GM Recognizes California's Authority to Set Vehicle Emissions Rules

First Up 01/10/22

Wholesale used-vehicle prices grew more slowly in December, might rise more in the spring

Even as their pace of growth slowed in the final weeks of 2021, wholesale used-vehicle prices again increased in December, hitting new record highs, and analysts expect prices to rise more in the spring. Cox Automotive said Friday that its Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, which tracks vehicles sold at Manheim's U.S. auctions, rose 1.6 percent in December compared with November. Automotive News reports that the index soared for all of 2021, with its December number 47 percent higher than the same month in 2020. Cox Automotive predicted wholesale used-vehicle prices will grow more in the spring — typical for tax refund season. "We are projecting a 3 to 5 percent increase from where we are now, and ultimately that peak will likely be [at the] end of April or potentially into the month of May," said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. While the Manheim index is likely to register more gains during tax refund season, depreciation will likely occur in the back half of 2022, Cox analysts said. For more on wholesale prices, click here.

GM Recognizes California's Authority to Set Vehicle Emissions Rules

General Motors on Sunday said it had agreed to recognize California’s authority to set vehicle emission standards under the Clean Air Act. The move will make the Detroit automaker eligible for government fleet purchases by the state of California, GM said. According to Reuters, the automaker made the commitment to recognize California's authority in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom. GM said in the letter it is "committed to complying with California's regulations." Soon after Joe Biden was elected president, GM in November 2020 reversed itself and no longer backed an effort by the then-Trump administration to bar California from setting its own emissions rules. "GM is joining California in our fight for clean air and emission reduction as part of the company's pursuit of a zero-emissions future," Newsom said. "This agreement will help accelerate California's nation-leading commitment to tackling the climate crisis." For the full story, click here.

BMW Retains U.S. Luxury Crown 3rd Straight Year

In a year throttled by supply chain shortages, BMW outmaneuvered rivals Lexus and Mercedes to claim the U.S. luxury sales crown for the third straight year. Automotive News reports that BMW appears to have fended off — if only barely — a surging Tesla. The Texas-based EV producer barreled toward 1 million in global sales last year, up 87 percent from 2020. Overall, the U.S. luxury market outpaced the broader industry last year. U.S. luxury sales climbed 13 percent in 2021, compared with a 3.3 percent gain for the overall industry. Luxury brands delivered 2.2 million vehicles, accounting for a record 14.7 percent of total U.S. light-vehicle sales. The BMW brand delivered 336,644 sedans and crossovers in the U.S. last year, on par with pre-pandemic 2019 sales. Robust demand for crossovers fueled the brand's 21 percent surge last year. "We had strong end-to-end operational performance — from procurement to sales," BMW's global sales chief Pieter Nota told Automotive News this week. For more on how BMW negotiated the global semiconductor shortage to ensure retailers had product to sell, click here.

Fun With 2021 U.S. Auto Sales: Who Beat Who? 

The mighty rose and fell in the auto industry in 2021. According to Motor Trend, a critical shortage of microchips helped determine winners and losers in U.S. sales for the year more than any other factor. Aberration or not, the surprises are worth noting when companies deemed too-big-to-fail fall off their long-held perches and underdogs ascend to new heights. One example: Toyota beating General Motors for the 2021 U.S. sales crown. GM sold 2.2 million vehicles, but Toyota had about 114,000 more for a total of 2.3 million. Another surprise came when Hyundai-Kia outsold Honda for the first time, moving up to the fifth spot with almost 1.5 million vehicles sold. That was about 22,500 more than Honda. The two brands under the Hyundai Motor Company umbrella continue to be a juggernaut. For some more unexpected plot twists that deserve to be pointed out—regardless of any asterisks due to chip shortages – click here.

Survey Says AI Is A-OK With Car Dealers

Used in the business world, AI can reduce stress and increase profits, according to CDK Global’s newly released “Artificial Intelligence in Automotive Retail Report.” Wards reports that dealerships aren’t using AI to conquer the world. They are using it to increase sales, boost auto-technician efficiency and get to know customers better – particularly their individual buying behaviors. The CDK survey highlights the use of AI tools in automotive retail today and gauges how dealers might benefit from such systems in the future. “We don’t want to look at AI in the Hollywood way, but rather as to how it can (non-theatrically) help dealers become more productive,” says Peter Kahn, senior director-marketing research for CDK, an automotive information technology company. Among the report’s findings: Sixty-eight percent of polled dealerships are already using AI or at least plan to do so within the next three to five years. For more details, click here.

Around the Web

Notes from 2021: A Weird Year for American Auto Sales [TTAC]

Here's Why Nobody Learns To Drive An Automatic In The UK [Jalopnik]

Rivian Shares Continue to Dive Following Amazon-Stellantis Deal [CNBC]

All 50 U.S. License Plates, Ranked from Best to Michigan [AutoBlog]

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