If your local library does not carry the periodical Automotive News, it might be worth your while to request that it do so. The trade journal is a bit pricey for an individual to purchase. But in my business this weekly periodical is a very important source of information about what some people refer to as “the heartbeat of America.” Here are a few reasons for my recommendation.
Several years ago when economists were all predicting doom and gloom I wrote a blog countering these predictions. Much of my optimism was based on reviewing the automobile production figures published in Automotive News. Shifts were being added at plants, new plants were being built, etc. The dramatic increase in production is in a way a self fulfilling prophecy: more cars, more workers, more wages, more materials, more suppliers.
Automotive News also publishes the inventory figures for nearly every make and model of motor vehicle. So how did I respond to a car salesman who told me “I can’t discount it any more than that; this model is in short supply.” I answered, “according to Automotive News it would take approximately 138 days at the current rate of sales to sell out that model’s inventory nationwide.” This response precipitated a significant discount!
In the March 17, 2014 edition, an article reconfirms my faith that Hondas will continue to have very high resale value. Only 2% of Hondas were sold to fleet buyers. As you know fleet buyers include rental car companies that typically pay a lot less for vehicles than the average Joe. Then when these cars are resold the residual value as a percentage is normally much less than that of a Honda. Fleet sales for the same month made up 32% of Ford/Lincoln sales, 25% of GM’s, and 25% of Chrysler’s.
Some years ago, after reading the rave reviews about the third generation Toyota 4-Runner, I decided to buy one. I wanted a V-6 engine, 4 wheel drive and a 5 speed standard transmission. The new models were beginning to be shipped, and there was a severe shortage of them, especially one like I wanted. After contacting several local dealers without success, I was about to give up. Then I noticed in Automotive News a list of the “gold” award winning Toyota dealers; one was 90 miles from my home. I spoke with the general manager who searched and searched, eventually finding my car “on the boat headed for Jacksonville.”
I was recently invited to lunch on the other side of town. I was told that the restaurant was in walking distance of a Chevrolet dealer whom I had never patronized. So I took my wife’s Tahoe to this dealer for an oil change and tire rotation while enjoying a nice lunch. My experience with this dealership was outstanding. The building was spotless, and the employees were courteous and knowledgeable. There are over 3,000 Chevrolet dealers in the U.S. Automotive News recently published a list of the 50 dealers who won the coveted Chevrolet Dealer of the Year award for “customer service and sales performance” in 2013. And guess what? The dealer with whom I was so impressed, Rick Hendrick Chevrolet, Duluth, Georgia, was on the list!