Stellantis Makes Decision on Vaccine, Truckers Head to Ottawa

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to block proposed OSHA regulations backed by the Biden administration, it was assumed that automakers would quickly begin weighing in on vaccine rules now that there would be no federal obligation. However, they’ve actually been keeping quiet on the matter, with Stellantis being the first manufacturer to walk back previous requirements.

While the automaker had previously been working up to companywide vaccine mandates, it pushed back its vaccine deadline for early January. This week, Stellantis confirmed that it will be abandoning the scheme entirely after suggesting that the existing compliance rates were sufficient. Though something tells me that executives have become aware of the swelling pushback against COVID restrictions and became concerned with the optics.

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Dodge Challenger Finally Takes Sales Crown

For the first time since American muscle returned to the assembly line in earnest, Dodge’s Challenger has managed to outsell both the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro inside the United States. Though Mopar fans might point out that Dodge would win every year if we bothered to include Charger sales in the headcount or were more precise when making determinations about what constitutes a muscle vs pony car.

Regardless of semantics, the Big Three have their performance icons and the Challenger has taken the two-door sales crown for the first time in modern history. Sadly, it was less about Dodge making inroads with new customers than it was about the other brands flubbing things. Performance vehicles aimed at the middle class are presently experiencing a rough patch, with the Challenger having lost the least amount of ground in the last decade.

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Stellantis CEO Says Electrification Advanced by Politicians, Not the Industry

Despite Stellantis making formal announcements that it will be investing 30 billion euros ($34 billion USD) into its novel electrification strategy, CEO Carlos Tavares has been making it sound as if the automaker’s plan was crafted under duress. He’s been telling European media that the widespread adoption of EVs is primarily being pushed by politicians who are ignoring the environmental risks and logistical shortcomings.

“What is clear is that electrification is a technology chosen by politicians, not the industry,” he said told the press this week.

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Supreme Court Blocks OSHA Workplace Vaccine Mandates

A divided U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test rule that would have been enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and impacted roughly 1.7 million automotive employees.

“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the court explained. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”

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Chrysler Going Electric By 2028, Airflow EV Introduced

Stellantis has announced plans to shift the Chrysler brand to an all-electric lineup by 2028, presumably because it doesn’t know what else to do with it anymore. Though, considering the make’s long and storied history, the change almost seems fitting.

When the French bought up Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from the Italians in 2021, the namesake brand had already been losing steam under the Germans. But they were adopting the company after years of mismanagement from Americans, who had taken the marque from being arguably the most luxurious and technologically advanced the United States had to one that had to be saved from bankruptcy by government intervention on more than one occasion. Suffice it to say, Chrysler has enjoyed some of the sweetest highs and pathetic lows imaginable. But it always seems to rise from the ashes thanks to some innovative decision that ultimately helps redefine the industry — which is why Stellantis is leading its own EV offensive by reviving the Airflow name.

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Some Car Companies Hit the Brakes on CES

To say that large events are spitting and sputtering their way back into action would be massively underselling the challenges facing promoters and showrunners in the age of Covid variants and travel-related headaches. While some car-related sporting events have been carried out – witness the various and sundry major auto races this year – indoor events like trade shows continue to have challenges.

The latest? CES in Vegas. After becoming the defacto replacement for the Detroit Auto Show at this time of year, more than a few carmakers have decided to pull out of the event after promising big reveals this year at one of the world’s largest tech shows.

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All-Electric Chrysler Airflow Appears at Stellantis Software Day

Our own Mr. Posky waxed at length yesterday about the Stellantis plan to keep their hands in customers’ pockets long after they’ve driven off the lot. Go read his take, if you haven’t already. Meanwhile, the company took care on Software Day to occasionally focus on an upcoming product – the Chrysler Airflow.

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Driving Dystopia: Stellantis Is Becoming a Software Company Like Everyone Else

On Tuesday, Stellantis announced a plan to cultivate €20 billion ($23 billion USD) per year by 2030 via “software-enabled product offerings and subscriptions.” However, the automaker will first need to increase the number of connected vehicles it has sold from 12 million (today) to 34 million by the specified date.

This is something we’ve seen most major manufacturers explore, with some brands firmly committing themselves to monetizing vehicular connectivity through over-the-air (OTA) updates, data mining, and subscription services. Though much of this looks decidedly unappetizing, often representing a clever way for companies to repeatedly charge customers for equipment that’s already been installed.

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Cable Management: Stellantis Invests in Roads Which Wirelessly Charge EVs

Most will agree that a major hurdle to the mass adoption of all-electric vehicles is the hassle and speed (or lack thereof) in charging the things. First you gotta find a station, then find another one after discovering the first one’s broken, and finally loiter in a dingy Burger King while waiting for your vehicle to hoover up enough electrons to get you home.

Help is on the horizon. Stellantis has teamed up with a number of other companies in Europe to build the fantastically named Arena del Futuro, a 0.6-mile test track whose ribbon of tarmac is capable of dynamic induction to charge the batteries of electric vehicles as they drive along.

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Stellantis CEO Thinks EVs Are Too Troublesome

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has said that the growing pressures being placed on automakers to shift toward electric-vehicle production are unsustainable and run the risk of the public getting subpar products at decidedly higher price tags. While we’ve seen automotive executives lambast new energy vehicles before, it’s grown rarer as governments around the world have continued incentivizing their existence and investors have been pouring money on startups delivering literally nothing more than the mere suggestion of more electrification.

Tavares’s words come from the Reuters Next conference, running counter to the event’s prevailing narrative of encouraging technological progress and social change. Attendees tend to be political officials, heads of finance, NGO leaders, and business executives sympathetic to the cause. But the Stellantis CEO definitely went off-script when he listed some of the shortcomings of electrification, adding that he felt the costs were “beyond the limits” of what was realistically feasible. It’s his belief that pursuing electrification at the current pace doesn’t take into account the larger financial picture.

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Rumor Mill: Jeep Gladiator 4xe Could Be Delayed to 2024

If you’re an off-road fan looking to plunk money down on an electrified Jeep with an open pickup bed, you might be hanging onto your cash longer than anticipated. Despite the brand heavily hinting at its existence during presentations earlier this year, rumors have cropped up that the Gladiator 4xe may have been pushed to the back burner in favor of other, more pressing projects.

Like updating the Wrangler to better compete with the Bronco, for instance.

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Mask Up: U.S. Automakers to Extend Plant Requirements

In a reminder that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, no matter that we all wish it was, U.S. automakers and the United Auto Workers union have agreed to extend mask requirements for workers but will not require vaccination for union workers.

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Hellcat Era to Wrap Up in 2023

As the character Q said to Captain Picard on the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “All good things must come to an end.” This time around, the phrase refers to a snippet of information about the mighty Hellcat engine family, plus a few other details gleaned in a conversation with Tim Kuniskis at last week’s L.A. Auto Show.

To put it bluntly now’s the time to act if you want a brand-new Hellcat-powered vehicle.

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Tonight There's Gonna Be a Jailbreak: 2022 Dodge Charger and Challenger Add Jailbreak Models

Few car companies on this planet do special editions with the vigor (and frequency) of the American brands at Stellantis. Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and – to a lesser extent – Chrysler all return to their respective wells in search of a way to quench their thirst for profits.

This time, the retro-inspired Charger and Challenger brothers have once again been enrolled in Special Ed(itions) class. Specifically called the Jailbreak models, these Hellcat Redeye Widebody machines will permit customers to unlock color combination ordering restrictions while layering on new factory-custom options.

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Michigan Residents Squawk About Stinky Stellantis Plant

What’s that smell? According to some residents on Detroit’s east side, it’s the Mack assembly plant. The site of production for Jeep’s new three-row Grand Cherokee L and the recently introduced next-gen, two-row Grand Cherokee is rankling the noses of people who live in the vicinity, with some calling for the state’s enviro cops to hold Stellantis to some measure of accountability.

It’s the latest in a series of escalating actions by residents and their representatives, with a hotline phone number cropping up a couple of weeks ago followed by yesterday’s proposal that included a Stellantis-funded voluntary relocation effort and home repair program.

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  • Jeff S E-Vettes are coming to your nearest Chevrolet dealership. I reserve judgement on this I will have to see these and see the pricing. So far Lyriq is about the only GM vehicle I have any interest in.
  • Kukala J. Machus GM has an extensive history of bad decisions.....and it continues.
  • FreedMike Assumption: GM is making this "brand" into a Porsche competitor, which I think is a great idea. The problem is how to fit a Porsche-esque dealer experience into a Chevy dealership. I don't see that happening - the hoity-toity types who buy Porsches aren't going to want to rub elbows with the brodozer and "get me bought on a Trax with my 530 score" crowd. The ideal situation would be a standalone store, or a Tesla-esque "boutique" store. I also could see this being an add to Cadillac stores. The problem is that I don't see the Chevy dealers who currently make money selling Corvettes giving up the business willingly.So, unless GM comes up with some kind of separate sales channel for this, I vote thumbs down on viability.
  • Stuart de Baker Wyoming is the 9th largest state, but has the lowest population of any state, and so with ~580,000, it's the most sparsely populated state. Of course they're not interested in EVs. And the ranges do tank in the frigid Wyoming winters. Anyone who is in a one car family, and drives long distances with any frequency, is not going to be buying an EV at this point. I'm saying this as someone who thinks that global warming is the biggest, most urgent problem humanity faces right now, and I live in the Boston area. But I'm a one car person, I drive long distances multiple times a year, and I love my Civic (stick).
  • Michael500 It will flop like the Corvette boat did. The bankrupt GM management will probably rebadge a Volt/Cobalt/Sunbird/Vega and think everyone will like it.