AD #2752 – Labor Costs Going Up; Hyundai & Kia Invest in Commercial EVs; Tesla to Make Chinese-Style Vehicles

January 16th, 2020 at 11:54am

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Listen to “AD #2752 – Labor Costs Going Up; Hyundai and Kia Invest in Commercial EVs; Tesla to Make Chinese-Style Vehicles” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 9:16

0:57 Trump Admin. to Roll Back, Not Freeze Fuel Economy Standards
1:43 Boxster & Cayman GTS Drop 4 for a 6
2:37 Toyota Supra Gets a 4-Cylinder
3:21 Labor Costs Going Up
4:12 Toyota Invests in Electric VTOL
5:15 Porsche Taycan Turbo S Range Revealed
5:38 Hyundai & Kia to Develop Electric Commercial Vehicles
6:10 Tesla Registrations Plummet in California
6:56 Tesla Wants to Make Chinese-Style Vehicles
7:23 EVs Getting More Incentives
8:09 Candid Conversation with Faraday Future’s CEO

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65 Comments to “AD #2752 – Labor Costs Going Up; Hyundai & Kia Invest in Commercial EVs; Tesla to Make Chinese-Style Vehicles”

  1. Roger Says:

    Labor rates at the auto manufacturers are insane. So many of the jobs there are unskilled manual labor positions [attach part 'A' to part 'B'] that could be filled by a fifteen year old kid being paid $10 hour. If the workers were paid a fair and REASONABLE amount then vehicles would be affordable to the masses.

  2. Larry D. Says:

    A. Glad to hear Sandy will not just be a panelist but will detail his latest investigation on Cybertruck building costs etc.

    B. $71 labor costs (to the automaker) is just utterly unacceptable, for semi-skilled ASSEMBLERS of vehicles, and even more unacceptable when the non-union costs are a whole $20 less.

    Imagine you are a foreign multi-billionaire and want to invest in an auto plant. What is the chance you would want it in the US, in a unionized region, and especially given recent UAW corruption? But primarily, when you have to pay $71 for every semi-skilled hour of work, and your competitors only pay $52 (in the US!) and Elon Musk in China pays probably $5-$10 an hour with benefits and everything?

    And don’t tell me again auto assemblers are specialists with PhDs. They are barely skilled workers.


    I am glad sanity has returned to SOME automakers, and intelligence too. These are VERY attractive vehicles, and a rarity in today’s market of $90k 4-cylinder unreliable Volvo-Geelys.

    D. TESLA REGISTRATIONS IN CALIFORNIA “PLUMMET”. I don’t agree with all your discussion here.

    First of, let’s get real. 13,600 Model 3s in just ONE state and ONE quarter is HUMONGOUS. The reason it is steeply down from last year 25k is obviously that last year was the peak of Model 3 deliveries due to all these reservations. California has half the EV sales in the USA, and in that sense it has already a ton of them, but other states can and will become second and third CAs soon.

    Second, Tesla is hardly a company with an empty pipeline. They believe the Model Y will sell more units than ALL current Tesla models combined, including the Stellar sales of the Model 3. AND given the infatuation of US buyers with bradvans (aka crossovers), I don’t doubt it.

    Third, CHina is the biggest EV market in the world, but Tesla is not huge there alone, EUROPE will be another HUMONGOUS market, and the well-placed Berlin-Brandenburg plant, making another half million a year in a couple years.

    So don’t anybody shed any tears for Tesla, sincere or crocodile ones. LOL.

  3. Larry D. Says:

    1. Exactly, thank you, and AMEN!

  4. Larry D. Says:

    In my daily Ward’s email just received (I bet you hear about this in tomorrow’s show), some guy did some research and concluded that EVs are “overtaxed”? Where is he wrong? Very counterintuitive conclusion.

  5. Lambo2015 Says:

    Cyber-truck “So how much money could Tesla save taking this approach?”
    How about no savings if the truck is so ugly that you get a fraction the sales you could have with a decent body. The Pontiac Aztec was proof of that. It was actually a very versatile and nice vehicle if you didn’t look at it.

  6. Bob Wilson Says:

    “In the fourth quarter, we achieved record production of almost 105,000 vehicles and record deliveries of approximately 112,000 vehicles. In 2019, we delivered approximately 367,500 vehicles, 50% more than the previous year and in line with our full year guidance.” – Tesla 2019 Q4 report to the SEC (see link.)

    Teslas sell in places other than California. If registrations in California are down it is because Tesla ships products to China, Europe, North America, and even Dixie.

  7. Buzzerd Says:

    1st have you ever worked on an auto line? I’m guessing not.
    2nd Funny how many people are buying those unaffordable autos
    3rd Those pour auto manufacturers are still managing to make a few hundred million dollars
    4th how many man hours are in each vehicle? If you dropped the wage in half what would you save?

  8. Larry D. Says:

    5 The Cybertruck looks nothing like the ugly loser Aztec. And sure has nothing in common with that breadvan in performance and fuel efficiency and a ton of other areas.

    And whatever weakness can be easily fixed (as the elimination of that pointy roof by changing it to a flat plate on top.)

  9. Larry D. Says:

    7 I sure have not, and it is NOT a prerequisite to knowing as much, and even ten times more, about that line than you do, even if you DID work and got the utterly undeserved $71 an hour there.

    DO you know why Henry Ford DOubled the pay of his assembly line workers from $2.5 an hour to $5 (a HUGE amount in today’s worthless $)? Because workers HATED the STUPID, repetitive job, that is best suited to ROBOTS than Humans.

  10. Buzzerd Says:

    @9 I did not work on a line and how could I ever pretend to know as much as you. You are such a tool.

  11. Lambo2015 Says:

    On the VTOL’s going electric seems great for the environment and probably to a lesser advantage noise pollution but it seems to be a simple physics problem of power to weight. So is it lighter to have a single ICE engine than 6 or 8 electric motors and a battery? Or a single ICE engine running a generator powering 6 or 8 electric motors with a very small battery? Weight is a huge factor when it comes to flying especially when the weight isn’t being carried by fixed wings. Using props to carry all that weight certainly seems like an ICE may still have an advantage over EVs with a large enough battery. It would interesting to see a comparison of the weight and power and range of the three options: 1) Pure ICE 2)Pure EV 3) Hybrid.

  12. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “The Boxster and Cayman GTS will not be available with a turbocharged 4-cylinder after 2019 because it is being replaced by a naturally aspirated 4.0L in-line six.

    It will be a horizontally opposed 6, not an in-line six.

    Anyway, when the Cayman and Boxster switched to the turbo four with the current generation, the performance and fuel efficiency improved, but the sound did not. There has been whining about that ever since. I’ve driven a “base” Cayman with a 2.0 liter turbo flat four, and it works great, but yeah, it doesn’t sound that great.

    They have been selling a Cayman and Boxster GTS with a 2.5 liter turbo four, starting at about $20K more than the base cars, while not being that much different to drive. Now, with the six, people buying the GTS will get something for their extra money, though I suppose it will now be $30K premium over the base car. Still, it’s a smart move for Porsche. I suspect the new GTS will sell well, for a $90K and up sports car.

  13. Buzzerd Says:

    K I’ve officially had it with Larry the deuche or what ever his name is. Enough !!! Make this turd go away already. I can’t imagine this guy talks to people in person like this unless he’s the toughest guy in the world which he will probably tell you he’s that also. Enough of his attitude to anyone who disagrees with him, enough of his half wit insight, enough of all of it.

  14. Larry D. Says:

    9 oops, it was $5 a DAY, not an hour, which was truly humongous. Still, even if you worked 200 days a year, that’s $1,000, and you could buy FOUR Model Ts at $250 each every year!

  15. victor west Says:

    The Aztec’s problem was that it had disunified styling lines. It looked like it was designed by committee. It had lines in conflict. The Tesla truck has unity of style, even aerospace design clues.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 If they want much run time, an ICE running a generator, to run the motors would be the way to do it. Electric motors are the only practical way to actually power a multi-rotor machine like that, using fixed pitch propellers.

  17. Lambo2015 Says:

    8 Actually the Aztec and Cyber truck are a lot alike as they both were designed by 3rd graders. Fixing the roofline is like polishing a turd.

    9 All assembly line jobs cannot be effectively replaced by a robot as Tesla quickly learned. Try as one might many operations require some finesse and can only be done by a human. Yes it is very mundane and repetitive and often times very taxing on ones body. Very much like a pro athlete that has to prepare for their later years of bad knees and backs as it does take a toll on the body. Something I’m sure your not aware of. People why travel around the country doing training could also be replaced by You Tube videos. Just saying.

  18. rick bradner Says:


    OK, I get the “4 FOR 6″ part, this just takes us back to where they were three years ago, but did he really say inline 6? Twice!?
    now that would be news!

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 Well, maybe two inline 3s, sharing a crankshaft.

  20. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Kit #12 – Thanks for catching that mistake.

  21. Bob Wilson Says:

    #11 – Sandy Munro’s team designed a hybrid airplane using a V8 automotive engine. I’d recommend calling in and asking him out the electric VTOLs.

  22. bradley cross Says:

    Be interesting to know if Tesla was suggested to do a Chinese design or really wants too. Could also be a marketing tool to make their cars more appealing to the Chinese market.

    Fuel standards are coming around to my original idea. Incentive 1% improvement each year.

    The model-Y will likely supercharge Tesla sales and basically nuke model-3 sales except for value EV shoppers.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 Probably the first “Chinese style” vehicles Tesla should consider, would just be “stretch” Model 3 and Model Y.

  24. Bob Wilson Says:

    The Munro system is called the “Paradigm” system (see link.) It uses a direct drive, ducted fan. A neat approach so Sandy is more than qualified to opine on the electric VTOLs.

  25. ArtG Says:

    13. +1

  26. Lambo2015 Says:

    13 +2

  27. Lambo2015 Says:

    13 +2

  28. Larry D. Says:

    23 You beat me to it. The main diff between Chinese and US luxury cars is that they use them as “executive” or “official” cars and all have extra legroom in the back, plus upscale interiors with plenty of wood etc. They have “L” versions of the E class (that looked gorgeous in black) and even the 3 series sedans (which looked little different from US spec 3 series), so they probably would want L versions of the 3. I doubt the Y will be popular for this sort of thing. They may ask for “L” Model Ss but I bet they will get them only from independent aftermarket shops.

  29. Albemarle Says:

    I like the idea of a 4 cylinder Supra along with the 6. It would be nice to compare the two engines. I have no interest in track days so the extra front weight might be a bigger issue than the power for fun driving.

    I rented an Aztec once. Next morning when I checked out of the hotel I saw it for the first time in daylight. Went back to the airport and swapped for a different car. My goodness!

  30. Bob Wilson Says:

    Don’t worry about the Model Y as Tesla can ‘walk and chew gum at the same time.’ They have no problem making and selling three models. Four won’t be a problem because of the incompetent competition who apply ICE design rules to their EVs.

    The YouTube link summarizes Tesla production and sales which does not call out California as a special case. In Dixie, we call that shouting “Squirrel”

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29 The 4 cylinder Supra should drive well, and has plenty of power. I’d think the only reason not to sell it in the U.S., is because of the people who think a Supra needs an in-line six to be a Supra. That’s probably why the car ended up being a BMW, rather than being based on one of the rear drive Lexus platforms.

  32. cwolf Says:

    The non union plants are still under their present contract which widens the wage range. Their contracts always follow the UAW negotiations. Only when they complete their bargaining will more truthful figures be had. The data given is more of a dog and pony show than one of reality. I don’t know of a single union worker who’s wages place them above middle class.

  33. Bob Wilson Says:

    Dr. Carsten Breitfeld’s brilliant BMW i3 is still the best (the only?) EV BMW makes. The overweight and over priced, BMW i8, not so much. But Breitfeld was leading “Byton” until the Chinese decided they knew better how to run it … and Breitfeld and his engineers fled.

    In contrast, Elon has integrated well with China and the results show. Or perhaps the bitterness of Byton taught the Chinese that less can be best.

  34. Larry D. Says:

    short (7 mins) and sweet. An owner who put 40,000 miles on his Model 3 tells you exactly how much it cost to own and run it.

    (for those who do not stick their heads in the sand and are deaf to Tesla’s trimumphs)

  35. Larry D. Says:

    While some poor devils here have been badmouthing Tesla ever since I joined this forum, guess which Larry (no relation… LOL), made $1.6 billion from his Tesla stock:

    “(Larry) Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation and one of the world’s richest men, joined the Tesla board on Dec. 27, 2018. Before he did, though, he purchased 3 million shares of electric carmaker’s stock, the company said late last year.
    The closing value of those shares the day he joined the board was about $948 million, a stake representing 1.7% of Tesla shares. That makes him the second largest shareholder on the board after CEO Elon Musk.
    For the first six months, Ellison’s investment looked like a bad bet. Tesla (TSLA) shares tumbled 43% before hitting a 52-week low of $179.61 a share on June 3.

  36. XA351GT Says:

    So how much could cost to make the Cyber truck? It looks like it was made out of cardboard boxes.

    When you say they are going to make Chinese styled vehicles how do you mean? Are they going to look like boats called Junks? What is exactly Chinese style? It seems that their tastes in styling are not all that different than ours.

    The possible reason why Tesla registrations have dropped in Cali is that they no longer qualify for the incentives and with the high cost of everything else out there the money just isn’t there to justify buying one ,or the real danger for tesla is that everyone who wanted one ,got one.

  37. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 The i8 has been discontinued, and the i3 REx has been discontinued in Germany. It sounds like BMW may be taking a step backward with EVs. I’ve read that the i3 will soon be replaced with an electric car based on a platform shared with the gas 3 series. That hasn’t been the best way to do an EV.

  38. merv Says:

    34 just watched that 7 minute clip,very interesting/informative

  39. Lambo2015 Says:

    36 I believe that saturation point might be the bigger contributor. The data tends to lean toward incentives helping but I often really wonder. I mean if you want and can afford a 40K car does $7500 sway you one way or the other? If your financing it you’re still financing 40K minus down payment. The tax credit comes off your taxes at the end of the year which is nice money in your pocket but you still have the same car payment. (I believe that’s how the US incentive works) So having or not having a tax credit I don’t think has that much to do with EV sales. I believe they are slowing due to limited market.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34,38 That’s all good, if you can charge at home, especially with cheap power.

    Actual long-term battery life is still an unknown. How will the batteries be at 15 years and 250K mies? We don’t really know. The whole business of battery repair, salvage, etc. will emerge as the cars get old. I suspect a business of building good batteries using modules from wrecks, etc. will emerge in 10-15 years.

    39 Most Model 3s are closer to $60K, as with the one in the video linked in #34. I wouldn’t expect the tax credit going away to have a big effect on sales of cars this expensive, but some people planning to buy a Tesla might have “bought earler” to get the credit, or part of it.

  41. Larry D. Says:

    38 Thanks, I found it very informative too. The extreme youth of the buyer is noteworthy. Model S buyers were usually older and able to afford it, but many Model 3 owners are very young, a demographic Buick and Lincoln would kill for.

  42. Larry D. Says:

    40 I don’t think you have stats that support your claim that most Model 3′s are close to $60k, but if you do, please post the links. I would guess that the majority of the huge number of Model 3s sold by now are closer to $40-45k.

  43. Larry D. Says:

    40 Re battery life, Model Ss (hundreds of thousands of them) have been around for 9 years now, this is plenty of time to see if there are serious battery life issues, and if there were, the web would be up in arms about them. I believe we have gone through all this before.

    The best proof is used Model S prices, they are extremely hard and much higher than those of the excellent German luxury cars in the same price range. And if they were not, I would have bought a bargain used Model S years ago.

  44. Larry D. Says:

    39 As we have heard many times, the average transaction price of a car in the US is $37k, maybe closer to $39k now.

    his is just a hair under the basic Model 3, which is very, very affordable, and offers a huge deal more than those $37k losers offer people buy, possibly because they do not know better.

    You can say that a new Model S and esp. X are too expensive, but sure not for the Model 3, and again the proof is in its sales, which are typically 10 times (not 100%, 900%!) higher than either S or X sales.

    Musk has said that the Model Y will be 10% more expensive than the 3, ‘because it’s a 10% bigger vehicle”, an excuse some can challenge. In any case, if that’s the price, it should also be very affordable, an d given US buyers are nuts about breadvans, it will do very well also.

  45. Larry D. Says:

    More about that other Larry. he’s already 75. Also note some major megayachts he has had over the years.

    In June 2018, Ellison’s net worth was about $54.5 billion, according to Forbes. (Make this at least $56.1 bill after his Tesla gains.)

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42 A “standard range plus” in blue, with black/white interior and autopilot is $48,990 plus taxes and fees. I don’t know if this link will work, but…

    A “long range,” otherwise the same, is $57,990 plus taxes and fees. Optional 19 inch wheels, a common option, add $1500, and the “performance” version is $8K more than the “long range.” I don’t know the sales volume by model, but I read somewhere that the “long range” is most popular.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    43 I’m talking about 15 years, and 300K miles, like an Impala at my condo that has have very little work done on it, (but probably $2000 in oil changes by now. As I said, it’s too early to know how batteries will do over the ~12 year average life expectancy of today’s cars, with the non-crashed, well taken care of ones typically lasting much longer. Age, as well as charge/discharge cycles have an affect on battery life.

  48. Gary Susie Says:

    From what I read here is that auto workers should work for minimum pay and get food stamps and live in public housing. They stand eight hours a day on concrete floors which over time will cause problems for them. If you look at the cost of living they aren’t living like everyone thinks they are. May be that ceo that gets $5000 an hour is the problem.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42,46 The cheapest possible new Model 3 is $39,990, excluding taxes and fees. It’s white with black wheels, and black interior.

  50. Larry D. Says:

    Missed a 4 PM obligation to listen to Munro on AAH live, and it sure is very interesting.

    Tesla is not resting on its laurels. Any other automaker would change little when they produced a model in China after they had in the US. Not Tesla with the Model 3. According to Munro, the Chinese version will NOT be the same Model 3 as in the US, and it will NOT be inferior, but actually far superior and far cheaper AND Munro suggests that they import it (back to the US). It is better and cheaper not for the obvious reasons (made in China, lower labor costs etc) but because they LEARNED from everything they did wrong or inefficiently in the US version and have vastly improved it in the Shanghai version.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    50 I missed the AAH, but will watch it later. How is the Chinese 3 different? Will it be stretched?

  52. robert Dumont Says:

    Get a hair cut.. you look like a homeless

  53. Bob Wilson Says:

    #52 – Unless you plan to date him, his hair is none of our business.

  54. Kit Gerhart Says:

    52,53 His hair is a lot like mine, only mine’s half grey.

  55. Bob Wilson Says:

    54 – My hair is blowin’ in the wind … Rt 50, I-95, I-66, various country roads and bike paths.

  56. ChuckGrenci Says:

    51, Kit, I’d be interested on what you thought of the AAH from today. I wasn’t too impressed on this one. I would like any nuggets that you may glean that I apparently missed. I’m usually good with Markus and Monroe; but not this time.

    p.s. Possibly some of my disdain may have been from the commentary from the ‘peanut gallery’; too much bickering and the usual walk on water Tesla crowd and the Tesla stinks crowd (I try to stay somewhat in the middle on that topic.)

  57. Kit Gerhart Says:

    56 I’m about halfway through, and so far, I’m not impressed. It’s been nothing but cybertruck, and I find the discussion of making it “class 3″ so it won’t need air bags disgusting. It’s bad enough, having to share the road with all of the 5500 pound one passenger vehicles we have now.

  58. Kit Gerhart Says:

    56,57 It got a little more interesting to me near the end. I liked the question from a caller, about why Teslas are more efficient than Audi, Porsche, Jaguar, etc. EVs. Munro seemed to indicate that the Tesla batteries are more efficient than others, but didn’t go into exactly what he meant. If they have a higher charge/discharge cycle efficiency than other batteries, that would make the car more efficient, but is there really a significant difference in the batteries different car companies are using? I’d like to know more about that.

  59. ChuckGrenci Says:

    58, Kit, agreed, it does seem Tesla has the upper hand with battery/motor technology; I can’t think that some of the other ‘majors’ (with their talent) won’t be in the shadows for too much longer though. Interesting times in the near future. Even heard that IBM has battery tech sans heavy metals with base elements available from sea water (major game changer if true and can be commercially produced). IBM doesn’t much fool around, so this could be for real. A Google search for IBM battery tech yields a couple of articles (if interested).

  60. David Burke Says:

    Boxster and Cayman are getting an “In line 6″? Not an opposing 6?

  61. Larry D. Says:

    56-59 Do you also get a feeling that Munro is ‘more Royalist than the King”? He seems to have an incurable crush on Tesla and Musk (who he believes plays Chess, not Checkers in this industry, while (I add) Big 3 CEOs don’t even play checkers, but instead amuse themselves otherwise (would not want this to be censored so I will not go into details)

  62. Larry D. Says:

    In case you missed it, and to add to 50 above.

  63. Larry D. Says:

    A year ago, some commenters here claimed Tesla numbers were fakes and that it was close to bankruptcy.

    Short Sellers must have lost more than $ 5 billion betting against it (3 bill several years ago, and continued to date)

    Having predicted $1,000 shares, now another analyst (whose earlier claim was $4,000!) claims it can go to $6,000 in the next 5 years.

    I thought this would amuse those early conspiracy theorists.

  64. Larry D. Says:

    63 con’d I checked this person out and she is serious. Her prediction assumes Tesla will not lose market share in the BEV segment, and so far I would buy that. However, she also thinks that those robotaxis will make $. Her prediction does not include AVs.

    “received her Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, in Finance and Economics from the University of Southern California in 1981. In 2018, editors at Bloomberg acknowledged Cathie by selecting her to its second annual Bloomberg 50 list of people across business, entertainment, finance, politics, technology, and science who have defined global business…”

  65. Brett Cammack Says:


    Perhaps when the masses of working poor are fully debt-enslaved, they can be placed in indentured servitude to build the products for disdainful titans of industry and their minions for free.