December 2018 INDUSTRY BRIEFS
TRADE GROUP FORECASTS 16.8 MILLION VEHICLE SALES IN 2019
Automotive journalists were recently invited to participate in a teleconference on the topic of future vehicle sales hosted by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). According to NADA’s Senior Economist Patrick Manzi, the 101-year-old trade group—which represents nearly 16,500 franchised new-car dealerships—is predicting new-vehicle sales of 17 million this year and 16.8 million in 2019.
Manzi further projected that the gap between sales of SUVs/CUVs/pickups and passenger cars—currently a ratio of 70 percent trucks versus 30 percent cars—will widen in the year ahead as consumers continue to shift from cars into more fuel-efficient and more versatile light-duty trucks. Manzi also pointed out the key factors influencing the anticipated 1.1-percent drop in new-vehicle sales, key among them rising interest rates that are driving up the cost of borrowing. “We expect interest rates to rise,” he said.
Additionally, he noted that consumers’ ongoing appetite for SUVs, CUVs and pickups equipped with all the latest high-tech safety and connectivity features is also driving up the cost of these vehicles, essentially pricing many consumers out of the new-vehicle market. Alternatively, he predicts that will likely drive shoppers “over to the used-vehicle lot. We’ll see consumers syphoned off to the used-car marketplace,” said Manzi.
Why does this forecast matter? Because there’s a direct link between the sales of new and used vehicles and the aftermarket industry. Think about it. According to Manzi, high interest rates, combined with the high cost of a fully loaded full-size pickup or SUV, are driving many consumers to take out car loans that run between 72 and 84 months.
That means it will take someone seven to eight years to pay off that truck! If that truck owner wants to keep that $50,000-$60,000 (or more) investment in tiptop shape over that length of time—especially if it’s been leased—what an opportunity for PDR techs to handle any mishaps and for detailers to help keep the vehicle looking showroom new.
The same is true for buyers who head to a franchised dealer’s used-car department. These are new-car buyers looking for a better deal. And just as anxious to keep their vehicles in prime condition. Bottom line: Stay dialed into trends and take advantage of business- and profit-building opportunities as they arise.
EXOTIC MOTORCARS, LUXE LIFESTYLE ON DISPLAY AT FESTIVALS OF SPEED
On Saturday, December 2, thousands of car enthusiasts and collectors of automobiles, motorcycles, aircraft, yachts and luxury products were treated to a Festivals of Speed event at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, Florida. The posh event included a display of more than 300 unique—and very expensive—vehicles, ranging from exotics and supercars to racecars as well as vintage and contemporary automobiles.
Now in its 13th year, Festivals of Speed produces three to four large-scale events each year, all held at elite properties offering top-flight accommodations and amenities. The producer’s mission is to provide upscale festivals where enthusiasts and collectors alike can gather for a weekend of camaraderie and relaxation, and to explore a wide variety of exceptional products and services. Besides the car-show aspect, other happenings included wine connoisseurs’ dinners, yacht displays, ride-and-drive experiences, plus displays of fine art and jewelry. www.festivalsofspeed.com.
The 20,000 or so well-heeled Festivals of Speed attendees who wandered the manicured grounds of the Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, were treated to a dazzling array of luxury supercars and other collectible vehicles, many for sale on-site.
Lamborghini owners who displayed their Raging Bulls—a nickname derived from Italy’s fighting Miura bulls—received special VIP access and other exclusive perks.
WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE EARNS HIGH MARKS
Nearly 100 high-performing and high-potential women from the car wash industry, along with people who support them, gathered in Chicago, November 14-15, for the inaugural International Carwash Association Women’s Leadership Experience.
The event kicked off with an evening welcome reception, giving attendees an opportunity to connect with one another and setting the tone for the event. “It was amazing to see women come together and share our experiences in a judgment-free space. I can’t wait until next year,” said Lacey Curry, car wash leader for Royal Farms Car Wash.
Attendees also participated in a full day of education content centered on issues and solutions for women in the car wash industry. Topics included “Attracting and Retaining Women in the Car Wash Industry,” “Differences in Gender Communication Style,” plus a panel of female industry leaders. “This has exceeded my expectations,” said Katie Balash, president and CEO of Vaughn Industries. “To see nearly 100 people at the inaugural event reflects that the industry needs this sort of education.”
According to ICA, the event was just a starting point. “Based on the feedback we’re already receiving, we’re already looking at ways to extend the experience,” said ICA Chief Operating Officer Claire Moore. “We’re excited for the opportunity to bring this segment of the industry together.” www.carwash.org.
2020 JEEP GLADIATOR WOWS AT LA AUTO SHOW
The midsize pickup truck market just got a bit more crowded with the reveal of the long-awaited 2020 Jeep® Gladiator at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles. The truck, which takes its name from an earlier version that was produced from 1962 to 1988, is the only open-air pickup on the market and has been engineered to deliver best-in-class towing, according to FCA.
Available only in a four-door configuration, the Gladiator’s new Wrangler-like frame has been extended 31 inches and has a wheelbase that’s 19.4 inches longer. The truck can handle a payload of up to 1,600 lbs., has a three-position tailgate, and is equipped with Jeep-worthy off-road capabilities. Due in dealerships in the second quarter of 2019, the Gladiator is sure to join its fellow Jeeps as one of the most customized vehicles on the road.
The new Jeep Gladiator wowed the crowd at the LA Auto Show and is sure to be a prime candidate for customization.
MITCHELL DIAGNOSTIC SYSTEM SURPASSES REPAIR SCAN MILESTONE
Mitchell International has announced a milestone for the Mitchell Diagnostics system: 300,000 repair scans have been completed using the patent-pending system. Mitchell also announced significant enhancements to its Freedom Platform, which help facilitate the proper and safe repair of vehicles.
The Mitchell Diagnostics system was introduced in 2017 and has now assisted insurer, independent appraiser and collision-repair facility users. The Mitchell Diagnostics system is a comprehensive collision repair diagnostics solution, operating on all leading vehicle makes and providing both scanning and diagnostic repair capabilities, without per-transaction vehicle fees.
For repairers, the system may be utilized to perform diagnostic repairs in-house, including recalibrations, the system resets and module reprogramming. The MCS-415 target recalibration system allows repairers to complete target-based recalibrations on many major OEMs. The Freedom Platform is designed to allow the free flow of repair and claims information among both Mitchell and third-party applications to help streamline processing and assist in the delivery of proper and safe repairs. www.mitchell.com.