Electric-Vehicle Spat Looms Over Biden’s Meeting with Canadian, Mexican Leaders

First Up 11/19/21

Hyundai's Jose Muñoz Says ‘Everything is on the Table' for U.S. EV investment

Hyundai Motor North America's U.S. investments in electric vehicle manufacturing will be greatly influenced by the structure of federal incentives for EVs, CEO Jose Muñoz said in an interview. The company has publicly opposed a proposal to provide $4,500 more in tax credits for electric vehicles made by unionized workers in the U.S. than for other EVs. Such a large disparity calls into question the company's plans to invest in EV manufacturing in the country. "Everything is on the table with a situation like this, so we will see," he told Automotive News at the LA Auto Show. Muñoz said Hyundai, which aims to sell 1 million EVs a year globally by 2030, is fully committed to the technology. "We would like to achieve the 40 to 50 percent [EV] Biden administration objective by 2030, so we are fully in to achieve that," he said. "But again, we will have to wait and see." A smaller subsidy for domestic manufacturers could possibly be overcome, he said, but a $4,500 difference is "huge," he said.For the full story, click here.

Toyota Motor North America has also expressed discontent with the union-only EV tax credit, recently firing back at a Michigan senator for suggesting that the automaker — which employs about 2,000 people in Michigan — was not part of the "home team" because it is largely not unionized. In an internal memo shared with Toyota's 38,000 employees in the U.S., Toyota said Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow "directly attacked Toyota for fighting back on her discriminatory proposal. This was an unprecedented attack, including accusations that were false and hypocritical." For more, click here.

Consumer Reports: Lexus Has Most Reliable Car of 2022, Tesla Has 'Problems'

Too much of a good thing can translate into unreliability on the road. Several luxury automotive brands that stuffed a lot of budding technology into their vehicles – including Tesla, Lincoln, Genesis and Mercedes-Benz – rank toward the bottom of the Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Report for 2022. The annual ranking, which is closely followed as an index for quality, uses data from more than 300,000 vehicles to project reliability scores for the major brands and individual vehicles. USA Today reports that for the 2022 model year, Toyota luxury brand Lexus returned to the top spot among the 28 ranked brands. Mazda, which dethroned Lexus in 2021, ranks second, and the Toyota brand ranks third. Infiniti is fourth, and Buick is fifth. Lincoln is the least reliable brand for 2022, according to Consumer Reports, which ranked Tesla second-to-last. Other brands near the bottom are Jeep, Genesis, Volkswagen and Mercedes. For the complete ranking of brands, and vehicles, click here.

Electric-Vehicle Spat Looms Over Biden’s Meeting with Canadian, Mexican Leaders

President Biden’s summit with counterparts from Canada and Mexico at the White House brought him face to face with leaders who have accused his administration of promoting electric vehicles and union jobs at the expense of trading relationships with neighboring countries. The Wall Street Journal reports that the president met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in the White House. At the first trilateral summit since 2016, the leaders expressed discontent with the Biden legislative agenda. House and Senate Democrats are negotiating a deal to give consumers a tax write-off of as much as $12,500 if they buy electric vehicles assembled by union workers using American-built batteries. Automobiles produced in nonunion factories would qualify for $4,500 less. At a press conference after the summit, Mr. Trudeau said he conveyed to Mr. Biden Canada’s concerns about the tax rebate, and warned of the potential fallout for Canadian and U.S. auto workers. “The Americans are very aware of Canada’s position on this and quite frankly the threat it poses to over 50 years of integrated automaking in our two countries,” he said. For the full story, click here.

Porsche Debuts New EVs, High-Performance ICE Models in LA

Porsche chose the 2021 LA Auto Show to debut a duo of new Taycans and Caymans. Wards reports that the German sports car icon adds to its EV stable with the Taycan GTS sedan and GTS Sport Turismo trims that include styling and performance enhancements, exclusive suspension tuning and Electric Sport Sound for the brand’s first-ever electric GTS. The Taycan GTS sedan and GTS Sport Turismo feature the same permanent-magnet front and rear motors that produce 590 hp with Launch Control engaged, which positions the new variants between the Taycan 4S at 462 hp and Taycan Turbo with 670 hp. Both come with a 2-speed rear transmission and go from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 3.5 seconds. Click here to see them. Pricing for the Taycan GTS sedan starts at $131,400, while Taycan GTS Sport Turismo will start at $133,300. Both Taycan GTS models are now available for order, and U.S. deliveries will start in the first half of 2022. Click here for more specs.

Group 1 Acquires 27 of 30 Prime Automotive Group Dealerships

Group 1 Automotive Inc. has completed the purchase of 27 dealerships from Prime Automotive Group — about a week ahead of its planned date to close on the mega transaction it announced in September that was expected to cost $880 million. Group 1, of Houston, told Automotive News the closing to date included "substantially all the assets," including 27 of 30 dealerships originally announced in the deal, real estate and three collision centers. "We are pleased to add these great brands and new teammates to our company," Group 1 CEO Earl Hesterberg said in a statement. "This action will further leverage our cost structure, diversify our footprint, and broaden our customer base." At least one store won't be sold to Group 1. Industry experts say it's possible Group 1 ran into issues with manufacturer framework agreements that limit how many stores auto retailers can operate of the same brand and in certain regions. For more on Group 1’s latest move, click here.

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