Toyota Is Doing An ‘Intentional Pause’

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Toyota will slow production a little, Lamborghini is making 15 more Aventadors, and Ford. All that and more in The Morning Shift for March 17, 2022.

1st Gear: Toyota’s ‘Intentional Break’

Toyota released a statement on Thursday outlining its production plans for the next three months, and what it amounts to is more or less how Toyota learned to stop worrying and love the semiconductor shortage. Toyota’s statement is worth quoting at length because it is so unusual:

Up until now, we have conducted recovery production with tremendous efforts from the various relevant parties with the aim of delivering to customers as many vehicles as possible at the earliest possible date. However, due to the parts shortage, we have had to make repeated last-minute adjustments to production plans, and this has imposed considerable burdens on production sites including those of suppliers.

Under these circumstances and in light of a review of past developments, we have revised production plans to be more reasonable in line with recent realities. Specifically, we have positioned the three-month period from April to June as an “intentional pause,” and we will create plans based on the personnel structures and facility capacities of suppliers. By doing this, we will establish healthy workplace environments that place the highest priority on safety and quality, rather than exceeding the capacities of facilities, pushing people to their limits, and making do through overtime work. We will then inform our suppliers of plans that incorporate production reduction risks and other factors up to three months in advance, review production plans on a monthly and three-monthly basis, and share these plans with our suppliers.

Based on the above, our global production plan for April including overseas production is approximately 750,000 units (250,000 units in Japan and 500,000 units overseas). Although the number of units we provided to our suppliers at the beginning of the year includes recovery from previous production cutbacks, due to the impact of semiconductor shortages, we have adjusted our production plan by approximately 150,000 units globally. The global production plan average from April through June is around 800,000 units.

Toyota made a little more than 10 million cars last year, or around 840,000 per month, so its new goal of 800,000 per month still isn’t too far off, though Toyota’s capitulation to [vaguely gestures at everything] is also very relatable. I, too, am intentionally pausing if all of the bullshit continues.

2nd Gear: Lamborghini Will Make Replacements For Burned Cars On That Ship

A fire on the Felicity Ace claimed thousands of cars, including many Lamborghinis, Audis, Porsches, Volkswagens and Bentleys. The good news, Automotive News reported Thursday, is that it sounds like automakers will be able to replace most if not all of them for customers, including the 15 Aventadors on board.

The US customers whose high-end vehicles are now on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean in the burned hulk of Felicity Ace will all get their orders filled — including 15 out-of-production Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae editions, the CEOs of Volkswagen Group’s premium brands told Automotive News.

In an online roundtable with journalists from the UK and US a day before Audi’s annual press conference Thursday, Automobili Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said executives at the supercar brand had to scramble to be able to replace the $500,000 hand-crafted Aventador Ultimae editions on board.

“This was the edition which was closing the production of the Aventador, and there were 15 on board of the ship,” Winkelmann said. Brand officials had previously disclosed that there were 85 Lamborghinis aboard, primarily Urus SUVs, but hadn’t said how many were end-of-run Aventador Ultimaes.

“We put our heads together, and luckily, we are able to replace those cars, so there will be no loss for our customers in the US due to the sunken ship. This is good news,” Winkelmann said. “And all the rest we are able to replace. The Aventador was tricky, but we made it.”

[…]

Bentley Motors CEO Adrian Hallmark said his luxury brand has already “found a solution” to replace more than half of the 189 pre-sold Bentleys that were aboard the ship, and should be able to replace the remainder within six months.

“We’ve already found a solution for 100 that we can rapidly redirect, and we will catch the others up within six months,” he said. “We’ve promised those customers, and we’re doing some clever things with dealers to keep [those customers] mobile, which I won’t talk about.”

Audi CEO Markus Duesmann, said the German premium brand’s approximately 1,800 cars aboard Felicity Ace will also be replaced. “We are able to replace them,” he said. “It will take some time, but we will do our best.”

This is nice of the automakers, but also why they pay for insurance.

3rd Gear: Ford Is Recalling 157,306 F-150s Because Of Possible Windshield Wiper Failure

Ford says it has received over 750 reports of wipers acting up on 2021 F-150s, and that a motor is to blame. Owners of affected F-150s will be contacted by next month.

From a recall report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Description of the Safety Risk: An inoperative wiper motor has the potential for reduced visibility or loss of visibility in certain conditions, increasing the risk of a crash.

Description of the Cause: The primary causal factors that led to inoperative or poorly performing wipers were poor quality motor brush plate spot welding, insufficient motor magnet adhesive being applied, and insufficient motor nut assembly torque.

[…]

Description of Remedy Program: Owners will be notified by mail and instructed to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to have the wiper motor replaced. There will be no charge for this service.

4th Gear: In Other, Very Predictable News

Passenger cars are less likely to hit pedestrians while turning than trucks and SUVs, according to a new study reported on by the Associated Press. I hope you were sitting down for this one.

The research released Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points to the increasing popularity of larger vehicles as a possible factor in rising pedestrian deaths on US roads. The authors also questioned whether wider pillars holding up roofs of the larger vehicles make it harder for drivers to spot people walking near the corners of vehicles.

“The link between these vehicle types and certain common pedestrian crashes points to another way that the increase in SUVs on the roads might be changing the crash picture,” said Jessica Cicchino, a study author and vice president of research for the institute.

Although the study mentioned previous research showing blind spots caused by the “A-pillars” between the windshield and the cabin, the authors said more study is needed to link the blind spots to the increased deaths.

[…]

Researchers studied federal crash statistics in which pedestrians were killed, as well as all pedestrian crashes reported to police in North Carolina from 2010 through 2018.

The North Carolina statistics showed that pickups were 42% more likely than cars to hit pedestrians while making left turns. SUVs were 23% more likely to hit people than cars. There was no significant difference in the odds of a right turn crash for the different types of vehicles, the study showed.

Outside of intersections, pickups were 80% more likely than cars to hit a pedestrian along the road. SUVs were 61% more likely, and minivans were 45% more likely to hit people than cars, IIHS said.

As trucks and SUVs have gotten bigger, so did their A-pillars, to comply with federal standards meant to prevent roof collapses in the event of a rollover. I suppose it isn’t surprising that it appears that little thought was given to how this might affect visibility.

5th Gear: Man Leaves Job

The CEO of ZF, the German supplier probably most famous for its transmissions, said that he would be quitting early next year, according to Automotive News. Wolf-Henning Scheider was hired by ZF in 2018 and oversaw further expansion of the supplier. Among auto executive leavings, this one seems pretty normal.

ZF did not say who might succeed Scheider.

“After more than three decades in the automotive industry and reaching the age of 60, he had decided to end his active time in the industry at the end of the year, to pursue other challenges,” the supplier said.

[…]

Under Scheider, ZF continued to expand, most notably with the 2019 acquisition of Wabco for $7 billion to bolster its expertise in trucks and driver-assistance systems.

Scheider also faced an array of industry crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the global semiconductor shortage, and now the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Andreas Brand of the Zeppelin Foundation praised Scheider in a statement, saying, “The fact that ZF is back on track, after the past two years of crisis, is also due to Wolf-Henning Scheider’s work. We regret his personal decision, but also respect it.”

That is how you want to go out, with your boss saying that you’ve made an unfortunate personal decision.

Reverse: St. Patrick’s Day

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