With used-car prices going absolutely out of control right now, used-car mega-retailer CarMax is absolutely raking in the cash. All that and more in The Morning Shift for September 30, 2021.
I am trying to imagine myself as a CarMax executive. I am being fed grapes while lying on a fainting couch dressed in a toga. I am being fanned with palm fronds.
From Automotive News:
CarMax posted record net revenue in its fiscal second quarter on a double-digit increase in unit sales, while net earnings dipped.
The largest used-vehicle retailer in the U.S. pointed to its omnichannel retail efforts, and in particular its instant cash-offer tool, as having driven its top-line success in the period, ended Aug. 31.
Net revenues climbed 49 percent to $8 billion in the quarter. Total unit sales grew 20 percent to 419,895, and included retail used-unit sales of 231,797, up 6.7 percent, and record wholesale sales of 188,098, up 41 percent. Same-store retail used-unit sales rose 6.2 percent.
AutoNews goes on to say that CarMax bought 364,263 vehicles in the second quarter. Were you one of the sellers? How did it go?
The state of Michigan is upset that Ford chose to build its giant battery factory in (non-union) Kentucky, as opposed to within Michigan, as Crain’s reports:
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said her state wasn’t given a “real opportunity” to pitch Ford Motor Co. on land, labor and tax incentives for the multibillion-dollar electric vehicle and battery assembly plants the automaker intends to build in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The Democratic governor on Wednesday pushed back on suggestions that Michigan couldn’t compete for the $11.4 billion Ford and battery maker SK Innovation plan to invest in the massive projects.
“Being the primary domicile, Michigan is always going to be able to put a competitive alternative on the table when we are given an opportunity to,” Whitmer said. “And we look forward to future investments and (Ford) looking to Michigan first and giving us the opportunity to really put a robust package on the table.”
Whitmer said there were “probably a lot of factors” that went into Ford’s decision to locate the new battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.
I can imagine at least one of those factors. (That the UAW hasn’t yet unionized this upcoming factory.)
In any case, if Michigan is really upset, it should do whatever the state version of nationalizing is. Send in state troopers to the HQ. If it is meant to operate for the good of the people of Michigan, let the people of Michigan take control.
3rd Gear: Ford Recalls A Third Of A Million Crossovers For Wonky Rearview Cameras And Bad Suspension
Speaking of Ford, 354,330 crossovers are due for a date with the service department, as Automotive News reports. First, the rear-view camera recall:
A global recall covers 228,297 Explorer, Lincoln Corsair and Lincoln Aviator crossovers from the 2020-21 model years equipped with 360-degree cameras. Ford said the video output of those cameras may fail, which could cause the rearview image to cut out and thus increase the risk of a backover accident or crash.
Dealers were notified Thursday. The company said it expected vehicle owners to be notified by mail between Oct. 7 and 14. Ford said dealers will update the vehicle’s Image Processing Module software.
And second, the suspension recall:
A U.S. recall affects 126,033 Explorers from the 2011-13 model years. Ford said the vehicles might be equipped with a cross-axis ball joint replacement part that may seize up. The automaker said that could result in a fracture of the outboard section of the vehicle’s rear suspension toe link.
Ford said dealers will inspect the vehicles for the presence of a cross-axis ball joint. If one of any design is found, the dealer will inspect how tight it is and if needed will replace that part, the knuckle or toe link.
Normally I’d say this is just some media posturing in the age of Elon and SpaceX, but Honda has made passenger jets before. Nothing’s really out of the question. From the Verge:
Honda is increasing its research and development spending in three futuristic areas: rockets, robots, and electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL), otherwise known as flying cars.
The automaker will spend $45 billion (5 trillion yen) on R&D over the next six years. But Honda won’t say what fraction of that amount will be spent on developing rockets, robots, and flying cars, nor even if it plans on pursuing those projects as commercial businesses.
In fact, Honda sees robots, rockets, and eVTOL aircraft as an extension of its main business of manufacturing automobiles. If the company can get a better electric vehicle platform out of it, for example, then it will be worth the investment. Basically, it wants to see if it can make working prototypes before taking the next step.
$45 billion is not exactly pocket change!
Streetsblog has a good article on how Black neighborhoods in Chicago see significantly more people ticketed for riding on the sidewalk compared to white neighborhoods, which have significantly better bike lanes.
From Streetsblog, which opens by describing fast-moving, potholed streets in Chicago’s South Side, where many choose to risk riding on the side walk:
Jason Hardt, who was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike on Independence Boulevard in North Lawndale, is a tragic, recent illustration of why cyclists might opt to risk a citation for riding on the sidewalk over pedaling on a dangerous street.
During my own commute, heading north on California Avenue in Little Village, the four-block stretch between 35th and 31st streets narrows as it travels under the Stevenson Expressway and over the South Branch of the Chicago River. It feels so treacherous, I admittedly break the law by taking the sidewalk every time I ride that stretch.
It’s no surprise then that, according to a study by University of California Davis professor Jesus Barajas, tickets for riding on the sidewalk were issued eight times more often per capita in Chicago’s majority-Black communities than majority-white neighborhoods, which tend to have far more miles of marked and protected bike lanes on arterial roads.
The city is responsible for both the police and the bike infrastructure, so what’s really going on here?
I’m kind of curious what depreciation even looks like at the moment.