Incoming AIADA Chairman Says Auto Industry Should Not Be ‘Partisan Issue'

First Up 01/29/24

Incoming AIADA Chairman Says Auto Industry Should Not Be ‘Partisan Issue'

As Democratic and Republican lawmakers clash over the federal policy approach to the auto industry's transition to greater electrification, the incoming chairman of AIADA wants to keep politics out of it. "The auto industry shouldn't be a partisan issue. It shouldn't be red or blue," said Anthony Brownlee, owner of Brownlee Automotive in Castle Rock, Colo. The dealership group includes Chevrolet, GMC and Toyota stores in Powell, Wyo., and a Honda store in Sheridan, Wyo. Brownlee said he wants to make sure dealers and consumers have a say when it comes to relevant policy discussions such as federal support for electric vehicles, tougher EPA emissions regulations and other matters. That also includes complicated federal incentives for consumers buying new and used EVs. Starting this year, consumers can receive a tax credit of up to $7,500 for new vehicles and $4,000 for used vehicles at the point of sale if certain requirements are met. Brownlee spoke with Automotive News Staff Reporter Audrey LaForest to discuss the EV tax credits as well as his priorities and outlook for dealers this year. Click here for the full interview.

Car Industry Seeks to Crush AM Radio; Congress May Rescue It

A motley crew of AM radio advocates, including conservative talk show hosts like Hugh Hewitt and federal emergency officials, are lobbying Congress to stop carmakers from dropping the old medium from new vehicles.  Tesla, Volvo, and BMW are among the companies that have already stopped providing AM tuners in some models. Last year Ford said it would join them—until CEO Jim Farley reversed course “after speaking with policy leaders.” Lawmakers say most car companies are noncommittal about the future of AM tuners in vehicles, so they want to require them by law to keep making cars with free AM radio, reports The Wall Street Journal. Supporters argue it is a critical piece of the emergency communication network, while the automakers say Americans have plenty of other ways, including their phones, to receive alerts and information. The legislation has united lawmakers who ordinarily want nothing to do with one another. Sens. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Ed Markey (D., Mass.) are leading the Senate effort, and on the House side, Speaker Mike Johnson—himself a former conservative talk radio host in Louisiana—and progressive “squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are among about 200 co-sponsors. Click here for the full story.

Former Autonation Exec. Mark Cannon on EVs, Price Sensitivity, and the Upcoming Election

In the latest episode of CBT News’ Inside Automotive, anchor Jim Fitzpatrick interviews Mark Cannon, the former Chief Customer Experience Officer at AutoNation. Cannon, who had a successful career spanning 27 years at AutoNation, shares his insights on the current trends in the retail automotive industry. Cannon is scheduled to speak about electric vehicles in the dealership in the coming months. However, he believes the consumers are not yet ready for the fast-paced transition towards EVs. In a recent focus group discussion, Cannon observed that some consumers hesitated to embrace EVs due to concerns about charging during power outages caused by severe weather conditions. He believes that Toyota’s approach to hybrids aligns more with consumer preferences. Cannon notes that the price point for EVs is decreasing, which is good news for consumers who are looking for more features at a lower price. However, price sensitivity remains a key issue for the industry this year. This year is an election year, and the industry hopes it will not distract from progress. Despite this, concerns about high interest rates and gas prices persist. The Federal Reserve has mentioned dropping rates, which could be a positive development for the industry. Click here for the full interview.

Dealership Owners Need Succession Plans, Experts Say

At the start of COVID-19, Fred Salinas was sidelined from his work as dealer principal at Friendly Ford of Crosby in Texas, near Houston, because health experts he shouldn't be going into the store. Leadership at the store remained stable, however, because Salinas had a strategy: An eight-year succession plan that started in 2017, designed to place sons Austin and Blake at the store's helm. "Everything was going smooth and on time, and then COVID hit," Austin Salinas told Automotive News. Already helping lead, the Salinas sons were elevated to oversee the dealership in Fred Salinas' absence. Weeks became months, and the sons realized they could afford to buy out their father nearly three years early — something the duo did in April 2022. The Salinas family's preparedness, however, doesn't represent most dealership owners, according to auto retail industry experts. Erin Kerrigan, managing director of dealership sell-side firm Kerrigan Advisors, of Incline Village, Nev., said her firm estimates more than 50 percent of the auto retail industry is in some transition, from either the second to third, or third to fourth, generation, a process that has become more challenging as businesses get bigger, more complex and more valuable. Click here for the full story.

Aston Martin Previews Next Vantage, GT3 Racing Model

The first new Aston Martin model of 2024 is around the corner. The company will unveil the next-generation Vantage in February, and it published a preview image to give us an idea of what it has in store, reports Autoblog. It also announced plans to take the model racing around the globe. While some carmakers give new models a new name, Aston Martin is staying close to its heritage: the Vantage's replacement will be called Vantage, just like the outgoing Vantage replaced the last-generation Vantage. The preview image shows that the fenders get a deeper vent that’s split by an "Aston Martin" emblem, and the current car's clamshell hood disappears. We'll need to be patient to see more of it. Earlier spy shots hint at redesigned headlights that bring the Vantage in line with the DB12 unveiled in 2023; a new-look grille, and reshaped taillights. The model will again be available as a coupe and as a Volante-badged convertible. We're also, of course, curious to find out what it shares with its predecessor under the sheet metal. Click here for the full story.

AIADA Affinity Partner Happenings at 2024 NADA Convention

AIADA's Member Benefits Program is one of the most valuable services AIADA provides to its members. AIADA partners with best-in-class companies to provide members with exclusive values on the goods and services they need to succeed in a competitive business environment. While you're in Las Vegas, make sure to check out AIADA's Affinity Partners. Click here for a quick reference guide on where to find them at NADA 2024!


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