Tulsa Prostrates Itself Before Elon Musk Shrine

Move over, people of Joplin — Tulsa, Oklahoma wants to host Tesla’s proposed second U.S. assembly plant, and it’s prepared to embarrass itself to see it happen.

On Wednesday, Tesla aficionados assembled their vehicles around the city’s famous, 75-foot-tall Golden Driller statue, which they deftly decked out to look like Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk. To Tulsa, Musk is the golden boy. Rumors abound that the sometimes unhinged executive has decided on either Austin, Texas or Tulsa for the new assembly plant site.

Some hope he’ll even move his company’s headquarters out of California.

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Mark Your Calendar - the Summer of Lost Sedans Approaches

Here at TTAC World Headquarters, talk of sedans is never far away. While automakers have decided the three-box bodystyle is an afterthought, and while consumers aren’t helping by choosing cargo capacity over tradition, we still lust after a nice trunk.

Over at the Blue Oval, this summer’s shaping up to be a grim one for workers whose hearts bleed at the thought of such a noble bodystyle fading from the company’s lineup. July in particular will be painful for longstanding Ford employees who harbor fond memories of the Maverick, Granada, and Contour. Also: the Fairlane, Custom, LTD, Galaxie, Crown Victoria, Escort, Taurus, Fiesta, Focus, Falcon, Fairmont, Tempo, and Five Hundred.

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Show Your Papers: Mexican Auto Factories Allowed to Restart With Proper Documents

Mexico spent plenty of time discussing the phased reopening of automotive plants last week. The presumption was that the nation would have to establish guidelines for industrial work zones that would allow some to resume production after May 18th, with timing coinciding with U.S. facilities that will be in desperate need of parts and vehicles. However, last minute changes left everyone wildly confused.

On Thursday, the Mexican government said the industrial sector wouldn’t be eligible for reopening until June 1st. The following day, it explained that the date didn’t actually mean much for automotive outfits, adding that companies could reopen at any time if they verified an adherence to new safety protocols. Thanks to another announcement over the weekend, most of the residual confusion has subsidized. Mexican facilities can reopen, provided they have the correct paperwork on file.

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Ford: The Virus Is Bad, but Expect a New F-150 This Year Regardless

The first sneak peak at Ford’s next-generation F-150 was expected to occur at the newly temperate Detroit auto show in June; alas, the coronavirus pandemic put the kibosh on those plans (for both Ford and the show’s organizers).

With the show scuttled and production idled for a period of two months — Detroit Three automakers resume limited production on Monday — rumors naturally arose of a product timeline thrown into disarray. This week brought unofficial word that production of the 14th-generation pickup has been pushed back for a second time. Reacting quickly, Ford insists we’ll see new F-150s rolling into dealers before the end of the year.

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Poised for Pickups: Mexican Restart Can't Come Soon Enough for GM

Production at General Motors’ Mexican assembly plants could start up next week, following a go-ahead from the country’s leadership to resume factory activity. The faster GM’s able to come back online south of the Rio Grande, the better.

In an earnings briefing last week, GM, like its rival Fiat Chrysler, pointed to a declining inventory of lucrative pickups — a segment that proved extremely resilient over the past two months, even during the depths of the coronavirus lockdown. With U.S. plants resuming work on Monday, a concurrent Mexican restart is what the company needs.

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Virus Puts the Brakes on New Mazda Plant, CUV

A joint Toyota-Mazda assembly plant in Huntsville, Alabama could see its opening delayed, all thanks to the economic turmoil and construction delays borne of the coronavirus pandemic.

Akira Koga, Mazda’s senior managing executive officer, said in an earnings briefing Thursday that construction on the $1.6 billion joint facility, first announced in early 2018, is being hampered by virus fallout. That throws into doubt the timing of two new crossover vehicles — one of which is crucial to Mazda’s future.

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Mk8 Volkswagen GTI Hops a Slow Boat to U.S.

Everyone’s favorite German warm (hottish?) hatch debuted in eight-generation guise early this year, enticing purists with a profile and performance envelope not too dissimilar from what came before. Perfect for VW diehards.

The only problem here is that, despite pent-up anticipation for the Mk8 GTI, America’s favorite Golf variant isn’t about to arrive anytime soon.

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Rumor Mill: 2021 Ford F-150 Production Pushed Back, Again

While Ford plans to start limited production at its North American assembly plants on May 18th, returning workers won’t see a next-generation F-150 slide pass their stations for a number of months.

The redesigned full-sizer was to be one of the Blue Oval’s big 2020 reveals, joining the still-unseen Bronco in the spotlight, but the coronavirus pandemic made short work of product timelines. Already delayed once, the 2021 F-150 has reportedly moved further into the future.

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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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Pickups: You Want 'em, You're Buying 'em, but America Now Needs to Build 'em

The Detroit Three has something of a problem. Sales of their cash-cow, bread-and-butter full-size pickups hardly waned during the extended pandemic lockdown, and are, as of a week ago, selling just as they had before anyone heard of the coronavirus. And yet the plants tasked with building them still aren’t online.

Automakers that just months ago were concerned with higher-than-average inventory levels now have the opposite problem.

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Report: Toyota to Throttle Back Production Through October

Today is Back to Work Day for many North American Toyota workers, with the automaker joining other manufacturers in slowly resuming production following an extended period of pandemic downtime. The process of ramping up won’t be an overnight thing, given considerations related to employee health and market demand.

Indeed, Americans are heading back to dealerships in greater numbers, but Toyota isn’t planning on returning to normal production levels for some time, a source told Reuters. Overall output for the automaker stands to take a major hit.

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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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Tesla Reportedly Stops Production in Shanghai

Reports indicate Tesla has idled production in Shanghai, despite plans for the facility to resume production this week. Workers had been given time off for a five-day break that incorporated China’s International Workers’ Day (May 1st), with production expected to resume on the 6th. However, the facility made the surprise decision to remain closed.

Staff have been informed that the facility will not reopen until May 9th, according to inside sources. While this may lead one to wonder if the factory has found itself at the epicenter of a new coronavirus outbreak, there’s likely another explanation. Local outlets report Giga Shanghai as suffering from part shortages.

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GM: V6 Engines to Start Flowing Monday

With General Motors aiming for a May 18th restart of North American vehicle production, powertrain components, in some cases, need a head start. That’s why May 11th will be the first day back to work for many employees of GM’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant, home to much-used V6 and V8 engines, as well as a transmission.

The gradual return to work ahead of GM’s restart date comes after the Canadian labor leader Jerry Dias expressed concern over workplace safety.

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  • Ajla GM didn't do this even when Corvette sales and cocaine use were at their peak.
  • Dwford How many more wealthy performance car buyers does Chevy think they can drag into their showroom full of middle of the road crossovers? I guess they will find out
  • SCE to AUX It's been done before, with varied success:Ford --> LincolnHyundai --> GenesisGM --> XLR (Cadillac), ELR (Cadillac)VW Touareg --> Porsche CayenneI suspect GM is trying to avoid the Mustang fiasco (which is working for Ford, BTW), by not making the Corvette name a sub-brand - only its hardware.(In the Mustang's case, YTD 46% of "Mustang" branded vehicles are the Mach-E, but they share no hardware. GM's plan is much different and less controversial.)Back to the sub-brand: the XLR and ELR experiments were total duds, borrowing hardware from the Corvette and Volt respectively. Both sullied Cadillac's name - not Chevy's.
  • Art Vandelay I don’t care what they do with the brand. But I do want to see how a mid engined platform spawns a 4 door and a crossover
  • Varezhka If they’re going to do this, might as well go all the way and make it a standalone brand instead of a Chevy sub-brand. They already have a unique emblem, after all. Shouldn’t there be enough empty former Hummer, Saab, or Cadillac dealer showrooms to house them?