Money hand over fist
You probably don't want to buy a car right now. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fun to talk about it. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Today and tomorrow we wrap up our week of being sponsored by WineText.com. Thanks to them for their support, and to those of you who clicked through to check them out!
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What would it take to get you in a new car?
As I mentioned yesterday, we’ll be doing an Understandably Live video interview today with Zach and Ray Shefska, the father and son team behind the auto expert site and highly popular YouTube channel, YAA (Your Advocate Alliance):
“The only membership where auto experts help you make smart decisions to save time, hassle, and money.”
(It goes live at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. You can watch via the screen below, or click here.)
It’s a tough time to be a car-buyer, because supplies are short, and profits are long. But it’s a darn good time to be a car dealer. Here’s what dealers at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas last month told the New York Times :
“Every dealer today is making money hand over fist!”
“The average Toyota dealer in the Boston region in the best years made between $2 and $2.2 million. Last year, the average net profit was $6 million.”
“Supply of both new and used cars was so limited [in 2021] that when consumers found a car, they seized upon it, and they were totally price insensitive. The dealers parlayed that into more profit on the back end.”
I’m one of those strange people who enjoys negotiations, but I don’t think I’d want to wade into that kind of an environment. And that’s part of what we’ll be talking with Zach and Ray about. What else?
Why the big car companies are spinning their electric vehicle (EV) product lines into separate divisions …
Where things really stand with the future of EVs, and whether the next ICE (internal combustion engine) car you buy might be the last…
When is the whole market for cars going to get better for consumers, and what to do if you truly have to buy one now …
And, what’s it like to start a business and do all these YouTube videos as a father-and-son team?
Plus, whatever good stuff you all come up with. You can suggest questions in the comments section here, or on YouTube where we’ll be streaming. (Again, just go to this link.)
YAA has a membership program where you can get advice from experts on car-buying, maintenance, and the like. I asked if they could give a little somethin’-somethin’ for premium (paid) Understandably members. So, they’ll be offering a free trial membership.
I’ll have details on how to access that during the video, and then in tomorrow’s newsletter. Hope to see you there!
7 other things worth knowing today
The U.S. announced it’s imposing a new slate of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, and that for the first time, sanctions would target the two adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin, along with the spouses and adult children of Russia’s foreign minister, and former prime ministers. (CNBC)
Ukrainian civilians are fleeing eastern Ukraine as Russian troops seem poised to concentrate their attacks there. And, more details and verification have emerged from the massacre in Bucha. One woman who was killed, Iryna Filkina, 52, who worked as a heating station operator and was taking classes on makeup and beauty, was identified by her elaborate manicure. Reports said she was shot while riding a bicycle. (NYT: Link 1, Link 2; warning: there are some gruesome images here. I think the paywall is removed for these, let me know)
The FBI raided a Washington luxury apartment building and arrested two men, Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 36. Authorities charge that the men had posed as federal agents, befriended Secret Service agents including some on the First Lady’s protection detail, and lavished them with gifts including free apartments (one a penthouse costing $40,000 a year in rent, iPhones, drones, televisions, and at least one rifle. Completely missing from the story so far is the context: who the men were, why they were allegedly pulling off this whole scheme. (AP)
Help Wanted: Adjunct Professor [at UCLA], Must Have Doctorate. Salary: $0. (NYT, $)
Have I even mentioned Elon Musk buying 9 percent of Twitter and getting a board seat in the newsletter? I wrote for Inc.com yesterday about the oddity of the agreement he signed to get the seat: It’s only 3 paragraphs and about 250 words long; usually these things run a dozen pages or more. (Inc.com; also, let me know if you hit a paywall here.)
Some sad news that hit closer to home than I would have realized. Eric Boehlert, 57, a journalist who wrote a newsletter called Press Run, died after a bicycle accident. He wrote media criticism from a liberal point of view; I didn’t agree with everything he wrote certainly, but I enjoyed his work and he was also kind enough to offer me some advice on building newsletters when I launched Understandably. Eric leaves behind a wife and two children. I had thought for some reason that he was in California; after his death I realized he lived only a few miles away from me in New Jersey. May he rest in peace. (NY Daily News)
I liked this long Twitter thread about Generation X. It makes us sound like the savviest, coolest generation ever. Culminates with this post summarizing how to deal with us.
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I think it is irresponsible to use the words "every dealer". As a sales person at a small used car dealership, we are absolutely not making money hand over fist. We have to pay more money than we used to when acquiring inventory so we have to charge more just to make the same money. We also don't push the "back end" services that rip customers off. Most consumers don't understand what those entail. When they are paying for extended warranties, GAP insurance, undercoating or other add ons that is where the larger dealerships are making money.
I saw a news story which said EVs are killing the rain forests. It seems the Nickel used in the EV batteries is in plentiful supply under the rain forests. The nickel is being mined there resulting in the destruction of the trees. We have a dilemma here: do we destroy the environment with our chemical exhaust or destroy the environment by killing the rain forests?