Toyota takes ‘intentional break’

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Photo: Toyota

Toyota will slow down production a bit, Lamborghini will make 15 more Aventadors and Fords. All this and more in The morning shift for March 17, 2022.

1st gear: Toyota’s “intentional pause”

Toyota released a statement on Thursday outlining its production plans for the next three months, and what that says is more or less how Toyota has learned to stop worrying and love semiconductor shortages. Toyota’s statement is worth quoting in detail because it is so unusual:

So far, we have been conducting salvage production with tremendous efforts from various parties involved with the aim of delivering as many vehicles as possible to customers as soon as possible. However, due to the shortage of parts, we had to make repeated last-minute adjustments to production plans, which placed 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 light of recent realities. Specifically, we have positioned the three-month period from April to June as an “intentional break” and will create plans based on staffing structures and vendor facility capabilities. In doing so, we will establish healthy work environments that place the highest priority on safety and quality, rather than overextending facilities, pushing people to their limits and settling for overtime. We will then notify 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 quarterly 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 supplied to our suppliers at the start of the year includes the recovery of previous production cuts, due to the impact of semiconductor shortages, we have adjusted our production plan to around 150,000 units worldwide. The global average of the production plan from April to June is around 800,000 units.

Toyota manufactured just over 10 million cars last year was about 840,000 a month, so its new target of 800,000 a month still isn’t too far off, although Toyota’s capitulation to [vaguely gestures at everything] is also very relevant. I too am intentionally quitting if all the bullshit continues.

2nd gear: Lamborghini will make replacements for burnt out cars on this 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 looks like automakers will be able to replace most if not all of them for customers, including all 15 Aventadors on board.

US customers whose high-end vehicles now sit on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in the burnt carcass of Felicity Ace will all receive their orders – including 15 out-of-production Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae editions, CEOs of Volkswagen Group’s premium brands say Automotive News.

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

“It was the edition that closed the production of the Aventador, and there were 15 on board the ship,” Winkelmann said. Brand officials previously disclosed that there were 85 Lamborghinis on board, mostly Urus SUVs, but did not say how many were Aventador Ultimae at the end of the race.

“We have thought together and fortunately we are able to replace these cars, so there will be no loss for our customers in the United States due to the sunken ship. This is good news,” Winkelmann said. “And everything else, we are able to replace it. The Aventador was tricky, but we made it.

[…]

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

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

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

That’s nice of the automakers, but it’s also why they pay for insurance.

3rd Gear: Ford recalls 157,306 F-150s due to possible wiper failure

Ford says it’s received more than 750 wiper reports acting on 2021 F-150s, and a motor is to blame. Owners of affected F-150s will be contacted by next month.

Of recall report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

Safety Risk Description: An inoperative windshield wiper motor can cause reduced visibility or loss of visibility under certain conditions, increasing the risk of a crash.

Description of cause: The main causal factors that led to inoperative or poorly performing windshield wipers were spot welding of poor quality motor brush plate, insufficient application of motor magnet adhesive and insufficient motor nut assembly torque.

[…]

Repair Program Description: 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 by the Associated Press. Hope you were seated for this one.

Research released Thursday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that the growing popularity of large vehicles is a possible factor in the rise in pedestrian fatalities on US roads. The authors also wondered if wider pillars supporting the roofs of larger vehicles made it harder for drivers to spot people walking near the corners of vehicles.

“The link between these types of vehicles and some common pedestrian crashes indicates another way in which the increase in the number of SUVs on the roads could be changing the crash picture,” said Jessica Cicchino, study author and vice -president of research for the institute.

Although the study cited previous research showing blind spots caused by “A-pillars” between the windshield and the cabin, the authors said further studies were needed to link blind spots to increased death.

[…]

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

Statistics from North Carolina showed that pickup trucks were 42% more likely than cars to hit pedestrians while turning left. SUVs were 23% more likely to hit people than cars. The study showed that there was no significant difference in the probability of a right-turn accident for the different vehicle types.

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

As trucks and SUVs have become larger, as are their A-pillars, to comply with federal standards intended to prevent roof collapse in the event of a rollover. I guess it’s no surprise that it seems little thought has been given to how this might affect visibility.

5th gear: the man quits his job

The CEO of ZF, probably the most famous German supplier for its transmissions, has said he will step down early next year, according to Automotive News. Wolf-Henning Scheider was hired by ZF in 2018 and oversaw the supplier’s continued expansion. Among automotive executive departures, this one seems pretty normal.

ZF did not say who might succeed Scheider.

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

[…]

Under Scheider, ZF continued to expand, including acquiring Wabco in 2019 for $7 billion to bolster its expertise in trucks and driver assistance systems.

Scheider has also faced a series of industrial crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the global shortage of semiconductors and now the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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

This is how you want to get away with your boss telling you that you made an unfortunate personal decision.

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