President and CEO of NADA, Mike Stanton, discussed the state of automotive retail in the most recent NADA Update.
He reports it seems like “the best of times” but then shares “it doesn’t feel quite right.” Inventory remains at critically low levels and an uncertain regulatory environment cast a shadow of uncertainty on the auto industry.
Stanton forecasts light vehicle sales will hit 14.2 for the year, noting high interest rates haven’t impacted sales. He attributes this to the current state of supply and demand. However, he reports consumers now seek longer-term loans that could bring challenges in the future.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules topped his list of concerns with Stanton commenting that it seems like the commission wants to “radically change the way people buy and sell cars.” He maintains laws against unfair and deceptive practices already exist and more are not needed.
The FTC’s proposed provisions, he says, are based on a lack of data and could make things more difficult and expensive for dealers and consumers. In his opinion, the FTC did not take enough time to test out their new provisions, which he says NADA feels is “inexcusable.”
The FTC’s proposed disclosure rules would “turn the dealer into a robot” and some provisions “[don’t] make any sense,” he said.
NADA sent the FTC a 200-page comment, which Stanton called a “good read” that “will make your blood boil.” The letter, he says, stresses the proposed rules are a “rush to judgment” and implores the FTC to reconsider them.
Stanton also shared that Ford dealers’ reactions to new electric vehicle (EV) certification programs are mixed. The auto industry, he says, will be “watching” to see how the programs play out. The focus, he says, should be on customers as the way cars are sold evolves.
With New York and California requiring all car sales to be EVs by 2035, Stanton says EV sales will ramp up. But, he notes these sales are “increasingly complicated” because of the state of the industry, tax credit variations, and trade-ins.
Though the future is uncertain, Stanton stresses dealers should keep their focus on providing “a great customer experience” and on “adding value to the process.”
Stanton then shared that the numbers for the 2023 NADA Show in Dallas are encouraging, noting that dealers are excited to gather to network and learn from each other.
NADA dealers were largely spared by the recent hurricane in Florida, Stanton concluded. But he shares their employees suffered great impacts. He encouraged viewers to contribute to helping those employees at NADA’s website.
Stanton reports that “dealers have largely been spared” by the recent hurricane in Florida, but their employees have been impacted greatly. He encourages viewers to provide a contribution to dealership employees on NADA’s website and says dealers can also apply for relief at Emergency Relief Fund | NADA.