Tag: production

By on October 22, 2020

Tesla continued to prove itself as the electric automaker par excellence by posting its fifth profitable quarter in a row on Wednesday. The California-based (for now) automaker reported a net income of $331 million and a 39 percent improvement in revenue to $8.8 billion.

Of course, a huge amount of that money came via regulatory credits Tesla sold to its rivals. By nature of being an EV manufacturer, the company was able to sell $397 million in environmental absolution while helping its own bottom line. Though third-quarter deliveries were quite strong as automotive revenue jumped 42 percent to $7.6 billion.

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By on October 19, 2020

Last week, we told you a parts shortage had halted production of the Chevrolet Corvette C8.

Now the lines are rolling again.

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By on October 12, 2020

The C8 Chevrolet Corvette has certainly seen its share of hardships. Despite the vehicle receiving almost unanimous approval from those fortunate enough to get some cockpit time, it has been subject to numerous delays through no fault of its own. Union negations held last fall resulted in a 40-day UAW strike that pushed assembly of the mid-engine Corvette from the tail end of 2019 to the start of 2020. Of course, this butted its launch up against a global pandemic that forced General Motors to shut down production facilities for two months. Shutdowns likewise affected parts suppliers who were also made subject to government restrictions, causing bottlenecks across the industry.

Combined, these issues have forced GM to reduce the number of planned options. Many parts were proving too difficult to source with any reliability and the cars have become notoriously difficult to procure. While the manufacturer has said it would continue building the 2020 model year for as long as possible, supply is unlikely to meet demand until 2021. But the headaches haven’t abated just yet; GM has been forced to stall production on the C8 this week after running out of the necessary parts. (Read More…)

By on October 1, 2020

Even the most capable of race horses eventually reach that day where they’re taken out behind the stables to be shot or stabbed  whatever happens to them after they’ve passed their prime. The same is true in the automotive realm, with the only difference being that the cars are not eventually turned into food for my cat.

Ford has decided to end production of the track-focused Mustang Shelby GT350/R this year. Introduced in 2015, the model uses a 5.2-liter “Voodoo” V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft for some of the nicest naturally aspirated action money can buy. On the current model year (which will also be the last) 526 horsepower is sent through a Tremec six-speed, with performance further aided by a transmission cooler, limited slip rear axle, track-worthy suspension, upgraded Brembo brakes and super-sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber.

If you’re one of the few individuals who needs a good track-day vehicle, you could certainly do worse. And now you’ll have to because dealer orders already ended.

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By on September 14, 2020

Not that it should be any surprise with pricing creeping up, but U.S. vehicle inventories are some of the lowest we’ve seen in roughly a decade. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get a solid estimate on supplies as many automakers no longer have the balls to conduct monthly reports, at least not any they’re willing to share. The few that still do have been a little light on the lot, however.

Going into fall, we’d expect to see supplies around the 60-day mark with about a quarter of those vehicles representing the upcoming model year. Mainstream brands seem to be running with a lot fewer cars this month. On Monday, Automotive News estimated that September was probably representing the lightest industry-wide supply of vehicles since October of 2011. Meanwhile, Cox Automotive has the industry sitting on 56 days worth of cars — noting that national inventories shrank to 2.26 million vehicles, or about 870,000 fewer from the year before.

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By on September 9, 2020

Minus an unpleasant amount of virtue signaling, the Lucid Air debut was pretty good. But this is technically a commercial so what else could we have possibly expected? Lucid is an electric vehicle brand so it’s required by law to succumb to the growing list of EV clichés. Building this car the way Lucid does won’t just be better for the environment, “it will be better for all mankind.” We need to rally together because the world is ending. This startup is changing by building an extravagant automobile  that was the gist of the presentation anyway.

“We’re a California company,” explained the car’s interior designer. The Golden State was apparently so important that the interior color palates are based entirely on the way the sun plays off California’s various regions at different times of the day. They even held the event on the state’s birthday and made sure to mention it.

You get the idea. It started out a complete drag. And yet the car itself was quite interesting and the technical portions of the presentation excelled at explaining why someone might actually want this car over literally everything else that’s on the market right now.  (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

Once reserved for aircraft and the world’s most expensive sports cars, carbon fiber has been gradually wriggling its way into the mainstream. On Thursday, Nissan announced it had whipped up a method to manufacture carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) more easily and shorten production time by around 80 percent — adding that it planned to take advantage of the material in order to build increasingly lightweight cars.

The manufacturer also suggested the new process will reduce the cost of manufacturing CFRPs, addressing the industry’s favorite excuse for why they don’t use it more often. That said, the financial inconvenience of implementing carbon fiber is really a byproduct of how labor intensive it is. Most parts are laid into molds one layer at a time with the help of an expert and use vacuum pressure to ensure the resin sets evenly, since they can’t be machine pressed. Yet Nissan felt stamping was the way to go with carbon fiber and claims to have figured out how it should be done. (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2020

Alleged absenteeism stemming from the coronavirus outbreak encouraged General Motors to place salaried volunteers on assembly lines in Wentzville, MO. This has not gone over well with the UAW, which suggests GM’s decision to utilize non-union staff is in direct violation of its 2019 labor contract. The union claims white-collar workers have no business being on assembly lines and has issued a formal warning to the automaker.

Established in 1983 as a stamping and production facility, the site is currently responsible for General Motors’ full-size vans (e.g. Chevrolet Express) and midsize trucks (Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon). The facility has room for 4,560 employees — most of whom are hourly. Those employees are split between the the usual three shifts, with GM claiming difficulties in keeping them populated.

In July, the company said it might have to reduce the plant to just two shifts before pressure from outside convinced it otherwise. This led to the automaker seeking about 200 temporary workers and placing ads with local outlets. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2020

Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter commercial van has worn several badges, but come the end of next year, there’ll be only one. As the automaker works to slim down its sprawling global lineup, the lesser-known Freightliner variant will cease production.

Manufactured via knock-down kits in South Carolina, the Freightliner van, like Dodges of yore, will fade to black, but Sprinters will remain in the M-B stable. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2020

BMW Group

Going topless is becoming increasingly difficult for new car buyers. Soon, the only convertibles on the North American market will be dedicated sports cars, and there’ll be precious few of those, too.

This depressing statement stems from a report that claims the next-generation Mini Cooper will say goodbye to its convertible variant, leaving the brand with far less whimsy than before. (Read More…)

By on August 21, 2020

vw

The ID.4 isn’t the first all-electric Volkswagen to reach consumers in the United States. That distinction goes to the e-Golf, but that model’s all washed up after 2020. A new family of emission-free VWs await global buyers, with European customers poised to take delivery of the first of the bunch: the ID.3 hatchback.

Overseas orders for that MEB-platform car began in June, with the first deliveries scheduled for September.

For U.S. customers — a crop of buyers used to larger, more capable vehicles — the ID line starts at the number 4. And that vehicle just started production in Germany. (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2020

If you spend your days decrying the bloat of American automobiles, you won’t like what 2021 has in store for you. It’ll be like 2020… only worse!

Scary stuff. For consumers enamored both with the Jeep brand and large, cargo-happy vehicles, however, next year will bring the dawning of a new age of glorious excess. Thanks to Fiat Chrysler’s second-quarter earnings report, we can now pin down post-lockdown production timelines for three Jeep vehicles boasting three rows of seating. (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2020

FCA Brampton Assembly Line Challenger & 300 - Image: FCA

Canadian auto manufacturing has steadily declined over the past several decades, and the future looks cloudy for workers at Detroit Three plants. It’s under this gathering gloom that the union representing these workers, Unifor, enters into contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler.

The last round of collective bargaining was rough, but the near-closure of GM’s Oshawa Assembly (where auto production ceased last year) provided Unifor with a grim portent of what could await other underutilized Canuck plants. (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2020

Specifically, the Ford Fusion — the last domestic Blue Oval product with four doors and a trunk to remain in production. Until July 31st, that is. That’s the date Ford ceased manufacture of the sedan at a Mexican assembly plant.

The end of production was confirmed by Ford via Ford Authority. Next up for Hermosillo Assembly is the Bronco Sport — a retro-styled, decently modified Escape launched alongside the body-on-frame Bronco last month. Quite a looker in its final generation, the Fusion fell victim to consumer anti-car sentiment and strategic product planning. (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2020

Lordstown Motors

The question of how fledgling EV maker Lordstown Motors plans to fund production of the Endurance pickup has been answered. On Monday, the owner of GM’s former Lordstown Assembly plant announced a merger with a blank-check company, with a cash-raising NASDAQ listing as its goal.

Lordstown Motors plans to finalize the merger with DiamondPeak Holdings Corp., which is already listed on the NASDAQ, by the fourth quarter of this year — after which the combined entity will carry the symbol “RIDE.” (Read More…)

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