Toyota's Jack Hollis Expects 'One More Year' of Historically Tight Inventories

First Up 08/19/22

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Toyota's Jack Hollis Expects 'One More Year' of Historically Tight Inventories

Dealership inventory levels will remain at or near record lows for at least another year before they begin to make any recovery of their unsold vehicles on hand, and may never return to previous levels that required sales incentives, said Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor North America's newly minted head of sales. Automotive News reports speaking Thursday during an Automotive Press Association event, Hollis — who succeeded Bob Carter in the top sales role in June — said demand is continuing to outstrip automakers' abilities to produce enough vehicles to fill dealership lots. Hollis said dealer inventories are likely to remain tight — he noted that Toyota dealerships have been down to a 36-hour supply at certain points recently — for the foreseeable future, but said he doubted that any automaker would return to inventory practices that were commonplace prior to the pandemic. "They just won't," Hollis declared, adding that the advent of widespread digital retailing tools have given consumers a level of comfort with ordering or buying vehicles that are still in transit or waiting to be assembled. Click here to learn more about what Hollis said.

Volvo's Starbucks EV Chargers Could Lower Network Costs

To transform into an EV-only brand by early next decade, Volvo Cars must first address a significant customer pain point. The Swedish automaker knows that American EV drivers want access to reliable, fast, and convenient public charging — and want to do more than sit in the car for the 30 minutes or so it takes. Automotive News reports more than a year ago, Volvo approached Starbucks about developing a network of EV fast chargers to solve that. It's the latest experiment from an auto brand not shy about exploring new models — from vehicle subscriptions to an online-first retail strategy. While Tesla is unique in building a proprietary fast charger network, the rest of the industry has chosen to lean on the burgeoning network of chargers installed by government, utilities, and private companies. Volvo is considering a middle path with its Starbucks hookup — helping build a charging network over which it has some control, but without shouldering the exorbitant cost of Tesla's go-it-alone strategy. As part of a pilot program, Volvo will install up to 60 fast chargers at 15 Starbucks stores across a 1,350-mile route from Denver to Seattle by year end. Click here for the full story.

Barriers and Opportunities the Auto Industry Must Address to Achieve an All-Electric Future

Popular media would have us believe that the automotive industry is on a smooth and rapid transition to EVs. At the same time, governments across the globe set execution dates for the internal combustion engine. But the radical transformation of anything that’s been around for a century involves patience and a good dose of reality. CBT News reports a new CDK Global study, The Charged Truth About Electric Vehicles, uncovers the habits and attitudes of today’s EV buyers. It also delivers what dealers face moving forward in this brave new world. CDK interviewed more than 1,100 EV buyers to determine what makes these consumers tick. Unsurprisingly, it’s an upscale bunch, with 90 percent having at least a bachelor’s degree and 57 percent making over $100,000 a year.  There’s also a youthful aspect to buying an EV. According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, the average age of a new car buyer is 53. But, CDK notes that 75 percent of EV purchasers are under 45. Click here to learn more about the study.

BMW Could Go in a “Crazy” Direction with the Next-Gen M3

The BMW M3 remains the M division’s most iconic model and according to brand boss Frank van Meel, the next-generation model could be “crazy.” It is no secret that BMW M is venturing into the world of electrified powertrains and that inevitably, the M3 will also go down this route. While van Meel failed to specify what kind of powertrain the next-generation M3 will have during a recent interview reports Carscoops, he did hint at the lengths the company will go to in ensuring it is a proper M model. “The story of the M3 is everlasting,” he said. “Every time we change the story of the engine, from four-cylinder to six-cylinder to eight-cylinder to six-cylinder and a turbocharger, the story continues. Maybe it will go electric – but if it does, it will always be an M3. Whatever the powertrain, you should always be able to drive our cars and know they are M cars. We have stood the test of time for 50 years and will continue to do so.” Van Meel added that he would “love to see electrified Ms in the future,” including both hybrids and pure-electric. Click here for the full story.

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