It's Down To Luxury Cars

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled It's Down To Luxury Cars
Photo: AP (AP)

Daimler is doing better, Nikola is becoming less convincing by the day, Foxconn is getting more into cars, and BMW has issued a recall because fire. All that and more in The Morning Shift for October 16, 2020.

1st Gear: Daimler Did Better Than Expected In The Third Quarter

So did Volvo, but that’s Volvo the truck manufacturer not Volvo the car manufacturer. This rebound wasn’t expected by analysts, but you had to think a rebound of car sales was going to happen sooner or later.


From Reuters:

Daimler shares surged 4.5% on Friday after the luxury carmaker posted forecast-beating third-quarter results, buoyed by a better-than-expected rebound in sales of luxury cars in September.

European car registrations rose slightly in September, the first increase this year, industry data showed on Friday, suggesting a recovery in the auto sector in some European markets where coronavirus infections were lower.

Swedish truckmaker AB Volvo VOLVb.ST also posted third-quarter core earnings well above forecasts thanks to a healthy jump in orders.

Daimler’s third-quarter earnings before interest and tax reached 3.07 billion euros ($3.59 billion), it said late on Thursday, beating the 2.14 billion euro Refinitiv consensus.


2nd Gear: Foxconn Is Stepping Up With Cars

You might know Foxconn as the maker of iPhones and a shit ton of other electronics. The Taiwanese company also has an interest in cars, which Bloomberg says it’s getting a whole lot more serious about.

On Friday, it announced its first electric vehicle chassis as well as a software platform that is aimed at helping EV makers deliver models to the market faster. The company also outlined plans to release a solid-state battery by 2024 that could potentially displace the more commonly used lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles.

Chairman Young Liu, who took over from founder Terry Gou in July 2019, has turned to the emerging automotive, robotics and medical applications sectors to boost profitability amid plateauing growth in smartphone units in recent years. Apple Inc. still accounts for about 50% of overall sales of Hon Hai, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, but the company is seeking to diversify from its role as the assembler of consumer electronic goods like Macbooks and Sony Playstations.

The company is targeting a 10% share of the EV market by as early as 2025, with around 3 million vehicles using its platform, Liu told reporters on Friday.


3rd Gear: Nikola Isn’t So Hot On The Badger Anymore

The electric truck startup which has run into problem after problem and might in fact be an intricate fraud isn’t talking up its Badger anymore, according to the Financial Times.

“The Badger was an interesting and exciting project to some shareholders, but our institutional shareholders are mostly focused on the business plan,” Mark Russell, Nikola boss, told the Financial Times on Thursday.

“Our core business plan since before we became publicly listed always focused on heavy trucks and hydrogen infrastructure.”

Mr Russell described the Badger differently in February, four months before he moved up in the company to become chief executive. He called it “a game changer” that would “help drive down the cost of the fuel-cell components on our semi-truck while accelerating the hydrogen station rollout”.


Everything Nikola says just compounds the perception that this company won’t ever make it over the line.

4th Gear: Oh, Nothing, Just Some BMW Fires

The company has issued a recall for some of its plug-in hybrids because of “thermal events.”


From Automotive News:

BMW has recalled 26,900 plug-in hybrids globally after discovering a problem within the battery that could potentially cause a fire.

The models span BMW’s extensive range of plug-in hybrids, from the 2-Series Active Tourer to the 7-Series flagship sedan, and are “mostly” in Europe the company said, without giving a number.

BMW’s recall includes 4,509 vehicles in the U.S. NHTSA documents indicate the battery manufacturer is Korean supplier Samsung. BMW said it has not received any reports, nor is it aware, of any accidents or injuries related to the defect, but it also acknowledged a “thermal event” occurred.

“On August 4, 2020, BMW became aware of a field incident involving a Model Year 2021 BMW X5 in which the vehicle experienced a thermal event,” BMW said in the NHTSA documents. “An analysis was initiated. Between early August and mid-September, BMW became aware of three additional field incidents.”


Now, a recall on hybrids is a serious threat for any automaker playing ball in Europe—Ford’s hybrid recall over there meant it feared incurring huge fines for missing its CO2 targets if it didn’t buy emissions credits from another automaker. BMW claims it’s not worried, per AN:

Although the recall will delay the delivery of the plug-in hybrids, BMW said it still expects to reach its new, tougher fleet CO2 emissions target in Europe this year.


Go to NHTSA’s website to check on recalls for your own non-BMW car.

5th Gear: New York City Car Culture

The New York Times has cast its gaze on the “insanely loud” car culture of New York City, a car culture—speaking as someone who lives in Queens, where much of the NYT’s story takes place—that is neither insane nor particularly loud. There is car noise I listen to everyday piping into my window, but the buses are louder. So are the honks of cars when delivery trucks double park and stop up traffic.


This article reads like it was written by someone who just discovered cars and mod culture, which, you know, it probably was.

Here is a snippet:

There are varying degrees of loudness, however. One particular point of rage among those who detest these cars — an issue that divides even their fans — is a tweak called a straight pipe. These tailpipes, after an adjustment to a car’s computer, make exhaust sound like gunfire, expelling a buildup of air with a rapid-fire pow-pow-pow.

Manmeet Nijjar, 26, an aviation administration student at Farmingdale State College, said he finds inner peace in the Midtown Tunnel. That is where he rolls down his windows, turns off his radio and revs his engine (of course, his car is muffler-free). “I just love that sound!” Mr. Nijjar said from a mechanic shop in Willets Point, Queens, while a technician added more bells and whistles to his car.


The article has strong “reefer madness” energy.

Gear heads, hot rods and their impromptu, sometimes dicey rallies, have long existed in corners of the city where subways are sparse and car ownership is not a foreign concept. But in the long, boring months of the pandemic lockdown, more people seem to have flocked to the hobby, according to interviews and noise complaints.


The rise in noise complaints has come as bored young men (it’s mostly men) have sought a diversion that’s social but somewhat socially distant. Each person is sealed in his own car, after all.

While few city mechanics reported a boom in orders to modify cars, devotees say the pandemic has given them time to make the modifications themselves. Some said their stimulus checks helped; half of what [Zejy Rodriguez, 20,] got from the government this spring went straight into his BMW.


So the government stimulus checks were actually a bad idea because some people used some of the money to modify their cars. Got it, NYT. I’m very happy you guys noticed but please do better next time!

Reverse: Hell Yes


Neutral: How Are You?

I’m driving to Shelter Island this weekend because I’ve never been there and it’s my birthday tomorrow. I plan to do nothing but inject alcohol into my veins. This is 36.