Keen to sweep as much attention away from the 2020 Democratic National Convention as possible, President Donald Trump campaigned in Old Forge, PA while Joe Biden accepted the Democratic nomination at a largely virtual event. You’ll be forgiven for not having watched either, as both amounted to little more than bashing the opposing side with nary a hint of actual policy. But Trump came the closest to offering something truly substantive, reiterating threats to companies to bring factory jobs back to the U.S. or suffer the consequences.
The president insisted that manufacturers would soon find themselves in a situation that benefits America whether they complied or not. “We will give tax credits to companies to bring jobs back to America, and if they don’t do it, we will put tariffs on those companies, and they will have to pay us a lot of money,” Trump said during the event.
Production of certain Honda vehicles ran into another roadblock on Monday, as the automaker claims it was the victim of a cyber attack.
Reuters reports that production ceased at many of Honda’s manufacturing facilities in the wake of the suspected attack out of fear that quality control processes may have been compromised.
A Missouri city is making a direct pitch to Tesla in the hopes of landing an assembly plant. The electric automaker is on the hunt for a new domestic manufacturing site in which to build its ridiculous-looking Cybertruck, and since Texas seems to be off the table, other states feel they’ve got a good shot.
Naturally, the city of Joplin isn’t coming to the table empty handed.
Try as we might, there’s just no way to know everything about the contemporary offerings of all car manufacturers, even if consideration is limited in scope to North America. Invariably, our mental encyclopedia is missing a few pages. That means sometimes, we should consider the unknowns of our automotive knowledge.
Allow me to explain.
The trade war between the United States and China heated up again Friday, with the People’s Republic pulling a U-turn on its treatment of U.S.-built vehicles. Come mid-December, China will hit inbound U.S. vehicles with a 25-percent tariff. Auto parts will see a 5-percent tariff.
The new — well, resurrected — auto tariffs are a reactionary measure, coming after U.S. President Donald Trump proposed, then delayed, the levying of a 10-percent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods. While some import taxes will hit in September, the full range of tariffs is expected to come into effect on December 15th. China’s auto tariffs, first levied last year and lifted earlier this year as an olive branch gesture, are part of a larger raft of tariffs impacting $75 billion of U.S. goods. A 5- to 10-percent tariff hits non-auto U.S. goods on September 1st.
It’s no wonder every automaker wants to build Chinese-market vehicles within that country’s borders.
The closure of Flint, Michigan’s sprawling Buick City complex was emblematic of the [s]destructive[/s] transformative forces at work in the American auto industry in the late 20th century and early 21st. The 264-acre facility was once the largest automotive plant in the world, a status that did nothing to ensure its continued survival. It closed for good in 2010.
Now comes word that the birthplace of so many LeSabres could sprout manufacturing jobs in the near future — 2,000 of them. Great news for Michigan’s automotive workforce and Flint’s coffers, but the plan won’t get off the ground without the Postal Service’s approval.
Volkswagen seems to be feeling pretty good about itself today. After announcing pre-orders for the ID.3 hatchback, the first vehicle from VW’s new electric sub-brand, the company reported it was already having issues coping with demand. Within 24 hours, the automaker said it had received more than 10,000 reservations throughout Europe, creating some extra work for its IT department.
“Sometimes, the IT systems are unable to handle the large number of users accessing the system at the same time,” VW said in a release. “This leads to long waiting times and interruptions in the registration process in some markets. Volkswagen is working hard to eliminate the hitches. Nevertheless, more than 10,000 registrations were received throughout Europe during the first 24 hours.”
While it sounds phenomenal, as the company repeatedly noted ID.3 demand is already exceeding expectations, it’s nowhere near Tesla territory. But the American firm is somewhat of an outlier with an almost miraculous ability to get the public excited about new product and a longer history of EV manufacturing. By comparison, VW is still testing the waters — even though it has already agreed to preform a cannonball by 2025 and sell 1 million connected, zero-emission vehicles every year.
Brits have now been grappling with their Brexit situation for what now seems like an interminable amount of time, with no shortage of digital ink and political hot air spilled about the subject.
Looking past all the posturing, however, a disorderly departure from the EU could contain serious ramifications for companies making products in Britain, and fancy-pants Aston Martin has initiated a contingency plan to handle a “no deal” Brexit. Prepping for a worst-case scenario, the company is stockpiling cars in … Germany.
While General Motors is busy “unallocating” some of its plants, Fiat Chrysler is opening a new one. How’s that for optics?
The company will reportedly convert an existing facility, the so-called Mack Avenue Engine II plant, one which began making small V6 engines in the year 2000 but was idled about five years ago. This new vehicle assembly plant is slated to make the three-row Grand Cherokee.
By a wide margin, the most important automotive-related news this week has been General Motors’ impending closure of five manufacturing facilities across North America. Accompanying the closures are losses of thousands of jobs and the discontinuation of six passenger car models over the next year or so.
Who’s to blame here?
While the current-generation BMW 2 Series isn’t ready for the grave, the company intends to put its next incarnation into assembly by 2021. That’s ages away for a consumer but precious little time for an automaker to make production decisions.
Likely spooked by potential trade issues looming over the horizon, BMW is reportedly considering shifting the America-bound 2 Series to a Mexican plant — specifically, the company’s new San Potosi facility, home of the new 3 Series.
The first-generation Honda Insight was a rare false-start for the company, marketed as a hatchback that had more doors than seats (three and two, respectively). Its atomic-egg styling enveloped a 67 horsepower 1.0-liter gasoline engine paired to a 10kW electric motor. The second-gen model, a more conventional car in terms of its styling and capacity, also fell a bit flat compared to the segment-leading Prius.
Honda’s betting the third time’s the charm, kicking off the mass production start of the all-new 2019 Honda Insight today at its plant in Indiana. Will this Insight electrify buyers or fizzle out? At first glance, it would at least appear they’ve got the styling right this time. Not everyone wants to shout that they’re driving a hybrid.
Every year, nearly 40,000 people lose their lives on American roadways. Tragic as that may be, it’s small potatoes when you consider India hovers around 150,000 annual fatalities. While you could attribute the difference to the 1.32 billion people living in the country, the truth is that car ownership in India is far less common than in the United States.
Here, there are about 255 million functioning vehicles, leaving the majority of the population with access to some form of four-wheeled transportation. However, in India, the number is closer to 55.7 million — which only gives 42 people out of every 1,000 access to an automobile.
Confronted with a situation that can only be described as catastrophic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking to impose harsher penalties for traffic violations and requiring automakers to add safety features to cars sold within the region. While that’s a fine start, it doesn’t address the core issue: a nationwide lack of discipline behind the wheel.
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- ToolGuy If I had some space I would offer $800 and let the vehicle sit at my place as is. Then when anyone ever asked me, "Have you ever considered owning a VW?" I would say "Yes."
- ToolGuy In the example in the linked article an automated parking spot costs roughly 3% of the purchase price of the property. If I were buying such a property, I would likely purchase two parking spots to go with it, and I'm being completely serious.(Speaking of ownership vs. subscription, the $150 monthly maintenance fee would torque me off a lot more than the initial acquisition cost.)
- ToolGuy "which will be returned as refunds to citizens of the state" - kind of like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Make the amount high enough and I will gladly move to California to take advantage (my family came close to moving there when I was a teen, and oodles of people have moved from CA to my state, so I'm happy to return the favor).Note to California: You probably do not want me as a citizen.
- ToolGuy Nice torque figure.
- ToolGuy Pretty cool.