Inventory Estimates Down But Still High

First Up 08/13/19

Inventory Estimates Down But Still High
The number of unsold vehicles in the U.S. was at its lowest point in 12 months, starting August at an estimated 3,798,400 vehicles, but thanks to a weaker selling rate, the days' supply figure associated with that inventory — 71 days — is the highest it's been on Aug. 1 for more than 27 years, reports Automotive News. For the first time, the monthly inventory figures were estimated for all domestic automakers after FCA US joined General Motors and Ford Motor Co. in switching to quarterly sales reporting from monthly. Dealers and automakers had an estimated 2,859,600 unsold light trucks on hand to start the month, a 73-day supply, and an estimated 938,800 cars, representing a 64-day supply, according to the Automotive News Data Center. It was the first time since the beginning of November 2011 that the car total was below 1 million. Read more here (subscription required). 

Top U.S. Safety Official to Depart
The top U.S. auto safety official, a key player in efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to rollback the nation’s vehicle fuel efficiency requirements, will step down at the end of the month, the Transportation Department announced on Monday. According to Reuters, Heidi King, the acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), was nominated by Trump to head the agency on a permanent basis but was never confirmed by the Senate, which is controlled by the president’s fellow Republicans. King was appointed as deputy NHTSA administrator in 2017. Her resignation will take effect on Aug. 31 and she will be replaced as deputy administrator and acting head of the agency by James Owens, the department’s deputy general counsel, the department said. Owens also has been involved in the fuel efficiency regulatory effort. Read more here. 

Younger Buyers Still Want the Dealership
A vast majority of vehicle shoppers still want the dealership involved in the buying process, and it doesn't appear that is changing with younger buyers, reports Automotive News. That's according to a study by Urban Science in conjunction with Harris Poll that surveyed some 2,000 shoppers and about 200 dealers in February. The results included some surprises, especially for dealers, said Randy Berlin, global director of dealer services at Urban Science. According to the study, 81 percent of auto shoppers trust the information they receive from a franchised dealership. It also found that the youngest generation appears to shop the highest number of brick-and-mortar dealerships (3.8 stores on average for Gen Z and young millennials vs. 2.6 for older millennials, 2.4 for Generation X and 2.1 for baby boomers). Read more here (subscription required). 

Karma Automotive Plots Comeback 
Detroit may be the nation’s hub of car manufacturing and engineering, but some 2,000 miles away in Southern California, a boutique automaker has taken root, reports ABC News. It’s not trying to be the next General Motors, Ford or even Tesla. But Karma Automotive is hoping for a comeback that will jolt the industry nonetheless, linking its fate to a fleet of new electrified vehicles, including a lithe, plug-in hybrid sedan. The company, still based in Irvine, California, now goes by Karma Automotive. This spring, it introduced the 2020 Revero GT, a curvy plug-in hybrid sedan -- a much improved version of its first Revero vehicle, dubbed 1.0 internally, in 2017. At the Shanghai auto show in April, two more Karmas were shown off: the SC1 Vision concept electric vehicle and a GT concept designed in partnership with Pininfarina, the legendary Italian design and engineering house. Read more here. 

This Car Has the Highest Possible Safety Rating. It Also Has the Most Accidents in America.
It’s fuel-efficient and inexpensive (with a basic MSRP of $21,895), and this year’s model got the highest possible safety rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety – but the Subaru Crosstrek has been involved in more at-fault accidents than any other car in America. According to USA Today, that information comes from a recent survey of cars currently on the road, tracking how many have been involved in previous crashes, conducted by the auto insurance comparison site Insurify. Statistics were pulled from Insurify’s database of more than 1.6 million insurance quotes. To apply, drivers had to reveal, among other things, the make and model of their vehicle and whether or not the car had ever been involved in an accident. Overall, the study found that accidents had indeed affected some 13.64% of all models on the road today. In the case of the Crosstrek, the number was 25.81%. Read more here. 

Webinar: Tax Reform Status Update for Dealers
Join AutoTalk on Tuesday, August 20th at 2:00pm ET as Amy Stillwell and Dan Cheyney of Moss Adams' Automotive and Dealer Services Group update dealers on:

  • Additional tax plan clarification on dealer operations

  • What we know now

  • How tax reform effects dealers

  • What you can do to minimize your taxes

To register, click here.

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A Bugatti CUV? [The Detroit Bureau]

2020 Honda Odyssey Gets a 10-Speed Auto for Its 25th Birthday [Road Show]

Who Will Win 2020 North American Car and Truck of the Year? [Detroit Free Press]