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The United States continues to be plagued by near-record levels of vehicle thefts, according to a new report released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the insurance industry’s not-for-profit association dedicated to preventing insurance crime. The report showed that nearly 500,000 vehicles were reported stolen nationwide in the first half of 2023, marking an increase of more than two percent compared to the first half of 2022. Illinois represented the largest increase in vehicle thefts of any state at 38 percent, followed by New York with a 20 percent increase and Ohio with a 15 percent increase over the first half of 2022. The report was released to coincide with National Crime Prevention Month, which shines a spotlight on crime prevention and personal safety every October.

“Vehicle thefts increased to near-record highs in the United States last year, and unfortunately, current trends indicate total thefts this year may surpass 2022,” said NICB President and CEO David Glawe. “With little deterrent to stop these criminal actors, law enforcement agencies and communities will continue to suffer.”

Analyzing data from the National Crime Information Center, NICB’s report showed that between January and July 2023, vehicle thefts totaled more than 80,000 thefts per month and peaked in May with 87,993 vehicles reported stolen to law enforcement.

In September, sales into large rental, commercial, and government fleets increased compared to the previous year. According to a Cox Automotive analysis of Bobit data, there was a 26.0% rise in sales to large fleets (excluding dealer and manufacturer fleets) in September, with 154,400 units sold. Sales to rental fleets saw a 52.8% increase, while sales to government fleets rose by 37.7%, and sales to commercial fleets increased by 6.6%.

According to Cox Automotive Senior Economist Charlie Chesbrough, “The success of the new-vehicle market this year and the increase in our full-year forecast is mainly due to the return of fleet sales.”

In consecutive months, General Motors had the largest increase in sales into fleet of large-volume automakers in September, and Ford had the largest decrease. 

Including an estimate for fleet deliveries into dealer and manufacturer channels, the remaining retail sales were estimated to be up 17.7%, leading to a retail seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.9 million, up 1.1 million from last year’s 11.8 million pace and down 0.3 million from last month’s 12.6 million pace. The fleet market share was estimated to be 13.8% in September, a gain of 0.6% over last year’s share but a 1.8% decrease from August’s 15.6% market share.

Overall, through the end of Q3, sales into fleet channels are up 38.8% year to date. The improvement is affected by significant year-to-date increases in rental and government fleet sales – up 71.7% and 43.6%, respectively. 

“Pent-up rental and commercial demand, rather than consumer demand, is particularly key to the new-vehicle market’s success,” Chesbrough noted. “In the early stages of the post-COVID market, manufacturers prioritized keeping products available for dealerships, leading to fewer new vehicles sold for rental and commercial purposes. However, as vehicle production began to recover last year, fleet sales have continued to rise.”

Kia America’s Percy Vaughn is the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers 2023 Distinguished Service award winner. The annual award recognizing an individual who advocates for diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the automotive industry will be presented tonight during NAMAD’s annual conference in Miami.

“This award recognizes an individual’s dedication to advocating for full inclusion of all ethnic minorities in all aspects of the automotive industry,” said Damon Lester, vice chairman of NAMAD. “Percy’s tenure with Kia in consistently moving the needle to increase its Minority Dealer Network is a testament to his hard work and dedication.”

Vaughn, who joined Kia in 1995 and opened the company’s Southern Region office, oversees Kia’s Southern Region operations which comprises 48 Kia team members and 211 Kia dealers. Accounting for nearly 30% of Kia’s total sales in 2023, the Southern Region is Kia’s number one volume region in the U.S. 

“I am honored and humbled by this recognition from my colleagues and friends at NAMAD, and I would like to thank Kia America for continuing to invest in U.S. jobs and manufacturing,” said Vaughn. “Kia’s growth in the U.S. is one of the auto industry’s greatest success stories, and I am proud of the meaningful opportunities we have provided and will continue to provide to minority entrepreneurs and employees as Kia moves into a leadership role in sustainable mobility.”

CPI Rose in September

October 12, 2023

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.4 % in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.6% in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Oct. 12. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.7% before seasonal adjustment. The index for shelter was the largest contributor to the monthly all items increase, accounting for over half of the increase. An increase in the gasoline index was also a major contributor to the all items monthly rise. While the major energy component indexes were mixed in September, the energy index rose 1.5% over the month. The food index increased 0.2% in September, as it did in the previous two months. The index for food at home increased 0.1% over the month while the index for food away from home rose 0.4%. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3% in September, the same increase as in August. Indexes which increased in September include rent, owners’ equivalent rent, lodging away from home, motor vehicle insurance, recreation, personal care, and new vehicles. The indexes for used cars and trucks and for apparel were among those that decreased over the month.  

Two reports from Doxo reveal that the cost of car ownership has increased 7% year over year to $6,184 annually. The reports also reveal that Americans as a whole spend $811 billion annually on Auto Loans and Auto Insurance combined. A statistical analysis of actual household payments toward Auto Loans and Auto Insurance was used to size the market and amount spent per household across 97% of U.S. zip codes. The 2023 U.S. Auto Loan Market Size and Household Spending Report found that U.S. Households with Auto Loan and Auto Insurance bills spend $674 per month, or $8,088 per year – or $6,184 when averaging across all U.S. households.

The reports break out the household spending market size; percentage of households that pay each bill; and average monthly and annual bill pay costs by state, as well as the 50 largest U.S. cities (based on the number of households), and those cities with 40k or more residents. Key findings include:

Cost of Car Ownership in the U.S.

  • Americans spend a total of $811 billion a year on Auto Loans and Auto Insurance.
  • The average annual cost per household is $6,184 a year for both Auto Loans and Auto Insurance.

Auto Loans Market Size and Household Spending Snapshot

  • Total Market Size: $544 billion spent per year.
  • Average Monthly/Annual Cost: $467 spent per month; $5,604 spent per year.
  • Percent of Households: 74% of U.S. households pay Auto Loans.
  • Average Annual Cost per U.S. Household: $4,147 per year.
  • Percent of Annual Income: Auto Loan bills amount to 9% of consumers’ income per year.

 Auto Insurance Market Size and Household Spending Snapshot

  • Total Market Size: $267 billion spent per year
  • Average Monthly/Annual Cost: $207 spent per month; $2,484 spent per year.
  • Percent of Households: 82% of U.S. households pay Auto Insurance.
  • Average Annual Cost per U.S. Household: $2,037 per year.

Percent of Annual Income: Auto Insurance bills amount to 4% of consumers’ income.

Starting—and growing—a dealership takes more than just a business plan and a license. There’s a lot that happens outside the boundaries of your lot that directly impacts your business. And no matter if you have a team of employees or operate solo, staying up to date on changing regulations, technology, and opportunities while operating a dealership can be overwhelming.

Here are seven reasons why being a member of your local independent automobile dealer association is good for business:

1) Education

Whether you’re just getting started or have been running a dealership for decades, your local dealer association can be a resource for pre-license or continuing education seminars. And with rules and regulations differing from state to state, having a resource dedicated to dealers within your boundaries means the information you’re getting is accurate and relevant to your market.

2) Representation

What happens in Washington, DC certainly doesn’t stay in DC, and the same goes for your state capitol building. But unless you’ve set aside time every legislative session to advocate for the industry, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have a voice representing your best interests as significant decisions are made. Supporting your state dealer association is the next best thing, as their lobbyists and committees are dedicated to advancing laws in your best interest.

3) Networking

Association events like this one are an excellent way to share what’s working (and what’s not) with your peers–and hear their experiences as well. Both state and national events are invaluable opportunities to meet with fellow dealers and other industry professionals and learn from their business practices. Remember, as a business owner, sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. The chance to create and then leverage relationships that benefit your dealership is a huge selling point for members.

4) Reputation

With so much of the car-buying process happening online, consumers are laser-focused on finding more than just the best deal. Businesses that are known to be reliable and customer-centric will stand out among the competition, especially in an industry that hasn’t always had a stellar reputation. While managing your online reputation should always be top of mind, being an active member of prominent dealer associations goes a long way to prove your commitment to running a compliant business. And it’s not just prospective buyers that care—even lenders take association participation into account when evaluating new partnerships. Whether you’re a new or longtime member, be sure to feature your involvement in your website and marketing materials.

5) Savings

While membership will cost an annual fee, it can pay to join, as this calculator from TIADA shows. Auction discounts and deals sponsored by industry vendors can save your dealership money in the long run. Plus, featured guidance on how to select the right product or partner can help you get the most out of your budget. Associations also maintain a service provider directory letting you know what businesses are affiliated with the organization, acting as a referral when you’re searching for a solution.

6) Consumer Advocacy

Dealer associations are also consumer advocates, focusing on maintaining or enhancing customer service standards and buyer protections. In fact, the NIADA centers truth and accuracy, integrity, and serving the public as major tenets in their Code of Ethics. When buyers feel protected, everyone benefits.

7) Community Service

Serving your community can be a significant addition to your dealership’s value proposition. However, it’s not always easy to find out how to make a difference and get involved. Your local association is most likely one step ahead of you, coordinating volunteer initiatives to support community efforts and help you give back.

In today’s market, it’s crucial to take advantage of any opportunity that can help you improve your business. For more information on your state and local dealer associations, visit the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association.


*reposted with permission from GWC WARRANTY

Despite the care and time you put into building quality inventory, all it takes is one bad experience to lose even the most loyal customer. In a constantly connected world, the right vehicle at the right price is just a click away. Excellent customer service, on the other hand, can be hard to find.

Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customerstudy found that 76% of consumers say it’s either critical or very important for salespeople to be “focused on helping achieve their needs, not just on making a quick sale.” However, it’s important to understand exactly what “good customer service” means. While everyone may have different expectations when making a purchase, the idea can be broken down into four simple concepts:

  • Friendly employees
  • Personalized experiences
  • Easy-to-find information
  • Satisfied customers

But why does it matter so much?

First, look at your buyers. According to McKinsey, by 2025, over 45% of car buyers will be millennials. Consider the companies that this generation has grown up with and use on an almost-daily basis: Uber, Amazon, Airbnb, to name a few. One thing stands out: they all offer a personalized, online customer experience that stands in sharp contrast to the stereotypical car buying process.

Today’s buyers are always connected, so customer service means more than just what happens with buyers on the lot. Providing easy access to tools and resources online has never been more critical to reach and influence these shoppers who will soon represent almost half your business. Your first chance to provide an excellent experience is not when customers walk onto your lot—it’s online as they’re researching their purchase.

Service contracts are no exception here. Start building trust from the start by showing customers that you understand the uncertainty that comes with making such a significant investment. Before you’ve even spoken with a potential buyer, make them feel comfortable that you’ve got their best interest at heart by being straightforward about what service plans you offer and what they protect (and what they don’t) from the start.

It’s also important to consider the simple fact that new customers are expensive. It can cost up to 16 times more to bring a new customer up to the same level of profitability as a lost one. That expense, combined with the fact that 89% of consumers will start doing business with a competitor after a poor experience, is worth trying to avoid at all costs.

Let’s look at the numbers behind loyal customers.

  • A 2% increase in customer retention is the same as cutting business expenses by 10%.
  • Loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend to the company.
  • Customers tell an average of nine people about a positive experience with a brand, but they tell 16 people about a negative experience.

A positive customer support experience online and on the lot can make the difference between a lifetime of loyalty and losing customers to the competition. And your F&I provider plays a huge role in the experience your buyers have down the road. If your provider’s customer service goals match your own and they’re able to provide an outstanding claims experience should your buyers need it, you can go a long way in cultivating a customer relationship that lasts well beyond just a single transaction.


*reposted with permission from GWC WARRANTY

On April 16th the first Ventec Ventilators were shipped out of GM’s plant in Kokomo, Indiana and the workers that built them wrote notes and signed the boxes with messages of hope and support for frontline hospital workers and people suffering from COVID-19.

GM began working with Ventec, a small Seattle-based producer of the ventilators, in early March and mobilized more than 1,000 employees and nearly 100 auto suppliers to start making the critical machines in the fight against COVID-19. The goal is to eventually make 10,000 ventilators per month, according to GM and Ventec, but the companies didn’t specify how long it would take to reach that output. GM also plans to produce masks.

With 960,000 US COVID-19 patients potentially needing ventilators, President Trump ordered General Motors on March 27th through a 1950’s wartime act⁠ to make ventilators for U.S. hospitals treating COVID-19 patients. GM said it began work on the life-saving machines on March 16th. 

June 25, 2019 webinar hosted by Used Car News, featuring Lucas Hancock, Senior Director of Risk, NextGear Capital.

Interview with D.Hansen interview

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