0:27 UAW Elects a New President
0:58 GM’s CFO Retires
1:20 Could Car Sales Drop by Millions?
2:21 Germany Fines Volkswagen
2:43 Ford & Daimler End Fuel Cell Partnership
3:21 Ford Improves Fuel Economy for Fleets
4:33 How Super Cruise Responds in Emergencies
On today’s show…Ford and Daimler end their fuel cell partnership…could car sales drop by millions of units in the American market?…and Volkswagen is slapped with another fine over its diesel emission cheating scandal. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the show for enthusiasts of the automotive industry.
UAW ELECTS A NEW PRESIDENT
The UAW elected a new president yesterday, Gary Jones. And for the first time the union will be led by a certified public accountant. That may be the perfect background for the union, which is being investigated by federal prosecutors because of union leaders who funneled money that was earmarked for training into their own pockets instead. Hopefully, having a CPA as president will impose tighter financial controls on union leaders to lead them not into temptation.
GM’S CFO RETIRES
And in other management changes, General Motors Chief Financial Officer, Chuck Stevens, announced he’s retiring after 40 years with the company. He will be replaced by Dhivya Suryadevara, who is currently GM’s Vice President of Corporate Finance. She’s played a role in selling off Opel, acquiring Cruise and the recent Softbank investment into GM Cruise.
COULD CAR SALES DROP BY MILLIONS?
So far this year in the U.S. car market the SAAR is running at 17.1 million vehicles. But as part of its contingency planning, FCA is getting ready for a SAAR of only 14.4 million new vehicles in 2020. And it’s not the only one with a bearish outlook. Merrill Lynch is forecasting the SAAR will drop to only 13 million in 2021. In other words, we could see sales of new vehicles drop by three to four million units in just the next two to three years. And if that happens then we’re going to see which automakers and suppliers really know how to run their business.
Still to come…VW just can’t seem to shake its diesel cheating scandal.
GERMANY FINES VOLKSWAGEN
Volkswagen is still being punished over its diesel emission cheating. Germany just fined the company one billion euros for the scandal, which is one of the largest fines ever handed out by Germany authorities. But that’s just a drop in the bucket to the $25 billion in fines, penalties and restitutions the company has paid so far in the U.S.
FORD & DAIMLER END FUEL CELL PARTNERSHIP
Toyota, Hyundai and Honda sell a small number of cars powered by fuel cells. In fact, Honda and General Motors are developing fuel cells together. And Volkswagen is working with the Canadian company Ballard to develop fuel cells. But Ford and Daimler are abandoning their joint venture to develop fuel cells. They’re going to take that work in-house instead. Here’s our Autoline Insight. This sounds like a cost cutting move. Probably neither Ford nor Daimler see any near-term payoff making fuel cells. And so they’ll likely take that money and put it into battery electric cars.
FORD IMPROVES FUEL ECONOMY FOR FLEETS
And in other Ford news, the company is beefing up its hybrid and diesel line-ups for fleets. The taxi version of the Transit Connect is now offered with a 1.5-liter diesel that is expected to return a highway rating of 30 mpg. And the new Fusion Hybrid Taxi is projected to get a combined 38 mpg. In addition to the new taxi offerings, Ford also announced that the Police Interceptor Utility will now be available with a standard hybrid powertrain. The company estimates its EPA numbers will hit a combined average of at least 24 mpg, a 40 percent improvement over the current 3.7 liter V6 engine. Ford expects that the fuel savings could help law enforcement save $3,200 per vehicle in fuel each year.
Coming up next, GM explains how it’s Super Cruise system responds in a medical emergency.
HOW SUPER CRUISE RESPONDS IN EMERGENCIES
GM’s semi-autonomous Super Cruise system is a great feature but what happens if the driver suffers a major medical emergency, like a heart attack while it’s being used? Will the system just keep on going? On last week’s Autoline After Hours we were joined by Jason Ditman, the Chief Engineer of Super Cruise, and he explained how the system responds in those situations.
(The AAH preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
And don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours this afternoon. We’re going to have Lightning Systems in the studio talking about how they convert Ford Transits into electric vans. So join me and Gary Vasilash for some of the best insights as to what’s going on in the automotive industry.
But that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching and we’ll see you right back here again tomorrow.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.