In today’s dump we look at GM’s Q3 financials, Hyundai’s battery plant plans, Toyota’s weird EV plans, and a bonus Skoda!
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.
What The Hell Is Going On At Toyota?
Reuters his this exclusive report from Japan saying Toyota is maybe going to completely redo the big EV plans they announced just last year.
This report is based on a document created by an internal working group. It sounds like Toyota put together this working group to Red Team their global EV strategy.
It’s important to ask: Who leaked this report? Maybe it’s from someone in this internal team (or elsewhere within the company) trying to pressure the automaker to take up the working group’s suggestions. Maybe it’s from someone an another team trying to get Toyota to double-down on their current strategy. Maybe the company is trying to telegraph to investors that a change is coming. It could be an accident, of course, but I doubt it.
What this report underlines is that Toyota’s EV strategy is definitively slower than other automakers (which we knew) and also maybe not settled (which we didn’t know).
Toyota’s clearly insistent on pursuing hydrogen cars and the company’s President has been saying stuff about EVs being further out than the media proclaims. There’s too much about the report that’s unclear to make any definitive judgments, but this did stick out to me:
Meanwhile, Toyota has suspended work on some of the 30 EV projects announced in December, which include the Toyota Compact Cruiser crossover and the battery-electric Crown, according to the sources and a document reviewed by Reuters.
Over my dead body. The Toyota Compact Cruiser is the best looking and most interesting Toyota product previewed in a decade.
Don’t screw this up, Toyota.
GM Is Making Real Money
GM earned a pre-tax/interest profit of $3.9 billion in the third quarter of 2023 from North America, up 83% from the same quarter last year when supply constraints hamstrung pretty much every company that couldn’t make a pickup truck out of used masks. You can see GM’s full report here.
Globally, the numbers are still positive, with GM earning $41.9 billion from all operations and an EBIT-adjusted net income of $4.3 billion. All of those numbers are up over last year.
How, exactly, is GM doing this? It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to suss it out. You can see that the North American profits make up a large bulk of global profits, and we know that GM sold a lot of trucks and SUVs. So many trucks and SUVs. From their Q3 sales report:
Surpassing Ford F-Series sales calendar year to date: GM sold more full-size pickups than Ford in 2020 and 2021, and is on track to do so again in 2022.
The Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL earned close to 70% of the retail market for full-size SUVs in the third quarter.
The Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV earned close to 31% of the retail market for large luxury SUVs, leading the No. 2 competitor by double-digits.
Trucks! It’s also worth noting that margins in North America increased while global margins decreased. It’s not unreasonable to expect that, with some supplies still restrained, this means we’ll see production for lower-margin vehicles lag behind the profitable trucks.
These are positive numbers so it’s not a complete stretch to think GM can make up its goal of $13 billion to $15 billion pre-tax (they’re at $10.7 billion thus far).
Hyundai Breaks Ground On $5.4 Billion EV And Battery Plant In Georgia
Some of my kin originally hail from the Savannah, Georgia area and I’d like to wonder what my Grandpa Leonard would say if he were still around and I told him that a Korean automaker would be opening a $5.4 billion plan to make batteries for electric cars near where he grew up.
I like to think he’d be excited, though I’d then have to explain how the Inflation Reduction Act encourages automakers to build things locally and that the South Korean government is a little pissy about it. He’d probably have a laugh at that.
Would I then try to explain that, actually, the South Koreans make some of the best cars in the world and that this is a big deal? My grandparents on that side of the family exclusively bought American cars as far as I can remember so that might be a surprise. I guess I could make it more exciting by mentioning that the Mustang is now available as an electric SUV.
According to this Automotive News story at the groundbreaking there will be Georgia’s two Democratic senators and one Republican governor. My granny is a fierce conservative but my grandpa never outlived his Democratic tendencies so maybe he’d find that interesting, too. Certainly the fact that one of the Senators is a fiercely progressive black pastor and the other is Jewish would be a bit of a shock!
I say all this to remind people that the present always seems weird when viewed from the past. Even ten years ago this would have probably been surprising news, but now it seems inevitable.
Check Out The Skoda Enyaq iV vRS
My love for Skoda is well established and there’s no reason to spend a lot of pixels doing a breakout story on the new Skoda Enyaq iV vRS, but I think it looks great so here we go.
This is basically a VW ID.4, with the same MEB platform underpinnings. In vRS form the Enyaq has two motors and AWD with a range of over 310 miles on the WLTP cycle.
It looks nice! Doesn’t this look nice?
On a scale from Upset-to-Livid how mad are you going to be if Toyota kills the Compact Cruiser?