Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Opposition Tests Limits of Biden's Union Love

First Up 11/23/21

As Green Reputation Takes a Beating, Toyota Fights Back

Toyota was the darling of environmental consumers not so long ago, barely able to produce enough lean-burning, pioneering Prius hybrids to accommodate the growing legions of ecologically motivated buyers. Suddenly, reports Automotive News, the Japanese giant has become a scourge in some corners, with critics from the Sierra Club to Greenpeace deriding the automaker for what they perceive as foot-dragging on full- electric vehicles. The abrupt challenge to Toyota's green public image — it is still the world's top seller of electrified vehicles — has clearly stung President Akio Toyoda to the quick. "Please don't attack us in that way," Toyoda implored the Japanese and international media at a weekend race this month as he launched a new push to show ways automakers can still reach carbon neutrality without relying solely on EVs. "The enemy is carbon," he said, "not the internal combustion engine. We're not going to limit ourselves to just one option." For more on why Toyota believes diversity is key to cutting carbon emissions, click here.

Honda, Lexus Capture ALG Residual Value Awards

Honda and Lexus are the brand award winners in the mass market and premium segments, respectively, of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. ALG Residual Value Awards. According to Wards, the awards recognize vehicle models projected to hold the highest percentage of their manufacturer’s suggested retail price following one to three years of ownership. This value retention is a key variable in the lease cost of a vehicle and emphasizes an automaker’s success in the areas of long-term quality and design, as well as the overall desirability of automotive brands and their models. It is also an important purchase consideration for vehicle shoppers as it helps forecast a vehicle’s resale value once they sell or trade in the vehicle for a new one. Besides the mass market brand level award, Honda also wins three model-level awards. Lexus ranks highest among premium brands while only having one segment-winning model. For the full list of award winners, click here.

Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Opposition Tests Limits of Biden's Union Love

As the size and scope of President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" bill dwindled throughout 2021, one proposal that survived the cuts is a $4,500 electric vehicle tax credit that only applies when they're made by union workers. With opposition to the idea pouring in from across the world and even within his own party, the Washington Examiner reports that the tax break may test the limits of Biden's self-proclaimed status as the most pro-union president in history. The credit's list of opponents is large and growing. Canadian and Mexican leaders have come out against it, as have ambassadors from several other countries, charging that it violates international trade rules. Most notably, swing-vote Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin threw cold water on the proposal, saying, "This is wrong. This can’t happen. It’s not who we are as a country. It’s not how we built this country, and the product should speak for itself." Yet, the union break lives on in the Build Back Better Act that the House passed by a 220-213 vote along party lines Friday morning. “I make no apologies," Biden said back in April 2019. "I am a union man. Period.” For the full story, click here.

Dealers and their employees should contact their Members of Congress and urge them to oppose this proposal that will divide American workers and play politics with car sales. Click here to learn more about the issue and to contact your legislators. 

Porsche to Create Boutique Showroom 'Studios'

Porsche is exploring a future beyond the all-in-one dealership as the brand looks to attract the next generation of car buyers. Automotive News reports that the sports car maker plans to enlist its U.S. dealers to roll out a boutique retail concept, called Studios, that is less about pushing metal and more about brand-building. It's a retail approach being adopted in varying degrees by luxury automakers, including Tesla, Polestar and Mercedes-Benz. Porsche expects its first U.S. Studio to open early next year in Portland, Ore., followed by a "handful" more in the next few years. Studio locations have opened in Asia and Europe. Click here for a picture. The Porsche Studio takes a cue from the Apple Store concept, which is more informational than transactional, to be an avenue for the curious to learn about the company's cars and heritage rather than be sold to. The Studios will offer bespoke customization kits and brand merchandise. Customers will be able to trick out their 911 in a loungelike experience while sipping on an espresso. Click here for more on studios and how Porsche dealers are responding.

Car Ads May Be in Shorter Supply This Holiday Season, Thanks to the Supply Chain Mess

Fewer cars to sell mean less reason to drive shoppers into showrooms, and that means holiday advertising is expected to be down this year, too. As we enter the second holiday season of the COVID-19 pandemic, Car and Driver reports that automakers and their dealers are faced with a new dilemma: how best to advertise their vehicles when the supply of those vehicles is limited. Reuters said digital car ads were down around 10 percent this summer and fall, while TV ads were down around 5 percent. And that leads to questions about how much to encourage demand. Lexus will once again take over screens with "December to Remember" messages, but they might look different than they have in the past. Lexus has been running its campaign for more than 20 years. "For us to change it dramatically, it's too important to the brand. It's part of our DNA," Lexus U.S. vice president for marketing Vinay Shahani told Reuters. Shahani said Lexus will spend around the same amount as it has in the past, but "certainly you could expect the offers may not be as compelling" as they were before. For more on holiday advertising trends, click here.

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Around the Web

Ford Drops Plans for EV with Rivian, Showing Faith in its Own Tech [Detroit News]

What On Earth Is The Toyota Tacozilla? [Forbes]

The EQS Is Mercedes-Benz’s Most Important Car in Decades [Road and Track]

Report: The Nissan Titan Is On The Chopping Block [Jalopnik]