U.S. BOOST FINES FOR NOT MEETING FUEL ECONOMY RULES IN TESLA WIN
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Sunday reinstated a sharp increase in penalties for automakers whose vehicles do not meet fuel efficiency requirements for model years 2019 and beyond. The decision was a win for Tesla that could cost other automakers hundreds of millions of dollars or more. Confirming an earlier report by Reuters, NHTSA said the decision “increases the accountability of manufacturers for violating the nation’s fuel economy standards” and the penalty increase “incentivizes manufacturers to make fuel economy improvements.”
CAR BUYERS SHUN LEASES AS DEALS AND VEHICLES DWINDLE
Fewer Americans are leasing new vehicles because of higher prices and scarcity on dealer lots, a pullback that could crimp the supply of used vehicles and interested buyers in the coming years. The percentage of new cars and trucks leased during the Covid-19 pandemic has declined, dropping to 19% of overall retail sales so far this year through March 13—the lowest since 2009, according to research firm J.D. Power. Leasing accounted for about 30% of the broader retail market in the years leading up to the health crisis, the firm’s data shows. The car shortage has prompted many auto makers to drop the discounts and other types of promotions they typically offer to make leasing attractive to car shoppers.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
LACKING WIRE HARNESSES FROM UKRAINE, VOLKSWAGEN DELAYS ID.5 LAUNCH
Volkswagen will delay the launch of its ID.5 electric car by a month to the first week of May because of disruptions in the supply of wire harnesses from Ukraine, a spokesperson said on Friday. The lack of supply meant that the carmaker was unable to produce enough exhibition and demonstration vehicles for all its sales partners, according to a letter to dealerships seen by autos publication Automobilwoche, which first reported the news.
BMW DEALERSHIP INTERIORS WILL BE UPGRADED
BMW is re-imagining the brick-and-mortar showroom experience for the digital age. The brand's global Retail Next design concept, which debuts in the U.S. in July, attempts to make the dealership visit feel more experiential and less transactional, BMW of North America sales boss Shaun Bugbee told Automotive News last week. BMW's future showrooms will feature fewer cars, and each model will have a display with loungelike seating, unique lighting elements and premium furnishings.
Source: Automotive News
$13.5B COMMITTED TO NA EV BATTERY PLANTS ONLY SCRATCHES THE SURFACE
Last week's announcement by Stellantis that it will open a $4.1 billion battery plant in Ontario is one more reminder of the new wave of investment coming to the industry. Automakers and battery companies are spending unprecedented sums of money as they begin creating North America's EV supply chain. In just the past year, automakers and their battery suppliers have committed $13.5 billion to create EV battery plants in North America. That's a colossal supply chain figure — but it doesn't fully capture the scale of recent investment.
Source: Automotive News
TESLA CUT FROM CALIFORNIA EV REBATE PROGRAM AFTER PRICE HIKES
The state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project late this month updated its list of battery-powered vehicles that qualify for direct rebates of up to $2,000, which previously included base versions of Tesla’s Model 3 sedan and Model Y hatchback, the top-selling EVs in California. But rebates are only available for cars priced up to $45,000 and crossovers that cost no more than $60,000. The program said that due to price hikes that took effect March 15, “any Tesla Model 3 or Model Y that was ordered on or after March 16, 2022, is not eligible for a CVRP rebate.”
PARTS SHORTAGE HALTS PRODUCTION AT CHRYSLER MINIVAN PLANT
A parts shortage has halted production this week at Stellantis NV's Chrysler Pacifica minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. The bottleneck is happening with an external supplier and isn't the result of global capacity concerns for semiconductors that have led to downtime at the plant over the past year, spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in an email. She didn't specify what the shorted part was.
Source: The Detroit News
U.S. SENATE APPROVES $52 BLN CHIPS BILL IN BID TO REACH COMPROMISE
The U.S. Senate on Monday again approved a bill to provide $52 billion in U.S. subsidies for semiconductor chips manufacturing in a bid to reach a compromise after months of discussions. The 68-28 procedural vote sends the legislation back to the House of Representatives in a cumbersome process to ultimately launch a formal process known as a "conference" where lawmakers from both chambers will seek agreement on a compromise version.
UKRAINE COULD AFFECT PORSCHE IPO PLAN, TOP VW SHAREHOLDER SAYS
Top Volkswagen shareholder Porsche SE supports plans to list luxury sportscar maker Porsche AG but the conflict in Ukraine could affect the timing of the proposed IPO, the holding company said on Tuesday. Volkswagen aims to conduct the Porsche initial public offering (IPO) in the fourth quarter of 2022, though that may change if the conflict in Ukraine drags on, Porsche SE's finance chief said. No final decision has been made on the proposed IPO, the company said.
WORLD’S TOP CARMAKERS FEELING FULL FORCE OF CHINA COVID STANCE
Slammed by the long-running chip shortage and surging materials prices, global automakers are now facing a new threat – lockdowns in some of China’s biggest cities. Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG, the world’s two largest automakers, suspended production at four plants in Changchun more than two weeks ago when the city 950 kilometers (590 miles) northeast of Beijing was plunged into lockdown to contain a Covid-19 outbreak, and say it’s unclear when workers will be able to return. That follows a near two-week shutdown of factories in Tianjin during an outbreak in January.
WASHINGTON STATE ADOPTS USA’S EARLIEST ICE-PHASEOUT TARGET
All new cars registered in Washington state from 2030 would have to be electric-powered under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. The 2030 target, aimed at phasing out the sale, purchase or registration of new cars powered by gasoline or diesel internal-combustion engines, is the nation’s earliest – coming five years ahead of 2035 deadlines established by California, New York and Massachusetts. The “Clean Cars 2030” legislation signed last week also creates an interagency council given a Dec. 31, 2023, deadline for creating a plan for achieving the 2030 target.
CHANGE IS COMING
What Ford's Restructuring Means for Its Dealer Network
Ford Motor Co.'s move to split its legacy internal combustion engine and growing electric-vehicle businesses into separate units means drastic changes for its network of some 3,000 U.S. dealers — changes that are prompting both concern and optimism as both sides begin to hammer out details. In the coming months, the Dearborn automaker says it will work closely with dealer committees and the Ford National Dealer Council, as well as embark on a market-by-market tour, to draft a new set of standards giving dealers the choice to decide whether they want to be EV-certified as Ford targets annual production of 2 million EVs globally by 2026.
VW TO CLOSE PART OF ITS FACTORY IN SHANGHAI AMID COVID LOCKDOWNS
Volkswagen AG will close part of its factory in Shanghai because of the difficulty in procuring parts during the city’s lockdown, though it is also looking at ways to keep production running while the pandemic restrictions are in place. The plant, operated in a joint venture with China’s SAIC Motor Corp., will partially shut down production Thursday, a VW spokesperson said, without providing further details including when it may be able to resume or what parts and models are specifically impacted. The company will provide information on a daily basis, the spokesperson said.
HONDA, ACURA EXTEND CPO PROGRAMS TO INCLUDE 10-YEAR-OLD VEHICLES
American Honda Motor Co. is expanding its certified pre-owned program to include 10-year-old Honda and Acura vehicles. The extended programs, called HondaTrue Used and Acura Precision Used, are designed to draw younger, budget-minded shoppers to dealership lots. The older Honda vehicles, which have no mileage limitations, only receive a 100-day or 5,000-mile manufacturer-backed warranty. That's significantly less than the 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage provided on HondaTrue Certified+ and Certified vehicles, which together cover lightly used, current model year vehicles, as well as 2- to 5-year-old Hondas.
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