Toyoda Set to Remain a Force at Toyota, Even as He Bows Out

First Up 01/27/23

Toyoda Set to Remain a Force at Toyota, Even as He Bows Out

Toyota Motor Corp. chief Akio Toyoda is set to remain a dominant force inside the world's largest automaker for years to come and will continue to influence the agenda after stepping down in April. Toyoda announced he would step aside as leader of the company his grandfather founded from April 1 to take the role of chairman. He will hand over to Koji Sato, the head of Lexus. In recent years Toyota has become a target of activists and green investors who had once heralded its hybrid technology, but who now criticize its belated embrace of electric vehicles. As EV maker Tesla gets attention for its innovation, Toyota, and Toyoda himself, often looked out of touch with the mood as they pressed the case for hybrids and eventually, hydrogen-fueled cars. Automotive News reports market reaction to Toyoda's announcement was muted -- the automaker's stock price was little changed on Friday -- as investors bet the company was unlikely to see a big overhaul in the foreseeable future. “ Click here for the full story.

TransUnion Study Shows New Borrowers Aren’t Delinquency Risks

Researchers for credit bureau TransUnion say the delinquency experience with what it calls “new-to-credit” consumers is comparable to, or even sometimes better than, similarly situated consumers with more established credit history. That suggests to auto lenders that those thin-file consumers may be less risky than they appear, reports Wards. That’s especially relevant in the U.S. market where it’s common for consumers to secure auto loans as their first traditional credit accounts, says Charlie Wise, TransUnion’s head of global research and author of a recent study on new-to-credit consumers.“The U.S. is definitely unique in its use of auto lending,” Wise says. “This tends not to happen in any other market.” TransUnion defines “traditional” credit accounts, such as credit cards and auto loans, as those that credit bureaus (such as TransUnion) constantly monitor, the study includes data and insights from millions of consumers in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, India, Philippines, and South Africa.  In most markets, including the U.S., many consumers obtain credit cards as their first traditional credit accounts. The study shows 59 percent of U.S. new-to-credit consumers start with credit cards. Auto loans are No.2, at 13 percent. Click here for the full story.

American Honda Expects 25% Sales Bump This Year

American Honda Motor expects to increase its sales volume 25 percent this year over its disappointing 2022 performance, which resulted in under 1 million vehicle sales in the U.S. market and a last place finish among the top U.S. manufacturers. Honda brand projects it will close 2023 around 1.2 million sales, and Acura is targeting 160,000 units, said Mamadou Diallo, vice president of auto sales for American Honda. Automotive News reports Diallo, who will step into the expanded role of American Honda senior vice president of auto sales when Executive Vice President of national operations Dave Gardner retires at the end of March, called the year just ended “frustrating” and said consecutive challenges prevented production of consistent supply. The automaker struggled with parts supply issues, Diallo said, which hit both brands’ highest volume cars and trucks. Those challenges foiled both Honda and Acura’s opportunity to capitalize on several significant introductions of core models, including the Honda CR-V, HR-V and Pilot crossovers as well as the resurrected Acura Integra sport sedan. Click here of the full story.

Mercedes Becomes First Manufacturer to Offer SAE Level 3 System to U.S. Customers

A couple of weeks after Mercedes-Benz announced it had been granted approval to operate Level 3 autonomous driving functions on roads in Nevada, the company confirmed the system will become available to customers in the second half of 2023. The new Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot system is the first and only SAE Level 3 system fitted to a standard production vehicle that has been authorized for use on public freeways in the U.S. Carscoops reports the system can operate on sections of freeway with high traffic density and can take over all driving tasks at speeds of up to 40 mph. If all of the conditions are met, the driver can activate Drive Pilot and it will proceed to control the speed and distance of the vehicle, keep it in its lane, and deal with any unexpected traffic situations without needing any driver input. It also takes into consideration things that occur along the route, as well as all traffic signs. Click here for the full story.

How to Build Consumer Loyalty During an Economic Downturn

There’s much debate among economists about when a recession is coming or if one is on the horizon. Some may even feel that we’re already in one.  While the jury is still out about the current economy’s status, volatility will likely impact the automotive industry. Increased layoffs, economic inflation, and even shrinking vehicle affordability will affect the typical car buyer. So, what can your dealership do to build and maintain consumer loyalty during these uncertain economic times? CBT News shares some tips for motivating customers to stick around, even during an economic downturn. 1. Focus on Offering an Excellent Customer Experience: Because of the pandemic’s volatility, many customers have less patience for businesses than before. As a result, your dealership must prioritize creating an excellent and inviting customer experience. According to HubSpot, an inbound marketing company, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with excellent customer service companies. A great way to start this at your dealership is to learn what’s important to your customers.  Ensure that your staff is distributing surveys and that you’re looking at the feedback. From there, you can begin to create strategies that address their needs. Click here for the full story.

AIADA Affinity Partner Happenings at 2023 NADA Convention

AIADA's Member Benefits Program is one of the most valuable services AIADA provides to its members. AIADA partners with best-in-class companies to provide members with exclusive values on the goods and services they need to succeed in a competitive business environment. While you're in Dallas, make sure to check out AIADA's Affinity Partners. Click here for a quick reference guide on where to find them at NADA 2023!

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