Ford Recalls Defective Rear-view Cameras on 620,246 Vehicles

Ford Motor Companyis recalling 620,246 2020 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, Explorer, Mustang, Transit, Expedition, Escape, Ranger and Edge, and Lincoln Nautilus and Corsair vehicles. Because of a poor electrical connection, the rearview camera may intermittently display a blank or distorted image. These vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 111, “Rear Visibility.” There is no identification or any Warning to the driver. (Ford Pickup Truck Sales Best Q3 in 15 Years. Cars Dead)

From February to April 2020, Ford identified and monitored warranty claims pertaining to intermittent or inoperative rearview cameras. Ford reviewed supplier product changes, focusing on changes introduced by the supplier in the October/November 2019 time frame. Magna Electronics made the part in Holly Michigan. Insufficient electrical conductivity within the printed circuit board (PCB) internal to the camera leads to intermittent rearview camera operation A rearview camera that intermittently displays a blank or distorted image does not comply can reduce the driver’s view of what is behind the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.
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Porsche – First Virtual Annual Meeting Declares Risky €676 Million in Dividends. No Earnings Forecast Yet

Because of the  ban on meetings in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, Porsche Automobil Holding SE (Porsche SE), Stuttgart, held a virtual Annual General meeting. “With the health of all those attending in mind, we have decided this year to hold our Annual General Meeting virtually for the first time in the history of our company,” said the Chairman of the board of management Hans Dieter Pötsch.

The shareholders approved the proposed distribution of a dividend of €2.210 per preference share and €2.204 per ordinary share for the fiscal year 2019. The total distribution comes to around €676 million euro. It’s a risky move given the ongoing Covid pandemic that has infected global economies – one that could prompt a liquidity crisis.
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Ford Pickup Truck Sales Best Q3 in 15 Years. Cars Dead

Ford’s Q3 US sales were up 27.2 % compared to the disastrous Q2 Covid shutdown sales. They were down 4.9% compared to a year ago. Ford outperformed an industry decline of 10%.  Total sales were 551,796 vehicles, of which 311,751 were trucks and 191,803 were SUVs. Cars at 48,424  are essentially a hobby at Ford. (Ford Motor Q2- Sales Drop -53%. Debt Grows $10B)

Ford’s overall pickup sales of combined F-Series and Ranger totaled 249,997 pickups. This was Ford’s best Q3 pickup sales since 2005, with combined sales up 4.0% over a year ago. F-Series Q3 retail sales were up 10.1% over a year ago and are back above pre-corona virus sales levels. Total F-Series sales of 221,647 for the quarter were up 3.5%.
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Covid Casualties – GM US Q3 Sales Drop Year over Year

General Motors (NYSE: GM) said today that it delivered 665,192 vehicles in the third quarter of 2020, a decrease in total vehicle sales of about -10% compared to a year ago. GM’s mid-size SUVs beat the industry, including the Chevrolet Blazer up 45%– the best quarter ever – and the Cadillac XT6, also up 45% compared to the Q3 of last year. Buick’s compact SUV, the Chinese-built Envision, was up 44%.

Even with tight inventory caused by the U.S.’s failed Covid response that is still hobbling the economy, GM’s large pickup trucks sold well, mainly heavy-duty pickups. The Chevrolet Silverado HD was up 9% and GMC Sierra HD was up 11% compared to a year ago. Total Sierra sales posted its best third quarter ever. Year to date, GM’s combined light- and heavy-duty pickups gained 1.6 percentage points in retail market share to capture 37.5% of the segment, according to J.D. Power.

GM tried to spin the weak Q3 as the Seasonally Adjusted Selling Rate – aka SAAR – was ~15.9 million vehicles for the quarter, up about 4 million units from the previous disastrous pandemic quarter. Mention was made of the pent-up demand effect that started at the end of Q1 continuing through Q2 as the economy was mimicking the Great Depression because of the Covid shutdown.
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GM Adding $71 Million at Two Ohio Parts Plants

Ken Zino of on GM Manufacturing

Toledo Transmission – GM needs 8-speed transmissions to meet fuel economy regulations.

General Motors plans to invest $71 million into two Ohio manufacturing plants, including $39 million at its Toledo transmission plant and $32 million at its Defiance casting plant. Work will begin immediately at the two locations.

These investments in what is increasingly the no growth auto business norm will enable GM to retain 240 U.S. manufacturing jobs. The Toledo investment will be used to upgrade and enhance the production of GM’s eight-speed rear-wheel-drive transmission – important for its pickup truck sales. The Defiance investment will be used to prepare the facility for future engine casting components work.
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FCA Fined $9.5 Million for Diesel Emissions Abuses

An impressive sales history of Ram pickups and Jeeps could be a huge liability in recalls or compliance matters.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., now a London-based public company that sells vehicles through its Michigan-based subsidiary, agreed to settle charges that it made misleading disclosures about an internal audit of its diesel emissions control systems.

The SEC’s order found that in February 2016, FCA represented in both a press release and an annual report that it conducted an internal audit which confirmed that FCA’s vehicles complied with environmental regulations concerning emissions.

FCA’s statements did not sufficiently disclose the limited scope of its internal audit, which focused only on finding a specific type of defeat device, or that the audit was not a comprehensive review of FCA’s compliance with U.S. emissions regulations.
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Michigan Joins the Swelling Carbon Neutrality Movement

Ken Zino of on Michigan Carbon Neutral Plan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Michigan is now the ninth U.S. state to commit to 100% economic carbon neutrality under the just announced MI Healthy Climate Plan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-182 and Executive Directive 2020-10 to create a plan that will protect Michiganders’ public health and the environment and help develop new clean energy jobs by putting Michigan on a path towards becoming fully carbon-neutral by 2050. The Executive Directive further stipulates that Michigan will aim to achieve a 28% reduction below 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. California has banned the sales of internal combustion engines in vehicles by 2035.

“The science is clear – climate change is directly impacting our public health, environment, our economy, and our families,” said Governor Whitmer. “This dangerous reality is already causing harm throughout Michigan, with communities of color and low-income Michiganders suffering disproportionately, which is why I’m taking immediate action to protect our state. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave them a cleaner, safer and healthier world.” Continue reading

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Toyota Classic Car Festival On With Limited Attendance

Ken Zino of on Covid 19 and the Toyota Classic Car Festival

Cars of 7 countries and 24 manufacturers will depart the Toyota Automobile Museum in chronological order.

The 31st Toyota Automobile Museum Classic Car Festival is on for Sunday 25 October. However, the Toyota Automobile Museum will serve as the venue this year, accommodating about 50 privately owned classic cars that will participate in a street parade.

Public access to the museum will be limited to Nagakute residents and the museum’s annual pass holders. Toyota will also conduct temperature checks for all staff members and visitors, and everyone will be required to wear face masks and observe social distancing at the venue. A special exhibition and socializing will also take place at the venue.
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Governors Cuomo, Whitmer Call for Investigation Into Trump Administration’s Politicization of Pandemic Response

There have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag thus far – with stars added to it as states entered the Union. The current flag dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state. The Trump coat of arms – a shield of molested women supported by bankruptcy petitions – is not on it.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer today called for a Congressional oversight investigation into the Trump administration’s politicization of government functions that have impeded the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the latest example of joint or several states asking for constitutional relief against the president who would be king.

“It is an inarguable fact that the United States has had the worst response to the COVID-19 virus of any nation in the world. Nearly 7 million Americans have tested positive for the virus, and more than 200,000 Americans have been killed by it — both more than any other country. The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of this tragedy is the direct result of President Trump and the federal government’s deceit, political self-dealing, and incompetence,” they said. This in effect echoes the “we hold these truths to be self-evident” language of  Thomas Jefferson who despised despots who ruled for their own personal gains.
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SEC Settles Charges Against Clean Water Project Founder

The Securities and Exchange Commission has filed settled charges against Verley Lee “Rocky” Sembritzky, Jr., the promoter of a purported Kenyan desalination plant investment who defrauded American investors out of millions of dollars. Sembritsky, according to the complaint, raised approximately $7.2 million from at least 20 investors in the United States between August 2015 and March 2017, directing investors to send their funds to two entities he controlled – Bounty of the Ocean Inc. and Ocean Harvest LLC.

Sembritzky, a Houston, Texas resident, told investors that he was building an advanced, eco-friendly desalination plant that would provide clean, low-cost drinking water to Kenyans. Sembritzky misled investors as to the viability of his desalination process, falsely assuring them that the technology had years of proven operational history. Continue reading

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Global Auto Business Threatened by Covid Second Wave

Ken Zino of on Covid and vehicle industry use rates of plants.

Utilization had already been declining from a healthy level of 70% and above, prior to the pandemic. Chart courtesy of LMC Automotive.

The financial health of the global auto business remains threatened by Covid 19 and it could be just as deadly. This comes from the latest forecast from consultancy LMC Automotive as it takes a steely-eyed look at the pandemic and its ongoing economic destruction.

While the past isn’t a 100% sure predictor of the future, “A second wave and stricter social controls pose a large risk to our central forecast,” LMC notes in its latest analysis. LMC projects that 2020 global assembly plant use is expected to fall to the lowest level ever recorded – just 51%. The pandemic-caused shutdowns during March and April had a profound impact on both the volume and use of plants globally.
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Making America Late Again – NAIAS to September 2021

Ken Zino of on the ongoing disruption ot the auto industry because of the Trump Administration's failure to act on Covid 19.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks past then-International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde toward U.S. President Donald Trump – Leon Neal for Getty Images.

The North American International Auto Show today said it will move its show, originally planned for summer 2021 to 28 September – 9 October 2021. Once again the lack of an effective national plan to fight Covid is the major back story to the shift. The US remains mired in the Trump Administration’s ongoing quest to stay in office despite the hundreds of thousands of people who have perished so far – with many more deaths to come.

“We have talked with many of our partners, particularly the OEMs, and they are fully on board and excited about the date change,” NAIAS Executive Director Rod Alberts said. ( – 2020 NAIAS Canceled. TCF Center to be Field Hospital. Michigan’s COVID Crisis had Little Federal Help)

NAIAS will remain a fall show going forward after the inaugural event in September 2021. Show dates have been secured with TCF Center for the next three years. NAIAS organizers choose dates towards the end of the month because of the new IAA in Munich, which is scheduled for the first full week in September. NAIAS has had a troubled relationship with German automakers in the past. The NAIAS move  is defensive with a yet unknown outcome in our view. ( Business, Politics, States Can Work Together in Germany)
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Subaru Aids First National Clean-Up and Recycling Plan

Ken Zino of on Subaru Aids First National Clean-Up And Recycling Plan

“It feels good to do good!”

Subaru of America says that it will co-host and serve as official vehicle for the country’s first national litter clean-up and recycling initiative. The stated goal is to egg on people to help reduce landfill waste in their local communities or their own backyards.

Entitled Facelift: Act Local, the six-day-long event produced by the Yosemite Climbing Association and co-presented by The North Face, encourages people to independently get outdoors and safely pick up trash at their local green spaces, neighborhood parks or backyards from September 22-27.
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California to Subsidize 51 Shell Hydrogen Sites

Ken Zino of on Shell Hydrogen Refueling Subsidized by Taxpayers

Socialism for the rich once again. Too bad the CEC doesn’t require some ownership for the capital it is providing.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has posted a Notice of Proposed Award outlining subsidies to support hydrogen refueling infrastructure in California. Equilon Enterprises LLC (d/b/a Shell Oil Products US), aka Shell Hydrogen, was awarded $40.8 million. If the proposal is adapted by the CEC, Shell Hydrogen will install hydrogen refueling equipment at 48 existing Shell retail stations, upgrade two current Shell Hydrogen stations and add light-duty fueling dispensers and positions at one existing Shell Hydrogen heavy-duty truck station.

Yes, that’s right big oil, which lobbied strenuously and successfully against global warming even though executives knew the companies were major contributors to the problem, is raiding the taxpayer’s bank accounts to become part of the newly emerging green age that will make fossil fuels obsolete. Continue reading

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Auto Shoppers Dumping Dealers for Online Buying

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 65% of automotive shoppers’ decision to purchase a vehicle was affected and 40% of shoppers delayed making a new vehicle purchase, according to the J.D. Power 2020 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study.

As a result, more buyers are now willing to purchase their vehicles online instead of at a dealership. Is this a long-term trend or a temporary fad? The answer has significant financial, marketing and job implications for the auto industry.
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