Ford Motor Changes CEO from Jim Hackett to Jim Farley

Ken Zino of on All-Electric Mustang Mach-E - Debut November 2020

A Four-Door Electric Mustang, as ground breaking in its own way as the original pony car.

Ford Motor Company today announced that Jim Hackett, 65, CEO since 22 May 2017, plans to retire from the company. Jim Farley COO, 58, has been named the company’s new president and CEO and will join the board of directors, effective 1 October.

Under Hackett, Ford Motor has had a rough off-road ride during the move to smart vehicles that confused industrial companies confronted with a new world order consisting of Amazon, Apple, Tesla, Toyota and many others. Ford to this day continues to restructure operations and tweak the product lineup with mixed results. (Volkswagen Joins Ford by Investing in Argo AI, Carvana Launches First Vending Machine in California)

It has been an unsettling journey for shareholders, too, with Ford stock moving from ~$11 share to under $7 a share during the last three years.  Hackett is notable though for undertaking a monumental task – results still unknow of  – of creating a new Ford culture comfortable with external change while embracing internal reforms needed to respond to them. (Ford Motor Q2- Sales Drop -53%. Debt Grows $10B, Ford Motor Maxes Out Lines of Credit, Ford Posts Weak Q4 Earnings Losing $1.7 Billion, Weak Ford 2018 Financial Results Prove Need for Shakeup) Continue reading

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GM and EVgo to Add EV Fast Chargers Nationwide

Ken Zino of on GM-EVgo Fast Charging Expansion

Taxpayers are subsidizing EV charging.

General Motors and EVgo say they will triple the size of the nation’s largest public fast charging network by adding more than 2,700 new fast chargers over the next five years, a baby step in making electric vehicles more useful. (GM Shows New Batteries and a Flexible Global EV Platform, GMC Hummer EV – Its First All-Electric Truck, Lordstown and Lithium. A New GM Constellation is Rising)

The two companies say they will add fast charging stations to cities and suburbs, providing increased charging access to drivers who live in multi-unit homes, rent their homes and can’t install chargers, or might not have access to workplace charging. Continue reading

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GM Offers Three New 350 Service Engines

Ken Zino of on GM Small Block V8 Replacement EngineGeneral Motors dealers are selling three all-new 350 small-block engines. These new GM Original Equipment 5.7L, 350 cubic-inch V8 replacement engines are never re-manufactured.

“Building on the history and versatility of the original 350 first available in Chevrolet models such as the Camaro and Corvette, this engine continues to deliver,” said Andrew McKittrick, manager of GM’s propulsion portfolio. “Every GM Genuine Parts engine incorporates our very latest engineering technology and product enhancements to offer a reliable and dependable product for our customers.” Continue reading

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A New LEAF – Nissan Takes Electricity to Pay for Parking

Ken Zino of on the new Nissan Pavilion

“As the world shifts to electric mobility, EVs will be integrated into society in ways that go beyond transportation.” Click to Enlarge.

Electric vehicle drivers will be able to discharge power from their car’s battery pack to pay for parking while visiting the Nissan Pavilion exhibition space in Yokohama. The Nissan Pavilion opens to the public tomorrow. Nissan says the payment system is “just one of the many innovations customers can experience at the Pavilion, built to show how Nissan moves people to a better world.” (AutoInformed: Nissan Leaf Debuts in U.S. at $32,780, Milestones – Nissan Begins Assembly of 2013 Leaf EV in Tennessee, Nissan LEAF at 400,000 Sales as IMQ Crossover EV Due in 2022)

The 10,000-square-meter, zero-emission Pavilion has solar panels and is supplied with renewable hydroelectric power. Visitors can eat at the Chaya Cafe, operating on power supplied by LEAF EVs and solar energy. They can also enjoy virtual experiences that allow them to feel the thrill of Formula E electric street racing or go for a ride in new Nissan Ariya EV crossover. Continue reading

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Ford Motor Q2- Sales Drop -53%. Debt Grows $10B

Ken Zino of on Ford Motor Q2 2020 Loss Lowlights

Click to Enlarge.

Ford Motor Company posted Q2 results that saw sales drop to 645,000 or -53%  because of COVID-related lower industry volume and suspended production through May 17. Adjusted Earnings Before Interest and Taxes was down -$1.9B, because of lower volume, new-model material cost and warranty, offset partially by higher net pricing, and lower structural cost arising from suspended production, reduced marketing activity and other one-time cost actions.

Analysts, a mysterious species to AutoInformed, were surprised and delighted? AutoInformed noted an ongoing warranty cost disaster, which is a management failure not a Covid issue. It remains troubling as Ford is introducing increasingly complex but profitable SUV, EVs and Trucks. Continue reading

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Lordstown and Lithium. A New GM Constellation is Rising

Ken Zino of on Lordstown and Ultium batteries

The first steel goes up during construction at the new Ultium battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio. Ultium Cells, a General Motors joint venture with LG Chem, will mass-produce battery cells for electric vehicles. Click to Enlarge.

General Motors says that workers are now hanging steel at the all-new Ultium battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio. Ultium Cells is a joint venture with LG Chem that will mass-produce Ultium battery cells for electric vehicles and create more than 1,100 new jobs in Northeast Ohio. Since May 2020, ground has been broken and concrete footings have been poured at the facility. Steel construction at Ultium Cells will continue into fall 2020. (Don’t Hold Your Breathe Waiting for the New Hummer EV)

Back in March GM revealed a third-generation global EV platform powered by proprietary “Ultium” batteries. GM claimed it will allow the company to compete for almost every customer in the market today, whether they are looking for affordable transportation, a luxury experience, work trucks or a high-performance machine. A space that is largely occupied by Tesla, which caught all global automakers napping. Covid 19 has complicated launch plans across the industry and timing on such projects is unstable. Continue reading

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GM Loses $800 Million in Covid Q2. NA Sales Drop -62%

Ken Zino of AutoIn GM Q2 o

Click to Enlarge.

General Motors today reported a Q2 loss large enough – it rounds to One Billion Dollars –  to send it back toward bankruptcy if the Covid-19 plague continues unabated as it is predictably doing  under the current national mis-administration.

However, GM after its previous bankruptcy is in a stronger position  – financially, and with a wiser, faster acting management team – than it was when Wall Street speculation sent global markets plummeting in 2008-2009. The deep Great Recession that ensued was turned around by the Obama Administration, but the non-protected classes in lower income and racially harassed and immigrant populations never really recovered. Do we really want to watch that horror movie sequel? Continue reading

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Don’t Hold Your Breathe Waiting for the New Hummer EV

Ken Zino of on 2021 GMC Hummer EV.

Click to enlarge. More photos below.

GMC says that its all-electric truck debuts in fall, beginning production fall of 2021. So, HUMMER hype begins. The EV’s on- and off-road abilities will appear closer to debut – delayed by COVID. Engineering targets of 1000 hp and 11,500 lb. ft. torque mean a zero-to-60 mph acceleration time of ~3 seconds.

Meanwhile Jeep and Ford electrification appear to have a couple of laps up on Hummer, which is in the pits, err, GM prototyping. It all depends on how buyers choose – hybrids or pure EVs? Conservative buyers, aka truck buyers, have thus far shunned such powertrains. Pure EVs are expensive (the Cadillac ELR abject failure comes to mind) compared to hybrids and conventional vehicles. At least HUMMER EV wanna-bees have time to save the large amounts of currency that will be required for either a lease or purchase.  Continue reading

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Snapshot – The Trump Economic Depression

Ken Zino of on Unchecked Corona Virus Spread in US During July

Covid is now out of control again as Trump and Republicans push for more re-openings and therefore more Corona Virus cases. Chart by the New York Times from Johns Hopkins University Data 28 July 2020

Here are  the latest Census Bureau estimates on the economy. It’s based on responses collected July 9 through July 14, from the Household Pulse Survey estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems the Census Bureau does other things than voter suppression under the Current Trump pandemic:

  • 50.1% of American adults live in households which have experienced a loss in employment income
  • 35.1% of American adults expect to experience a loss in employment income

Continue reading

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COVID-19 Auto Related Closings, Openings, Closings

AutoInformed - Ken Zino of on NASCAR

Austin Dillon, driver of the #3  Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, celebrates his victory, Click to Enlarge.

Genesis Motor America will have two  product launches in 2020; its first-ever luxury flagship SUV: the 2021 Genesis GV80 and the all-new 2021 Genesis G80 mid-size luxury sedan. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 related delays we need to adjust timing for their arrival in the US Market to the fall of 2020.” (26 July)

 Nissan Motorsports canceled the NISMO Festival. (22 July more below)

NASCAR said on 21 July that the 2020 season will be run without practice and qualifying in all three national series. (See NASCAR below) Continue reading

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Vehicle Love is Blind in Latest APEAL Study

Ken Zino of on J.D. Power 2020 APPEAL Study

Click to Enlarge.

‘When it comes to driving sales, as well as generating brand loyalty and advocacy, vehicles that create joy for their owners often overcomes any negatives caused by problems they experience,” claims J.D. Power when touting its latest study that is for sale to vehicle makers.

The so-called APEAL Study Power contends measures an owner’s “emotional attachment to their new vehicle and in what areas that vehicle may not be delivering on all the positive experiences that were hoped for.” (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study) Continue reading

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Daimler Reports Ugly Q2 2020 Results as Sales Drop -34%

Ken Zino of on COVID-19 and Daimler sales

Hit be a truck, err, virus.

Daimler AG (ticker symbol: DAI) today reported its results for Q2 ending 30June 30 2020. The COVID pandemic or the Grim Reaper saw a decline in demand for cars, vans, trucks and buses. Group total sales decreased by -34% to 541,800 cars and commercial vehicles (Q2 2019: 821,700). Revenue slipped significantly by -29% to €30.2 billion (Q2 2019: €42.7 billion). EBIT was minus -€1,682 million (Q2 2019: minus -€1,558 million). Adjusted EBIT was -€708 million (Q2 2019: plus €2,447 million). Continue reading

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Census Bureau: Millions of Americans Who Get Health Coverage from Employers Could Lose It During COVID-19

Most Americans receive health insurance through their job or a family member’s job. So, when workers lose their jobs, they — and their family members — run the risk of losing their health coverage as well. This come from an analysis of Census Bureau data by Edward R. Berchick and Laryssa Mykyta*

Previously released estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) show that ~55.1% of the U.S. population – 178 million people – had employer-sponsored insurance or ESI in 2018.  Continue reading

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MIT Research: Widespread Autonomous Driving is at Least One Decade Away. Maybe More.

The MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future has released a new research brief examining the future of autonomous vehicles. It says “despite substantial recent progress by the industry, fully automated driving systems that have no safety driver onboard will take at least a decade to deploy over large areas, even in regions with favorable weather and infrastructure; winter climates and rural areas will experience still longer transitions. Expansion will likely be gradual and will happen region-by-region in specific categories of transportation, resulting in wide variations in availability across the country.”  Continue reading

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Porsche Global Sales Drop -12% at 116,964 Through June

Ken Zino of on New 2019 Porsche 911 - November 2018

Ex-Formula One driver Mark Webber with the new Porsche 911. Not surprisingly he praised the sports car.

In the first six months of 2020, Porsche supplied a total of 116,964 cars to customers worldwide. The corona virus crisis and the resulting closures of Porsche Centers over a period of several weeks resulted in a 12% decline in deliveries as compared to the prior year. The Cayenne was the most popular model with a total of 39,245 deliveries, while 34,430 units of the Macan were supplied to customers. With 16,919 deliveries and an increase of 2% as compared to 2019, the 911 sports car also continued to sell. The Taycan likewise continues to be well received by customers: Porsche delivered 4,480 units in the first half of the year within the staggered market launch.  Continue reading

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