Lucid, Rivian Among Finalists for North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year

First Up 11/18/21

Lucid, Rivian Among Finalists for North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year

Ford Motor Co. and Hyundai each account for two of the nine finalists for the 2022 North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards. Electric vehicle startups Lucid and Rivian also are in the running and would become first-time winners. According to Automotive News, the winners, based on votes by a panel of 50 journalists, will be announced in early January. After three days spent driving the 23 eligible vehicles, jurors settled on nine finalists: two sedans and a hatchback; three pickups with quite different missions; and three crossovers, two of which are from the Hyundai group. One finalist in each of the three categories is an EV. For a slideshow of all of the finalists, click here. "These nine vehicles represent an unusually excellent and diverse group of finalists," NACTOY President Gary Witzenburg said in a statement. "From new OEMs to vehicles that have created fresh segments in their categories, these vehicles showcase the automotive industry's current diversification. This year's finalists also illustrate how many more electric vehicles are becoming available to customers across multiple vehicle types." For more on the finalists, click here.

Tesla, Toyota Accuse Biden’s EV Tax Credit of Putting Unions Over the Environment

President Biden says he wants to save the planet and save union jobs. The electric-vehicle tax credit in his social spending package shows how those aims can sometimes conflict. The Wall Street Journal reports that the proposal being negotiated by House and Senate Democrats gives consumers the full $12,500 tax write-off only if they buy electric vehicles assembled by union workers using American-built batteries. Automobiles produced in nonunion factories would qualify for $4,500 less. Michigan Democrats Rep. Dan Kildee and Sen. Debbie Stabenow wrote the electric-vehicle tax credit after collaborating with the United Auto Workers and General Motors Co. about the importance of including an explicitly pro-union component, according to Mr. Kildee. The labor-friendly provision has touched off a fierce lobbying battle by Tesla, Toyota, and other nonunion auto companies that say Mr. Biden is betraying the environment to help a political ally, the United Auto Workers. “Let’s not play politics with the environment,” Toyota says in full-page national newspaper ads. For the full story of how automakers are fighting back, 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. 

Electric SUVs debut at LA Auto Show: Nissan, Hyundai, Fisker show off EVs

They started off as specialty vehicles, sports cars and luxury models. But electric vehicles are now coming to the automotive segment nearest you: family-oriented SUVs. That much, reports USA Today, is obvious at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, which began Wednesday with media conferences and continues Friday-Nov. 28 with public days. Nissan, Hyundai, Subaru and multiple startups are among the automakers poised to feature or reveal electric SUVs during the show, signaling the budding technology’s bid to take on the most popular body style in the marketplace. Automakers' new attitude is “let’s give the people what they want,” said Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights at car research site Edmunds. Hyundai has a strong case to make that it’s already been doing so. The Korean automaker has been selling multiple electric models, including the Kona SUV and the Ioniq sedan. Now, with its just-releasd SEVEN, which includes swiveling lounge-style seats, a built-in mini-refrigerator, and what Hyundai called “shoe care compartments,” it is moving into the SUV market. Click here to see it, along with Nissan’s Ariya SUV and more.

Auto Loan Competition Fierce as Lenders Report Q3 Results

Capital One reported strong auto loan origination growth but fierce competition as it and other major publicly traded auto lenders shared third-quarter results. According to Automotive News, Capital One's auto loan originations surged during the third quarter compared with the prior year, rising 29 percent to $11.6 billion. CEO Richard Fairbank credited the company's digital capabilities and dealer relationship strategy for the growth. He also noted that "there's like four or five planets that aligned in the auto business," which fueled results. "The auto business, again, has the dealer in the middle of the whole exchange, and the dealer is driving an auction," Fairbank said. Capital One saw increased auto lending competition from all segments, including large banks, credit unions and smaller independents, according to Fairbank. It played out in pricing, loan terms and underwriting standards.  Though the company was "leaning in" on auto, it would be cautious, Fairbank said. "At some point, those planets won't be as aligned as they have been," he said. For the full story, click here.

Biden at GM Plant Promises Jobs of Future Will Be in Michigan

On the assembly plant floor of General Motor Co.'s newly renovated Factory Zero electric vehicle plant, President Joe Biden on Wednesday took a victory lap on passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and pitched the importance of further spending to accelerate EV adoption. "We're going to make sure that the jobs of the future end up here in Michigan, not halfway around the world," he said. The Build Back Better Act currently includes policy that would make union organizing easier, increase penalties for labor violations and give the UAW and the Detroit Three a leg up over competitors through a $4,500 tax credit for EVs built by union workers. But, reports the Detroit News, some Michigan Republicans in Congress pushed back. Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township, ahead of the visit questioned the proposal in the Build Back Better bill that would offer $4,500 in consumer tax credits for cars made by union workers. “Why do you only get a tax credit if it's a union-made car? What's the matter with the non-union people? Why can't we do both?” McClain said. “If we're going to give tax credits, let's give tax credits for innovation, which works, and let's stop picking winners and losers.” For the full story, click here.

Federated Insurance’s Claim of the Month — Could it happen to you?

An employee filed a lawsuit in federal court with allegations of wrongful termination related to violation of the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, and the Fair Labor Standards Act, all centered around COVID-19 related exposure, testing, and protocol. 

CLAIM AMOUNT:  $10,000.00

Navigating staffing issues during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be an ongoing challenge for employers. An Employment Related Practices Liability (ERPL) policy can provide both coverage protection and risk management services, as well as coverage against claims made by employees alleging discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and other employment-related issues. Legal counsel should be considered to help prevent and manage claims of workplace wrongdoing while building strong defenses against potential employment litigation issues. Legal counsel can provide:

  • Information on the current laws, statutes, acts and regulations

  • Guidance in development of employee handbooks and updates

  • Guidance in forms, policies, practices and procedures

Visit or contact your local marketing representative for resources you can use to create or enhance your own risk management program.

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