Row Over EV Subsidy Rules Overshadows S.Korean President's First U.S. Visit

First Up 09/20/22

Row Over EV Subsidy Rules Overshadows S.Korean President's First U.S. Visit

South Korea's opposition to new rules governing U.S. subsidies for electric vehicles will overshadow President Yoon Suk-yeol's first official trip to the United States. Yoon will hold a summit with President Joe Biden where both leaders are expected to discuss mounting concerns in South Korea over the Inflation Reduction Act. The new law eliminates federal tax credits for EVs made outside North America, meaning companies like Hyundai and its affiliate Kia will no longer be eligible for such subsidies. The law has sparked complaints from government officials in Seoul, who see it as a betrayal of Biden's vows to boost bilateral economic ties after South Korean companies agreed to make major investments and build factories in the U.S. Seoul officials have said the law may violate a bilateral free trade agreement, and they have asked Washington to postpone the new rules until Hyundai completes building its Georgia factory in 2025, reports Reuters. Yoon is likely to reiterate that request during the upcoming summit. Several high-level South Korean officials have been mobilized in recent weeks to relay concerns to their U.S. counterparts and press for exemptions, though solutions are far from clear. Click here for the full story.

Subaru, Lexus Won Best Reputation Survey for Auto Brands in 2022

Subaru won the best reputation among U.S. mass-market auto brands, according to the 2022 Automotive Reputation Report. On the luxury side, Lexus earned the top spot, according to Reputation. Automotive News reports Subaru took the top spot this year after finishing second to Nissan in 2021. Lexus also rose from second in 2021 to first, topping Nissan's Infiniti brand. Customer feedback matters no matter where it comes from, said Dave Mingle, Reputation's global head of customer experience. Feedback on Google, Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok is especially important for younger customers who use those platforms to share their brand experiences, Mingle said. "Brands have to be listening there and participating in that in order to keep those customers engaged," Mingle said. Reputation analyzed around 20,000 dealerships, 33 brands and 5 million customer reviews to rank non-luxury and luxury brands in the U.S., as well as private and public dealer groups. Brands are scored for their positive sentiment, visibility, and engagement, which Reputation says are key reputation elements. Dealer groups AutoNation Inc. and Hendrick Automotive Group filled the top spots in their respective public and private dealership group rankings. Click here for the full story.

New Vehicle Prices Set Record — Again — in August

Consumers paid an average price of $48,301 in August 2022 for their new vehicle, according to Kelley Blue Book. Not only is that a record high, it’s a 10.8 percent, or $4,712 increase from August 2021, and a 0.5 percent, or $222 increase from July. It’s the fifth consecutive month of rising prices for new vehicles. Some of the increase can be blamed on continued tight inventories. During the summer, new-vehicle inventory supply was unchanged, remaining in the middle to upper 30-day supply range, about half of what is considered average. However, days’ supply in August was 43 percent higher than the same period in 2021, when inventory constraints first impacted the market. Even so, the number of new vehicles on the U.S. market is 1.2 million units, considerably lower than in 2020 and 2019, reports The Detroit Bureau. With barely 1.1 million units sold on average per month in 2022, new car sales are still low; sales averaged 1.4 million per month during the first eight months of 2019. Click here for the full story.

How Should Police Handle AV Incidents?

As more autonomous vehicles operate in pilot programs and limited commercial deployments in multiple states, questions linger over how they should interact with law enforcement. Some autonomous driving tech companies have encountered problems. Automotive News reports, in April, a robotaxi operated by General Motors-backed Cruise was pulled over by San Francisco Police Department officers for driving without its headlights on at night. The vehicle repositioned itself before the traffic stop concluded, driving across an intersection before pulling over again. There have also been instances in which Cruise vehicles blocked emergency responders and intersections in the city. Self-driving tech companies say they are trying to work out these kinks and prepare for smooth interactions once their fleets are widely deployed. Autonomous truck developer Embark Trucks Inc. has partnered with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Travis County Sheriff's Office in the state to test how its vehicles respond to law enforcement. Cameras and lidar sensors on Embark's trucks can identify emergency vehicle lights and respond accordingly, said Emily Warren, the company's head of public policy. Click here for the full story.

Study Links Car Sales Success to Digital Due Diligence

Major car dealership groups tout their digital retailing processes and prowess, but many of them rank only so-so in a Pied Piper mystery shopping survey. The consultancy’s Internet Lead Effectiveness Study primarily measures how quickly megadealer stores respond to a specific question sent through their websites, reports Wards. Auto-responding didn’t count. Of the major groups, Penske Automotive, Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, and Asbury Automotive Group score above the industry average. “We knew some of them would do well,” Pied Piper President Fran O’Hagan tells Wards. “But there is a huge behavioral variation.” Some dealerships excelled in using one communication channel, but not in others. Exceptional dealerships are adept in using all channels, whether it is email, text, phone calls or chat. “It’s not enough to be good at one and not another that the customer might prefer,” O’Hagan says. “Our measurements show that dealers who respond quickly, personally and completely to website customer inquiries on average sell 50 percent more vehicles to the same quantity of website customers as opposed to dealers who fail to respond.” Click here for the full story.

Around the Web

Nissan Partners with Japanese Dealer to Build New SR20DET Engines [Carscoops]

Check Out the Interior of the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLE [Carbuzz]

Porsche Plans to Issue 911 Million Shares in its IPO in an Homage to its Most Famous Car [Quartz]

This Is What Makes the Mazda MX-5 Miata So Reliable [HotCars]