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0:00 UAW Threatens to Expand Strike This Friday
0:47 Laid Off Workers Get UAW Strike Money
1:48 Ford Fires Back at Fain
2:58 Turkey Wants a Tesla Gigafactory
3:58 Toyota’s Factory Ideas to Battle Tesla
6:14 Shell Opens Its Biggest Charging Station Ever
7:01 Honda Recycling Plastic Intake Manifolds
7:43 New Tiguan PHEV Gets 100 KM of Range
8:45 Ford Reveals Ranger PHEV
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
UAW THREATENS TO EXPAND STRIKE THIS FRIDAY
It’s Day 5 of the UAW strike and it sure looks like it’s going to ratchet up even more. UAW President Shawn Fain says he’s going to ask more union locals to stand up and walk out by noon this Friday unless the Detroit automakers meet the union’s demands. That means automakers will likely lay off more workers at plants that are not on strike, but can’t get the parts they need from the ones that are on strike. Fain accuses the automakers of using layoffs to intimidate his members. But it seems unrealistic for the car companies to keep plants open when they can’t get parts to make anything.
LAID OFF WORKERS TO GET UAW STRIKE MONEY
So, what happens to those laid off workers? They can file for state unemployment, if their state will pay for workers who are idled because of a strike. Michigan, for example, will pay unemployment to laid off workers for 14 to 20 weeks. We estimate that a full-time traditional UAW worker would probably qualify for about $650 a week in unemployment, while a temp worker may get around $450. Fain says the union will pay about $500 a week to those workers from its strike fund, which will get them to about 80% of their take home pay. Under the old contract, the automakers were required to pay Supplemental Unemployment Benefits to laid off workers. But since that contract has expired the car companies won’t be paying any SUB benefits, which is why the union needs to divert some of its strike pay to laid off workers.
FORD FIRES BACK AT FAIN
Meanwhile, the Ford Motor Company is publicly firing back at Fain. It points out that the cost to the company of an average UAW worker is $112,000 a year, and that its latest contract proposal would bring that to $133,000, including $92,000 in cash alone. While Fain focuses on the base pay his members earn, Ford points out that over the last 4 years, traditional UAW workers earned $47,000 in profit sharing, bonuses and yearly payments to cover inflation. Ford also notes that total CEO compensation for Jim Farley is up 21%, not the 40% average the UAW and Fain like to use, which is largely due to Carlos Tavares taking over Stellantis. And so we’re seeing the strike moving into a new phase. In phase one, Fain dominated the media narrative. Now, at least with Ford, we’re seeing a new phase where the company is ready to publicly counter what the union is saying.
TURKEY WANTS A TESLA GIGAFACTORY
A couple of countries are pressuring Elon Musk to build gigafactories. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Tesla and Saudi Arabia are in early talks to open a factory there. However, Elon Musk quickly shot down the report, tweeting that it was “utterly false.” And yesterday Elon Musk met with the president of Turkey who asked him to open a plant there. Tesla currently has six plants and is building another in Mexico. Elon has set a goal of selling 20 million vehicles a year and it’s going to need more factories to hit that target.
TOYOTA’S FACTORY IDEAS TO BATTLE TESLA
Toyota has been criticized for its slow transition to EVs, but as we’ve learned, Toyota typically takes longer to make up its mind, but then uses its manufacturing expertise to quickly pivot. In June, Toyota laid out its plans for the future. And in some cases it’s already implementing those plans, but it’s also giving us real-life demonstrations of others. Much like Tesla is doing now, Toyota plans to build vehicles in large sections, including a front, middle and rear. It will also take advantage of large castings to cut the number of parts. This process allows people to work all around the car without things like pillars, doors and a roof getting in the way. Then those sections can be brought together. Toyota will clearly need human hands to make its EVs, but it is also developing processes that will eliminate some workers. It says it wants self-propelled production to account for 1/2 of the manufacturing process. That includes small autonomous robots that can carry things like seats to build stations as well as the use of conveyor-less assembly. Instead of cars getting dragged down the line, they use their own in-car technology and sensors in the plant to drive themselves through different stations. It’s already using this on some welding lines, but also shows how cars could drive through various checkpoints. Other interesting uses of robots are for seat installation, which is something humans normally do, and a new Vehicle Logistics Robot. It’s used to move stuff around like the seat robot, but it’s big enough to move a whole car. Moving vehicles around a manufacturing yard or shipping lot is another thing a person usually does, but it looks like several of these robots could handle the task. And lastly, we’ll touch on battery development. Toyota is already working on bipolar batteries that are more compact and energy dense as well as solid state batteries. It’s aiming to come out with the bipolar batteries by 2026 or 2027 and solid state by 2027 or 2028.
SHELL OPENS ITS BIGGEST CHARGING STATION EVER
Is this a sign that Big Oil will join the EV revolution? Shell just opened its largest EV charging station in China, which was built in partnership with BYD. Located near the Shenzhen airport, it has 258 public fast chargers and during its trial run, it was able to charge 3,300 vehicles a day. The station uses solar panels which generate 300,000 kWh annually to charge vehicles and also features dining, lounge areas and a convenience shop. If this station proves to be successful, maybe Shell will open more of them, not just in China but also Europe. And who knows? Maybe even the U.S.
HONDA RECYCLING PLASTIC INTAKE MANIFOLDS
All of the metal in cars gets recycled, but almost all of the plastic ends up in landfills. So Honda is partnering with a company in Japan called Toray Industries to test a closed-loop recycling process of nylon resin from used cars, which is used for things like intake manifolds. They’re going to build a pilot facility that will have a processing capacity of 500 metric tons of resin a year. And they aim to get it up and running around 2027. They’ve developed a process that’s faster, results in a higher yield and is more environmentally friendly than current conventional methods.
NEW TIGUAN PHEV GETS 100 KM RANGE
After the new Passat, Volkswagen is showing its second new vehicle to ride on the updated version of ICE-based platform, previously called MQB, now called MQB evo. Styling of the new Tiguan is a mild evolution of the current model, with signature elements from VW’s other SUVs thrown in. One of the big things for us is the addition of a new PHEV variant, which provides nearly 100 kilometers or 62 miles of range. It’s likely to be the same setup in the Passat, which combines a 1.5L 4 cylinder engine, an electric motor that comes in two power outputs and a nearly 20 kWh battery pack. The other big update went to the interior. It’s available with a large 15-inch center display screen and a cool pixelated pattern that’s picked up on the dash and doors. VW says the new Tiguan will start hitting dealerships early next year.
FORD REVEALS PHEV RANGER
But Volkswagen wasn’t the only automaker to show a new PHEV model. Ford revealed that it’s coming out with a plug-in hybrid Ranger for Europe. The setup will combine the automaker’s 2.3L EcoBoost engine with an electric motor and battery pack. While it didn’t give any specs for the hardware, it will have an estimated 45 kilometers or roughly 28 miles of range and the same towing capacity as any other Ranger, which is 3,500 kilograms or 7,700 pounds. However, while Ford is showing off the new Ranger PHEV today, it won’t go into production until late next year and won’t go on sale until early 2025.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.