AD #3027 – FCA Pleads Guilty to UAW Bribes; Volvo Teases New C-40 Recharge EV; Why USPS Isn’t Going Fully Electric

March 2nd, 2021 at 11:52am

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Listen to “AD #3027 – FCA Pleads Guilty to UAW Bribes; Volvo Teases New C-40 Recharge EV; Why USPS Isn't Going Fully Electric” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 11:08

0:07 FCA Pleads Guilty to UAW Bribes
0:53 Volvo Teases New C-40 Recharge EV
1:55 India Ready to Give Tesla Concessions for Local Production
2:42 Tesla Launching FSD Subscription in Q2
4:15 Fisker Has “Completely Dropped Solid-State Batteries”
5:34 VW Reveals U.S. ID.4 Pricing
6:40 VW Wants Feedback on ID.3 Cabriolet Concept
7:42 Lexus Teams on Shoe Inspired by IS 350
8:48 Why USPS Isn’t Going Fully Electric

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42 Comments to “AD #3027 – FCA Pleads Guilty to UAW Bribes; Volvo Teases New C-40 Recharge EV; Why USPS Isn’t Going Fully Electric”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Is there any word on what gas engines the post office trucks will use? Wasn’t Oshkosh working with Ford? The hybrid powertrain used in Escape should be good.

  3. Marshy Says:

    Bring on the commentary, John!

  4. Marshy Says:

    I would love to see real details on the Lordstown hub motors. I don’t think anyone has pulled this off yet.

  5. Scott-in-Cleveland Says:

    As for the ID3 Cabriolet, It reminds me too much of the Nissan Murano Cross-Cabriolet, which was a sales dud.

  6. Lambo2015 Says:

    Hey Sean; Any word on where the 30 Million dollar fine to FCA goes?

    When it comes to VW I would say they should build the CABRIOLET and the Dune Buggy. They may think they are niche vehicles but look at the Bug and original Mustang. They were built to fill a void and took off. Obviously the dune buggy wouldn’t be very practical but the convertible could end up being a high volume vehicle. Certainly couldn’t hurt as VW doesn’t really have anything currently that’s making peoples wish list. They could use some excitement.

  7. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Wasn’t Polestar reinvented into the EV sub-brand for Volvo? If Volvo goes to all EVs by 2030, does that mean Polestar will go the way of Scion and Geo, into the dust bin of sub-brands?

  8. Buzzerd Says:

    I like the commentary, it gives you a chance to explain things in more detail like today’s topic.

  9. Norm T Says:

    Is that why GM tried to sue FCA?

  10. Sean Wagner Says:

    It was BMW that pioneered the efficient manufacturing of several vehicle variants on one line, but the Germans in general have become amazingly proficient at it – which didn’t stop them from taking it too far.

    It’s easier with EVs, though. So if VW has some development capacity left after bringing out the Buzz, why not build some halo cars?

    I actually think that the (short-range, cheap-ish) buggy might sell better than expected and become quite the rolling advertisement.

  11. Buzzerd Says:

    @10 The VW followers do tend to eat up what ever their manufacturer puts out so it could very well be that quirky car people must have.

  12. Sean Wagner Says:

    The Financial Times today featured some interesting excerpts from a talk with Infineon’s CEO (Europe’s largest chipmaker with customers among several tier 1 automotive suppliers).

    Quote: The auto industry cannot say: ‘OK fine, we don’t need [any more chips], and then come back later and say: ‘Now we need them’. Unquote.

    According to Ploss, the automotive sector accounted for only about 10 per cent of the global semiconductor market.

    Some comments from people working at suppliers are quite revelatory too.

  13. GM Veteran Says:

    2 – no word on what gas engine they will use, but my guess is it will be Ford-sourced. They specifically said gasoline or ICE. No mention of hybrid and the prototypes they submitted were not hybrids. They also did not submit an EV prototype for testing, which makes one wonder how they could award the build for the 10% EVs to Oshkosh.

    I heard that the post office asked Oshkosh if they could build an EV version as well and they said yes. That’s it. It certainly casts a dim light on their bid process. If they are just going to take a company’s word for it, then why bother with proposals and testing prototypes?

  14. wmb Says:

    While I think the cabriolet makes more since, how is then dune buggy BEV any different then the electric SUV’s coming out from Rivian and the GMC Hummer? I know, I know, the dune buggy is basicly a toy and the others are true off roaders, but as seen with the Raptor and TRX, sand hopping has its place too! And much of the tech for these true off road vehicles are the same for the the dune buggy, right? So if Rivian can build an EV that can go rock climbing and play on the side of mountains, cliffs and in craigs, why can’t VW build the dune buggy to go play in the sand?

  15. Jeff Taylor Says:

    Yes more opinion segments please!

    IMHO, the Lexus shoe is more attractive than the car. :)

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    10 If the buggy would be street legal, it would be a cool “four wheel motorcycle,” if they could keep the cost down.

    13 As long as DeJoy is there, I suspect there will continue to be, uh, questionable things going on with the postal service, including contracts.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    15 The IS looks better than some Lexus vehicles, but that isn’t saying much.


    To me that ID3 convertible looks as exciting as the Buick Cascada. This design will be about as memorable as the Cascada is also.

  19. Lambo2015 Says:

    5 & 18 The problem with the Buick was it looked like a Chrysler 200 convertible and was 33-37K and besides the Murano being ugly it was priced at $47,190 in 2011. So not sure what that is ten years later but its too much. If VW could keep the cost down on the little cabriolet it would probably remind people of the VW Rabbit Cabriolet from the 80s.

  20. DanaPointJohn Says:

    If Volkswagen wants to continue battling Toyota to be largest automotive manufacturer, by worldwide sales, they have no choice but to make the I.D. a mass volume line of EVs. The cabriolet and dune buggy are fun, but their sales would be a minor part of VW’s annual sales.

  21. John McElroy Says:

    #13. Sean, if you really want to learn about the chip shortage in detail, look at our own Autoline This Week #2506 “Chip Shortage Cripples Car Production.” It was posted last week and gets into how and why the industry got into this problem and what it’s trying to do to get out of it.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I can’t see the VW Cabriolet selling very well. The closest current gas car being sold is the Mini, and it sells about 5,000 in a good year. It sold 4031 in 2019, and 3039 in 2020. Is there a market for a less “cute,” probably more expensive electric competitor? Probably not.

    Convertibles of any kind, even sports are, are a low volume niche. The last I knew, Porsche Cayman was outselling Boxster about 2 to 1. I don’t see many Mustang convertibles either, except daily rentals in Florida.

  23. Sean Wagner Says:

    21 John. Thank you for chiming in, watched it just now. I’ll take away the line [from memory] “three years development time today is completely different from three years ten years ago”, with everyone nodding.

    One remark from a non-expert: I think chips for cars will increasingly fall into two very different categories.

    The simple, very cheap chips often built on older processes, and the very highly integrated ones that handle AI tasks built on the latest process “nodes” and requiring “foundries” that can run to double-digit billions (the cost of TSMC’s latest).

    If the automotive industry ever bands together (which I don’t think), it will be to buy older equipment and expertise.

  24. Merv Peters Says:

    I like the pop in opinion idea

  25. Lambo2015 Says:

    22 The VW golf cabriolet sold 400,871 which was a little bigger than the Rabbit. Granted that was over 14 years.
    Did a little search on best selling convertibles and yes some are there only because of the years in production;
    6) Golf 400,871 (14 yrs)
    5) Vette 465,819 (48 yrs)
    4) MGB 513,276 (18 yrs)
    3) BMW-3 523,446
    2) Mazda MX5 1.05 Million (8 yrs)
    1) Citroen 2CV 3.872 Million (42 yrs)

    However what they don’t mention is Jeep Wrangler which all are technically convertibles and they’ve sold 202 Million.

  26. Dan Kobussen Says:

    The Gov. is requiring BEVs for all government vehicles. They are working on a plan to convert all 500,000 school buses in the US to BEV, by 2025. However the postal office can buy ICE trucks? What? Nothing makes sense anymore.

  27. SteveO Says:

    The VW ID Convertible would be a big hit in Cali, which loves both EVs and convertibles! If it just involves putting a new “top hat” on the existing skateboard platform, it could be done affordably. The same goes for the dune buggy, which could become an electric-powered Jeep Wrangler alternative.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25 It looks like those are global sales figures. I had a 1986 Golf Cabriolet. It was the Mk 1 Golf, and was called “Volkswagen Cabriolet” in the U.S. market. U.S. sales were about 12,000 for 1986, as I remember.

  29. WineGeek Says:

    FCA should have to pay every worker in the company $30,000 for the money they didn’t get due to the payoff of the union leaders. You can be sure FCA paid off the union leaders to get preferential contract terms. By the way $30,000,000 is not enough penalty for what they did.

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25 Do you know what the big MX5 markets are? China? Europe? It looks like the U.S. is only about 10% of it.

  31. Sean Wagner Says:

    25 & 30 Mazda has a handy global map of sales dating from 2010 when production passed 900’000. The introduction was in 1989. See:

    It’s still one of the greatest drives around, even though I always wished for a truly rev-happy Honda engine.

  32. cozy Cole Says:

    the 1,000,000th Miata was built on 4/26/2016. It was on display around the world and was at Young Mazda in Easton pa. I got to
    sign the drivers side door by the mirror. Our Miata club was at the dealer that day. There were autographs all over the Miata. the whole body was divided up into 1/2″ x 2″ spaces!!!

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    31 Interesting. The U.S. was ~44% of the MX5 market through 2010, but in recent years, U.S. sales are ~6000-11000, probably a lot lower percentage of global sales.

    Maybe they should offer two different engines, a “nostalgia” engine, ~100hp at 5400 rpm, similar to an MGB, and a zingier engine, like in the Honda S-2000.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    32 Cool. Is the car now in a museum somewhere?

  35. Chip Caruana Says:

    Not fair to say that the Post Office loses billions each year. It’s a service, not a money making corporation. You know who else loses billions? The military.

  36. Steve Henderson Says:

    Ever since Lexus opened the front ends mouth I’ve despised it. I bought a Cadillac XT5 instead. Nissan did something similar destroying their appeal for me also. But to see an enclosed or nonexistent grill area has been another head turner.

  37. Sean Wagner Says:

    31 I couldn’t picture that “nostalgia” combination at first.

    But come to think of it, a bigger four-cylinder in simple and “Honda” spec* would fit the bill. The Porsche 944 used to have 2.5 and 3.0l inline fours.

    The S-2000′s engine revs like there’s no stopping it, but the car always felt a little loose to me.

    [*] Nostalgia and Adrenaline editions?

  38. Tony Gray Says:

    I like the opinion segments. Sean delivers the news straight up and John chimes in with opinion and analysis where appropriate. Win win.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    37 A friend has an S-2000 which he daily drives, and still likes it after all these years. The engine is well behaved, but weak at lower rpm, but really impressive when you take it up to 8000 rpm. He says the car is thirsty, for its size and weight. The short gearing would hurt on the highway.

  40. Lambo2015 Says:

    26 Yeah it seems that school busses would be a perfect fit for EVs. I grew up in a rural school where the busses made a typical 26 mile trip in the morning and that same 26 mile trip in the afternoon. So a bus with a 100 mile range would be enough even in cold weather. However in addition to the cost of the busses its the same problem the post office has. How to charge 20-30 busses? I read charging stations draw between 32 and 50 amps so the school would need between 800 and 1500 additional amps. They would still need to keep a couple ICE busses for sports teams, field trips, bands to travel.

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40 Some, or all of the school busses for some of the county school systems where I grew up in Indiana are kept at the drivers’ homes. They could install an extra “drier outlet” to charge one bus at a person’s home. Still, I expect most of the current busses to remain in service until they would normally be replaced, which is probably ~15-20 years old.


    40) That brings up the problem that we have spoken about in comments a couple of times. BEVs have a problem with scale. It is expensive to scale this technology. When government entities can’t scale it due to cost, there is no hope that private entities will be able to scale BEVs. It is also why I don’t put much credence in governments who say they will ban ICE vehicles by such and such a date. There is no commitment in time and money to scale this technology which will delay BEV adoption. You will see those dates move in the future and they will blame “technology readiness” as the reason for shifting the dates.