Group 1 Boosts Honda Portfolio in Louisiana, Texas

First Up 08/08/18

China Annunces 25% Tariffs on $16B Worth of U.S. Goods, Including Cars
China said Wednesday it will retaliate against the latest round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, reports CNBC. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced a 25 percent charge on $16 billion worth of U.S. goods. The goods being targeted by China include crude oil and cars. China is also going after coal, grease, Vaseline, asphalt, and plastic products, among others. China's announcement comes after the U.S. Trade Representative's office released a finalized list of $16 billion worth in Chinese goods that will be hit with tariffs. The U.S. charges will take effect on Aug. 23. The latest U.S. list brings the total worth of Chinese goods facing a 25 percent tariff to $50 billion. Tensions between the U.S. and China have been simmering in recent months as the Trump administration takes a more protectionist stance when it comes to trade. Just last month, tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods Chinese goods came into effect. Chinese state media has hit back at the U.S. in light of the levies that have been threatened, saying the Asian nation would retaliate. Read more here. 

Trade Deal with South Korea Jeopardized by Car Tariff Dispute
South Korea is threatening to block a revised free-trade agreement with the U.S. unless its cars win an exemption from proposed American tariffs, putting at risk the only free-trade deal the Trump administration has successfully renegotiated, reports The Wall Street Journal. The renewed economic tension between the two military allies comes four and a half months after they said they had agreed in principle on a revision to their six-year-old free-trade agreement. President Donald Trump, who described the original agreement as a “horror show,” said in a tweet the revision was a “great deal.” The revised terms focused on reducing the U.S. trade deficit, allowing the U.S. to keep its 25 percent import tariff on South Korean pickup trucks in place for 20 more years—through 2041—and easing Seoul’s safety rules to help American cars get better access to the South Korean market. South Korea also agreed to a quota on steel exports to the U.S. that capped them at 70 percent of its annual average for the past three years. Read more here. 

Group 1 Boosts Honda Portfolio in Louisiana, Texas
Group 1 Automotive is expanding its portfolio of Honda dealerships while strengthening its footprint across Louisiana and Texas, according to Automotive News. The publicly traded dealership group has acquired Honda of Slidell in Louisiana and Fernandez Honda in San Antonio. The deals bring Group 1's Honda dealership count to 13, the company said in a statement Tuesday. The acquisitions are expected to add $125 million in annual revenue to Group 1, the company said. The retailer posted $11.12 billion in revenue in 2017. Rick Nelson, an analyst with Stephens Inc., wrote in a note to investors Tuesday that he sees benefits for Group 1 as the oil market recovers, given the company's 35 percent exposure to Texas. In January, Group 1 bought Audi El Paso and Subaru El Paso in Texas, which were expected to add approximately $65 million in annual revenue for the retailer. Read more here. 

Will Fuel Standards Freeze Leave Buyers in the Cold?
The Trump administration's recommendation to freeze mile-per-gallon standards for cars and light trucks after the 2020 model year could benefit consumers in the long run with increased choices of fuel-efficient vehicles at competitive pricing, experts said. Or not. According to The Detroit Free Press, while some experts say consumers will benefit, others warn that lower standards will lead to more pain at the pump, especially if gasoline prices rise and put U.S. automakers at a competitive disadvantage in the global market. Most agree though, in the near term — the next five years — not much will change for car buyers who seek fuel-efficient vehicles, electric, or hybrid cars. "Automakers will stick to the course," said Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds' manager of industry analysis. "There’ll be a growing number of electrified vehicles and vehicles that push the envelope on fuel economy." Most carmakers have invested heavily in technology, especially electric cars, and are "too far along to cut bait on this," Acevedo said. Read more here. 

Driving Off Into the Sunset: Discontinued Cars for 2019
There’s nothing static about the new-vehicle business. With each coming model year, virtually all of a given automaker’s wares undergo some element of change. Forbes has already posted information on the most significant all-new or completely revamped cars and trucks/SUVs for 2019, but here it turns its attention to several models that will be disappearing from dealers’ showrooms altogether. Some of these models aren’t really going away, per se, as much as they are being renamed. For example, while the subcompact Mazda-built Toyota Yaris iA (previously known as the Scion iA) isn’t really being discontinued, its badge is being changed to the Yaris Sedan for 2019. Similarly, the vehicle previously known as the Toyota Corolla iM (and the Scion iM before that) is continuing with a full redesign and a new name, the Corolla Hatchback. Click here to check out the full list of discontinued cars for the next 2019 model year. 

Carfax Insiders Webinar: "Build Consumer Confidence and Drive More Sales"
Paul Nadjarian, head of Carfax Products, will discuss best practices that help turn online shoppers to confident, on-the lot buyers in the next Carfax Insiders webinar. The event takes place on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 2 p.m. EDT. Attending dealers will learn to cultivate techniques that boost buyer interest in their online used car inventory. This webinar also highlights the value of Carfax Used Car Listings and the increased lead conversions that many Carfax Advantage dealers get from Carfax.com consumers. The ‘Carfax Insiders’ series tackles popular industry topics to give dealers valuable information and tips from Carfax dealer trainers and automotive experts. Registration is open to anyone and is free. To register for this Carfax webinar, click here. For more information, contact Christopher Basso at 703-934-2664 x4186 or chrisbasso@carfax.com.

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