1st Gear: Thanks But No Thanks
Once again, the ugly, weird and seemingly endless 2016 election wades into the world of cars. This time it’s thanks to the United Auto Workers union, whose president announced it will not endorse Donald Trump for president, effectively locking down support for current Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Not surprising when you consider this is a labor union we’re talking about. Also not surprising when you think of how Trump swore he’d make Ford quit making cars in Mexico, somehow, and other wild claims about manufacturing. Here’s Bloomberg on what UAW President Dennis Williams said:
While Trump’s criticism of automakers investing in Mexico resonates with autoworkers, his suggestion that companies shift manufacturing to lower-wage states undermines the union’s efforts to preserve compensation for members in states like Michigan and Ohio.
“He said he would close plants here and move jobs to lower-wage states,” Williams said. “How does that help the middle class?”
Williams also said he doesn’t blame Clinton for NAFTA, which her husband enacted. That’s on Bill apparently. A UAW endorsement could help Clinton in the Midwestern states where she struggled against rival Bernie Sanders.
At the same time Williams conceded that nearly 30 percent of his membership supports Trump, so we’ll see.
2nd Gear: The UAW Wants Tesla
And speaking of labor, from that same story we learn the union—which has been struggling for years now—has its eyes on Tesla Motors out in California too:
Separately, Williams said the UAW is interested in organizing workers at Tesla Motors Inc.’s electric-car assembly plant in Fremont, California. Williams said he met with Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk five years ago and and brought up the subject.
Williams, who declined to characterize Musk’s reply, said he didn’t try organize the company because it was a startup at the time.
“We have contacts at Tesla,” Williams said. “We are very interested in Tesla.”
Good luck going up against the tech industry, they love unions.
3rd Gear: Volkswagen Does ‘Mobility’
Mobility! What does it mean? It means whatever you want it to mean, most of the time, but the concept is largely centered around using a car without owning a car.
As it attempts to come back from the costly emissions scandal, Volkswagen says it’s getting in on that too, but won’t say how until mid-June, reports Reuters:
Europe’s biggest carmaker has been working on a new strategy for its core autos business that it hopes will boost its profitability once it emerges from an emissions test-rigging scandal which plunged the carmaker into a 4.1 billion euro operating loss for 2015.
“We want to lead Volkswagen out of the company’s most difficult situation ever and shape it into a mobility provider,” Mueller said in a speech given to the auto maker’s senior managers, the copy of the speech showed.
Presumably this means getting into ride-sharing and ride-hailing programs in cities like BMW, Ford, General Motors and more are doing.
4th Gear: Fiat To Germans: Go Fuck-a You-Self
More and more regulators in Europe seem to be getting wise to diesel emissions irregularities, even if it’s not on the egregious level that we saw with Volkswagen. The German Ministry of Transport was supposed to meet with Fiat about the issue, but the automaker... just didn’t show up, reports Reuters.
The company was expected to attend the meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue, but Fiat canceled the appointment by sending a lawyer’s letter, Dobrindt said in a statement.
“This uncooperative behavior of Fiat is completely incomprehensible,” the minister said, adding there were concrete allegations about irregular emissions of Fiat cars.
An investigating committee of the ministry has doubts on whether Fiat is meeting all requirements of type-approval legislation for its vehicles, he noted.
“It would be appropriate if Fiat would take a stand on this in front of the investigating committee,” Dobrindt said.
You can do that?
5th Gear: Maven Moves To Boston And D.C., Grows In Chicago
Speaking of ride-sharing, General Motors’ Maven service is set to grow even more soon, reports The Detroit Free Press:
General Motors is expanding its Maven car-sharing service to Boston and Washington, D.C., this summer, and is adding new options in Chicago, where it began service in March.
In Chicago, Maven has pricing starting at $8 an hour, including insurance and fuel. Registered customers use the Maven app to reserve one of 30 vehicles at more than 15 sites throughout the city.
When Maven City members reserve their choice of available Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick vehicles, they have the unique option of having the vehicle delivered to them. In addition to Maven City, Maven+ on-demand car sharing is available to residents of the Aqua luxury high-rise apartment building in the city’s Lakeshore East neighborhood.
Reverse: Pennsylvania Avenue
Neutral: Does The UAW’s Endorsement Still Matter?
They can maybe help get out the vote. What else?