Automotive News Underground 3/31/2023

Here are the car news stories you might have missed this week.

March has been an interesting month full of developments in the auto industry, including people sobering up about the reality of electrification, thanks in no small part to geopolitical developments and financial upheavals. This week’s news includes the death of a popular Toyota, many recalls, and Stellantis getting popped for pollution.

The Camry is dead.

Don’t worry, the Toyota Camry lives on in North America, Australia, and many other markets, but it has been pulled from the brand’s lineup in Japan of all places. After 43 years of being offered to Japanese consumers, the automaker has decided to pull the Camry thanks to a lack of interest. Meanwhile, Americans gobble up Camrys like they’re candy.


Read more about this move here.

UAW has a new leader.

The United Auto Workers’ Union has a new president, Shawn Fain, who in his first speech after being elected said the organization is “ready to get back in the fight.” He has a rallying cry for auto workers to band together against their true “enemy” whom he says are their employers. Naturally, the Big Three are a little on edge right now.

Read more about this development here.

Recalls abound.

There are way too many recalls in the auto industry right now. People have debated why recalls are so common these days, with everything from improved technology to over-regulation being cited as the cause. This week, Honda issued yet another recall for 330,000 vehicles because of a side mirror problem. Hyundai has a wiper recall out this week, Hyundai/Kia has a recall for short circuits causing spontaneous fires, GM issued a small transmission recall, and Mercedes-Benz also has a fire risk recall. Meanwhile, NHTSA has opened another investigation into Teslas, this time looking at claims seatbelts don’t stay securely buckled during crashes.

Stellantis gets fined for pollution.

Usually you hear about automakers and pollution that’s coming out of vehicle tailpipes, but Michigan regulators are fining Stellantis for one of its factories polluting too much. The plant in question is Warren Truck Assembly, which has been cited for 4 violations since February 2021 when it obtained a new air permit for a new paint shop. Already, Stellantis has paid $371,454 for violations and is looking at $5,000 a day for violating a state order on compliance.

Learn more about this story here.

Russian oil flows freely.

According to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, Russian oil exports to India have surged 2,200% since the West slapped his country with sanctions over the Ukraine invasion. Not everyone is going to believe Novak and that’s understandable considering the source, but it is obvious the BRICS nations, which include not only Russia and India but China, Brazil, and South Africa (with Iran and Saudia Arabia joining soon), are sticking together as they face growing animosity with NATO. This growing division could spell tectonic shifts for automakers as these large markets are cut off entirely from them.

Read more about what Novak had to say here.

Japan and the US hammer out an agreement.

Ever since the Inflation Reduction Act, foreign governments and automakers have been up at arms over being left out of EV incentive programs. This has opened up discussions with the EU and Japan, two areas important in the global auto market. Now the US and Japan reportedly have signed a trade deal for EV battery minerals, allowing Japanese automakers greater access to taxpayer-funded credits.

Read more about this deal here.

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