White House Urged to Intervene in West Coast Port Labor Talks

First Up 03/29/23

White House Urged to Intervene in West Coast Port Labor Talks

A group of more than two hundred importers, exporters, logistics providers, and retailers urged the White House to intervene in West Coast port labor talks that have been underway since last May. In a letter to President Biden, groups including the National Retail Federation, the American Trucking Associations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and AIADA urged the administration to help speed the agreement on a new labor contract between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, after the contract governing dockworkers from California to Washington State expired on July 1. Click here to view the letter. “While we appreciate that the parties agreed not to engage in a strike or a lockout, we are aware of several instances of activities that have impacted terminal operations. We need the administration to ensure these activities do not continue or escalate,” the letter said. Bloomberg reports, the request came as cargo volumes have dropped off at West Coast ports since the pandemic’s record highs, in part because retailers and importers have sought to avoid potential disruption and delays because of the labor negotiations. Click here for the full story.

Mazda's New North American CEO Prepares to Move the Brand Upmarket

It's a good time to be taking the reins at Mazda as the company lays tracks for electrification and sharpens its focus on its luxury aspirations, according to Tom Donnelly, the new CEO of Mazda North American Operations. Donnelly will have primary oversight of the U.S. market. Exiting CEO Jeff Guyton, who is relocating to Japan to be Mazda Motor Corp.'s chief financial officer and a member of the board, will continue to support North America operations. "When I think about moving into this role now, it's timely," Donnelly, whose post becomes effective April 1, told Automotive News. "Looking at what Mazda has accomplished the last few years under Jeff's leadership going back to 2019 and 2020, it's a good time to be associated with the brand." The handover also comes alongside a global shuffle, with Masahiro Moro, taking over as Mazda Motor Corp. CEO in place of Akira Marumoto, who served in the position since 2018. Donnelly steps up from his current position as senior vice president of retail operations. His understanding of North America's critical role in Mazda's global playbook will enable him to elevate dealer throughput in the franchise and enhance customer experience. Click here for the full story.

How a Toyota-Lexus Dealer Is Using a Manhattan High-Rise to Save Space and Service Customers

Dealers will make any number of accommodations to sell and service cars in crowded, expensive urban environments. And then there is the multistory monument to dealer innovation that John Iacono and his partners at BRAM Auto Group have built in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan. Automotive News reports, the tremendously expensive project, which took almost a decade to bring to fruition, consists of nearly identical dealerships — Lexus of Manhattan and Toyota of Manhattan — sharing the fourth floor of a multiuse building with sweeping, stunning views of the Hudson River. Just how imaginative is it? The used cars are on the roof, the new cars are in New Jersey, and the more than 200 vehicles in line for service on any given day are stacked three high and three deep on racks like a kid's giant Matchbox set. Meanwhile, there is a customer cafe — which would be operating if not for COVID-related restrictions — amid the twin delivery areas. There is a 52-bay joint service area on the third-floor bathing in natural light. And every new vehicle purchaser gets a golf cart tour of the facility. Click here for the full story.

Gas Pumps at Car Dealerships? No. Charging Stations? Yes

Car dealers don’t put gasoline pumps on their premises for public use. So why are electric vehicle charging stations popping up at dealerships? There are three reasons: One, it’s good for customer relations. Two, it shows a dealer “gets” EVs as those vehicles grow in popularity. Three, many automakers require their dealers to install chargers at their stores if they want to sell battery-electric vehicles. “We’re definitely preparing for the expansion of EVs,” says Andrew DiFeo dealer principal at Hyundai of St. Augustine. His business is investing about $18 million in a new, 35,000-sq.-ft. dealership that initially will include three fast-working Level 3 chargers and four Level 2 chargers. The new facility’s enhanced electrical wiring system can accommodate an additional five Level 3 chargers that require more voltage lest they blow fuses. DiFeo notes that virtually any dealership selling EVs needs chargers if only to prepare the vehicles for delivery. “We have to charge them when they come in,” he tells Wards. Beyond that, offering chargers aids in the customer-satisfaction cause. “The Level 3 chargers are for our customers first; we’re not going to advertise that we have them,” DiFeo says. Click here for the full story.

2024 Kia EV9 Revealed with Specs, Tech Details, and More

The 2024 Kia EV9 is here, and while we’ve already seen it both outside and inside, today we get to learn about all of the vital specs, features and tech onboard Kia’s new three-row electric SUV. As expected, the EV9 is based on Hyundai Group’s E-GMP electric vehicle architecture, reports Autoblog. On this platform, the EV9 will be offered with two different battery sizes and even more electric motor configurations. The headline model will be fitted with a 99.8 kWh battery pack. For maximum range, Kia will offer a RWD Long Range model with this battery that it says is rated for 336 miles on the WLTP cycle. EPA range is not available yet but expect it to be lower than WLTP figures. Kia says a company-first underbody cover, new air curtain innovations, exceptionally long spoiler jutting out from the roof and aerodynamic wheels contribute to the vehicle’s 0.28 coefficient of drag, allowing the EV9 this range. The RWD Long Range model is fitted with a single motor producing 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque that will motivate the EV9 from 0-62 mph in 9.4 seconds. Click here for the full story.


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