Stellantis plans more North American battery plants, Mitsubishi has another Outlander Sport replacement up its sleeve, China’s car market is slowing down. 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.
Stellantis Will Build Two More North American Battery Plants
Building a ton of EVs first requires building a ton of batteries, so Stellantis is already looking to expand its North American network of battery plants. Reuters reports that the auto group is looking at building two more North American battery plants by the end of the decade.
The automaker has already announced two joint-venture battery plants – one in Indiana and the other in Canada – and will need two more plants in the United States, Canada or Mexico, [North American chief operating officer] Mark Stewart said at a Reuters Events auto conference in Detroit. The first two plants are scheduled to launch in 2025.
“By quarter two, quarter three of ’26, if the market continues on the path that it’s on, we’ll need the third plant online by late ’26, early ’27. We are already in discussions for plant No. 3 and possibly plant No. 4. We will need four plants by 2030.”
What’s really interesting is that Stellantis is open to battery partners for new plants that don’t necessarily have to be the same partners as the ones for its first two North American battery plants. The auto group’s partnered with LG Energy for its Windsor, Ontario battery plant, and Samsung SDI for its Indiana battery plant. A diverse mix of battery plant partners should help mitigate any future supply issues, but it could also mean more work if cell chemistry varies from partner to partner.
Mitsubishi Previews Another Outlander Sport Replacement
While Mitsubishi’s hasty rebadging of the Renault Captur to make the new European-market ASX seems a bit sloppy, it’s not the only replacement for the Outlander Sport. ASEAN markets are getting something entirely different and according to Mitsubishi, it could come to North America.
“In the future, we plan to add an electrified variant to the lineup and to also roll it out in regions outside ASEAN. We hope to grow the model from a vehicle for the ASEAN market to a global strategic vehicle, making it a core model like the sales-leading Xpander crossover MPV.”
This future Outlander Sport replacement is previewed by the XFC Concept, an all-new, all-Mitsubishi approach to the subcompact crossover segment. You know, it actually looks quite nice. The trapezoidal grille isn’t nearly as fussy as the current family face, while the minimal black cladding is equally tasteful. Expect a production version to launch in 2023, while the XFC Concept will make its first public appearance at the Vietnam Motor Show from Oct. 26 to 30.
China’s Car Market Is Slowing Down
Trends in China’s car market could foreshadow an eventual new car inventory rebuild in North America. Reuters reports that weakening consumer demand in China is leading to stocked dealer lots.
Automakers had delivered 1 million vehicles to dealers in China over the first nine months of this year, a record volume for the world’s largest auto market, analysts at China Merchants Bank International (CMBI) said.
In September, deliveries to dealers rose by 33%, while retail sales climbed only 9%, meaning that inventories on dealer lots jumped, a trend that could create an overhang that will weigh on sales next year, they said.
“We expect China’s wholesale volume to fall in 2023, with more significant decline for internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicles than this year.”
Signs of softening demand in China’s market emerge as the economy weakens. China’s auto sales growth slowed in September while EV sales rose at their slowest pace in five months.
Mounting supply and falling demand is typically a good thing, as it puts consumers at an advantage in negotiating sale price. Should a similar situation happen in America, expect cash to come back on the hoods of cars to spur demand. While the used car market is still destined to be messed up for a long time, more normalcy in the new car market isn’t out of the question.
UAW To Hold Direct Election
The Detroit Free Press reports that United Auto Workers union members are about to participate in a direct election of union leaders, a massive change from the way things used to be.
The direct election, a result of the fallout from the corruption scandal that sent ex-union officials and auto executives to prison, involves candidates for president, secretary-treasurer, vice president and regional directors and was made possible following a successful referendum vote on changing the way leaders are picked.
Previously, the union’s top leaders were selected by delegates at union conventions, but at the UAW convention in Detroit this summer, delegates nominated candidates for office instead, setting up the current election through a process known as “one member, one vote.”
The first batch of mailings started on Monday, so more than 900,000 union members should receive their ballots soon. The UAW monitor plans to mail out another 100,000 ballots in the next few days, meaning more than a million unionized auto workers will be able to vote for their next leaders. If you’re a UAW member, don’t forget to fill out your ballot.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Wednesday, we’re halfway through the week. Today I’d love to ask you what your favorite underrated driving song is. While classic icons like Golden Earring’s “Radar Love” often come up in driving song conversations, I’d love to shed some light on the hidden gems out there. Whether cruising through the city at night listening to Nas’ “The World Is Yours” or dropping a gear when “Woman” by Wolfmother comes on the stereo, there really are driving songs to suit every mood and situation imaginable.
Lead photo credit: Jeep