I am, first and foremost, a baseball fan, partially because the sheer volume of games means that you don’t often need to harness all your hopes to the chaos of one single match the way you have to with football. Take the poor Detroit Lions, who last won a playoff game so long ago you could have watched them win and walked into a GMC dealer to buy a Syclone (and then watch them lose while the “new car” smell still lingered). But alas, the Lions are resurgent, and GM has taken notice.
As much as people love consigning their emotional well-being to football teams, there’s a whole different class of people who do basically the same thing with Tesla stock. Those people had a bad day yesterday. We’ll talk about that in this installment of The Morning Dump, as well.
Building Cars Is Hard (BCIH, we should probably shorten that) and Apple has realizzed that again, once more delaying its electric car. At the same time, it sounds like Apple is backtracking a bit on automated driving.
Finally, Biden is vetoing a bill that would ban certain materials coming from China in EV chargers.
GM Delaying Flint Third Shift For Lions Game
We all know that Detroit-area residents, and, especially, the GM employees in Flint, Michigan have had it good for so long. Nothing bad ever happens to people in Flint, Michigan. It’s paradise, really. It therefore felt almost karmic that the local-ish football team, the mighty Lions of Detroit, have somehow managed to lose nine playoff games in a row going back to the 1991 Conference Championship.
If you were in Michigan and alive in the 1990s, you’d have had to endure losing the Wild Card round of the playoffs five times in seven years. That’s rough. That’s super rough. I once watched my dad legit tear up after the Buffalo Bills managed a historic comeback against the Houston Oilers in the AFC Championship when I was 10, but that was just one game. This is a lifetime for some folks in Flint.
Now that the Texans have been knocked out I’m definitely pulling for the Detroit Lions, who have managed a close victory over the LA Rams in the Wild Card round and a one-score victory against the Buccaneers of Tampa Bay a few days ago, setting up only the second Conference Championship game in Lions history against the 49ers.
I’m not alone. General Motors is going to delay the third shift on Sunday at its Flint, Michigan plant where the company builds HD Silverados and Sierras, which are highly profitable lines and vehicles.
There’s a great thread about this on Reddit and I love the comment from the poster:
In my 13+ years at GM I’ve never seen a postponement to start the week…even 2 feet of snow wouldn’t do it lol. This is for the city! Go Lions!
Some of the quotes in this thread are pretty great, including:
Translation: We know it’s unlikely 80% caught the same 24 hour bug so we’re just going to shut down for the day
I’m not expecting David to be any use on Monday if the Lions win. [Ed Note: True. -DT]. Here’s another one from Reddit:
I put in for the Sunday and Monday the day after the lions clinched the division.
I was like ya know, I’ve had to work the night of the Super Bowl the last 5 years…. I should play this one safe.
Props to the Detroit Free Press for following up with other automakers:
Ford Motor Co. did not immediately provide a comment on whether it has any plants that may need shift adjustments for the game.
Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson sent the Free Press the following statement in an email: “Stellantis is proud of our hometown team, the Detroit Lions, and all of the excitement their victories to date have generated for the City. While we celebrate that success and root for another win against the San Francisco 49ers, Stellantis will run normal production schedules on Sunday to meet the expectations of our customers and dealers.”
Booooooo! BOOOO CARLOS TAVERES! BOOOOO.
Tesla Loses 8% Of Value As Elon Musk Admits EV Growth Is Going To Slow
Excuse me while I get super Millennial here, but as a mall-prowling youth I spent some of my time in a clothing/culture store called Gadzooks (it was the ’90s and this seemed normal). It was a clever move for a retailer to focus on the teens that actually inhabited ’90s malls, especially in Texas where the chain began and it was normally 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
The brand was a success and started spreading out beyond Texas. Unfortunately, Gadzooks expanded super fast and built stores in every mall it could find space in, sort of overestimating the appeal.
I say all of this because there’s clearly a growing demand for electric cars, but that demand probably isn’t going to be huge, linear growth anymore. At some point the early people who can justify the cost and life changes will have EVs and other people will need to be persuaded.
A person who agrees with me is Tesla CEO Elon Musk, according to Reuters:
Musk said growth would be “notably lower” as Tesla focuses on a cheaper, next-generation electric vehicle to be made at its Texas factory in the second half of 2025, which is expected to spark the next boom in deliveries.
But his remarks fell flat with investors, with Tesla set to lose more than $50 billion in market value, if premarket loss hold. Its stock was already down 16.4% this month, as of last close.
“The Tesla headlines have essentially gone from bad to worse,” said TD Cowen analysts, noting that the fourth-quarter revenue and profit were also below expectations.
Biden’s EV Charger Conundrum
One of the ways to increase adoption of electric vehicles is to fix the country’s under-built, crappy EV charging network. The problem? America is woefully behind on the technology and materials to do so, but one of the cornerstones of America’s policy towards electrification is to move away from a reliance on foreign (mostly Chinese) tech and materials.
An industry can’t be spun up overnight so the choice is between delaying the rollout of our charging networks in order to give time to domestic (or at least friendlier) sources, which will lower demand for electric cars, OR swallowing some foreign goods. This is even more complex because even the American-built chargers, from American companies, creating American jobs… sometimes need materials from China.
The Biden White House has decided to use a Reagan-era waiver that allows federal money to be spent on certain projects that require goods or materials from countries without free trade agreements. Both the House and the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a GOP-led bill that would basically reverse that.
Here’s how ABC News sums it up:
Supporters said the congressional measure would keep China out of the supply chain for EV chargers, a politically potent idea that appeals to lawmakers in both parties.
“If we’re going to spend $5 billion of taxpayer money to build electric vehicle charging stations for the United States, it should be made by Americans in America using American products,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, who introduced the resolution last year.
The Senate approved the measure, 50-48, i n November, despite a White House veto threat. Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, along with independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, joined Republicans to approve the measure.
President Biden ultimately vetoed the bill, which may come up later this year.
Apple Is Going To Stop At Level 2+ Autonomy
Remember when we all clowned on MotorTrend back in 2016 for having an “exclusive” look at the Apple Car that was just a render for a car that was supposedly coming this year and would be a self-driving EV? Yeah, no shock, the car isn’t going to come out in 2024 and now we’re learning it’s not even going to be self-driving.
After previously envisioning a truly driverless car, the company is now working on an EV with more limited features, according to people with knowledge of the project. Even so, Apple’s goal for a release date continues to slip. With the latest changes, the company looks to introduce the car in 2028 at the earliest, roughly two years after a recent projection, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.
Apple’s secretive effort to create a car is one of the most ambitious endeavors in its history, and one of its more tumultuous. Since it began taking shape in 2014, the project — codenamed Titan and T172 — has seen several bosses come and go. There have been multiple rounds of layoffs, key changes in strategy and numerous delays. But it remains one of the company’s potential next big things — an entirely new category for the device maker that could help reinvigorate sales growth. Apple’s revenue stalled last year as it contended with a maturing smartphone industry and a slowdown in China, its biggest overseas market.
BIHC. Also, as utterly silly as the MotorTrend cover was, a small part of me was upset eight years ago that I didn’t think of doing that first.
What I’m Listening To While I Write This
It’s grey and cold outside and I’m perhaps a bit homesick for Texas, so a little “The Late Townes Van Zandt” from “Townes Van Zandt” seems in order.
The Big Question
Lions or 49ers, who you got? Also, how does this make you feel about Stellantis?