While U.S. Economy Slides, Heartland Auto Dealers Cry Out for More Trucks

First Up 05/21/20

While U.S. Economy Slides, Heartland Auto Dealers Cry Out for More Trucks

Jerry Bill is worried the novel coronavirus could hurt business at the Des Moines auto dealership he runs, but not because of a shortage of buyers for the big Ram pickups on his lot, reports Reuters. “Our biggest issue will be if we don’t get more inventory,” said Bill, general sales manager of Stew Hansen Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, which sells around 2,700 new vehicles a year in Urbandale, a suburb of Iowa’s capital Des Moines. Overall U.S. sales of cars and light trucks crashed to the weakest pace in 50 years last month. But sales of big Detroit brand pickups, particularly in southern and western states less affected by the outbreak, significantly outperformed the market, industry executives and analysts said. The pressure is now on to boost pickup truck production and send vehicles to dealers in parts of the country with dwindling supplies. Read more here. 

Serious Auto Delinquencies Within Normal Range in April, TransUnion Says

According to Automotive News, serious delinquency rates for auto loans were within a normal range from March to April indicating federal aid, tax returns, and lenders' offerings of payment deferrals largely kept consumers above water — so far — during the COVID-19 crisis, credit bureau TransUnion said Wednesday. Just 1.33 percent of auto borrowers were more than 60 days past due on their loans last month, down from 1.37 percent in March, TransUnion said in the first iteration of its Monthly Industry Snapshot Report. There were 83.8 million outstanding auto loans in the first quarter. Satyan Merchant, senior vice president and automotive business leader at TransUnion, said federal stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and forbearance programs are cushioning the blow of record job losses and lost profits during the pandemic. Read more here. 

U.S. Arrests Two Men Wanted Over Ex-Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn's Escape

U.S. authorities on Wednesday arrested a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and another man in Massachusetts wanted by Japan on charges that they enabled the escape of former Nissan Motor Co boss Carlos Ghosn out of the country, reports Reuters. Former U.S. Green Beret Michael Taylor, 59, and his son, Peter Taylor, 27, are accused by Japanese authorities of helping Ghosn last year flee to Lebanon to avoid trial over alleged financial wrongdoing. The U.S. Marshals Service arrested them in Harvard, Massachusetts, at the request of Japan, which in January issued arrest warrants for both men along with a third, George-Antoine Zayek, in connection with facilitating the Dec. 29, 2019 escape. Japan is closely communicating with relevant U.S. authorities following the arrests, a Japanese government source said on Thursday. Read more here. 

Ford Temporarily Closes Two Plants After Three Workers Test Positive for Coronavirus

Ford Motor closed and then reopened its Chicago Assembly plant twice in less than 24 hours after two workers tested positive for Covid-19, the company confirmed Wednesday. According to CNBC, the brief closures on separate shifts Tuesday are the first-known types of incidents since Detroit automakers started reopening their large North American assembly plants on Monday. The plants were shuttered in March in an attempt to protect workers and lower the spread of the disease. Ford also shut down its Dearborn Truck plant in Michigan on Wednesday after an employee there tested positive for Covid-19, the company confirmed later in the day. It was expected to resume operations Wednesday night, according to a Ford spokeswoman. Read more here.  

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Expected to Announce Strategic Plan Next Week

The Detroit Bureau reports that almost exactly 18 months after former boss Carlos Ghosn was arrested on allegations of financial misconduct, the three members of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance are expected to announce next week a new strategic plan aimed at holding the long-running partnership together. The Alliance was nearly torn apart as a result of the Ghosn affair and the long-simmering internal disputes that it brought to the surface. But officials with each of the three companies have made efforts in recent months to stress their desire to continue what has become one of the world’s best-selling automotive groups. If anything, statements made in January indicated the carmakers would deepen their cooperation and parse out between them areas in which each company might take the lead. That could see Nissan effectively take control of the group’s electrification efforts, and Renault serve as the Alliance lead for operations in Europe. Read more here. 

Webinar: Sanitization and Decontamination Processes to Reduce Virus Risk

Join AIADA's next AutoTalk webinar to learn about vehicle santization and decontamination. Dr. Rik Patel is a physician who has spent 11 years in sports medicine and orthopedic care. He is co-founder and chief operating officer of RideKleen, a mobile vehicle care and fleet services.

Hear his take on vehicle sanitization and decontamination, safely restarting various modes of transportation and shared mobility and sustainable vehicle hygiene. Dr. Patel will discuss:

  • The importance of vehicle sanitization & disinfection for your workers and customers

  • FACTS and MYTHS regarding disinfection

  • How do evaluate disinfection products in markets and what to look for? Are they safe?

  • Why process matters in vehicle disinfection and things to consider

When: May 27, 2020 at 2 p.m. EDT 

Click here to register. 

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