Category: Production

By on January 25, 2022

The final Volkswagen Passat has rolled off the assembly line in Chattanooga, Tennessee, ending the model’s extended run on the North American market.

Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and introduced in 1973 using the VW/Audi B1 platform, the Passat arrived in the United States as the Dasher and was sold as a midsized luxury vehicle to people in the market for an imported economy car. The model carried different names in other parts of the world and even saw a few unique monikers used in the U.S. (e.g. Quantum) to help differentiate between the hatchback, sedan, and wagon variants sold throughout the 1980s. But it was officially known as the (B2) Passat by 1990, regardless of format.  Read More >

By on January 24, 2022

Ford’s sales success with the Maverick pickup has been undeniable. But if you’re in need of more evidence, the automaker has begun notifying dealerships to stop taking reservations on the base hybrid model because it doesn’t even think it can keep up with the existing backlog.  Read More >

By on January 21, 2022

Intel has announced a $20 billion investment to transform a 1,000-acre plot in New Albany, Ohio, into the latest addition to its U.S. chip-manufacturing hub. Construction is scheduled to commence later this year with operations starting in 2025. But everyone’s wondering if it is going to be enough to rectify the pathetic state in which domestic vehicle production currently finds itself.  Read More >

By on January 20, 2022

Toyota Motor Corp is currently having to contend with idle factories in Asia, reducing the automaker’s estimated output by over 47,000 units this month. Shockingly, it’s not alleged to have anything to do with the semiconductor shortage that’s been wreaking havoc on Western markets.

With chip production having been localized primarily in China and Taiwan, Asian suppliers have had better access to them. But Eastern markets have still been subjected to other routine plant closures due to supply chain restrictions stemming from the pandemic. Existing protocols in China, combined with renewed restrictions in Japan, have created a situation impacting numerous automakers with Toyota announcing this week that it probably won’t reach its goal of manufacturing 9 million cars this year — though it made sure to include the ongoing semiconductor issue as relevant.  Read More >

By on January 19, 2022

Ford

Ford will be idling Mustang production this week due to an insufficient supply of semiconductor chips. For all the talk the industry made about getting over supply chain hurdles in 2021, manufacturers continue citing insufficient access to microchips as the primary obstacle preventing them from enjoying more routine operations.

The automaker confirmed the move on Tuesday, explaining that Michigan’s Flat Rock Assembly will be down until sometime next week.  Read More >

By on December 29, 2021

McLaren has confirmed that it will be delaying the launch of its new hybrid supercar, the Artura, until the summer of 2022. Slated to commence deliveries by the end of 2021, the company has stated that the chip shortage has forced a revised timeline.

The semiconductor shortage has been a popular excuse for automakers the world over and may still be valid. Chip manufacturers have continued prioritizing the production of newer, more advanced components yielding higher margins. However, these units typically do not make their way into automobiles and are more commonly found in smaller electronic devices. Read More >

By on December 13, 2021

Chevrolet’s Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, will be seeing a week of downtime following the vicious tornadoes that swept through the United States over the weekend. With twisters populating Southern and Midwestern states, Kentucky became ground zero from some of the most devastating weather seen all year.

Governor Andy Beshear called for a state of emergency Saturday due to the extensive damage across the state, with Bowling Green yielding some of the most harrowing examples. While the Corvette factory was spared the total destruction endured by other buildings, General Motors has said the site will still need to remain closed so the necessary cleanup can be done. Read More >

By on November 30, 2021

It’s been decades since BMW introduced a dedicated M car, so imagine our surprise when we learned the next one would be a boxy SUV. Considering the last standalone M was the ground-hugging wedge that was the M1 coupe, we have to assume M Division engineers were either trying to challenge themselves or someone higher up figured they could make more money selling a utility vehicle.

While just a concept at present, the BMW XM boasts a fairly radical design. But the manufacturer has claimed it will retain over 90 percent of the prototype’s good (?) looks when it enters into production. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here that might make it into the finished product, including the extra-thin daytime running lights that sit atop the real headlamps that have been snuck behind tinted glass. It’s a strange beast that doesn’t seem like it’s targeting the traditional M shopper and, according to BMW, that’s because it isn’t.  Read More >

By on November 23, 2021

Rivian may be experiencing more production delays. Maybe this is why it now apparently has a delivery-time estimator on its build site?

Read More >

By on October 18, 2021

Automakers Toyota and Stellantis separately announced plans to construct lithium-ion battery plants in North America on Monday. With regulatory pressures mounting, the industry has been shifting its eggs between baskets to avoid trouble. But the ultimate goal for most brands is to transition toward selling EVs, requiring meaningful action and financial expenditures on the part of manufacturers.

We’ve already seen General Motors and Ford Motor Co. squabbling over who will nestle the biggest battery facilities between America’s Frost and Sun Belts. It’s only fitting that the remnants of the Chrysler Corporation contained in Stellantis walk the path of electrification, especially now that it’s absolutely riddled with European influence. Meanwhile, Toyota is predictably exercising a bit of caution as it similarly navigates how to modernize itself via upcoming lithium-ion plants.  Read More >

By on October 12, 2021

While nobody needs to tell you that the economy isn’t in good health, we should at least hip you to the latest automotive trends relating to the financial purgatory we’re currently living through. Ford sent a memo to dealers last week indicating that it would be removing the minimum FICO requirement for 84-month financing, indicating that the industry may soon normalize auto loans that are even longer than the 72-month whoppers that have grown in popularity over the last several years.

Meanwhile, those needing a vehicle intermittently will find that rental rates have not been declining as hoped. Despite analysts previously suggesting that auto pricing may stabilize through the fall, we now look to be going into the holidays facing familiar high-priced troubles — and there’s really no reason to think that’s going to change after 2022 gets here.  Read More >

By on October 5, 2021

Despite manufacturers still managing to turn a profit, the automotive sector hasn’t been in the best of health these last few years. Growth appears to have plateaued in most Western nations, encouraging companies to cater this business toward other markets, supply chains have also been negatively impacted by the pandemic — with semiconductor shortages hindering production schedules on a scale we’ve not seen since the Great Recession.

It’s a bad situation and rumored to get worse if the warning cries of economists are to be believed. But there’s also mounting evidence to support their claims. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recently reported that vehicle registrations in the United Kingdom fell by roughly 35 percent in September vs the same timeframe in 2020. This is relevant because the month typically represents the second-busiest period for the country and numbers were already low due to production stops created by coronavirus lockdowns.  Read More >

By on October 4, 2021

GM/ChevroletNinety years. That’s the amount of time that General Motors has led the sales charts in the U.S.

That may change this year, according to industry bible Automotive News, because of the ongoing microchip shortage.

Read More >

By on September 29, 2021

Production of the 2022 Lucid Air started this week, adding another automaker to the North American roster. The manufacturer held an event on September 28th, inviting Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, relevant executives, big-time investors, select media outlets, and customers who dropped $170,000 to purchase the limited Dream Edition of the electric vehicle.

While often framed as a Tesla ripoff, Lucid Motors has been setting its sights so high that it hardly feels like a fair assessment. Because the Air is offering one of the most impressive all-electric spec sheets in the industry right now and should probably worry the competition.

Read More >

By on September 13, 2021

With supply chain hiccups crippling the automotive industry’s ability to conduct business as normal, resulting in rolling production stalls and skyrocketing vehicle prices, manufacturers looked to be in serious trouble throughout the pandemic. But we learned that wasn’t to be the case by the summer. Automakers were posting “surprise profits” because people still needed cars. We also found out there’s been a growing appetite for expensive (see: highly profitable) models and the industry saved itself a bundle by not needing to pay for office space or line workers, as COVID restrictions kept everyone at home.

Having considered the above, most automakers are seriously considering how they can further leverage this new modality. German manufacturers have even said they’re not that interested in going back to the normal way of doing things — instead electing to intentionally limit volumes and focus on high-end models that will yield the greatest return on investment. But it’s not quite the curveball it seems, as some companies were already ditching the volume approach.  Read More >

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