Senators Seek to Overturn U.S. Emission Rule for Heavy Trucks
On Thursday, a number of Republican senators announced they would be attempting to overturn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules designed to cap emissions on heavy-duty trucks. Finalized by the EPA in December, under guidance from the Biden administration, the new rules are supposed to be 80 percent more stringent than the current standard. However, critics have alleged the updated limits effectively benefit large shipping companies by making it too difficult for smaller trucking companies or independent operators to comply.
Cargo Manifest Lists Cars on Sunken Felicity Ace
We know some of the vehicles now residing in Davy Jones’ locker after the Felicity Ace disaster include hyper-rare Lambos and more than a few Porsches. Also on the docket? A bog-standard Kia Soul and a 1996 Honda Prelude SiR.
We figured that one would get your attention.
What Ever Happened to the U.S. People's Convoy?
It’s been a while since we’ve covered the trucking protests and you might be wondering what happened with the U.S. People’s Convoy that emerged from the still-smoldering ashes of the Canadian Freedom Convoy. Well, it’s been circling Washington, D.C. for the last several weeks in the hope it can draw sufficient attention.
Unlike the Canadian-based convoy, which saw the government deploy armed men to clear demonstrations taking place in front of Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, the Americans have remained mobile to avoid getting cornered by authorities. Stationed out of Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland, truckers have established a base of operations where they can service vehicles whenever they’re not on the Beltway protesting. Drone shots from above have indicated that there are usually a few hundred trucks parked at the racetrack each morning, though videos from inside show evening returns including hundreds more supportive passenger vehicles. While journeys into the city do take place, they typically involve a handful of trucks designed to make some noise before quickly retreating to avoid being penned in.
Cargo Ship Goes Down With Hold Full of German Automobiles
After two weeks of smoldering in the Atlantic Ocean, a cargo ship loaded with several thousand German automobiles has sunk. Packed with over 4,000 vehicles from Volkswagen Group, the Felicity Ace (pictured) originally gained notoriety for being a successful fire rescue mission conducted in open waters. But it was later revealed that a large number of the cars onboard were higher-end products from brands like Audi, Porsche, Bentley, and Lamborghini — making the salvage operation that followed likewise engaging.
Due to the immense size of the Felicity Ace, it would need to be towed several hundred nautical miles back toward Portugal so it could be serviced. Crews reportedly arrived on February 25th to evaluate the ship and prepare it for the trip back East. However, the cargo vessel began listing until it started to fall onto its starboard side and is now deemed unsalvageable. It’s assumed that the craft will be sinking near its current position, roughly 220 nautical miles from off the Portuguese Azores, taking its vehicular cargo along for the ride.
People's Convoy Rolls On Washington, Freedom Convoy Regrouping
On Wednesday, American truckers commenced a cross-country drive from California to Washington, D.C., to petition governments (local, state, and especially federal) to end all COVID-19 mandates. Known as The People’s Convoy, the group was inspired by the Canadian Freedom Convoy that was broken up over the weekend and effectively serves to spread its message within the United States.
The goal is to arrive in the capital early in March to pressure the Biden Administration into ending any formal federal emergencies pertaining to the pandemic. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has approved a request from the District of Columbia government and the U.S. Capitol police for 700 National Guard troops, widespread fencing, and 50 armored vehicles in anticipation.
Premium German Cars Heading to U.S. Now Trapped at Sea
A massive cargo ship, responsible for ferrying high-end Volkswagen Group products from Europe to the United States, has reportedly caught fire and is now adrift in the Atlantic Ocean.
Currently said to be smoldering at least one-thousand miles off the coast of Portugal, the crew of the Felicity Ace (not pictured) has been evacuated while the sweet treasures contained within remain trapped aboard. Included are about 1,100 Porsches, 189 Bentleys, and a gaggle of Lamborghinis. The remainder of the nearly 4,000 vehicles tucked beneath the the ship’s 650-foot deck are said to be comprised primarily of Audi and VW-branded automobiles.
Industry Begins Blaming the Bridge, Truckers in Ottawa
With the Ambassador Bridge having been cleared by police over the weekend, those protesting government mandates have literally been relegated to the sidelines. Canadian officers from a variety of departments, including Ontario Provincial Police, are now situated at relevant intersections and Windsor, Ontario, has declared a state of emergency in case demonstrators return.
But don’t think the story is over. The trucker blockade certainly caused trouble for the automotive sector and it suddenly seems interested in rolling the event into the industry’s ever-expanding list of excuses. Now that the rigs have all been removed, spokespeople have been chiming in and they’re being presented as rather single-minded on the matter. They want more assistance from the government to quash any protests that might impact their bottom line and are happy to have something else to blame for why the broader industry remains in such a pitiful state.
Freedom Convoy Update: Truckers Are Winning
The Freedom Convoy that originated in Canada last month has gained an incredible amount of momentum, garnering loads of support from citizens around the world. Sympathetic protests seem to be erupting everywhere while the original group of truckers remains planted on the streets of Ottawa to demand an end to government mandates. But honking at Parliament Hill for two weeks was only a portion of the convoy’s grand strategy.
Large groups of truckers have broken off to create blockades at meaningful border crossings, gaining control of North America’s already ailing supply lines. The most recent example resulted in the taking of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, an essential trade crossing for both the United States and Canada. Truckers have held the bridge for five days and automakers have begun announcing shutdowns due to supply issues. Meanwhile, the Canadian government has begun discussing an end to lockdown measures after failing to stop the protests and other nations appear poised to follow in its footsteps.
Canadian Trucker Protests Continue, Aussies Launch 'Convoy to Canberra'
With supply lines being of particular importance these days, truckers are leveraging their role to encourage government to see things their way. Canada’s Freedom Convoy reached Ottawa on Friday to demand officials end pandemic-related restrictions it believes are wreaking havoc on the economy and the protests have yet to stop.
While this all started with U.S. and Canadian truckers urging the government to abandon border restrictions that forced all drivers to be vaccinated and confirmed as COVID free (starting January 15th) or be forced to quarantine for 14 days, activists are now asking Ottawa to abandon all mandates or prepare itself for worsening disruptions to already ailing supply chains. They’ve since been joined by Australian truckers, who have formed the ‘Convoy to Canberra’ for similar reasons. Future demonstrations are also being prepared for the United States.
Off the Rails: Train Crash Damages New Ford F-150 Pickups
As if Ford didn’t have enough headaches in terms of pickup truck supply, the derailment of a train carrying a load of the things has thrown the automaker even further off track. According to local media, a freight train ran into trouble while hauling the things through Missouri, creating a stack of metal that Blue Oval suits certainly could do without seeing right now.
Here’s the good news: no injuries or environmental damage was reported, save for the new pair of pants that was surely required for the train’s operator.
U.S.-bound Car Carrier on Fire In Pacific; Said to Hold Nissans
The mundane process of shipping thousands of vehicles from overseas factories to domestic ports, ahead of distribution to dealers, still contains an element of risk. And few situations are as feared by sailors as a fire at sea.
Reports are rolling in about the fate of the Sincerity Ace, a Panamanian-flagged car carrier en route from Japan to the United States. Ablaze and adrift in the mid Pacific, the ship, which has a capacity of 5,200 vehicles, has been abandoned. A rescue is underway, as is a salvage operation.
Anheuser-Busch Reserves 40 Electric Semi Trucks From Tesla Motors
When you’re selling the self-professed “King of Beers,” you’re going to want to transport them in a style befitting of royalty. Either that, or you’re interested in keeping your shipping costs to a minimum and have the capital necessary to invest in new technologies like an electric semi.
Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser and over a dozen other beer brands, has decided to purchase 40 of Tesla’s battery-electric trucks. The company said it made the move in hopes of reducing fuel costs and cutting vehicle emissions. We’d also gamble that the adult beverage purveyor is interested in the vehicle’s claimed autonomous driving capabilities.
Mexican Auto Industry Undeterred by 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake
Automakers spent Wednesday surveying factory sites in Central Mexico after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake ravaged the region Tuesday evening. However, after some momentary shutdowns, it’s looking like business as usual for most manufacturers. Despite countless injuries, over 200 fatalities, and widespread damage yet to be fully assessed, the automotive industry emerged from the quake largely unscathed.
Arguably the hardest hit, Volkswagen Group’s Puebla plant temporarily halted assembly so workers could inspect buildings for damage. Finding no significant structural harm, factory employees resumed third-shift production of the Jetta and Golf.
Audi’s crossover plant, also in the state of Puebla, sustained no obvious damage. It’s second shift was halted early on Tuesday as well. The company said third-shift production was canceled so that employees could attend to their loved ones after the quake.
TTAC Project Car: Coming to America!
In our last installment, our Sierra was found by one of TTAC’s Best and Brightest. Now our brown-hued “Salesman’s Spaceship” gets lost in shipping space for a few weeks, crossing a very large pond. Don’t worry little British Ford, America will be very, very kind to you.