Saab has a new recall, Ohio is taking Dieselgate into its own hands, and a couple of sketchy EVs. All that and more in The Morning Shift for June 30, 2021.
I somehow missed that Northern California, in a town half an hour from where I grew up, a Chinese car company set up shop. Fairfield, California, is now home to Imperium Motor Company’s experience center. (Here’s Imperium’s website if you’re curious.) Its grand opening was on June 18. This little event managed to somehow beat some of the biggest names in the Chinese electric car market, as Car News China reports:
As Nio and Xpeng, the most promising Chinese EV startups, entered Europe, we all asked whether the U.S. expansion is coming. But both startups were remarkably silent or directly denied it. Even the BYD – Chinese EV veteran – is not very successful in the U.S. They sell only a few electric buses and trying luck with commercial vehicles. Not to mention Faraday Future, once Silicon Valley’s darling, whose founder bankrupted in 2019 before it could launch the car. Now Skyworth (previously known as Skywell) is taking the lead and, without much attention, enters the U.S. market with its electric SUV ET5.
Skyworth is perhaps best known for selling TVs, if it’s known for much at all. Compare that to Nio, say, which is a rather sizable EV manufacturer over in China. It’s not rare to see some of its stormtrooper-faced SUVs bopping around the streets of Shanghai, for instance. Skyworth? Not so much.
Now, Car News China does say that the ET5 is Imperium’s first offering here, and I could only find pictures of an ET5 in real life on Imperium’s Facebook page. The company itself states in a press release that it has no less than 25 electric offerings for us Americans to check out:
Designed to create interest in IMC’s impressive line of EVs, the event encouraged attendees to drive and ride in 25 different electric-powered units, including the company’s flagship Imperium ET5 SUV, the Van Maxx, the Urbee 4, the new Jonway T3 Cargo, the Urbee Security LSV, the Raptor Golf Cart, the Rumble lineup, the Imp Chimp and other models. Unlike many companies jockeying for position in the EV space, IMC has existing models and inventory already on hand, ready to be sold.
As of June 29, Imperium also has a line on some kind of dealer network as well, as the company announced:
Less than two weeks after DSG Global Inc.’s (OTCQB: DSGT) (“DSG” or the “Company”) electric vehicle division, Imperium Motor Company, held the grand opening of its Experience Center for new EVs under the Imperium brand in Fairfield, California, the Company announces today it has entered a binding memorandum of understanding for the acquisition of Ontario, Canada-based MTG, Inc.
MTG is a well-established automotive import/export company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico with over 25 years of experience and extensive commercial fleet and retail connections throughout the global automotive industry.
DSGW will begin year one with an anticipated minimum of 100 car sales monthly, reaching an estimated $33 million annual sales; year two will see up to 200 car sales monthly, reaching $58 million annual sales with generous gross margins.
If any of you live near Fairfield, first of all congratulations! Second of all, please go check out this experience center and send us some photos. We are tips at jalopnik dot com.
I wonder what it was like to be a GM executive in the years after the Great Recession. I imagine someone standing up from a long board room table declaring “we ... don’t have ... to do this anymore!” and promptly axing Saturn, Pontiac, Hummer, Oldsmobile, and jettisoning Saab.
Now Hummer is back and Saab will never die. Any of you 9-4x owners (or SRX owners of the same period) out there, please head to your nearest relevant service center soon, as the Associated Press reports:
General Motors is recalling more than 380,000 older SUVs in the U.S., many for a second time, to fix a suspension problem that can cause them to sway at highway speeds.
GM decided on the recall after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation last year. The recall covers 2010 through 2016 Cadillac SRX and 2011 and 2012 Saab 9-4X SUVs. GM once owned Saab and manufactured its vehicles.
Here in America, our charging network is spotty, with different areas having better coverage than others. It’s all within one country, though. Europe is a different situation entirely, and some nations are getting left out of the charging network, as the Financial Times warns:
ACEA, which represents Europe’s carmakers, warned that poorer nations with fewer charging points risk being left behind by Brussels-issued bloc-wide rules that will drive higher electric car sales later this decade.
Its findings show the Netherlands has 66,665 charging points, or 30 per cent of the EU’s entire network, while France and Germany each have about 45,000. The three between them have 70 per cent of the network. Romania, in contrast, has just 493 points, while Lithuania has 174.
The body warned that “a two-track infrastructure rollout is developing along the dividing lines between richer EU member states in western Europe and countries with a lower GDP in eastern, central and southern Europe”.
If you see EVs as a simple automotive purchase, this sort of supply-and-demand thinking makes sense. If you see EVs as a part of a greater response to climate change and the environment, the need to rectify this disparity becomes more clear.
Ohio will not be sitting idly by as Dieselgate proceedings progress on a national level. Ohio is taking this personally, as the Associated Press reports:
The federal Clean Air Act does not preclude Ohio from seeking its own compensation against Volkswagen over the company’s efforts to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
At issue before the court was the 2015 scandal in which the automaker was found to have rigged its vehicles to beat the tests. The company ultimately paid more than $33 billion in fines and settlements.
In the wake of the scandal, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office sued the company, alleging its conduct — affecting about 14,000 vehicles sold or leased in Ohio — violated the state’s anti-air pollution law.
I don’t really look forward to a state-by-state free for all for automotive penalties, but I am amused by it at the moment. Let everyone get a slice of that Dieselgate pie, why not.
EV startup Workhorse believes that the USPS unfairly sided with gigantic industrial manufacturer Oshkosh in choosing the next postal service van. It’s a kind of dry story in general, except for this one part about Workhorse’s prototype rolling into a ditch, as detailed by Bloomberg:
Workhorse in its complaint said the Postal Service “ensured it had no fair chance of a contract award.” The agency treated Workhorse more harshly than competitors and didn’t give enough notice of perceived deficiencies of the company’s proposal, according to the complaint.
The USPS misleadingly claimed a flaw in the brake system left a prototype to roll into a ditch, injuring a test track driver, according to the complaint. In fact, the Postal Service worker incorrectly left the prototype in “drive” rather than “park,” Workhorse said in the complaint.
Kimberly Frum, a Postal Service spokeswoman, declined to comment on the litigation.
Seems rude to blame the test driver, but I guess a lot is at stake here.
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Nobody bought the Coda when they had the chance. Would you check out an Imperium?