Herbert Diess will continue as Volkswagen CEO for now, Honda’s profit wasn’t great, Toyota has released 2022 Tundra pricing, and Uber. All that and more in The Morning Shift for November 5, 2021.
Volkswagen’s CEO Herbert Diess has, in recent days, been seen meeting with workers at the automaker who are peeved at him for apparently wanting job cuts to better compete with Tesla. Reuters reported Thursday that Diess confronted that issue head-on in the meeting:
Sources said the rift between workers and management has rekindled a long-standing conflict that has even led to a discussion about Diess’ future at a pivotal moment in the history of the world’s second-largest carmaker.
“I’m being frequently asked why I keep comparing us with Tesla. I know this is annoying to some,” Diess told workers.
“Even if I no longer talk about Elon Musk: he’ll still be there and revolutionises our industry and keeps getting more competitive quickly.”
“Only as a team can we make Volkswagen future-proof,” Diess told the meeting, also attended by works council boss Daniela Cavallo, Lower Saxony state premier Stephan Weil and Joerg Hofmann, the head of powerful trade union IG Metall.
Reuters also reported Thursday that Diess had ruffled enough feathers to possibly threaten his job.
Sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday a specially convened committee would discuss the future of Diess in an attempt to solve the dispute.
Works council boss Cavallo criticised Diess for his communication style in recent weeks, which she said fuelled concerns the transformation he was proposing will result in tens of thousands of job cuts.
“We’re tired of hearing time and again that the works council is apparently only concerned with preserving the status quo,” she said, adding workers and labour representatives were all backing the needed overhaul.
This is the context, then, for today’s news, which is that the Porsche and Piëch families, who exercise huge influence over Volkswagen by virtue of controlling its largest shareholder, have given Diess a vote of confidence. This is the kind of thing that is said just before the fall.
“The families continue to back Mr. Diess. There has been no change in their position,” the spokesperson said.
I don’t know that Diess is wrong, exactly, to imitate Tesla, though as a business strategy for the world’s second-largest automaker, there is absolutely nothing inspiring about it, and it wouldn’t be unjust for Diess to get canned because of lack of originality alone.
Volkswagen isn’t even all that committed to its Tesla imitation, at least in the U.S., giving us mediocre new ICE cars like the Taos, when they should be ditching all of that and going full EV here, because it’s not like Volkswagen makes money in the U.S. anyway. Volkswagen, you continue to confound me.
Honda said Friday its quarterly profits were down 30 percent compared to last year, because of a predictable reason. From Automotive News:
In announcing financial results on Friday, Honda also cut its sales and profit outlook for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, citing the worse than expected microchip hit.
In the July-September quarter, the Japanese carmaker’s operating profit sank to 198.9 billion yen ($1.78 billion), from 282.9 billion yen ($2.53 billion) the previous year.
Parent company operating profit margin dropped to 5.8 percent, but it languished at only 2.1 percent for the core automotive business.
Honda said net income fell 31 percent to 166.6 billion yen ($1.49 billion) in the fiscal second quarter ended Sept. 30. Revenue slipped 6.8 percent to 3.40 trillion yen ($30.45 billion), as worldwide deliveries dropped 27 percent to 917,000 vehicles, from 1.25 million a year earlier.
Executive Vice President Seiji Kuraishi said Honda expects the global microchip crisis to begin easing early next year, but not in time for the company to recover fully by the end of the current fiscal year on March 31, 2022. “The impact was greater than previous forecast,” he said.
Toyota and Tesla sure seem like the only ones that have gotten through the chip shortage largely unscathed.
Toyota Motor North America has released suggested pricing for its redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup, with the base model price rising by just under $2,000 over the outgoing version, while the price of the top 1794 Edition trim will jump $7,875 over the 2021 model.
There are 28 configurations of the Tundra for 2022, not including the TRD Pro trim, which has yet to be released. Suggested pricing for the rear-wheel-drive base SR trim with a double cab and 6.5-foot bed starts at $37,645, while the top-end 1794 Edition 4x4 CrewMax with 6.5-foot bed will start at $62,715. Both prices include shipping.
The 2021 Tundra SR trim level starts at $35,720, while the 2021 Tundra 1794 Edition is $54,840, both including delivery.
There are EPA-estimated fuel mileages, too:
Toyota also said EPA estimates for the Tundra’s new twin-turbo V-6 powertrain will start at 18 mpg city/23 highway/20 combined in rear-wheel-drive vehicles, while 4x4 Tundra fuel economy will start at 17 city/23 highway/19 combined. Toyota said fuel economy figures for the hybrid versions of the Tundra — the i-Force Max — have yet to be released.
We can conclude that the third-generation 2022 Tundra is a truck, then, expensive and gas-guzzling. Congrats, Toyota.
Reuters says that it is the “first profitable quarter on an adjusted basis since it launched more than a decade ago.” The problem is that on a net basis, Uber still very much isn’t profitable, and, at this rate, probably never will be given that it cut bait on its autonomous project last year.
Company executives allayed investor concerns about a shortage of drivers, telling analysts that spending on incentives to entice drivers back on the road after the pandemic was largely behind the company.
But a massive drop in the value of its stake in Chinese ridehailing company Didi (DIDI.N) drove a $2.4 billion net loss in the third quarter, and Wall Street viewed Uber’s fourth-quarter forecast as disappointing. Shares bounced in after-hours trade and were up about 1% as Uber briefed Wall Street in a call.
The California-based company reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a measure that excludes one-time costs such as stock-based compensation, of $8 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30. That compared to a loss on the same basis of $625 million a year ago.
Uber forecast an adjusted profit of $25 million to $75 million for the last quarter of 2021. Analysts on average expected $114 million, according to Refinitiv data.
Uber would be a joke of a company if not for all the suffering drivers working for it.
This will be for 11 weeks starting in December, to get the plant ready to build a new model, according to the Detroit Free Press. I was excited about this news until I learned that the model in question is the ... GMC Acadia. It’s not even a new generation or anything; Acadia production is merely moving from Tennessee since GM plans to build EVs in Tennessee instead.
In a memo obtained by the Detroit Free Press, the automaker notified employees of Lansing Delta Township Assembly on Thursday that the plant would take an 11-week shutdown throughout the year, starting Dec. 27.
“LDT will be going through facility and equipment modifications next year to accommodate future product,” the memo read. “There is a total of 11 down weeks planned for the 2022 calendar year.”
GM currently makes the Acadia at its Spring Hill Assembly plant in Tennessee.
A GM spokesman declined to comment on the planned downtime.
Last year, GM said it was investing $2 billion in six U.S. assembly plants and will be converting its Spring Hill plant to build electric vehicles. Starting next year, Spring Hill will assemble the Cadillac Lyriq all-electric SUV.
GM said Acadia production will move to Lansing Delta Township Assembly where it will invest $100 million to retool to build the car.
I’m sure plenty of people have good reasons to buy a GMC Acadia. Well, they think they do.
That the French driver drove 23-and-a-half hours of 1950's 24 Hours of Le Mans seems likely true if possibly apocryphal. He drove most of it that year, in any case. Here’s a small blog about him:
My building says that they have to shut off the gas for several weeks to do something with the pipes to comply with a New York City law that seems intended to avoid a gas explosion, like what happened in the East Village in 2015. They should probably ban gas stoves and make everyone go induction instead.