Selecman has an EV himself. And while he enjoys the vehicle, he said he recognizes the concerns of taking such a vehicle long distances.
"It gets really scary when you've got like 30 miles left of energy, and you have no idea where you're going to charge," he said, noting he drove his EV from Detroit to Akron for the RIA conference. "And when you do find something, it's going to take 10 hours to charge it back up."
Not an ideal situation in the middle of the night for a driver on a dark road, he said, joking this is especially the case as a driver with Michigan plates in Ohio.
And these are the kinds of things customers think about when considering the purchase of an EV.
"We talk about politics, we talk about the government's position, what the economic position is," Selecman said. "The thing that's never really talked about is the customer experience and how that customer's experience shapes how they buy cars."
Also critical to the discussion is how much a customer is willing to pay.
Yes, for EVs, but also for any vehicle, as many consumers are getting squeezed out of the new vehicle market.
In 2016, North America had its peak year in vehicle production. At this time, there were 14 auto makers in the region. By 2030, when North America is predicted to hit this peak again, AutoForecast estimates there will be 28 manufacturers in the region.
"We're going to double the amount of manufacturers, and we're not going to increase the amount of vehicles sold," Selecman said.
"So, what does this mean? It means our amount of volume per manufacturer is going down, so your customers are getting weaker over time."
And while vehicle production has lagged since the onset of the semiconductor shortage, auto makers' profits per vehicle have skyrocketed.
"I think there's been the highest profits for vehicles in history for all the auto makers," Selecman said.
And the data reflects this. Monthly payments for new vehicles have jumped significantly in the last 10 years.
In 2008, the average monthly payment for a new vehicle was about $460, according to data from the Federal Reserve. While this jumped to about $500 in 2009, it remained around $460 from 2010-14. Since 2014, the monthly payment for new vehicles has risen to over $700 as of the second quarter of 2022.
Multiple factors have contributed to this, Selecman said.
This includes when the EPA passed CO2 legislation in 2012, causing new technology to hit the market (like turbo engines; six-, eight- and 10-speed engines; and hybrids), as well as "cash problems" and the pandemic.
Selecman noted that the average term for new vehicles was about 60 months, or five years, until between 2012-18.
As the price of vehicles has gone up, the average term for new vehicles has bumped up to about 72 months.
"We added a whole year to the term. Why? Because the cars are getting more expensive. People couldn't afford it," he said, noting these numbers have yet to even factor EVs, which contain additional under-the-hood costs of about $10,000 for their batteries.
And this is a serious issue for consumers.
"If this affordability problem is not solved, people won't be able to buy cars," Selecman said. "We'll bleed out all the people that can't afford cars and put them into something else."
That "something else" is used vehicles. And the used vehicle market responded.