A lot of 2020 Chevy Corvettes are going to be late, the Carlos Ghosn kidnappers are talking too much, coronavirus is not gone, coronavirus is NOT gone, coronavirus is NOT GONE. All that and more in the Morning Shift for Wednesday, June 17, 2020.
1st Gear: After Decades, What’s One More Year
After production delays over United Auto Worker strikes and now the covid-19 epidemic, not everybody who ordered a new mid-engine 2020 Chevy Corvette is going to get it. Instead, orders will be converted, with owner input, to 2021 model year cars. Here’s more from The Freep:
“We are not going to build all of the 2020 orders,” GM spokesman Kevin Kelly said, adding that GM would work with affected customers and dealers to offer a 2021 option.
Blame it on the coronavirus pandemic causing GM to shut down its U.S. plants for nearly seven weeks. Then, there are subsequent parts supplier complications too, Kelly said. The complexity of ramping up production prevents GM from even guessing how many of the sports cars it will be able to build this year.
GM had 20,181 orders through May 1, Kelly said. In the first quarter, the company reported selling 3,820 Corvettes. Kelly said most were the new 2020 model.
“We’ve had an enormous demand for this vehicle and we had that work stoppage and we have suppliers trying to come up to speed too,” Kelly told the Free Press. “The plant is still coming up from COVID. We still haven’t brought up the second shift yet, so we’re still ramping up.”
If my math is right, delivering just 3,820 out of 20,181 orders comes out to 18.9 percent delivered so far. Given the trouble the car has gone through, is that really that bad?
This also follows news that the Corvette had to cut some popular options, including a carbon fiber ground effects package and the larger optional wing a couple of months ago. But hey, it could have been a lot worse, and at least a lot of people will still get their cars in time to enjoy some of the lighter traffic and social distancing.
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2nd Gear: Na Na Na Na Na You Can’t Catch Me...?
The former Green Beret, who took his child to go help free former Renault-Nissan Alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn from Japanese custody over alleged crimes of financial misconduct, is having a hard time grasping the concept of extradition, according to Automotive News:
Lawyers for the Taylors in a motion last week asked a federal judge in Boston to quash the provisional warrants issued in May for their arrests, arguing that “bail jumping” is not a crime in Japan.
Defense lawyers argued that helping someone jump bail was also not a crime. While Japan issued arrest warrants for the Taylors in January, the lawyers said the crime stated in the warrants is an immigration offense and a non-extraditable misdemeanor.
But U.S. prosecutors in a brief filed on Tuesday said it would be “unprecedented” for the extradition case at this junction to be tossed based on a “flawed interpretation of Japanese law and a mischaracterization of the facts.”
While Japan has not yet formally sought their extradition, the country has confirmed that Taylors’ conduct constitutes a felony, U.S. prosecutors said.
“The purported loophole through which the Taylors seek to evade justice simply does not exist,” U.S. prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors added that neither Taylor, including Michael, a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and private security specialist, should be released from jail as they are flight risks.
There hasn’t been an official motion from Japanese authorities to extradite the former Green Beret, but calling attention to yourself with dumb headlines like these is not going to help your literal case.
Extradition is something he may have wanted to look into a little bit before dragging his kid on a high stakes global kidnapping campaign.
3rd Gear: CORONAVIRUS FAR FROM GONE
As U.S. Covid-19 infections surpass over 2.13 million cases, China is dramatically scaling back its recent “reopening” to crack down on a recent resurgence of local infections. More from the Wall Street Journal:
Authorities in Beijing raised the city’s coronavirus alert to the second-highest level and canceled a large number of flights in and out of the capital. The move comes as the city attempts to contain a cluster of infections associated with a wholesale meat-and-produce market. The Ministry of Transport said on its social-media account that 46.1% of flights in and out of Beijing had been canceled. Under the new heightened alert level, residential communities will face tighter controls and health checks will be stricter on public transportation. Entry into Beijing will be more closely managed, and those who have visited the wholesale market linked to the new cluster won’t be allowed to leave the city.
I recently advised Andrew Collins not to do a junket this month and I advise you all to avoid any close future plans!
4th Gear: Tesla Registrations Down
Registrations of new Teslas have reportedly been plunging over the last two months, which is a slightly bad sign for an otherwise promising quarter for Tesla so far, considering the hectic global situation. From the WSJ:
In California, Tesla’s largest U.S. market, registrations for the auto maker fell 16% in April to 6,260 new vehicles, compared with a year ago, according to Dominion’s Cross-Sell report. They dropped 70% to 1,447 in May. Industrywide, registrations in the state fell 52% each month compared with the same periods a year ago, the report said.
Nationwide data isn’t yet available. But across the 24 states that Dominion tracks, Tesla registrations declined 33% to 14,151 vehicles during the first two months of the quarter compared with a year ago, while those for the broader industry fell 43%. The researcher estimates the markets tracked, including New York, Florida, Texas, make up 65% of the whole U.S. auto market.
Tesla has questioned new vehicle registrations as an accurate metric for early quarter reporting due to delays in the registration process that may not show accurate numbers before the actual quarter ends. But the automaker doesn’t release delivery figures publicly very often, so its considered one of the best metrics of growth for the company because it declines to offer a better one.
The WSJ projects Q2 “deliveries” for Tesla will be the lowest they’ve been since the dramatically low volumes back in Q1 of 2019.
5th Gear: Europe Has Too Many Cars To Sell You
While many North American automakers and suppliers have been sweating about a diminishing supply of new vehicles as production shut down over covid-19, Europe has the opposite problem: plenty of cars with nobody buying.
From the WSJ again:
New-car sales in the European Union, in its affiliate free-trade association partners and in the U.K. fell 57% in May from a year earlier to 623,812 vehicles, according to data published Wednesday by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.
Each of the 27 EU member states reported double-digit-percentage declines in new-car sales, and the U.K. was down 89% from a year earlier. The data marked a small improvement following steeper drops in March and April, but new-car sales across the region remain far below last year’s.
Production is still well below precrisis levels, but with such comatose demand even this reduced output is creating a surplus of new cars, producing a bottleneck that is slowing down the industry’s recovery and threatening jobs and profits.
European executives say they are concerned that while China’s automotive industry is snapping back and the U.S. sector looks as though it could follow suit, Europe’s recovery might take longer because of oversupply and government incentives designed to boost the small electric-car market.
I don’t think the incentive on EVs in big enough issue to really flag in the scenario. After all, a new EV sold is a new car sold.
Reverse: Bronco Bust
While Ford is busy trying to explain launching the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco on OJ Simpson’s birthday is just a very odd coincidence, the actual infamous chase with the white Bronco happened on this day back in 1994. I was about a month away from being born.
Neutral: You Know The Virus Isn’t Gone?