HONDA’S NEW WIND TUNNEL
Honda's new $124 million wind tunnel — a structure five years in the making — is coming online at a critical time. In the electric vehicle era, designers are under pressure to reduce aerodynamic drag so that battery-powered vehicles can drive farther on a charge. The tunnel — an eighth of a mile long — will serve three functions for Honda: It will help designers create vehicles that slip through the air with less resistance; guide engineers on acoustic tuning to help reduce vehicle wind and road noise; and give the automaker's racing teams a dedicated wind tunnel to tweak competition vehicles.
Source: Automotive News
GM AND HONDA IN TALKS TO DEVELOP SOLID-STATE EV BATTERIES
General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co. are in talks about expanding their electric-vehicle partnership to include developing solid-state batteries, which automakers are chasing because they have more power, lower cost and reduced risk of fire. The companies have been discussing joint development of future batteries as they expand cooperation, though no decision has been made yet, Shinji Aoyama, Honda’s managing director for electrification, said in an interview. The two already develop hydrogen fuel cells and EVs together, and Honda is a minority investor in GM’s self-driving vehicle startup Cruise LLC.
GM ENTERS SUPPLY AGREEMENT FOR KEY MATERIALS
In another move to make sure it has what it needs to electrify its lineup, General Motors Co. said Thursday it entered into a supply agreement with MP Materials Corp. for the alloy and magnets needed for EV programs. The agreement solidifies terms of a binding agreement announced by the companies in December. MP Materials will supply U.S.-sourced and manufactured rare earth materials — alloy and finished magnets — for electric motors in more than a dozen models using GM’s new Ultium EV platform. MP is planning a gradual production ramp-up starting in late 2023 with alloy.
Source: The Detroit News
NISSAN SHARES DROP ON NEWS OF RENAULT EXPLORING STAKE SALE
Nissan Motor Co. shares fell the most in six weeks on news that Renault SA is considering selling part of its stake in the Japanese carmaker. Nissan’s stock declined as much as 4.8% in early trading in Tokyo on Monday, the biggest intraday drop since March 11. Renault shares fell 1.3% in Paris on Friday after Bloomberg reported the potential change in shareholding. The move could raise billions of euros for Renault’s shift to electric vehicles and ease long-standing tensions with its alliance partner, people familiar with the matter said.
FORD HURRIES OUT F-150 LIGHTNING TO GRAB SHARE OF ELECTRICS MARKET
Ford Motor Co.’s first all-electric F-150 pickup truck is rolling off the assembly line Tuesday, marking a major step in the company’s move toward electrification. Getting the plant going will be the easy part. Like other car companies, Ford continues to confront difficulties getting parts, particularly semiconductors critical to car manufacturing, and is launching the new truck in one of the most vexing periods for the auto industry’s complex supply chain in years.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
NEW GM UNION IN MEXICO SEEKS 19.2% WAGE HIKE IN HISTORIC TALKS
The new independent labor union at General Motors Co's largest plant in Mexico is seeking a 19.2% wage increase, citing surging inflation, and the U.S. carmaker has countered with an offer of 3.5%, the head of the union SINTTIA told Reuters. GM would not confirm the percentage of its counter-offer but said its next meeting with the union is on Thursday, where it hopes to reach a deal for the plant in the central city of Silao, forestalling a May 31 deadline for workers to strike.
MERCEDES BEATS AS RISING PRICES BOLSTER EARNINGS
Mercedes-Benz AG expects healthy auto returns this year as the German luxury-car maker navigates persisting supply-chain snarls by raising prices for its top-end models. Mercedes shipped fewer cars in the first quarter yet auto revenue climbed 8% -- largely because of rising sticker prices and shifting output to higher-margin models including its flagship S-Class sedan and G-Class sport utility vehicle. The company now sees carmaking returns at the higher end of its guidance.
GM WILL START TYING EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION TO ELECTRIC VEHICLE TARGETS
General Motors will begin tying a “significant part” of its long-term executive compensation with the company’s electric vehicle goals, CEO Mary Barra said Tuesday. Starting this year, Barra said the compensation targets will include volumes of EVs in North America as well as launch timing and quality for such vehicles. GM plans to increase its production of electric vehicles to 2 million in North America and China by 2025, as it moves to exclusively sell EVs by 2035.
GM’S CORVETTE IS GOING ELECTRIC
Here’s a clear sign that internal combustion engines are on the long road to oblivion: The Corvette is going electric.
General Motors Co. President Mark Reuss said Monday in a LinkedIn post that the automaker’s nearly 70-year-old sports car will offer a hybrid model as soon as next year with an electric motor and gasoline engine. An all-electric version using GM’s Ultium battery will follow, though he didn’t specify a timeline. “We will offer an electrified and a fully electric, Ultium-based Corvette in the future,” Reuss wrote. “In fact, we will offer an electrified Corvette as early as next year.”
GM also showed a video of the electrified version of the car driving in snow.
The Detroit carmaker has been working on expanding the Corvette line, including a crossover SUV, according to people familiar with the matter, as it transitions to an all-electric future. But Reuss’s post was the first time GM has officially confirmed plans for an electrified Corvette model.
Source: Bloomberg & Car and Driver
FORD POSTS $3.1 BILLION FIRST-QUARTER LOSS, MAINTAINS 2022 OUTLOOK
Ford Motor Co. swung to a net loss of $3.1 billion in the first quarter, a reversal largely driven by a steep loss in valuation of its stake in electric-vehicle startup Rivian Automotive Inc. The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker stood by its year-end guidance of pretax profit of $11.5 billion to $12.5 billion in 2022, despite continued challenges securing enough auto parts to keep assembly lines fully running. The quarterly loss compares with a net profit of $3.3 billion in the first quarter of 2021. Revenue dropped 5% to $34.5 billion in the first quarter, reflecting lower production.
FORD CUTS 580 U.S. SALARIED/CONTRACT EMPLOYEES AS IT FOCUSES ON EVS
Ford Motor is cutting 580 U.S. salaried employees and agency workers as part of its ongoing Ford+ turnaround plan, the company confirmed Wednesday night. The cuts include approximately 350 salaried and 230 agency positions, according to an emailed statement. The reductions occurred largely in engineering, as the Detroit automaker pivots from vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines to electric cars and trucks that can require different skill sets.
STELLANTIS EXTENDS CHRYSLER CAPITAL AGREEMENT UNTIL 2025
The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks has extended its agreement with Chrysler Capital to offer loans and leases to consumers and dealers for its vehicles through 2025, despite Stellantis NV last year acquiring its own captive finance arm for the U.S. market. Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc., which does business as Chrysler Capital, said in a news release on Wednesday it will hold a "complementary" role to Stellantis Financial Services US Corp.
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