caronavirus crisis

March 20, 2020 /// issue no. 80

I challenged myself yesterday to not talk about anything related to COVID-19. I failed pretty miserably and it will probably be a while before the world can take the novel coronavirus out of every day conversation. COVID-19 is hitting hard worldwide and the automotive industry is not immune. Every major automotive manufacturer has suspended operations.

Yesterday, Ford announced that it was suspending its dividend and maxing out its credit lines to the tune of $15.4 billion in cash. Ford is also allowing borrowers to defer 3 months of payments and will pay for 3 months on top of that.

Ever the limit pusher, Elon Musk kept their Fremont, California plant online, despite a shelter-in-place order across all SF Bay Area counties. An email from HR noted that practically all workers were to report to work despite the government order. Tesla argued that it was providing an essential transportation service. It was more likely that Elon deemed it essential to ship more Model 3’s and pay off Tesla’s massive debt load.

Meanwhile, General Motors was in discussion with the U.S. government to determine if they could produce medical supplies. The primary example given is ventilators. New York City’s mayor made a direct plea to Elon Musk to make ventilators, but Elon the COVID-denier questioned what hospitals were in shortage. Every one of them will be, Elon.

Hyundai still previewed their Elantra this week, but let’s be honest in that their production will be severely delayed and when they come to market the global financial crisis will mean people won’t exactly be in a line out the door to buy them.

Time to cry in a corner looking at the performance of my Penske Automotive Group stock holdings,

daily automotive addiction.