By on April 3, 2020

The organizers of the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition have rescheduled the event on account of the novel coronavirus. Originally slated to cap off April, the trade show will now be held between September 26th and October 5th.

While China is supposedly coming out of health crisis in better shape than a lot of other countries, there are reasons to doubt the COVID-19 figures published by the Communist Party of China. The situation on the ground could be much worse than state-backed media and the World Health Organization indicate. However, even if the nation’s ludicrously low infection statistics are accurate, it is not surprising to see event organizers exercising caution. (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic took hold in Europe before invading the U.S., which is why anyone hoping for a quick restart of the domestic manufacturing sector might want to forget about the month of April.

On Friday, Ford said its European assembly operations will remain offline until at least the first week of May. (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

Surprising exactly no one, sales numbers for the automotive industry in this country are grim. With stay-at-home edicts being encouraged in most states and various social distancing measures in place to help temper the spread of COVID-19, it’s understandable that a limited numbers of customers are darkening the doors of the few showrooms that remain open.

The first two months of this year were reasonably robust, so the negative numbers can almost entirely be chalked up to March’s challenging conditions (to put it mildly). As a programming note, the brands of Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz won’t we releasing their numbers until later in the month. This explains the holes in our chart.

(Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

GM

With all domestic assembly plants shuttered for some length of time and sales barreling towards zero in many markets at the end of March, the coming few months could play out in a number of ways. Sure, no crystal ball can be expected to return bang-on predictions, but that’s not stopping analysts from crafting a number of plausible scenarios.

As projected by J.D. Power, April looks like a wash for new vehicle sales, but the recovery could be more rapid than some fear. Or, just as easily, it might not be. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2020

We’ll have a full tally of first-quarter U.S. auto sales for you tomorrow, but the expected declines in volume have far more to do with what happened in the past two weeks than anything afflicting individual companies in the months prior. If your gig is industry analysis, things have never been wilder.

Analysts at J.D. Power had their hands full tabulating exactly what happens when 265 million Americans are suddenly told not to leave their homes. (Read More…)

By on March 31, 2020

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is deferring 20 percent of salaried workers’ pay until June while CEO Mike Manley endures a 50-percent cut to his annual earnings. With the pandemic still attempting to grip more of North America, this was to be expected. Other domestic nameplates have already issued notices of deferred payments to executives staffers, noting that additional measures would likely need to be taken if COVID-19 fails to recede in the coming months. Seeing the writing on the wall, FCA seems to have jumped straight into phase two.  (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2020

Frankfurt Auto Show 2016

Despite its relatively faraway late-September date, organizers behind the Paris Motor Show say the show cannot go on in its current form.

The “seriousness of the unprecedented health crisis” facing both the world and the show means the event, slated to kick off at the city’s Porte de Versailles on September 29th will pare back several elements. However, depending on how the coronavirus pandemic plays out, some satellite events could still go ahead. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2020

Auto dealers and manufacturers around the globe have spent the past several years examining the usefulness of digital car sales, but the practice hasn’t been embraced as warmly in the United States, where state franchise laws often prohibit direct sales from automakers to anybody but a licensed auto dealer. Critics say this allowed retailers to become middlemen that customers are forced to haggle, while advocates explain that the system promotes U.S. jobs and provides a local resource for those needing repairs.

Neither are incorrect, yet dealerships have continued to buck online sales, even after manufacturers attempted to work with them on various pilot programs.

With COVID-19 keeping a large portion of the American population at home, dealers are revisiting online sales as a way to cut their losses. Digital transactions now look to be a necessity if shops hope to survive a prolonged pandemic. While many see this as a temporary measure, once the genie is out of the bottle, he’s difficult to put back inside… and may be far less benevolent than we’d like — even if we’re desperately in need of one of those wishes.  (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2020

North American International Auto Show organizers broke with tradition this year by moving the premier trade event, for decades held in January, to a more pleasant and marketable June date. Now they’ve broken with tradition again — by scrapping the thing altogether.

The reason behind it is so glaringly obvious it hardly needs to be stated, but the specific, logistical reason is even more grim: the show’s venue, Detroit’s TCF Center (née Cobo Center), is turning into a field hospital. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2020

For some reason, Ford and General Motors’ efforts to fill gaps in the medical supply chain have garnered considerable press. This has a way of happening when the President yells at you in public.

Tesla and Fiat Chrysler have stepped up to the plate to help out, too, filling a need in a country hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. A collective effort is good, but Toyota Motor North America wants others to know it’s a member of the same team. Make use of us, it’s telling others. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2020

With Panasonic having already made plans to ramp down production at the Nevada battery facility it shares with Tesla, followed by a 14-day closure to curtail the spread of the new coronavirus, its business partner has decided to follow suit. Tesla now plans on reducing on-site staff at Gigafactory 1 by 75 percent, according to the local county manager Austin Osborne.

“Tesla has informed us that the Gigafactory in Storey County is reducing on-site staff by roughly 75 [percent] in the coming days,” he explained via the county’s website on Thursday.  “Our companies at [Tahoe Reno Industrial Center] TRIC are taking the COVID-19 matter seriously, and regularly report to us the measures they are taking to adhere to the established guidelines while maintaining essential operations. Checking employee temperatures, creating central access, allowing remote work, maintaining workstation distance, and others are occurring.” (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2020

Image: GM

One should never pay too close attention to social media, but sadly, that’s where a lot of diplomacy takes place these days. Especially today.

Since dawn broke over the nation Friday, President Donald Trump has chastised General Motors and Ford for their perceived foot-dragging in getting much-needed ventilators into production, urging them to pick up the pace and suggesting that he might invoke the Defense Production Act — a wartime measure aimed at aligning industrial output with America’s immediate defense needs. In this case, the enemy is microscopic, but packs a punch.

We’re already on it, Ford and GM replied. (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2020

General Motors Renaissance Center

Not much time passed after Ford chopped compensation for 300 top executives before General Motors decided to free up financial breathing room via payroll costs.

The automaker has enacted a sweeping plan to weather the coronavirus storm by cutting the pay of its salaried workforce by 20 percent, with 6,500 U.S. workers incapable of working from home placed on leave. Employees aren’t expected to swallow the loss out of the goodness of their own hearts, however — GM promises they’ll see the missing money one day. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2020

On Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced that the Real ID deadline — which had previously been delayed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak — has been pushed back until October 21st, 2021, as directed by President Trump.

Enacted in May of 2005, the Real ID Act was basically Congress over-responding to 9/11 by mandating that state-issued driver’s licenses be updated so they can be used for official purposes by the federal government (as defined by Homeland Security). While the primary goal is to mitigate air travel of undocumented immigrants between states, the aforementioned “official purposes” applies to whatever the federal government thinks prudent on any given day — including barring citizens without the ID from military bases or federal buildings, in addition to air travel.

If you haven’t heard of Real IDs (indicated by a little gold star in the corner), you’re not alone. The issue only gets a smattering of coverage every couple of years; plenty of states spent the period following 2005 pushing back against the plan, delaying its implementation several times via extensions. It was initially supposed to come into effect in four phases starting in 2008, but changes didn’t actually start until 2014. At this point, the nation is at phase three (which restricts access to federal facilities), with phase four applying new rules to U.S. air travel. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2020

fca

With Ford looking to get pickups rolling off the assembly line again by April 6th, where does its rivals stand?

The list is far from complete, and schedules for resuming production are fluid as a 1950s executive’s lunch, but there’s details to share on when certain U.S. autoworkers might be headed back to the factory. (Read More…)

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