Volkswagen Picks Canada for Site of First Battery Plant Outside Europe

First Up 03/14/23

Volkswagen Picks Canada for Site of First Battery Plant Outside Europe

Volkswagen chose a site in the Canadian province of Ontario for its first battery plant outside Europe, taking advantage of the country’s rich raw materials — and possibly cashing in on U.S.-legislated incentives aimed at encouraging green-tech investments in North America. The location of Volkswagen’s next battery plant has been a recent flashpoint in the competition between the U.S. and Europe to boost investment aimed at transitioning to a low-emission economy. Last year, the Biden administration passed environmental, healthcare and tax legislation — called the Inflation Reduction Act — that included hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives aimed at boosting the country’s clean energy industry and encouraging certain investments in North America. The Wall Street Journal reports, Volkswagen has previously outlined broad plans to build battery factories in both Europe and North America and is already building plants in Germany and Spain. Ahead of Monday’s announcement, Thomas Schmall, VW board member in charge of technology and components, had warned European officials that the company would likely push ahead with its planned investments in North America before breaking ground on its next plant in Europe. Click here for the full story.

These Hopeful Electric-Car Buyers Have Deposits at Multiple Automakers. They Just Want a Car.

Philip Pao placed an order for a Rivian R1T in November 2019. After waiting for three years, he decided it was time to make a backup plan. He placed an order on a gas-powered Toyota pickup truck, and now it's a race to see who will deliver to him in Fairfax, Virginia first. "At this point I've pretty much made up my mind," Pao said, "I'm just going to cancel my Rivian order." For Pao and others like him, waiting on an electric vehicle has turned into a betting game of sorts. Autoblog reports, customers are hedging their bets with orders for vehicles from multiple companies, from startups like Rivian to legacy companies like Toyota. While they sit in a virtual queue — sometimes for years — the new difference-maker for some order holders is the level of customer care they get while they wait. "This is the less glamorous side of the business, but for a new brand it's just as important as the fun part of designing and prototyping," said Jessica Caldwell, an automotive analyst for Edmunds. "The longer the wait goes on, and other products come along, it's easier to switch brands." Click here for the full story.

Honda to Move Accord Production to Indiana as Part of EV Shift

Honda Motor Co's U.S. unit said on Tuesday it would move production of its Accord sedan to Indiana in 2025 after assembling the model in Marysville, Ohio for more than 40 years, as part of its shift to electric vehicle (EV) production. Marysville will be Honda's first U.S. auto plant to transition to making EVs. Reuters reports, the move comes after Honda and South Korea's LG Energy Solution Ltd in October announced they would build planned $4.4 billion joint-venture battery plant at a site near Jeffersonville, Ohio and broke ground earlier this month. The battery plant, to be completed by the end of 2024, will cover more than 2 million square feet (185,806 square meters) and aims for about 40 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of annual production capacity. Honda said last year it was separately investing $700 million to retool three Ohio plants for electric vehicle production by 2026, including Marysville. Marysville will begin preparing for EV production as early as January by consolidating its two production lines to one to enable it to begin building the EV infrastructure, the company said. Click here for the full story.

New-Vehicle Inventories on the Upswing Again

New-vehicle inventories were back on the growth track last month after a slight deviation in January, rising despite strong demand as production continues to recover, according to estimates from Cox Automotive and the Automotive News Research & Data Center. Cox estimated U.S. inventories at 1,828,290 in its most recent assessment, a 58-day supply, up from the 1,726,828 vehicles, or a 57-day supply, it said were available for sale the previous month. Automotive News reports, the inventory figure is about 73 percent above where it was a year earlier but about 850,000 vehicles less than the same point in 2021, right before inventories started falling precipitously. Cox said midsize, compact and subcompact cars had the tightest supplies among volume segments, while full-size pickups and full-size cars had the highest days' supply among nonluxury vehicles. Asian nameplates represented 14 of the 15 vehicle lines with the lowest days' supply. Of the seven automakers continuing to report monthly sales and inventory, two saw their days' supply estimates rise last month while four others saw their days' supply decline, with Subaru remaining flat. Click here for the full story.

Tires Are the Next Frontier for Automotive Data Collection and Safety

Tire sensors are likely to become smarter and generate more important data for drivers in the coming years as electric vehicles become more prominent, industry executives say. That's an important safety factor. EVs are generally heavier than gasoline-powered vehicles and generate massive torque, leading to faster tire wear rates, said Yagil Tzur, vice president of product at Israeli tech startup Tactile Mobility. "EVs have longer service intervals," he said. "They don't get to repair shops as frequently, so no one professional is looking at the tires. That leads to increased risk." Automotive News reports, major tire manufacturers such as Goodyear, Michelin, Continental, and Bridgestone are developing advanced sensors and experimenting with products to help tires last longer and to give drivers notice of when they might need to be serviced. "If you don't personally monitor them, you end up with increased risk of accident and risk of tire blowouts and greater braking distances," he said. Continental, for instance, is developing intelligent sensors that it says will do more than monitor tire pressure, now an industry standard. They will gauge tire temperature, detect punctures, and alert vehicle owners of problems. Click here for the full story.

Key Questions You Should Ask About Participation Programs

CNA National released a guide that investigates three important questions that you, as a dealer, should ask yourself before selecting or changing profit participation structures. By closely vetting and considering your responses, you will likely have more overall success with your chosen program. In addition, you should work with an experienced provider who can extend sound guidance, thorough explanations and comprehensive support. CNAN has offered participation programs to its dealers for over 30 years. The company’s success in this arena has resulted in 14 years of recognition as a top reinsurance provider in the annual Dealers’ Choice Awards, including five first-place Diamond awards—evidence of the commitment and support afforded its clients. CNAN offers reinsurance, including CFC (controlled foreign corporation) and NCFC (non-controlled foreign corporation) structures, a retro program and a DOWC (dealer owned warranty company). Palo Verde Holdings, the NCFC established in 1999 and managed by a board of directors composed of dealer shareholders, has accrued over $370 million in assets. To learn how CNAN can help you earn more income and set you up for long-term success, call (800) 345-0191 x450 or click here.

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