Listen to “AD #2811 – More Pay Cuts; More Dismal Sales Forecasts; Audi Manufactures a Classical Music Concert” on Spreaker.
Follow us on social media:
0:07 Automakers Continue to Step Up to Make Medical Equipment
1:06 More Pay Cuts
1:57 Car Sales Will Be Bad
2:48 But They Could Be Even Worse
3:05 Porsche Launches New Podcast
3:35 Audi to Live Stream Classical Music Concert on Factory Floor
4:10 Japan Mandates Auto Headlights at Night
5:07 GM EV1 Shell Fetches Surprising Sum
5:50 VW Forms JV in China to Make EV Charging Stations
6:22 What’s Holding V2V Communication Back?
8:37 Please Help Support Autoline
9:15 Cancelled Ski Trip Turns Into Stop-Motion Video
Visit our sponsor to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone.
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
AUTOMAKERS CONTINUE TO STEP UP TO MAKE MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
The auto industry continues to do its part to help with the crisis. BMW announced it will soon be able to produce several hundred thousand masks a day and will hand over a million of them over the next two weeks. Toyota will help manufacture at least 20,000 ventilators for Japan. General Motors and Ventec were awarded a nearly $490 million contract from the U.S. government to build ventilators. They will make 30,000 at the end of August and for those of you wondering, that’s about $16,300 per ventilator. And Spanish automaker SEAT has started producing ventilators with adapted windshield wiper motors and is aiming to make 300 per day. We’d like to thank Autoline viewer Martin Wolny from Poland for making us aware of that. He complained we were giving Tesla too much credit for building ventilators and wanted us to give SEAT its due.
MORE PAY CUTS
Automakers are making more pay cuts as the shutdown drags on. Tesla is furloughing all non-essential workers, who will keep their healthcare benefits until production resumes, which is expected to happen in early May. Tesla’s salaried employees will see their pay cut anywhere from 10 to 30%, which will remain in place until the second quarter. Honda and Nissan announced they will stop paying the workers they’ve laid off in the U.S. and are urging them to apply for unemployment benefits. They hope to restart production at the end of the month or in early May. It’s worth noting that UAW workers who are on unemployment get SUB or supplemental unemployment benefits that are part of their labor contract. Thanks to that they’ll get about 75% of their take-home pay.
CAR SALES WILL BE BAD
So how badly will the auto industry be damaged by the crisis? In the U.S., the National Auto Dealers Association says sales incentives shot to an all time record last month, averaging $4,800 per car. That was the average for all vehicles. Incentives for pickup trucks also set a record: $7,200. The NADA says 1.8 million leases will be up between March and July, so that will help dealers sell cars. And once people return to work it expects sales to jump on pent-up demand. But even so, it’s outlook for the year is dismal. It forecasts that automakers will only sell between 13 million and 13.5 million vehicles this year, down from 17 million last year.
BUT THEY COULD BE EVEN WORSE
That’s pretty bad, but Jonathan Smoke, the chief economist for Cox Automotive thinks it’s going to be even worse. He says sales will fall below 12 million vehicles. And he says used car sales will fall below 29 million, whereas they normally would be around 40 million.
PORSCHE LAUNCHES ‘NEXT VISIONS’ PODCAST
With so many people just sitting at home, Porsche is launching a new audio podcast, called Next Visions. In each episode two people will discuss a number of topics, from how economic strategists can learn from artists to how technology changes human personality. There’s a total of five episodes in the first season, which are all done in english, and are available on all common podcast platforms. Porsche is also working on a German version.
AUDI TO STREAM CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERT FROM FACTORY FLOOR
Now, if that’s not your cup of tea, Audi will be live streaming a music concert from one of its press shops where body panels are normally stamped out. The group of musicians will play classic music from Beethoven, Bach and Mozart on April 14th at 3 PM Eastern Standard Time.
JAPAN MANDATES AUTO HEADLAMPS AT NIGHT
Let’s move over to Japan, which just mandated that automakers must install automatic headlamps. The headlamps on all new cars must come on when the driver starts the engine and puts it in gear. If the car is in ‘Park’ or if the parking brake is on, the lamps don’t come on. During daylight, drivers can manually turn off the lamps if they want. But once it’s dark they cannot turn off the lamps if the car is being driven. Japan implemented this regulation because it saw an alarming number of elderly pedestrians and cyclists being hit in traffic at dusk because drivers had not switched on their headlamps. Japanese drivers are so polite that they turn off their headlamps and just use their running lights at stop signs and traffic lights so oncoming drivers don’t face any glare. But many of them forget to turn their headlights back on when they get going, and that’s what’s been causing so many accidents.
GM EV1 SHELL SELLS FOR OVER $23,000
The shell of a GM EV1 just fetched a surprising price. As many of you know, after GM recalled all of the EV1s, most were crushed while a few were stripped of their powertrains and donated to educational institutions. And one of those stripped down versions just sold for over $23,600. That’s a lot of money for a vehicle with no frame, doors, trunk, hood or interior. It’s going to the Beata Electric Motor Carriage Collection in Colorado where vehicles are used for testing, diagnostics, education, events, and overall preservation and documentation.
VW FORMS JV IN CHINA TO MAKE FLEXIBLE EV CHARGERS
On the subject of EVs, Volkswagen is forming a joint venture with DU-POWER to launch flexible, quick charging stations in China. The stations are compact, can be hooked up to low voltage grids, have a built-in battery pack that could come from a used EV and can charge at up to 150 kW. Production is scheduled to start in the second half of this year.
WHAT’S HOLDING BACK V2V COMMUNICATION?
Vehicle to vehicle communication has the potential to reduce accidents. But is the technology ready for the market? I interviewed Manfred Meyer, the SVP of Engineering of Active Safety at the supplier ZF and he explained what’s holding it back.
Manfred Meyer, SVP of Engineering, Active Safety, ZF
“The technology as such is not the problem. The problem isn’t the autonomous driving, the autonomous deceleration, the autonomous steering assist. The problem is the communication from one car to another car in a safe manner, you really can’t rely on that. The mobile phones today are certainly safe enough to communicate to each other. But if you have an interruption if your internet doesn’t work because you drive through a tunnel or a bridge or whatever it is. And then you have an interrupted signal and then you stop your safety devices. And that’s something which needs to be there before we can talk about vehicle to vehicle communication. And that’s safe, robust and reliable internet communication.”
You can watch that video right now on our YouTube channel.
Be sure to join us tomorrow for Autoline After Hours when our guest will be Doug Demuro, one of YouTube’s superstar car reviewers with millions of followers. We’ll be talking about the exotic and historic cars he test drives, and get into the details of how he does it all. Frank Markus from Motor Trend will also be joining us for that show, so join Gary Vasilash and me for one of the best gearhead programs in the business.
PLEASE HELP SUPPORT AUTOLINE
And we’ve got a request for all of you as well. These are tough times for everyone, but we’re asking our viewers to make a contribution to Autoline to help keep our programs going. As you may know, we get all of our revenue from advertising and sponsorships from automotive suppliers, and they’re getting hammered right now since all automotive production in most of the world has shut down. We’ve got a link on our home page at Autoline.tv where you can donate, and we want to thank viewers like Jeff Taylor and Thomas Bowen, who have already contributed without even being prompted. Thanks for your support.
STOP-MOTION SKIING TRIP
OK, before we go, let’s end the show on a light note. Right as the coronavirus was starting to spread, a mechanical engineer at Spanish automaker SEAT was just getting ready to go on a skiing trip he’d been planning for a year. While he could have still made the trip, despite a containment order, Philipp Klein decided to stay home with his family. But not to let the lockdown get him down, Philipp made a stop-motion video of what his ski trip would have looked like right from his living room. It took 6 hours to make the video, where we see him wake up in his sleeping back, climb the side of a mountain with a pick axe and ski back down. It’s a well done video and has racked up nearly 700,000 views on YouTube.
That brings us to the end of today’s report, thanks for watching Autoline Daily.
Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website: WardsAuto.com
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.