As Tesla Plant Shows Early Signs of Unionizing, Musk and UAW Trade Blows

Some employees at Tesla Inc.’s Fremont, California factory have been moving ahead with efforts to unionize. Fronting that campaign is Jose Moran, who claims to have worked at the plant for the last four years. He and other disgruntled Tesla employees have reached out to the United Automobile Workers, claiming they work long hours for low pay under unsafe conditions as the company pursues aggressive production deadlines.

While Tesla’s CEO has responded with his own claim that Moran was paid by the UAW to join his company and proselytize for a union, the organization promptly refuted that suggestion by accusing Tesla of spreading dreaded “fake news.”

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Sorry GM Crossovers, Cars.com Says the Toyota Camry is the Most American Vehicle

In its 2016 American-Made Index, Cars.com returned a familiar nameplate to the top spot, but it isn’t built by a domestic automaker.

According to the annual ranking, Toyota Camry retains the American-made crown this year with 75-percent domestic content. Other Japanese models, each wrapped up in red, white and blue, fill up the top five.

The findings fly in the face of the Kogod Made in America Auto Index published last week, which had domestic automakers on top.

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Hyperloop Visits Detroit; Will Auto Talent Make the Jump From Tires to Tubes?

Hyperloop Technology’s co-founder and chief technology officer Brogan BamBrogan, who is a real person and not a Bond villain living in a volcano lair, choose yesterday’s SEA International Congress talent meetup to push the Elon Musk-conceived technology, Automotive News has reported.

BamBrogan’s company is dangling job opportunities in front of the Detroit crowd in a bid to lure [s]new henchmen[/s] auto industry talent into its fold.

The former Chrysler and SpaceX engineer’s message to the Detroit audience was clear. To paraphrase Seinfeld — this technology is real, and it’s spectacular.

“We’re calling this our Kitty Hawk moment,” BamBrogan told them.

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Beauty All Around Us: Artists Use Industrial Bi-Product To Make Jewelry

Imagine Detroit at its height, enormous factories and mile-long production lines running day and night, a roiling, churning symphony of man and machine where thousands of workers joined together parts, large and small, from a myriad of sources into single, working vehicle. Although I have toured modern factories in Japan, meticulously clean facilities where technicians in spotless coveralls only complete the tasks that robots cannot, I view the old factories, places like Rouge River that were built in in the first part of the last century, with a special sort of awe. The entirety of what went on there is, to me, unknowable and, like the great pyramids, all that is left of the human toil is the end product. That’s why, when some small piece of history, some bi-product of that mysterious past, catches my attention, I stop and look.

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Bailout Watch 573: GM Bailout Cost Taxpayers $12,200 Per Car

This according to the National Taxpayer’s Union report “ The Auto Bailout: A Taxpayer Quagmire,” authored by Rochester Institute of Technology Professor of Economics, Thomas D. Hopkins. That number includes the $52.9b taxpayer “investment” in General Motors, as well as GM’s portion of the GMAC bailout, which brings GM’s taxpayer tab to over $60b. Chrysler’s GMAC-inclusive bailout bill totals $17.4b, or $7,600 per vehicle, based on estimated 2009/2010 sales. Don’t believe that GM or Chrysler will match their projections over the next twelve months? The NTU estimates that total government support for the auto industry comes out to $800 per taxpaying American family. These numbers do not include the Cash for Clunkers program, likely future bailouts of GMAC (projected at a further $2b), or Department of Energy retooling loans (ATVML). These numbers also do not reflect the very real possibility that GM, Chrysler and GMAC could continue to drain taxpayer money post-2010. “For each year of survival beyond 2010,” the report warns, “the burden per vehicle would decline [Ed: but not disappear] – so long as no additional government funding is provided.”

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Trade War Watch 8: China Probes US Bailout

As U.S. President Barack Obama landed in Shanghai for a weeklong visit to his largest creditor, China, the news awaited him that China’s Ministry of Commerce will investigate the U.S. government’s financing and rescue plans for the American auto industry, Shanghai Daily reports.

The move is part of China’s probe into possible dumping and subsidies on U.S.-made vehicles imported to China, the ministry said. Trade officials will be looking for dumping practices and for unfair government subsidies.

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  • EAM3 Learned to drive in my parents' 1981 Maxima. Lovely car that seemed to do everything right. I can still hear the "Please turn off the lights" voice in my head since everyone wanted a demo of the newfangled talking car. A friend of the family had a manual transmission one and that thing was fun!
  • FreedMike That wagon is yummy.
  • Syke Thanks, somehow I missed that.
  • 285exp I am quite sure that it is a complete coincidence that they have announced a $7k price increase the same week that the current administration has passed legislation extending the $7k tax credit that was set to expire. Yep, not at all related.
  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.