A former auto workers’ union leader in Canada is under investigation, Bentley says it’ll have five new EVs by 2030, and Tesla. All that and more in The Morning Shift for the Ides of March.
Inflation is the word these days, with seemingly everything a little more expensive, including, of course, gas. Add Tesla to that list.
The cheapest Model 3 in the U.S. is now $46,990, according to Tesla’s website. The company raised prices 3 percent to 5 percent in both the U.S. and China, Dan Levy, a Credit Suisse analyst, said in a note to clients.
Musk tweeted earlier this week that both Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. were seeing “significant” inflation in raw materials and logistics. The electric car and rocket-making companies aren’t alone. The S&P GSCI Index — a commodity market benchmark — surged 20 percent in the first five days of the month, the biggest weekly gain going back to 1970.
This is Tesla’s second round of price increases in the last week. The company raised the price of certain versions of the Model 3 and Y on March 9 in the U.S., followed by an increase for China-built vehicles in that market on March 10.
Tesla has been playing games with the prices on its cars for years, and no one seems to care, or at least it has not seemed to hurt demand all that much, because Tesla buyers just want a Tesla. I mean, Tesla buyers also don’t get the federal EV tax credit anymore, and that didn’t seem to faze them either.
There is an argument that Tesla should actually increase their prices much more, if only to test the limits of that demand, and since it doesn’t seem serious about doing a $25,000 Tesla, I say why not.
Greg Kelly used to be a director at Nissan, before he was swept up in the ouster of former CEO Carlos Ghosn, and charged with various crimes in Japan. Kelly made it back to the U.S., finally, on Monday, where Automotive News says that he also cried.
Kelly said coming home after his three-year legal odyssey in Japan was “like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz,” as he choked up with emotion during a livestreamed press conference from Nashville. “There’s no place like home,” said Kelly, flanked by [Senator William Hagerty] and his wife Dee.
After a 17-month trial before the Tokyo District Court, Kelly was found guilty March 3 of aiding Ghosn, the former Chairman of Nissan and Renault, during just one of eight years under scrutiny by prosecutors. Kelly was cleared of any wrongdoing in the other seven years.
A three-judge panel gave Kelly a six-month suspended sentence.
Under the terms of Kelly’s suspended sentence, the Tennessee lawyer and former human resources executive was allowed to return to the U.S.
Kelly’s defense team has filed an appeal against the guilty verdict, insisting on full vindication for their client. Meanwhile, Tokyo prosecutors are weighing their own appeal.
The appeals process is expected to last another year.
It’s still not clear what happened at Nissan, with people like Kelly and Ghosn saying it was all some kind of conspiracy, and with Japanese prosecutors saying otherwise. I’m still waiting on Ghosn’s call, after one of his associates offered an interview with him months ago. I’m sure that will clear everything up.
Jerry Dias led Unifor for over eight years before it was announced earlier this year that he was going on medical leave. Those eight eventful years included a strike. They also included, possibly, something untoward, as the Detroit Free Press reports that Dias is now under investigation for an alleged constitutional breach. Details of what that may be weren’t released.
In a statement released Monday, Unifor, the union that represents 315,000 workers in Canada including those at the Detroit Three carmakers, said that on Jan. 26, National Secretary-Treasurer Lana Payne received a written complaint that Dias had engaged in the alleged breach, though Unifor is not releasing specifics on the complaint.
“Following review of the complaint, Payne promptly initiated an independent external investigation,” Unifor spokeswoman Kathleen O’Keefe wrote in the statement. “On Jan. 29, Dias was notified of the investigation, which is ongoing.”
O’Keefe said to ensure the integrity of the investigation and to maintain confidentiality in accordance with Unifor’s constitution, the union will not share specifics of the complaint at this time, but the union’s National Executive Board will meet next Monday to discuss the matter.
“The union will have no further public comment prior to receipt of the investigative report, expected in the near future,” O’Keefe’s statement read. “Every Unifor member is held to the same standard and afforded the same rights under our constitution.”
Being president of a union seems like flying too close to the sun. Well, maybe it’s just auto workers’ unions. Plenty of people are union presidents and we never hear a single word about them.
Bentley posted big profits on Tuesday, and perhaps as a result, is very bullish about its EV plans going forward, according to Reuters:
Luxury carmaker Bentley unveiled plans on Tuesday to build a new electric model annually for five years from 2025 after its annual profit skyrocketed, as the British firm builds on parent Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) push to broaden electric offerings.
Crewe, England-based Bentley posted a profit of 389 million euros ($427.1 million) for 2021, compared with a profit of 20 million euros in the previous year, after deliveries jumped 31% to 14,659 cars on strong demand for new hybrid models.
“Increasing demand for our hybridised models, supported by (3 billion euros) of sustainable investment in our Crewe factory, will ensure we remain the benchmark manufacturer in sustainable luxury mobility,” said Jan-Henrik Lafrentz, member of the board for Finance and IT at Bentley.
Bentley’s own press release on the matter does not include any more details about the new electric models, except to say that Bentley is very pleased with how Bentley is doing.
People who say that the news cycle these days is nonstop and Crazier Than Ever are really just people who were never quite paying attention to begin with, as one could easily find something to be outraged about even in the dullest of times, like the year 1999. That said, if you have “VW CEO gets asked about a potential invasion of Taiwan by China” on your bingo card for 2022, congrats.
Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) is shifting production to China and the United states as a result of the war in Ukraine and will prioritise China this year, its Chief Executive Herbert Diess said in a press call on Tuesday.
“We will shift more into China because of the situation in Europe,” Diess said. When asked about how the carmaker would respond in the event that China attacked Taiwan, he said that he did not believe the country would take such a step.
“China has a high interest to keep borders open,” Diess said. “We think it is an asset for us to be strong in China... China is a stronghold for us.”
Just a normal line of questioning.
This is in Colorado, of course, on Interstate 70. It’s good driving if you ever make it out there.
I’m going to Italy next week and have made a concerted effort to try and understand all of the rules about covid both getting there and coming back, and it is, of course, almost hopelessly complicated. I suppose I’ll go to the airport with a negative test and my passport and vax card and hope for the best. Just give me a chip and a chair, etc.