Good morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: Tesla Shareholder Meeting Today
Tesla hasn’t enjoyed any sort of calm for the better part of a year, and now its shareholders are getting together for an annual meeting to weigh in on a few things. Namely, how the production of the Model 3 sedan is going, according to Bloomberg:
The annual meeting usually functions as a chance for some of Musk’s most adoring devotees to bounce ideas off the chief executive officer and pick his brain. But before a Q&A, the electric-car maker will have to deal with orders of business relating to corporate governance. An activist group has mounted a campaign against several members of the board, while an individual retail investor is pushing for someone other than Musk to be chairman.
Model 3 production hasn’t gone smoothly, and some activist investors are raising hell about Musk’s multiple hats as a flamethrower salesman and newfound media mogul.
If you have a slow day, things get underway at 5:30 p.m. ET, and you can watch the festivities here.
2nd Gear: Oops
With all the hemming and hawing about President Donald Trump’s effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, one might assume there’d be some urgency to the process. Trump, depending on the day, suggests he’ll just scrap the whole deal and start from scratch.
But, alas, Trump’s negotiators and their counterparts in Canada and Mexico have moved slow enough to the point that, according to a high-ranking U.S. senators, completing a deal in 2018 is basically impossible.
The U.S. Congress probably won’t have time to approve a new North American Free Trade Agreement this year, as Cabinet members from the three trading partners continue to negotiate changes to the pact, according to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn.
Asked if the deadline for congressional approval of a new deal had run out, Cornyn said, “yeah, I think so.”
“It looks like they are kicking it over to 2019,” he told reporters in Washington on Monday. “I wish it had been handled earlier.”
Ah, but midterms are coming up. So politicians can still use NAFTA as a punching bag for another go around. Woo.
3rd Gear: Daimler Says Its EV Efforts Are Just Fine, Thanks
Everyone’s got some sort of electric vehicle plan in the works, but a new report in Germany suggests Daimler’s dropping the ball in some fashion.
As Reuters summed it up, the German publication Handelsblatt said Daimler’s facing delays because of battery shortages and “other technical problems.”
Not true, Daimler says.
Here’s more from Reuters:
The German business daily said that Daimler’s new “EQC” electric midsize sport-utility vehicle will not hit dealerships until June 2019, several months after originally planned.
But a spokesman at Daimler’s Stuttgart headquarters said it has not yet specified a launch date for the EQC model.
Handelsblatt also reported that a battery-powered version of Mercedes’ redesigned S-Class flagship saloon will not be available until 2021, a year after the combustion engine model is due to come to market, citing unnamed Daimler sources.
The Daimler spokesman told Reuters that development of a plug-in hybrid version of the new S-Class was going to plan.
The spokesperson went on to swear there’s no delays. We’ll have to wait and see.
4th Gear: But German Workers Aren’t Stoked On EVs
The electric vehicle revolution could bring about a wave of greener cars, but that’s going to come at a cost to German auto workers, according to research from the country’s main auto union.
Here’s more from Bloomberg:
German automotive workers face the threat of massive dislocation over the next 12 years as the industry lurches through a transition to battery-powered cars, putting at risk thousands of jobs at manufacturers from Volkswagen AG to Daimler AG to Robert Bosch GmbH.
Worst hit will be powertrains, according to research released Tuesday by the IG Metall union. Electrification will lessen the importance of combustion engines, an area where German carmakers have built a reputation over decades for quality and engineering prowess.
As many as 75,000 positions could be lost by 2030, the union said. If that pans out, it’ll obviously be a huge challenge. IG Metall Chairman Joerg Hoffman summed it up pointedly at a press briefing, Bloomberg says: “Politicians and companies must now develop strategies to shape this transformation.”
5th Gear: Mark Reuss Is Really, Really Sorry, Y’all
General Motors offered up a platter of excuses to explain why its exec, Mark Reuss, wrecked the pace car at the Grand Prix in Detroit over the weekend. In a statement, he made it seem like he robbed a bank or something:
“Today I let down my friends, my family, Indycar, our city and my company. Sorry does not describe it. I want to thank our engineers for providing me the safety I know is the best in the world.”
Mark! You’ll be OK! We’ve been there. This is a statement you put out when you get caught embezzling, not when you have a bad day in a fast car on a tough track. Don’t beat yourself up too badly!
Anyway, The Detroit Free Press drummed up a piece on what likely happened, if you’re into that sort of thing:
The odds are Reuss hit a mid-curve bump at just the wrong angle, launching the ‘Vette hard into the wall.
I mean, that’s a much better excuse than the goddamn weather.
Reverse: Solidarity Forever
Neutral: NAFTA Is ...
What? Not going to change? Scrapped? I know it’s a major trade pact, but goddamn I feel like we’ve been talking about this forever.