Month: July 2022

EV manufacturers rank behind other premium brands in customer service, survey finds

Electric vehicle-only automakers are trailing other premium brands in shopping experience satisfaction, a report out Monday from retail service tracker Pied Piper found.

The Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, or PSI, uses about 70 best-practice behaviors to measure retail service performance of automakers. These include in-person and Web-response categories, making up 60 percent and 40 percent of a brand’s score, respectively, and included scores for sales person attentiveness, availability of finance options and how quickly the dealership responded to an online inquiry. Lack of inventory did not play a factor.

In cases where a brand did not have physical dealerships, such as Rivian, its in-person score was determined by telephonic communication. The survey also used a different set of factors to evaluate electric-only automakers because of different sales practices compared with those of with traditional automakers.

In Pied Piper’s latest survey of 25 premium brands, all four electric-exclusive brands included

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UAW federal monitor: Union struggling to reset, root out corruption

The UAW’s court-appointed monitor on Tuesday said union leaders have been so uncooperative in efforts to root out corruption — including in 19 open investigations — that Department of Justice officials in March were called in to intervene over potential violations of the union’s consent decree.

A new report by the office of monitor Neil Barofsky revealed not only an increase in open investigations, previously at 15, but described a monthslong effort by the UAW to obstruct and interfere with its investigations during which union leaders allegedly concealed evidence and excluded the monitor’s office from key International Executive Board meetings.

Barofsky’s office in late March called a meeting with UAW President Ray Curry and US Attorney Dawn Ison to discuss the problems, during which Curry was said to have committed to “a total reset” in relations with the monitor.

While the monitor’s office says it has seen some improvement in

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Elon Musk says Tesla prices are ’embarrassing’ due to supply issues and strong demand

Musk said he expects Tesla to begin delivering its much anticipated Cybertruck pickup by the middle of 2023, adding to Texas factory production. He forecast output at Texas and Berlin at 5,000 vehicles a week by the end of this year or early next year, and 10,000 a week by the end of 2023.

In its second-quarter shareholder letter, Tesla revised installed capacity numbers for its plants upward, with Fremont rising to 650,000, Shanghai rising to about 750,000, Berlin at 250,000 and Austin at 250,000. In Tesla’s first-quarter earnings letter, it had listed Fremont as 600,000, Shanghai as 450,000 and Berlin and Austin as “early ramp.”

In second-quarter financial results, the EV maker posted an adjusted profit of $2.27 per share vs. analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.81.

Its automotive gross margin fell to 27.9 percent, down from a year earlier and the preceding quarter, amid inflationary pressure.

Total revenue fell

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Rivian rolls out its first batch of electric Amazon delivery vans

Rivian Automotive delivered its first batch of electric delivery vans on Thursday to Amazon, an early investor that has been waiting out production delays at the EV startup but can now put the futuristic vehicles to work in major US cities.

“In 2019, Rivian and Amazon committed to fast-tracking a new type of delivery vehicle that would result in a significant reduction of carbon emissions,” Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said in a joint statement by the companies. “That vision is now being realized.”

The move is another step forward for Rivian, which has struggled to ramp up production of its electric R1T pickup, and has only recently announced the formal launch of its R1S SUV. Rivian’s consumer vehicles are built on the R1 platform at its factory in Normal, Ill., and the electric delivery vans are built on a separate line.

Amazon unveiled road-ready EDVs at a last-mile delivery center

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The latest numbers on the automotive microchip shortage

Automakers around the world are catching a break from the global shortage in microchips this week, with factories trimming only about 31,000 vehicles from their schedules, according to the latest forecast from AutoForecast Solutions.

That is one of the smallest weekly reductions in global output stemming from chip shortages in several months.

European auto plants, which have been taking a hit on production so far this year, expect no schedule reductions this week, according to AFS.

The industry has been working to correct the problem through various means, including assembly workarounds and the push for increased chip capacity. Last week, SkyWater Technology Inc. of Minnesota said it will invest $1.8 billion to construct a new chip production plant in West Lafayette, Ind. And this month, Bosch announced it will spend $3 billion on new chip capacity and research facilities in Europe.

Doug Del Grosso, CEO of seating supplier Aient, told

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