#723 - 🚗 Monthly Stretch

ICE, Russia, and Don't Hit Snooze

TOGETHER WITH

Finally Friday, Friends!

Today, we dug into China’s ever-expanding global market share, more legacy ICE investment, and the fact that the consumer average monthly payments keep climbing. Then we recapped our webinar for your post-COVID thriving enjoyment.

How are you and consumers teaming up to deal with rising monthly payments?

Keep Pushing Back
-Paul, Kyle, Chris & Kristi

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BUSINESS

First: China Across the Globe, Rimac Robo, and Mercedes ICE

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Investments reveal priorities. For instance, Mercedes prioritizes its long-time faithful customers by investing in their preferred powertrains, Rimac prioritizes engaging in business with public transportation users rather than just hyper-car enthusiasts, and little ol’ China prioritizes global relevance by ensuring that no matter where somebody lives, their paycheck is at least a LITTTLE bit Chinese.

Be sure to listen along to the three new songs Chris added to The Daily Push Back Spotify Playlist here.

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China's EV Industry Expands Amid Global Trade Tensions

Apparently, China has been looking for friendship all along. One of the nation's leaders says that continued investment in the EU's auto industry will ease trade tensions, while Zeekr is making bank selling EVs in Russia.

China's EV Architect Suggests European Investment Amid Trade Tensions Wan Gang, president of the China Association for Science and Technology, proposed Chinese investment in Europe's EV industry to ease trade tensions. While alliances are powerful in wartime, jobs speak loudly to the average citizen all the time. So, China's plan is to boost trade, create jobs, and invest in collaboration despite the tariffs.

Zeekr's Dominance in the Russian EV Market
Zeekr, a Chinese EV manufacturer owned by Geely, has captured significant market share in Russia, with over 8,000 units sold in the past year. Despite infrastructural challenges, China is growing its global market share in Russia, while everybody else is setting the country's auto industry out due to Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Rimac: Fast and Automated

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Rimac, known for its luxury hyper-cars, has unveiled its first robo-taxi, the Verne.

  • Design: No steering wheel or pedals; a two-seater EV.

  • Technology: Equipped with Mobileye's advanced autonomous driving platform.

  • Interior: Spacious with a large infotainment screen and customizable settings.

  • Launch: Debuting in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2026.

  • Expansion: Plans to expand across Europe and the Middle East.

Wow, it's like they peeked into our nightmares: hyper-car speed + no wheel or brake. What's next, a clown in the back seat?

"ICE Ain’t Dead, Y'all." —Mercedes, Probably

Despite a global shift towards electric vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is heavily investing in combustion engines, allocating $15B this year.

CEO Ola Kaellenius stated that the company is enhancing hybrid drivetrains and extending the lifecycle of combustion engines to stay competitive.

"Coming Soon." While preparing for a future with 50% electric and hybrid sales by 2030, Mercedes continues to meet market demand for advanced traditional engines, ensuring they remain at the highest technological level. Of course, according to their website, the NACS is "coming soon." 

TOGETHER WITH UPSTART

Enhancing Customer Experience with Digital Check-Ins

Giphy / Roku

Today’s car buyers know their stuff.

Efficiently capturing customer info is key to delivering a top-notch buying experience and driving sales. Walk-ins often lead to missed opportunities and fragmented data. But digital check-ins are changing the game by greeting customers and collecting data right on the lot.

Find out how digital in-store solutions can boost sales and improve customer engagement in the latest blog from Upstart.

Read the full blog here.

BUSINESS CONT’D

Second: CDK VS. June, Consumers VS. AVG Monthly Payments, and Volvo’s VS. Tariffs

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Dealership Data Delivery

The continued CDK outage, increased average payments, and dealerships changing hands—there is always something to talk about in the car business. Enjoy some data.

June U.S. Auto Sales Hit by CDK Outage

  • Cyberattack Impact: A cyberattack on CDK Global has disrupted dealership operations, and it is expected to reduce June U.S. auto sales by up to 7.2%.

  • Sales Delay: Many dealerships have reverted to manual processes, which is delaying sales.

  • Technological Vulnerability: How do we prevent the next outage or prepare to thrive despite it?

Higher Car Payments Stretch Consumer Budgets

  • Rising Costs: Average monthly car payments rose from $512 in early 2022 to $581 in early 2024, an 18% increase.

  • Financial Strain: Slower income growth has led to higher loan delinquencies, now at 1.33%.

  • Market Impact: Financial pressure is causing consumers to delay new vehicle purchases.

Dealer Buy/Sell Market Hits Record High

  • Transaction Surge: The first quarter of 2024 saw 109 dealership transactions, representing 233 franchises - a new record.

  • Buyers' Market: This trend is expected to continue, with projections of over 400 transactions for the year.

  • Investment Returns: Dealerships remain lucrative investments with a 23% return on equity.

Volvo Delayed

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What happened? Volvo has postponed the U.S. debut of its compact electric SUV, the EX30, to 2025.

Why was it delayed? The delay is due to new U.S. tariffs on Chinese-built electric vehicles, prompting Volvo to shift production from China to Belgium.

When was the EX30 originally set to release? The EX30 was initially scheduled for release in the U.S. in 2024.

Where will the EX30 now be produced? Instead of being produced in China, it will be produced in Ghent, Belgium.

Because of who? The delay is primarily because of the Biden administration's tariffs on Chinese-built electric vehicles, which have forced Volvo to relocate production to maintain competitive pricing.

How does this impact customers? Customers who pre-ordered the EX30 will be affected by the delay, but Volvo is offering alternative vehicles in the interim to accommodate them. 

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You really can’t call it a comeback since ICE hasn’t gone anywhere, but there is a renewed sense of investment and interest with shoppers lately, and we wonder how wide that shift will reach.

Which is more likely?

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WEBINAR RECAP

Don’t Hit Snooze!

Click the image to watch the reply on LinkedIn

This week, we heard from our friends at Activator about shaking off the COVID dust and buffing out the dealership rust. Shout out to our guests, Jake Blair from Tim Dahle Mazda Southtowne, and Bobby Gaudreau and Mike Whitlow with Activator.

Here are just three of the actionable insights shared:

  • Dealers must rebuild customer trust, so personalized messaging is crucial.

  • Keep your data clean and managed: Ensure your data is accurate. Clean up duplicates and invalid records to improve engagement and marketing effectiveness.

  • Never Stop Evolving: Shift to robust platforms for better execution, integration, and data management.

Check out the full replay here, and let us know what you and your team have done to reawaken your business to all the opportunities awaiting savvy dealers.  

Quick Hits

  • NBC plans to use an AI-generated version of a past (and passed) personality to recap the Olympics. 🤖 

  • Walgreens is talking about major store closures. Now, we may have to walk across the street to CVS, Walmart, or Kroger to get our prescriptions. The horror. 💊 

  • Radioactive Rhinos? It's not a new Power Ranger villain; it a plan to catch poachers using the same tech in place to catch people trying to smuggle nuclear material. Scientists implant a small piece of radioactive material in a rhino’s horn and wait. 🦏 

History

  • 1919: 5 years to the date after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Germany sign the Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I. 🕊️ 

  • 1926: Mercedes-Benz is formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz, merging their two companies. 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 

  • 2001: The final Plymouth is produced. 🫂 

Thanks for reading, friend! We learn a lot writing these emails, but nobody can learn it all. Hit reply, and tell us something you’ve learned recently that you think everybody should know.

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