Indiana has won a Stellantis battery plant, Toyota has slashed global production, and Avtovaz. All that and more in The Morning Shift for May 24, 2022.
1st Gear: Stellantis
Of all the major auto manufacturers, Stellantis has been the most neanderthal about changing their ways when it comes to going electric, the brotherhood of muscle and all of that. Well, it seems like Stellantis is starting to take EVs a bit more seriously, or at least realistically, as it is set to announce on Tuesday that it will be building a battery plant in Indiana, alongside Samsung.
Chrysler parent Stellantis will build its next electric vehicle battery plant in Indiana, where the automaker has several facilities, according to a source and a published report.
The automaker is planning an announcement on Tuesday on “future plans” for its Kokomo operations with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and the company’s chief operating officer for North America, Mark Stewart, who are among several officials slated to attend.
A source with knowledge of the plans confirmed that the automaker has chosen Indiana for the EV battery plant in the United States. The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic.
In October, Stellantis and South Korea’s Samsung SDI announced plans for a joint venture on an EV battery plant. Reuters reported Monday that Samsung is partnering on the project.
Stellantis’s disinterest in EVs up to now has been understandable — the company leans into what it’s good at, which is not currently EVs. And there hasn’t been much pressure on them to change, either, aside from general momentum in the industry. Still, very cringe-y.
2nd Gear: Lancia is Back, Again
Stellantis has been positioning Lancia to be an electric brand in Europe for months, and, recently, Lancia opened its robe on its EV plans, which include a comeback of the Delta.
Via its press release:
Lancia’s ten-year plan will begin in 2024 with the new Lancia Ypsilon, which will be around 4-meters long, belonging to the B segment and will be launched with a 100% electrified powertrain. In 2026, the new flagship will arrive, 4.6-meter long and will allow the brand to enter into the largest segment in Europe. 2028 will be the year of the new 4.4-meters long “Delta”, a sculpted and muscular car, with geometric lines, which will attract car enthusiasts throughout Europe.
These three new models will cover 50% of the market and will have the duty to contribute to the improvement of Stellantis performance in its premium and luxury cluster, as laid out in the “Dare Forward 2030” Stellantis strategic plan.
A ten-year plan with a clear electrification strategy, from 2026 the brand will only launch 100% electric models and from 2028 will solely sell 100% electric models. Great attention to the electrification process, but not only. In addition, a wide use of innovative materials will make Lancia the Stellantis brand with the highest percentage of recycled material, with 50% of touchable surfaces made from eco-sustainable materials in order to contribute to building a better world for future generations.
This sounds a little like a Volvo impersonation act, though I’m just happy that Lancia is still around.
3rd Gear: Toyota Production Dropping Next Month
‘Yota said Tuesday that it will make 100,000 fewer cars in June than it previously planned, to total an output of around 850,000, though it also said that its annual production estimate for 2022 of 9.7 million vehicles remained the same. This is because of a lack of semiconductors. When this is all over — if this is ever over — I never want to hear about a lack of semiconductors again.
The automaker also announced additional domestic factory line suspension due to supply shortage triggered by COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai. The additional suspension will be up to five days between Wednesday and June 3, affecting 16 lines at 10 factories for May and June in total.
It is planning to produce about 850,000 vehicles globally a month on average from June through August, it said, adding chips shortage and COVID-19 outbreaks and other factors “are making it difficult to look ahead.”
4th Gear: Avtovaz
Avtovaz has had an interesting past few months, with Renault selling it for one ruble and also production stopping, all because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Its CEO said on Tuesday that next month it will go back to making cars, though.
The Lada-maker partially halted production in March due to a shortage of electronic parts, as the conflict in Ukraine and imposition of Western sanctions have disrupted Russian supply chains.
“At the beginning of next month we should launch production,” RIA Novosti quoted CEO Maxim Sokolov as saying on Tuesday.
5th Gear: Tokyo Motor Show Is Changing
The Tokyo Motor Show has been, for decades, one of the marquee car shows in the world, along with Detroit and Frankfurt. Others might include Los Angeles, Geneva and Beijing in that list. But as far as indisputable cool, Tokyo is number one, the biennial home to the very best of what Japanese automakers have to offer. I regret to report that it is rebranding and getting much duller.
From Automotive News:
When the show returns in 2023, it will open under a “Japan All-Industry” banner, said the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, which has hosted the event since its inception in 1954.
JAMA Chairman Akio Toyoda said it was important to bring together different sectors at a time when collaboration is needed to achieve carbon neutrality.
“We want to rename next year’s Tokyo Motor Show the Japan All-Industry Show, going beyond the mobility industry, with all of Japanese industry working as one team, including startups,” Toyoda said last week. “We aim to make a totally new show, transforming it in both name and reality.”
Toyoda did not elaborate on the scope of how many sectors and companies might be included.
I was going to go to what I guess was the last Tokyo Motor Show in 2019, but then I decided fuck that, the Tokyo Motor Show will always be around, there will definitely be another opportunity. Then, a few months later, everything completely changed.
Reverse: Brooklyn Bridge
Everyone should walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at least once.
Neutral: How Are You?
I’m going on vacation to Mexico next week and truly it cannot come soon enough.