Good morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: This Is How Nice People Say “Screw You”
President-elect (gag) Donald Trump has promised to impose a 35 percent tariff on goods coming into the United States from Mexico, which very smart people say will make cars made in Mexico (of which there are a lot) suddenly very expensive. This would not only seriously hurt Ford, an American company which employs almost 200,000 people worldwide, it would probably put a dent in the American economy, as well, as a result.
When Trump first made those noises, Ford initially cowered, probably thinking there was no way in hell a rotting piece of head cheese could get elected President, so it’d be fine just to make nice until he went away.
It turns out we all died and went to hell, so Ford is no longer making nice.
“A tariff like that would be imposed on the entire auto sector, and that could have a huge impact on the U.S. economy,” Fields said today following his keynote address at the Los Angeles auto show. “I continue to be convinced that the right policies will prevail. I think we all share the same objective, which is a healthy and vibrant U.S. economy.”
Fields went on to remind Trump that his company has been around for over 100 years:
“We have a proven track record of working with policymakers going all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt,” he said. “We expect to work very effectively and positively with the president-elect’s administration, as well as the new Congress.”
Translation: “we’ve been here long before you were born, and we’ll be here long after you’re dead.”
2nd Gear: We Won’t Be Getting The Mercedes X-Class Pickup For Now
The Mercedes X-Class is a sweet, sweet small pickup truck which we already love. There was a big question of whether it would come to the United States, as Mercedes is only just now starting to warm up to the idea of selling truly utilitarian things here, but we were begging and pleading and wishing and praying it would.
It turns out, all of that was for nothing, AN says:
Mercedes-Benz won’t bring its new pickup to the U.S. market in 2017, Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler said Tuesday. But Exler didn’t rule out becoming a pickup seller down the road.
“Once the next version of the truck comes out — when we see the next iteration — there might be an opportunity to bring it in the medium and the long-term,” Exler said at the 2016 Los Angeles auto show.
There’s always 2025.
3rd Gear: Hyundai Would Have To Pay Big If It Missed Fuel Targets
Hyundai would have to pay a sizable sum if it missed U.S. fuel targets by even just a hair, Bloomberg reports:
Hyundai Motor Co. would see a penalty of more than $100 million a year if it missed U.S. fuel economy targets for 2025 by just one mile per gallon, its U.S. chief said.
“Failure is not an option,” Dave Zuchowski, chief executive officer of Hyundai’s U.S. unit, said Tuesday at AutoConferenceLA, hosted by the National Automobile Dealers Association and J.D. Power.
And Hyundai would know! Just a few years ago it had to pay a $100 million fine over false fuel efficiency claims, so this isn’t one of those “boy who cried wolf” scenarios.
It ain’t no joke.
4th Gear: General Motors Cutting 160 Jobs
General Motors is cutting 160 jobs, comprising 100 hourly and 60 salaried positions, at a plant in Indiana, according to the Detroit News:
General Motors says about 160 jobs are being cut from a plant in Kokomo, Indiana, after the automaker announced it would stop producing semiconductors there by mid-2017.
The Kokomo plant made and tested the semiconductors, which are used in a wide range of automobile systems. The plant will still make integrated circuits, airbag control modules, engine control modules and other parts for GM and other automakers.
GM said that semiconductor production was no longer profitable at the location.
5th Gear: It’s The Los Angeles Auto Show, And It Doesn’t Suck This Year
Reverse: A New World Record For Electric Cars
On November 16, 1901, a spare, low-slung car called the “Torpedo Racer”—basically a square platform on bicycle wheels—breaks the world speed record for electric cars in Coney Island, New York. The car’s builder and pilot, an engineer named Andrew Riker, managed to coax his machine one mile down the straight dirt track in just 63 seconds (that’s about 57 mph; today, by contrast, the world speed record for an electric vehicle is about 245 mph). The battery-powered Torpedo Racer held onto its record for ten years.
Neutral: What Are You Most Excited About From LA?
I can’t tell which I like more, the Chevy Colorado ZR2, that Lamborghini, or the hilariously large Maybach convertible. What strikes your fancy?