Ford might kill the Transit Connect, another American Hyundai supplier faces allegations of child labor use, Ford is reportedly cutting 3,000 jobs. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Ford Is Reportedly Killing The U.S.-Market Transit Connect
It sounds like trouble might be brewing in small commercial van paradise. Automotive News reports that Ford plans on making 2023 the last model year for the Transit Connect in America.
Ford currently imports the Transit Connect from Spain. The automaker last year developed a plan to produce a next-generation version, code-named V758, at its Hermosillo Assembly Plant starting in 2023. It would have been built on the same platform as the Maverick compact pickup and Bronco Sport, which also are assembled in Hermosillo.
The automaker scrapped that plan earlier this year, according to the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss internal decisions that have not been made public. Ford will stop importing the van for the U.S. market by the end of next year, the people said, although the nameplate will live on as a Europe-only model.
With the Nissan NV200 put out to pasture, numbered days for the Mercedes-Benz Metris, and the reported upcoming demise of the Transit Connect, the only smaller mainstream commercial van sold new in America could soon be the Ram Promaster City. It’s a bit of a shame considering these city-sized vans are perfect for florists, pool repair companies, dealership parts departments and the like. This segment contraction poses a really big question: how long will these smaller vans stick it out in fleets across the country? Chevrolet Astro and GMC Safari commercial vans stuck around for absolute ages after they exited production, so I’m curious to see if the Transit Connect and its ilk will have a similar legacy.
Another American Hyundai Supplier Faces Allegations Of Child Labor Use
Terrible things often happen, but if they happen twice is that a coincidence or a pattern? Reuters reports that the U.S. Department of Labor alleges another Hyundai supplier in Alabama is using child labor.
The Department of Labor (DOL) said that SL Alabama LLC, a subsidiary of South Korea’s SL Corp, employed underage workers at its Alexander City, Alabama factory, according to filings on Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
Since last November, SL Alabama “repeatedly violated” labor regulations by “employing oppressive child labor” and “minors under the age of 16,” the DOL said in a six-page complaint.
In a statement to Reuters, SL Alabama admitted children had worked at the plant, which makes headlights, rear lights and other components for companies including Hyundai and its Kia affiliate. SL said the minors had been hired by an outside labor recruitment firm, which it didn’t identify.
These allegations come after claims of child labor at Hyundai subsidiary SMART Alabama LLC. This is a troubling story to see and it raises the question: Where else is this happening in the supply chain?
Volkswagen Reportedly Plans To Source Battery Materials From Canada
Volkswagen may have found a way around America’s EV credit battery sourcing requirements, and it includes a generous helping of maple syrup. According to a Bloomberg report, the German automaker has reached a deal with Canada for raw materials.
The memorandum of understanding will be signed during German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s current trip to Canada and is designed to shorten supply chains for VW’s facilities in the U.S. and avoid difficulties linked to tariffs and tax regulations, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information. The move has partly been prompted by new rules that President Joe Biden signed into law last week, the person added.
Volkswagen and Canadian government leaders have scheduled a virtual press conference for Tuesday “to announce an agreement to jointly advance electric mobility in the country.”
As a Canadian, this agreement makes a ton of sense. We’re generally a little bit more aligned from a social perspective with Europe than we are with the U.S., plus we have a traditionally natural resource-based economy. It certainly helps that Volkswagen Group does alright up here sales-wise, with mainstream and high-end models all enjoying decent popularity, plus Volkswagen ID.4 production in Chattanooga, Tenn. and battery production nearby helps simplify the potential supply chain freight situation.
Ford To Cut 3,000 Jobs In Shift To EVs.
Reuters reports that Ford is trimming 3,000 salaried and contract jobs as it restructures its workforce for the EV future, a fairly sizable blow to the global automotive workforce.
Ford Chief Executive Jim Farley has been saying for months that he believed the Dearborn, Mich. automaker had too many people, and that not enough of its workforce had the skills required as the auto industry shifts to electric vehicles and digital services.
“We are eliminating work, as well as reorganizing and simplifying functions throughout the business. You will hear more specifics from the leaders of your area of the business later this week,” Farley and Ford Chairman Bill Ford wrote in a joint email.
That’s a lot of people who are about to be given early retirement packages and pink slips, and the last thing we need given rampant inflation [Ed note: I don’t actually think inflation is as bad as some people are making it out to be and given the number of open jobs this could be cast as a realignment – MH] is people out of work. Higher costs of living mean it’s harder to put food on the table and keep on top of bills while searching for a new job, adding stresses that job seekers shouldn’t have to suffer through. While the 3,000 jobs lost will be scattered across the globe, Reuters says that most of them are positions in America, Canada, and India. It’s not great hearing that many positions will be cut close to home and I wish everyone caught up in this the best of luck in finding new jobs.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s almost hard to believe that August is winding down. I hope everyone had a wonderful automotive summer, and I’m curious to hear what car-related plans everyone has for the autumn. Do you hope to take your toy to a pumpkin patch, wish to hit up your local drive-in theater as the evenings cool, or plan on completing some much-needed maintenance? Whatever the case, I’d love to hear what you’re cooking up for the next few months before snow flies.
Lead photo credit: Ford