Tesla Is Stopping Some Model 3 Production: Report

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Tesla has a mysterious production stoppage, Aston Martin claims it’s almost doing fine again, and the new Mercedes C-Class. All that and more in the The Morning Shift for February 25, 2021.

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1st Gear: Tesla Has A Production Hiccup

Bloomberg is reporting that Tesla has stopped a Model 3 assembly line for a couple of weeks beginning this past Monday.

Tesla Inc. has told workers it will temporarily halt some production at its car assembly plant in California, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Workers on a Model 3 production line in Fremont were told their line would be down from Feb. 22 until March 7, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Impacted staff were told they would be paid for Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 and not paid for Feb. 28, March 1, 2 and 3. They were advised to take vacation time, if they had it.

Representatives for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based EV company didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

This appears to be yet another consequence of the global shortage of semiconductors.

While production-line outages aren’t unusual for automakers, they cost the companies revenue. Tesla said last month that it’s trying to mitigate the effects of a global semiconductor shortage on its operations and that it expects to increase global vehicle deliveries by more than 50 percent this year.

Or not! As Bloomberg also quotes an analyst who says that Tesla is “demand constrained, rather than production constrained,” which is a polite way of saying that Tesla could be halting production of Model 3s because buyers simply aren’t there. I guess we’ll see when Tesla announces its first-quarter results.

2nd Gear: Meanwhile, The Tesla Shorts Have Done Well In The Past Week

I am increasingly questioning the value of talking about who does or does not make money on Wall Street because of the current state of Tesla’s stock price — it is a bit like reporting who made a whole lot of money at Caesar’s Palace last night. Who really gives a shit, etc. For now I offer the following from Reuters.

Short-sellers are sitting on estimated profits of $3.5 billion from their bearish positions on Tesla shares in the past seven days, as of Feb 23, data from financial analytics firm Ortex showed on Thursday.

The electric carmaker’s shares slumped 17% the week through Wednesday off record high levels, as Bitcoin, in which Tesla invested $1.5 billion, pulled back sharply.

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Congratulations to everyone involved.

3rd Gear: We’re Once Again Hearing About How EVs Will Cost Jobs

This time it is Daimler’s truck division. Its chairman says those job losses will be in the thousands, though there won’t be mass layoffs, more of an attrition situation.

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From Reuters:

Daimler Trucks’ shift to zero-emission vehicles will lead to thousands of job losses at the company’s German powertrain plants by 2033, its chairman said on Thursday, adding cuts would be gradual and achieved via retirements and voluntary packages.

“This is no revolution coming over night, this is an evolution,” Martin Daum told journalists on a conference call.

[...]

When asked what consequences European Union CO2 emission reduction targets would have for Daimler Trucks’ German powertrain plants, Daum said they would have thousands fewer workers by 2033.

Daum would not say precisely how many jobs would be affected, but Daimler Trucks’ powertrain plants in Germany currently employ around 14,000 people.

“But this is no catastrophe,” Daum said. “We can use demographic changes and voluntary (severance) agreements. We will have no forced layoffs.”

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4th Gear: The New Mercedes C-Class Will Get 62 Miles Of Range In The PHEV Version 

It’s unclear if this one will make it to the U.S., though it will definitely be a thing in Europe, because emissions regulations there are such that automakers have all-of-the-sudden discovered how to make EVs and PHEVs.

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From Automotive News:

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan will have a plug-in hybrid version that can be driven in electric-only mode twice as far as its predecessor, thanks in part to a more powerful battery.

The estimated range of 100 km (62 miles) makes the C-Class the third plug-in hybrid from Mercedes to hit the triple-digit mark after the GLE crossover and S-Class sedan.

[...]

Mercedes expects that many more customers will opt for the new C-Class plug-in hybrid than the current plug-in due to the much longer range.

“We will see a much, much larger share of plug-in hybrids in the future due to the very competitive package,” Dirk Fetzer, head of product management for the C-Class, said during a briefing with journalists.

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One interesting thing that I’ll confess to not understanding completely: Auto News says that the 100 kilometer — or 62 mile — mark is important to achieve real gains thanks to how PHEVs are de facto used in Europe.

Environmental groups have been lobbying lawmakers to end what they claim is overly beneficial treatment of plug-in hybrids, because they produce anywhere from twice to three times their certified CO2 emissions.

This is because plug-in hybrids are popular with corporate customers, whose employees pay lower company car taxes, while management likes the generous subsidies and low certified CO2 emissions that look good on paper.

The incentives for users to regularly charge their vehicles, however, is often not sufficient because gasoline and diesel costs are typically paid by the company, while charging a plug-in hybrid’s battery at home is not.

As a result, a recent study conducted by the Fraunhofer ISI Institute said that plug-in hybrids must achieve a real range of about 100 km to ensure they are more frequently driven in electric mode.

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5th Gear: Aston Martin Says It’s Almost Doing Fine

Aston bet the farm on the DBX and it is ... sort of working out for them. That’s at least according to Aston Martin. You can read Aston’s 2020 full-year earnings press release here if you are into masochism. If not, Bloomberg has a summary:

Aston Martin will almost double production this year after working through inventory issues that have plagued the luxury automaker since its 2018 initial public offering.

The British company plans to make 6,000 vehicles this year, up from 3,394 in 2020, according to a statement on Thursday.

Aston Martin’s quarterly revenue and adjusted earnings beat estimates on strong demand for its DBX SUV.

The automaker is in the midst of a restructuring plan a year after it was bailed out by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll.

[...]

After not having turned a profit since it went public in 2018, Stroll has set targets for Aston Martin to earn 500 million pounds ($706 million) on 2 billion pounds of revenue by 2025.

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Reverse: Cassius Clay Beats Liston

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Here’s a story about Muhammad Ali’s Rolls-Royce.

Neutral: How Are You?

Only two days now until I hit the road for points east. My mom has been sending me various advisory notes about avoiding closed roads and keeping a good enough stash of food and water and making sure my oxen don’t die and something about fording rivers.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.

DISCUSSION

Johnnyma45
Johnnyma45

2nd Gear - I’m trying to think of another job where you can actively show distain for your actual responsibilities and still stay employed like you are. Maybe one of those shitty insult diners I’ve seen in Chicago and other cities where you’re paying to have shitty service. Why even post about Tesla stock status if you actively hate reporting on it and have nothing to add?