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0:00 Ford’s Chairman Pleads to End Strike
0:47 Suppliers Feeling Strike Impact
1:16 UAW Tells Ford to Pound Sand
1:57 Tesla China Slips to 5th Place
3:11 OEMs Oppose New U.S. CAFE Standards
4:08 Toyota’s Boxy Van Concept
5:07 Volta Trucks Files for Bankruptcy
5:50 Stellantis Buys EREV Platform in China
6:49 Audio Speakers with No Rare Earths
7:54 Li Auto EV Has Wild Form Language
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
BILL FORD PLEADS TO END UAW STRIKE
It’s Day 33 of the UAW strike and yesterday at Ford’s iconic Rouge plant, Bill Ford practically pleaded with the union to bring the strike to an end. Here’s what he had to say:
“We can stop this now. And I call on my great UAW colleagues, some of whom I’ve known for decades, many are close personal friends: we need to come together to bring an end to this acrimonious round of talks.”
Bill Ford went on to warn that the supplier community will start to collapse with an expanded strike.
SUPPLIERS FEELING STRIKE IMPACT
And MEMA, the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents the supplier community, says the strike is already hurting the supplier community. 39% of them have laid off line workers, up from 30% last week. Half of the suppliers who haven’t laid off any workers say they will start laying them off in the next two weeks. And 80% of MEMA’s members say they are worried about the financial stability of the suppliers that supply them.
UAW TELLS FORD TO POUND SAND
Even so, the union shows no signs of backing down. Just the opposite. Shawn Fain, the UAW president, immediately shot down Bill Ford’s plea with this post on X. “Bill Ford knows exactly how to settle this strike,” Fain wrote. “Instead of threatening to close the Rouge, he should call up Jim Farley, tell him to stop playing games and get a deal done, or we’ll close the Rouge for him.” The last UAW strike in 2019 against General Motors lasted 40 days. So we think Fain may want to go to at least 41 days, to prove he’s tougher than the last generation of union leadership.
TESLA CHINA SLIPS TO 5TH PLACE
And now we move over to Tesla, where analysts are predicting that 3rd quarter sales and profits will be down. Even so, the damage will likely be limited. Morgan Stanley forecasts that gross profit margins will be 17.5%, down from 18.1%. But in China, Tesla could be facing bigger problems. Car News China reports that last week, BYD, Li Auto, GAC, and Wuling all outsold Tesla with NEVs in China. Now, those are numbers that are based on insurance registrations, and it’s only for one week, and several of those brands sell more than just BEVs. So the numbers could change a lot by the end of the month. But it sure is surprising to see that Tesla has slipped into 5th place for New Energy Vehicles in China.
OEMs OPPOSE U.S. EPA CAFE STANDARDS
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a lobbying group in the U.S. that represents most major automakers, is once again criticizing the Biden Administration’s proposal to boost fuel economy standards. NHTSA is proposing to increase requirements 2% per year for passenger cars and 4% per year for trucks and SUVs from 2027 to 2032. This would result in a Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE target of 58 MPG for an automaker’s fleet. The Alliance says this will result in vehicle prices increasing $3,000 on average by 2032 because of fines automakers will receive for not being able to comply. Last month, the Alliance claimed automakers will face more than $14 billion in fines for non-compliance if NHTSA doesn’t revise its proposal.
TOYOTA’S BOXY VAN CONCEPT
Toyota continues to show more future EV concepts that it will display at the Japan Mobility Show at the end of the month. This is the KAYOIBAKO, a boxy little van that shares its name with a special type of shipping container and can be adapted for a number of uses. Toyota shows how it could be used for delivery or as a small shuttle in a commercial setting as well as for private owners to carry all their gear or convert it into a wheelchair accessible van. The interior features two display screens. One thin one mounted up high and near the windshield and another just in front of the rectangular steering wheel. Toyota didn’t provide any details about the powertrain, other than to say it’s a BEV, but did reveal it’s about 4 meters or 13 feet long and only about 1.8 meters or under 6 feet wide. So, it would fit nicely into most tight spaces.
SWEDEN’S VOLTA TRUCKS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
Another EV startup is filing for bankruptcy. Last week, it was Chinese EV maker WM Motor and today Volta Trucks is doing the same. The commercial EV startup that was founded in 2019 announced it will file for bankruptcy in Sweden, which is where its headquartered, and it will do the same in the UK where it has other operations. Volta says it had difficulty raising cash after its battery supplier, Proterra, filed for bankruptcy back in August, which reduced Volta’s production targets. But there’s also a lot more competition in or coming to the electric truck segment.
STELLANTIS BUYS EREV PLATFORM IN CHINA
We have more details about a Stellantis partnership with Chinese automaker Leapmotor that we first reported about in late August. CarNewsChina reports that Stellantis is wrapping up its investment to buy a vehicle platform from Leapmotor that supports both BEV and extended-range electric vehicles. Leapmotor has already showed its own model on this platform, an SUV called the C10, but the company always hoped to supply it to other automakers. That now includes Stellantis, but previous reports say VW’s standalone Jetta brand in China is also getting the platform. And as we know the Volkswagen brand signed a deal to get an EV platform from XPeng and Audi is turning to SAIC for an EV platform. So, a number of foreign companies are turning to Chinese automakers to speed up their electric transition.
AUDIO SPEAKERS WITH NO RARE EARTHS
Automakers want to reduce their reliance on rare earth elements because the market is dominated by China and there are environmental concerns over mining them. That’s why a UK based car audio company called Warwick Acoustics has developed speakers that don’t use rare earth elements. While there is a lot of focus on reducing rare earths in EV motors, Warwick says as much as 30% of the rare earth content in a premium EV is actually in the audio system. Instead of a magnet, Warwick’s speaker replaces it with a 1mm thin electrostatic panel, which reduces the weight by 90% compared to a conventional speaker. It also says its panels are made from 100% by mass upcycled and recyclable materials, which makes it even more sustainable. Warwick says it is in the final stages of industrialization for its first customers but it did not say what companies will use it.
LI AUTO EV HAS WILD FORM LANGUAGE
If someone were to design a new-age version of early dust-buster minivans, we think you’d get something like the all-new Li Auto Mega MPV. It’s the company’s first pure BEV and features a roof-mounted Lidar, an 800-volt electronic architecture and a Qilin battery from CATL. And no matter what you think of the looks, Li Auto teases that it will have excellent aerodynamics.
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But with that we wrap up today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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