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0:00 Ford, GM Lay Off UAW Workers
1:27 Fitch Says D3 Have Liquidity to Ride Out Long Strike
2:14 GM Compensation for UAW Workers
4:12 NIO Opens 1,800th Swap Station & Launches New EC6
5:52 Tesla Installed 50,000th Supercharger
6:11 Tesla Cybertruck Hits 2 Million Reservations
6:51 Chevy Equinox EV To Launch Soon in China
7:31 GM Halts Electric Van Production Until Next Spring
8:04 Lambo & Ducati Demonstrate V2V Technology
8:49 Mercedes Museum Helps Color Blind People View Exhibits
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FORD, GM LAY OFF UAW WORKERS
The UAW strike shows no sign of slowing down, but now GM and Ford are sort of turning the tables on the union. The UAW went on strike at part of Ford’s Wayne assembly plant, so Ford laid off the rest of the 600 workers at the plant who were not on strike. And GM laid off 2,000 workers at its Fairfax plant that makes the Cadillac XT4 and Chevrolet Malibu. That’s because the union shut down the Wentzville plant that makes the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, but it also makes stampings for the Fairfax plant. We’re likely going to see more if the union expands its strike to other plants. It makes no sense for the car companies to keep plants open if they can’t get the parts they need. And this also puts pressure on the union because if it strikes more plants, more of its members are going to get laid off.
FITCH SAYS D3 HAVE LIQUIDITY TO RIDE OUT LONG STRIKE
Fitch Ratings says that the Detroit Three have plenty of liquid cash assets to withstand a long strike. But it warned that a strike that lasts several months could erode their liquidity and potentially affect their credit ratings. At the end of June, GM reported that it had $46 billion in cash, securities and accounts receivable. Ford had $40 billion. Stellantis had over $52 billion. The UAW started with $825 million in its strike fund. So both sides have quite a war chest. However, none of them want to spend all that money, or even a chunk of it. So hopefully, they’ll find a resolution to this before the month is over.
GM COMPENSATION FOR UAW WORKERS
Most people are unfamiliar with the kind of compensation that UAW workers get, so let’s lay it out for you. At General Motors, workers who are “in progress,” or “in transition,” have a total compensation package worth $116,000 a year. In progress, or in transition refers to workers who were hired after 2007. It takes them 8 years to transition to full wages, and at that point their total compensation package rises to $141,000 a year. One of the union’s demands in a new contract is to slash that 8-year transition to only 90 days. The automakers are offering to cut it to 4 years. Meanwhile, skilled trades people earn $171,000 a year. Now, that’s not what all these workers see in their paychecks. It includes wages and all of their benefits such as bonuses, overtime, profit sharing, health care and retirement payouts. GM says that if you blend the in-progress, the traditional and the skilled trades packages together, each UAW worker costs the company an average of $134,000 a year. The UAW wants to increase that significantly while the automakers want to try and keep a lid on any increase, Also, it’s important to note that this does not include temporary workers who earn far less than those who are full time.
NIO OPENS 1,800TH SWAP STATION & LAUNCHES NEW EC6
Chinese EV maker NIO is really the only company that has had any sort of success with battery swapping and it just hit another milestone. Gasgoo reports that it opened its 1,800th swap station in China. In 2023, NIO has built 500 new locations, which will help service the refreshed version of the EC6 that’s launching in unique fashion. It first revealed the new model sometime after we recorded our show on Friday, but it immediately put the SUV up for sales to customers. It’s the last vehicle in NIO’s lineup to transfer to its NT2.0 platform, which offers a number of upgrades. Either a 75- or 100-kWh battery pack is available, which power two electric motors that combine for 360 kW or 482 horsepower and acceleration of 4.4 seconds from 0-100 km/h. The new platform also features an NVIDIA operating system that controls the advanced driver assistance system, which includes Lidar as standard, as well as the digital experience for passengers. Pricing for the EC6 starts at roughly $49,000 and $57,000, depending on the battery size or customers can buy the vehicle for just over $39,500 and lease the battery for $135 or $230 a month, again depending on the battery size.
TESLA INSTALLED 50,000TH SUPERCHARGER
Speaking of milestones, Tesla hit a few of its own. It recently installed its 50,000th Supercharger globally, which is located in California. It’s a unique unit, painted in the same Ultra Red color as some models and with a numbered plaque at its base.
TESLA CYBERTRUCK HITS 2 MILLION RESERVATIONS
The other milestone is that Cybertruck reservations now reportedly top a whopping 2 million. This is according to a Google spreadsheet that is updated with crowdsourced information. Elon Musk once bragged that the Cybertruck got 250,000 reservations within the first week of its unveiling but a lot has changed since then, maybe most notably the pricing. So, how many reservations it can convert into paying customers will be a question. But if Tesla can build the Cybertruck in good volume there’s clearly a lot of initial buyer interest.
CHEVY EQUINOX EV TO LAUNCH SOON IN CHINA
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information posted images of the Chevy Equinox EV just ahead of the model’s debut in the country. This is the RS version, which looks pretty much the same as the one shown in the U.S. The Equinox EV is slightly longer and taller than a Tesla Model Y but it’s not as wide. The Chinese version will be manufactured by GM’s joint venture with SAIC, while the U.S. version will be made in Mexico. GM said the entry-level Equinox will start around $30,000 in the U.S. and will arrive at dealerships this fall.
GM HALTS ELECTRIC VAN PRODUCTION UNTIL NEXT SPRING
GM’s struggles to produce batteries continues. And it’s forcing the automaker to halt production of its BrightDrop electric van in October. The line at its plant in Ontario, Canada will be down until next spring due to a battery-module delay. That’s when the plant will launch its battery module line to support production. GM blames the battery-module delays on a supplier and didn’t reveal what the issue is but it has sent an engineering team to the supplier to help resolve the problem.
LAMBO & DUCATI DEMONSTRATE V2V TECHNOLOGY
Lamborghini and Ducati demonstrated vehicle to vehicle technology or more specifically vehicle to motorcycle technology. The two companies are working with the Connected Motorcycle Consortium to help standardize the safety system for cars and bikes. The test focused on the most dangerous accident cases for motorcycles which involves a hard to see rider in relation to oncoming traffic and those that put motorcyclists where they can’t see what is happening in front of them. The prototype bike has an additional screen on it to help warn the rider about any danger. In this phase of development, the goal is to help reduce the reaction time of the system to help limit the risk of an accident.
MERCEDES MUSEUM HELPS COLOR BLIND PEOPLE VIEW EXHIBITS
Here’s something kind of cool. Mercedes is helping color blind people to see the exhibits at its museum in Germany in more accurate color and contrast. It’s offering special color blind glasses for adults and children that have a filter which makes it possible to see an expanded spectrum. They’re free with admission and it sounds like a cool experience.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for tuning in.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.