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AUTOMOTIVE NEWS TIDBITS

WHAT WITH ONE thing and another, I’ve let almost two months of my Automotive News with little more than scanning the front pages of this industry weekly. EVs coming; check. World auto production crippled by microchip shortage; check. Auto dealers anticipate Covid-19 quell; check. 

Each week, though, Automotive News contains a lot more than its front page. Here are tidbits gleaned from my expanded perusal.

Hybrid Work. Michael Martinez reported “Ford: No Going Back to the Old Way of Work,” in Automotive News (hereinafter AN, for short), March 22, 2021. “Just over 12 months after COVID-19 prompted a mandatory office exile,” Martinez wrote, “Ford last week told tens of thousands of salaried employees that they can continue at least some at-home work on a permanent basis.”

Under Ford’s new hybrid work model, many salaried employees may choose to go into the office only to attend meetings or workshops. Image from Automotive News, March 22, 2021.

“The hybrid schedule,” noted Martinez,  “is a drastic paradigm shift for a traditional manufacturer and could prompt a larger modernization for an industry accustomed to 20th century cubicle farms and conference rooms.”

Plus, of course, for Zooming you don’t have to get all dressed up below the waist.

On March 29, 2021, AN’s chief content officer Jamie Butters, observed “Work From Anywhere—But It Won’t be Easy to Manage.” He quotes Nellie Brown, a certified industrial hygienist, an ergonomics expert. 

“ ‘You do have to have skills in how to manage people remotely,’ said Brown, who also is director of workplace health and safety programs at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.”

Butters observed, “Brown noted that one reason people are more productive at home is that they have less socialization and general chitchat with each other. But at the same time, creative ideas can come from those casual exchanges, so they add value that isn’t immediately apparent.”

For example, I suspect that the old R&T cover-blurb shouting sessions wouldn’t be nearly as creative on Zoom. 

By the way, in its April 26, 2021, “The Week on the Web” section, AN noted that GM launched a new remote work standard as well: “The new guideline, called Work Appropriately, is designed to give employees the flexibility to work from wherever they are most efficient and reflects adjusted workplace expectations post-pandemic.”

Pause here to hear Wife Dottie’s chortle at the term “Work Appropriately.” For years, she was R&T managing editor.

A Republican Heard From. “Statehood Requires a Dealership?” asked AN, March 29, 2021. It quoted Representative Jody Hice, R-Georgia, on the question of statehood for Washington, D.C.

“ ‘D.C. would be the only state, the only state, without an airport, without a car dealership, without a capital city, without a landfill,’ Hice said during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing.”

“Unsurprisingly,” AN noted, “the Founding Fathers were silent on the issue of automotive retail as it relates to statehood.”

And, actually, AN concluded, “Tesla Inc has had a showroom a little more than a mile from the U.S. Capitol since 2011. In addition, the district has a number of used-vehicle stores.” 

Motorsports News. AN’s “The Week on the Web,” March 22, 2021, reported that Aston Martin “will continue to sell internal combustion engine vehicles with no electrification after 2030, but only for use on tracks.

My italics, not AN’s.

Jolting News for Indy. In “From Cul-de-sacs to Racetracks,” AN, May 24, 2021, Richard Truett describes how “Propulsion tech common in today’s consumer hybrid vehicles is being integrated into IndyCars.”

Truett amplifies, “By pressing a button on or near the steering wheel, IndyCar’s 2023 push-to-pass technology will give the driver a quick, perhaps 15- to 20-second jolt of about 100 hp from an electric motor. Drivers can use that burst of horsepower strategically — to fend off challengers, pass other cars and get to the finish line faster.”

Image from Automotive News, May 24, 2021.

“European Formula 1 race cars,” Truett reminds readers, “have had energy recovery systems for years to capture that wasted heat — from the brakes or the exhaust — and convert it to electricity that powers a slightly different version of push to pass. Or, they have stored kinetic energy in ultrafast spinning flywheels.” 

See also“KERS Are Coming—Again,” R&T, March 10, 2011, and “Mercedes AMG Petronas Turbo,” April 20, 2014, by some guy named Simanaitis. ds 

© Dennis SImanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021

2 comments on “AUTOMOTIVE NEWS TIDBITS

  1. Mike B
    May 31, 2021

    If Tesla “showrooms” were dealers, they would have less problem with several states. But in those problem states, “dealer” probably means having more than a showroom and a touchscreen for placing orders. Plus, “dealer” usually implies mandatory franchise, not company-owned. Oh well, states rights and all that…

  2. Bill Rabel
    June 1, 2021

    Franchise law came from early in the industry, when Henry Ford, after getting his factories running smoothly, began to deploy his own company-owned dealerships, knee-capping the franchised dealerships that he had already licensed. This was the genesis of franchise law. Tesla has no franchised dealers, so franchise law does not apply. The same law has been applied in some states to keep Tesla from opening more than one factory-owned store in that state.

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