Shifts in Auto Industry Lead to Merger of Washington Lobbying Groups

First Up 01/09/20

Beltway Talk: AIADA's Year-End Sales Review with Cox Automotive's Charlie Chesbrough 
In this episode of Beltway Talk, Cox Automotive’s Charlie Chesbrough gives Beltway Talk listeners an overview of 2019 auto sales and a preview of what they can expect to see in 2020. Join us as we find out how car sales matched up against trucks, which luxury automakers saw a profitable December, and how Nissan’s results were impacted by a global scandal. Listen in and subscribe here. 

Shifts in Auto Industry Lead to Merger of Washington Lobbying Groups
The two primary trade associations for automakers in the U.S. have merged in a bid to bolster the industry’s influence in Washington as decisions are being made on trade, environmental and technology policies that could impact carmakers for decades to come. Bloomberg reports that the new group, called the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, combines the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers into a single entity representing nearly every global auto manufacturer, several large parts suppliers and other newer entrants in the sector, the group announced Wednesday. “This is an opportunity to be the singular, clear and respected voice for the auto industry, and I mean the auto industry broadly defined,” said John Bozzella, the new group’s chief executive officer, who previously headed the Association of Global Automakers. “Toyota believes the new association merges the best of both former organizations to speak in a more unified and effective manner on issues affecting the auto industry,” said the automaker reacting to news of the new association. Read more here. 

Ghosn Speaks Out About His Escape From Japan
Following a secretive escape last week from Japan to Lebanon, former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn publicly defended himself Wednesday — for the first time since his initial arrest in November 2018 — against accusations of financial misconduct and misuse of corporate resources. CNBC reports that Ghosn adamantly denied all charges against him and defended his decision to become an international fugitive by fleeing Japan as a necessity to receive a fair trial and “escape injustice.” Regarding his escape from Japan, Ghosn declined to provide specifics, saying he did not want to get anyone who helped him in trouble. The plan reportedly included a former U.S. Army Green Beret and the ex-executive hiding in a music equipment case. Read more here. 

Takata Air Bags Trigger Recall of Another 10 Million U.S. Cars
Another 10 million air bag inflators made by now-defunct Takata Corp. must be repaired in what could be the last major wave of the auto industry’s largest-ever safety recall crisis, reports The Detroit News. The callback disclosed on Wednesday represents the final phase in a series of scheduled recalls covering of tens of millions of the defective parts that the now-bankrupt auto supplier agreed to undertake in a 2015 settlement, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The parts covered by the latest recall were installed in earlier repairs despite sharing the same basic flaw as the components they were replacing: explosive propellant that can become unstable in hot, humid climates and explode in a crash, spraying vehicle occupants with metal shards. The components were used because, being newly made, they were seen as a safer alternative to older inflators exposed to years of heat and humidity. Read more here. 

Rick Hendrick Adds CEO Role at Giant Dealership Group
Hendrick Automotive Group, one of the nation's largest privately held dealership groups, has a new CEO after nine years, reports Automotive News. Chairman Rick Hendrick will also serve as CEO of the 94-store company, the group said Wednesday. Hendrick, 70, has assumed CEO duties following the planned retirement of Edward Brown III. Brown, 71, had served as CEO since January 2011. He joined Hendrick Automotive as CFO in May 2010 after working as an executive for Bank of America. The group also named Gregory Gach, 60, as president of Hendrick Automotive. The executive moves were effective Jan. 1. Gach joined Hendrick Automotive in July 2018 as a special consultant but has worked closely with the company for more than three decades. He formerly was the corporate attorney for the dealership group and Hendrick Motorsports, as well as Hendrick's personal lawyer. Gach also is president of Hendrick Cos., the family office that oversees Rick Hendrick's portfolio of businesses, holdings and investments. Read more here. 

Webinar: From Search to Sold | How your online reputation can aid your customer's journey
The customer journey is evolving. "Dealership near me" searches have become the norm. Technology has played a huge part in that. Customers look to the top results in Google and trust reviews as much as a friend's recommendation. Join AIADA's AutoTalk on Tuesday, January 21st at 2:00 p.m. EST to hear Cam Hale, Director of Sales at Podium, discuss:

  •  What happens after you've been found?

  •  How easy is it for a customer to connect with your dealership?

Customers demand convenience, and businesses that don't adapt will be left behind. Click here to register

Around the Web

VW Creates Standalone Division to Develop Autonomous Tech [Autoblog]

The Best Concept Cars and Debuts of CES 2020 [CNET]

Hackers on the Other Side of the World Can Take Control of Your Vehicle [The Detroit Free Press]

How Big Tech is Helping Transform Cars Into Smartphones [Reuters]