Young Americans Want Chinese EVs

Photo: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik
Photo: Andy Kalmowitz / Jalopnik

Good morning! It’s Thursday, May 23, 2024, 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: Americans Under 40 Yearn For Chinese EVs

Folks in the U.S. who are Millennials and youngerappear to be fairly open to buying electric vehicles (and vehicles in general) made by Chinese automakers. They’re also not terribly concerned with privacy issues cars from China could cause. From Automotive News:

The report, issued Wednesday, found 35 percent of 800 respondents ages 18 to 80 said they would consider buying a vehicle from a Chinese automaker. Seventy-six percent of respondents under 40 years old said they would consider purchasing a Chinese vehicle, compared with only 26 percent of those over 60.

Consumers are willing to consider the idea of Chinese brands because of social media, Ed Kim, president and chief analyst at AutoPacific, told Automotive News.

“Social media has simply just made the world a lot smaller,” Kim said. “It is extremely easy for anyone to see what’s happening in other parts of the world, to see what products are available in other parts of the world.”


Right now, there aren’t any Chinese cars for sale in the U.S. (if you didn’t notice), and there’s quite a bit of controversy surrounding 100 percent tariffs thrown at Chinese-made EVs by the Biden Administration. This is certainly holding Chinese EVs back in the U.S.

Something else holding them back are concerns over privacy, as theNews explains:

Just under half of respondents said they’d be concerned about their privacy if Chinese vehicles were to come to the U.S., while 34 percent said they would be “somewhat concerned.” Privacy concerns are consistent across age groups, with more than 70 percent of respondents in each category saying they’d have some.

Older consumers are less likely to purchase Chinese cars because of the influence of legacy issues, such as the Cold War, and the stigma around communism, Kim said. Negative “political connotations associated with China just don’t apply to younger people,” he said.

Sixteen percent of respondents said if they knew vehicles from Chinese brands were made in the U.S., their willingness to purchase would increase. Manufacturing location is important to foreign brands because it helps change the opinions of American consumers, Kim said.

“It helps position the automaker in the eyes of the consumer as something more American, a company that’s contributing directly to the American economy and paying American workers,” he said.

Listen, I am lucky enough to have been one of the few folks in the U.S. to actually drive and spend time with Chinese electric vehicles, and let me tell you: some of them are really fabulous. I can absolutely see why U.S. automakers and the government do not want them here, and it isn’t because of privacy concerns.

2nd Gear: Ford To Dealers: Slow Down On EV Investment

Ford is telling dealers to hit the pause button on investments related to selling electric vehicles until after the automaker finishes up a review of its requirements in June. From The Detroit News:

The Dearborn automaker had set a June 30 deadline for dealers to have invested in Level 2 EV charging stations to qualify for its Model e certification program to be able to sell EVs. The company had eased requirements in November, but Ford since has continued to announce changes to its all-electric programs, including delaying the launch of a three-row SUV by two years, in light of slower-than-expected growth of EV sales because of affordability concerns, lack of charging access and other barriers.

The decision comes after Ford executives completed a “Dealer Engagement Tour,” hearing from more than 1,000 dealers over 11 meetings across the country.

“We’re now in the process of reviewing all that collaborative engagement and turning it into immediate, mid-term and long-term changes where it makes sense for our customers, our Dealers and Ford,” spokesperson Marty Günsberg said in a statement. “We will have more specific details to share in a few weeks.

“Ford recommends that dealers pause their action items and qualifiers related to the voluntary program until we complete our review and work with the Dealer Council in June.”

Moving in response to market conditions, dealer feedback, supply chains and infrastructure delays, the automaker in November said for dealers to be “certified” in the EV program, they had to have two Level 2 chargers, down from five, by the end of next month. To be “certified elite,” the standard fell to three instead of five and a requirement from a “Level 3" fast charger for 2026 was removed. The company also reduced employee training requirements.

Back in December of 2022, Ford CEO Jim Farley said two-thirds of the automaker’s dealers had signed up for the EV charging program. As of right now, about half of Ford and Lincoln’s 2,800 U.S. dealers are enrolled in the Voluntary program.

Ford reportedly said it has delayed $12 billion in electric vehicle-related investments because of slow EV sales growth. It’s a pretty brutal time for the automaker’s Model e business division, which is now expected to lose up to $5.5 billion in 2024. That’s a lot of cash, amigos.

3rd Gear: Polestar Puts Off Q1 Earnings Report

Electric vehicle maker Poletar is delaying its first-quarter earnings report, which was supposed to be posted today, May 23 because it’s still behind on its 2023 annual report. From Reuters:

The company will first need to file its annual report for the year ended December 2023, which it is looking to do “as soon as practicable,” it had said last week.

The delay is partly because Polestar needs more time to finalize its financial statements over accounting misstatements in 2021 and 2022 that will be rectified in the 2023 report.

This is the latest sign of struggles from the Swiss-Chinese automaker. Last week, the Nasdaq stock exchange warned that the automaker’s stock could potentially be de-listed because it has been so slow to release its annual report.

Pick up the pace, fellas. I like Polestar, but you gotta do your homework too! I know it sucks.

4th Gear: Lamborghini Recalls Over 2,000 Urus SUVs For Hood That Could Whiff Open

Lamborghini is recalling 2,133 Urus super SUVs in the U.S. because their hoods could whiff open when driving. That is not something you want to have happen while weaving in and out of traffic at an obnoxious speed. From Bloomberg:

The Volkswagen AG-owned manufacturer estimates that just 2% of the Urus SUVs it’s recalling have a defect in which small gaps may form between the hood and front bumper when the vehicles exceed 94 miles per hour.

“These gaps can potentially increase with the high speeds, and over time, the stress can cause the latch system to fail and separate the hood latch striker from the hood,” Lamborghini said in a recall report posted Wednesday to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.

The Urus is Lamborghini’s top-selling model globally and starts at more than $200,000 in the US.

Luckily, the Italian automaker isn’t aware of any crashes or injuries related to the issue. Well, OK. There’s one issue: you have to love your mother-in-law if your hood happens to whiff open.

Reverse: This Was All For Nick Cage

Neutral: The Bison May Be The Off-Road GOAT

I’m sorry about how cringe the “Neutral” title is today. Sometimes, I just cannot help myself.

On The Radio: Chappell Roan - “Red Wine Supernova”

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