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0:00 UAW Targets Honda, Hyundai & VW
2:15 OESA’s Fream Steps Down
2:49 Lucid’s CFO Leaves
3:23 1st Biden-Funded Charging Station Opens
4:13 Renault Sells 5% of Nissan Stock
4:42 Renault & VW Could Co-Develop Sub 20,000 Euro EV
5:16 Chinese EVs Get 5-Star Euro NCAP Ratings
6:22 Ford Slashes Lightning Production
7:10 Cybertruck Offers Wade Mode
7:50 GM & Komatsu Partner on Fuel Cell Mining Trucks
8:58 Mercedes’ Most Powerful SL Ever
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
UAW TARGETS HONDA, HYUNDAI & VW
The UAW just fired its first shots in its organizing battle against non-union automakers in the United States. Yesterday, it filed unfair labor practices against Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen with the National Labor Relations Board. It says the automakers are using illegal tactics, like putting union organizers under surveillance and stopping them from passing union material in non-working areas during non-working times. The car companies deny this and say they welcome the opportunity to defend themselves through the legal process. But the board of the NLRB currently has a majority of pro-union Democrats and could be very sympathetic to the UAW. Here’s what UAW president Shawn Fain said in a recent video: “Don’t autoworkers at Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru and Mazda deserve a record cut of those record profits? And how about the German three, Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes? They’ve made almost the same as the Japanese companies, $460 billion in the last ten years. Do Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes workers not deserve their fair share of this booming auto industry?” The UAW is trying to get workers at Honda, Hyundai and VW to sign union cards saying they want them there. If 30% of the workers sign the cards, the union will publicly announce it. If they hit 50%, Fain will personally hold a rally at the plant to get more. And if 70% sign on, the union will demand the company recognize the union or it will hold an election. It will be fascinating to see how this develops. In the past the union was able to pressure workers into signing union cards, only to see them vote against the union when they could vote in secret at the ballot box.
OESA’S FREAM STEPS DOWN
We’ve got some key executive changes to report. Julie Fream is stepping down from the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, which is the main lobbying group for automotive suppliers in the U.S. The OESA is part of MEMA, or the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association, a larger lobbying group for manufacturing companies. Fream, who is 60 years old, is leaving to pursue other opportunities and will be replaced by Collin Shaw, who like Fream, has extensive experience in the auto industry.
LUCID CFO LEAVES
And Lucid’s Chief Financial Officer Sherry House is also leaving to pursue other opportunities, while the company searches for a replacement. It’s been a tough year for Lucid. Sales are down 30%, it missed the guidance it gave Wall Street, its stock is down 44% and it’s getting dropped from the NASDAQ 100 which is a list of the top 100 companies on the exchange. Of course, Lucid isn’t the only one. EBay and Zoom are also getting booted off the NASDAQ 100.
1ST BIDEN-FUNDED CHARGING STATION OPENS
There simply aren’t enough public EV charging stations in the U.S., but the first one funded by government money just opened near Columbus, Ohio. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act earmarks $7.5 billion to build a network of charging stations across the U.S. Even though it was enacted two years ago, the work is just getting going. Vermont, Pennsylvania and Maine also broke ground on new stations. The U.S. currently has 165,000 charging ports, but the Biden Administration wants to grow that to 500,000 by 2030 and have them placed no more than 50 miles apart along highways and interstates. That could go a long way to answering complaints about a lack of a charging infrastructure.
RENAULT SELLS 5% OF NISSAN STOCK
Renault promised to give Nissan more of an equal footing in its alliance. So the French automaker is selling 5% of its Nissan stock, and Nissan is buying those shares and retiring them. Renault will book a $1.6 billion loss from the transaction. The stock sale is part of an agreement the two automakers made earlier in the year, in which Renault will reduce its stake in Nissan from 43% to 15%. Renault plans to sell off its stake gradually.
RENAULT & VW TO DEVELOP SUB €20,000 EV
And speaking of Renault, German newspaper Handlesblatt reports that the French automaker is in talks with Volkswagen to develop a low-cost BEV to compete against Chinese imports in Europe. The talks are still in a “very early stage” but the two companies want to share a BEV platform for models that cost below 20,000 euros. VW also has an EV partnership with Ford, where some of Ford’s European models will use VW’s MEB platform.
CHINESE CARS GET 5-STAR EU NCAP
No wonder they’re doing that. Chinese automakers are really making a push into Europe. The Euro NCAP, which rates the safety of new vehicles, crash tested nine Chinese EVs this year and all of them received 5-star safety ratings. The models were the BYD Dolphin, Seal, Seal-U and Tang, the Xpeng G9 and P7, the Nio EL7 and ET5 and the Smart #3. While Smart isn’t completely Chinese, it’s partly owned and built by Geely in China. And not only was the Nio ET5 the safest among the Chinese vehicles tested, it was the safest vehicle tested by Euro NCAP this year.
FORD SLASHES LIGHTNING PRODUCTION
Here’s another sign that Warren Browne, our recent guest on Autoline After Hours, might be right about electric pickup adoption being a lot lower than expected. Ford will cut production of the F-150 Lightning in half at the start of next year due to “changing market demand.” Automotive News reports that Ford told suppliers to plan for about 1,600 Lightnings to roll down the line each week at its Rouge EV Center in Michigan. That means it will make about 75,000 electric trucks for the full year, instead of a planned 150,000. And Ford says it will continue to match production of the Lightning to meet customer demand. So, that new output number could easily change in either direction.
CYBERTRUCK WADE MODE
And while you might joke that the Lightning is barely keeping its head above the water, it looks like the Tesla Cybertruck will have no problem mixing water and electricity. Some of the first owners are showing that the truck has a “wade mode” in its off-road settings that raises the ride height and pressurizes the battery when driving through water. I have not seen anyone test these capabilities yet, but Elon Musk previously said he wanted the Cybertruck to be able to cross the water between SpaceX’s Starbase and South Padre Island in Texas, which is about 1,100 feet or 360 meters.
GM & KOMATSU PARTNER ON FUEL CELLS
General Motors and Komatsu are collaborating to develop fuel cells for mining trucks. Specifically, they’re for Komatsu’s 930E mining trucks, which are as big as a house and can haul 320 tons per load. The fuel cells for those trucks will generate 2 megawatts of power or the equivalent of 2,682 horsepower. GM would not provide any other information about the fuel cells except to say they’re far bigger than anything it’s shown to date. The 930E is a diesel electric, where the diesel runs a generator to power the electric motors that drive the wheels. So the fuel cell would merely replace the diesel and generate electricity directly. No word yet on when these fuel cell trucks will be available to customers. And we’re offering bonus points to anyone who can name the division of General Motors that made mining trucks from 1953 to 1981. That’s right, GM used to make some of the biggest mining trucks in the world.
MERCEDES AMG SL IS 2.9 SECOND CAR
Mercedes has now applied its AMG-specific E PERFORMANCE hybrid setup to five of its models, which pairs a twin-turbo 4.0L V8 engine with an electric motor for 800+ horsepower. The setup instantly made some of them the most powerful version of that model ever and the new SL 63 S E PERFORMANCE is no different. With 600 kW or 804 horsepower and 1,047 lb-ft of torque, this is the most powerful SL ever and will do 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds. The model is actually a plug-in hybrid and AWD with the engine in front and the motor, two-speed transmission, limited-slip differential and 6.1 kWh battery in the rear. Other highlights include AWS, active aero, ceramic brakes and a semi-active suspension system.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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