Chairman’s Blog: Mike’s Message As D.C. Flirts with Another Shut Down, Dealers Stay Focused

First Up 09/14/23

Chairman’s Blog: Mike’s Message
As D.C. Flirts with Another Shut Down, Dealers Stay Focused

AIADA Chairman Mike DeSilva is back with another blog. Small business owners don’t always see eye-to-eye with big government. We have different goals, different values, and a different work ethic. Never are those distinctions more on display than when Congress starts its now semi-regular dance of ‘will we won’t we’ shut down. It's no longer a surprise when Democrats and Republican engage in a down-to-the-wire debate over budgets, switching arguments with each other as easily as they slip in an out of the Congressional majority. One side suddenly cares deeply about spending. The other side suddenly cares passionately about the military and crucial government services. They are so principled that they cannot possibly compromise and are forced to shut down the government entirely. Meanwhile, most Americans only notice any of this is happening when the trash cans stop being emptied in national parks. Click here for the full blog post.

Cox Economist: Auto Markets Should Stand Strong Despite Economic Headwinds

Even with the looming threat of an autoworkers strike, rising interest rates and a shaky economy that might or might not be on the verge of a recession, car dealers should come out OK the rest of this year. That’s the reassuring message sent by Cox Automotive senior economist Charlie Chesbrough in “Charlie’s Real-Time Quarterly Market Update,” a webinar presented last week by AIADA. Experts are split on whether there will be a significant economic downturn, but, Chesbrough said, “It doesn’t seem the vehicle market is under that much of a threat, even if we do have a recession.” That’s in part because the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have already softened that blow, reports Auto Remarketing. “In many ways, we’ve already seen much of the loss that would happen from a recession,” Chesbrough said. “A lot of those buyers who would be pushed out of the market — subprime folks, lower income folks — they’ve already left the new-vehicle market. They got chased out when COVID-19 first hit. “So, if we do have a recession at this point, it would be more like falling off a curb than falling off a cliff.” Click here for the full story.

Google Announces New In-Car App Integrations, Including Zoom and Prime Video

Google is expanding app offerings across its open-source infotainment platform and in cars with built-in Google applications. Drivers will be able to access WebEx and Zoom, Prime Video, the Weather Channel and the Vivaldi web browser in their vehicles, the company. Android Auto, Google's open-source development toolkit, will allow developers to include WebEx and Zoom integrations with audio-only capability. Google Play, which is included in Google's built-in suite of apps in some vehicles, will include Prime Video in select Renault, Polestar, and Volvo cars. The Weather Channel will also be available on Google Play, reports Automotive News. Some of the integrations, such as Zoom and Prime Video, are available this week, while WebEx and the Weather Channel will be available in the coming weeks. "We're really offering choice for OEM developers and drivers," said Haris Ramic, director of product management at Android Auto. "Our goal is to really help [automakers] and consumers to make sure that they can build out the right product for their customer." Click here for the full story.

Hyundai Introduces “Hypercasting” to Rev Up EV Production

Hyundai is now incorporating “hypercasting” into its electric vehicle (EV) production, echoing Tesla’s Giga Casting technique. As reported by Korean newspaper Hankyung, hypercasting involves injecting molten aluminum alloy into molds to shape the vehicle’s frame, a process Tesla first adopted in 2020 in its Fremont Factory and later in its China and Germany plants. According to CBT News, Hypercasting’s distinct feature is its capacity to produce larger vehicle parts than what’s typical in the auto industry. This leads to notable benefits like saving time and resources and reducing vehicle weight. In fact, Tesla’s use of Giga Casting has reportedly reduced production costs by around 30 percent. For context, traditional methods are labor-intensive, requiring the drilling of thousands of holes into nearly 70 steel plates that are then welded individually. Hypercasting offers evident efficiency and cost benefits in comparison. Hyundai, having successfully introduced EVs like the IONIQ 5 and Kona Electric, understands the importance of evolving in a fast-paced EV market led by brands like Tesla. They’re strategically adapting their production and aim to be in the top three global EV producers by 2030. Click here for the full story.

Detroit Three Strike Deadline Nears as Sides Remain Far Apart

U.S. automakers and union negotiators offered little hope a deal would be reached on Thursday to avoid a midnight walkoff that would be the United Auto Workers' first-ever simultaneous strike against the Detroit Three carmakers. The UAW on Wednesday outlined plans for a series of strikes targeting individual, undisclosed U.S. auto plants if agreements are not reached by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, rather than a full walkout. "To win, we're likely going to have to take action," UAW President Shawn Fain said on Wednesday. According to Reuters, Fain said the Detroit Three had offered 146,000 U.S. auto workers pay raises of as much as 20 percent over 4-1/2 years, but he blasted the proposal as inadequate even as automakers protested the union had yet to formally respond to their latest more generous offers. Fain outlined a strategy to "create confusion" with a series of work stoppages targeting individual U.S. plants if no deal is reached. Stopping work at a key engine or transmission plant, for example, could have a cascading effect by depriving other factories of parts they need to produce vehicles. Another option would be to strike profitable pickup truck or SUV assembly plants. Click here for the full story.


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