It took the government six years to determine that the Ford Explorer does not have an emissions problem, Ford’s EV tiewith Volkswagen leads to hundreds of job cuts in Europe, and General Motors and LG don’t seem to get along. All that and more inside The morning shift for Monday 23 January 2023.
1st gear: consider the problem …Â explored
Back in 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced an investigation into 2011 through 2017 model years Ford Explorers — totaling about 1.5 million vehicles — after the department received about 6,500 complaints exhaust smells enters the cabin. This investigation also included Explorer-based police interceptor used by Prosecution. Six years later, security agency has decided to close the book on the matter Monday without citing evidence of deficiency. courtesy Reuters:
NHTSA said its investigation found “that 2011-2017 Ford Explorer vehicles, when accurately measured, produce passenger compartment carbon monoxide levels that fall below currently accepted health standards.”
The investigation revealed problems with dealers, government fleets and others who modified the Police Interceptor vehicles. The so-called “retrofit”—the addition of sirens, lights, cages, and auxiliary power—is usually performed by government fleet companies, independent repair shops, or local dealers.
“Equipment-induced seal issues were responsible for the highest measured carbon monoxide levels in tested vehicles,” NHTSA said, while adding the highest levels in consumer vehicles has usually been attributed to seal issues caused by rear-end collision damage.
The fitment issues are critical as the rebuild process involved drilling holes in the SUV’s underbody and Ford chose to foot the bill for those repairs. The automaker also flashed revised heating and cooling software to consumer and fleet vehicles as part of a recall in 2017 to reduce the possibility of exhaust leaks. Despite these measures, NHTSA could not find any evidence that the SUVs ever posed a safety risk.
When the investigation began Three crashes were thought to be possibly linked to carbon monoxide poisoning inside the cabin. The Austin, Texas Police Department retired all 40 of its Interceptors from service a short time later, in 2017. Congratulations Ford – you finally dodged one.
2nd gear: Meanwhile also in Europe
Ford is changing a few things, particularly at its plant in Cologne, Germany. This facility was formerly home to the Fiesta, but with the Blue Oval shedding its most iconic European nameplates, the factory will now produce two battery-electric models developed using Volkswagen’s MEB architecture. We already knew that; What we didn’t know was that at least 1,000 employees would lose their jobs in the process. from Automotive News:
The automaker plans to reduce the workforce at its European headquarters and factory in Cologne, Germany, by a four-digit number, sources said Automotive News Europe Sister publication Automobilwoche.
The job cuts will take place across the board in assembly, engine and transmission construction, but also in development, administration and sales.
The company is creating a new business structure for its European operations, the sources said.
Because Ford is relying on Volkswagen technology for these cars, it reportedly needs fewer in-house engineers on site, the article explains. It may seem counterintuitive to you and me to cut staff while launching what is perhaps the most important product in a company’s recent history. But hey this is what it means to run a great company in 2023.
3rd gear: IPO Everything
That seems to be the way Volkswagen is doing these days, as the German automaker is considering listing its energy and charging divisions in global markets in the same way spun off from Porsche. Before that, however, it prepares a mock list as a training exercise, per Reutersin an initiative called â€œVirtual Equity Storiesâ€ . I wish I was joking about that last part.
As the article explains, the impetus for this is the inevitable transition between electric vehicles and the power grid, and all the money certain people make. Volkswagen wants to be there:
(Elke) Temme, a former RWE executive who ran the automaker’s energy business, said electric cars could help stabilize the big price swings in the electricity market by acting as a buffer for excess green power capacity on the grid — a well-known fact as bidirectional charging.
But regulators first had to create a framework to make this commercially viable. “It won’t be another five years,” Temme predicted, adding that Volkswagen’s electric vehicles on the MEB platform are equipped for the feature.
Temme, who has been in office since January 2021, has the task of bundling the car manufacturer’s various electricity activities, such as energy procurement, charging cars at home and on the road for customers and selling the electricity they need.
With that all said and done, one has to wonder if there will be a single division of Volkswagen that doesn’t have its own code in the stock ticker.
4th course: Three plants are obviously enough
General Motors and LG Energy Solution are opening three plants as part of the Ultium Cells joint venture to jointly build EV batteries. They had their eye on a fourth, but the plans have apparently fallen through, according to reports that emerged late Friday. What’s particularly amusing about this news, however, is why talks between the two companies have reportedly been cut short.
If you guessed it $1 billion Bolt recall bill pushed aside by GMto LG could have anything to do with it, you’re a smart guy. above Bloomberg:
GM still intends to build another battery plant in the US to support its electric vehicle ambitions, the company said in a statement, which did not name a partner. The Detroit automaker has been in talks with other battery suppliers in recent months, the people said, asking not to be named because the talks are private.
The split between South Korea’s LG and GM comes after a tense period in the partnership. GM wanted to increase EV volume faster than LG and secure plans for a fourth plant soon, one of the people said. The battery maker hasn’t committed to GM’s timeline, so the company is looking to other partners.
There were a few other incidents that tested the relationship, people said. The automaker had to recall all 143,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs it built because of battery fires, and its partner covered most of the cost. They also had differing views on how to conduct a union organizing campaign at the Ultium Cells LLC plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The two companies will continue to operate the joint venture facility there as well as two planned facilities in Tennessee and Michigan.
All I take away from this is that it sounds like GM is urging LG to rush things, not long after LG was forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for a mistake that in all likelihood resulted in it is due to hasty things.
5th Gear: The Rolls-Royce Specter might just be a hit
Rolls-Royce will begin building its first electric vehicle, called the, later this year spook. However many the company would expect, according to its CEO, demand may simply require it to produce more. from Automotive News:
“The order intake for the Specter is much better than we expected at the moment,” Torsten Mueller-TV, CEO of Rolls-Royce, said earlier this month when speaking to journalists. “We still have a few months (until production starts), but if this trend continues I’m pretty sure we’ll have to adjust our plans.”
Mueller-TV said the Specter will achieve the “same levels of profitability” as the rest of the brand’s portfolio. And while BMW doesn’t disclose Rolls-Royce’s financial results, Mueller-TV said its bosses in Munich are happy with the margins his company is generating.
The profit margin is pretty comfortable on a $400,000 i7 with some hand stitching? you don’t say it
Back cover: Speaking of which, who made Steve Guttenberg a star?Â
On this day in 2006, 17 years ago, someone asked an important question. above 365 days of driving:
Who killed the electric car?, a documentary about the auto industry’s failed attempt to develop an electric vehicle, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film posited that there was a conspiracy between oil companies, automakers and the government to kill the electric car.
Neutral: It’s finally snowing
As I write this, sSomewhere in Pennsylvania. Big Flakes. Do you remember when that happened earlier in November? I look forward to the upcoming Snow Pocalypse in March.