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Automotive weekly roundup: Tesla settles lawsuit, auto credit availability improves, China’s aggressive EV push

Automotive weekly roundup: Tesla settles lawsuit, auto credit availability improves, China's aggressive EV push

Earlier this week: Toyota has taken over testing at subsidiary Daihatsu after investigations revealed evidence of cheating on safety certifications for years. Reports of improving affordability and lower car prices have led to a surge in demand. Tesla has settled a lawsuit over a fatal accident involving the use of driver-assistance platform Autopilot. Auto credit availability improves again in March as cheaper prices spur demand. China’s aggressive electric vehicle push has put pressure on global automakers as the country looks to acquire more shipping vessels for international delivers.

On April 8, the president of Daihatsu, Masahiro Inoue, announced that Toyota would supervise model certification at its subsidiary.

1. Toyota oversees Daihatsu model certification amid cheating scandal

On April 8, the president of Daihatsu, Masahiro Inoue, announced that Toyota would supervise model certification at its subsidiary in an effort to regain the trust of dealers, consumers, and employees. Inoue’s predecessor resigned after a safety testing scandal, and a third-party assessment uncovered a widespread cheating scandal on safety tests that had been ongoing for several decades. In response, the government ordered Daihatsu’s production to be halted until they could complete appropriate testing. However, the company implemented a new system to prevent future incidents of this kind, and production has since partially resumed. Read More

Car buyers are returning to the new and used vehicle markets in hopes of finding bargain prices, even though affordability remains sparse.2. Buyers flooding the market in hopes of improved affordability

Buyers are returning to the new and used vehicle markets in hopes of finding a good deal, even as pre-pandemic levels of affordability remain distant, according to CarGurus’ first quarter review. Over the last four years, car prices have skyrocketed, effectively blocking all but the most wealthy buyers from the market. While this lack of affordability has, so far, had only a moderate effect on sales, which have remained surprisingly stable, CarGurus’ data indicates that consumers are now returning to the market in full force. Read More

Leading up to the settlement, Tesla argued that the driver had been playing a game on his phone before the crash.3. Tesla settles Autopilot lawsuit over 2018 crash that killed Apple engineer

Tesla has settled a highly publicized lawsuit over the death of Apple engineer Walter Huang, who crashed his Model X while using Autopilot in 2018. The surprise settlement arrived just before the trial was set to start in California and follows a bitter, years-long struggle between Tesla and Huang’s family members. The settlement terms were not disclosed as the electric vehicle brand has filed to prevent the details from being made public. Read More

Auto credit availability rose again in March thanks to increases in approval rates, amidst a small gain in affordability.4. Auto credit access improves in March amidst affordability rise

Auto credit availability, a measure of the ease with which consumers can obtain loans for car purchases, improved in March amidst a slight gain in affordability. Cox Automotive reports that the month-over-month improvement in auto credit accessibility equated to a 1.1% increase. Although current availability remains slightly below last year’s levels, March was the second month in a row the measure has risen during a decline in new and used vehicle prices. Read More

China's EV industry is driving a surge in ship orders, suggesting it could have the world's fourth-largest fleet of car carriers by 2028.

5. China’s EV exports surge boosts global ship orders, puts pressure on Stellantis in Italy

China’s electric vehicle (EV) export industry is causing a surge in orders for car-carrying ships, with predictions suggesting that China could have the world’s fourth-largest fleet of such vessels by 2028. Currently, China has the eighth-largest fleet, but companies like SAIC Motor, Chery Automobile, and BYD, along with shipping giants COSCO and China Merchants, are leading the charge by ordering 47 new vessels. This move is expected to increase China’s global car carrier fleet share from 2.4% to 8%. China is also opening up new trade routes specifically for Chinese automakers. Read More

Sean Johnson joins the first-ever episode of Diversity in Automotive on CBT News to discuss the challenges to creating a diverse workforce.

6. The role of mentorship in creating diverse leadership — Sean Johnson | Porsche Brooklyn

As American society has become more diverse, so too has the automotive landscape, with dealers, manufacturers, and suppliers welcoming minorities in increasing numbers. However, representation in the car business, especially in terms of leadership, remains far behind that of other sectors. Resolving this issue is a key component to ensuring the industry’s long-term success. On this inaugural episode of Diversity in Automotive, a show dedicated to spotlighting minority voices in the car industry, host Shyann Malone is joined by Sean Johnson, general manager at Porsche BrooklynWatch More

Explore dealer sentiment insights with Erin Keating on Inside Automotive, revealing profitability and market adaptation challenges.

7. Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index reveals concerns about profitability and inventory disparity – Erin Keating

The Q1 Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index was published in March. It provides a current view of dealer sentiment and looks forward to the next 90 days. Joining us on the latest episode of Inside Automotive is Erin Keating, Cox Automotive Executive Analyst, to break it all down. Watch More

Glenn Pasch joins Inside Automotive to discuss key strategies that can help dealers elevate the customer experience across all channels.

8. Auditing your marketing process to elevate the customer experience — Glenn Pasch | PCG Digital

On this episode of Inside Automotive, host Jim Fitzpatrick is joined by Glenn Pasch, auto marketing expert and CEO of PCG Digital, to discuss simple tactics and strategies that elevate the customer experience, both online and in the dealership. Watch More

In the latest episode of CBT Now, Matt Easton argues sales professionals must address the underlying outcomes customers seek.

9. How salespeople can prioritize consumer outcomes over product features and benefits – Matt Easton | Easton University

Selling your features and benefits is dead in 2024, and selling the value is on life support, says sales coach and Easton University founder Matt Easton. If you really want to be successful this year, you need to focus on something far more important to your customers. In the latest episode of CBT Now, Easton argues that to succeed in the current market; sales professionals must pivot their approach and concentrate on what truly matters to their customers. Watch More

On the latest episode of CBT NOW, Sean Gardner joins us to share some effective techniques to help dealerships' sales teams close more deals.

10. How sales teams can outperform the competition and close more deals – Sean Gardner | Joe Verde Group

Inventory management is no longer a major issue for many dealerships. Therefore, one key factor in achieving success today is the ability to outperform your competitors in terms of sales. On the latest episode of CBT Now, Sean Gardner, Instructor and Sales Trainer at the Joe Verde Group, will join us to share some effective techniques to help dealerships’ sales teams close more deals. Watch More