I Regret to Report That the Most American-Made Car Is a Tesla

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Photo: Associated Press

Tesla seems to be leading the pack when it comes American-made cars, Senator Joe Manchin killed your hope of getting a bonus tax credit for EVs made with domestic union labor, and General Motors is hitting the pause button at the Hummer EV factory… but it’s a good thing. Plus: my cat is still missing. All that and more The Morning Shift for Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

1st Gear: Tesla Leads the Way on American Made

The Tesla Model Y and Model 3 were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on Cars.com’s 2-22 American-Made Index. In fact, all four of Tesla’s vehicles cracked the top 10. The Model X and Model S came in at 5 and 6, respectively. You can say a lot of stuff about Tesla, but at least this is good to see. From The Detroit News:

This marks the second consecutive year that the Austin, Texas-based startup has claimed the title of most American-made.

Tesla’s regional approach to manufacturing helped it dominate the top of the index. The company claims 100% domestic production for all cars it sells in the U.S., above the industry’s approximately 52% average, according to Cars.com. Tesla’s U.S. lineup is assembled in plants in California and Texas, with major components sourced domestically and in some cases from in-house.

The list also highlights that other American manufacturers should really get their act together. Ford only had one car (the Lincoln Corsair at No. 3) make the top 10, and so did Stellantis with the Jeep Cherokee at No. 7. The remaining four spots on the top 10 list were taken up by Honda.

The ranking was released as U.S. consumers are increasingly interested in buying vehicles that are made in America, according to a recent Cars.com survey, with some 40% of car shoppers saying that buying an American-built car is now more important to them — up 22% year-over-year.

The list is also a good reminder that what counts as “foreign” and “domestic” has been complicated for some time now. Perhaps a better demarcating line is union or non-union, speaking of which…

2nd Gear: Joe Manchin is a Real Bucket of Worms

Senate Democrats are giving up on a $4,500 bonus tax credit for EVs made with domestic union labor because of, you guessed it, Joe Manchin. You may know him as that god-forsaken prick from West Virginia. From Automotive News:

“It’s gone,” Manchin said in an interview at the Capitol Tuesday.

The Build Back Better legislation passed last year in the House would have increased the $7,500 consumer tax credit to as much as $12,500, as part of a White House-backed effort to ensure that EVs are “manufactured by workers with good jobs.”

But the plan came under fire from Manchin, a swing vote in the evenly split Senate, as well as from non-unionize
d EV-maker Tesla Inc. and foreign-owned automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co.

West Virginia is home to a major Toyota engine and transmission parts plant. Manchin has been a strong supporter of the operation, which was built in 1995 near Charleston, W.Va.

Recently, Manchin has called the EV tax credit “ludicrous” and that he’d much rather hydrogen vehicles be subsidized instead, because he’s a jerk.

The credit’s size and scope remain a point of debate in negotiations over the spending bill, according to a person familiar with the matter. In recent weeks, Manchin has said he doesn’t like the existing EV tax credit structure because U.S. companies have run out of credits or will soon run out of credits and foreign companies will continue to get subsidized.

“Any foreign vehicle that is an electric vehicle is going to be able to claim a $7,500 credit” under existing law, Manchin said. “I don’t think that’s our intent.”

God forbid the people buying these cars get any sort of financial break, you absolute loser.

3rd Gear: Toyota is Scaling Back Expectations

Speaking of losers, the global semiconductor shortage is still roaring because of Covid supply chain disruptions. Now, it’s causing Toyota – the world’s largest car maker – to scale back expectations for July, after previous cuts.

It is cutting its global production plan by 50,000 vehicles and now plans to make only 800,000 vehicles next month. From Reuters:

“As it remains difficult to look ahead due to the shortage of semiconductors and the spread of COVID-19, there is a possibility that the production plan may be lower,” the Japanese company said.

Toyota and other car makers continue to struggle with supply-chain disruptions and component shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic including those resulting from recent lockdowns in China.

Automakers are also having to compete for limited semiconductor supplies with other manufacturers such as consumer electronics device makers.

Toyota stuck with its annual global production target of 9.7 million vehicles, although the company signalled in May that supply chain disruptions could eventually force it lower that number.

The automaker also said it is expanding production halts in Japan next months that make vehicles like the GR Yaris and bZ4X Ev SUV. I guess you’ll just have to get a Solterra instead. Shame.

4th Gear: GM is Building Up the Hummer EV Plant

Before GM can build up the Factory Zero truck plant, it must first idle it for about a month. The factory employs around 800 people, and although only 99 Hummer EV pickups were delivered in the first quarter, there are over 77,500 reservations for the pickup and SUV on the books. From Automotive News:

GM scheduled downtime at the plant to add production capacity sooner than planned, GM spokesman Dan Flores said. The automaker will install tooling, machinery and equipment while workers are laid off from June 27 through July 22.

“These upgrades will also help prepare the plant for future products, including the Chevrolet Silverado EV,” Flores said in a statement.

GM plans to build the Silverado and GMC Sierra Denali electric pickups and the Cruise Origin ride-hail and delivery van at Factory Zero.Starting this fall, the plant will assemble Ultium battery cells into modules and packs for a variety of vehicle designs.

A few GMC Hummer EVs have been spotted in traffic, and let me tell you, folks, it’s one big fella. A huge fella even. But hey, it seems like size is the name of the game right now.

5th Gear: Germany isn’t About the Fossil-Fuel Free Life

Germany isn’t playing nice with the European Union’s plans to pretty much ban the sale of new ICE cars by 2035. From Reuters:

In its bid to cut planet-warming emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels, the European Commission has proposed a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from new cars by 2035. That means it would be impossible to sell combustion engine cars from then.

European Parliament lawmakers backed the proposals this month, before negotiations with EU countries on the final law take place.

Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Linder said Tuesday that there would continue to be niches for combustion engines so a ban would be wrong. Clearly this man appreciates Porsche’s 4-liter boxer 6-cylinder engine. He did add that the country would still be a leader in electric vehicle sales and adoption.

So, folks, it seems that there is still some hope for a bit of ICE in the future. Internal combustion engines of course, as all of the
actual ice on the planet will have melted due to extreme heat.

Reverse: 21 Years of Family

That’s right, everyone. Today marks 21 years since “The Fast and the Furious” debuted on screen, and what a time it’s been. Maybe one day I’ll get around to watching one of the movies… maybe.

Neutral: Have You Seen My Cat?

Jan Kitty.

Jan Kitty.
Photo: Andy Kalmowitz

My little kitty Janet went missing last week in northern New Jersey. She’s very sweet and very small. If you’re seeing fewer blogs from me it’s because I’ve been looking for her. Keep Jan in your thoughts. She’s tough, but she isn’t an outdoor cat. Also, please do not give me suggestions on how to get her back. I promise we are trying everything.

If she doesn’t come home soon I’m gonna lose my mind, and no one wants that.