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0:00 UAW Declares a Ceasefire
1:35 UAW Mack Workers Reject Contract
2:19 Unifor Ready to Strike GM Tonight
2:55 Tesla Signs Major Deal with Hilton
3:56 IRS Just Made Buying EVs Easier
5:13 Hyundai Can’t Find Buyers for China Assembly Plant
6:00 Audi Slashes e-tron GT Price By $20,000
6:54 Ford Expands Blue Cruise in EU
7:29 Ford Launches All-New Transit in EU
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
UAW DECLARES A CEASEFIRE
The UAW’s president Shawn Fain declared something of a ceasefire with GM, Ford and Stellantis on Friday. Instead of calling more plants to go on strike, Fain told UAW workers that they’re making significant progress in negotiations. He noted that with the strike only three weeks old, the automakers more than doubled the raises they originally offered. He also cited progress on COLA, or cost of living, faster transition to top wages, better pay for temporary workers, enhanced profit sharing, and retirement security. But he also told them, “we’re not there yet.” One reason why Fain did not expand the strike is that the union got a major last minute concession from General Motors. It will bring workers at its joint-venture battery plants into the master contract agreement, which will likely get them the full wages earned by workers in assembly plants. All three automakers had opposed that move, but with GM conceding, Ford and Stellantis will probably have to do the same. The fact that the strike did not expand may signal that the worst is over. Shawn Fain certainly believes the union has the upper hand. “Here’s my bottom line,” he told his members, “we’re winning.”
UAW MACK WORKERS REJECT CONTRACT
But even if the UAW reaches an agreement with the automakers, that doesn’t mean the workers will approve it. In a surprise development, 73% of the UAW workers at Mack Truck rejected a new contract that included a 19% raise and a host of other increases to their compensation. Maybe those workers want the 21% increase that Ford is offering, and the COLA that Ford and Stellantis agreed to. Fain has raised the expectations of UAW members and they want him to deliver. And when the workers reject a contract, that actually gives the union more bargaining leverage.
UNIFOR READY TO STRIKE GM TONIGHT
And now all eyes turn to Canada, where Unifor, the Canadian union, has a strike deadline of midnight tonight with General Motors. Unifor told workers at GM’s engine plant in St. Catharine’s to get ready to strike. That plant makes V8 and V6 engines, as well as 6-speed and 8-speed transmissions that go to multiple GM assembly plants in the US, Mexico and Canada. So a strike there would be a crippling blow to GM’s most profitable products across North America.
TESLA SIGNS MAJOR DEAL WITH HILTON
Tesla just made a major deal with Hilton to install chargers at its hotels in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 20,000 chargers will be installed at 2,000 locations starting next year. Right now, only one Hilton hotel in the U.S. has on-site EV charging. Going forward, each hotel will have at least 6 chargers. With so many car companies adopting Tesla’s NACS, and with it installing so many chargers, Wedbush Securities says that Tesla’s Supercharger network could be a $10 billion to $20 billion business by the end of the decade.
IRS JUST MADE BUYING EVs EASIER
The IRS just made a couple of big changes to how the federal tax credit for EVs is applied in the U.S. First, starting at the beginning of next year the credit can be deducted from the price of the vehicle right at the time of purchase. Buyers can now transfer the credit to an “eligible entity,” which essentially means that the buyer gives their tax credit to the dealer and then the dealer gives them the discount. Because the wording says “eligible entity,” companies like Tesla, Lucid and Rivian, that don’t use franchise dealers can also make the point-of-sale price cut. Unfortunately, this will require even more information when buying an EV, but even more people will qualify for the full credit. Previously, to get the full $7,500 you had to owe at least that much in federal taxes. But the IRS is removing the rule so lower income buyers can qualify for the EV credit. Yet, the income cap of $150,000 for single filers, $225,000 for heads of household and $300,000 for married buyers is still in place.
HYUNDAI CAN’T FIND BUYERS FOR CHINA ASSEMBLY PLANT
Hyundai is having a tough time selling one of its plants in China, so it slashed the asking price by 30%. Hyundai put the plant up for sale in August and is now asking just over $350 million for it, which is dirt cheap. The factory in Chongqing is jointly operated with BAIC and it opened in 2017 with a capacity of 300,000 vehicles. Hyundai had five plants in China at its peak but it already sold one of them in 2021 and it wants to cut it down to two. We think Hyundai is having a hard time selling because there is so much overcapacity in China that no one really needs another plant.
AUDI SLASHES E-TRON GT PRICE BY $20,000
Even though Audi’s EV sales shot up 93% in the 3rd quarter in the US, it’s offering some serious discounts for the e-tron GT. It cut the price of the high-performance RS version of the EV by $20,000, which drops the MSRP to just over $125,000. That’s for a 2023 model year vehicle, the 2024 model gets a $10,000 price cut. This car has 637 horsepower, moves from 0 to 60 MPH in 3.1 seconds and is meant to compete with EVs like the Tesla Model S Plaid and Lucid Air. Audi also dropped the price of the standard 2023 e-tron GT by $12,500 and by $5,000 for the 2024 model year.
FORD EXPANDS BLUE CRUISE IN EU
Ford is expanding BlueCruise in Europe. It already operates in Great Britain and Germany and was the first to get approval for a hands-free system in Spain. Ford says 95% of these country’s motorways could be made to work with BlueCruise and it will update vehicles with more roads over time. The technology is also available in vehicles sold in the U.S. and Canada. Ford charges about $22 a month for Blue Cruise in the UK and is counting on subscription services to grow its top line.
FORD LAUNCHES ALL-NEW TRANSIT IN EU
Speaking of Ford, it just opened the order books for the all-new Transit Custom and Tourneo Custom in Europe. These are the same van, but the Transit is the commercial version and the Tourneo is the passenger version. They’re available with a range of diesel engines or as a plug-in hybrid or pure electric model. The diesels can be paired with a manual or automatic transmission as well as AWD for the first time. The PHEV uses a 2.5L gas engine with a nearly 12 kWh battery pack, which provides about 56 kilometers or 35 miles of range. And the all-electric version has two motor outputs with a 64-kWh battery that provides up to 325 kilometers or about 200 miles of range. The all-new vans will also take advantage of a new electronic architecture, which supports an updated infotainment system and OTA updates. While orders for versions with an IC engine are open now, the BEV version will follow soon, but deliveries won’t start until the summer of next year.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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