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– GM Strikes Tentative Deal with Unifor
– IDRA Making Gigapresses For Ford & Hyundai
– China Car Exports Soar in September
– Stellantis To Build 2nd Battery Plant in Indiana
– BMW Starts Construction on U.S. Battery Plant
– BMW Reveals New iX2 Electric
– Honda Develops Electronic Clutch for Manual Motorcycles
– Magna Creates Recyclable Seat Covers
– Tesla Model 3 & Y Off-Road Lift Kit
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GM STRIKES TENTATIVE DEAL WITH UNIFOR
Well that didn’t last long. GM reached a tentative deal with the Canadian union, Unifor. Just hours after sending roughly 4,300 members on strike, the two sides came to an agreement, which if workers sign, will include wage increases of up to 25% and a four-year progression to top pay, instead of 8 years. The Unifor strike would have also impacted production in the U.S. and Mexico, including GM’s full-size trucks, so this takes a lot of pressure off the company and allows it to keep making its most profitable vehicles. UAW President Shawn Fain said in his last livestream event that it had received offers from Ford that would give workers a 23% pay increase and ones from GM and Stellantis that would give around 20%, so he may use the Unifor deal to his advantage. Plus, Unifor got GM to follow the traditional pattern agreement by going after its full-size trucks, while the UAW got a better offer from GM with the threat of striking its biggest and most important plants. Fain also said that it wouldn’t be long before the UAW goes after full-size truck plants from all three if he doesn’t continue to see progress in negotiations. So, fireworks could be right around the corner.
IDRA MAKING GIGAPRESSES FOR FORD & HYUNDAI
Tesla has pioneered efforts for uber large castings and many more automakers are following suit. Reuters reports that both Ford and Hyundai are getting giant presses made for them by IDRA, the same company that makes Tesla’s gigapresses. Ford is getting a 6,000-ton casting machine and Hyundai is getting a 9,000-ton model, the same that Tesla uses for the Cybertruck. The automakers will use the machines for R&D purposes, but large castings combine many parts into one and can reduce manufacturing costs, especially for EVs. And like we said, many more automakers are following suit, and Reuters says IDRA is also making two 9,000 ton presses for an unnamed premium automaker in Europe.
CHINA CAR EXPORTS SOAR IN SEPTEMBER
Car sales in China were up once again last month. According to the China Passenger Car Association, automakers sold more than 2 million passenger cars in September, a gain of nearly 5% from a year ago. NEV or new energy vehicle sales, which include BEVs, PHEVs and fuel cells, shot up 22% last month and they now account for 36% of total sales. But car exports from China also continue to go up as sales have slowed from their torrid growth. Exports surged 50% in September compared to a year ago and that was up from a 31% increase in August. Through the first nine months of the year, automakers have sold more than 15.4 million vehicles in China, up 2% from last year.
STELLANTIS TO BUILD 2ND BATTERY PLANT IN INDIANA
Stellantis and Samsung SDI chose a familiar spot to open a second EV battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. It will build another factory in Kokomo, Indiana. The first plant, announced back in May, will cost $2.5 billion, have an annual capacity of 33-GWh and start production in 2025. The second Kokomo plant will cost $3.2 billion, have an annual capacity of 34-GWh and start production in 2027. The new battery plant will be Stellantis’ sixth worldwide.
BMW STARTS CONSTRUCTION ON U.S. BATTERY PLANT
And speaking of EV battery factories in the U.S., BMW announced that it started construction on its battery assembly plant in South Carolina, which will open in 2026. The packs assembled at the new plant and then shipped to its car manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina to be used in future EVs. The cells will be produced at a nearby facility by its battery partner AESC. By 2030, BMW plans to build at least six all-electric models in the U.S.
BMW REVEALS NEW iX2 ELECTRIC
BMW revealed the all-new X2, which makes its official world debut later this month at the Japan Mobility Show. The big highlight is an all-electric version is being added to the lineup for the first time. It features a battery pack with 64.8-kWh of usable energy, which provides a range of 417 to 449 kilometers or 259 to 279 miles. Two electric motors, one at the front and one at the rear combine for 230 kW or 313 horsepower. BMW will also introduce a second EV variant that goes on sale after the initial market launch in March 2024. Several ICE versions will also be available. A 1.5L three-cylinder gasoline engine paired with a 48V mild hybrid system is available at launch along with a four-cylinder diesel, while the M version gets a 2.0L four-cylinder engine. All IC engines are mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. All the models are bigger than the outgoing X2, feature a more fast-back roofline and will be built on a single assembly line at one of BMW’s plants in Germany.
HONDA DEVELOPS ELECTRONIC CLUTCH FOR MANUAL MOTORCYCLES
Honda is making it a lot easier for anyone to ride a motorcycle. It developed an electronic clutch for manual motorcycle transmissions, which it calls a world’s first. Riders are no longer required to operate the lever on the handlebars and can just hit the foot pedal up or down to change gears. I think this is interesting because the rider will still get some engagement with the bike and what the engine is doing without going to a full-blown automatic transmission. However, purists can still operate both the hand and foot lever together if they want to. Better yet, Honda says its e-clutch can be installed on existing engines with little modification and it will add it to new models over time.
MAGNA CREATES RECYCLABLE SEAT COVERS
Almost all the metal in cars gets recycled, but most automotive plastic ends up in landfills. That’s why Magna developed seat covers, foam, thread, hook and loop, and adhesives that are all made from polyethylene, or PET. The seat cover and everything with it is designed to be pulled off in one piece and then melted down for reuse. With no need to separate the pieces, it makes it very easy to recycle and that could have a real positive impact on the environment. There are 43 pounds of foam and trim in the seats of the average car which goes to landfills today. But now it can get recycled. Magna is partnering with a company called TWE Wovens, which recycles PET bottles to provide the raw materials that Magna needs. And TWE partners with a company called Plastic Bank, which gives poor people in developing countries groceries, cooking fuel, school tuition, health insurance and other services to collect PET bottles and waste so it can be recycled. Magna says its recyclable seat covers are cost competitive with virgin materials and that a North American automaker will start using them in 2026.
TESLA MODEL 3 & Y OFF-ROAD LIFT KIT
Like any car, EVs owners like to do things their vehicle wasn’t originally designed for and this next thing is so crazy awesome I couldn’t pass up the chance to show you. A company called PU.LABO is offering an off-road lift kit for the Tesla Model 3 & Y that makes them look absolutely goofy. But despite the looks, this actually seems like a really robust kit. It includes aluminum upper controls arms for front and rear, steel lower control arms front and rear, front and rear steel subframes and coil-over shocks to name the highlights. In total, it can add 5-inches of ground clearance and 8-inches of wheel travel. The kit is listed for $15,000 but it’s on sale now for $12-grand.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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