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.
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.
Maserati has mulled plans to totally revamp the brand since 2018. In September of last year, the company decided it was finally ready to make its move, boldly announcing that it had entered into “a phase of intense and vital change, with a series of activities to totally revamp the product range and re-launch the Maserati brand.” Those improvements wouldn’t show up in earnest until 2020.
The gist of the plan involves widespread electrification aimed at improving overall performance, plenty of new product coming down the chute, and the promise that all future Maseratis will be manufactured in Italy. That’s right, the country that looks like a shoe and has given us automotive gems like the Pagani Zonda, Alfa Romeo MiTo, and legendary Fiat Multipla. Alright, so maybe the vow of continued Italian production is a double-edged sword, but the brand does seem legitimately interested in righting the ship. Italy conjures up visions of spirited driving and gorgeous roads, and it’s not like Maserati can disassociate itself from the country — that’s part of its identity and appeal.
The marque will have to delay its plans, however. These days, Italy is synonymous with viral outbreaks, not vistas, forcing the brand to postpone its big re-launch.
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- FreedMike On the one hand, it doesn't look good. On the other hand, not releasing the car into the hands of the general public until the obvious bugs are worked out is a good idea for a brand new company. Time will tell.
- FreedMike I do take phone calls using Car Play if I'm not in traffic; it's a little bit of a distraction, but not much. I think it's certainly within an acceptable risk margin if you're not in heavy traffic. Back in the old days when I had a manual car and no Bluetooth, I never used the phone while driving at all.
- FreedMike I guess some folks are just bound and determined to drive around with a grenade in their steering wheel.
- FreedMike Bit dear, but these might have collector appeal, particularly one with 20,000 miles (assuming that's not a doctored figure) that hasn't had the full "whip" treatment.
- Adam4562 I have Bluetooth in my car , the name comes up and I answer . It goes through the speaker. I’ll text on a stop sign or red light . If it’s really urgent hill pull over .