The future of transportation is in the spotlight this week as North Carolina considers the concept of Hyperloop technology, and the Auto industry website Auto News releases the 2019 edition of its annual ‘40 Under 40’ list, highlighting young movers and shakers in the car sales industry. Keep on top of all the latest Auto Industry happenings with our weekly news roundup.
UAW and Detroit’s Big 3 Kick Off Contract Talks
The Union of Automobile Workers has kicked off contract negotiations with Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and GM this week with a strong message – things are looking up for the auto industry, and workers want to share in the success. As reported in Auto News, UAW President Gary Jones told the top staff at Ford that “Despite record profits, we’ve been watching a race to the bottom over the past several years for working men and women in this country” – hinting that the union will go in strong with its demands. Despite both sides suggesting that an amicable agreement could be reached, the UAW has nonetheless increased its strike fund for the year to guard against any potential work stoppages. Issues on the discussion table include healthcare benefits and wages.
The United Kingdom Sets Out Ambitious EV Plan
The UK government has revealed it wants every home in the country to have a charge point for electric vehicles, as reported by CNBC. The plans, published this Monday, are designed to support increased interest in electric cars across the country by removing one of the biggest barriers to purchase. In addition to the ambitious plan to fit every house with a charge point (over 25 million homes at the last count), the plans also include increasing the number of public charge points across the country that can be operated with a debit or credit card.
Daimler Issues Profit Warning
2019 is proving to be a tough year for German carmaker Daimler. The company, which owns Mercedes Benz and Smart Car has issued its 4th profit warning in the past 13 months, reports the BBC. Daimler said its earnings would be significantly lower than in 2018, with a second-quarter loss of €1.6 billion, a staggering €1 billion decline on last year.
Reasons for the poor performance were given as increased costs associated with the Takata exploding airbag recall, and rising legal costs – a continued fallout from the diesel emissions scandal that rocked the German car industry.
North Carolina Considers HyperLoop
Although the idea of HyperLoop transport – propelling passengers between cities at hyper-fast speeds – is still very much theoretical, another state in the US has shown interest in the technology, Tech Crunch reports. The idea behind HyperLoop technology lies in vacuum tubes which “suck” the transport capsules from one location to another. Once the realm of science fiction, since Tesla CEO Elon Musk reignited interest in the idea in 2013 several firms have sprung up in the race to develop the technology.
North Carolina’s Regional Transport Alliance is working with Virgin Hyperloop One – formerly chaired by Richard Branson and now by Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem – to conduct an ‘exploration’ into the technology and its feasibility as a method of mass transportation. In any case, it will be at least a decade before the idea becomes reality; Virgin Hyperloop One is targeting 2029 as the year its first platform will open.