FTC Proposal on Saving Records ‘Extreme'

First Up 08/16/22

FTC Proposal on Saving Records ‘Extreme'

The Federal Trade Commission's proposed new regulations on dealership ads and F&I practices also would require a "dramatic" expansion in document retention by the industry.  "The record keeping is the most extreme of all the requirements," said Paul Metrey, NADA senior vice president of regulatory affairs. The FTC's potential record-keeping rules would include some documents dealerships should save anyway, and for a longer period than the 24 months the FTC would require, according to Fisher Phillips partner Usama Kahf. But the FTC's proposed language also suggests keeping text messages between sales personnel and consumers, he said. "That's gonna be the one that's gonna cause the most burden," Kahf, co-chair of the law firm's privacy practice group, told Automotive News. The FTC is considering requiring dealerships to keep "all written communications relating to sales, financing, or leasing between the [dealership] and any consumer who signs a purchase order or financing or lease contract." This means text messages and emails, Kahf said. The FTC also wants dealerships to save "all written consumer complaints relating to sales, financing, or leasing," customer "inquiries" about F&I coverage and physical add-on products and "inquiries and responses" about vehicles. Click here for the full story.

Toyota Dealers Line Up for Digital Tools Smartpath, Lexus Monogram

Toyota Motor North America is approaching critical mass in dealer adoption of its Toyota SmartPath and Lexus Monogram digital retailing tools, and retailers are starting to see improvements in profits as the tools expand to cover service and finance and insurance functions. Automotive News reports more than 20 percent of Toyota's and Lexus' 1,500 U.S. dealers are actively using the in-house designed tools, which the Japanese automaker began to roll out in 2019, about six months before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. What began with a handful of pilot dealerships has now expanded to hundreds of dealers, "and we're launching four or five new dealers per week," said Tim Bliss, general manager for retail transformation at Toyota Motor North America. Bliss said about 100 dealers are waiting in line to have SmartPath or Monogram installed. Recent metrics may provide a clue as to why dealers have embraced the technology so enthusiastically. "We're starting to see, with availability so tight, guests going online to find that one vehicle that they want because of SmartPath's real-time inventory. It assures the guest that what the dealer is showing online is what they have," Bliss said. Click here for the full story.

The Motor City Is Moving South as EVs Change the Automotive Industry

Detroit is the city that “put the world on wheels,” but it’s towns like Spring Hill and others in neighboring states that are attracting the most investments from automakers in recent years, as production priorities shift to a battery-powered future with electric vehicles. Companies more than ever want to build EVs where they sell them, because the vehicles are far heavier and more cumbersome to ship than traditional models with internal combustion engines. They also want facilities for battery production to be close by to avoid supply chain and logistics problems. CNBC reports among the first to invest in southern states was Ford Motor in the 1950s and 1960s in Kentucky, followed by international nameplate, automakers starting with Nissan Motor, which established a plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, in 1983. Others such as General Motors, Subaru, Toyota Motor and BMW followed suit through the 1990s. More have followed since then, including recent announcements by Hyundai Motor and Rivian Automotive to build multibillion-dollar plants in Georgia. As more companies look to the American South, the investments are changing the landscape of towns across the region and of the automotive industry’s workforce, supply chain and logistics. Click here for the full story.

Biden to Sign Law Today Cutting Most Current EV Credits

U.S. President Joe Biden will sign legislation today that will eliminate electric vehicle tax credits for most models currently getting up to $7,500 effective. The White House said Biden will sign legislation to approve the $430 billion climate, health and tax bill today. The bill restructures the existing $7,5000 new EV tax credit and creates a new $4,000 rebate for used EVs. It also includes tens of billions of dollars in new loan, tax credit and grant programs for automakers to build cleaner vehicles. Many automakers and dealers have been working with customers to complete binding written contracts ahead of Biden's signing to make them eligible for credits even if they have not received vehicles. Reuters reports the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing Volkswagen, GM, Toyota, and Ford among others, said earlier the law would make 70 percent of 72 U.S. electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel-cell EVs that currently qualify ineligible upon Biden's signing. On Jan. 1, when the bill's new income and price caps and battery and critical mineral sourcing rules take effect, "none would qualify for the full credit when additional sourcing requirements go into effect," the group added. Click here for the full story.

Automakers Rev Up Subscription-Based Services, But Will Customers Get on Board?

This past July, media outlets took notice that BMW was selling subscription-based services, with a price tag of $18 a month, $300 for three years, or $415 for unlimited access, for heated seats in their vehicles in some countries including South Korea. CBT News reports BMW has made a statement that claims that the subscription-based services for their heated seats don’t apply to US Vehicles. Automakers already offer subscription-based fees for many services, fueled mainly by luxury vehicle manufacturers. But the number of companies providing gated services continues to grow, including Volkswagen, Cadillac, Audi, Toyota, and Porsche. Most of these subscription-based services revolve around features such as voice recognition or driver assist. But the trend seems to be expanding to include features that many consumers have grown accustomed to having for free, like heated seats and steering wheels. While luxury manufacturers have the added security of a customer base with the disposable income to fork over subscription fees without blinking, many mainstream manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon and testing out gated vehicle features. The question is whether the average working consumer will be willing to pay the fee for these “extra features.” Click here for the full story.

Around the Web

Porsche Built a Real Sally 911 from 'Cars' and You Can Buy it for Charity [Fox News]

VinFast Grants a $7,500 Rebate for Pre-orders Even if the EV Tax Credit Is Denied [EV]

Loving Your Car to Death: Can You Be Buried In Your Favorite Vehicle? [Motortrend]

Watch a McLaren 765LT Hit 200 MPH on the Autobahn [Car and Driver]