Expert Thoughts About UAW Negotiations, Detroit Auto Show, and More
Automotive Industry Hot Topics
September 22, 2023
This week I discuss the UAW negotiations and strike, recap the Detroit Auto Show, and IRA incentives to bolster EV battery production.
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We are approaching the first full week of the stand-up strike, which has initially idled operations at three assembly plants. As the shortage of parts begins to impact other plants, such as GM’s Fairfax assembly plant, the UAW has indicated that more plants will be targeted if an agreement is not reached by Friday. The public statements made so far do not inspire confidence that an agreement is at hand, and the details of the negotiations remain largely undisclosed. In the meantime, U.S. assembly plants for Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mercedes, Volkswagen, and Hyundai keep humming along. It is crucial to establish an agreement quickly, as the damage only grows for each side over time.
Detroit Auto Show & Tech Upgrades:
This year’s Detroit Auto Show saw significant improvements compared to the previous year, thanks to better planning and readjusted expectations of a contemporary auto show. Gone are the multi-million dollar displays from all major OEMs. Noticeably absent, though not entirely, are the European automakers. Formerly known as the North American International Auto Show, it has evolved into more of a Detroit auto show. This transformation is not necessarily a negative change. As long as there are product announcements, new steel to admire, and a showcase of horsepower, be it fueled by benzene or electrons, the show remains a relevant and worthwhile celebration of the Motor City. I look forward to next year’s event being even better!
EV Battery Production:
The IRA is incentivizing more than just EV production. It’s also targeted to bolster the production of EV batteries in the United States by sourcing critical minerals domestically. This initiative comes as no surprise, considering the widespread conversations about China’s dominance in lithium production. In addition to lithium, the list of critical minerals includes nickel, cobalt, and graphite. If the U.S. is serious about EV production, and judging by OEM investment and product announcements it most certainly is, we will need a robust U.S. supply chain if we are to meet future demand.