Requiring Customers to Wear Masks ‘Easier Said Than Done'

First Up 08/03/20

Aug. 3, 2020

BMW Targets Sustainability, Resource Efficiency

BMW is the latest automaker to lay claim to climate-friendly credentials by outlining its new “sustainability and resource efficiency” strategy. The German company says these two aims will become “central to the company’s strategic direction.” Wards reports that BMW hopes to reduce CO2 emissions per vehicle at least one-third across this spectrum. BMW calculates that for a fleet of some 2.5 million vehicles, its global vehicle production for 2019, this would see a reduction of more than 40 million metric tons of CO2 over the fleet’s lifecycle in 2030. Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management, says “As a premium car company, it is our ambition to lead the way in sustainability. That is why we are taking responsibility here and now and making these issues central to our future strategic direction. This new strategic direction will be anchored in all divisions – from administration and purchasing to development and production, all the way to sales. We are taking sustainability to the next level.” For more on BMW’s plans, click here.

Requiring Customers to Wear Masks ‘Easier Said Than Done'

Viral videos and reports of customer outbursts over mask requirements in retail stores have become another part of the new normal as the coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S. With upset consumers on either side of the debate, dealers are grappling with whether to put their own mandates in place and how to handle any resulting customer protest. Diehl Automotive Group President Corina Diehl told Automotive News she has fielded at least one complaint on social media from a customer upset that others weren't wearing masks when the person visited one of her dealerships in suburban Pittsburgh. Diehl makes masks available to customers and requires employees to wear them but said she does not mandate them for customers. "Who knows what underlying issues they have?" Diehl said. Confusion about recommendations by the nation's top medical experts and the politicization of the extra protection have made mask mandates challenging to implement. For more on the masks, including how some dealers are approaching the issue and what one labor and employment law firm suggests they do, click here.

British Trade Minister to Meet Top US officials This Week, USTR Says

British Trade Minister Liz Truss will meet top U.S. officials in Washington in coming days to assess progress on reaching a free trade agreement between the two countries, a spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative's Office said on Saturday. Fox Business reports that Truss is scheduled to meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Monday and Tuesday, his office said, confirming a Financial Times report. After leaving the European Union in January, Britain is keen to stand alone and has started a series of trade negotiations with other countries. A deal with the United States is seen as a priority. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a visit to London last month that the United States and Britain still have more work to do on a free trade deal. "A third round (of negotiations) scheduled for later this month, a primary focus for the United States is to see that we can make progress on this and bring this to a closure just as quickly as possible," Pompeo said. For the full story, click here.

Experts: These are the Safest, Most Reliable Used Cars for Under $20K

Jennifer Stockburger, a mother of two children, worries about the safety of her 16-year-old son who just started driving with a learner's permit. "Yikes," she told the Detroit Free Press. "When you've got a young driver, it’s worrisome enough because you've got this struggle. They have a higher propensity to be in a crash. So your gut tells you to put them in the biggest vehicle you can find. But we want them to avoid the crash altogether, so you need to get them in a safe vehicle they're comfortable handling and braking." Stockburger played a key role in developing the first list of its kind with teenage drivers in mind. The new list is a collaboration between Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. According to the Detroit Free Press, No sports cars made the list of 65 used vehicles that range in cost from $5,300 to $19,600. Vehicles under 2,750 pounds were also eliminated. Toyotas appear most frequently on the recommended list, followed by Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru, Ford, GM, Kia, Volkswagen, Nissan, Audi, BMW and Volvo. Click here for the full list of safest used vehicles.

Hyundai Posts First Monthly Gain Since Feb.

U.S. light-vehicle sales rose 1 percent in July at Hyundai, behind a 13 percent increase in crossover deliveries, signaling the broader market continues to slowly recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Automotive News reports that Hyundai, with one of the industry's smallest declines in second-quarter and first-half U.S. sales, continues to benefit from strong retail demand for an expanded crossover lineup, from the subcompact Venue to the large Palisade, while spending less on discounts. Retail deliveries of crossovers rose 16 percent to 36,071 in July, Hyundai said, while car sales dropped 16 percent. Hyundai's average incentive per new vehicle dropped to $2,447 in July from $2,724 in July 2019 and $2,509 in June, ALG estimates.  Industry-wide, consumer sentiment fell throughout July as COVID-19 cases continued to rise, mostly in the South and West, key regions for new-vehicle sales. “The market has been making slow but steady gains since April’s low, but there are many headwinds hampering our recovery,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. For more on July sales, click here.

Webinar: Drive Your Online Reputation, CSI, and SSI Scores

Join AIADA's next AutoTalk webinar on Tuesday, August 4 at 2:00 p.m. to learn how to drive your dealership's online reputation. Listen to Acura Columbus Dealer, John Connelly give his firsthand experience of implementing some best practices. He will be joined by Thomas Clawson of Podium to discuss the following: 

  • Understanding how to effectively text customers from search to sold to service

  • Looking at the newest sales and service satisfaction reports to understand the impact of texting

  • Driving your online reputation through communication best practices

Click here to register.