UAW executives sentenced after betraying the workers they’re meant to protect, Trump’s EPA isn’t willing to compromise on emissions, Maserati isn’t making money anytime soon, and so much more for The Morning Shift of Tuesday, August 6, 2019.
1st Gear: Fiat Chrysler Allegedly Paid For Friends In The UAW
Former United Auto Workers Vice President Norwood Jewell has been sentenced to federal prison for accepting bribes from Fiat Chrysler, in a years-long case that has involved seven other prison sentences, the Detroit News Reports.
The funds from FCA were reportedly used to pay for union leaderships’ travel, meals and entertainment. Here’s more from the Detroit News:
Federal prosecutors signaled Monday they continue to investigate other top officials within the United Auto Workers for corruption as former union vice president Norwood Jewell was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for accepting bribes.
Jewell received illegal gifts and benefits from Fiat Chrysler executives that included a $2,182 shotgun, $8,927 for a three-bedroom villa with a private pool and hot tub in Palm Springs, California, a $25,065 “decadent” party with strolling models lighting labor leaders’ cigars and wine bottles featuring Jewell’s name on the label.
Jewell was sentenced as Fiat Chrysler executives negotiate a settlement that would resolve a federal criminal investigation into whether executives conspired to pay bribes and break labor laws during a years-long conspiracy with the UAW.
The negotiations are focused on Fiat Chrysler submitting to government oversight for up to five years, paying less than $50 million in penalties and agreeing to make broad institutional changes to emerge from the bribery scandal.
We all pity Fiat Chrysler sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept every shotgun they try to give you. It will be interesting to see just how big this scandal grows. I bet they tried to give out a lot of shotguns.
2nd Gear: The EPA Never Wanted To Compromise Over Emissions
The battle between California and Trump’s EPA over new emissions regulations continues, with a new revelation that the federal government already rejected a new compromise deal agreed upon between four major automakers and the California Air Resources Board months before it was even announced.
Here’s more from Automotive News:
CARB spokesman Stanley Young confirmed on Friday that the state had offered the plan to the EPA last November. The previously unreported detail sheds new light on the months-long battle between between Washington and Sacramento over the mileage rules that automakers urged President Donald Trump to re-evaluate during his first weeks in office.
“Looking back, it seems that they were never interested in negotiations or discussions,” Young said. He added that the four automakers’ support of California’s compromise “highlights the fact that our proposal is both feasible and realistic.”
In a Bloomberg TV interview in early February, the EPA’s Wheeler said the state’s proposal suggested “just taking the Obama numbers and stretching that an additional year. And that doesn’t really get to the lives saved or the reducing the price of the automobiles to where we would like it to be.”
The White House abandoned discussions with California officials a few weeks later, saying, “Despite the administration’s best efforts to reach a common-sense solution, it is time to acknowledge that CARB has failed to put forward a productive alternative” after the federal proposal was released.
The nature of the compromise takes the new compliance rules required by 2025 under the Obama administration’s proposal, and stretches it another year to 2026. But the Trump administration wants to drastically scale back those new regulations, and may attempt to legally challenge California’s ability to make its own rules, which 12 other states current comply with.
For automakers, it would be ideal to have a single nationwide set of regulations to comply with to avoid conflict and confusion, and with California’s proposal being so much stricter than the Trump EPA’s, automakers would likely have to comply with the state regardless. How silly all of this is.
3rd Gear: I Know Where FCA Should Have Spent Some Money
Jumping back to Fiat Chrysler for a moment, the parent company of Maserati has been seemingly neglecting its luxurious Italian brand for sometime, with a slate of aging sedans and coupes and only a single moderately successful crossover thrown into the mix in recent years.
Now the company is looking to turn Maserati around and start making a profit again (a good idea to consider, for the people that own Maserati), which it claims won’t happen for awhile longer, Automotive News reports:
Losses have deepened for troubled Maserati, which will not return to profitability before 2020 after its next product offensive starts, executives at parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said. The luxury car brand plans to debut 10 new or revised models between 2020 and 2023.
Maserati posted a 119 million euro ($132 million) loss as it cut production to reduce dealer stocks by 3,000 vehicles and wrote down residual values in the U.S. Those two actions weighed heavily on Maserati during the quarter.
We can look forward to an updated Ghibli, Quattroporte, and Levante next year, with a new SUV, new sports car, and new Granturismo planned for 2021, and then an all new Quattroporte and Levante in 2023.
Let’s hope they’re angling more for cheap Ferraris and not expensive Chryslers.
4th Gear: EVs Need So Much Metal
Our imminent future of endless electric vehicles is approaching fast, and it’s forcing mining companies to try to figure out which metals used in EV batteries will be the best to throw their weight behind, Bloomberg reports:
BHP has revived a declining nickel unit in Western Australia to target the sector, while Rio Tinto Group is accelerating work to enter the lithium market. Glencore is focusing on cobalt and copper and Anglo American Plcis examining prospects for platinum and palladium to be deployed in future battery technologies.
“We did a review of all the battery input materials — nickel, cobalt, lithium,” said Eduard Haegel, asset president at the BHP’s Nickel West unit. “We think that in the medium-to-longer term there will be a margin that will be sticky for nickel — we think it’s an attractive commodity.”
The shifting market is going to require a lot of metal. So much metal:
Deployment of more than 140 million electric vehicles by 2030 will require 3 million tons more copper a year, 1.3 million tons of nickel and about 263,000 tons of cobalt, according to Glencore Plc’s forecasts. By 2040, almost 60% of new vehicle sales and about a third of cars on the road will be electric, BloombergNEF said in a May report.
Word is lithium is plentiful, nickel will have huge, steady demand, and cobalt is risky, so keep that in mind as you rush out to your backyard with hopes of striking a major mining contract.
5th Gear: A Used EV Is A Good EV
Electric vehicles have been steadily growing in new car sales, but are now bleeding into the bigger market of used car sales, Wired reports:
But new data shows that EVs are starting to catch on in an often overlooked part of the industry. Used-car shopping site Shift says that in the first half of this year, electrics tripled their share of sales compared with the same period of 2018, to 4 percent. Add in hybrids and the number gets more impressive. “Twenty percent of what we sell is hybrid or electric,” says Shift co-CEO Toby Russell.
Russell notes that Shift’s online sales model tends to attract a younger, coastal clientele, so those figures may not match the national mix. But they should encourage those eager to see the US move toward a cleaner way of getting around town, because the pre-owned space is where cars really move off the lot.
In 2018, Americans bought 17.3 million new cars and 40.2 million used ones. A significant increase in used EV sales indicates not just that more people want to go electric, but that, nearly a decade after the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt first went on sale, battery-powered rides have been around long enough, and become popular enough, to become affordable and widely available to secondhand drivers.
Even as electric vehicle batteries lose some of the range they were advertised with as brand new, for most peoples’ daily commutes around town, even a car capable of 100 miles on a charge would be more than suitable. And for a low enough price, reduced fuel costs, and in most cases a compact size that doesn’t take up too much room as a second car, a used electric vehicle makes a lot of sense for puttering around town.
Reverse: The U.S. Drops A Nuclear Bomb On Hiroshima
Neutral: Have You Bought A Used EV? Was It Worth It?
I’m genuinely curious how many people reading Jalopnik have an EV in the garage, as I feel like we’re the sort of people who would be willing to pick up a used Leaf for when we don’t feel like showing up to our office job in an STI that lost its bumper over the weekend.
Have you bought one? Was battery degradation a concern? Would you buy one if you haven’t considered it before?