Tesla Model 3 And Model Y Cost Less Than The Average Car And Investors Are Worried

Tesla Model 3 And Model Y Cost Less Than The Average Car And Investors Are Worried

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, October 10, 2023, and this is The Morning Shift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.

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1st Gear: Teslas Are Getting Too Cheap For Investors

After Tesla’s latest round of price cuts on its two most popular vehicles, the Model 3 and Model Y, they now compete directly with gas-powered cars on price. On the surface, this may sound like a good thing, but it’s got some investors worried.

At least one believes that lowering the price of these two vehicles could end up costing Tesla $1.2 billion per year. From Bloomberg:

At $38,990, the base Model 3 sedan now costs $8,700 less than the average amount paid for a car or truck in the US. The starting price for a Model Y SUV is $3,700 below the average auto price of roughly $48,000, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Green. Tesla started cutting prices at the start of the year, twisting the screws on legacy automakers that were already struggling to make electric vehicles profitably.

“Now the fun part of cost declines … life after price parity,” said Sam Korus, an analyst at Ark Investment Management, which manages funds with approximately $1.27 billion in Tesla stock. “There is no reason why battery costs or EVs should halt their price declines at price parity. The product can continue to cost less, or it continues to sit in the same price segment and performance improves.”

While Tesla’s share price was little changed by the cuts last week, the drumbeat of reductions this year has driven a wedge between some investors. Gary Black, managing partner at The Future Fund, said last week’s changes alone will cost Tesla $1.2 billion a year starting in 2024.

Black has used his widely followed X social media account to advocate for Tesla to spend money on traditional advertising campaigns rather than price cuts. “Amazes me that Tesla uber-bulls [are] trying to spin last night’s price cuts as positive,” Black posted on Oct. 6. “We would prefer Tesla use long-term advertising investment to educate [internal combustion engine] owners to go EV rather than price cuts.”

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Bloomberg says that the Model 3’s starting price is now $6,500 lower than the cheapest BMW 3-Series, which it says is often looked at as the Model 3’s closest gas-power competitor. When you add in the $7,500 federal EV tax credit as well as Tesla’s estimated fuel savings, you’re looking at a Model 3 for the price of a Corolla.

Tesla has also dropped the price of its higher-end vehicles, the Model S full-size sedan and Model X three-row SUV, both of which are at their cheapest ever compared to the US average transaction price. In September, that benchmark price for a new vehicle in the US was $47,698, according to automotive information firm Edmunds.

Some see Tesla’s price cuts as the cost of propping up demand after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter Inc. — now X Corp. — and his increasing engagement with right-wing politics.

But, as we mentioned earlier, not everyone is on board.

“Sadly Tesla continues to have to cut prices to sell cars. Piss off core demo and kill margins to unload inventory,” Ross Gerber, co-founder and CEO of wealth management firm Gerber Kawasaki Inc., reportedly said. “The master plan!”

2nd Gear: Over 30,000 Autoworkers Are On Strike

Just about 4,000 United Auto Worker union members at Mack Trucks walked off the job at 7 a.m. on October 9 in three states after negotiations fell through. Union members voted by a 73 percent margin to reject a tentative agreement reached on October 1.

“The members have the final say, and it’s their solidarity and organization that will win a fair contract,” Shawn Fain, UAW President, said in a statement. From The Detroit Free Press:

Topics of concern that remain for union members, according to Fain, include wage increases, cost-of-living allowances (COLA), job security, wage progression, skilled trades, shift premium, holiday schedules, work schedules, health and safety, seniority, pension, 401(k), health care and prescription drug coverage, and overtime.

The rejected agreement included a 19% pay hike over five years, according to a summary of the tentative agreement seen by Reuters. It also included a $3,500 ratification bonus, improved retirement benefits, additional vacation for some employees and a reduction in the time needed to get to top pay, Reuters said. The agreement included an immediate 10% pay hike upon ratification.

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UAW Locals 171, 677, 1247, 2301, and 2420 represent workers at Mack Trucks in Macungie and Middletown, Pennsylvania; Hagerstown, Maryland; Baltimore, and Jacksonville, Florida.

Freep reports that there are now over 30,000 UAW members on strike in 22 states against a number of employers, including the Big Three automakers.

3rd Gear: Unifor Union Members Striking GM Plants

Nearly 4,300 Unifor union workers went on strike at three Canadian General Motors plants after a deadline to negotiate a new deal came and went. It goes without saying this adds some pressure to GM, an automaker already dealing with striking workers in the U.S.

The walkout comes after the union said GM was “stubbornly refusing” to match the contract the labor groups agreed to with Ford, a company offering 25 percent wage increases in Canada. From Reuters:

“The company continues to fall short on our pension demands, income supports for retired workers, and meaningful steps to transition temporary workers into permanent, full-time jobs,” Unifor National President Lana Payne said.

The union had set a deadline of Monday midnight for a new deal with GM after the previous collective agreements with the Detroit Three automakers expired on Sept. 18.

GM said it will continue talks with Unifor but the walkout adds to the headache faced by the automaker in the U.S. where it was racking up millions of dollars in losses per week due to the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike.

GM has lost 34,176 vehicles of production since the start of the UAW strike in September, according to an estimate by Deutsche Bank. The automaker, however, said last week it had 442,586 vehicles in stock.

Unifor said it would go on strike at GM’s Oshawa assembly complex, St. Catharines powertrain plant and the Woodstock parts distribution centre, but members at the CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, will work as they are covered by a separate agreement.

GM is now reportedly facing a likely production disruption at its St. Catherines plant that makes engines for a number of vehicles, including the Chevy Equinox and Corvette.

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At the Oshawa plant, workers build light- and heavy-duty Chevrolet Silverado trucks, one of GM’s most profitable models, while the plant’s stamping operations supply various parts for GM North America.

Unifor has used the “pattern bargaining” approach in its talks, reaching a deal first with Ford and then expecting GM and Stellantis to match. The UAW, on the other hand, broke with that approach under its new leadership.

Unifor represents about 18,000 workers at Canadian Ford, GM and Stellantis plants in Canada.

4th Gear: GM, Stellantis Lay Off 800 More Workers

General Motors has reportedly made a number of temporary layoffs, or furloughs, and blamed striking workers. Stellantis has made hundreds of similar layoffs as well. From Automotive News:

The automaker said that effective Monday, more employees at Toledo Propulsion Systems in Ohio, Marion Metal Center in Indiana and Lansing Regional Stamping in Michigan had no work available. Those facilities make powertrains and stampings for the GM assembly plants in Missouri and Michigan where employees are on strike.

The latest additions bring the number of strike-related layoffs at GM to more than 2,300. The UAW’s strike against the Detroit 3 now is in its 25th day.

[…]

Stellantis on Monday said it has laid off about 640 workers in three states due to the strike at its Toledo Assembly Complex.

Roughly 520 workers at Trenton Engine in Michigan and 50 workers at Kokomo Casting in Indiana were laid off as of Friday, Oct. 6. That’s in addition to 68 workers at Toledo Machining in Ohio who were sent home Sept. 22.

[…]

Ford on Monday said an additional 71 workers at its Livonia Transmission Plant in Michigan have been laid off, bringing the total at that facility to 391 and total for the company to 1,865.

GM says it has been working to temporarily move impacted workers to other parts of the plant, but that work doesn’t exist anymore because workers are striking for better wages.

Stellantis reported said about 300 employees who had previously been laid off at plants in Indiana returned to work this week.

Reverse: Tricky Dick’s Buddy

Neutral: I Still Have A New Twitter Account

It seems Elon couldn’t take the heat anymore, and my old Twitter (or X, I don’t know) account got suspended. So, I’ve risen from the ashes and created a new account. PLS follow @AndyKalmowitz for car content and Jets misery.

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