Market Comeback Continues, But Record Low Supplies Darken Outlook

First Up 06/04/21

Dealers Do Good Friday 

AIADA continues to highlight the great things dealers are doing in the communities where they operate. Read about some of the dealers who are doing good across America in today's #DealersDoGood installment. If you know of a dealer doing good, let us know here, or tag us on Facebook or Twitter with the #DealersDoGood hashtag.

Brad Lewis, owner of Lewis Toyota of Topeka, told The Topeka Capital-Journal that the dealership is donating $25,000 to the Greater Topeka Partnership to create a fund that would provide grants to area athletes who want to play but may need help with such things as tournament-entrance fees and purchasing equipment. "With the vaccinations and cities and states opening up, hopefully, this is a full summer of sports for the youth," Lewis said. "We want to make sure that we can reach as many kids as possible and let these kids participate." The money is expected to be dispersed as local youths, families or teams apply for it. Read more here (Source: The Topeka-Capital Journal). 

North Park Toyota of San Antonio gave vehicles to two high school seniors from the Southwest Independent School District who had perfect attendance and great grades. Ten students were randomly chosen from each school – Southwest Legacy High School and Southwest High School – to participate in a key giveaway. There were 10 little bags, each with a key in it at each school’s giveaway event and one of those keys started the car. “We believe in giving back to our community,” said Tania Eubanks, managing director of North Park Toyota of San Antonio. “The Southside of San Antonio, and especially Southwest ISD, have been very supportive of our dealership and this is one way to thank them all for their support.” Read more here (Source: KSAT). 

Nikki Warren, a teacher at Charlotte’s Saint Gabriel Catholic School, was recently selected as a Hyundai Hometown Hero, sponsored by Keffer Hyundai. In a trying year that gave educators every pop quiz in the book, parents told WCNC Charlotte that Warren has excelled, surprising students with transformed classrooms and fun costumes, sneaking congratulatory signs onto her student's front yards, and inspiring kindness every day with the creation of a "kindness squad." Jim Keffer, with Keffer Hyundai, recently presented Warren with a brand new Hyundai Santa Fe. "You're one of those people that we've been looking for to shine a light because you've been shining your light really bright," Keffer said. "As a representative of all the Hyundai dealers here in the Charlotte market, we want to say 'thank you' by awarding you your brand new Hyundai." Read more here (Source: WCNC). 

Market Comeback Continues, But Record Low Supplies Darken Outlook

The U.S. light-vehicle market continued to roar back in May, but can the rebound last amid dwindling supplies? Automakers that reported monthly results on Wednesday chalked up increases in the 40, 50, 60, and 70 percent range from pandemic-strapped totals a year earlier. With May's strong results, analysts say the U.S. auto industry entered June with a 23-day supply of vehicles – a record low – down from a 33-day supply to start May and a 61-day supply at the start of June 2020. In another sign of the market's broad strength, among companies releasing monthly sales, only Ford and Subaru posted weaker results last month compared to May 2019. Among the big winners in May was Toyota Motor Corp. Its U.S. sales soared 47 percent as car demand nearly doubled. The advances came despite severe supply-chain disruptions that have sharply depleted the company's inventory heading into June. The company's volume last month was also 9 percent higher than May 2019. Read more here (Source: Automotive News).

U.S. Traffic Deaths Up 7% Last Year, Highest Number Since 2007

U.S. traffic deaths rose 7% last year, the biggest increase in 13 years even though people drove fewer miles due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government’s road safety agency reported Thursday. According to The Detroit News, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration blamed the increase on drivers taking more risks on less-congested roads by speeding, failing to wear seat belts, or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. An estimated 38,680 people died in traffic crashes last year, the most of any year since 2007, the agency said in releasing preliminary numbers. Final numbers normally come out in the fall. The increase came even though the number of miles traveled by vehicle fell 13% from 2019. Motorcyclist deaths rose 9% last year to 5,015, while bicyclist deaths were up 5% to 846. Pedestrian deaths remained steady at 6,205, and the number of people killed in passenger vehicles rose 5% to 23,395, according to NHTSA. Read more here (Source: The Detroit News).  

How Mazda Rode Out the Pandemic While Rivals Slipped

The pandemic crushed new-vehicle sales last year in the United States, with behemoths like Ford Motor, General Motors and Honda all posting double-digit sales declines. But Mazda — the 13th-ranked carmaker in America — was one of just three to increase sales last year, reports The New York Times. (Tesla and Volvo were the others.) The critical accolades piled up, as well. “During the pandemic, a number of brands were able to take some advantage of getting people to take a look at them,” said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision, an automotive research and consulting firm. “Mazda has had a little bit of an easier time succeeding because, with just 2 percent of the market, they haven’t had a lot to lose.” Though it has a cadre of loyalists, Mazda relies heavily on “conquest” sales — luring consumers from other brands — to fuel sales growth. During the pandemic, as potential car buyers navigated closed dealerships, dived deeper into online reviews and embraced at-home test drives, the small Japanese marque made its move. Read more here (Source: NY Times). 

Toyota's Silicon Valley Venture Arm Gets $300M Infusion, Launches Climate Fund

Toyota AI Ventures, the Silicon Valley VC set up by global auto giant Toyota Motor Corp. in 2017, is rebranding itself Toyota Ventures and getting a $300 million infusion to invest in early-stage tech startups and launch a new fund targeting companies with products and services that cut carbon emissions, reports Forbes. The Los Altos, California-based firm, which has backed companies including eVTOL developer Joby Aviation, micromobility service Revel and autonomous shuttle operator May Mobility, is using its additional cash to expand its Frontier Fund by $150 million and launch a $150 million Climate Fund. In total, it’s now managing assets worth more than $500 million, says Jim Adler, Toyota Ventures’ managing director. Read more here (Source: Forbes). 

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