Jaguar Land Rover had a pretty good plan: if it was making money off of its SUVs and crossovers, and it needed to lower its emissions, it could just sell a bunch of electric SUVs and crossovers. Problems crop up, though, if nobody buys them. All that and more in The Morning Shift for October 27, 2021.
1st Gear: I Guess I’m Just Very Curious About The I-Pace
I should say that the more I read about Jaguar’s stuttering EV plans, the more curious I am about driving one. I mean, an I-Pace can’t be bad, can it? It’s a luxurious all-electric big hatchback thing, with interesting styling and plenty of range. For whatever reason, it hasn’t really been enough for JLR, as the Financial Times reports:
UK carmaker Jaguar Land Rover has joined a scheme with electric rival Tesla to help it meet European emission rules and avoid fines.
Under the arrangement, JLR and Japan’s Honda are paying to pool emissions from their vehicles with Tesla’s battery cars, helping them lower their average figures, official documents show.
Under EU rules, carmakers selling in the region have to stay below average CO2 emissions limits or face fines. Rival groups are allowed to pool their emissions to help companies struggling to comply.
JLR’s decision to pool emissions with Tesla is an admission it will not be within the EU limits this year. It missed its CO2 targets last year and paid a £35m fine.
This year, it has been hampered by poor sales of its electric Jaguar I-Pace, as well as a significant hit to production from the global chip crisis.
It’s funny that JLR is announcing this at the same time that it’s trotting out a new gas-sucking Range Rover. An EV RR is coming, but it’s not here yet.
It’s also worth noting that Jaguar was meant to have an all-electric XJ out by now but went back to the drawing board right before production.
The I-Pace was one of the first big, glitzy mainstream competitors to Tesla. That Jaguar is now buying credits from its rival, well, I wouldn’t say it’s a failure but it is definitely not a good look.
2nd Gear: The Bolt Is Coming Back, Baby
The cobwebs are getting dusted off at the Bolt assembly line, as Reuters reports:
General Motors Co said on Tuesday it will resume limited production for two weeks at its Orion Assembly plant in Michigan, which has been shuttered since August and builds the electric vehicle Chevrolet Bolt.
The largest U.S. automaker in August widened its recall of the Bolt to more than 140,000 vehicles to replace battery modules and to address fire risks. The plant that assembles the Bolt was idled through the end of October.
The Bolt could very well end up the most tragic car of recent years, a disappointing design people didn’t really want in the first place turning out to be dangerously defective. It’s like a bowl of Starbucks oatmeal that ends up giving you food poisoning.
3rd Gear: Oh Yeah, And GM Profits Are Down By Over Half In North America
Things are actually worse if you look at it from a global perspective, as Automotive News explains:
General Motors on Wednesday said its net income fell 40 percent in the third quarter to $2.4 billion and North American profits plunged by more than half as the microchip shortage severely disrupted production.
But the automaker said it now expects its full-year adjusted earnings to come in at “the high end of our guidance,” CEO Mary Barra said in a letter to shareholders.
Revenue dropped 25 percent year-over-year to $26.8 billion, and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes fell 45 percent to $2.9 billion. For the first nine months of 2021, GM’s adjusted EBIT totaled $11.5 billion, which already is at the low end of its previous full-year projection of $11.5 billion to $13.5 billion.
The rough part of this is that the figures were “partially offset by strong pricing on full-size pickups and SUVs and an agreement by supplier LG Electronics to cover most of the anticipated $2 billion in costs related to the recall of the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV,” as Reuters adds.
The less-rough part is that I’m sure the chip shortage will eventually fade and GM will be back to its old self.
4th Gear: It’s A Good Time To Run A Bunch New And Used Car Dealerships
Penske is raking it in y’all, as Automotive News reports:
Penske Automotive Group Inc.’s third-quarter net income soared to a record for any quarter on higher used-vehicle revenues and stronger new-vehicle margins, even as its new-vehicle sales dropped by 16 percent as inventory tightened.
CEO Roger Penske in a statement Wednesday credited the performance to strength in all areas of the company’s business. Pretax earnings from Penske’s retail commercial trucks division more than doubled, and its ownership stake in Penske Transportation Solutions generated 83 percent higher income.
It is Roger Penske’s duty to roll all of this money into running Porsches at Le Mans.
5th Gear: Making Shipping Clean Would Be Really Expensive (But It’s Not Just Expensive)
I scoff at all of these “oh noooooo saving the planet is going to cost soooooooo much money” moans you get from heavily polluting industries, as if not spending trillions today won’t cost gagillions tomorrow. Still, this is an interesting read from the Wall Street Journal, explaining that as shipping companies are starting to order cleaner vessels, we don’t even have enough clean fuel for them:
Clarkson Research Services Ltd., a shipping-services provider, has estimated that it might cost the shipping industry $3 trillion to switch to new modes of power. Ships collectively contribute about 2.5% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the International Maritime Organization, an amount that is comparable to the emissions of some of the largest European Union countries.
A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world’s biggest boxship operator, recently ordered eight methanol-powered ships—slated for delivery in 2024—that can also run on traditional bunker oil. Morten Bo Christiansen, head of decarbonization at Denmark-based Maersk, said the ships’ annual methanol needs are about 10 times greater than the volumes currently available in the market. “It’s a huge challenge to get ample fueling supply,” he said.
The whole thing makes for a good read, and makes me more and more convinced that we’ll never be able to make our current global economy operate with the same level of speed and waste, clean energy or nah.
Reverse: Well This Is A Normal Thing To Say
“I was very sorry [the workers at the Ford plant] lost their jobs,” he said, but “since I was gonna get the keys, I was glad for that.”
Neutral: The Cursed Bike Blotter Continues
With my big Cimarron project something close to complete, I am now fiddling around with other bad ideas. My drop bar touring bike looks good with flat bars! This Shimano derailleur works fine, but I could replace it with a Campagnolo one with a derailleur hanger extender! Oh shit, I have to get these roller cam brakes working on my old Fuji!