AD #3552 – Lithium Prices Crashing; CATL Profit Up 557%; UAW Lays Out Contract Goals

April 24th, 2023 at 11:59am

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0:00 UAW Lays Out Contract Goals
1:15 Tesla to Ship Chinese Ys To Canada
1:47 Tesla Makes Progress On 4680 Batteries
3:24 GMC Hummer Adds Trim Lines
5:01 Audi Goes for Long Range A8 EV
6:01 Waymo AV Responds to Cop’s Hand Signals
7:29 Lithium Prices Crashing
8:13 CATL Profit Up 557%
8:46 California Hits BEV Goal 2 Years Early

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31 Comments to “AD #3552 – Lithium Prices Crashing; CATL Profit Up 557%; UAW Lays Out Contract Goals”

  1. Lambo2015 Says:

    1.5 Million sounds impressive, and in a state like Michigan that would be almost 16% but California has 31 million registered vehicles. So its like 5% which is still way above the national average.

    UAW may not like the Tier pay scale but I know line workers dont like the idea of someone just starting tomorrow making what took them 15 years to make. Sounds like a socialistic union and doesnt reward anyone for staying or years of service. The problem will be soon as they find a different employer paying 50 cents more an hour they’ll leave. Your not giving up anything cause if you come back you’ll start at the same pay as everyone else. Good luck with that.

  2. Lew Says:

    Will the Waymo vehicle learn how to react to other drivers using one digit salutes and other rude behaviors? How about road rage drivers bumping and hitting your car?

  3. XA351GT Says:

    How clueless is this UAW President? Ford is already going to offshore 2 vehicles that were built in NA. Does he want all the jobs to go that way? News flash The US companies don’t have 80-85% of the US sales market they did 50 years ago. Get your head in the game were playing today. How good is those high wages and benefits if the job disappears overseas in 3-5 years. You don’t think the present administration is going to do anything about it. He’s too busy trying dig his fingers deeper in our pockets.

  4. Albemarle Says:

    Mines take up to 10 years to ramp up production. Lithium price volatility will not help the volume increase needed to meet battery needs. Miners need stable pricing before they commit to new mines.

  5. Buzzerd Says:

    @1 As a union worker I wouldn’t care if someone made the same as me just starting and if you do then you’re not a true union bother or sister. Also if you leave and come back you loose seniority and usually vacation, those aren’t small things.
    Also Socialism- the term people like to use for anything and everything they don’t like, has nothing to do with equal wages.

  6. Lambo2015 Says:

    5 Actually Socialism by definition: The means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
    So yeah I would say the UAW regulating the pay as a whole even for everyone is inline with that term.
    I also believe you are a rare in your feelings toward equal pay regardless of years of service just from the conversations I’ve had with line workers. A tiered system is fair and how it was explained to me by one guy. I can do any job on here because of years of experience. So I often get the more difficult ones to meet rate. The new guys get placed on the easy jobs so they can get the swing of things yet we make the same pay? You can be a union brother and support each other and still not have to have everything equal. Service has to count for more than seniority to get the vacation times you want.

  7. kevin A Says:

    In Canada, Tesla is a foreign manufacturer, period. If a foreign manufacturer switches the supply of cars from one foreign country to another, what difference does it make. If the new cars are cheaper, I say go for it. If Tesla wants to become a domestic manufacturer in Canada, that would be different.

  8. Tony Gray Says:

    Only 2 Hummers so far? No surprise. My Lyriq has been on order since July.

  9. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Tony Gray – The Lyriq’s are coming out faster than the Hummer EVs. A little more than 950 made in Q1.

  10. Roger T Says:

    1 & 6 – The UAW exists to bargain on behalf of its members, nothing to do with socialism. Their job is to argue in favor of the employees, not the company. Obviously the leverage the companies will always have is the economics of pushing the bar too high with concessions, poorly negotiated deals can easily destroy secular businesses very quickly. Whether we like what the UAW asks or not is irrelevant, and so are our (outsiders) opinions as of whether the unions existence in this country are still justified.

  11. XA351GT Says:

    I’d be interested to know of those 1.5 million BEVs how many are used as primary transportation or merely just owned . I have a truck and 4 70′s musclecars, but none are my primary transportation. BEVs will work fine for some folks and not so much for others . I still don’t see the need to rush out something that doesn’t work for the majority of people.I find it amazing that in the land of rolling brownouts so many are willing to depend on something that isn’t dependable yet. If there is no power to charge the batteries you are stuck. At least with gas you can get somewhere where there is still power.

  12. XA351GT Says:

    @ # 6 In the UAW cases they may not be bothered if someone with no skill walks in off the street and starts installing lug nuts on the line next to them for equal pay , but I can assure you that someone in a skilled trade that has spent years to gain the skill required for doing their job won’t be willing to see that.

  13. George Ricci Says:

    In 1990 Cailfornia Air Resources Board (CARB) started the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program which the Board required that in 1998, 2 percent of the vehicles that large auto manufacturers produced for sale in California had to be ZEVs, increasing to 5 percent in 2001 and 10 percent in 2003. NONE of these requirements could be met. So, every few years they keep revising/changing the requirements and until they can now say “California Hits Zero-Emission Vehicle Sales Goal Ahead of Target”!

  14. William Bruno Says:

    Once solid state batteries for EVs are fully developed for large scale manufacturing, all the investment in current EV battery manufacturing and mining will be obsolete. Concerning that Ford, GM, and Tesla are spending billions now that could be worthless in a few years.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Tesla seems to favor foreigners over Americans. The RWD Model Y is sold in China, and will now be sold in Canada, but 4WD is mandatory in the U.S.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    12 UAW skilled trades get higher pay than general clearing.

  17. Kit Gerhart Says:

    11 An EV will work well as one of the vehicles in most multi-vehicle households.

  18. Lambo2015 Says:

    10 I used the term socialistic not socialism and wasnt implying anything political. But when everyone gets the same pay regardless of service or skills it is just that.
    The funny thing is back around 2008 when the auto industry realized it couldnt keep paying $35 hr for line workers they took on this tiered system with a much lower starting point to allow new workers to be brought in at $16 an hour. This allowed them to be more competitive and once they got a bunch of new folks hired and business picked back up, they voted on eliminating much of the retirement benefits in favor of higher pay. Which of course now that they had all these new workers far from retirement age it passed no problem screwing their old union brothers in the process. So much for union brotherhood. They wanted the higher pay now, and worry about retirement later. They can make it a flat rate but personally I find it a very discouraging. Personally I like being rewared for a job well done.

  19. Bob White Says:

    The tariffs on imported Chinese cars is 27.5% in the US. What is it in Canada?

    The answer may explain why Chinese Teslas are heading to Canada.

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 From what I find, it’s 6.1% for imported cars to Canada. It’s zero for cars from US and Mexico, because of New NAFTA.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m missing what the UAW has to do with socialism. Socialism is things like fire departments, public schools, etc.

  22. Bob White Says:

    19. If this is the case, Canada may see a significant increase in imported Chinese cars.

    From what I can remember, the Canadian market is approx. 2.5 million units per year. At least pre-pandemic.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 I found the 6.1% one place, but didn’t look farther. No guarantee it is accurate. Of course, it is subject to change.

  24. Sean Wagner Says:

    It’s good to see Tesla moving ahead with cathode materials production (usually sourced from China).

    The BYD Seagull looks like a promising little EV. A bit like an updated BMW i3, but at a very cheerful price (starting at about $11K). BYD is on a roll, judging by their sales in China.

  25. wmb Says:

    Lamb2015, I think you might have been a victim of spellcheck/autocorrect, for in your common at #5 it says “socialism” and not “socialistic”, as you mentioned in comment #10. With all this talk about unions and varying pay scales, I don’t think that all of those comments reflect what is or might be taking place at the UAW. While I had a father who retired from one of the Big Three, as well as a brother and cousin who currently work for two different Detroit Three automakers, who are under the current Tier arrangement. Where I work now, we have a union and the job has, as they call them, step raises in our contract. As I understand, and I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, while they may be a 2 Tier system in the UAW contract, step raises, where, progressively, one may start at ~$15 an hour, but over time the move from Tier 2 to Tier 1! So, no one coming off the street makes the same amount and a seasoned employee. Also the harder, more difficult jobs no one wants, those are the jobs the new recruits do, with the easier, least laborious jobs go to those with higher seniority!

  26. wmb Says:

    …that is, unless I am mistaken.

  27. wmb Says:

    I don’t think the new UAW president intends to to accomplish all of what he mentions, but, as Sean said, he is just laying out his goals. In terms of eliminating the Tier system, Automakers and membership have to both agree to it, for one thing. Organizing transplants and upstart has been a tall task for years, yet I suppose he is indicating, under his leadership, the UAW has not given up that fight.

    With the price of lithium coming down, I wonder how much of that price fall will actually be seen and felt in EV prices? When competition is good, the consumer wins, but until OEMs see real price changes with the competition, they will be reluctant to move the needle, especially since customers have been willing to pay the higher price! Just a thought.

  28. Sean Wagner Says:

    Regarding Tesla’s anticipated battery cost reduction, I think it’s important to realize Drew Baglino was talking about capex (capital expenditure), not pack or cell cost. Quote:

    “for the Texas 4680 factory, we are part way through building and commissioning and installing and operating, will be 70% lower capex per gigawatt hour than typical cell factories when fully ramped in line with what we described on Battery Day. And we’re continuing to further pursue densification and investment reduction opportunities in future factory buildouts like in Nevada.”

  29. Lambo2015 Says:

    24 Thanks but my post on 6 was just clarifying for 5. In my original post (1) I stated socialistic and had no idea it would ruffle so many feathers. Maybe should have used some other term but it seemed to fit in the sense of making everything equal and paying everyone the same regardless of the job or experience. I understand in a large factory or any large business its very difficult to treat employees as individuals with everyone so prepared for a discrimination lawsuit on the most minimal of reasons. Flat rates pretty much squash that and insure that everyone is treated equally. However it also tends to squash that desire to perform and go the extra mile. Why would you when you get nothing extra in return.

    For those that never heard this story;
    An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. The class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

    After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little …

    The second Test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for anyone else. All failed to their great surprise and the professor told them that socialism would ultimately fail because the harder to succeed the greater the reward but when a government takes all the reward away; no one will try or succeed.


    28) My issue with this new UAW leader is that it is the same tired playbook of every person before them. The membership is soon to be faced with staggering member losses due to the switch of propulsion technology. Yet this person is harping on about pay issues. By the time the contract expires, up to 50% of their membership will become obsolete. That extra $10 isn’t going to mean anything when they are out of a job.

    This is where their leader needs to be honest and up front with the members and tell them what they will face in the next 4 years. Their leader also needs to think outside of the box. Maybe identify who is most likely to be gone within the next 4 years and work with the OEMs to help pay these people for retraining that can help them secure a future role that is not being obsoleted. Maybe the OEM will pay for college or a trade school or some other type of educational opportunity to help transition the workforce to a new reality.

    Or maybe they can just get them $10 over the next 4 years. I am sure that $10 will come in handy in the unemployment line. That is basically all this leader is offering with the stated “goals”. At some point the UAW will learn it is not 1935 anymore.

  31. Lambo2015 Says:

    29 Your absolutely right. The auto industry is on the cusp of the largest change they have experienced in years. We keep hearing that EVs require 1/2 the labor but I’m not sure we have actually seen that in practice. In fact most EVs are pretty low volume for the size (mega) factory and # people being used. So maybe UAW members will move from auto assembly to battery assembly. Mega Casting? Or maybe even creating the batteries from the raw materials. But like you stated pushing for a wage increase always seems to be at the top of the agenda. Maybe offering new skills or training should be.