Readers with long memories will recall General Motors and Honda shacked up back in the ‘90s for product sharing when the Big H found itself sans SUV and The General wanted a minivan for its Isuzu showrooms. Toss in an engine program which saw Honda V6 power under the hood of a Saturn Vue (of all things) and there’s no shortage of history between these two major marques.
That relationship now continues into the EV age. The companies have announced they will co-develop “affordable EVs” aimed at popular segments of our market. What’s the timeline? Don’t hold your breath – unless you can do so for about five years.
Ford Motor Co and General Motors will be individually suspending production in Michigan next week due to supply chain constraints. However, it’s difficult not to notice that the chosen facilities are responsible for lower-volume models they could probably afford to idle.
GM is stalling Lansing Grand River Assembly and Stamping, citing a parts shortage it said had nothing to do with the ongoing deficit of semiconductor chips. The company later stated that the Russo-Ukrainian war had not played a factor, abandoning the two most popular excuses for why something isn’t being done in 2022. Meanwhile, Ford has said the chip shortage has everything to do with its temporary closure of Flat Rock Assembly.
In the latest development of the Jerry Dias saga – the man who, until recently, led most of the unionized auto workers in Canada – has taken yet another turn. According to reports, Dias is being accused by the union of taking money from a COVID-19 testing company, allegedly in exchange for promoting that outfit as a place to purchase test kits.
For those playing at home, the Dias saga has played out in this form: An announcement of taking time off for medical reasons, followed by an abrupt retirement, and now this development.
There is seemingly no end to the number of toys and tools automakers have at their disposal when developing new cars at places such as Honda. Wind tunnels – those development halls, not local politicians – have been around for decades but have seen an array of advancements in tech over the years. Today, Honda opened a state-of-the-art facility at its campus in Ohio.
Jerry Dias, the man who’s been at the helm of Unifor in Canada since its inception, has chosen to retire because of health reasons. On medical leave since last month, Dias announced his decision in a statement yesterday.
Unifor, in case you’re wondering why we’re covering this on a car site, represents about 40,000 workers in the Canadian auto industry and was formed out of a merger between the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada in 2013.
No one reading this should be surprised by the news it’s more expensive than ever to find one’s way into a new car. All kinds of external forces have driven average purchase prices through the roof, and strife halfway around the world is currently playing a role in driving up the cost of fuel.
CEOs of the world’s automotive companies have taken note, of course. Late last week, during a virtual roundtable discussion with industry wonks, Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares expressed his opinions on the matter – and spoke of his concerns.
It seems this calendar year will improve in terms of supply chain challenges for many auto manufacturers, with a general consensus that new chip sources will alleviate some of last year’s snarls. Still, one forward-looking group of analysts have peered into a crystal ball and determined all hands might not be out of the woods quite yet.
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.
While we’re sure the vast majority of our readers think of Ponch and Jon when they hear the word ‘chips’, there’s no denying the world’s automakers would probably rather never hear the term again as it relates to car parts. After weathering a severe shortage of the things, BMW thinks it has a solution: Shacking up with a semiconductor manufacturer and a semiconductor foundry.
Despite the semiconductor shortage having encouraged the automotive sector to repeatedly idle factories, word on the ground is that things are becoming more stable. Companies are seeing less production downtime overall and workers are reporting more reliable working conditions across the board. However, several automakers have continued to express concerns (e.g. Volvo), alleging that chip shortages could stretch deep into 2022, while the U.S. government ponders how to advance chip production in-country and become less dependent on Asian suppliers.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo has been touring Michigan, meeting with union members and industry heads, and plans to urge Congress to move on a $52 billion in funding bill aimed at boosting domestic production. We’ve questioned the efficacy of the CHIPS Act before, primarily in relation to how the subsidies would be allocated. But there are new concerns that the plan will mimic the Biden administration’s EV subsidies by spending heaps of taxpayer money and giving union-backed organizations a larger cut.
Fresh off its megabucks IPO in which the company’s fortunes skyrocketed like your author’s blood pressure after a meal of fried foods, rumors are floating that Rivian is planning another factory. Suggested as being located in Georgia, it would play partner to the existing facility in Illinois.
While this news initially surfaced late Friday, we feel it is a significant move by General Motors, one which warrants a bit of discussion even after umpteen different car blogs parroted this news over the weekend.
At issue? The current level of global supply chain disruption, of course. With the only chips in Detroit apparently being of the salt & vinegar kind, car companies have been forced to make some tough decisions – but yoinking heated seats is a very substantial change.
While no one around this neck of the woods would call themselves experts in finer points of the stock market, we do know how to add. Talking heads at the Wall Street Journal are reporting Rivian has set an initial share price of $78 for its IPO, a heady sum to be sure. What drives this story to another dimension is they’ve allegedly sold 153 million shares at this price.
For those keeping track, that means they raised nearly $12 billion – making RIVN the biggest listing so far in 2021.