Tuesday Ticker: Robotaxi beckons; Toyota takes over Daihatsu operations

Toronto, Ontario — In this weekly Tuesday Ticker, Tesla teases a “robotaxi” rollout, while Toyota claims the reins for its subsidiary’s operations outside Japan. Meanwhile, Unifor lets Ford know how it feels about its decision to delay EV production by two years.

Robotaxi rollout

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that the company’s long-awaited autonomous vehicle, dubbed “Robotaxi,” will be unveiled August 8. 

Shares of Tesla rose three percent in after-hours trading immediately following Musk’s tweet of the news.

He made the announcement the same day Reuters released a report claiming Tesla had cancelled plans to produce a more affordable EV. The news suggested that Musk told employees he instead wanted to focus on autonomous vehicles. Musk dispelled the rumours with a tweet claiming the publication was “lying.” 

As of Monday at 11 a.m. ET, shares of Tesla traded at US$172.13, down 30 percent from the start of this year. 

The deal with Daihatsu

In an effort to revive its truck-making subsidiary, following a recent safety certification scandal, Toyota has announced its plan to assume control over Daihatsu Motor Co.’s compact-vehicle development and certification activities in markets outside of Japan. 

The two carmakers released a statement on Monday stating that Daihatsu’s business unit responsible for compact cars in emerging markets will be integrated into Toyota’s unit. The objective of this restructuring is to establish a more independent and coordinated organization in Asia.

Daihatsu, which has been a fully owned subsidiary of Toyota since 2016, faced a suspension of all vehicle shipments due to the discovery of extensive irregularities in its safety certification practices. 

Toyota itself has also been confronted with a series of scandals since late last year, including the revelation in January by Toyota Industries Ltd. that it had manipulated power output data for multiple engines supplied to Japanese automakers.

Ford fallout

Ford’s decision to delay the production of electric vehicles at its Oakville, Ont., plant will have “wide-reaching impacts,” according to auto workers union Unifor. 

Ford announced last week that, while retooling at the Oakville plant will continue on schedule, beginning this spring, the OEM will delay the actual production of EVs until 2027. Ford previously was slated to begin EV production next year, in 2025.

“Unifor is extremely disappointed by the company’s decision. Our members have done nothing but build best-in-class vehicles for Ford Motor Company and they deserve certainty in the company’s future production plans,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. 

“I want to be very clear here. Our members can be assured that we will push the company to explore every single possible opportunity to lessen the impact of this decision on them and their families.”

Unifor wrote that, “given the magnitude of the delay” it had requested a meeting with Ford as soon as possible to discuss job and income safety measures for workers.

The Oakville production of the Ford Edge ends next month.


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