Happy Monday! It’s October 2, 2023, and this is The Morning Shift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: Another Date Bites The Dust
How many promised delivery dates have we had since the Cybertruck was first unveiled by Tesla back in 2019? By my count, the planned launch date of Q3 2023 was deadline number five and, guess what, it’s come and gone with no sign of the Cybertruck being any closer to hitting the highway.
Despite missing his Q3 deadline, Musk now has another date to aim for on Cybertruck deliveries: the end of 2023. According to the WSJ, the end of the year is when Musk says his company will begin delivering trucks to customers. So, eyes on the highway reader, let’s see if I have to write another one of these posts on January 1.
2nd Gear: New Car Sales Are Up… For Now
As another month draws to a close, it’s time to look back on all the new cars that were sold across America and, according to Reuters, it’s pretty good news. The site reports that the number of cars sold across the U.S. was up in the third quarter of 2023 as supply of new cars stabilized and demand remained high.
According to the site, General Motors took the sales crown in Q3, shifting 680,009 vehicles, while Toyota came in second with 583,661 vehicles sold during the three-month period. However, Reuters warns that the good times might be about to end, as the fallout from the United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike could soon take hold. The site explains:
“The production disruptions caused by the strike will have ramifications for potential sales levels moving through the fourth quarter,” S&P Global Mobility said in a note.
The UAW union initially targeted one assembly plant at each of the Detroit Three automakers that make some of their most profitable models and later expanded the coordinated strike, citing a lack of progress in talks.
While Ford, GM, and Stellantis all worked to build up their inventory in the weeks leading up to the walkout, forecasters told Reuters that the industrial actual could see output from the three companies drop by “over 4,000 units” per day. As the UAW increased its walkout recently, that figure is sure to be on the rise.
This means that any dip in sales as a result of the walkouts might not hit until October or later in the year. As such, we’ll have to keep an eye on the Q4 results at the end of 2023 to see if the strike means that GM loses its place as the U.S. car sales king.
3rd Gear: GM Has Had It With Union ‘Theatrics’
Speaking of strikes at GM, the American automaker has spoken out about the UAW’s walkout from its plants, calling for an end to the “theatrics” of it all and a return to the bargaining table. The automaker’s outburst follows claims from the UAW that Stellantis and GM were letting violence towards striking workers slide, leading the union to further expand its walkout on Friday.
However, the move to expand industrial action at GM sites in the U.S. has angered boss Mary Barra, who has called for the union to get back to the bargaining table and sort this all out. According to the Detroit Free Press, Barra published a statement on Friday that accused the union of having “no real intent to get to an agreement.” The site reports:
Barra said that since negotiations started this summer, GM has been available 24/7 to bargain with the UAW and when the union “demanded a record contract,” GM delivered, offering a “historic contract with record wage increases, record job security and world-class healthcare.” She said the offer rewards employees without putting the company at risk.
But she said the UAW’s plan has been “to drag their membership into a long, unnecessary strike to further their own personal and political agendas. Their leaked text messages from last week stated their plan to keep us ‘wounded for months’ and cause ‘recurring reputations damage and operational chaos.’ ”
In response to the statement from Barra and General Motors, the UAW took to /Twitter/ X to say that Barra “did not show up to bargaining this week.”
4th Gear: Ford Engine Probe Expands To 708,000 Cars
As well as meeting with union representatives to try and get a deal for its workers, Ford is meeting with safety execs in the U.S. to investigate a “catastrophic engine failure” that is hampering thousands of its cars. A probe into failures in some of its EcoBoost engines has now been expanded to cover 708,000 Ford SUVs, according to a new report from Reuters.
According to the outlet, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is “upgrading and expanding” its investigation into more than 700,000 Ford SUVs that are fitted with its 2.7-liter and 3.0-liter EcoBoost engines. In the affected models, a faulty valve may lead to a catastrophic engine failure. Reuters reports:
The agency says under normal driving conditions vehicles without warning may experience a loss of power due to catastrophic engine failure related to a potentially faulty valve in 2.7 L and 3.0 L EcoBoost engines.
The investigation into the faulty Ford motors was first started in 2022 when the NHTSA opened a probe into 25,000 vehicles that were at risk of engine failure. Now, the safety body has upgraded its investigation to an “engineering analysis,” which is the final step before it could seek to recall the affected models.
Reverse: Better Than Water?
On The Radio: High School Musical – “Stick to the Status Quo”
More from Jalopnik