GENERAL MOTORS PLANT CLOSURES
General Motors will idle its Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant for about three months total over the next year as it prepares the plant to build the GMC Acadia SUV. In a memo obtained by the Detroit Free Press, the automaker notified employees of Lansing Delta Township Assembly on Thursday that the plant would take an 11-week shutdown throughout the year, starting Dec. 27.
Source: Detroit Free Press
General Motors Co. will take its Orion Assembly Chevrolet Bolt plant down the weeks of Nov. 15, 22 and 29 as it works through the battery recall and module replacement process, the automaker said Thursday. Production of the Bolt EV and EUV is expected to return Dec. 6. The plant is currently running limited production the weeks of Nov. 1 and 8 to supply customers with vehicles when they have their Bolts fixed. GM has recalled all Bolts — more than 141,000 — for battery fire risk and has started replacing defective battery modules.
Source: The Detroit News
SUBARU PROFIT FALLS BY ALMOST HALF ON CHIP SHORTAGE
Subaru profits plunged by nearly half in the latest quarter as the Japanese automaker felt the effects of crimped production and falling sales amid the global semiconductor shortage. Subaru Corp.’s operating profit dropped 46 percent to 24.9 billion yen ($223.0 million) in the fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30, forcing the company to lower its full-year profit outlook.
Source: Automotive News
VW CEO MAKES EV PLEDGE AS LABOR LEADERS CRITICIZE PACE OF TRANSITION
Europe’s largest car maker and one of Germany’s biggest employers is in the midst of an accelerated transition to electric mobility. But the rapid pace of the changes and frustration at recent production stops due to a shortage of chips have caused a backlash among workers. In response, Mr. Diess abruptly canceled a planned trip to the U.S. this week so that he could address thousands of workers at a labor-organized assembly at the company’s Wolfsburg plant on Thursday. Mr. Diess told the workers that he understood their anger but said VW overall was faring better in the chip crisis than many competitors and VW workers on furlough were earning nearly their full wages.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
AUTOMAKERS SAY MAGNESIUM SHORTAGE NOT A PROBLEM, FOR NOW
European automakers reeling from a global chip shortage have in recent days hastened to assure shareholders that shortages of magnesium are not, for now, a risk to their production plans. However, car part suppliers and industry associations warn that if production in China, which accounts for 85% of global magnesium supply, does not pick up pace soon, automakers could be facing significant shortfalls of the material.
DODGE ANNOUNCES “POWER BROKERS”
Dodge will begin calling some dealerships "Power Brokers," a designation indicating that a store's sales, service and parts operations meet the brand's standard for customer service and that it has staffers with comprehensive knowledge of vehicle features, performance parts and installation. Building a network of certified retailers is among the first steps in a two-year business plan Dodge began rolling out Monday. The brand, which is on pace for its lowest U.S. sales volume since splitting off Ram trucks in 2009, says it will release at least one new step of the plan, which it's calling "Never Lift," every three months.
THE RETURN OF SMALL PICKUPS
Having supersized its trucks and killed off many of its regular, car-shaped vehicles (including the Focus that McKinnon traded in), the U.S. auto industry is playing an old hit with tiny pickups. The same types of fuel-sipping work rigs that gained momentum in the Reagan era, after the gas crisis of the 1970s, are having a renaissance today, as young buyers fret over the climate crisis and confront piles of student debt.
ELECTRIFIED MODELS MAKE UP OVER 25% OF VOLVO SALES
Earlier this year Volvo revealed plans for half of its global vehicle sales to be represented by battery-electric by the middle of the decade, ahead of its full lineup being EV-only by 2030. The ambitious plans, backed up by a recent IPO offering in its home country, will see a slew of new EVs introduced in the coming years, in the run-up to the end of the decade that will see gas-engined vehicles and hybrids take a final bow.
Where does Volvo stand more than three-quarters of the way to 2022? The automaker revealed days ago that the share of cars sold with electric or plug-in hybrid powertrains through the first 10 months of the year amounted to 25.5%, with sales of such vehicles in October alone adding up to 31.5%. Of course, electrified does not mean electric, as Volvo is just now launching its second battery-electric model with the debut of the C40 Recharge, to keep the XC40 Recharge company. So plug-in hybrids still make up the bulk of that 25.5% share, with pure-electrics making up 3.1% of overall sales.
Needless to say, this figure is expected to increase as C40 Recharge sales get rolling, with the month of October already seeing a 5.6% share of battery-electric models. Therefore, the pace of EV sales for Volvo has grown pretty quick for a lineup with two electric models, not counting Polestar models.
One aspect of Volvo sales that may not be truly appreciated by this point is the role that China now plays. While Volvo sales in the US amounted to 104,066 vehicles for the first 10 months of the year, during the same period Volvo sales in China saw a figure of 143,616. It's certainly not lost on industry observers that Volvo plays an important role in parent company Geely's lineup, sharing platforms with sibling brands Polestar and Lynk & Co., with demand for electric vehicles in the country expected to continue growing. Europe remains Volvo's biggest market, with sales adding up to 242,495 cars in the first 10 months of the year.
Demand for electric and PHEV Volvos is growing stateside as well, with Volvo noting that Recharge models represented 24.1% of US sales in the month of October. Does this rate of growth get the automaker to battery-electric models accounting for 25% of sales by 2025?
That will depend on Volvo sticking to its schedule of rolling out additional EVs in the next three years, with the next-gen XC90 expected to debut in battery-electric and hybrid flavors in the coming months.
STUDY: CUSTOMER SATISFACTION HOLDS FIRM DESPITE THIN VEHICLE INVENTORY
A nationwide new-car inventory shortage has thinned out dealership lots, but it hasn’t hurt customer satisfaction – at least not among consumers who manage to find a vehicle to buy. That’s according to the J.D. Power 2021 Sales Satisfaction Index Study that reports metrically measured customer happiness with their automotive purchases remains at 789 points (on a 1,000-point scale), the same as last year. Dealer satisfaction increases two points to 841 among auto retailers where buyers purchased their vehicle. In no-sale situations, dealer satisfaction declined six points to 632.
FORD, GM TO AIM FOR ALL ZERO-EMISSION VEHICLES BY 2040 IN GLASGOW PLEDGE
Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and other automakers are expected to sign a pledge on Wednesday to work toward all new car sales to be zero emissions globally by 2040, the companies confirmed Tuesday night. Under the pact, companies and other signatories also would agree to aim for all zero-emission car sales in leading markets by 2035. The agreement would come on the United Nations Climate Change Conference's transportation-themed day, when global leaders come together to tackle how to decarbonize mobility. It builds on pledges made by the two automakers earlier this year, when they joined with Stellantis NV in agreeing to aim for 40-50% emissions-free vehicles sales goals by 2030.
SUBARU UNVEILS ITS FIRST ALL-ELECTRIC SUV, DEVELOPED WITH TOYOTA
Subaru Corp. unveiled its first all-electric SUV jointly developed with Toyota Motor Corp. as the smaller automaker plays catchup with its larger peers in electric cars. The Japanese automaker premiered its Solterra, built on the new “e-Subaru Global platform,” at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday. The platform, developed in conjunction with Toyota, is dedicated to battery-electric cars. The model will be sold in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China and Japan by the middle of next year, along with Toyota’s bZ4X.
BARRA: EV PUSH IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GM TO BOOST MARKET VALUE
Investors' interest in EVs marks "a huge opportunity for General Motors to capture significantly more value," she said. GM has long had a broad manufacturing, supply chain and retail footprint. To compete with the high valuations of Tesla and EV startups, "we have to be better, be faster, have vehicles that consumers want to have, solve the ownership equation," said Barra. "If anything, it motivates me to work even harder." GM plans to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle development and have 30 EVs available globally through 2025.
BMW FAVOURED IN LUXURY MARKET
A study done by Cox Automotive showed what brands luxury car shoppers are going for. Unsurprisingly, BMW topped the list. The study, done by Cox subsidiary Kelly Blue Book, is called the Brand Watch Report. Undertaken every quarter, this latest study focuses on Q3 of 2021 and shows which brands either increased or decreased when coming across car buyers shopping radar. While BMW topped the list with 19 percent of shoppers considering the brand, that’s a four point tumble from Q2 of this year.
VOLKSWAGEN WILL NOT CUT JOBS
Volkswagen has no plans to cut 30,000 jobs, CEO Herbert Diess told staff in an internal video message, hoping to fix his damaged relationship with the carmaker's works council that deteriorated further in recent weeks. Diess said he was in talks with labour representatives on how the company's Wolfsburg site, which the 63-year-old says lags in terms of efficiency and speed, could be transformed to better compete with new sector entrants such as Tesla.
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