Toyota expects new car supply to remain low well into 2023, GM plans another battery plant, Volvo wants to try putting charging stations at Starbucks locations. 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.
Toyota Expects One More Year Of Tight New Car Supply
So much for predictions that shortages would ease towards the end of 2022, huh? Automotive News reports that Toyota USA sales chief Jack Hollis expects the new car supply shortage to last well into 2023.
“We’re going to be dealing with this for one more year,” said Hollis. “I do not believe we’re going to see growing dealer stock for one more year. I think we’re going to be in a situation, speaking for Toyota and Lexus, where whatever we wholesaled is what we’ll retail.”
Hollis said dealer inventories are likely to remain tight — he noted that Toyota dealerships have been down to a 36-hour supply at certain points recently — for the foreseeable future, but said he doubted that any automaker would return to inventory practices that were commonplace prior to the pandemic.
“They just won’t,” Hollis declared, adding that the advent of widespread digital retailing tools have given consumers a level of comfort with ordering or buying vehicles that are still in transit or waiting to be assembled.
It sounds like it’ll be a slow return to anything resembling normal for Toyota, and reading between the lines, I wouldn’t be surprised to see fewer vehicles on dealership lots when everything’s said and done. This is probably bad news for anyone looking to leap on slow-moving stock for below MSRP in the next few years, as leftover cars will likely prove hard to come by even after new car supply stabilizes.
General Motors Might Be Building A Fourth Battery Plant
GM has some big plans for its Ultium battery ecosystem over the coming years, from collaboration with Honda to electrifying every market segment from commercial vans to crossovers. It’s a road map that will require massive investment, and Reuters reports that General Motors might be building another battery plant in Indiana.
Ultium Cells LLC “is developing a competitive business case for a potential large investment that could be located in New Carlisle, Indiana,” she said, adding that Ultium had submitted a tax abatement application that it hopes will be approved later this month.
Last month, the U.S. Energy Department said it would loan Ultium $2.5 billion to help finance construction of battery cell manufacturing plants in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan.
Last month, GM said it struck multi-year agreements with LG Chem Ltd and Livent Corp to secure key raw materials used in manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles. GM said it was on course to reach its goal of producing 1 million EVs annually in North America by the end of 2025.
A target of one million EVs per year will require a lot of batteries, and given the impending battery sourcing mandate, it only makes sense for GM to be considering a fourth battery plant in America. New Carlisle, Ind. would be a convenient location given its proximity to vehicle plants such as Fort Wayne Assembly in Roanoke, Ind., Wentzville Assembly in Wentzville, Mo., and Fairfax in Kansas City, Kan., and a battery plant there could signal plans for some of those aforementioned assembly plants.
Volvo Will Try Putting Charging Stations At Starbucks Locations
This is one of those stories that will make you go “what did it take so long for?” It’s no secret that EV charging locations are inconsistent at best and can be downright sketchy, so Volvo has a plan to change that. Automotive News reports that the Swedish automaker is partnering with Starbucks to pilot building a charging network.
As part of a pilot program, Volvo will install up to 60 fast chargers at 15 Starbucks stores across a 1,350-mile route from Denver to Seattle by year end. The chargers will be from ChargePoint but include Volvo branding.
Alex Tripi, Volvo Car USA head of electrification, described the Starbucks tie-up as an “amenities-first” approach to EV charging.
“We want to send drivers to where there are the amenities that they expect — a clean restroom, a snack, a well-lit parking lot,” Tripi told Automotive News. “Who better to do it with than Starbucks, given their footprint?”
It just makes so much sense to set up charging stations at Starbucks locations. Not only are most Starbucks locations owned by the company to streamline installation, but Starbucks brings a level of consistency to EV charging. Stop by, have a yogurt parfait, sip back some coffee that’s probably better than gas station bean water, and let some indie radio station serenade you while you wait for your EV to charge.
The 2023 Geneva Motor Show Goes To Qatar
The pandemic has been a rough era for auto shows, with COVID restrictions piling on top of already falling show attendance. As such, it’s not entirely surprising to hear of another auto show casualty. Reuters reports that the Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva has been canceled yet again, although for rather puzzling reasons this time.
[The organizers] said they would focus instead on a complementary motor show, the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar, due to be held in Doha later in 2023.
“Due to the uncertainties in the global economy and geopolitics, as well as the risks related to the development of the pandemic, the organisers have decided to focus exclusively on the planning of the event in Doha in 2023,” the organisers, the permanent committee of the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS), said in a statement.
The car show in November in Doha, Qatar, which was initially planned as a complement to the Geneva event, is now going to be the only GIMS show in 2023. It is scheduled to take place every two years, the organisers said.
That comment on geopolitics seems a bit odd. I’d have expected Geneva to be more palatable from a DE&I standpoint than a country with a less-than-excellent track record of human rights. Then again, money talks, and Qatar’s oil-based economy seems like the perfect fit for supercar debuts and high-end tuners like Mansory.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. I definitely understand why auto shows are dying in an age of digital debuts and tight new car supply, but that doesn’t make their decline sting any less. There’s nothing quite like seeing a new car with your own eyes instead of through heavily-edited press photos, plus you can compare interiors and cargo space of new vehicles without being badgered by half a dozen salespeople who are just trying to do their job and sell cars. I’d love to know what your favorite auto show memory is, for motoring exhibitions are often core memories of our automobile-enthused adolescences.