotive News. The campaign, composed of five 30-second ads, includes direct appeals to African-American and Hispanic buyers in two of the spots, "Para Para" and "Family Dinner." Honda hopes the messaging around durability, reliability, and quality in "Para Para," which is available in English and Spanish, resonates with Hispanic viewers. The spot aims to demonstrate that Honda's crossover lineup meets the needs of every family member in various phases of their lives. And the ad campaign feeds a key product line for Honda. The automaker now sells more light trucks in the U.S. than cars. Through September, U.S. sales of Honda brand light trucks grew 5.3 percent to 569,594 vehicles while car sales slipped 9.3 percent to 522,920 vehicles. Read more here. 

September CPO Car Sales Show Some Strength
A sampling of results shared by automakers in news releases or via email shows a mostly positive September for the certified pre-owned car market, reports Auto Remarketing. Kia, for example, said it sold 6,201 certified vehicles in September, up from 5,777 a year ago. Volvo, meanwhile, said it increased its CPO sales by 35.5 percent year-over-year, moving 1,970 CPO units last month. Its year-to-date sales are up 18.1 percent at 16,375. Mazda lifted its CPO sales 29.7 percent in September (4,642 cars sold) and has driven sales up 21.3 percent so far this year. Porsche reported 1,826 certified sales last month for an 18-percent gain. Mercedes-Benz lifted its CPO sales 17.8 percent, moving 10,274 units last month. Through nine months, it has reached 95,569 certified sales (up 9.0 percent). At BMW of North America, the BMW brand had 9,857 certified sales in September (down 7 percent), with year-to-date sales at 95,856 (down 8.4 percent). Its MINI brand had 1,193 CPO sales for the month (up 40.9 percent), with sales through three quarters up 23.6 percent at 10,597. Read more here. 

Elon Musk Mocks SEC in Tweets, Accuses Agency of Helping Short-Sellers
According to MarketWatch, Elon Musk’s Twitter account on Thursday appeared to mock the Securities and Exchange Commission only days after the Tesla Inc. chief executive settled fraud charges, suggesting the agency was enriching investors betting against the electric-car maker. A 1:16 p.m. California time, Musk’s Twitter account tweeted, “Just want to [sic] that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!” About 40 minutes later, Musk responded to someone on Twitter who said he needed “a social team that can get attention without typos and without enraging the Shortseller Enrichment Committee.” Musk replied, “Sorry about the typo. That was unforgivable. Why would they be upset about their mission? It’s what they do.” The bold tweets came less than a week after Musk agreed to step down as Tesla chairman for three years and have his Twitter messages and other public communications containing potentially material information vetted by the company. Read more here. 

Webinar: Will You Meet – and Beat –the Used Car Competition in 2019?
Join AIADA's next AutoTalk webinar on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

Learn: 

  • How to assess your 2018 used car department performance

  • Will you be meeting the competition in 2019?

  • Tips to your 2019 success, including increasing sales and protecting profits as used car shoppers move online

Happening Tuesday, October 16, 2018. 2:00pm EDT *Please note new session time*

To register, click here. 

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This Suzuki Samurai Can Be Your Perfect Beginning Off-Roader [Road and Track]

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2020 Land Rover Defender is Staying Boxy [Autoblog]

What's the Fastest Cop Car? [USA Today]

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