Home » More Plants Could Strike Friday If The UAW Doesn’t See ‘Serious Progress’

More Plants Could Strike Friday If The UAW Doesn’t See ‘Serious Progress’

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Three U.S. auto plants on strike may not sound like a huge deal, but that’s 13,000 workers and already a good degree of industry disruption— disruption involving parts, suppliers, deliveries, all of it—and we’re not even a week into things. But by Friday, this could turn into a bigger strike with even greater ripple effects. As the kids (apparently) like to say: “Who’s next?

That and another UAW news item lead off today’s morning news roundup. Also on tap: Lexus’ big plans to be Toyota’s electric tip of the spear against Tesla dominance, and why technology is enabling some concerning new advancements in car theft. Let’s take a look.

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UAW Strike Could Escalate This Week

Shawn Fain Uaw
Photo: UAW

I don’t mean to dip into national stereotypes here, but Ford is probably saying to its striking American workforce: “Why can’t you be more like the Canadians? They’re so nice!” In fact, our neighbors to the north have already inked a tentative agreement with Ford, potentially avoiding a strike in Canada, too. Granted, that country’s auto industry footprint is smaller than America’s, but as CNBC points out, a strike there would’ve impacted F-150 and Mustang engine production—some headaches Ford surely doesn’t want.

Meanwhile, in America, progress is slow. But if it doesn’t pick up in the next 48 hours or so, UAW says, more plants will shut down. You might liken it to ransom demands, but the union calls this “escalation.” Here’s Automotive News:

“If we don’t make serious progress by noon on Friday, Sept. 22, more locals will be called on to stand up and join the strike,” Fain said in a video posted by the union Monday evening. “Autoworkers have waited long enough to make things right at the Big 3. We’re not waiting around and we’re not messing around.”

Fain didn’t say how many additional plants would join the work stoppage, which began Friday. His comments suggested that the UAW could decide not to add plants even without deals in place by Friday, so long as the union is satisfied that the talks are productive.

[…] Bargaining at the subcommittee level continues at a near constant pace while the union has held main table discussions with each company since the strike began. It met with Ford on Saturday, GM on Sunday and Stellantis on Monday.

In a statement, Stellantis said “the discussion was constructive and focused on where we can find common ground to reach an agreement that provides a bridge to the future by enabling the Company to meet the challenges of electrification.” It said the two sides “have the opportunity to establish a framework in this contract that will allow the company to be competitive during this historic transformation and bring our workforce along on this journey. This includes identifying a solution for Belvidere, something we have been committed to from the beginning and a discussion we want to continue with the UAW.”

Right now, the plants on strike make the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, Ford Ranger and Bronco and Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. I say again: Who’s next? Or will we see some “progress” before noon on Friday?

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UAW Gives Heisman To Biden And Trump

Screen Shot 2023 08 28 At 8.34.00 Am
Photo: UAW

It’s super interesting that this strike is happening during a presidential election, and arguably the most consequential one of our times. Both parties are dealing with it in weird ways. For the Republicans, it’s somehow ammo to target electric vehicles, which are surely causing some tension in these strikes but which are definitely not the primary cause of the current standoff—electric vehicles are not expressly mentioned as a major component of any worker demands. On the Democratic side, President Biden is stuck between keeping the automakers happy for his own green agenda’s sake and being as pro-labor in action as he is in words. He does not want to deal with the economic fallout of a prolonged autos strike, and remember, he has no legal authority to intervene here as he did with the rail workers last year.

But for the UAW’s part, they aren’t playing sides here. They just want their money. Via Reuters:

On Friday, Biden sided clearly with the union, telling automakers to concede more to workers who walked off the job at Detroit’s largest car companies and share record profits fairly, and said he would dispatch two of his top officials to Detroit to support both sides in the negotiations.

But he was rebuked by UAW’s Fain, who said “this battle is not about the President,” and the two officials, Gene Sperling, and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, were not in Detroit as of Monday evening.

A White House official said “their goal is not to intervene or to serve as mediator but to help support the negotiations in any way both parties feel is constructive.”

“Nobody has a read on Fain,” said Art Wheaton, director of labor studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations. “He’s not just a stranger to the Biden administration but was a stranger to all of the big three,” he said, referring to the automakers.

Fain has led the UAW for less than six months, and the union has yet to endorse any presidential candidate for 2024. Fain also rejected Republican Donald Trump’s entreaties.

“Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers,” Fain said. Trump said he would go to Detroit to speak on Sept. 27.

More On Lexus’ Big EV Push

Photo: Lexus

As Matt said yesterday, don’t count Toyota out. I’m not doing that, either. Culturally, the company doesn’t like to say big things, it likes to do them, and it only makes announcements when it plans on following through with those plans. But it’s got its work cut out to catch up on batteries, gigacasting and the other things that could be crucial to cheaper EV production at scale. I think we all know the Lexus RZ ain’t it, folks.

And besides, Lexus announced it’ll go all-electric by the middle of the next decade, too. Here’s what we can expect from Japan next month, via Automotive News:

“In 2026, we will introduce the next-generation battery EV that re-innovates the vehicle modular structure, significantly alters our production methods and completely re-imagines the software platform,” [new Lexus boss Takashi Watanabe] said at a vehicle and technology showcase this month at Fuji Speedway. “We have also prioritized vehicle design to embody the essence of Lexus.”

On the radar is a software operating system that Lexus said will unlock a new world of personalized premium perks and performance, as well as luxury tailored to regional preferences.

Pure electric motor drive will deliver more direct control and excitement, Watanabe said, adding Lexus is even considering an all-electric stick shift technology that will retain the thrill of throwing through the gears for tomorrow’s electric motor heads.

A new generation of F-inspired all-electric performance models on tap is pumped up by rumors of an EV sports coupe positioned as a spiritual successor to the legendary LFA supercar. A teaser of the Japan Mobility Show concept shows a wedge-shaped silhouette with a long wheelbase, tucked-down nose and raked windshield.

It all feeds into how Lexus wants to distinguish itself from the premium pack through its Lexus Driving Signature, a driving experience characterized by quiet comfort and responsive steering.

[…] Lexus will piggyback on a slew of new production techniques being readied by Toyota. These include cars that drive themselves through assembly lines and the adoption of giga casting techniques to greatly reduce the number of components.

Like we said, don’t count these guys out.

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Car Theft Goes High-Tech

2024 Tesla Model 3 Rear

There are exceptions to this, like pushing it onto a flatbed (ask me how I know this) but on the whole, modern cars are very hard to steal. Hot-wiring is a thing of the past and various immobilizer devices in keys and software have led to thefts dropping off dramatically in recent years.

Except now, as I wrote for The Atlantic recently, software-driven cars are cyber-security nightmares. And you had better believe that’s going to lead to more car thefts. Not to mention, so are so-called “kits” that can help enable such things in the hands of those who know how to use them. From Bloomberg:

After years of decline, car thefts have been on the rise. In the US, they bottomed out in 2014 and have since risen more than 45%, with total thefts surpassing 1 million in 2022 for the first time since 2007. In the UK, car thefts rose 19% in 2022 alone. That country’s National Crime Agency said in July that one factor was a rise in “electronic compromise thefts,” a category that covers such actions as a thief removing a headlight, then attaching a device that sends commands to unlock a car’s doors and start its engine.

Criminals have also been using a range of devices to intercept signals from keyless fobs to get into cars—and block GPS trackers that would make recovery of stolen vehicles easier. Cybersecurity experts say it’s often hard for victims to know whether such devices were involved in crimes, making the extent of the problem difficult to determine. In the US, the nonprofit National Insurance Crime Bureau has been warning for almost a decade about the criminal use of devices that mimic the function of wireless key fobs. In October 2022, Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, announced it had arrested 31 people across France, Latvia and Spain in an auto theft scheme using devices that spoofed keyless entry systems.

In the UK, officials are considering banning the sale, purchase or possession of equipment that can be used to hack cars, according to local news reports. Some lawmakers are also trying to compel carmakers to harden their defenses. Last year a law went into effect in the EU that requires all new vehicles to undergo a cybersecurity review and automakers to have a plan for identifying and fixing vulnerabilities before the vehicles are sold.

Look how easy this stuff is:

Some problems can be fixed by requiring vehicle owners to visit dealers for software updates when carmakers discover vulnerabilities, but others are harder to stop. Tindell’s company published a report in April that documented the hack of a Toyota RAV4 stolen last year. He worked with the vehicle’s owner, an independent cybersecurity researcher named Ian Tabor, to discover how the thieves pulled off an attack that involved removing the car’s headlight to gain access to the internal network, through which different parts of the car communicate with one another.

The researchers bought one such tool, a Bluetooth speaker retrofitted with a small piece of electronics loaded with malicious code and grafted onto the speaker’s circuit board, according to the report. They activated a special chip hidden inside by pressing the play button, sending the car’s system the message to unlock the doors. From there, they could detach the hacking tool, get inside the car and start the engine, according to the report. Canis’ researchers determined that a similar hacking tool was used to steal Tabor’s vehicle.

It’s good to know The Club has a place in our electrified, connected future of cars.

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Your Turn

What do you want to see from any of Japan’s automakers in this new era of cars? I feel like all of them are a bit behind the curve compared to some these days.

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Xpumpx
Xpumpx
9 months ago

 “I feel like all of them are a bit behind the curve compared to some these days.”

Why can’t I make this sentence work in my head?

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago

“After years of decline, car thefts have been on the rise”

Not a worry with the all new for 1993 Chameleon XLE!

0l0id
0l0id
9 months ago

Any idea if the BMW i3 is at risk here? …asking for a friend of course.

Ron888
Ron888
9 months ago

If i owned a steal-worthy modern car i’d be installing a good old fashioned cutout.
With some imagination it’s easy to make anything into a coded switch.Seat tilt lever,sunshade location,fan settings,switch hidden in the side of a seat cushion,etc.There are masses of potential moving bits in cars.
Just choose something others would think normal if they saw you do it

Fawgcutter
Fawgcutter
9 months ago

It’s probably the high runners you’re observing, but the GM Wentzville Plant also manufactures GM full-sized vans for the US (Chevy Express and GMC Savanna). I know this because GM kept the old body shop intact while they built the wing for the Canyon/Colorado. Of course, GM full sized vans did not keep pace (sales and manufacture) with Ford and Stellantis vans in sales number, so ignoring them is understandable.

MrLM002
MrLM002
9 months ago

What do you want to see from any of Japan’s automakers in this new era of cars? I feel like all of them are a bit behind the curve compared to some these days.

Them not become Tesla. One of the things I love most about Japanese cars is their sensibility. Mechanical door latches, physical buttons, etc.

But I’ll be out of the new car market by 2026 at the latest so after that it doesn’t matter to me much.

davesaddiction - Long Live OPPO!
davesaddiction - Long Live OPPO!
9 months ago

How long are you sticking around these parts, PG? Congrats on the new gig!

Greg
Greg
9 months ago

what!

davesaddiction - Long Live OPPO!
davesaddiction - Long Live OPPO!
9 months ago
Reply to  Greg
Greg
Greg
9 months ago

thanks! I’m not on there.

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago

What I want to see from Japanese automakers right now is some initiative.

A full decade ago, I sat down with a scientific calculator and a few climate change papers and said, “Oh shit, we’re going to have to stop making gasoline cars by 2032!” If an amateur like me could anticipate these regulations, there’s no excuse for automakers getting caught with their pants down.

My criticism of Toyota isn’t that they think hybrids, PHEVs, and fuel cells are better than BEVs, it’s that they also refuse to commit to hybrids, PHEVs, or fuel cells. Barely 1 out of 5 of their US sales are hybridized, and Prime models are produced in miniscule volumes. Their electrification timeline targets double the BZ4X’s paltry range by 2028 — meaning if all goes to plan, in 5 years, they’ll still be 5 years behind. Other Japanese automakers are largely in the same situation.

I want to see Japanese automakers put their money where their mouth is. Stop acting like you can negotiate with the laws of physics. PHEVs and fuel cells satisfy those zero-emissions mandates you’re so upset about, but you have to stop talking about them and start making them at volume.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

If you don’t mind my asking, how exactly did you come to that conclusion? Real question, no antagonism here. I want to know, because maybe eight years ago I did something similar, but instead said “Oh shit, 100% BEV or 0%, it doesn’t matter. Don’t buy waterfront property.”

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago

I don’t remember exactly which papers and databases I used, but here’s the short version.

The concentration of GHG in the atmosphere defines the equilibrium temperature, the temperature at which energy into the planet equals energy out. Planetary temperature is a delayed response; if we magically shut off all emissions today, the planet would continue to heat up (probably for decades) until it hit that equilibrium temperature.

An equilibrium temperature of +2°C is associated with about 450ppm CO2. 450ppm correlates to 1200Gt of CO2 beyond 2014 levels. So that’s our budget. That’s how much CO2 we could emit from 2014 on before dooming ourselves.

Based on historical global emissions, population growth models, and energy demand projections, that 1200Gt would last around 18 years. Chugging along for 18 years and then stopping instantly is… a lot like cramming for finals. The better plan is to wean off GHG steadily. If we reduced emissions to half by 2032, and to zero by 2050, we stretch that budget to 36 years. If we front-load the emissions reduction, we buy ourselves more time, and if we delay the midpoint for a few years, the endpoint shifts closer by a few years.

So here’s where cars come in. I figured the average lifespan of a car was 12 years, but I was used to people driving them for 18. So if someone bought a gas car in, say, 2040, it would still be operational after 2050, meaning they’d be stranded assets after gasoline was no longer available (synfuel wasn’t a major discussion point at the time). On the heels of the Great Recession, that struck me as a major economic vulnerability. Better to simply stop selling the engines 18ish years before the deadline, so they all die out naturally and nobody’s caught with a $20k paperweight.

So, to keep the planet from cooking, we’d need no more than 450ppm. To stick to 450ppm, we had a budget of 1200Gt. To stick to the budget, we’d need to taper to net zero by 2050. To stick to 2050, we have to stop selling engines by 2032.

Please note: the exact details and targets of this projection have changed over the last decade, but they’ve remained remarkably close to the IPCC’s recommendations today.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

No worries, I wasn’t expecting citations. That’s all fair reasoning, but I would argue that it’s all based on the idea that ALL carbon emissions must and will stop by 2050, and it treats all emissions the same, regardless of source. Some emissions targets are more hardened that others.

Fact is, we are NOT on track to hit net zero by 2050, not even close. Fortunately, the world will not explode if and when we cross from 2.0C net warming to 2.1C. Things will just continue to get… weirder – probably until migration patterns become so intense that the world’s superpowers elect fascist governments. Then they will blow up the world. My own reasoning comes from a harm reduction perspective:

There are limited resources (economic and political) with which to affect change that reduces harm, so we should be choosing wisely. With batteries being so very, very expensive, and the raw materials to make them being so very scarce (this may be changing as more surveys are turning up exploitable deposits of the minerals in question, but between now and 2032 they are going to remain scarce), and with 84% of GHG emissions (Source: Our World in Data) coming from things that are not transportation related, don’t have to move, and don’t require batteries, full decarbonization of transportation should be a second or third priority. That’s not to say there should be no development of electric vehicles – every bit counts and it’s really not going to help the situation if everyone in China and India starts driving the kind of cars Americans drive, the way Americans drive them – but forcing them into economic use cases where they don’t make sense is going to burn resources that would be better spent elsewhere.

Of the 16% of GHG that comes from transport, 6 percentage points are from consumer vehicles. The other 10 points are from planes, trains, trucks, busses, and ships. Some of those are probably out of reach for now (good luck transitioning aviation and ocean shipping away from fossil fuels), but fleet vehicles with with consistent use patterns can have their batteries much more right-sized than consumer vehicles. Consumers buy their vehicles to project status, minimize cost, and cover as wide a range use cases as possible (really a subsection of “minimize cost”). Every kW*hr of battery capacity sitting unused in a driveway is a kW*hr that could be displacing diesel or even bunker fuel consumption in a ferry that runs the same route every four hours, or in a short-haul delivery truck. The most damning part is this: the consumer would have to waste quite a bit of money on that unused capacity, while the ferry or truck would be saving money.

The #1 thing most (American) consumers can do to cut their GHG footprint is probably to eat less red meat. The #2 is to downsize their house. #3 is buy a heat pump for that house. All of those options will save the consumer money. A $50,000 BEV, on the other hand, consumes enough capital to fund 10 heat pump retrofits.

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago

I respect the “bigger fish” argument, and as an engineer I am inclined towards such optimization. The weakness of a bigger-fish approach is on the human side rather than the scientific side.

The bigger-fish approach requires consensus on which fish is bigger, and that leads inevitably to finger-pointing and misinformation as every deep-pocketed industry attempts to shirk their responsibilities. My favorite example of this is — completely by coincidence — the claim that red meat generates more GHG than cars.

Including ANL upstream (refinery/distribution) costs, light-duty consumer vehicles account for 22.6% of US emissions. Cross-referencing EPA and USDA data, US meat, dairy, fish, and poultry contribute 4.4% of US GHG emissions. For reference, direct residential and commercial emissions (mostly NG heating) are 5.5%.

The red meat story is easy to disprove (though remarkably persistent anyway), but not all misinformation is so easily quantified. Right now, natural gas companies are astroturfing like crazy in an attempt to convince city planners that eliminating gas hookups for stovetops in new apartments is unduly burdensome for residents. They’re claiming that other fish are bigger and/or easier to catch. Everyone pointing at everyone else wastes time that we don’t have.

The political and informational challenges of a bigger-fish approach is well known by now. While the theoretical reasons for the approach make perfect sense, the consensus is that we can’t afford to waste time finger-pointing. As UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres put it earlier this year, “Humanity is on thin ice, and that ice is melting fast. Our world needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once.”

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Well, now I do want to see sources, as those numbers are very far off from anything I’ve ever seen from a credible one.

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago

No problem.

Transportation sector’s contribution to US emissions: 29%
Light duty vehicle contribution to transportation sector: 58%
ANL’s multiplier for upstream emissions of gasoline production: 1.212 – (https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1875764)
Agricultural sector’s contribution to US emissions: 10%
Livestock contribution to agricultural sector: 44%
Residential direct emissions: actually 5.8% right now, mea culpa

There are a few percentage points of wiggle room here, because emissions change from year to year. 2021 automotive emissions are slightly lower than 2019.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Alright, I had to wait until I had both the time and attention span to look at this….

I didn’t catch the first time that you were narrowing the scope to US emissions only. Those numbers are accurate, but you’ve got to keep it in context that we’re now talking about 58% of 29% of 15% of emissions, or roughly 2.5%. It’s not nothing, and if US laws are going to address US problems, then yes, it’s a larger share of the US’s problem. Doesn’t change the fact that every dollar spent and every reelection chance blown in pursuit could have greater impact elsewhere and actually save consumers & businesses money, rather than saddling them with a $1,000 car note.

I’m not buying that you can take a blanket correction factor from one study and apply it to numbers from another study. Maybe the info to support that is somewhere in those 212 pages, but so far all I’ve found is a note in the executive summary that it’s assumed that the electricity generation mix currently is and will be what the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s, 2021 Annual Energy Outlook projected it would be in 2035. Skimming that document shows at least 3 different cases projected for the mix in 2035. Don’t know which one they’re going with, but you’re going to have to walk me though this logic if I’m going to follow.

Ron888
Ron888
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

This kind of thinking annoys me. The Japs are making WHAT SELLS.
Search the internet for the chart on actual emissions,and see how far ahead hybrids are compared to full EVs.In most locations hybrids cause LESS overall emissions!!
This will change once we significantly change the way we produce electricity,but that’s some years down the track.

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago
Reply to  Ron888

According to MIT (data here), even on 100% coal power, EVs typically have half the lifecycle emissions of hybrids overall. But this isn’t about that. This is about Toyota’s and Honda’s stubborn refusal to convert their lineups to hybrids back in the 2010s when it would’ve made a difference for the climate and averted them having their backs against the wall today.

Ron888
Ron888
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Thanks i’ll check that out. One has to wonder why their numbers are almost opposite to others ive found! Someone’s not telling the whole truth and i aim to find out who

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago
Reply to  Ron888

Let me know how that goes!

Other studies you should check on include those from ANL, UCS, Reuters, Carbon Brief, and the ICCT. They all differ slightly due to different data sets, methodologies, and regions, but they all ultimately agree with the gist of MIT’s results.

Ron888
Ron888
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Im just now realizing how much work i’ll have to do!
So until i can get around to it,and given the overwhelming evidence,i’ll believe the MIT data as more correct.i’ll just assume the previous study i saw was wrong

CopperFireMist
CopperFireMist
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

I work on Shitboxes for a living, Toyota knows whats up.

Ben
Ben
9 months ago

I was very confused by the Heisman subhead. Generally speaking, giving the Heisman to someone is a good thing. It sounds like the UAW blew raspberries at both Biden and Trump. Which is very on-brand for Fain, given that he seems determined to antagonize basically everyone.

attack that involved removing the car’s headlight to gain access to the internal network

Considering how hard it is to remove the headlight on most cars these days even when you have complete access to it, this doesn’t seem like it would be a common attack vector. I suspect there’s more to this story.

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago
Reply to  Ben

dude, no. The Heisman is a stiff-arm, as in “give that girl the Heisman!” when she gets cray cray.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g3-oOjd9m0

Last edited 9 months ago by DadBod
Ben
Ben
9 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

Wow, I’ve never heard it used that way.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
9 months ago
Reply to  Ben

I’m with you, this is a new one to me too. Thanks to DadBod for the clarification.

OFFLINE
OFFLINE
9 months ago

It’s interesting that the picture of the car for “Car Theft Goes High Tech” shows a vehicle from a manufacturer that’s actually doing something about it. Look up Tesla on the “Pwn to Own” competition. Meanwhile, Toyotas are getting jacked with CANBUS expoits. This is a software issue, and the companies that don’t have a software mentality at their core architecture level are screwed.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
9 months ago
Reply to  OFFLINE

Toyota treats software like a child told to eat his broccoli before desert. They put no effort into it at all and act like it’s annoying to do.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
9 months ago

More strike articles, more new accounts that only have 1-2 comments and only on the strike articles. Another day in hell world.

PG, you’ve been good to us. Happy trails.

VanGuy
VanGuy
9 months ago

If someone gave me $60,000 and I had to buy a current model year car with it (to use), I’m not sure what I’d do.
https://www.theverge.com/2023/9/6/23861047/car-user-privacy-report-mozilla-foundation-data-collection
Increasing software vulnerabilities for “hacks” combined with unconscionable privacy policies means that, at least for now, I really don’t want to get any cars with an “always-on” internet connection.
I’d love to have some kind of listing of car makes/models showing the cutoff for connectivity, or what options include one or don’t (e.g., if some GM cars don’t come with OnStar, are they privacy-conscious? Or are they still recording video/location/etc. data that is still easily retrieved with basic tools and devices?).

Autojunkie
Autojunkie
9 months ago

Car Theft Goes High-Tech
I’ll just point this out one more time since I can and I rather enjoy stating “I was right” in this scenario.

Back in 2005, I worked for a major OEM in the Detroit area. I was no software expert, but pretty well versed in how CAN Bus worked and pointed to some potential vulnerabilities that they were integrating into their hardware , which could make it eventually possible to hack the vehicle. Sending messages over the CAN Bus was relatively simple, but as secure as it was designed to be, if the OEM was adding vulnerability, then it needed to be addressed. To make this long story short, when I brought it up with my colleagues and managers, I was literally told “what? That’s not possible, you fucking idiot”. This were the exact fucking words that I was first told before this person told others on the team to point out how “dumb” I was. Even the manager laughed and agreed with him only because he didn’t want to seem ignorant, but he had no idea how CAN works either.

It was a toxic department that I’m glad to no longer be a part of. That colleague who initially shamed me eventually went on to teach at a popular automotive tech school in one of the states just north of Utah.

I was fucking right.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
9 months ago

Best of luck PG, sorry to see you go.

I think the Japanese OEM are running into the whole change to EV only a little more slowly than the others. I don’t think it will hurt them. If they have to, they’ll push out more plug-in hybrids and a true BEV only if they have to. The EU may already be seeing 2030 as too soon. CARB states might realize it too

Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago

Wait, what? PG stops into Autopian for a hot minute and then shuffles off our immortal ignition coil?

Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago
Reply to  Johnny Anxiety

Well good for Patrick. He’ll be back to Autopian. Clearly those EV things are just a fad.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
9 months ago
Reply to  Johnny Anxiety

What?!?!? No mention of The Autopian or PG’s propensity to crash Camaros at media days?

You’re headed to a second-rate hack-job of a media site, Patrick!

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

Ford: Egality is job none.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
9 months ago

The answer to the question is quite obviously electrification, but I don’t necessarily mean BEVs exclusively. There isn’t a single, solitary hybrid of any form in Acura’s American lineup right now and both Honda and Acura have a goose egg on EVs…and wouldn’t even be making progress on that front if it wasn’t for a layup from GM. Honda has made some progress in hybridizing its lineup (the Accord is now exclusively a hybrid) but they don’t have many PHEVs either.

Nissan has some EVs but it’s pretty much all electric or all ICE with very little in between. Subaru is the same way. Both have been artificially boosting fleet fuel economy with time bomb CVT transmissions. In the short term they increase CAFE numbers, but when cars inevitably need full transmission replacements at 50,000 miles the benefits are essentially nullified.

Toyota gets it. While I think some of the flak they’ve gotten for being so staunchly anti EV is warranted, they’re correct in their stance that hybrids and PHEVs are a better use of our battery and development resources in the present. And it shows! Try finding a hybrid or PHEV Toyota in your area at or below sticker and get back to me.

Lexus has all the hybrids as well, and it’s smart. UX? ES? NX? RX? All offer hybrid powertrains and they’re starting to roll out PHEVs now too. Right here, right now, that’s what people want and need. As long as the BEVs are in a good place in the next 5-10 years it’ll be fine. Most of the rushed first gen EV rollouts from legacy manufacturers have been rough as hell anyway.

I hate Elon, I personally detest Teslas and their insipid fanbase, and I’d never own one…but if you absolutely must have an EV right now and don’t care about that stuff they’re still top of their class in range and charging infrastructure and that’s not changing for a few years. Japanese manufacturers taking their time with this process doesn’t bug me too much personally because it makes sense.

My other, entirely selfish wish for Japanese car companies is for them to catch up with the Germans when it comes to luxury cars. Do they have them beat on longevity? Of course, but when it comes to design, technology, materials, and sportiness outside of a few interesting anomalies (Integra Type S, LC500, IS500, etc) they’re way behind.

Most Lexus and Acura offerings are a good 5 years behind the times, and Infiniti is a solid decade behind if not more. They all have a core audience of older, affluent buyers who appreciate that simplicity and familiarity but they’re a finite resource. There are certain areas they’re just lagging in. All the German luxury brands have several usable full EVs. All of the ICE options have modern powertrains. All of them get the stellar ZF8 or a DCT while the Japanese brands saddle you with Jatco and Aisin nonsense that dates back to Y2K.

I could keep going but I’ll stop. If they could gain a little ground back on those fronts they’d dominate the market. And I said this was a selfish wish because I’d love to buy Japanese over German for longevity reasons and my next purchase will be a luxury car. But man…really all they have going for them right now is reliability and hybrids (if you go with Lexus). I hope that changes.

Last edited 9 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
9 months ago

Two things here today:

  1. Trump is gonna get the ever-living shit booed out of him if he shows up there.
  2. Congrats on the new gig, PG! Best wishes!
Strangek
Strangek
9 months ago

I don’t think it matters that the Japanese companies are “behind” right now with their initial offerings. Most of these early EVs are flawed anyway from all the automakers. It’s the EVs that they are making 5-10 years from now that will matter, and by then I’m sure they will be doing just fine.

Chronometric
Chronometric
9 months ago

Maybe Toyota is betting on a Trump victory and an EV mandate rollback.

Last edited 9 months ago by Chronometric
EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
9 months ago

You’re goddamn right! These electric cars from the future are takin’ all the work from us decent present day Americans. EVs took our jobs!

A. Barth
A. Barth
9 months ago

It’s super interesting that this strike is happening during a presidential election

I get that politicians are more or less campaigning all the time, but the election is well over a year away; let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
9 months ago

We need smaller, less-expensive cars. We also need to accept UNECE standards too.

And don’t forget the Kia Boyz 🙁

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
9 months ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Why the devil should the US accept European auto regulations?
Make no mistake; broadly speaking, one set of auto regulations is as good as another; the primary function of having a different set of regulations is to add barriers of entry to foreign automakers into the US market. That should of course enrage any dyed-in-the-wool free market capitalist, but if you want to (for instance) pay the UAW workers what they are currently demanding, you can’t at the same time put them in direct competition with labor in other parts of the world that pay pennies on the dollar compared to a US living wage.
The benefits of doing this with regulations instead of tariffs or other direct trade taxes is that you get to address country-specific needs with your regulations – EU worries a lot more about particle emissions and less about NOx emissions than US regulators, for instance. There’s no right or wrong there; priorities are shaped by the realties of the market you’re regulating, and the US is not Europe (or China or Brazil or Nigeria or Australia…)

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Then adopt UNEC standards for small inexpensive vehicles like every domestic manufacturer refuses to sell here. Even if UAW gets what they want, the general public doesn’t have nearly enough access to good affordable transportation. And if we suddenly did, even if it wasn’t built here, the UAW’s newly-won rights would pressure the big 3 to build competitive affordable cars at last, while greedy executives just have to sit back and watch their absurd paychecks get smaller or move on.

I don’t give a crap about free market capitalism or what the people in charge of the American auto industry want, give us cheap good cars back. Or at least remove the 25-year limit on privately imported cars, the extra work required will still prevent all but the most determined of buyers (such as enthusiasts) from importing a new foreign car, but it would at least make it possible for us to drive something we like.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
9 months ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Europe does just fine with their ECE standards, and they are a competitive market. GM left Europe because they couldn’t compete.

Also, those third world countries you mention accept ECE standards. Mexico, China, and Latin America are moving towards just making their own standards similar to them or signing onto them completely, but even now, UNECE standards are accepted there.

Mexico accepts both US and UNECE standards.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
9 months ago

It’s just a matter of time before there is a large scale hack. With these cars all connected it’s gunna be epic. The part we don’t know is if it will be malicious (like the cars are bricked until there is a ransom paid) or more playful, like the HUD displays a dong when you get in the car or something and someone is looking for a bounty.

It’s going to happen, it always happens. And Tesla will be target #1. So, hopefully they are doing better than storing data laden server racks in a trailer with nothing more than a store-bought padlock protecting them.

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago

SUCK IT, JIN-YANG!

OFFLINE
OFFLINE
9 months ago

Tesla is giving away cars to folks that can hack them at Pwn to Own, and are very active on the security front. I don’t worry much about them. Ford? GM? Toyota? Holy crap, they suck at this and they’re actively connecting their cars up (My F150 gets over the air updates — soon, everyone will.) This is not to say Tesla won’t get hacked, but it won’t be easy and it will get patched and pushed FAST.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
9 months ago
Reply to  OFFLINE

Anyone can be hacked with enough resources. Tesla is just the biggest target which is why I mention them. Elon also only cares about security sometimes. When he’s all manic that goes out the door. Also, Tesla’s obsession with controlling every aspect of their cars from a distance introduces a lot of opportunities. Once it becomes more lucrative for hackers they’ll turn their attention, and it will happen. The only question is when and on what scale.

Space
Space
9 months ago

You will be proven right about a hack, although I bet the first target will be Kia. Their record on security is lacking.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
9 months ago
Reply to  Space

I think it has to do more with the size of the target then their security precautions. Microsoft has been hacked hundreds of times. My network has never been hacked. Is it because my security is so much better?
Point is that the size of the target dictates how many resources are working to hack it at any point. Once hacking cars becomes big business enough to lure hackers away from their current targets it’ll happen and it will be the biggest targets that get hit first (regardless of their measures). Maybe Kia, but if I’m looking to make a name for myself as a hacker (or just make alot of money) I’m focused on the biggest targets and right now that’s Tesla.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago

“It’s just a matter of time before there is a large scale hack”

Well we already have that literally with catalytic converter thefts…

V10omous
V10omous
9 months ago

What do you want to see from any of Japan’s automakers in this new era of cars? I feel like all of them are a bit behind the curve compared to some these days.

It’s disappointing that the only way this can really be interpreted is that they sell fewer EVs and are less vocal about them. Because in terms of making vehicles that most people want to buy, I would not say Toyota, Honda, Subaru, and Mazda at least are behind the curve at all. Nissan and Mitsubishi, sure.

It’s funny that we’ll get articles and commentary about how the Hummer is wasteful and hybrids are better uses of resources. But then when the Japanese deliver exactly that, they are accused of being behind the curve?

The only thing I want to see is a modern MR2.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I’ve said before, Toyota can’t keep any of their current lineup in stock right now. If anything, they’re so ON the curve in that they’re providing what people want right now.

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I’ve been a supporter of Toyota’s careful reticence about a full EV dive. We all know that the big companies shouting from the rooftops how they will stop making gas cars will IMMEDIATELY reverse course and pretend they never said that if the laws will allow them to do so. I appreciate the quite professionalism of Toyota. They come in, get shit done in a fantastic way, but they don’t put all their eggs in one basket. They are still gambling on a world of multiple powertrains, and as an international company selling to everything from 1st to 3rd world countries, I think they are right. Even after tons of discussion, the EV mandates seem to believe everyone is a high earning first world country who can deal with this rapidly.

V10omous
V10omous
9 months ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

Agreed.

Outside of maybe Western Europe and California there isn’t a place on earth ready for EV mandates. And I don’t expect that to change by 2035.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Those EV mandates include a “limited” number of PHEVs. I expect when push comes to shove PHEVs will be as limited in number as “limited edition” cars are now.

Last edited 9 months ago by Cheap Bastard
Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
9 months ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

Very well put.

Cerberus
Cerberus
9 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I’ve been arguing against the lack of EV criticism for a while, too. Not only is Toyota selling the hell out of everything and at what must be great profitability as they often carry over older tech longer than most other OEMs and they rarely need incentives, but this long-running, long-successful strategy explains their reticence in jumping all in on EV. And why should they jump in so dramatically? They can wait for better battery tech to emerge before moving out new product or—since they have so much money—buy another OEM who is further ahead. And it’s not like they have no experience at all. I just don’t anticipate them being caught flat footed in this. If anything, being what might be one of the last companies with a variety of ICE offerings could allow them a large portion of the market to themselves when EV mandates are realized to be impossible to meet because we live in the world we live in, not the one we wish we lived in, and everyone else scrambles to dust off the old ICEs they stopped development on a decade before they last ended production. Some companies need to jump in because their ICE reputations suck, they have a terrible mix of primarily gas guzzlers, have to appease short-term thinking investors who only speak in buzz words, and/or they need the change of image as hip and happening (outdated slang words chosen for a reason) by moving to the “cool” new thing. Toyota doesn’t really need to do any of that.

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