CoVid-19 Industry Updates

CoVid-19 Industry Updates (116)

Impact Auto Auctions Ltd., the Canadian business unit of IAA, Inc announces the shift of its online auction platform Impact AuctionNow to a fully digital experience. AuctionNow was developed by IAA as an adaptive platform to allow product enhancement that is both proactive and responsive to their dynamic global market. AuctionNow is the platform used in both the Canadian and U.S. markets.

“This scalable technology allows us to build and enhance features and functionality quickly, providing an unmatched experience for our buyers,” said Maju Abraham, Chief Information Officer for IAA. “Understanding the dynamic nature of our business means we develop technology platforms that can move at the speed of our industry.”

“The foundation of AuctionNow features adaptive technology, so shifting all Impact branch locations from a physical to digital experience was seamless,” said Blair Earle, Managing Director of Impact. “Client feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and our business did not miss a beat.”

The proprietary AuctionNow platform was developed by IAA, Inc., giving the company full autonomy to continuously enhance the global buyer experience based on customer suggestions and recommendations.

 

Sales of certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles decreased 9 percent year over year in August and were down 6 percent month over month compared to July, according to Cox Automotive.

For August, 238,498 CPO units were sold.

CPO sales were on the rise for the past two months, Cox reported. Reflecting huge decreases in March and April and the impact of COVID-19, CPO sales are down 9 percent year to date versus the same time in 2019. In the first eight months of 2020, the CPO market is more than 165,000 units below last year, which finished at 1,553,901 units sold. The revised 2020 Cox Automotive CPO sales forecast, which is subject to change, is 2.6 million units, down from 2.8 million sold in 2019.

For August, Toyota, Honda and Chevy continued to be the biggest players in the CPO market, collectively representing a third of all CPO sales. Those three, plus Ford and Nissan account for 44 percent of CPO sales so far in 2020. Last year, Toyota, Honda and Chevy accounted for 32 percent of the total industry CPO sales reflecting that brands are maintaining consistent CPO sales share this year compared to 2019.

Coming off two strong months, CPO sales in August show impacts of the ongoing pandemic and the Labor Day holiday being included in last year’s monthly sales. According to Cox Automotive estimates, total used-vehicle sales volume was down 4 percent year over year in August. Cox estimates the August used SAAR to be 38.0 million, down from 39.7 million last August and flat compared to July. The August used retail SAAR estimate is 20.3 million, down from 20.7 million last year and slightly down month over month from July’s 20.4 million rate.

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) will provide a virtual stage to hear from automotive and mobility industry leaders through a new thought leadership series – Q’d Up Mobility.

 The monthly web-based series, which begins this month, will serve as a platform for the industry’s top executives, experts and analysts to discuss their latest insights and share mobility innovations. It will give all NAIAS stakeholders —manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, and auto enthusiasts—the ability to hear from the industry’s best minds.

 “Our show has long been a catalyst for industry-shaping news, showcasing leading automakers and mobility innovators and attracting global media. These longstanding relationships provide us with a unique brand that sets the stage for Q’d Up Mobility, which will serve as a premier virtual venue for everything auto and mobility,” said NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts. “We’ve already lined up a roster of leading industry speakers for Q’d Up Mobility as we build momentum toward our next show in June 2021.” 

NAIAS has also formed a marketing partnership with the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA) to cross-promote programming in the months ahead. 

Q’d Up Mobility will provide a glimpse into what the now canceled 2020 show had queued up for guests. The idea emerged from the tremendous industry interest for AutoMobili-D, NAIAS’s mobility showcase for technology displays and thought leadership, before the spread of COVID-19 led to the cancellation of the 2020 NAIAS. This year’s AutoMobili-D was set to feature more than 150 speakers covering leading-edge technology and internationally renowned thought leaders in mobility, a perfect complement to the show’s leadership in vehicle debuts. 

In addition to the monthly premiere events, Q’d Up Mobility will also feature additional, shorter virtual discussions and interviews.

Dr. Martin Fischer, president of ZF North America and member of the board of management, will be first to take part in Q’d Up Mobility on September 22. Fischer will open a window into the business strategy that is not only steering a 100-year-old automotive supplier through a global pandemic but is also helping to transform the organization into a global leader in autonomy, integrated vehicle safety, electrification and vehicle motion control technologies. 

“The automotive industry is no stranger to adversity but none of us could have predicted the severity of this pandemic, just like we cannot predict the ripple effects or an ending,” said Fischer. “However, the companies who have learned to navigate crisis situations are finding ways to keep the spirit of innovation alive as we look beyond Covid-19 toward the clean and safe mobility future we had envisioned in 2019.”

Those interested in attending the event can register for free here.

Shift Technologies Inc, an end-to-end ecommerce platform, is raising its third quarter outlook for adjusted gross profit and adjusted gross profit per unit. The company also announced that its senior management team will offer a deeper dive into certain business operations as well as provide a financial update. On June 29, Shift and Insurance Acquisition Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, announced a business combination that will bring the newest pure-play in used car ecommerce to the public markets. Upon closing, the newly combined company will be listed on NASDAQ under a new ticker symbol, SFT.

(PRNewsfoto/Shift)
(PRNewsfoto/Shift)

“We are pleased to report strong second quarter results, with units and revenue in line with our prior guidance, and 41 percent outperformance in GPU, relative to our original expectations,” Toby Rssell, Shift co-CEO, stated. “Despite the near-term macroeconomic uncertainty, we are increasing our Q3 adjusted gross profit and GPU guidance by 10 percent.

“We believe our results are evidence of the strength of our model and our ability to execute on our growth strategy. We took a conservative approach to inventory acquisition during the lockdowns from March through May which drove strong GPU for July, ahead of our prior expectations, and were able to significantly grow our inventory throughout the summer to meet consumer demand.”

 

Toyota Financial Services announced it is offering payment relief options to its customers affected by Hurricanes Laura and Isaias, as well as those impacted by the wildfires in California and the derecho which struck the Midwest earlier this month. This broad outreach includes any Toyota Financial Services (TFS) or Lexus Financial Services (LFS) customer in the designated disaster areas. 

A releases by TFS stated the company “cares about the safety and well-being of its customers and wants to help those impacted by these natural disasters. Impacted lease and finance customers residing in the affected areas may be eligible to take advantage of several payment relief options, some of which include: extensions and lease deferred payments; redirecting billing statements; and arranging phone or online payments. Customers who would like to discuss their account options are encouraged to contact TFS or LFS:

American automakers FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors issued a new report, the American Automakers 2020 State of the U.S. Automotive Industry, illustrating how vital these three American companies are to the U.S. economy, by driving growth in both manufacturing and job creation.

As policymakers consider additional measures to support the U.S. economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the data in this report shows why American Automakers are critical to this effort.

“American Automakers FCA US, Ford, and General Motors are pivotal in driving growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector and will be essential to the recovery of America’s economy in the months ahead,” said Governor Matt Blunt, president of AAPC, the trade association representing the three American automakers. “The 2020 State of the U.S. Automotive Industry report highlights the many crucial contributions American Automakers make to our nation’s economy. These unique contributions are especially important as policymakers consider steps to recover from the negative economic impact of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy.”

The Detroit 3 produced 5.8 million vehicles in 2018, representing 75 percent of their U.S. sales and exported nearly 1 million American-made vehicles last year, serving more than 100 foreign markets. The trio of automakers invested more than $34 billion in U.S. assembly, engine and transmission plants, R&D labs, headquarters, and other facilities (2013-2018). The Detroit 3 accounted for 238,000 U.S. workers at 260 assembly plants, manufacturing facilities, research labs, distribution centers, and other facilities, located in 31 states. They also spent approximately $20 billion in R&D in 2018.

August has been another step forward in the market’s recovery, although the pace of sales improvement now appears to be slowing, according to a forecast this week by Cox Automotive.

“While the market continues to slowly improve, there are a number of factors preventing more robust gains,” stated Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive.

Charlie Chesbrough
Charlie Chesbrough

“Limited inventory for some brands, as well as the ongoing high unemployment and low confidence from the pandemic, continue to keep sales from rebounding more quickly. There’s been a noticeable pull-back in incentives as well. These problems will likely persist, at least in the near term.”

Available inventory continues to plague much of the market and was the key story in August. Some brands were wrestling with significant shortages. Toyota, Lexus, and BMW all had less than 40 days of available inventory in the latter part of the month, far below the current industry average of 60.

“Obviously, you can’t sell what you don’t have,” added Chesbrough. “The lack of inventory likely kept some potential buyers out of the market.” Low inventory means less choice when it comes to vehicle color or trim package. It also means higher prices. Recent research from Cox Automotive notes nearly 20 percent of dealers have raised retail prices since the start of the pandemic. A similar percent of consumers admit they are putting the vehicle purchase on hold, waiting for a better deal.

New vehicle sales are forecast to finish at 1.30 million units for August, down nearly 20 percent compared to August 2019. When compared to last month, sales are expected to rise nearly 90,000, an increase of 7 percent. The SAAR in August 2020 is forecast at 14.9 million, far below last year’s 17.1 million level, but an improvement from last month’s 14.5 million pace.

While all major segments are expected to see increased sales compared to last month, SUVs and pickup trucks will continue to outperform.

 

Manheim has added six more sites to its list of in-lane bidding (Digital Block) locations. This brings the total number of Manheim in-lane bidding sites to 43.

“As we continue with our reopening plans, we’re hearing positive feedback from dealers about in-lane bidding at our pilot sites,” said Manheim’s division vice president Alan Lang. “After ongoing safety reviews, we will add six additional sites beginning Aug. 24, bringing the total to 43 locations… We continue to be intentional with our decision to expand the program, as health and safety remain at the center of everything we do. Should the data continue to support a safe environment for team members and clients, we anticipate adding more locations.” 

The six sites include Manheim Riverside, Manheim Southern California, Manheim San Diego, Manheim California, Manheim San Francisco and Manheim Tucson.

Manheim’s Lot Vision vehicle tracking system is now in place at 19 Manheim sites. Lot Vision was deployed at Manheim Tucson and Manheim New Jersey earlier this month.

Cars.com shared new data revealing more than a third of Americans are currently working from home and commuting less, which puts a greater emphasis on their personal vehicle. Sixty-six percent of workers are saving valuable time by not commuting, leaving subway cars, bus seats and train platforms largely empty as they continue to ditch the office.

"Workers are saving up to an hour or more a day by not commuting and finding significant value in this newfound gift of time. And when they do finally return to the office, it won't be via mass transit. Personal vehicles will dominate the work commute as distrust in public transport and ride-sharing continues,” said Matt Schmitz, assistant managing editor for Cars.com.

According to the new Cars.com study, 62 percent of workers swap public transportation for their car. In terms of COVID-19,  43 percent of Americans lack faith in fellow passengers to abide by health and safety protocols, while 57 percent at least moderately trust other passengers.

Twenty-one percent have purchased a car in the last six months, with 57 percent saying it was due to the pandemic.
Majorities of bus riders and subway/commuter rail riders are riding less frequently.

Protective Asset Protection, a provider of F&I programs, services and dealer owned warranty company programs, announced an update to its retrospective (Retro) programs that will help local dealerships meet the needs of their communities and employees during COVID-19. 

Protective is reducing the production requirements for its Retro programs. Beginning with the second quarter interest payment, the production requirements in all Retro programs will be reduced 25 percent. In addition, the year-end production requirement will also be reduced. This reduction will be applied across the remainder of the year and all levels, impacting each level of potential payout. All other Retro agreement requirements and conditions remain unchanged, and this change does not impact any other dealer participation programs.

Under the structure of a Retro program, payments to dealerships are retrospective commissions paid by Protective directly to a dealership. Underwriting profits are calculated and paid out to dealers on an earned basis, and these can be paid either through investment income or commissions and distributed in advance with a future offset and payback liability. Dealers should note that the dealer’s business corporation entity will most likely result in less income tax on Retros received than previous to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

 “Dealers are working harder than ever to serve their communities and remain open for new and used vehicle sales as well as the service and repair of these vehicles,” said Rick Kurtz, senior vice president of distribution. “In addition to equipping dealers with the best F&I programs possible, we want to do everything we can to help dealers and their employees during this unprecedented time of operating a business.”

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