USED PRICE INCREASES RETURN
Used car prices, one of the biggest drivers of U.S. inflation this year, rose again in early September on a monthly basis after idling over the summer. The Manheim U.S. Used Vehicle Value Index, a measure of pricing trends, increased 3.6% in the first half of September compared with a month earlier. That puts it on track for the first month-over-month increase since May while extending the string of consecutive monthly of gains on a year-over-year basis that dates back to June 2020.
GM WORKS WITH HERTZ TO GET DEALERS MORE LOANERS AMID CHIP SHORTAGE
General Motors has signed an agreement with car rental giant Hertz Corp. to help funnel more loaner vehicles to dealerships amid the global microchip shortage. As an enhancement to GM's existing Dealer Courtesy Transportation Program, Hertz will provide loaner vehicles to dealers at the automaker's current rate, a GM spokesperson confirmed to Automotive News. Hertz's primary focus will be providing Chevrolet Bolt customers with loaners during the recall process.
Source: Automotive News
MORE CHIP RELATED SHUTDOWNS
GM North American closings
General Motors Co. is extending its plans to idle some of its North American factories, compounding the effects of the world-wide semiconductor shortage on the auto maker’s production. The company said Thursday it will add to scheduled downtime at seven plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The move builds upon curtailments that have slammed GM and the broader auto industry throughout the year as supply constraints on computer chips continue to hold back car production.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Stellantis curtails cars to keep minivans in production
Stellantis now says it will resume production of minivans at its factory in Windsor, Ontario, on Sept. 27, just days after saying it would idle production there. Instead, the automaker will halt sedan and muscle car output in Brampton, Ontario, the week of Sept. 27 due to the ongoing global microchip shortage. “Brampton Stellantis continues to work closely with our suppliers to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry,” the automaker said in a statement.
Chip Supply, Testing Woes to Further Curb Light Vehicle Production in 2021, Says IHS Markit
Semiconductor shortages and the delayed packaging and testing of the chips will cause production of global light vehicles to drop by five million this year, data firm IHS Markit said on Thursday, marking the biggest cut to its outlook in nine months. Citing supply chain challenges, IHS said it was cutting its light vehicle production forecast by 6.2% for 2021 and 9.3% for 2022, to stand at 75.8 million units and 82.6 million units, respectively.
Stellantis shuts down Jeep to protect pickups
Production of the two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV will halt at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit next week, parent company Stellantis NV confirmed Friday. The disruption is the result of a global semiconductor shortage, the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand for consumer electronics. Automakers like Stellantis are seeking to protect their most profitable pickups and SUVs and secure the chips needed for electronic functions in their vehicles.
Source: The Detroit News
Honda – Chips and other factors
Honda Motor Co. said its production lines in Japan are operating at about 40% of its initial plan for the August-September period because of chip shortages and delays in parts shipments due to coronavirus outbreaks overseas. The Japanese automaker expects the impact to extend beyond this month and said the level of operations in early October will be about 70% of its initial plan, according to a statement on its website that notes the estimates are as of Sept. 14.
Shortage hits RAM Heavy Duty Pickups
Plants producing heavy-duty Ram pickup trucks, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge vehicles will idle next week due to the global semiconductor shortage. Demand for consumer electronics has led to a scarcity of the microchips used in vehicle electronics, halting factories worldwide and increasing vehicles prices. Automakers have sought to protect their most profitable vehicles, but they say they have little insight into the chip production deep in the supply chain.
Chip Shortage Expected to Cost Auto Industry $210 Billion in Revenue in 2021
With no end in sight, the semiconductor chip shortage is now expected to cost the global automotive industry $210 billion in revenue in 2021, according to consulting firm AlixPartners. The forecast is almost double it previous projection of $110 billion in May. The New York-based firm released an initial forecast of $60.6 billion in late January when the parts problem started causing automakers to cut production at plants. AlixPartners is now forecasting that 7.7 million units of production will be lost in 2021, up from 3.9 million in its May forecast.
UNION-BUILT EV TAX CREDIT PROVISION FACES HURDLE
A proposal by House Democrats that would give consumers an extra incentive to buy union-made electric vehicles has stoked tension and debate among lawmakers, automakers and other stakeholders. The National Automobile Dealers Association said it "supports tax credits to incentivize the purchase of EVs, but cannot support the bill in its current form." NADA said it will continue to work with lawmakers to broaden the credits for every nameplate sold by its franchised dealer members.
GM PLANS BOLT BATTERY REPLACEMENT START
General Motors Co. said it would start in mid-October to fix some Chevrolet Bolt electric cars that were recalled for fire risk, although many owners are likely to wait months to receive the remedy. GM said Monday that it would start shipping new battery cells to dealerships by as early as mid-next month to begin replacing potentially faulty battery modules. GM and supplier LG Energy Solution have identified and fixed a manufacturing defect and LG recently resumed production of cells at a factory in Michigan.
NTSB CHIEF CALLS OUT TESLA
Full “Self-driving “misleading and irresponsible” amid city driving beta test
The new head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called out Tesla's use of "Full Self-Driving" branding for its non-autonomous driver-assistance tech in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. NTSB boss Jennifer Homendy called the Full Self-Driving name "misleading and irresponsible," saying that consumers pay more attention to marketing than warnings in vehicle owners manuals or on automaker websites. In Tesla's case, "it has clearly misled numerous people to misuse and abuse technology," she said.
The interview occurred shortly after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that customers would be able to request an upgrade designed for city driving. Homendy cautioned against this, saying "basic safety issues have to be addressed" before Tesla expands to city driving.
This is by no means the first time the NTSB has had harsh words for Tesla. In a report on a 2016 fatal crash involving Autopilot, it said Tesla lacked "system safeguards to prevent misuse." It's also noted that emergency responders need more training on EV fires as these vehicles become more common.
While it investigates crashes, the NTSB has no regulatory authority. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does, and it opened a formal Tesla safety probe in August, but that hasn't resulted in any new rulemaking yet.
Autopilot—and then Navigate on Autopilot—were features branded "beta" at first.
An informal poll we took years ago indicated that not very many Tesla owners were taking the "beta" part all that seriously. With some essentially untrained Tesla drivers going "no hands" in the city, are things any different now?
Source: Green Car Reports
HONDA TARGETS ANNUAL SALES OF 70,000 PROLOGUE ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN U.S.
Honda Motor Co's U.S. unit said on Monday it is targeting initial annual sales of 70,000 for its planned electric Prologue sport utility vehicle when it goes to market in 2024. Honda plans to add additional electric vehicle models as it aims to have sold a total of 500,000 electric vehicles in the United States by 2030, and to achieve 100% zero emission vehicles sales in North America by 2040. It comes as President Joe Biden signed an executive order last month setting a target to make half of all new passenger vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles.
ONLINE CREATES TRUST IN CAR DEALERS BY YOUNG CONSUMERS, STUDY SAYS
Young consumers are more likely to trust the auto-sales process the more that it moves online. “For younger Americans,” the rise of automotive e-commerce “has elevated trust,” Joanna Piacenza, head of industry intelligence for Morning Consult. On the other hand, Piacenza said, the U.S. automakers’ growing problem with microchip shortages is eroding trust by consumers in the entire industry and in specific brands. As the shortages continue to whack the output of the companies’ factories — depleting inventories, strapping selection, delaying deliveries and inflating prices — would-be car buyers are getting increasingly frustrated, she said.
GERMAN AUTO GIANTS PLACE THEIR BETS ON HYDROGEN CARS
Battery power may be the frontrunner to become the car technology of the future, but don't rule out the underdog hydrogen. That's the view of some major automakers, including BMW and Audi, which are developing hydrogen fuel-cell passenger vehicle prototypes alongside their fleets of battery cars as part of preparations to abandon fossil fuels. They are hedging their bets, calculating that a change in political winds could shift the balance towards hydrogen in an industry shaped by early-mover Tesla's decision to take the battery-powered road to clean cars.
VOLVO REVEALS NEW MATERIALS FOR ITS LEATHER-FREE CARS
So far, Volvo is among the very few brands to say it will not offer any leather at all, even as an option, in any of its vehicles. Electric truckmaker Rivian currently offers only vegan “leather” seats in its R1T pickup, with no option for leather seating or trim. The shift at Volvo will begin next year with the C40 Recharge, a plug-in electric SUV with a 200-plus mile driving range. It will continue until 2030, when Volvo’s by then all-electric lineup will have entirely phased out leather products. This is a decision driven as much by reading and predicting market trends as from concern for the ethical treatment of animals, Volvo executives tell Bloomberg Pursuits during a private video interview announcing these changes.
Subscribe to our Automotive Weekly newsletter