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UAW Lowers Pay Demands Ahead Of Strike Deadline

Also, Toyota says it will keep passenger cars for years to come, and Tesla's price cuts seem to be driving U.S. EV market share.

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United Auto Workers members and others gather for a rally after marching in the Detroit Labor Day Parade on September 4, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo: Bill Pugliano (Getty Images)

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, September 12, 2023, and this is The Morning Shift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.

1st Gear: UAW’s New Wage Proposal

There are just a few days left for the United Auto Workers union and the Detroit Three to make a deal before the former goes on strike, and now it seems the UAW is reducing its pay demands. It is reportedly now proposing pay raises over the next for years in the mid-30 percent range.


The union has recently made counteroffers to all three automakers that include the new wage target. Previously, it was demanding raises over 40 percent. From Automotive News:

Exact details of the proposal were not immediately available, and the situation remains fluid as all three companies pass counterproposals back and forth. One person familiar with the offers said the UAW’s new request was as low as 36 percent.

The union’s original demand, announced Aug. 1, called for a 20 percent raise upon ratification followed by four 5 percent raises each of the four years of the contract. With compounding, that would amount to a 46 percent increase by 2027.

The updated range is notable in that it marks a willingness by the union to compromise on one of its top demands after holding firm for more than a month. UAW President Shawn Fain told reporters at Detroit’s Labor Day parade Sept. 4 that there had been “no change” to what it was seeking.


The UAW’s contract with the three automakers is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. Fain has reportedly said the union will strike if there isn’t a new deal by that time.

Ford Motor Co. has increased some elements of its initial offer, moving to a 16 percent wage gain from 15 percent. It’s also reduced the amount of time new hires would take to receive top wages to five years from six.

General Motors made a counteroffer to the union over the weekend, and Stellantis had said it planned to present a counteroffer Monday morning.


Stellantis’s first offer, made public on Friday, included a 14.5 percent wage gain, which Fain blasted as “deeply inadequate” on a Facebook livestream.

It’s coming down to the wire, folks.

2nd Gear: Toyota’s Passenger Cars Will Stick Around

Toyota has reportedly told dealers it’s still going to be investing in passenger cars. It’s a move that isn’t really being done by much of the rest of the industry.


“We’re still investing in passenger cars. We just launched the [redesigned] Prius and Prius Prime; we launched the Crown, which is a great kind of in-between car and an SUV, though it’s technically a car, and we’re going to continue to invest in cars going forward,” David Christ, head of the Toyota division at Toyota North America, told dealers at their annual meeting in Las Vegas. From Automotive News:

That includes a re-engineered Camry sedan due out in the first half of 2024, and a re-engineered Corolla sedan due out in 2025, as detailed in Automotive News’ Future Product Pipeline. The redesigned 2024 Toyota Tacoma will reach dealer lots in force in early 2024, as will the revived 2024 Toyota Land Cruiser.

Toyota’s commitment to being one of the last full-line brands in the U.S. — with multiple car nameplates, unibody crossovers, and body-on-frame SUVs and pickups — can mean added carrying costs for dealers who must stock a wide array of vehicles, especially as inventories grow. Christ said that as production constraints ease, Toyota is committed to keeping dealer inventory levels manageable, while still offering customers choice on dealership lots.


Christ said inventory rising from historic lows means incentives will return.

Christ told dealers that customers have “responded enthusiastically” to the addition of the Grand Highlander. According to the outlet, the larger, three-row crossover outsold the traditional Highlander 8,663 to 6,917 last month.


But anyway, it looks like, for Toyota at least, regular cars are going to be sticking around for a while.

3rd Gear: A Rising Tesla Lifts All EVs

The U.S. market share of electric vehicles reportedly rose 7.2 percent from January to July, with Tesla leading demand as the EV price war escalated throughout the year.


New U.S. EV registrations reportedly rose to 655,986 during the first seven months of the year. That’s good for a 67 percent rise over just the last year when the electric vehicle market share was just 4.9 percent. All in all, new light-vehicle registrations during the period were about 9.1 million units. From Automotive News:

Tesla had 390,377 registrations from January to July — a 50 percent increase compared with the year-earlier period for a 59.5 percent share of the EV market, the data showed.

In July alone, Tesla had 60,769 new registrations compared with all other EV makers combined with 48,566, Experian said.

Still, Tesla’s EV rivals such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Rivian made significant share gains from last year, the data showed. Ford, Hyundai and Kia saw new registrations rise, but their market share slipped amid the increasing competition.

Because segment leader Tesla doesn’t break out its global sales by region or country, the new-vehicle registration data serves as a reliable proxy. Some EV makers don’t separate all their electric models from combustion counterparts or report monthly sales. July registration data is the most recent available.

J.D. Power, which estimated EV share at 8.5 percent of the light-vehicle market in July, credited Tesla with driving EV adoption. Tesla’s price cuts have significantly improved affordability compared with combustion vehicles this year, said J.D. Power, which rates electric vehicles on a 100-point scale compared with gasoline vehicles.


After Tesla, the top five EV sellers were Chevy (39,647 new registrations, 6 percent of the EV market share), Ford (33,955; 5.2 percent), Hyundai (28,198; 4.3 percent) and BMW (23,116; 3.5 percent).

4th Gear: Tesla, Suppliers Investing $15 Billion In Mexico Factory

A state governor in Mexico has reportedly said that Tesla and its suppliers would be investing $15 billion over the next couple of years in a factory that’s still under construction. That number may sound wildly high because it is. It’s reportedly triple what Mexican officials had previously announced.


Back in March of this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company would open a factory in northern Nuevo Leon state. It’s part of the EV maker’s push to expand its global footprint. From Reuters:

At the time, Musk did not detail Tesla’s investment, but Mexican officials said the factory would involve a $5 billion investment.

Speaking at an event, Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel Garcia said the facility will now involve thrice that amount.

Neither Tesla’s press office nor Nuevo Leon officials responded after hours to a request for comment on the governor’s comments.


“Just Tesla and its suppliers will generate an investment of $15 billion in two years,” Governor Garcia reportedly said. He then apparently added that this “enormous amount” will require Nuevo Leon to spend more on highways and other public works.

Prior to Tesla’s announcement earlier this year, major global automakers BMW, General Motors and Ford had all announced plans to begin or step up electric vehicle production in Mexico’s massive automaking sector as the industry transitions away from cars powered by fossil fuels.


Reuters says that sources have previously told the outlet that Tesla planned to begin production in Mexico in 2025. However, the company hasn’t announced a start date for construction of the factory or when the assembly line will be up and running.

Reverse: These Goddamn Bozos


Neutral: I Don’t Deserve This

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