Foxconn could be a Scout builder, Nissan and Renault are trying again, Hyundai has a battery partner, and a bunch of sedans are dead.
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.
Foxconn + VW = Scout?
You probably don’t know what Hon Hai Technology Group is, but you’ve used something the company’s built. In fact, the iPhone or iPad you’re reading this on could have been built by the Taiwanese megacompany. Perhaps you know it by its more popular international name: Foxconn.
If it’s electronic, Foxconn probably builds it in one of its massive and sometimes terrible plants.
The company always manages to be on the edge of what’s coming, which explains why it’s jumped into EV truck manufacturing by purchasing the former Lordstown GM plant from Lordstown Motors in an agreement that sees Foxconn making the Lordstown Endurance truck and owning part of that company. It’s possible that Lordstown is not the future of the car industry, no offense, so what’s with Foxconn’s investment?
There was an interesting piece filed this morning in Automobilewoche (the German sister pub of Automotive News) that indicates Volkswagen is at least “in talks” with the Taiwanese company to manufacture Scout EV trucks and SUVs. That’s right, the Scout of International-Harvester fame that brought us rugged and handsome trucks and SUVs of yesteryear.
Foxconn last month unveiled two new electric vehicles prototypes highlighting its ambitions to become a major car manufacturer, replicating its success in electronics assembly as Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner. A partnership with VW could give Foxconn a major breakthrough.
Why is Volkswagen going to build a Scout? It’s a good question and, lucky for us, Thomas broke down the whole sordid history earlier this year. The short version is that International-Harvester became Navistar, which in turn became part of Volskwagen’s truck arm.
The article goes on to note that Magna-Steyr is also in the mix for making the trucks, which are expected to come to market in 2026.
Renault And Nissan Still Trying To Work It Out
It’s fairly well established that the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Alliance was a marriage of inconvenience built around two fundamental truths:
- Renault, a huge employer partially owned by the French state, was never going to be allowed to fully fail even as it made mediocre cars and bad decisions.
- Nissan, not owned by the Japanese state and maker of great cars and equally bad decisions, was going to be allowed to fail.
Back in the late 1990s, Nissan found itself buried under a mountain of debt following the popping of Japan’s Bubble Era. The Japanese automaker hoped that DaimlerChrysler and Dr. Z would come to its rescue but, alas, Nissan’s debt and Daimler’s poor experience with Chrysler led the German manufacturer to walk away from the potential deal.
The only company interested in taking on Nissan’s debt was Renault and thus the Renault-Nissan Alliance was formed. Since essentially the first day of the company it’s been a battle between Renault trying to finally absorb Nissan and Nissan steadfastly refusing to give up its independence. In 2018, then-Renault and Nissan Chairman/CEO Carlos Ghosn was going to relent and further entwine the companies and, well, we all know how that went.
It’s been 20 years of this crap and it’s still going on! Here’s an update from Reuters just today:
Renault’s chairman on Tuesday told Reuters on Tuesday he was “confident” the French carmaker will reach an agreement with its Japanese partner Nissan on the future of their alliance.
Ongoing talks between Renault and Nissan about their alliance could prompt the biggest reset in the tie-up since the 2018 arrest of longtime executive Carlos Ghosn, but it still has to be confirmed how they play out.
Those two are like Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. Maybe they’ll finally work it out!
All These Sedans Are Dead
Acura ILX? Dead!
Hyundai Accent? Dead!
Toyota Avalon? Dead!
Volkswagen Passat? Dead!
Wormer? He’s a dead man!
The nice folks at USA Today have a wrap up of all the cars discontinued in the United States for 2023 and what’s most notable is all the sedans. Sure, the weird-fit Ford EcoSport and the half-measure Lexus RX L are also on their way out, but they’re just going to be replaced by other crossovers.
The reality is that the entry-level car is mostly gone and is being replaced by the entry-level subcompact crossover and mid-to-fullsize sedans are being replaced by mid-to-fullsize crossovers. As with all realities, this one is subject to immediate change.
Hyundai To Build Batteries With ‘SK On’ In The US
Following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, Hyundai is jumping in bed with South Korea’s SK On to build car batteries in the United States.
Reuters has an explanation of why this deal is so important for Hyundai:
From next year at least 40% of the value of critical minerals for batteries will have to come from the United States or a U.S. free-trade partner in order to receive U.S. EV tax credits of up to $7,500 per vehicle, a threshold set to rise to 80% in 2027.
“We expect the stable supply of EV batteries from SK On will also enable us to contribute to emissions reduction and meet climate goals in the market,” Hyundai said in a statement.
As the new law requires EVs to be assembled in North America to qualify for the tax credits, Hyundai Motor Co and its affiliate Kia Corp, as well as major European automakers, were excluded from the subsidies as they do not yet make the vehicles there.
Yup. Hyundai and Kia have extremely appealing EV offerings but those cars are less appealing without the $7,500 government dollars on the hood. If you’re curious who SK On is, you can read this Forbes profile of their CEO which details how they want to surpass CATL in battery production by 2030.
What does Scout need to do to be successful in the United States?
Photos: VW, Omaze, Renault, SK On, Nissan