Tag Archives: automobiles

CarBravo – General Motors Introduces its Used-Car Website

Shopping for a used-car is challenging these days. Not only is there a reported shortage of used-cars, but prices have been steadily rising at an estimated rate of 35%, making it hard for consumers to shop for a good used-car at a good price. In addition, there has been an increase in the number of ways – and websites – to shop for a used-car.

To access this rising demand, and to help resell its hundreds of thousands of used-cars, General Motors recently announced a new digital platform named ‘CarBravo’ that will be focused on selling its own used-car inventory.

GM officials stated that there are roughly 400,000 used vehicles available on an ongoing basis and its dealers sell 2.5 million used cars each year. Plus, GM and GM Financial have another 500,000 used cars each year to add to the mix.

According to industry analyst research, the U.S. used car market is more than two times the size of the new car sales. McKinsey estimates that U.S. consumers buy more than 39.4 million used cars each year, at a value of $1.4 billion. And used car sales are growing at a faster rate than new car sales, leading to an expanded market opportunity.

The biggest used car dealers currently are Carvana, CarMax, and Cars.com – all of which use their websites and locations to attract buyers and make it easy to both sell and purchase a used car. Plus, Ford has already entered into the consolidated used car market with its Ford Blue Advantage site.

CarBravo will offer online only purchase, dealership only purchase, and a combination of the two methods. However, one of GM’s biggest strength may be its reach – it has a network of 4,200 dealers across the nation, and those dealers have 400,000 used vehicles in inventory each year.

Where would you shop for a used car?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:  

  1. Poll students: Who has sold a car? Who has bought a used car? What was their experience?
  2. List the places that used cars can be purchased. Who are the direct competitors to GM? Indirect competitors?
  3. Show video discussing the used car market: https://youtu.be/OMHhOdQRXZM
  4. Discuss the purpose of GM’s new business – CarBravo.
  5. Ask students to develop a SWOT analysis for General Motors, focusing on opportunities and threats. What are the main risks and issues?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare CarBravo with a competitor.
  7. What are the points of difference?

Source: Brown, L. S. (January 12, 2022). Car and Driver. GM to launch CarBravo, its own used car sales website.; LaReau, J. (January 11, 2022). Detroit Free Press. GM launches massive used car website CarBravo, hopes to take on Carvana.

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Hertz Bets Big on EVs and Tesla

Has the time for electric vehicles (EV) finally arrived? After all, EV automobiles are not a new concept and have been sold for many years by a number of auto manufacturers. But they have not yet taken off into a mass consumer market.

But now, EV sales are certainly growing with a large purchase of 100,000 Tesla cars by Hertz for a reported price of $4.2 billion. Showing support for the purchase is Uber, which committed to renting up to half of that order for its drivers. Consumers often state that a positive rental experience made them consider purchasing the model as well. The market for Hertz is not only current Tesla owners who want to rent Tesla when they travel, but also consumers who have wanted to test drive an EV Tesla for an extended period of time.

Current global market estimates are that EV market growth will go from roughly $246 billion in 2020 to $1.3 trillion by 2028. The growth is fueled in part by  the requirement to lower carbon emissions, as well as increasing fuel prices. However, a limiting factor is the low number of charging stations; mileage between charges continues to be a factor impacting sales.

A bonus for Tesla (aside from a sticker-price buy) is the advertising that Hertz will do for the rentals. Hertz is planning an advertising campaign with quarterback Tom Brady to promote EV rentals. The company will also install thousands of EV chargers at it locations globally.

Tesla famously does not purchase advertising, instead relying on its store-fronts, word-of-mouth, and the strong social media presence of Elon Musk  who has 54 million followers on Twitter.

Hertz also gains from the deal. It filed for bankruptcy in May 2020, but emerged from bankruptcy a few months ago, just as travel started to grow again in the U.S. After shedding old inventory during bankruptcy, the company is now poised to be one of the newest and most relevant car rental agencies.

Ready to rent?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. View the Hertz news release: https://newsroom.hertz.com/2021-10-25-Hertz-Invests-in-Largest-Electric-Vehicle-Rental-Fleet-and-Partners-with-Seven-Time-Super-Bowl-Champion-Tom-Brady-to-Headline-New-Campaign
  2. A news video is available: https://youtu.be/gr6nLPUqzW0
  3. Discuss how to build and use a SWOT analysis grid: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (internal and external factors).
  4. For Hertz car rentals, break students into teams and have each team build a SWOT analysis grid.
    1. Strengths: What is the company good at?
    1. Weaknesses: What needs work?
    1. Opportunities: What is going on in marketplace?
    1. Threats: What should company be wary of?
  5. You might repeat the SWOT exercise using Tesla. What are the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
  6. Based on the analysis, what are the issues and risks that might occur for Hertz with its purchase of Tesla cars?
  7. Same question for Tesla: What are the issues and risks?

Source: Assoc. Press; CNBC; Fortune Business Insights; New York Times; Tech Crunch; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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The Future of Parking Garages

When is the last time you left your car in a public parking garage? It may sound a little crazy to ask this, but what was your experience? Most likely, it just was parking and nothing else. Nothing special. Boring. Repetitive. Unattractive. Expensive. Time consuming.

Now, think of the potential business opportunity to give those car owners something else to enjoy – and spend money on – in addition to keeping their cars safely tended. The parking garage could actually become a ‘mobility hub’ or a ‘silo’ that could provide restful parking for delivery drivers who might need restrooms and food. After all, those large concrete buildings are usually in valuable real estate located next to destinations such as entertainment, shopping, and events venues.

Innovation is now coming to parking garages. In Chicago, an underground parking garage downtown is being converted to an e-commerce delivery center. Los Angeles parking garages house shared commercial kitchens. Denver and Seattle parking garage roofs are being used as urban greenhouses and farms. San Francisco is redeveloping a garage into a mixed-use complex with affordable housing. Other garages are using parking spots for autonomous vehicles and EV charging stations, adding integrated access controls, kiosks, valet parking, and more, all synced through mobile devices.

Technology plays a large role in the future of parking garages. High-tech cameras can read license plates, enabling drivers to buy passes online and bypass ticket taking and payments, reserving a parking spot in advance. Some garages work with car-sharing companies, bikes, food trucks, and scooters to help patrons quickly access transportation. Others are considering how to combine workspace, retail, fitness centers, and housing using pre-fabricated modules.

What would you like to see in a parking garage?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What has been their experiences with parking garages? What is negative? What could be done to improve parking garages?
  2. View FlashPark website: https://www.flashparking.com/products/
  3. Show video – why parking lots will disappear: https://youtu.be/XMt4zEEHxv4
  4. Discuss the impact of ride-sharing services and autonomous vehicles on parking garages.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a parking garage in the area.
  6. Research the garage, number of spots, footprint, revenue, usage.
  7. Have each team redesign the garage to be more innovative and useful.
  8. Debrief the exercise and select a winning design.

Source:  Axios; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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