During last week’s earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the Cybertruck would be delayed until at least 2023. That places the polygonal pickup two years behind its original schedule. But who among us with knowledge of the automaker’s production history actually thought it would be delivered on time?
Delaying products has become a hallmark of the Tesla brand and Musk doesn’t seem to be sweating it. Rather than focusing on launching a new vehicle for 2022, the business wants to prioritize increasing capacity and finalizing its move from California to Texas. Now based in Austin, Tesla made $5.5 billion last year compared with the previous record year of $3.47 billion in net income posted in 2020. Musk said the shift into routine profitability is proof that EVs are viable, adding that the company could have done even better if factory output hadn’t been so constrained last year. Unfortunately, those hurdles haven’t dissipated for 2022, encouraging the automaker to wait on both the Tesla Cybertruck and Roadster.
Tesla is taking another look at cryptocurrency, though this time it looks to be a goof as the currency in question is the meme-based Dogecoin. Though the joke could be on the market because the currency surged up by over 10 percent after Elon Musk made the announcement you could purchase “merch” with it.
Last year, Tesla said it would begin accepting Bitcoin. CEO Elon Musk had taken a visible interest in cryptocurrency and the automaker opted to take a chance on the one format that’s been able to break into the mainstream. Then the company changed its mind, with Mr. Musk referencing the sudden influx of media reports claiming it was bad for the environment.
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.
The industry is having to stall more plants to contend with the semiconductor shortage that’s currently making it more difficult for you to get everything from a smartphone on up to your next vehicle. Ford Motor Co. recently informed employees that its Dearborn truck plant (easily one of its most profitable facilities) would need to be idled through the weekend to create a buffer for semiconductor chips. Worse yet, it’s not the first time the automaker has had to stall output of the F-150 this year. Ford has also started manufacturing trucks without all the necessary components, stating it would hold vehicles for a few weeks to account for supply chain delays.
Meanwhile, Chrysler has made a similar announcement about its minivan output as Windsor Assembly faces another chip deficit. Unifor Local 444 recently stated that the facility would be staring down the barrel of a four-week shutdown starting next week. Considering Chrysler’s minivans literally just dealt with a three-week stall over the chip shortage, union workers are understandably upset. Days earlier, General Motors Canada also announced that its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, will likely remain idle until the middle of April.
Japan was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake over the weekend. The Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures were hit the hardest, offering a physical reminder of the 9.0 magnitude quake that devastated the region in 2011. Scientists have claimed that Saturday’s tremor was actually an aftershock from the horror show that occurred a decade earlier.
While still a large systemic event, authorities aren’t reporting widespread injuries or even damages. However, many citizens were left without power and numerous industrial facilities were idled for inspection. This includes automakers, with Toyota making an announcement that it will be stalling nine factories for several days this week. Though only some of that time is needed for safety assessments. The automaker is fretting over a batch of suppliers that were impacted by the quake and is anticipating a parts shortage.
The 2021 Washington, D.C. Auto Show has been postponed to buy organizers time to prepare for a virus everyone has known about since the start of 2020.
“We believe this scheduling change is in the best interests of our attendees, our partnering auto manufacturers, and the District of Columbia,” Washington, D.C. Auto Show CEO John O’Donnell said in a release on Friday. “Our top priority is to ensure the safety of all involved in this show, and we believe strongly that a two-month delay will better allow us to produce the type of well-rounded and immersive show that our attendees are accustomed to.”
Originally scheduled to open on January 29th, the motor show will now take place between March 26th and April 4th. That’s assuming the event isn’t outright cancelled, anyway. That’s been the trend for automotive trade shows and most major events since we decided “15 Days to Slow the Spread” would just reset at the end of the second week and COVID-19 became Schrödinger’s Virus thanks to some of the least consistent reporting in modern history.
Delayed six times by the coronavirus pandemic, Roger Penske vowed the Indy 500 would not be ran in 2020 without an audience in the stands. Having purchased the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway in January, Penske said he was willing to run the race with limited capacity (quoting estimates that continued to come down as the year progressed) and drafted an extensive manual to help organizers keep attendees safe. However, the document will no longer be needed, now that the decision has been made to hold the event with the rafters completely empty on August 23rd.
Safety has trumped good times once again as Mr. Penske noted cases continue to rise in Indiana, forcing him to recant his decision to allow fans into the venue. Only essential personnel will be allowed to enter this year’s Indianapolis 500.
On Friday, electric vehicle startup Rivian said it expects to commence deliveries of its all-electric pickup and crossovers next summer — placing the company roughly 6 months behind schedule.
However, before we crap on the company for being another novice EV company that can’t hack it, it should be said that product delays are quickly becoming the norm within the industry. This postponement may be indicative of nothing more than Rivian confronting the same hardships experienced by practically every other automaker in operation — though cash should not be among them.
The company said in April to expect adjustments to its delivery timeline as it tackled issues stemming from the pandemic while prepping the former Diamond-Star Motors/Mitsubishi plant in Normal, IL.
We don’t know what’s going on with Volkswagen’s software, but if the automaker doesn’t sort it out quickly, it runs the risk of becoming infamous for it. Technical glitches have plagued the launch of Volkswagen Group’s most recent models; so much so, it’s starting to become a trend.
Obviously, there were “software issues” that allowed VW to circumvent emissions testing before the Dieselgate scandal kicked off in 2015, but few people actually believe that was the result of rogue computer code, rather than a corporate attempt to dodge strengthened environmental regulations.
These new issues appear to be generalized glitches stemming from the company’s jump into vehicular connectivity. With the upcoming ID.3 EV, Volkswagen opted to keep its summer 2020 launch and handle existing software glitches (the car had already entered limited production for first-edition models) with a software fix offered at a later date. Yet the more we learn about it, the worse the overall situation appears. Rumors suggest the ID.3 may have a slower-than-anticipated roll-out, with fewer features than originally advertised.
We’re now learning the same might be true for the Mk8 Golf — another new model experiencing technical glitches. This generation saw the model swap to a digitized interface offering enhanced connectivity, in line with the industry’s push to make cars more modern. Sadly, these changes haven’t panned out ideally for either the automaker or its customers. VW has had to stall deliveries of the new Golf to address another round of software issues.
We don’t know what sort of person will purchase the GMC Hummer EV; presumably, the sort of person that’s also salivating over Tesla’s Cybertruck. Rugged electrics are a novel segment and we’re not sure what its demographic looks like.
Will it be technophiles hoping to secure their masculinity, or hard-living folks who’ve finally find a battery-driven vehicle that speaks to them? More importantly, how will these electric monsters stack up against established bruisers carrying tried-and-true internal combustion engines?
We haven’t the foggiest, and it looks like we’ll be waiting longer than planned to get some answers. General Motors announced it’s delaying the reveal of the new-and-improved Hummer on Wednesday. While no official reason was given, it’s almost certainly the result of lockdown measures relating to the coronavirus.
On Thursday, NASCAR announced the planned debut of the next-generation stock car is being pushed back until 2022. The new breed was originally expected to take the field at next year’s Daytona 500, but the COVID-19 pandemic has reportedly made that impossible.
“Due to challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic, the debut of the Next Gen car will be delayed until 2022,” John Probst, NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation, said in a statement. “The decision was made in collaboration with the OEMs and team owners. We will continue to develop the Next Gen car, and a revised testing timeline will be shared when more information is available.”
The organizers of the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition have rescheduled the event on account of the novel coronavirus. Originally slated to cap off April, the trade show will now be held between September 26th and October 5th.
While China is supposedly coming out of health crisis in better shape than a lot of other countries, there are reasons to doubt the COVID-19 figures published by the Communist Party of China. The situation on the ground could be much worse than state-backed media and the World Health Organization indicate. However, even if the nation’s ludicrously low infection statistics are accurate, it is not surprising to see event organizers exercising caution.
While other manufacturers are downsizing engines and sticking turbos anywhere they’ll fit, Mazda has attempted to maintain a home for naturally aspirated motors — engines it believes should be sized appropriately for their intended application. On paper, this appears to be giving the competition an edge. Yet Mazda remains committed to offering the right tool for the job, introducing naturally aspirated Skyactiv engines with unusually high compression ratios. The latest, Skyactiv-X, combines spark-controlled gasoline combustion and compression-ignition diesel tech with a 24-volt mild-hybrid system.
The system delivers 178 horsepower and 164 lb-ft of torque in 2.0-liter guise, plus MPG improvements of up to 20 percent vs the old Skyactiv-G. But there’s a problem. With Mazda attempting to go upmarket, an economy-focused powertrain has to deliver in whatever region it’s sold, and introductory Skyactiv-X units are now viewed as too small for the United States. The result? The technology’s delayed arrival in North America, despite its deployment via the new 2.0 liter found in the 2020 Mazda 3 and CX-30 sold in Japan and Europe.