FCA Payday: Italy Readies $7.1 Billion for Automaker

Italy is on the cusp of approving a 6.3 billion-euro ($7.1 billion) loan for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Suppressed sales stemming from coronavirus lockdowns have encouraged governments around the globe to lend businesses a hand or — more accurately — fists full of money.

Bloomberg claims FCA’s payday will be Europe’s biggest government-backed financing of an automaker since the start of the pandemic, but it’s hardly the only company needing money. General Motors and Ford utilized credit lines to amass billions of dollars for their rainy day funds — and it’s definitely pouring outside. Ford figures it lost roughly $5 billion in operating costs in the three months leading up to June. Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler estimates it lost $5.5 billion through the first quarter of this year.

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The Only Way Forward? Germany Goes All-in on EVs

Germany isn’t fooling around anymore. Electric cars are going to become the norm, and that’s final.

After pledging last year to boost electric vehicle subsidies by 50 percent over the first half of the decade, Germany has doubled down on its EV efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re in the market for a gas-free car, expect the government to fill your pocket with cash. If you’re the buyer (or the maker) of a gas-guzzling SUV, look out.

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Mexico to the Rescue As Suppliers Resume Operations

Mexico is attempting to accelerate parts production to ensure North American automakers have enough components on hand to stay operational. The response to the pandemic saw manufacturing stalled worldwide as governments assessed whether or not we’d soon be living through a plague of biblical proportions. While fate decreed a repeat of the Black Death would not be necessary, untold damage resulted in numerous business sectors.

The automotive industry hardly went unscathed. Lockdowns stopped sales in many markets for months and plunged supply chains into turmoil as OEMs shut down to ensure staff were helping to “flatten the curve.” With the public’s interest shifting rapidly away from coronavirus mandates toward demonstrations about police brutality and racial justice, or simply devolving into riots because people are pretty angry about how poorly 2020 is playing out, suppliers and automakers are gradually moving back to more normal production schedules.

This has been easier said than done. But it is being done, and that’s the important thing.

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Ghana Have Factories: African Nation Bans Importation of Old Cars

Ghana has banned the importation of cars older than 10 years in a move designed to attract automotive plants. As a major importer of second-hand vehicles, the West African nation is largely dependent upon cars discarded by other nations. However, the country’s leadership wants it to become an automotive hub for at least a healthy chunk of the continent. This is a relatively new yet persistent dream for the nation, and it includes a bizarre roster of characters we don’t quite know what to make of.

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Gas War: States Sue Trump Administration Over Fuel Rollback

Following America’s fueling feud has shown your author that it’s less about finding a reasonable compromise that works for consumers, the automotive industry, and environmental activists, and more about perpetuating ideological wars that now seem to surround every topic filtered through the news media.

Encouraged by industry leaders just days after taking office, President Donald Trump made the fuel economy rollback one of his first initiatives. It wasn’t until March that the softened final draft emerged, however, and it won’t be enough to conclude the almost four-year battle. A collection of 23 states filed suit against the Trump administration’s easing of emissions standards on Wednesday. They argue that the rollback is illegal and based on bunk information.

While we’ve also been suspect of some of the metrics used to make the rollback look more desirable, fueling standards haven’t adhered to reality in some time. The Obama-era standards that would have seen Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rise to 54 mpg by 2025 were deemed unsustainable by that administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but were put into play anyway.

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EU Considers $22 Billion Electric Vehicle Stimulus, U.S. Mulls Cash-for-clunkers Redux

The European Commission is reportedly preparing an economic stimulus package aimed at helping the EU bounce back from economic hardships caused by the coronavirus lockdown — saving some room for incentivized electric vehicle sales.

As you may have noticed in your home country, stimulus package proposals often involve lawmakers attempting to slip something in to aid their favorite causes. While not every nation in the EU feels similarly on all matters, environmentalism has been a reoccurring theme within the union — and has encouraged it to make aggressive decisions when it comes to promoting vehicles.

For decades, the European Union spent billions in subsidies and tax breaks to make diesel fuel cheaper than gasoline. Diesel engines produced less carbon dioxide and opened the door to biofuels, so the presumption was they were better for air pollution. That turned out not to be true, so the continent then pushed hard into subsidizing EVs, with diesel sales crumbling as a result.

Now seen as the only way to save the world from heavy, gas guzzling crossovers that people actually buy in great numbers, battery electric cars are getting their moment in the sun. And it may get a little brighter. The next EU stimulus package is set to include €20 billion ($22 billion USD) for those deciding to purchase an environmentally friendly passenger car.

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Closest Thing You'll Find to a Tesla Dealership Lands in Michigan

Until January, any Michigan resident hoping to take home a Tesla had to first leave the state. That all changed following an agreement between the state and the automaker, which sued Michigan back in 2016 to protest its protectionist law against direct sales.

Now, the closest thing you’ll find to a true Tesla dealer has appeared outside Detroit.

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Start Me Up: As Industry Slides Into Gear, U.S. Requests Industrial Assistance From Mexico

Mexico is considering reopening factories after May 18th, now that automakers and the U.S. government have requested it resume production at plants serving the American market. With supply chains needing time to catch up, vehicle assembly will be precarious until parts can be reliably sourced. And Mexico is an essential part of that industrial recovery plan, necessitating some light coordination with the United States.

Despite seeing a spike in new COVID infections, Mexico released a plan to ease restrictions on Wednesday. Making sure U.S. manufacturers have what they need has been incorporated into that strategy, with a few conditions. While industrial employees will soon head back to work, Mexico made no assurances that it will prioritize supplying the rest of North America with automobiles or their components.

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Tesla Vs Alameda County Update: Official Production Could Return Monday

Tesla CEO Elon Musk made waves this past weekend by declaring his Fremont, California assembly plant would resume production in defiance of the stay-at-home orders imposed by Alameda County, bolstering his claim by threatening to move his HQ out of the state. He also fired off a lawsuit for good measure.

Musk wasn’t too pleased with the county’s decision to extend the closure of non-essential businesses through the end of the month, arguing that the governor’s word (allowing a return of statewide manufacturing) held sway.

Late Tuesday, the county issued what it probably hopes is the final word on the matter.

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Try and Stop Me: In Defiance of County Orders, Tesla Turns on the Lights

Furious over a decision by county officials to keep all non-essential businesses offline until the end of the month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced late Monday that his Fremont, California assembly plant is opening up anyway.

The move comes two days after the automaker filed a lawsuit against Alameda County. In it, Tesla called the county’s order unconstitutional and in violation of California Governor Gavin Newson’s statewide return-to-work mandate. Should county officials call in the cops, Musk wishes to be the only one in cuffs.

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Tesla Sues County; Musk Promises to Pick up Toys, Go Home

California announced late last week that it will allow the cautious reopening of manufacturing operations across the state, but Alameda County resisted, claiming it will keep non-essential businesses shuttered until the end of the month.

Guess which county Tesla’s Fremont assembly plant is located in.

Now guess Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s reaction to the country’s announcement. If you speculated that Tesla might sue Alameda Country, with Musk launching an online tirade in which he promises to move Tesla HQ and all future products out of the state, you’d be right.

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Whitmer Relents, Ford Goes Back to Work on May 18th

No longer the odd man out among its Detroit rivals, Ford Motor Company has issued an official restart date for North American production. May 18th is to be the beginning of a phased restart, the automaker said, which is in keeping with return dates offered up by General Motors and Fiat Chrysler earlier this week.

After the UAW signaled its approval of those earlier announcements, all that was left was confirmation from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer that workers could indeed return. On Thursday, Whitmer extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 28th (the measure was previously expected to expire May 15th), but gave auto manufacturers the green light to go ahead.

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Fiat Chrysler Posts Big Loss, Eyes Production Restart ASAP

The first quarter of 2020 spilled a tsunami of red ink over Fiat Chrysler’s balance sheet, with the automaker posting a $1.84 billion net loss.

FCA seemed to be the canary in the coal mine when it came to the coronavirus, as the automaker was forced to idle an assembly plant in Europe even when the pandemic was still a regional outbreak in China. Where did the virus then take hold? In Italy, of course — FCA’s European base of operations. You know what came after that.

Seemingly more so than its Detroit rivals, FCA has been eager to get factories back up and running, and the Q1 earnings report only adds to its desire for something approaching normalcy. The folks in Auburn Hills want to open things up starting May 18th.

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'We're Ready' Says Ford COO As Company Awaits Lockdown Easing

Ford Motor Company’s chief operating officer, Jim Farley, joined the company’s chief human resources officer, Kiersten Robinson, and manufacturing and labor affairs boss Gary Johnson for a media Q&A Thursday, offering up details on what it will look like when the automaker returns to the business of cranking out [s]cars[/s] trucks and SUVs.

That’s already begun in China, where 90 percent of the company’s employees are now back to work. It’s Europe’s turn to come back online now (the region is due to start a ramp-up on May 4th), as the Blue Oval awaits the go-ahead from the state of Michigan.

It all hinges on Michigan, apparently, given the critical mass of manufacturing and suppliers in that locale. When Gov. Whitmer eases shelter-in-place orders, Farley said, the company will leap into action.

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Volkswagen and Daimler to Merkel: Spiff Our Rides

Amid steep drops in operating profit and a dismal sales outlook, both Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler are appealing to the state in a bid to generate sales demand.

Both automakers appealed to the German government for assistance on Wednesday, Reuters reports, ahead of a meeting of auto industry leaders. With vehicle production making up a big part of Germany’s GDP, the shutdowns enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19 has left the sector hurting. That pain is expected to last through 2020.

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  • ToolGuy 404 error on the product link. Which probably isn't terrific marketing on TTAC's part. https://thinkwarestore.com/product/f200-pro-ca
  • ToolGuy Second picture: Do you like pegboard storage? (I don't.)
  • ToolGuy "WHAT???"(old 'I was in the artillery' joke)
  • ToolGuy Oh and this.
  • ToolGuy "The boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Hillingdon, and Harrow have likewise announced plans to take legal action to force a possible judicial review..."But: "In Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire... Hurricanes hardly happen."