Stellantis to delay production of its Ram 1500 Classic pickup trucks due to global chip shortage

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  • Production at Stellantis assembly plants in Michigan and Mexico will be impacted, the statement said.
  • The pandemic caused a disruption in the supply chain of semiconductor chips used in cars and electronics.
  • The computer chips make up around 40% of a new car’s cost, according to a report by Deloitte.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Stellantis will delay the production of its Ram 1500 Classic pickup trucks due to the global chip shortage.

The company is currently building the trucks but delaying the completing production for a “number of weeks” at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan and the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico, a company spokesperson said in a statement to Insider.

The truck will be completed when the chips become available, the statement added.

“We continue working closely with our suppliers to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry,” the statement said.

Earlier in March, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said that problems caused by the chip shortage may not be fully resolved by the second half of 2021, Reuters reported.

Stellantis is the world’s fourth-largest automaker created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group.

The pandemic caused a disruption in the supply chain of semiconductor chips used in the manufacturing of cars and electronics. The chips are used in vehicles’ navigation systems, Bluetooth, and collision-detection systems and make up around 40% of a new vehicle’s cost, according to a report by Deloitte.

Due to the global computer chip shortage, a production slowdown in the auto industry surfaced earlier this year as some car companies changed their manufacturing plans while others searched for new suppliers.

On Thursday, Ford said in a statement that it will build F-150 trucks and Edge SUVs in North America without specific parts including some electronic modules that contain semiconductors.

The impact extends to other carmakers such as Volvo that decided to adjust its production plans temporarily for some periods in March while General Motors said it will lengthen its production cuts at three North American plants.

Automakers could lose as much as $61 billion in revenue due to the chip shortage, Bloomberg reported citing estimates from Alix Partners.

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Ford to recall 2.6 million vehicles in the US to replace Takata airbags

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Ford is recalling around 2.6 million cars in the US starting April 1 to replace driver’s side front Takata airbag inflators that could rupture.

Ford proceeded with the safety recall after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in January denied a petition the company filed in 2017 arguing the recall was not warranted.

The company maintained in a statement Friday that it believes the recall was unnecessary because the inflators in this tranche of cars operate differently that those that prompted the world’s largest-ever auto safety recall.

More than 42 million US vehicles by 19 automakers with Takata air bag inflators have been recalled over the past few years due to concerns the inflators could rupture during airbag deployment, spewing potentially deadly metal fragments. Takata inflators have led to more than two dozen deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide.

The cost of the recall action is estimated to be about $610 million, Ford said in a January regulatory filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Ford did not respond to Insider’s request for further comment.

The company is also recalling 274,737 of the affected vehicles in Canada and 46,078 vehicles in Mexico, according to Ford’s statement. Dealers are expected to replace the driver-side airbag inflator or airbag module.

Car models include the Ford Fusion 2006-2012, Ford Edge 2007-2010, Ford Ranger 2007-2011, Mercury Milan 2006-2011, Lincoln Zephyr/MKZ 2006-2012, and Lincoln MKX 2007-2010.

Separately, Ford is also recalling 15,769 vehicles in the US over faulty tires, 3,082 vehicles in Canada, and 138 in Mexico.

A break may happen on the sidewall of the tire leading to sudden air loss or a belt edge separation which could cause partial or full belt loss and increasing the risk of a crash, Ford said citing a safety report by the Continental Tire of America.

The company said that it is not aware of any accident or injury related to this issue.

The recalled car models include Ford F-250 and F-350 select 2018-2020, F-150 select 2018, and Ford Escape select 2019.

Owners will be notified during the week of March 29 about the fix in which dealers will inspect tires and replace those that match the suspect tire list provided by Continental Tire of America.

Last month, Ford said that it is recalling around 90,000 of its F-Series pickups over faulty windshields. The company said that the windshields “are inadequately bonded to the vehicle body structure,” and that the windshield may not stay in place if a crash occurs, increasing the risk of an injury.

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How truck escape ramps are used on steep roads to stop runaway vehicles

  • Truck escape ramps are used as a traffic tool on steep, sustained grades to check high vehicle speeds in emergencies.
  • The ramps use a combination of momentum-halting media like gravel or sand and an incline to bring runaway vehicles to a halt.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Following is a transcription of the video.

Video: Oh! He took it! He took it, dude! Gravel is flying! Dirt is flying!

Narrator: If you’ve driven any one of the many highways crisscrossing the world, chances are you’ve seen one of these: a truck escape ramp.

Some escape ramps slope upwards. Others are flat. Some contain sand, others gravel. But regardless of design, they all serve one purpose: to bring vehicles with malfunctioning brakes to a safe stop. Just how do they work?

When designing a new ramp, state authorities consider factors specific to the road, like how steep the grade is and what road conditions look like at the bottom of a hill. Though they may look different depending on where you see them, escape ramps around the world do have some things in common.

Most escape ramps make use of arrester beds, pools of sand or gravel. The material in the bed is selected for their low coefficients of interparticle friction, meaning when a wheel or axle touches the bed, the material in it moves away from each other, allowing the truck to sink into the gaps.

Like a swimming pool, escape ramps are shallow at entry, anywhere from 3 inches deep, and get deeper, to around 48 inches at 100 to 200 feet in. When a truck enters the bed, it meets little resistance at first, then more as it travels. This means the truck decelerates gradually, reducing the risk of injury to the driver, and stands less risk of flipping over, or capsizing.

When observing escape ramps around the world, three designs stand out: the sandpile bed, the gravity escape ramp, and the mechanical arrester ramp.

This is a sandpile bed. This type of escape ramp contains loose rows of sand perpendicular to the direction of traffic. As a truck collides with the pile, the energy of the truck is transferred to the sand. As the sand is sent flying away at high speeds, an equal and opposite force acts against the truck, reducing its velocity. Impacting sandpiles, though, is… jarring, putting the driver at higher risk of injury, which brings us to the gravity escape ramp, distinguishable by its gradually ascending slope.

In addition to the friction of material in the bed, gravity works on the truck, pushing it down and back. The sloped gravity ramp is more effective than a flat arrester bed.

A 10% grade could allow a truck to halt anywhere up to 85 feet sooner. Gravity ramps are the most cost-effective where natural rises occur adjacent to the road. Some terrains, though, simply do not allow for a naturally occurring gravity escape ramp. So, state agencies have turned to a more experimental form of escape ramp.

The mechanical arrester ramp can be installed on flat ground or even downward slopes. Unlike other designs, this ramp does not have an arrester bed. Instead, it contains a series of stainless-steel catch nets. The nets absorb the energy from a truck collision. Like a rubber band being pulled taut, the force exerted on the truck increases exponentially the further the truck travels. The mechanical arrester ramp then can stop a truck more quickly than gravel or sand arrester beds.

Entering a truck escape ramp is a one-way trip. If the ramp works properly, a truck will either end up submerged or damaged, needing a tow to recover. Despite the expense, agencies urge truck drivers and other motorists to use the escape ramps.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2019.

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Tesla edges closer to launching sales in India by registering a company in the country

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Elon Musk speaking at the Satellite Conference and Exhibition in Washington, Monday, March 9, 2020.

  • Tesla has registered a company in India as it prepares to launch operations there in “early 2021,” according to the country’s transport minister.
  • India is pushing for a boost in electric vehicle sales as it focuses on cutting emissions.
  • It has the world’s fifth biggest car market – but Toyota and Ford have been scaling back operations in the country.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla is coming closer to launching sales in India later this year.

The electric vehicle giant has now registered a company in the country, Reuters reported, citing documents filed on Tuesday.

India is home to the world’s second largest population and fifth biggest car market.

The company, called Tesla Motors India and Energy Private Limited, was incorporated on January 8, Reuters reported. Its office is registered in Bangalore, a city in the south that has become the country’s technology hub, and it has three listed directors.

The company’s registration came less than two weeks after Nitin Gadkari, India’s transport minister, told The Indian Express that Tesla would launch operations in India in “early 2021.” The company would start with sales then potentially moving on to assembly and manufacturing, he said.

CEO Elon Musk has been teasing Tesla’s entry into the Indian market for years.

“Next year for sure,” he said in October in response to a tweet asking when Tesla would sell its electric cars in India.

“Thanks for waiting!” Musk added.

Read more: Tesla’s new ‘tabless’ battery design eliminates the power pack’s ‘weakest link,’ a top researcher says – and could cut production costs by 50%

The Indian government is pushing for a boost in electric vehicle sales as it increasingly focuses on cutting emissions and other sustainability measures.

In September 2017, the government said all of the roughly 250 million vehicles on the road must be electric by 2030. But after fierce criticism, the government lowered this target to just 30% in February 2018.

And Delhi, the national capital, will have as many as 2,000 electric public transport buses by the end of 2021, the city’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot announced in August 2020. The ministry for power is also looking into setting up electric vehicle charging points at all gas stations in Delhi, he added.

“I am confident that in five years Indian will become the number one hub for manufacturing electric buses, cars and two-wheelers,” Nitin Gadkari, the county’s minister of road transport and highways, said in June

“It is interesting, and highly ambitious, to see that (Musk) is hoping to make inroads in a country which has a reputation for huge levels of air pollution, particularly in the big cities,” Sam Bailey from intellectual property firm Mewburn Ellis told Insider. 

“It is also evidence of his belief that Tesla is now getting closer to a price point that is attractive and affordable for people in all economies and no longer the preserve of the very rich early adopters of new technology.”

India is the third-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, after China and the US, according to the World Economic Forum, and accounts for around 7% of total global emissions.

“Tesla has rightly identified India as a market with great demand growth potential,” David Leggett, automotive analyst at GlobalData, said. “There is a large and affluent middle class developing in its many urban centres.”

“India has a population comparable in size to that of China – it is approaching 1.5 billion people – but its car market is only around 3 million, around a tenth of China’s. Over the next five years, we expect India’s car market to double in size, with electric vehicles increasing their share.”

Read more: A former Tesla employee who filed a whistleblower tip is paying the company $400,000 for divulging trade secrets, following a 2-year dispute with Elon Musk

Musk has been discussing Tesla’s launch in India for years.

Back in February 2017, Musk said he hoped to launch sales in India that summer.

Four months later, he said he was in talks with India’s government about Tesla.

Then in March 2019, he tweeted: “Would love to be there this year. If not, definitely next!” when asked when Tesla would launch sales there.

As Tesla plans its launch into the Indian markets, other vehicle manufacturers continue to pull out.

In September, Harley-Davidson announced it would stop manufacturing in India, despite its status as the world’s largest motorcycle market, and Toyota said that same month it was halting a planned expansion due to India’s high tax regime.

General Motors left India in 2017 after failing to expand its market share, and Ford said in October 2019 it was moving the majority of its assets into a joint venture with Indian vehicle firm Mahindra & Mahindra.

Earlier this month Tesla announced it had begun producing Model Y vehicles in China, the world’s largest car market, which experts say could be crucial to Tesla’s success. It also slashed the pre-order sales price for the vehicle by 30%.

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Tesla zooms past $700 billion in market value after nearly hitting 500,000 deliveries in 2020

Elon Musk
Elon Musk.

  • Tesla stock climbed as much as 5% to a fresh high on Monday, boosting the electric-car company’s market capitalization to north of $700 billion.
  • Elon Musk’s automaker exceeded its production target of 500,000 vehicles last year, and fell just short of 500,000 deliveries.
  • “So proud of the Tesla team for achieving this major milestone!” Musk tweeted about the news.
  • Tesla’s stock price soared by more than 740% in 2020.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Tesla shares jumped as much as 5% to a record high on Monday after the automaker revealed it delivered about 500,000 vehicles to customers last year. The stock-price surge added up to $36 billion to the automaker’s market capitalization, lifting it past $700 billion for the first time.

Elon Musk’s electric-car company recorded 499,550 deliveries in 2020 – 450 short of its target. However, Tesla said its delivery figures tend to be “slightly conservative” and the final number could vary by 0.5% or more. Therefore, Musk and his team counted the performance as achieving their goal.

Read more: GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 37 stocks that could earn you the strongest returns without taking on big risks in 2021 as the recovery and vaccine distribution get underway

“So proud of the Tesla team for achieving this major milestone!” Musk tweeted. “At the start of Tesla, I thought we had (optimistically) a 10% chance of surviving at all.”

Tesla hustled to hit its numbers last quarter. Its deliveries stood at about 318,000 at the end of September, meaning it had to deliver a demanding 180,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter.

Musk’s company also achieved its production target. It manufactured about 509,000 vehicles in 2020, exceeding its goal of 500,000.

Tesla’s stock price skyrocketed by about 740% last year, boosting its market cap to north of $600 billion. Here’s a chart showing its remarkable rally:

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