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0:00 One Of Three UAW Workers Didn’t Bother to Vote
0:51 Subaru Raises Wages to Fend Off UAW
1:24 Brightdrop No Longer Independent from GM
2:05 Cadillac Going to Australia & New Zealand
2:43 Cadillac Unveils New EVs For China
3:44 Lucid Launches Its 1st SUV
5:34 Honda Offers Hands-Free Driving
6:15 Amazon to Sell Hyundai’s
6:55 GAC Going to Solid-State Batteries
7:37 BMW’s Centerlock Wheels Need 685-lb/ft Torque
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
ONE OF THREE UAW WORKERS DIDN’T BOTHER TO VOTE
Well it’s official. UAW workers at GM, Ford and Stellantis voted in favor of their new labor contract. But here’s the interesting thing. One-third of UAW workers did not even bother to vote on the contract. In fact, nearly half of all UAW workers at Ford did not bother to vote. At Stellantis nearly 39% of workers sat out the vote and at GM it was about 26%. That says to us the support for the contract is stronger than the final votes suggest, because we can only imagine that if people didn’t bother to vote they’re happy enough with the contract that the union negotiated.
|2023 UAW CONTRACT|
|Total Votes||Total UAW Members||% Not Voting|
|Source: UAW, industry sources|
SUBARU RAISES WAGES TO FEND OFF UAW
Even though the voting is over, we’re still seeing the ripple effect of the union’s new labor contract. Subaru told Reuters it will raise wages for workers at its plant in Lafayette, Indiana, but it has not decided by how much yet. So far Toyota, Honda and Hyundai have announced they will raise wages. UAW president Shawn Fain says he’s now going to try and organize the transplants and EV startups, so the non-union automakers will want to raise wages to try and keep the union out.
BRIGHTDROP NO LONGER INDEPENDENT FROM GM
Another development that could be strike related is that General Motors is going to bring Brightdrop into the corporate fold and will no longer let it operate as a separate subsidiary. Travis Katz, the CEO who was running Brightdrop, is going to leave the company. And all of Brightdrop’s software and service development will also be integrated into existing GM operations. Maybe General Motors was already contemplating this move, but it needs to find ways to cut costs to offset the higher price of its new labor contract. And bringing Brightdrop in-house is definitely a cost-cutting move.
CADILLAC GOING TO AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND
Of course, you can’t cost-cut your way to prosperity. You have to grow the top line too. And GM announced its going to start selling Cadillac Lyriq’s in Australia and New Zealand as 2025 models, which suggests they could go on sale there next year. It will also start selling the Lyriq in Sweden, Switzerland and France in the first half of next year. The Lyriq was designed from the outset to accommodate right hand steering, so it should not be an expensive conversion. And that opens up other right-hand-steering markets like the UK, Japan and India.
CADILLAC UNVEILS NEW EVS FOR CHINA
But GM did not say if the Lyriq’s for those markets will be built in the US or in China. Earlier this morning it unveiled a new rear-drive version of the Lyriq for the Chinese market. Up to now it only sold all-wheel-drive versions there. The rear-drive one starts at $41,275 which is about $10,000 less than the all-wheel-drive version. Cadillac also teased the Optiq, a smaller crossover that will be priced even lower, but will only be available in the Chinese market. And it showed two other EVs under wraps that will be launched in China by the end of this year, which means we’ll see a couple of other reveals in just a few weeks.
LUCID LAUNCHES ITS 1ST SUV
EV startup Lucid Motors revealed its first SUV, the Gravity. It shares similar front end styling to the Air sedan and the rear clam-shell liftgate mirrors the Air’s trunk lid. But it also offers three rows of seating. The Gravity will feature a newer version of Lucid’s 900-volt electrical architecture, which will allow it to add up to 200 miles of range in about 15 minutes of charging. Overall, it will have more than 440 miles or 708 kilometers of range. Lucid was already known for having a compact, but powerful electric motor and it says the SUV will get an even newer version of it, which will help it go from 0-60 in under 3.5 seconds and tow up to 6,000 pounds. The interior is similar to the Air as well, but there’s some different treatments on the dash and doors and the center screen is set higher and floating, rather than more integrated into the center console. Lucid hints that the Gravity might have a different battery pack. The one in the Air ranges from 88-118 kWh, but it says Gravity will set new standards for SUVs with a smaller, lighter, more sustainable battery pack that is a little more than half the size of some of its battery-hungry competitors. Pricing will start under $80,000, but sales won’t kick off until the end of next year. Lucid’s sales have tapered off, so a new model is going to inject some excitement into the company. But it will also be under more pressure to scale up production. The big thing Lucid has going for it that not too many EV startups have is billion dollar backers in the Saudi Investment Fund.
HONDA OFFERS HANDS-FREE DRIVING
Automakers keep taking steps that are getting us closer to autonomous driving. Honda will offer hands-free driving next year. It’s coming out with a new version of its safety technology, called Honda SENSING 360+ that adds a driver monitoring system and high-definition maps. These new features make it so the system now supports hands-free driving on the highway and lane changes when the driver uses the turn signal. The new Accord is the first model to get Honda SENSING 360+. And China will be the first market where it’s available, which will be sometime next year. After that, it goes global.
AMAZON TO SELL HYUNDAIS
Hyundai dealers can sell vehicles online through Amazon’s U.S. stores starting next year. Buyers can search for vehicle’s, pick the model, trim, color and features they want, and choose payment and finance options through Amazon’s online checkout. They can then pick it up or have it delivered to their local dealer. Hyundai will use Amazon AWS as its cloud provider to help with the automaker’s digital transformation for operations, production and customer service. And Hyundai will also integrate Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant into its vehicles starting in 2025.
GAC GOING TO SOLID STATE BATTERIES
Solid state batteries could be a game changer for electric vehicles and Chinese automaker GAC announced that it plans to equip its EVs with fully solid-state batteries in 2026. The batteries have an energy density of 400-Wh per kilogram, which compares to about 300 for most of today’s batteries. And the company says it will meet safety and reliability standards. That’s all the details we have but it looks like GAC could be the first automaker to sell EVs with full solid-state batteries. Toyota, Honda and Nissan are also developing them and are aiming to bring them to market by the end of the decade.
BMW’S CENTERLOCK WHEELS NEED 685 LB/FT TORQUE
I never realized how tight you have torque down centerlock wheels. BMW is offering quick-change centerlock wheels for versions of the M2, M3 and M4, which replaces the wheel studs and/or lugs with one central screw. But it says that screw has to be bolted down to 930 Nm or 685 lb-ft of torque. I came here from a world of working on cars and trucks, but most vehicle lug nuts are torqued to about 100 lb-ft, while some full-size trucks would be around 150 lb-ft or a little more. I was just very shocked to see that number. And like any set of good aftermarket wheels, these are not that cheap with a price tag of over 12,000 euros.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for tuning in and I hope that you have a great weekend.
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