Car Culture

Car Culture


Black Book announced that Tim West, vice president, North American Auction Director, plans to retire at the end of the year after more than 36 years with the company.
“Tim is a trusted colleague and one of the most humble and decent people I know, and it has been an honor to work with him for almost two decades,” said Tom Cross, president of Black Book. “I want to thank Tim for his important and lasting contributions to Black Book and to our industry.”

West joined Black Book in 1984 as an editorial assistant. After several years in editorial, he was named assistant field coordinator and began working with survey contractors who attend wholesale auctions throughout North America on behalf of Black Book. In 2003, West was promoted to his current position as a corporate officer and vice president at Black Book. That same year, he was inducted into the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA) Ring of Honor, NIADA’s highest award for non-dealers. In 2011, he was inducted in the National Auto Auction Hall of Fame and was designated a Warren Young Fellow the following year for his many contributions to the industry and association. This past July, Tim received the Ed Bobit Industry Icon Award, which is presented annually by the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance and the National Auto Auction Association to an individual for his or her significant contributions to the remarketing industry.

“I want to thank Black Book and Hearst for supporting every facet of my 36-year career with the company,” said Tim West.  “I have been fortunate to work for an organization and in an industry that truly values strong business relationships and partnerships. So many people are responsible for any successes that I have had. I especially want to thank my family for always supporting me, my cherished Black Book team, and all of the tremendous auction friends, automobile dealers, and other customers who have meant so much to me.”

Dana W. White, chief communications officer for Hyundai Motor North America, has been named to the Women in Automotive board. In this role, White will be a resource and advocate for the organization’s mission to empower and develop women in the automotive industry as thought-leaders, industry executives and mentors for other females seeking career advancement. The Women in Automotive organization currently has 20 executive-level board representatives from a variety of automotive technology, supplier, media outlets and dealerships. 

“I’m honored to have been selected to join the Women in Automotive leadership board,” White said. ‘I’m excited to champion the value of women to the automotive market, while also helping women within the industry maximize their impact on the business and lead the industry into the future.” 

White recently joined Hyundai after serving as the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and Chief Pentagon Spokesperson for the Department of Defense and Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis. In her role as CCO, she reports directly to José Muñoz, Global COO, Hyundai Motor Company and president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America.

“We are very excited to have Dana White join our Women in Automotive board. Her contributions, thought-leadership, passion and enthusiasm to champion women in the automotive industry will serve well to help us accelerate the vision and mission of our organization,” said Jody DeVere, co-founder, Women in Automotive LLC.

Digital Motors, a digital sales platform, announced that automotive industry veteran Paul Edmonds joined the team as vice president of customer success.

“On our quest to empower dealerships with a comprehensive online sales platform, Paul will partner with our clients to produce tangible results,” said CEO Andreas Hinrichs. “His wealth of experience and knowledge of the existing pain points make Paul ideally suited to bring our solution to more dealerships across the nation.”

Prior to Digital Motors, Edmonds held leadership roles at TrueCar, Blue Book and Cox Automotive. As vice president of customer success, Edmonds will spearhead Digital Motors’ sales and service teams.

“Dealers know they need to innovate the buying process to compete with virtual retailers – and they need the right partner to help them,” said Edmonds. “There is so much noise in the industry around digital retailing, but nothing provides dealers a way to transform their customers’ interest into transactable deals. Digital Motors gives dealers the toolset to remain competitive with online-only retailers.”

The North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) Awards has added the 2021 Ram TRX performance truck to its list of eligible vehicles for the 2021 awards.

“The Ram TRX – whose existence has been embargoed until today – completes our list of 46 eligible vehicles for 2021 NACTOY Car, Truck and Utility of the year Awards,” said NACTOY president Gary Witzenburg.  

NACTOY accepted vehicle entries from automakers later than usual this year to better accommodate an unusual product launch cycle impacted by COVID-19. Still, the pace of innovative product introductions from the industry has been intense.

“With 13 cars, four trucks and a mind-boggling 29 utility vehicles – many of them late-year launches – contending for these coveted awards, it will be another exciting and highly competitive year,” Witzenburg said.

NACTOY's 50 jurors will conduct an initial vote to reduce this list of eligible vehicles to a more manageable number of Semi-Finalists on Sept. 28 – about a month later than normal – to allow automakers with late entries more time to get NACTOY jurors into them for evaluation prior to that vote.

Jurors will continue to test and evaluate all eligible vehicles as they are made available through the rest of this year, including during an Oct. 5-8 annual comparison drive.

Semi-Finalists in each category will be announced in November at the LA Auto Show, Finalists in December and category winners in Detroit in January 2021.


The Updated List of 2021 NACTOY Candidates with Additions:

Car of the Year
Acura TLX

Audi A8 L 60 TFSI e
BMW 330e and 330e xDrive
BMW 430i, 430i xDrive and M440i xDrive
Cadillac CT4/CT4-V
Genesis G80
Hyundai Elantra family (includes N Line and HEV)
Kia K5
Lexus IS
Mercedes-Benz E Class Sedan, All-Terrain, Coupe, Cabriolet
MINI Cooper SE
Nissan Sentra
Polestar 2

Utility of the Year
Audi Q5 55 TFSI e

BMW X3 xDrive30e
BMW X5 xDrive45e
Buick Encore GX
Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
Chevrolet Trailblazer
Chrysler Pacifica
Dodge Durango
Ford Bronco Sport
Ford Mustang Mach E
Genesis GV80
GMC Yukon/Yukon XL
Honda  CR-V Hybrid
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Venue
Kia Seltos
Kia Sorento
Land Rover Defender 90 and 110
Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring
Mazda CX-30
Mercedes-Benz GLA
Nissan Rogue
Toyota Highlander
Toyota RAV4 Prime
Toyota Sienna
Toyota Venza
Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge

Truck of the Year
*Ram TRX

Ford F-150
Ford Super Duty
Jeep Gladiator Mojave
*Added to list

Ford Motor Company announced that Jim Hackett, who has led the company’s transformation since 2017, plans to retire from the company. Jim Farley has been named the company’s new president and CEO and will join the board of directors, effective Oct. 1.

Hackett, 65, and Farley, 58, will work together on a smooth leadership transition over the next two months.

Under Hackett, Ford moved aggressively into the new era of smart vehicles and drove a deeper focus on customers’ wants and needs. At the same time, Ford improved the fitness of the base business – restructuring operations, invigorating the product portfolio and reducing bureaucracy.

“I am very grateful to Jim Hackett for all he has done to modernize Ford and prepare us to compete and win in the future,” said Bill Ford, Ford’s executive chairman. “Our new product vision – led by the Mustang Mach-E, new F-150 and Bronco family – is taking shape. We now have compelling plans for electric and autonomous vehicles, as well as full vehicle connectivity. And we are becoming much more nimble, which was apparent when we quickly mobilized to make life-saving equipment at the outset of the pandemic.”

New Ford CEO Jim Farley

Farley collaborated with Hackett over the past three years to develop and execute Ford’s Creating Tomorrow Together plan to transform Ford into a higher-growth, higher-margin business.

“Jim Farley matches an innate feel for cars and customers with great instincts for the future and the new technologies that are changing our industry,” Bill Ford said. “Jim’s passion for great vehicles and his intense drive for results are well known, and I have also seen him develop into a transformational leader with the determination and foresight to help Ford thrive into the future.”

Farley joined Ford in 2007 as global head of Marketing and Sales and went on to lead Lincoln, Ford South America, Ford of Europe and all Ford global markets in successive roles. In April 2019, Farley was chosen to lead Ford’s New Businesses, Technology & Strategy team, helping the company determine how to capitalize on powerful forces reshaping the industry – such as software platforms, connectivity, AI, automation and new forms of propulsion. He was named chief operating officer in February of this year.

Hackett, who will continue as a special advisor to Ford through March of 2021, said the time is right to pass the mantle of leadership to Jim Farley.

Porsche, Dodge and Hyundai were big winners in the J.D. Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, released recently.

Porsche ranks highest in the luxury segment and overall with a score of 881. Lincoln (876) ranks second, followed by Cadillac (874), BMW (869) and Land Rover (866).

Dodge ranks highest in the mass market segment with a score of 872. Ram (871) ranks second, followed by GMC (857), Ford (853) and MINI (846).

“The APEAL Study measures an owner’s emotional attachment to their new vehicle and in what areas that vehicle may not be delivering on all of the positive experiences that were hoped for,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive quality at J.D. Power. “Understanding this is just as valuable to automakers as knowing about quality issues and owner acceptance of new technologies. The goal for automakers is to delight customers on all these dimensions. Some are better than others at doing this.”

Now in its 25th year, the study has been redesigned for 2020. It complements the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) and the J.D. Power Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study by measuring owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle across 37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat to the feeling they get when they step on the accelerator. These attributes are aggregated to compute an overall APEAL index score measured on a 1,000-point scale.

The parent company receiving the most model-level awards (given to models ranking highest in their respective segment) is Hyundai Motor Group (five awards), followed by BMW AG and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., with four each.

Friendemic, providers of the only online reputation solution built specifically for the needs of the automotive industry, added industry veteran Denise Chudy as its chief growth officer. Chudy has also been appointed a member of the Friendemic Board of Directors.

“As the company’s Chief Growth Officer, Chudy will be responsible for leading the sales and marketing divisions of Friendemic, as well as growing the base of the company’s solutions with her network of manufacturers, dealer groups and industry partners.”

Chudy has close to two decades of automotive technology experience. With executive level roles at LivePerson and LotLinx. She also adds leadership roles at Google and to her history.

The North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) Awards has again updated its list of eligible vehicles for the 2021 awards as automakers have announced additional qualifying candidates.

2020 Dodge Durango
2020 Dodge Durango

The five additional vehicles are:

· Audi A8 L 60 TFSI e

· Audi Q5 55 TFSI e

· Chrysler Pacifica

· Dodge Durango

· Kia Sorento

NACTOY is accepting entries later than usual to better accommodate this year’s product launch delays and plans to announce a final list by the end of August.

“The more we learn about automakers’ new product plans for this year, the more it becomes clear that competition for our 2021 awards will be as fierce as ever,” said NACTOY President Gary Witzenburg. “These latest additions include two plug-in hybrids from Audi, two additional entries from Fiat Chrysler and an all-new Kia Sorento.”

NACTOY’s 50 jurors will test and evaluate all eligible vehicles as they are made available through the rest of this year, including during an annual comparison drive that will be held Oct. 5-8 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Semi-Finalists in each category will be announced in November at the LA Auto Show, finalists in December and category winners in Detroit in January 2021.

Polaris has partnered with International Female Ride Day (IFRD), a globally synchronized ride day celebrating women riders and their passion for powersports. IFRD will take place Aug. 22 on six continents in over 120 countries.

IFRD and the “Just Ride” call-to-action were created in 2007 to focus on motorcycle riders. As female ridership grows within the powersports industry, IFRD welcomes female riders of all types of powersports including off-road vehicles and snowmobiles.

“I started IFRD to advance the awareness of women motorcycle riders and inspire women everywhere. Working with Polaris encourages even more women to join the celebration of riding and become part of the movement,” said IFRD founder Vicki Gray.

“Just Ride!” is the only requirement to participate in IFRD. Riders can also celebrate by sharing photos on social media using the hashtags #IFRD and #InternationalFemaleRideDay.

“We’re excited to partner with International Female Ride Day in their mission to celebrate women riding in unity, as well as their efforts to cultivate a strong community of female powersport enthusiasts across all borders and cultures,” said Polaris executive Pam Kermisch. “IFRD provides us the opportunity to come together to celebrate the love of riding and ensure female riders are well represented across the industry.”

Gasoline demand increased on the week to the highest level (8.7 million barrels per day) since March as stocks decreased, but the combination wasn’t enough to significantly impact gas price averages across the country. On the week, the national gas price average only increased one penny to land at $2.19. That is nine cents more than last month and nearly 60 cents less than a year ago.

“The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data shows gasoline demand and supply continue on a roller coaster ride,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

National gas price avg. remains at $2.19
The National gas price avg. remains around $2.19

“As motorists react to unfolding COVID-19 information, we are seeing driving behaviors related to filling-up ebb and flow.”

From May to early July in 2019, gasoline demand averaged 9.5 million barrels per day (barrels per day). For the same time period this year, demand is measuring at 8 million barrels per day while gasoline stocks sit, on average, at 24 million barrels. The low demand and high supply are keeping gas prices relatively cheap for the summertime.

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