Car Culture

Car Culture

Private sector employment increased by 152,000 jobs in May and annual pay was up 5.0 percent year-over-year, according to the May ADP National Employment Report produced by the ADP Research Institute in collaboration with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. The ADP National Employment Report is an independent measure and high-frequency view of the private-sector labor market based on actual, anonymized payroll data of more than 25 million U.S. employees.

The jobs report and pay insights use ADP’s fine-grained payroll data to provide a representative picture of the private-sector labor market. The report details the current month’s total private employment change, and weekly job data from the previous month.

Rachel Richards has retired from Sonic Automotive as the company’s chief marketing officer. Dino Bernacchi was promoted to the job effective May 1.

Richards joined Sonic Automotive in 2006 as the company’s vice president of retail strategy and became the company’s first chief marketing officer in 2014. Richards has been a pivotal member of the executive team for almost two decades. In addition to successfully navigating the company through the advertising industry revolution of traditional to digital marketing, she was the strategic creator and operational owner of Sonic Automotive’s Guest Experience Center, handling inbound and outbound guest communications via digital transformation. Richards also served as the executive sponsor of the company’s Women’s Leadership Program when it launched in 2022.

“Rachel’s deep industry knowledge and forward-thinking approach have been instrumental in helping shape Sonic Automotive into what it is today and our ability to develop and maintain a world-class guest experience. We wish her the best as she embarks on an exciting new phase of life with her retirement,” said David B. Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Sonic Automotive.

Bernacchi, who replaced Richards upon her retirement, joined the company in October 2021 as the chief marketing officer for EchoPark Automotive. In his position with EchoPark Automotive, Bernacchi elevated the company’s brand positioning, marketing efficiencies, and effectiveness, which led the team to receive a YouTube Excellence Award in 2023 for best-in-class search and brand lift based on the company’s new creative and branding approach which resulted in a 92% growth in brand search. Most recently, his responsibilities expanded to include marketing strategy and execution for the company’s newly launched Powersports division. Bernacchi is an automotive industry veteran, having spent most of his career with retailers such as General Motors, Mazda, and Harley-Davidson. Bernacchi assumes responsibility for Sonic Automotive’s franchise dealership marketing and retains marketing responsibility for EchoPark Automotive and Sonic Powersports.

 “Dino hit the ground running when he joined our team in 2021, and we’re excited to see him bring that same enthusiasm and strategic vision to lead our franchise marketing operations,” Smith said.

Hyundai Hope, the corporate social responsibility initiative of Hyundai Motor America, announced its partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan through the Children’s Foundation in support of the hospital’s Injury Prevention Program, specifically child passenger safety initiatives. This donation will allow the hospital to purchase car seats for its car seat safety program, which helps ensure the safety and well-being of children while on the road.

“Hyundai is proud to partner with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in support of its car seat safety program,” said Benjamin Michajlyszyn, director, Safety Test and Investigation Laboratory (STIL), Hyundai Motor America. “The state-of-the-art safety lab in Superior Township demonstrates our dedication to leading in automotive safety. Thus, it’s only natural for us to reaffirm this commitment by collaborating with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, to ensure the safety of young passengers in our local community.”

To kick off this partnership, Hyundai and Children’s Hospital of Michigan hosted a car seat safety check event for the community at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Specialty Center. At the event, certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST) educated parents and caregivers on the proper installation and usage of children’s car seats. These technicians also inspected car seats for expiration, manufacturer recalls, and/or proper fit of the seat. Families also received a free replacement car seat if needed.

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan announced that a special Open Commission Meeting on non-compete clauses will be held virtually on Tuesday, April 23 at 2 pm ET. 

The commission will vote on whether to issue a proposed final rule that would prevent most employers from enforcing non-competes against workers. The proposed final rule being considered would generally prevent most employers from using non-compete clauses. As the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking explained, non-competes are a widespread and often exploitative practice that suppresses wages, hampers innovation, and blocks entrepreneurs from starting new businesses. The proposed final rule the Commission will consider stems from the notice of proposed rulemaking the FTC issued in January 2023, which was subject to a 90-day public comment period. 

At the start of the meeting, the Commission will vote on whether to authorize public disclosure of the proposed final rule that is under consideration. Then, Chair Khan will offer brief remarks. Next, if the Commission votes to authorize public disclosure of the final rule under consideration, the Office of Policy Planning will give a staff presentation on the final non-compete rule under consideration. Finally, the Commission will vote on whether to issue the final rule. 

After announcing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FTC received more than 26,000 comments from members of the public. Given the extremely high volume of public input already received and that the public comment period on the proposed rule closed in April 2023, the commission will not be taking further comments from the public during the April 23 Open Commission Meeting. The public, however, can watch the meeting via webcast, which will be available on the day of the event shortly before the meeting starts at FTC.gov. The event will be recorded, and the webcast will be available on the Commission’s website after the meeting.  

General Motors will relocate its global headquarters to Hudson’s Detroit in 2025, becoming the anchor tenant at Bedrock’s development on the historic site of the former J.L. Hudson Department Store. This marks GM’s fourth headquarters location in the city since 1911, reaffirming its longstanding commitment to Detroit. GM, Bedrock, the city of Detroit and Wayne County will establish a partnership to explore redevelopment opportunities for the Renaissance Center site over approximately the next year, prior to GM’s move to Hudson’s Detroit.

“We are proud to remain in the city of Detroit in a modern office building that fits the evolving needs of our workforce, right in the heart of downtown,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Our new headquarters will provide collaboration areas for our teams, executive offices and display space for our vehicles. Dan Gilbert and Bedrock have done so much to make downtown Detroit a great place to live, work and visit. We are thrilled to be a significant part of the historic Hudson’s project and also look forward to working with them to explore new ideas and opportunities for the Renaissance Center site and the riverfront.”

The move to Hudson’s Detroit will mark GM’s return to Woodward Avenue, where it established its first headquarters in the city. GM has now entered into an initial 15-year, multi-level lease for the top office floors of the state-of-the-art office building as well as showcase space on the street level for GM vehicles and community activations.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed House Bill No. 7 that would have allowed driverless trucks and cars on Kentucky roads.

"This bill and others like it are written by and for Big Tech, and Gov. Beshear made the right call by vetoing it," said Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman. "We encourage every lawmaker who supported this dangerous piece of legislation to reconsider their support for it, given the devastating impact it will have on middle-class jobs and motorist safety throughout the Commonwealth. The Teamsters are asking elected officials in every state to support good union jobs, to protect public safety, and to stand against these deadly autonomous vehicle proposals wherever they pop up."

The Producer Price Index for final demand rose 0.2% in March, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Final demand prices moved up 0.6% in February and 0.4% in January. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final demand increased 2.1% for the 12 months ended in March, the largest advance since rising 2.3% for the 12 months ended April 2023.

The March increase in the index for final demand is attributable to a 0.3% rise in prices for final demand services. In contrast, the index for final demand goods edged down 0.1%.

The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 0.2% in March after rising 0.3% in February.

Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 303,000 in March, and the unemployment rate changed little at 3.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported April 5. Job gains occurred in health care, government, and construction.

“This report once again demonstrates steady growth and a strong labor market with a three-month average of 276,000 in job gains,” said Acting Secretary Of Labor Julie Su “The jobless rate has been below 4 percent for the 26th month in a row — the longest stretch in more than 50 years.”

Aarthi Murali has joined Holman, a global automotive services leader, as the company’s executive vice president, service excellence. In her new role, Murali is responsible for leading Holman’s commercial client relations strategy and customer service efforts throughout North America.

“Aarthi brings impressive business acumen and a wealth of customer experience expertise, Bob White, Holman’s president of fleet operations. “Her innate ability to connect with our clients and understand their evolving needs will ensure that Holman delivers on our promise to provide an exceptional experience for all fleet stakeholders.”

Murali joins Holman following a distinguished career in the financial sector where she led large-scale human-centered transformation programs for industry leaders such as JP Morgan Chase and most recently as M&T Bank’s first chief customer experience officer. During her 20-plus year career in the financial industry, Murali named to American Banker’s list of the Most Powerful Women in Banking in both 2022 and 2023 and was included in CX Network’s Top 50 CX Influencers of 2024.

“I’m excited to join a highly successful organization that places such a profound emphasis on both the customer and employee experience,” she said. “At Holman, we genuinely believe that our people are our greatest strength, and we understand the role our people play in driving a great customer experience. I look forward to leading our service innovation journey purposefully and delivering delightful experiences for our employees and clients.”

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 275,000 in February, and the unemployment rate increased to 3.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Job gains occurred in health care, in government, in food services and drinking places, in social assistance, and in transportation and warehousing.

The unemployment rate rose by 0.2% in February, and the number of unemployed people increased by 334,000 to 6.5 million. A year earlier, the jobless rate was 3.6%, and the number of unemployed people was 6.0 million.

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