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6 Auto Trends for GM Dealers to Watch in 2024

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What’s going on in the automotive industry? In the past few years, production interruptions, supply chain shortages, logistics issues, and fluctuating demand for electric vehicles (EVs) have left dealers’ heads spinning.

General Motors (GM) has faced even more ups and downs, between battery production and vehicle delivery issues, the workers’ strike, and more. Is this the year GM dealers can breathe a sigh of relief? Let’s look at six auto trends GM dealers should watch in 2024.

Trend 1: Shift to a Buyer’s Market

One of the biggest questions on the minds of both consumers and dealerships is, “Will car prices drop in 2024?” For the auto industry in general, the answer is likely “yes.” Analysts predict that as inventory returns to normal, the days of market adjustments on cars, the fees dealerships add when there is low supply and high demand, will come to an end. One of the biggest auto trends of the year will be that we’ll enter a buyers’ market once again.

However, the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) strike in 2023 had analysts talking about increased labor costs that could potentially be passed on to customers. GM sought to reassure investors it can absorb the increased costs, which will add up to $9.3 billion by 2028. The company does expect its costs per vehicle to rise about $500 in 2024, but fierce competition will likely prevent it from raising prices and passing those costs on to consumers.

Trend 2: Moves to Boost GM Stock Forecasts

In the near-term, the UAW strike cost GM $1.1 billion. It lost production of 95,000 vehicles during the strike. None of that was good for the company’s stock prices, which took a plunge in October. Still, they rose again in late November and early December and the company ended the year relatively steady.

In 2024, GM will be making moves to reassure investors and boost its stock forecasts. CEO Mary Barra announced plans to reduce capital expenditures, lower fixed and variable costs, and increase efficiency.

GM will also buy back $10 billion of its shares, or about 20% of outstanding shares, and raise its dividend, which is a regular payment made to shareholders, from 9 cents to 12 cents per share. All of this will make investors happy and boost GM stock forecasts for 2024.

Trend 3: Scaling Back on Electric Vehicles

The rise of EVs has been one of the biggest auto trends for several years, but there are signs demand is starting to slow. Overall U.S. EV sales grew 90% year over year from June 2021 to 2022, but only grew 50% in the same period from 2022 to 2023. GM has also experienced issues making the batteries it needs for its EVs.

Combine those factors with the company’s need to cut capital spending, and it’s no surprise that GM announced it was canceling plans to make up to 400,000 EVs in 2024. It’s also delaying the production of several 2024 GM vehicles, including the Chevy Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV.

Trend 4: Changes to Inventory & Supply Chains

The question of past years has been, “When will car inventory return to normal?” The answer is finally here: 2024 is the year. Don’t expect to see much growth in the new and used car market forecasts – this year is all about getting back to the baseline. But the industry has learned a few lessons from the inventory shortage that should help boost growth long-term.

One of the main auto trends for 2024 will be a push to shorten supply chains and reduce freight costs, which will save money and minimize future shortages. GM is leveraging high-capacity assembly lines to ramp up production at its Ohio factory and solve its battery production problem, for example. The company is also renegotiating some of its vehicle logistics in the hopes of getting finished cars delivered to dealers more quickly.

Trend 5: Continued Push for Software-Defined Vehicles

Software-defined vehicles (SDVs) are simply vehicles that run on software platforms. They can automatically add features and functionality over the air (OTA) on the software platform, regardless of the car’s model or age. Tesla is a huge pioneer of SDVs – the company has been using its own platform for OTA updates since 2012.

Most car makers don’t have an end-to-end platform, but as the transition to SDVs becomes a repeating auto trend, GM has been innovating in this area. Its Ultifi platform made its debut in GM vehicles in 2023, which was also the first year that more than half of its new hires were in software, not hardware.

GM also demonstrated its commitment to SDVs by open-sourcing parts of Ultifi’s data, helping developers create applications that work on multiple platforms. Expect more to come from GM in the area of SDVs in 2024.

Trend 6: Changes in OnStar Subscriptions

Where Tesla was a pioneer of SDVs, GM has been a pioneer of vehicle telematics, which is essentially wireless communications. OnStar debuted in several 1997 Cadillac models, providing vehicle security and automatic crash notification. In 2010, it became one of the first automakers with web-enabled in-vehicle navigation – and the innovations continued.

Now, however, there’s another auto trend that will be important for GM dealers: Starting in 2024, the company will no longer require all buyers of Buick and GMC models to pay for OnStar Premium. It was previously built into the price as a line item that customers could not decline.

Now, Premium will be built into the price of only certain 2024 GM cars, while lower trim levels will get Onstar Remote Access. Changes to OnStar subscriptions could affect dealer maintenance notifications (DMN), which are the alerts sent to GM dealers when a car needs service.

Automotive retail trends indicate that normalizing inventory and lower or steady prices will mean customers are once again ready to buy in 2024. GM’s efforts to fix supply chains and logistics will mean more cars on your lot, while reduced EV production could mean your inventory will be more in line with consumer demand.

What do all these auto trends mean for GM dealers? In 2024, you’ll want to be prepared for an influx of sales leads, while also maximizing your service revenue from DMN alerts. Better Car People can help. Our proprietary platform works with your sales and service teams to respond to leads, schedule appointments, and drive revenue. Book a meeting with us to learn more about how we can help you capture every lead and make the most of 2024.

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