Volkswagen still wants to take Porsche public, Stellantis extends a minivan shift, Volvo makes music using car noises. 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.
That Porsche IPO Reportedly Still Might Happen
Hi, we’re Volkswagen Group. Welcome to Jackass. Alright, so maybe an IPO in today’s market might not bring about the same testicular pain as Knoxville and Co. can muster up, but it still seems like a sketchy idea. Reuters reports that the Porsche IPO is progressing along, with Volkswagen filing an intention to float to see if buyers express sufficient interest in Porsche.
Sources close to the negotiations told Reuters earlier on Monday that Volkswagen may extend the four-week period for buyers to express interest, or pull its plans altogether, should investors not show enough enthusiasm to make the move worthwhile.
“It would be the technical go-ahead, nothing more,” one of the sources said ahead of the decision. “It’s paving the way, but this would not guarantee that the stock market bell will ring in the end.”
So what happens if this float is successful? Well, a value of between 60 billion and 85 billion Euros is expected, which could produce Scrooge McDuck levels of liquidity. In addition, Porsche is expected to get even more Porsche.
Volkswagen also approved a 25 percent plus one share of ordinary shares in Porsche AG to be sold to Porsche SE, giving the controlling Porsche and Piech families a blocking minority and bolstering their push for a tighter leash on the automaker.
Of course, there’s still a good chance an IPO might not actually happen. The markets haven’t been having a great time recently, with factors like inflation and war resulting in both multiple compression and earnings compression. Investors are quite bearish, so getting them to bite on a massive IPO could be tricky.
Stellantis Extends Second Minivan Shift
Good news from the land of poutine. Automotive News Canada reports that Stellantis is extending a second shift in its Windsor, Ont. minivan plant.
Unifor Local 444 President Dave Cassidy made the announcement in a Facebook video message on the Labour Day weekend, saying the automaker informed him of the decision on Sept. 2.
The automaker confirmed the plan, but didn’t say why it extended the shift.
Stellantis said in October 2021 that it would eliminate the second shift in early spring of 2022, but it has since extended the life of the shift three times.
“Which is great news,” Cassidy said in his video. “We’ve been continuing to fight and argue over that second-shift issue.”
Not only is this good news for auto workers, it’s also good news for minivan enthusiasts who wish to see a steady flow of Chrysler vans from the plant to dealerships. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Pacifica and its kin are experiencing a bit of a surge in popularity.
During the first six months of the year, Canadian sales of the Pacifica were up 81 per cent to 4,217 this year while Grand Caravan sales surged 84 per cent to 2,384.
Oh hell yeah. It’s van time indeed. Look, you can bring your Kia Telluride or Nissan Pathfinder, or even your first-generation Volvo XC90 with its extremely clever seats, Stow N Go will vanquish all comers in regard to flexibility. It’s like having a superpower, long may it live.
Japanese Automakers Suspend Production Due To Typhoon
While war and pandemic have generally dominated the new car shortage, sickness and conflict aren’t the only possible threats to making cars. Reuters reports that Toyota and Nissan battened down the hatches in prep for an incoming typhoon.
Toyota will suspend Monday night shift production starting at 9 p.m. (1200 GMT) and cancel Tuesday morning production at three factories in the western prefecture of Fukuoka.
The automaker expects to resume production on the Tuesday night shift, it said on its website.
Similarly, Nissan Motor Corp and Nissan Shatai Co subsidiaries in Fukuoka prefecture are expected to suspend production for Monday night and Tuesday daylight shifts, a Nissan Motor spokesperson told Reuters.
While a brief interruption, these production suspensions are a good reminder of how nature can affect new car supply. Whether typhoons in Japan, wildfires in Europe, or hurricanes in America, severe weather events can pose a hazard to vehicle production, component production, and shipping. Given how Toyota and Nissan are expecting swift reopening, this typhoon should have a fairly mild effect on new car production, but not all severe weather events will be so quickly managed.
Volvo Tries Selling XC60s Using Noises
Here’s a strange one. Presented with the task of getting younger buyers into XC60 crossovers, Volvo has used an XC60 to create a piece of electronic music. While songs incorporating door slams and window regulators aren’t anything new, this Volvo spot brings car ASMR production to new levels. While pitch-shifted horns are quite novel, the project raises a big question of why? Let’s see what Volvo told Automotive News about the project.
“We wanted an opportunity to see if we could create a new piece for XC60 that could introduce our audience in a new and engaging way to the different features of the car.”
New is certainly right. Volvo collaborated with Canadian YouTuber Andrew Huang and musician Dresage to produce the track in order to showcase XC60 features like the infotainment system, air purifier, panoramic roof, and remarkably solid door thud. Rather oddly for Volvo, there’s no mention of safety or crash protection whatsoever, although that might be a good thing since everyone is showcasing advanced driver assistance suites these days. The ad itself is quite simple, primarily using video overlays of sounds like sun visors closing and air vents being adjusted. While I have no idea if this will actually sell XC60 crossovers, it’s really quite a satisfying project for anyone fond of a well-tuned door.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Wednesday, everyone. We’ve made it to the middle of the week. Speaking of things in the middle, I want to ask what your ideal center console would look like. Would it fold up to be a seat, feature tiered storage, be ergonomically perfect for shifting a manual gearbox, or would it be something else completely?