Nissan Primes the EV Pump

First Up 11/23/22

Nissan Primes the EV Pump

With its new Ariya electric crossover cruising toward American shores, Nissan Motor Co. has unveiled a program to smoothen EV adoption and prime the sales pump. EV Carefree+ will offer Ariya buyers a battery warranty and a year of complimentary access to the EVgo public fast-charging network. Also included: 3 years/36,000 miles of scheduled maintenance, which covers tire rotations and air filter and fluid replacements. The service freebie could give EV customers more confidence and help address a major dealer pain point. Low-maintenance electric vehicles are a drag on the dealership's profit engine — the fixed ops department. Automotive News reports in past years, service revenues from Nissan's electric Leaf hatchback have been half that of the brand's combustion engine vehicles, said Nissan National Dealer Advisory Board Chairman Tyler Slade. The negative effect of EVs on dealer fixed ops business will be compounded over the next few years as Nissan prepares to introduce several high-volume electric sedans and crossovers. By 2030, the Japanese automaker expects EVs to account for 40 percent of its U.S. sales. Click here for the full story.

Used-Vehicle Values Skyrocket

As inventory shortages drag on for some automakers, many dealers are counting on used-car acquisitions to maintain their profitability. And a recent iSeeCars study shows that might not be as difficult as predicted. For the first time in recent history, a number of cars have appreciated in value or at least depreciated much less than expected. iSeeCars credits high demand and low vehicle supply with turning some vehicles into appreciating assets or resulting in slower-than-usual depreciation. “This is unprecedented in used-vehicle pricing,” says Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars. “Finding multiple three-year-old used models worth more than their new MSRP is something we’ve not seen before.” That’s welcome news for dealers. Dealership respondents to a recent Wards Intelligence survey appear hungry for profitable used-car sales. Almost half (42.5 percent) of all respondents expect used-vehicle sales to increase their dealerships’ revenues in the next 12 months. That compares with 34.4 percent who expect new-car sales to increase revenue. Click here for the full story.

Dealer Group Speaks EV Buyers’ Language

While auto retailing is projected to shift toward electric vehicles by the end of the decade, that future is now for California dealers trying to keep up with demand for electric vehicles, both new and used. A critical step for Del Grande Dealer Group in Northern California is speaking the same language as its customers across Silicon Valley. Car buyers in the technology hub already have a lot of information about battery-electric vehicles and are looking for sellers who can talk in detail about battery life, charging and warranties. Automotive News reports nearly 200 Del Grande Dealer Group salespeople received the latest installment of the group’s ongoing EV training in October, in addition to an earlier “I speak EV” course that focused on a third-party tool to analyze the battery health of used EVs. “Electric cars are not the future — it’s here,” said Elwira Wilczynska, the group’s director of sales training. “We are seeing an uptick in people searching for EVs, submitting inquiries, and going on waitlists. These cars are selling.” Click here for the full story.

VW CEO Thinks Autonomous Cars Will Go Mainstream By 2030 Despite Challenges

Most modern vehicles come fitted with a plethora of advanced driver-assistance systems, but we are still waiting for full autonomous tech to arrive. According to VW CEO, Thomas Schäfer, this won’t take long, since he estimates that autonomous VW cars will go mainstream on a global scale by the end of this decade, starting with LCVs. Carscoops reports, Schäfer said: “The technology is available, and we are driving in Hamburg and Munich autonomously. The cost of the car is still prohibitive because so little of it gets manufactured. And there’s always the need to prove that the system drives better than a human. The legislation for it is enormous. It’s totally different from country to country”. The CEO elaborated on the challenges in the market launch of self-driving vehicles including “the legislation, the camera systems, the chips, the energy consumption, and the speed of calculation”. He added that the car will become “the biggest data collection device there is” adding a lot of complexity. According to Schäfer, the advancements in VW’s autonomous tech will be spearheaded by its commercial vehicle division, something that could “open up profit pools and opportunities”. Click here for the full story.

Toyota Cuts 500,000 Vehicles from Production in the Wake of Supply Shortages

Toyota has adjusted its production output as the auto industry’s supply shortages persist. The affected lines include the company’s crossovers, utility vehicles, SUVs, and sedans. CBT News reports the automaker estimated it would manufacture 500,000 fewer vehicles than initially anticipated by March 2023, bringing the year-round total to 9.2 million. Toyota joins other companies that cut their projections due to ongoing semiconductor supply shortages and reduced profits. Like many carmakers, Toyota floundered in 2022, despite the previous year’s high growth. The Japanese manufacturer saw a 25 percent decrease in profits over the summer alone, forcing it to adjust its year-end predictions. The record-breaking sales immediately following the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. seemed to have lulled some industry leaders into a false sense of security. Once the market shrank in the face of high-interest rates, supply shortages and inflation, businesses like Carvana found themselves stretched thin over their hastily acquired investments, leading to emergency strategy revisions. Click here for the full story.

Around the Web

MINI Created an EV Charger in the Shape of a Giant RC Car Controller [Carscoops]

EBay Bans Sale of Aftermarket Parts That Defeats Emissions Systems [The Drive]

Used-Car Photos: Documenting Imperfection As a Best Practice [Wards]

2023 Acura TLX Adds a Couple of Service Amenities, Otherwise Unchanged [Autoblog]