The tie-up of GM and Honda’s gets real, GM also had a very good fourth quarter, and teens. All that and more in The Morning Shift for January 6, 2021.
1st Gear: GM Will Make Electric Hondas And Acuras In The U.S. And Mexico
We knew this was going to happen; Automotive News says that it will happen in Tennessee and Mexico.
From Automotive News:
General Motors plans to start building two battery-electric crossovers for Honda Motor Co. within four years: a Honda-branded vehicle at a GM plant in Mexico and an Acura-branded vehicle alongside the upcoming Cadillac Lyriq in Tennessee, according to two people familiar with the plans.
Production of the Honda crossover is slated to begin in 2023 in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, where GM builds the gasoline-powered Chevrolet Blazer and Equinox, the sources said. Automotive News reported last year that GM likely would retool Ramos Arizpe Assembly for EV production by 2024, but GM has not confirmed the plans.
Production of the Acura crossover is scheduled to begin in 2024 in Spring Hill, Tenn., according to the sources, who asked not to be identified discussing future product plans. The Honda and Acura models are expected to be roughly the size of the Lyriq, which is scheduled to go on sale in early 2022.
Like the Lyriq, the Honda and Acura vehicles will be powered by GM’s proprietary Ultium batteries, which have a maximum range of 450 miles. Morgan Stanley predicts that Ultium batteries will be used in more than 5 million EVs annually by 2040, including more than 1 million non-GM vehicles.
A GM spokesman declined to comment on the company’s future product plans. A Honda spokesman also declined to comment on the specific plans, saying only that the company “looks forward to sharing new information on our North American electrification strategy later this year.”
As in Europe, it seems like the switch to EVs will be hard and fast, which makes all the automakers hemming and hawing about it all these years all the more ridiculous.
2nd Gear: The Automakers Did Just Fine In The Fourth Quarter
Sales results for automakers in the fourth quarter are in. They all did pretty well, thanks to pent-up demand. You can expect that pent-up demand to persist for a bit.
From Automotive News:
General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen Group, Subaru, Kia and Mazda chalked up fourth-quarter U.S. sales increases, signaling a further recovery for the industry to end a pandemic-wracked year.
GM’s sales improved 4.8 percent from a year earlier, as three of its four brands advanced. Toyota Motor was up 9.4 percent for the quarter, thanks to a 20 percent December gain in a month that was aided by three extra selling days.
The final days of December appear to have been more robust than forecast, with several automakers citing unexpectely strong retail activity over the holidays.
“There was also no shortage of positive news in the last week of December, and that may have encouraged consumers and lifted sales – passage of the stimulus package, more certainty around the election outcome, coupled with a lot of vaccine news,” said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. “That may have been enough to drive a surge at the end of the month, a surge that surprised even us.”
FCA US finished the fourth quarter with an 8 percent decline, reflecting lower fleet shipments, with volume off 4 percent at Jeep, 5 percent at Ram, 31 percent at Dodge and 58 percent at Fiat. Only the Chrysler brand, up 5 percent, and Alfa Romeo, up, 23 percent, finished the quarter with gains. Still, the automaker said fourth-quarter retail sales rose 1 percent behind Jeep, Ram and Alfa Romeo volume.
None of this really matters unless you are an automaker CEO or shareholder, but in the vein of nature is healing, nature is healing.
3rd Gear: Rivian? Rivian
The electric truck startup is raising a lot more money, according to Bloomberg. The new valuation for it is $25 billion. That sounds like a lot but, to put that into context, Tesla’s valuation is currently north of $700 billion.
Rivian Automotive Inc., the electric-truck startup backed by Amazon.com Inc. and Ford Motor Co., is close to raising a new round of funding valuing it at about $25 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
Several existing Rivian investors are participating in the round, which will raise several billion dollars, the people added, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.
Existing investors in the company include Amazon, T. Rowe Price Group Inc., BlackRock Inc., Soros Fund Management, Coatue, Fidelity Investments and Baron Capital Group.
The funding isn’t finalized and details could still change.
A representative for Rivian said, “We are focused on delivering the R1T, R1S, and Amazon delivery vehicles in 2021. We often speak to investors, and we have no announcement to make at this time.”
4th Gear: Car Thefts Are Rising In Part Because People Are Leaving Their Keys Inside Their Cars: Report
The New York Times says this is in large part the work of teens. If you don’t want your car stolen, try not leaving the keys in it. Or your key fob in the cupholder. Or just keep an eye on your car if you leave it running and teens are around.
“This is a very stupid problem to have,” a Hartford Police Department official said to reporters last month, on a day when five stolen cars were recovered in the city, and 12 people — about half of them teenagers — were arrested. “The technology that was created specifically to eliminate car thefts, such as key fob technology, is now being used against us.”
The situation has left law enforcement struggling to keep up with a deluge of car thefts; in some places, the endless caseload has threatened to overburden smaller police departments. But unlike the crimes of yesteryear, when stolen cars would eventually turn up stripped for parts, the police say most today are abandoned undamaged. And with laborious tracing work, the police say they are able to return many stolen cars to their owners.
The pandemic has made the problem worse, said Deputy Inspector Jessica E. Corey of the New York City Police Department’s Crime Prevention Division. With the increase in deliveries as people try to stay home, many victims are delivery drivers making drop-offs, Inspector Corey said. She stressed that in many of the city’s cases, people have also left cars running with traditional keys.
In New York City, 6,858 vehicles were stolen in 2020, up from 3,988 the year before. Of those taken in 2020, more than 3,450 were stolen while they were running. The year before, 1,634 were stolen while running. (The department does not specify whether electronic or traditional keys are used.)
5th Gear: New Car Sales In Britain Are Down Big
The worst drop since World War II, in fact. This is all probably stage-setting for a big rebound, but still.
British new car sales fell nearly 30% last year in their biggest annual drop since 1943 as lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus hit the sector, an industry body said on Wednesday.
Demand stood at 1.63 million cars in 2020, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It was particularly hard hit by a 97% fall in April, the first full month of a national lockdown.
Dealerships gradually reopened in June on differing dates across the United Kingdom’s four nations.
“We lost nearly three quarters of a million units over three or four months, which we never got back,” said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.
Reverse: The Show Has Wheel In The Title
Wheel of Fortune is so boring compared to Jeopardy, I can’t believe it never died of shame since they are aired back-to-back.
Neutral: How Are You?
Georgia actually came through. I am chuffed, as the British say. What a world.