Ferrari is suddenly on the hunt for a new CEO, folks enjoy buying Lincoln and Mini and United Airlines may be putting you at risk. All that and more in The Morning Shift for Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.
1st Gear: Ferrari Is Boss Hunting Again
Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri has resigned his position due to a recent hospitalization for the COVID-19 virus as well as other, uncited reasons. Camilleri was hired in the position just two years ago in July 2018 after the sudden death of former Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne.
Here’s more on Camilleri from Automotive News:
Camilleri’s decision came after the executive suffered health problems, which made it necessary to hospitalize him for COVID-19 in recent weeks. He is now recovering at home. A Ferrari spokesman said Camilleri’s illness was not the “main reason” for his retirement, but didn’t elaborate.
Ferrari’s board is identifying a permanent successor to Camilleri, it said in the statement on Thursday.
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The company clarified that the process would not be rushed, since I guess you don’t want just anybody running Ferrari, do you? I just hope Camilleri’s health fully recovers and a global pandemic is something the next exec hopefully won’t have to worry about.
2nd Gear: Buying A Lincoln Or Mini Must Be Nice
Lincoln and Mini have dominated this year’s J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index, suggesting that car buying in the age of a pandemic isn’t the nightmare it seems like it could be. The organization changed its methodology for determining its index this year, though, from J.D. Power:
The study, now in its 35th year, has been redesigned for 2020 and places a much greater emphasis on digital retail and remote buying. Digital retail activities measured in the study include the ability to select vehicle from inventory; receive credit approval; review F&I products; agree on purchase price; and complete purchase paperwork. All saw a spike during the onset of the pandemic and, while many declined in the May-June timeframe, all are still up nearly 50% from January.
Lincoln dominated the luxury market, and Mini dominated the mass-market cars. Here’s the full index:
This quote made me sad: “Mitsubishi is included in the study, but not ranked due to small sample size.”
3rd Gear: United Airlines Employees Potentially Exposed To COVID-19 Have Been Kept On Duty
If you dare take a flight anytime soon, be aware that United Airlines may not be the airline to go with right now. The company seems to be encouraging employees potentially exposed to COVID-19 to keep working flights, Reuters reports:
United Airlines is telling some flight attendants whose colleagues test positive for COVID-19 to keep flying and monitor for symptoms, three employees told Reuters, raising concerns among staff about the policy.
“Most of us feel that’s unsafe,” said one of the employees. Reuters also viewed around a dozen comments in a private online group for United flight attendants, which expressed unease and frustration about loose quarantine and contract tracing protocols by the airline.
United’s major rival American Airlines, by contrast, removes all crew from service when they have worked with an infected person, a policy decision American flight attendants and the union representing them affirmed.
The Federal Aviation Administration has only issued guidelines for airlines and there are no current government mandates preventing companies from pulling unsafe practices like this. The lack of oversight has led to a mixed bag of safety practices and protocols, so it’s no surprise to hear reports like this. At this point, is the FAA or any government body going to even pretend to care?
4th Gear: Cybertruck May Have Found Its Steel
The Tesla Cybertruck’s steel body shell is going to require significantly more steel than your average car body, and local news reports in Texas claim the company has found a local supplier for all that metal. From KIIITV.com:
The 1.7-billion-dollar steel dynamics plant under construction in Sinton is supposed to be up and running by the Fall of 2021. Not only is it going to provide hundreds of good paying jobs but it’s also going to supply the steel used in making Tesla’s Cybertruck. Right now, Tesla is building a factory in Austin that will produce the Cybertruck.
5th Gear: UK May Be In For No Deal, Carmakers Screwed
The United Kingdom’s five-year Brexit fiasco as it attempts to cut itself off from the European Union may come to a No-Deal ending, meaning the country is left to bargain for itself without an established safety net of carryover deals from its current status in Europe. This would rightly be a nightmare for the British car industry, as Reuters points out:
A Brexit without a trade deal would damage the economies of Europe, send shockwaves through financial markets, snarl borders and sow chaos through the delicate supply chains which stretch across Europe and beyond.
Some EU diplomats have cast Johnson’s rhetoric as theatrics intended to wrench out a deal and please his domestic Brexit supporters, and French President Emmanuel Macron said he still hoped a deal could be reached.
That doesn’t even mention that automakers like Land Rover, Jaguar, Morgan, Aston Martin, and more will also lose zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the European market of 450 million consumers overnight. Sounds bad.
Reverse: Airport Mob Heist
Neutral: Did You Buy A Car This Year?
What was that like?