As 2023 winds down, the automotive industry is still adapting and thriving, despite supply chain challenges (like the auto industry chip shortage) and conflict tensions around the world. Because we're deeply connected to the industry, we're always on the lookout for new auto news and trends. Here's what we discovered now that we’ve wrapped up the month of October.
UAW Ends Strike After Deal With GM
Some might say that 2023 was the year of the strike. Not only did Hollywood shut down as writers and actors went on strike, but the United Auto Workers union also halted production in hopes of better wages and protections for its members. General Motors was the sole holdout for a while but managed to strike a deal with UAW in late October. Overall, workers have made big gains, but it's unclear whether that will inspire other industries to follow suit.
Toyota Breaks Output Record of New Vehicles
We’d previously reported on Toyota ramping up production, and the trend continues. Toyota is the largest carmaker in the world, and it continues to dominate the industry with an 8.3-percent sales bump from April to September of 2023. As of now, the company has produced almost 5.6 million vehicles, smashing earlier records and illustrating that Toyota is still in high demand globally. Part of the increase has to do with more African nations buying the cars, as the region saw a massive 22 percent sales increase from 2022. The Middle East was second (17 percent), and North America third (9.4 percent).
Auto Sales Increased in September, Despite UAW Strike
Even though economic uncertainty is still relatively high, the auto industry wouldn't know it. New vehicle sales have increased since 2022, and the market overall seems remarkably stable and resilient. Part of that growth could be pent-up demand from shortages in previous years, but there are likely many other factors at play.
This increase is also notable because concerns over the UAW strike, high interest rates, and a potential looming recession don't seem to be an issue for car buyers. Here's to hoping that 2024 fares just as well.
Porsche Starts Using Green Steel
Green manufacturing and sustainable business practices are at the forefront of auto industry trends. Consumers want eco-friendly vehicles, and automakers are trying to find new ways to satisfy that demand without inflating their overhead costs. While much of the focus is on EV models, Porsche is also paying attention to the materials it's using in its cars.
The new startup H2 Green Steel has launched in Europe, and the luxury car brand has partnered with it to buy steel that uses less CO2 during production. In fact, H2 claims that the steel coming from its factory has a net-zero emission rating thanks to sustainable practices and initiatives at the manufacturing plant.
This attention to detail may inspire other automakers to start sourcing eco-friendly materials up and down the supply chain. Coupled with low-emission options, the future is looking bright for eco-friendly vehicles.
More Fleets are Adopting Telematics
When it comes to high-tech solutions and trucking, most industry insiders are paying attention to self-driving vehicles. However, human drivers are here to stay, at least for the near future. To help keep tabs on those drivers, more fleets are adopting telematics. Telematics includes various devices and programs to keep track of a vehicle's GPS location, as well as enable drivers to handle various tasks within the truck.
While oversight and tracking are the primary advantages of telematics, fleets are discovering other benefits of incorporating the Internet of Things (IoT) into their trucks. When everything is interconnected, it's easier for companies to adapt to delays and obstacles, and it makes it easier for drivers to submit paperwork and handle administrative tasks. Soon, all fleets will have to adopt telematics systems to stay competitive.
China's Making and Selling More Vehicles
China continues to grow its manufacturing sector, particularly within the automotive industry. Not only are local sales increasing, thanks to the rising middle class, but exports are booming at similar rates. Both light vehicle (LV) and passenger vehicle (PV) sales were up (eight and seven percent, respectively), although light commercial vehicles (LCV) left them both in the dust with a 20-percent increase year over year.
As China continues to prove, money matters more than socioeconomic policies. As long as China can continue to put its money where its manufacturing is, it will continue to exert more influence over different industries like automotive.
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