GUEST Matt Lasher: Dealers To the Rescue, Powered By Pickups, Cox’s Crystal Ball

December 29, 2022
We’re on the final approach for 2022 and talking about how the auto industry has helped communities weather the recent (literal) storms. We also review Cox’s top 10 prediction list for 2023
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  • Let’s talk about Buffalo NY for a moment. In case you missed it, it's been cold outside. Like, really, really cold. A 27-hour power outage at the Vive Shelter in Buffalo, NY, was resolved by our friends at West Herr Auto Group and a payloader they found. They used the sizable tractor-type machine and succeeded where pickups and other 4-wheel drives failed. They dragged generators and fuel for 4 hours through 15 miles of blizzard to get power back to the shelter.

    By Monday, main power was restored for the shelter's 150 residents and additional families who found refuge in the building during the worst of the storm.

  • A Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck owner was able to power his home in Ontario, Canada for 44 hours during a winter storm that left thousands without electricity…and still had 65% of battery left over
  • RapsFanLJ posted a picture of his EV pickup on Reddit, saying, “this baby saved us.” as he used the Pro Power Onboard system to power lights, a refrigerator, wifi, TV, and other items for almost 2 days until power was restored
  • The truck has 11 outlets and one 240v port in the back
  • Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Blue, explains: We’re not here to make an electric truck for the few – Ford is committed to building one that solves real problems for real people.
  • provides full-home power for up to three days or as long as ten days,” depending on energy usage.

  • COX Automotives Top 10 predictions for 2023 are out
  • 1. A slow-growing economy will place pressure on the automotive market.
  • 2. New-vehicle inventory levels will continue to increase.
  • 3. Total retail vehicle sales will fall in 2023 as new-vehicle sales grow and used sales decline.
  • 4. Sales of electric vehicles in the U.S. will surpass 1 million units for the first time.
  • 5. Used-vehicle values will see above-normal depreciation for a second straight year.
  • 6. Vehicle affordability will be the greatest challenge facing vehicle buyers.
  • 7. All-cash deals will increase to levels not seen in decades.
  • 8. Dealership service operations volume and revenue climb.
  • 9. Half of vehicle buyers will engage with digital retailing tools.
  • 10. Federal incentives will encourage more fleet buyers to consider electrified solutions.

  • Jonathan Smoke gave his team a B-minus for their predictions from the previous year. One missed pred

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Matt Lasher, Kyle Mountsier, Paul Daly

Paul Daly  00:00

Oh yeah, we're on final approach. Final Approach. Got one more left to go. And 2020 Today we're gonna talk about like some stormy weather everywhere. We got a dealer on the show, we're talking about Kocsis top 10 predictions and it'll be good time promised. The people really want to know good time for Thursday in that crazy week between Christmas and New Year's I saw there's a New York Stern School Professor Scott Galloway, you may have heard of him. Brian Binstock is really like down with what he's doing. And he posted a graphic on LinkedIn. And it had a picture of like a calendar of December it was like really precise. And then as it got toward Christmas, it got all wrinkly. And then like the first year, January got all like crazy. You couldn't even see the days and then like it got clear again, in like the second week of January.

Kyle Mountsier  01:08

I was like, perfect. That's about right. That's about right. But we're still here.

Paul Daly  01:12

We're still here. Right? Dealers are still here. That's the thing. They're still here not showing up crushing it this week. Right? This is

Kyle Mountsier  01:18

yeah, like I legitimately made it to work in six minutes this morning, which is typically like a 12 to 15 minute drive depending on lights and traffic. So like the whole world is shut down. And dealers like we're in it.

Paul Daly  01:31

That's right all the time. Every time. We have a let's see, hey, if you haven't watched the year and extravaganza yet, we got it all chopped that we're posting it a lot on LinkedIn and on our social media feed, just so you can see the little segments, but man it is you can even watch it on your on your Smart TV. Right? Yes, go to us. So choose YouTube channel, click on it. We uploaded the high res version. So you can watch it. It's like it's fun family entertainment. I think

Kyle Mountsier  01:54

it really is. It's good entertainment. And like one of the we had someone share it from Reuters yesterday, just saying like, hey, look, there are real insights in here that are helping me plan, you know, at Reuters. 23. Yeah. How did I miss this? Yeah, like, he was like, hey, listening to these people that are thinking about what they're thinking about as we head into. He works in the in the event side of stuff. And so, you know, that? Yeah, I think that it's just a reality that like the people in those positions. So if you go to a show tube as ot you dot v, you can find that and, and then you can actually like if you want to you can go through the segments, we kind of broken it out so you can hit the little next button on the YouTube ish. Game Show. Yeah, and make sure you watch the game show because it's absolutely fun. I just want to real quick, I know we got to get we've got Matt last year here in just a minute. I just want to shout out CBT you know, they put out that they've been out for 10 years kind of blew my mind. I was like man, I just feel like they've been around for longer. They've just been in so much of auto and and have been a big part of like me understanding the auto ecosystem. So to Jim and Bridget if for some reason you see this, watch this. Listen to this. Maybe we'll cut it up. Congrats on 10 years. Big deal for the auto industry. Well

Paul Daly  03:09

done. Yeah. I mean, the CBT conference was my first like full real auto conference. Wow. I met a lot of people for the first time at their conference. So I owe a lot to you all. Congratulations, the best Milius Wheel of Fortune just couple on automotive news. You guys all right, we got a dealer we have a dealer on met last year from the Western Auto Group. Let's bring that in because we need to talk about Buffalo New York. We haven't talked about the weather that much. You know, because you're reading about the weather everywhere else so we didn't have to talk but buffalo in case you miss it, Buffalo has had a really rough go at this last weather situation. There have been a number of deaths. Even before this storm, you all got crushed with you know six feet of snow in some of your areas. You know, and you give the West here group has just been leaning in to help the community specifically a story got picked up by Business Insider, about how you You grabbed the payloader and use the dragon generators around town and help shelters and all that. So Matt, you look like you're in pretty good shape. You probably have been out there shoveling snow grooming off cars with the crew. But thanks for joining us for a few minutes. I'm sure you have things to do. But thanks for being here and got it. It's

Matt Lasher  04:19

good to be here. Thanks for having me, man.

Paul Daly  04:21

So what's the word on the street? How are things really looking from from your perspective and bucklers? I

Matt Lasher  04:26

just gotta say I gotta say about buffalo you know we're getting a bad rap here. This is not good for like the marketing side of Buffalo New York, you know, three weeks in a row. We had seven feet of snow three weeks ago and then that all melted fast and then you know, obviously the storm the storm obviously no joking matter is a pretty serious event. And it was it was serious for a lot of people in a lot of parts of the country as well. But it was really cold. It snowed for three days straight. And the worst part was like the winds and like the visibility was really challenging. So especially In downtown Buffalo. So like Buffalo, New York has about a million people in it. But 300,000 or so live in Buffalo, New York, the streets are a little bit narrower people park on the street because they might not have garages and things like that. So when it snows a lot, like snow plows have a hard time getting through some of these areas. The visibility was so bad that cars started to get abandoned, and even emergency responders, fire trucks, you know, ambulances and stuff were getting stuck, which just created a mess, right? So of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, it was a problem. And there was people unfortunately caught in their cars caught in their homes without power he caught outside. You know, I think a lot of the tragic stories that we're hearing, you know, people just got caught in the elements, you know, and succumb to that. And I think we're up to like, 35 people I heard had passed away. So you know, certainly our thoughts and prayers are with those families and everybody that's really suffering through the storm. But, you know, by and large, like, you know, while that's a national story, I don't think it tells the whole story, because there's been tons of effort by people all over the community to just help people and you know, help your neighbor like, if you have a snowplow you'd like snow plow their driveway out if you know, you have a shovel, or you can go get food or, and bring it to, you know, the old lady that can't get to the store or whatever. Like there's been tons and tons of stories like that. But when I'm proud to share the story you're mentioning, so Dr. Myron Glick created Jericho Road and the Vivi shelter. It's an asylum seeking refugee shelter in Buffalo, New York, and Vivi houses about 150 people, mostly women and children. And on Christmas Eve, the morning of Christmas Eve, they lost their power and heat. So Dr. Glick was pretty panicked. Now, we had started a relationship with them earlier in the year where Scott Beeler, President and CEO donated some money to help them move from where they are now where they lost power and heat to a newer, nicer building nicer facility. So they're in process of doing that, but they haven't moved yet. Right. And so, you know, it's, it's remarkable, you know, when you learn about this organization, and the people really that seek asylum, why they seek asylum from governments that maybe they were a politician in their country, you know, a country in Africa, but they didn't agree with the dominant government. So they had to flee. They had to leave their family and they they leave their, you know, everything that they know and go on a year long journey faced with violence and potential disruption. And, you know, women and children are especially hazardous. So, you know, these guys have remarkable resiliency to even get to this shelter. But Christmas Eve power goes out. Dr. Glick calls Scott, Scott taps our electrician, Simon Sally electric. So shout out to Jack and Edie. They're the owners of Simon Sally electric. They do all of our electric business for the 35 Plus locations that we have. And they're incredible people first of all, but they tried to tow a generator with just like a regular truck. And it didn't they couldn't get there. It was 20 miles away, they couldn't get there because of the storm. So they retreated. And then they got a bucket loader and towed it with the bucket loader the 20 miles that it had to go it took them about four and a half hours to go 20 miles in the storm. But they got there, they got it hooked up, they got the power and heat restored. And you know, ultimately, like it's not West her that did that Simon Sally electric did that. But it's another example of people that have like done an incredible job helping the community I think,

Kyle Mountsier  08:23

why is medicine in the news? It's just connected. It's the it's the connector, right? And I think that that's, that's one of the things that like what I know of Western of you, and Scott is like, connected in the community enough to know, like, when I get the call, I go to the right person. And I know things are gonna get handled because we're connected in the community and we care for the community, right.

Matt Lasher  08:43

But I also think it's a function of media like the headlines and like the snippet journalism and stuff like people don't really get the full story of most things. You get like the 30.

Paul Daly  09:00

Up, I think we lost you for a second. Although we froze him up, we'll see if we can get them back. We see we get him back. He's gonna jump in mid sentence. So he's gone. He'll come back in.

Kyle Mountsier  09:08

He is in Buffalo jets. True. That's true. No, but I think

Paul Daly  09:13

what he's saying is right, and your point to the dealership being the connector, and you know, like, the news doesn't get the whole story, but you just think it the leverage a dealer has, because they're so involved in the community on the regular because they're the biggest ad spenders and all the TV stations that everybody enjoys watching, because they're major clients have, you know, the electrical contractors and all the services around like, because there's so plugged in, when something needs to get happen, right? A dealer picks up the phone and people move. Yep. Right. And so it what it is, I mean, it's easy to forget that but that's the truth. And I guess we see it like really big time in situations like this. And I know that's not an isolated story. Right? Wester obviously has big scale and they are just constantly in the community, but we know that when disaster strikes, we see it all the time. Time, local dealers mobilized like that

Kyle Mountsier  10:03

every time. Yeah. I mean, we like we have the benefit of like, consistently searching to find those. Yeah, he's and we like our writer Chris he's like yeah, you know, sometimes they'll be like, Yeah, I got about 10 days out of stories of dealers doing good, right? Yeah. And that's just like our network, which right now, right, as a part of automotive is like this big right, that we can see and be connected to whether it be on LinkedIn or stories or, you know, and so like, this is an anecdotal story, but it hit kind of national news. But it's it's anecdotal, because it happens so often across the country in, in hard times. I mean, we look back at their hurricane and how many dealers were doing, you know, we covered the kubalik group raising, you know, six figures for hurricane relief, you know, it's just over and over and over dealers, participating in the community and being the community connector and drawing together, others that then impact the community at a broader scale. So I think, you know, like he said, you know, a lot of times the headlines skew one way or the other, and maybe the relationship that someone has, you know, puts Western on the front, but it was the electrician, the electrician that really did the work. So shout out to the electrician. That's just pitch Yeah, man, and all of these. Like, I think that this is the important part of just retail and small business in general, is the fact that consistently small businesses show up to serve the community and remembering that as long as we're like doing business and creating laws and caring for communities is really important. So we

Paul Daly  11:37

got you without bringing us back in. Wow, he got out of the car by the house now. He's doing way better. Can you see me always you frozen again? Oh, no. He's frozen. Again. This phone? Oh, good. I think your phone is trying to decide if it wants to be on cellular or Wi Fi right. And it doesn't

Matt Lasher  11:56

like it. Yeah, it doesn't like I'm sitting outside now to just prove a point buffalo ain't that bad. It's like 40 degrees. It's gonna melt.

Paul Daly  12:05

Where's your bill that there's a thing like Matt. And you see this every day because you go into, you know, you go in every day to work or just about every day, you know, you get to move around the stores, you get to see a lot of people. Automotive is an industry where if you're in the industry, regardless of what your position is, you should be able to walk into work every day standing tall knowing that that sometimes the mundane minutia of you know, fixing or being in the service drive, or answering phone calls and email leads, sometimes to the minutia that can kind of take over. But the reality is you work in an industry that is constantly helping people that is constantly ready to go when disaster strikes, that is constantly led by people who have their eyes up and out into the community. And they're giving resources, whether it's financial, or you know, people resources, or we were just talking about why you weren't here, like connecting the dots, because, you know, dealerships just invest so much into the community, whether that's just in, you know, being, you know, a big consumer of services and electricians and advertising spend, but I mean, like people should feel proud every day.

Matt Lasher  13:13

Yeah, you know, scapular or, or leader says all the time, the car business is a people business and the most, that's the best part about it, the amount of people you get to meet and interact with every day. You know, and we're all in this together ultimately, like, you know, some people need help sometimes, you know, and we're happy to that we can do it. And we are a facilitator of a lot of those relationships. So, you know, it's just a humbling thing, but you know, you got to just appreciate each day and just be grateful for today, right? And it's right. Yeah, a friend of mine, actually, a sidenote has a hair salon, you know, and the apartments above the hair salon had a water break. So pipe burst and flooded her salon, you know, and this is her, her business that took 10 years of her life to create and whatever and, like, destroyed over the weekend, and now she's working on trying to sort through that, you know, and so everybody's just going through stuff. Yeah, in a variety of ways.

Paul Daly  14:04

No doubt, no doubt. Well, we got we got you here. So let's let's keep you on for a couple of stories. Speaking of dealing with stuff segue. So kind of in the in the vein of dealing with some inclement weather Ford f150, lightning electric pickup truck owner was able to power his home in Ontario, Canada for 44 hours during a winter storm that left 1000s without power, and still had 65% of his battery life when it was done. So he posted a picture on Reddit. I don't know if we have the picture. But he said this baby saved us. There it is. That's not the picture, but it's a picture. It was it kind of looked like that was from the back end. So you know, it had I think these these vehicles have 11 outlets with a 240 outlet in the back and heat powered lights, refrigerators, Wi Fi, you need the Wi Fi. That was probably the first thing he fired up his television for almost two days until power was back. And you know work kind of spoke about this saying we're here to make an electric truck, not for the few. But for a lot of people that solves real problems. So I think this is just we're gonna see a lot more of this. And this is just timely that like, use your car to power your home and drive away from it. Have you ever been in an f1? 50? Lightning met? They're sweet. Yeah, I haven't been one. I think Kyle has been in West. No, I


haven't. I haven't been credible. I'm sure.

Paul Daly  15:25

Have you delivered any? Like? How many have yes,

Matt Lasher  15:28

no. Um, I don't know the exact number. But you know, as many as

Paul Daly  15:32

you could get probably Yeah, exactly. You know, I

Matt Lasher  15:35

think it's like, I don't know, 10 or 15, something like that. It's not not a ton. But yeah, the people really love them. And, but everybody is learning about batteries and like how they work in the winter and stuff like that. So it's a it's an evolution. I don't know. I look at electric cars, and you got to have a garage. Dude, you got to have like a plug and stuff. You know what I mean? Like, not everybody has a garage? I don't know. We'll see. We'll see where it goes. But it's a cool truck.

Kyle Mountsier  16:00

Yeah, it's a cool truck. This is what blows my mind is that you can power a house for 4044 hours and stuff 65% of your battery leftover. But it can still only go like a few 100 miles. So just see the power that it takes to get a car moving as compared to everything going on your house is pretty like that. That's a stark reality. To me.

Paul Daly  16:21

It's kind of true for real for real, like the range is like 300 miles, but power this house for two days. I mean, it empowers whole house but enough of his house. Right? Yeah.

Kyle Mountsier  16:31

That's just a wild proposition.

Paul Daly  16:33

Really Is it really is speaking your propositions? We'll just keep moving. Segue, I won't play the whole thing. Alright, Cox automotive releases, has been releasing their top 10 predictions. I think it started in 2021. And they just released their 2023 lists of predictions. We'll go through here and see if we get a little feedback from you, Matt, while we have you, but also Jonathan smoke, who we all know their chief economist, gave his team a b minus for their predictions in 2022. We'll talk about those first because, you know, they said they expected leasing to come back. It didn't happen. They also predict that vehicle demand would remain strong and supply would gradually improve. You know, and he says both of those predictions weren't entirely accurate. So he gave his team a b minus for last year, which is pretty good. Right? We're predicting the future. It's not bad. Yeah, so but but they dropped the list of 2023. Kyle read through the list. He's like, Yeah, he's like, these are kind of like, okay, I get it. And I was like, well, don't you want your economists to be conservative? Wild economists. So let's let's read the list. Number one, a slow growing economy will place pressure on the automotive market. Number two new vehicle inventory levels will continue to increase. Number three total retail vehicle sales will fall in 2023 as new vehicle sales grow, and new sales decline. Number four, sales of electric vehicles will surpass 1 million units for the first time. So EVs going over 1 million. Number five use vehicle values we'll see above normal depreciation for the second straight year. Number six, affordability will be the greatest challenge facing vehicle buyers as you put that at the top number seven, all cash deals will increase to levels not seen in decades. Number eight, dealership service operations volume and revenue will climb. Number nine, half of buyers will engage in digital retailing tools and number 10. federal incentives will encourage more fleet buyers to consider electrified solutions, anything stand out on that list. I know Matt, I'm looking at it. You're not so just shut him off?

Matt Lasher  18:29

No, I mean, the affordability issue I think is top of mind, certainly for me, but like, as I mentioned, to the world, I think consumers are cash strapped. You know, it's interesting. The one of the other bullets was about cash, all cash transaction deals. Yeah, we are seeing an uptick in that partly, I think driven by the higher interest rates, but people don't I mean, most people don't have cash. Like I think that's the like most people can't pay $1,000 bill or unexpected bill or whatever. So you know, some of that I think that insight is is focused maybe on the wealthy and not like the whole you know, population. But

Kyle Mountsier  19:05

ya know, when we were at name add this year, both Jonathan Jonathan smoke and Mark bland So Jonathan, smoke Cox and Mark plan with s&p global, we're kind of breaking this down, recognizing that the buying majority right now is so heavily swung in the wealthy, that like literally people without cash or with that are living paycheck to paycheck or that are that are struggling in any way, have not just not been, you know, struggled to purchase they've just left the market altogether. And that the wider that chasm becomes the harder and harder it will be for banks to finance because they don't have well built portfolios as cash increases for high for wealthy buyers because they don't want to pay interest rates, right, like interest rates are going to continue to climb on on these, you know, high interest loans. And so I think I I think we are gonna it's gonna be this like weird, bifurcated market as some of the economists say where like the wealthy continue to purchase, but at all cash purchases, and that that people that that struggle with vehicle affordability are going to struggle harder with it and continue to actually remove themselves from the market instead of just like pay higher payments.

Matt Lasher  20:19

Sometimes you don't have a choice, though, like you can't remove yourself from the market because you got to get to your job or whatever, you know, not everybody has public transportation available to them and stuff. So the challenge is $10,000 cars and $20,000 cars. And I think that's like a, you know, a big part of it. But yeah, I don't know about that electric that electric? Well, you know, actually a lot of brands have a lot of cool EVs coming and stuff. So maybe that million that million numbers


are going to be about production.

Paul Daly  20:47

Can you make them? Can you may think, I think if you make them they're sold. Right? Right. I think they can get them out there sold. Let's stay on affordability for a second because you have a unique perspective on that a lot of people might not know that you and Westar have developed an actual product called streamline that helps with that placement of a customer on a vehicle that they can't afford. So you do have a unique perspective is a big focus of yours. What would you say to dealers out there that, you know, kind of see affordability as like a growing issue? And how would you kind of advise

Matt Lasher  21:19

them? Yeah, just think it's about knowing your inventory and what's available to be financed, because you have to understand the lender programs as well. And, you know, he has streamlined I won't plug that too hard here. It's not an infomercial,

Paul Daly  21:30

but I plugged it because I think it's a dealer developed tool for a problem that you solve day in and day out. So I think there's a high level relevancy to it.

Matt Lasher  21:39

Yeah, and you know, it's just a budget calculator. Da, I lost you. I think

Paul Daly  21:45

it's a budget calculator. You

Matt Lasher  21:46

said budget calculator, vehicle selection tool that helps salespeople and finance managers guide the process. So ultimately, I think there's opportunity to put deals together that sometimes dealers don't know how. So as a sales manager, I would often come across a customer with $10,000, negative equity, and I wouldn't know how to put a deal together, I would walk them politely I would say, Hey, thanks, thanks for coming in, you know, come back in six months, but there might be a way to put a deal together if you know, the math behind it. So, you know, that's kind of really what streamline helps solve for, but it's really about just being empathetic and a human, you know, we're all in this together. Right? And like, just because one person makes more money than another doesn't make them better, or, you know, whatever. So, it's about treating everybody I think, with fairness and kindness and, you know, seeing appreciating their struggles. Let's go.

Paul Daly  22:33

Yeah, that's wrap it on that let's Yeah, we are gonna wrap it on that well, went a little long today, but for good reason. We had Matt Lasher on the show, Matt, best of luck to you in the team as you continue to serve Buffalo and if you're out there, no. People are counting on you to serve them. And we still got a couple of days left this year. So go do it.

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