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Ford Tripled its Electric Car Sales Despite Overall Sales Drop

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A photo of electric Ford pickups at an assembly plant in the US.

Photo: Ford

Ford keeps its place as America’s second best-selling EV maker after tripling its sales of electric cars, Porsche is being sued for $300 million over claims it “withheld inventory” from a Florida dealer, and U.S. public transport ridership is getting back on track after the pandemics. All this and more in The Morning Shift for Wednesday, October 5, 2022.

1st Gear: Ford EV Sales Triple in September

It’s sales figures season once again, and after Tesla posted results that weren’t quite as expected and GM sold way more cars last quarter, it’s now Ford’s turn to share its secrets. And it’s a mixed bag for the Blue Oval, as Bloomberg reports that EV sales tripled for Ford, but overall it shifted fewer cars than in the same period last year.

Ford reported that sales of EVs including the Mustang Mach-E, Ford F-150 Lightning and E-Transit van were up 197 percent in September after it shifted 4,691 units. This accounted for 3 percent of the firm’s sales for the month, which were down by 8.9 percent compared with the same period last year. Bloomberg reports:

In the latest tally, Ford is beating GM in the electric vehicle race. The Mustang Mach-E sold more than 28,000 units as of Sept. 30, outselling the Chevy Bolt and small numbers of Hummer and Cadillac EVs so far this year by about 5,000. Add in the 8,760 electric Lightning pickups Ford has sold since June and the automaker is solidly in second place in the EV race, behind market leader Tesla Inc.

Ford’s gasoline-electric hybrid models, led by the F-150 hybrid and Maverick compact pickup, also are in high demand, with the manufacturer’s hybrid sales up 22.6% so far this year. Ford said it received 86,000 orders for Maverick last month when order banks were only open for one week, selling out the new truck for the 2023 model year.

Despite challenges in September, Bloomberg reports that Ford’s sales for the third quarter of 2022 were up 16 percent. It added that during the period, inventory of Ford’s new Lightning electric pickup truck “stays an average of only eight days on dealer lots” before being shipped off to a new buyer.

Lightning sales will be the one to watch in coming months, as Ford recently jacked up the prices for its electric truck by as much as $8,500.

2nd Gear: Porsche Sued by Dealer for ‘Withholding Inventory’

The more I read about car dealerships in the U.S., the more it seems like an elaborate scam that you kind of have to just go along with. But now, all the jumping through hoops has gotten too much for one Florida Porsche dealer, and it’s suing the German automaker for $300 million.

According to Automotive News, The Collection in Coral Gables, Florida, is suing Porsche for $300 million, claiming that the German company “is withholding inventory” because the “dealership has not built a new standalone store.” Automotive News reports:

The Collection, a multibrand dealership in Coral Gables, Fla., alleges that Porsche is violating the state’s dealer franchise law by restricting the allocation of ‘pool cars’ after the retailer refused to build an exclusive brand store.

“Porsche said the pool cars, which typically account for no more than 20 percent of available inventory, are assigned to dealers at the factory’s discretion. To qualify, dealers must operate exclusive Porsche stores and meet facility design standards, the company said.

“Sean Burstyn, the Miami attorney representing The Collection, said Florida franchise law prohibits an automaker from requiring dealers to establish exclusive facilities.”

The Collection markets cars for the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, and Aston Martin at its Florida dealership, and has so far refused to open a standalone Porsche store.

As such, Automotive News reports that a Porsche insider said it “would be unfair” to offer the Florida dealer access to rewards such as pool cars when almost 200 other dealers have followed its demands and built separate Porsche dealerships.

3rd Gear: U.S. Talks With South Korea Continue Over EV Rebates

After the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law back in August, you might have thought the EV tax cut saga was drawing to a close. But stipulations in the law about where vehicles had to be built in order to qualify for up to $7,500 in tax breaks has opened a whole other can of worms.

According to the new law, EVs must be assembled in the U.S. to qualify for the tax break, and future regulation could also add stipulations around battery sourcing as well. Because of these strict new rules, just 20 cars now qualify for the tax breaks. The American-centric legislation angered automakers like Hyundai and Kia of South Korea, which both recently launched some very attractive EV propositions onto the market.

After expressing fears that the new tax breaks would hit automakers from their country, Reuters reports that South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol has called for amendments to the ruling. Reuters reports:

President Joe Biden has expressed willingness to continue talks with South Korea over recent U.S. legislation that denies subsidies to most foreign makers of electric vehicles (EVs), an official from Yoon’s office said on Wednesday.

Biden gave the assurance in a letter to South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who had asked the U.S. president last month for help to allay Seoul’s concerns that the new U.S. rules would hurt South Korea’s automakers.

4th Gear: Sixt Buys 100,000 EVs From BYD

After rental firm Hertz announced it was adding more than 100,000 Teslas to its fleet, then 65,000 Polestar EVs and finally 175,000 GM electric cars to its fleet, it seemed like only a matter of time before other rental companies hopped on the electric bandwagon.

Now, Automotive News reports that Sixt is lining up to buy 100,000 electric cars from Chinese automaker BYD to roll out to its rental fleet in Europe over the coming years. According to Automotive News:

Sixt will buy about 100,000 electric vehicles from China’s BYD under a partnership agreement signed by the two companies.

Under the first stage of the agreement, Sixt will order several thousand full-electric vehicles from BYD, the first of which will be available to Sixt customers in Europe in the fourth quarter, the German car rental company said in a statement.

Sixt has then agreed to purchase around 100,000 more EVs by 2028, the rental company added.

The first BYD vehicles are expected to arrive in Sixt fleets in France, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK. The first model to be offered by Sixt will be the BYD Atto, an electric compact crossover.

5th Gear: U.S. Public Transport Ridership Nearly Back on Track

Two years ago, public transport was in a dire state, with ridership falling off a cliff as people were told to stay home and avoid crowded spaces to help cut the spread of Covid-19. But now, it’s a different story as passenger numbers on mass transit here in the U.S. are on the rise once again.

According to Intelligent Transport, the latest American Public Transportation Association’s Ridership Trends Dashboard found that a return to the office and school was fueling a rise in public transport ridership figures. In fact, the report found that passenger numbers have now reached “more than 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels.” Intelligent Transport reports:

The Covid-19 pandemic had an immediate and significant impact on public transportation ridership. Ridership declines began in mid-March 2020, coinciding with stay-at-home emergency orders in many cities and states across the country.

Ridership declined to a low point of 10 to 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in many cities. After falling to 20 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in April 2020, ridership has recovered to more than 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. This rise in ridership is reflective of transit agencies adapting to the swiftly changing needs of their communities while delivering safe, reliable service.

There’s still a ways to go to get back to the way things were. But, maybe with a bit of investment here and there in the mass transit offering across the U.S., ridership can leapfrog 2019 levels.

Reverse: F1 Is Still Learning from its Mistakes

Neutral: What Should Ford Electrify Next?

Ford’s got a pretty nice array of EVs on the market now, there’s a pickup, an SUV, and a quite excellent panel van. But what would you like it to electrify next? Do you want it to try its hand at an EV hatchback, or maybe a sedan? What about a proper electric muscle car, or even a Bronco EV?

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