Dave Cantin Group and Kaiser Associates’ Market Outlook Report Highlights Seven Key Themes, Forecasts Auto Industry Settling into Post-Covid Groove

  • Industry shifting in favor of car buyers; performance settles, but remains above pre-Covid levels
  • Presidential election year to focus attention on industry, determine future of EV rebates
  • Future of EV adoption uncertain, causing OEMs to adjust production forecasts, tempting China
  • Consumers’ pent-up appetite for vehicles, declining interest rates and economic resiliency indicates high demand for new cars
  • Dealership M&A activity remains above pre-Covid levels
  • Report to help dealers understand and adjust for current and emerging industry issues

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The U.S. auto industry looks ready to settle into a potentially sustainable post-Covid groove in 2024, according to the DCG Market Outlook Report (MOR) published today by the Dave Cantin Group in partnership with Kaiser Associates.

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Drawing on market-backed data and interviews from industry experts, the first-of-its-kind, multi-perspective report delivers insights on themes shaping the coming year in automotive. The MOR fills an industry gap for a report that encompasses the state of entire automotive landscape, detailing its impact on dealers, consumers and OEMs. The full report is available here.

“The last four years have caused monumental changes in the auto industry,” said Dave Cantin, CEO of the Dave Cantin Group, a leading advisory firm to automotive retail groups and their owners. “Dealerships are facing unfamiliar choices, new challenges and the stark reality of normalized profits. The Market Outlook Report provides a holistic, big-picture look at the automotive industry that empowers manufacturers, dealers and their advisors to better understand and adjust for current and emerging issues that will directly affect their operations. We’re confident MOR will be a go-to resource for automakers, dealers and other industry stakeholders.”

Among the findings and insights, are expectations that the industry will settle into a post-Covid balance in 2024, with the outlook in several areas better than pre-Covid levels, but less than the highs of the pandemic years.

For example, the report forecasts battery-electric-vehicle adoption continuing to grow, but not at the levels of the last few years, and not as much as hybrid-electric vehicle adoption. Consumers are holding more power than ever and impacting OEM strategy. Political and regulatory factors are more present than ever, but the CARS Rule and CARS Act don’t hold as much weight as the noise suggests. The number of dealership buy-sell transactions is forecast to exceed pre-pandemic levels, but not hit the totals of the last four years.

“We’re seeing stabilization across many categories that promise continued strong business results for manufacturers and dealers, while offering slightly better opportunities to consumers,” said Paul Mumma, a Partner at Kaiser Associates who led compilation of the DCG Market Outreach Report. “The report identifies seven distinct themes at play in automotive in 2024 and then draws on a range of data, study and expert insights to deliver a guide for the year ahead.”

MOR’s seven automotive industry themes for 2024 are:

  • Macroeconomics: Soft Landing, Harder Choices – The economy remains better than expected, supporting industry results above pre-Covid levels.
  • Consumer Trends: Societal Shifts Solidifying – Changing consumer preferences and behaviors are reshaping the industry.
  • Politics and Regulation: Unusually Important in 2024 – The election year promises vigorous regulatory debate, and will determine federal EV policy.
  • OEMs and Supply Chain: In the Driver Seat – Automakers retain control of the industry value chain, but their grip is weakening.
  • EVs: Extremely Volatile – The rate of EV adoption is moderating, causing widespread production and order adjustments.
  • Dealership Trends: Back to the Grind – High-performing dealers will use data, efficiencies to separate themselves from the pack.
  • M&A Trends and Forecast: Continued Opportunity – The 2024 auto dealership M&A climate will stabilize, but continue to exceed pre-Covid levels.

“The industry is back to the grind in 2024. Inventory is back, the supply chain is not a blocker, and manufacturers are adjusting some of their priorities based on how consumers have pushed back over the past few years,” said Michael Brown, owner of the Empire Automotive Group. “Overall, things look more like they did pre-pandemic and it’s back to business as usual.”

MOR is based on data from a variety of current sources, including unique research and modeling, as well as surveys and interviews conducted among U.S. consumers, dealership executives, OEMs, supply chain players and industry analysts. Notable participants include Michael Brown, Empire Automotive Group; Randy Hoffman, COO at Ed Morse Automotive Group; Brett Hopkins, CEO at Ken Garff Automotive Group; Michael LaMotta, CEO at Dealer Owned Warranty Company; Brian Maas, President at California New Car Dealers Association; Joe Serra, Chairman at Serra Automotive; Kevin Tynan, Sr Automotive Analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence and many more.

The study comes on the eve of DCG’s participation at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual trade show, a key event in the automotive retailing world, where the Dave Cantin Group annually hosts an event that prompted Automotive News to dub DCG the undisputed kings of the NADA afterparty. Last year, the DCG Afterparty featured heavyweight champion prizefighter Mike Tyson as its speaker. This year’s featured speaker is Grant Cardone, an American businessman, private equity fund manager, author and founder of the 10X Growth Conferences.

You can view the Market Outlook Report here: https://www.davecantingroup.com/getMOR

About Dave Cantin Group

Headquartered in New York, NY, The Dave Cantin Group (DCG) is a leading advisor to retail automotive groups and their owners. The Company also serves a variety of adjacent industries including automotive, motorcycle, powersports, heavy trucks, and recreational vehicles. DCG caters to the financial, transactional, and advisory needs of its clients throughout the dealership lifecycle, with particularly deep expertise as an advisor on both the buy-side and the sell-side of the M&A process. Through its media division, DCG produces the #1 downloaded automotive podcast, Dealer News Today. The company’s nonprofit partner, DCG Giving, funds child and adolescent cancer research and treatment in communities nationwide through its support of the Children’s Oncology Group. For more information, please visit www.davecantingroup.com.

About Kaiser Associates, Inc
Headquartered in Washington, DC and London, Kaiser Associates is a growth consulting firm that translates original insights into strategy for ambitious organizations around the world. Kaiser firm combines custom market research with sector expertise to help its clients make more confident, data-backed decisions. For more information, visit www.kaiserassociates.com.

Media Contacts

For Dave Cantin Group:

Katie Merx
[email protected]
313.510.5090

For Kaiser Associates

Blaire Hoffman
[email protected]

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