EV infrastructure, IRA tax credit and UAW talks discussed at 2023 Automotive News Detroit Congress

Automotive News Publisher K.C. Crain with Ford Blue President Kumar Galhotra at the 2023 Automotive News Detroit Congress. (Jerome Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Detroit — The 2023 Automotive News Detroit Congress was held on Tuesday on the grounds of Crain Communications in downtown Detroit.  The subjects that were discussed was the EV sales and investments, the Inflation Reduction Act, hybrid vehicles and the UAW talks.

The first topic was the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).  Mohammed Abraham, President Chassis System North America Bosch, said the IRA has a profound impact on the auto industry as we see it.  “There is an impact on climate and on the economic front as well.  To secure the supply chain in America, we have to be able to offer the supply chain to localize.  It requires a little bit of patience,” added Abraham.

John Bozzella, President & CEO, Alliance for Automotive Innovation, said before the IRA was signed, 92 percent of the cars qualified for the tax credit, and after, it’s only 35 percent.  “But we are going to see more vehicles that meet the requirement.  Consumers and dealers need clear and concise information as soon as possible on the battery components and mineral identification before a consumer can purchase a vehicle.  The U.S. Treasury plans to give us this information by the end of this year,” says Bozzella.

Jennifer Safavian, President & CEO, Auto Drives America says the UAW has been working on investments to transition to EV’s.  The Inflation Reduction Act was signed by President Biden in August 2022.  It provides subsidies for EV manufacturers in the United States.  “EV sales in California is 20 percent, however overall it is 8-9 percent in the United States.  Fifty percent was always an ambitious goal.  We’ve got a ways to go.  IRA will not get us there.”

“New EV’s comes with most restrictions.  It makes it tougher to be eligible for tax credits.  Credits are only available for specific vehicles and specific consumers.  Lots of models cannot get the credit.  Leasing has been helpful in that regard.  We are still waiting for guidance on getting information on the credits right now.  The election has an affect on the IRA.  We should be very concerned.  Nobody thinks it will be repealed, but may be modified,”  added Safavian.

Mark Reuss, President of General Motors, was one of three keynote speakers.  He says this is a time of change in the industry.  “Bargaining negotiations is truly history.  We are on a path.  From a GM standpoint, we are here to win.  The goal is to reward our employees and stakeholders.  I know that together we can win.  The future looks incredibly bright.”

“There are not a lot of profits on EV’s.  However we have some EV’s that are profitable.  The Silverado work truck gets 393 miles of range.  As range becomes standard, it is real important,” says Reuss.

“Super Cruise if safer than a human driver.  Saving lives is always the mission.  It is great for seniors.  The Super Cruise keeps expanding the roadability which makes it safer.”

Regarding infrastucture.  “We’ve got to make sure that, for instance, our customers will have 134,000 places to charge their vehicle.  That’s a big deal.  So we’re gonna keep doing that,” added Reuss.

Ford Blue President, Kumar Galhotra, says during the pandemic and semiconductor crisis, we had to learn new things about supplier management.  Semiconductors are in a better place than two to three years ago.”

“The UAW negotiations are still going on.  Both sides are still at the table.  There is lots of focus on big items like wages and Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).  We are committed to the middle class,” added Galhotra.

“Ford is the No. 3 brand just behind Toyota and Hyundai in hybrid sales.  We are the No. 1 pickup truck brand in hybrid sales.  We are gonna unveil the F-150 tonight at Hart Plaza.”  By the way, he had nothing to share about that. 

“I think I’ll disappoint my team if I did that,” says Galhotra.  “Maverick has been a huge success especially with the hybrids.  We just added another shift in that plant because demand has been so strong.  We are going to invest more in F-150, Maverick, Escape, Explorer and Lincoln Aviator and Corsair.  We are gong to continue to grow.  I can see a time in the near future the F-150 becomes the No. 1  hybrid vehicle by volume.  Mustang is such an icon around the world, the best selling sports car globally.  As a brand, it is very strong,” says Galhotra.

José Muñoz, President and COO, Hyundai Motor and President & CEO, Genesis Motor North America explained how Hyundai started.  “It was founded in 1986.  We have a global footprint especially in Asia.  We are growing in America.  We are based in California with a Tech Center in Superior Township, MI.  We will invest $12.6 billion in the United States by 2025.  The purpose of this investment is electrification.  We have a $7.6 billion investment into an assembly and battery cell manufacturing plant in Savannah, GA.  Hyundai has a $51.4 million investment in a Safety Test and Investigation Lab in Michigan.”

“We have had a steady, consistent and profitable growth in the United States and it has improved rapidly since 2019.  Hyundai has jumped to No. 4 in 2022 in outperforming the competition.  Genesis is climbing in the luxury ranking.”

Hyundai has a strong upward image momentum with growth and advanced features and quality imagery.  Consumer expenditure has more than doubled since 2019.  Hyundai is No. 3 in retail market share.  We are the world’s No. 3 automaker behind Toyota and Volkswagen.  We have contributed to the United States economic growth with 190,000 American jobs created.  In 15-20 years, we will see growth with hydrogen.  We still need to improve significantly but we are on our way,” added Muñoz.

Stay with AmericaJR for more coverage from the 2023 Automotive News Detroit Congress…

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