Last year brought the end to more than 20 vehicles. Halfway into 2021, automakers have already announced nine models headed toward indefinite retirement for the 2022 model year. Some, like the Volvo V60 and V90 wagons, will see parts of themselves live on. And arguably the best version of Hyundai’s Veloster will continue. Others, like the Volkswagen Passat and Honda Clarity are getting booted to make room for more electrified lineups in the future.
The Honda Clarity EV was discontinued in 2020, killing the only fully electric Honda in the United States market. And now, the remaining plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel-cell versions are gone too. Honda says the Clarity will be available as a lease through 2022, with Clarity FCV leases limited to California. The Clarity’s departure leaves the Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai as the only two FCVs available in the U.S. By that, we mean only in California. Although Clarity sales nearly matched the Chevrolet Bolt in 2019, last year wasn’t as fruitful with just 1617 units moved. The Clarity FCV qualifies for up to $5000 in California Clean Vehicle rebates, an HOV lane pass, and a fuel card for $15,000 worth of hydrogen fueling from Honda. The silver lining here is that Honda is likely making room for new models as part of their plan to sell only battery-electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2040.
The compact-car segment loses another player to team SUV. Hyundai’s beloved three-door hatchback is outta here. Although one of the cheapest cars sold today is leaving us, the 275-hp Veloster N lives on (at least for another year) while the Korean automaker shifts focus to its more popular Kona and Venue SUVs. And we’ll remind you that the Veloster N, equipped with the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission we tested last year, was the second-quickest front-wheel-drive car we’ve ever tested. Just 2205 Velosters have been sold in the first six months of 2021. That pales in comparison to current Kona sales at 50,996. The Venue has moved 15,050 units, outselling the Accent and the Ioniq. Now that Hyundai is busy engineering new rides for its all-electric E-GMP platform, there’s not much room for models that don’t sell. Next year there will be just four cars in Hyundai’s 10-model lineup.
Back in 2015 we fit six all-wheel-drive subcompact crossovers into a former staffer’s backyard because they were toylike and well, his backyard was a big playground. The Mazda CX-3 won big in that snack-size comparison test. It beat the Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V, Kia Soul, Fiat 500X, and the Chevrolet Trax. Unfortunately, in 2022, the CX-3 is the loser. Even in a package with less cargo space than its smallest sedan and hatchback, Mazda’s suspension tuning was optimized for low body roll without turning the ride into a pogo stick. Its biggest
The auction of the assets of Bouchard Transportation Company proceeded on July 18 under the process approved by the bankruptcy court. Before the auction, the reorganization officer for the oil barge transport company had selected an initial bid of $110 million for assets, which included 12 barges and 17 tugboats. Reports indicate, however, that the initial bidder selected by the company was outbid during the auction.
Bouchard informed the bankruptcy court in a filing on July 18 that it had an agreement with Hartree Partners for the purchase of its assets. The bid was $110 million in cash, subject to normal closing conditions. Hartree is an investment firm concentrating on the energy sector and associated industries. Formed in 1997, the firm invests in the production, refinement, transportation, and consumption of tradable commodities including electric power, natural gas, refined products, oil, freight, metals, carbon, and petrochemicals.
The initial bid, known in the bankruptcy trade as a “stalking horse bidder,” because it established a minimum price for the company’s assets, however, was outbid during the auction. Bloomberg Law is reporting that a California-based investment firm, JMB Capital Partners, bid $115 million at the Bouchard asset auction on Monday. JMB Capital specializes in distressed assets and bankruptcies, and also has provided debtor-in-possession financing in bankruptcy cases.
Bouchard, which was founded in 1918, filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2020, saying it planned to continue normal operations with debtor-in-possession financing while it moved forward with an operational restructuring. However, during the bankruptcy proceedings, Judge David R. Jones, who is hearing the company’s case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston, replaced family member Morton S. Bouchard III who has served as the company’s chief executive and director. Matthew Ray, a managing partner at Chicago-based Portage Point Partners, was brought in to lead the company as its reorganization officer.
In June 2021, the bankruptcy court approved the auction for the assets after the company had said it was seeking a buyer. Bouchard warned that it might start layoffs for its Long Island, New York-based employees as early as mid-July if a buyer was not found for the operations.
Bouchard’s troubles began in 2017 when an explosion on one of its barges killed two crew members. The NTSB concluded that the accident stemmed from a lack of effective maintenance and safety management, and the company was later embroiled in a fight with another employee, the brother of one of the crew members killed in the explosion. OSHA found that the company wrongfully dismissed the employee and ordered financial restitution. In addition, in 2020 the company also faced allegations of non-payment of wages to its crews. It later reported arranging financing and said that it would repay all back wages.
Employees are seen working on the final assembly of ASML’s TWINSCAN NXE:3400B semiconductor lithography tool with its panels removed, in Veldhoven, Netherlands, in this picture taken April 4, 2019. Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie/ASML/Handout via REUTERS
July 23 (Reuters) – The semiconductor shortage that has gripped the world could last well into 2022 and hit smartphone production next, foreshadowing deficient supply for a range of appliances and industrial equipment, industry executives and an economist said.
The automotive sector has suffered the most this year but supply to the sector could improve relatively soon, with China taking up some production demand that Taiwan could not meet, ING Greater China chief economist Iris Pang told Reuters Global Markets Forum this week.
Taiwanese semiconductor companies have boosted production in China as blackouts and ongoing COVID-19 social distancing measures disrupted factory output and port operations in Taiwan, she said.
“China gained 5% on the chip shortage in terms of GDP – Taiwan semiconductor companies have planned well and built large factories in mainland China,” Pang said, predicting that smartphone makers will be the next segment to face disruptions.
“Taiwanese semiconductor companies are tailoring making chips for autos, so the chip shortage should be solved for autos in a few weeks, but other electronics’ chip shortage problem persists,” Pang said, adding that could delay shipments of some new model smartphones.
Companies across industries globally have warned of an ongoing struggle to source chips.
ASML (ASML.AS), one of the world’s biggest suppliers to semiconductor makers, hiked its sales outlook this week on strong orders as chip giants such as TSMC (2330.TW) and Intel (INTC.O) raced to boost output.
The broader supply crunch could last until the second quarter of 2022, said Adam Khan, founder of AKHAN Semiconductor, although he noted this timeline was “aspirational.”
Andrew Feldman, CEO of chip startup Cerebras Systems, echoed that view, saying vendors were quoting lead times as long as 32 weeks for new chips and components.
ING’s Pang said even crypto miners are seeking ways to recycle “used” chips, which implies the shortage wasn’t going away.
Higher demand for chips, fuelled by one-off purchases to meet work-from-home needs and continuous demand for smartphones and other electronics, is expected to spur investment and growth in the sector.
The chips industry could grow between 21% to 25% in 2021, with “electronics having its best showing since 2010,” said Dan Hutcheson, CEO of chips-focused VLSI Research.
So far this year, the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index (.SOX) has outpaced the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) with gains of over 16% versus 13%.
(These interviews were conducted in the Reuters Global Markets Forum chat room on Refinitiv Messenger. Join GMF: https://refini.tv/33uoFoQ)
Reporting by Aaron Saldanha and Lisa Mattackal in Bengaluru; Editing by Divya Chowdhury and Ana Nicolaci da Costa
New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp, 58, died Thursday after a bicycle accident that occurred five days earlier.
“While his family, friends and players still had so much to learn from him and desperately wished they had more time with him, God called an audible and wanted to go over the game plan directly with him. It will certainly be a masterpiece, just like Greg!” his family said in a statement on his death.
The incident happened near Knapp’s home in San Ramon, Calif., about 30 miles from Oakland.
Knapp never regained consciousness in the five days after the crash. The driver, whose name has not been released, was not under the influence of drugs and is working with police in the investigation, ESPN reported.
Knapp was surrounded by his mother, wife, three daughters and brother when he died.
“Greg had such an inner peace about him that people always seemed to gravitate towards,” New York Jets coach Robert Saleh said in a statement. “He lived life in a loving way that helped him connect with people from all walks of life in a unique way.
“In his short time here, I believe the people in this organization had a chance to experience that connection. Greg, thank you for all that you have shared with us, you will be missed brother,” Saleh added.
Knapp joined the Jets at the beginning of the year as a passing-game specialist and has been with many teams over his coaching career that began in 1997.
“He was a tremendous football coach who achieved at the highest levels of our game, but more importantly he was a wonderful person who had the love, admiration and respect of those who were blessed to work with him,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. “Rest In Peace, Greg Knapp.”
Knapp was set to work with three young quarterbacks the Jets had and was going to travel to New Jersey just a few days after the incident to begin the season.
“In his short time with us, Greg had an immediate influence on those who had the pleasure of spending the smallest amount of time with him,” Jets chairman Woody Johnson’s statement reads. “His legacy is not only working with some of the brightest quarterbacks the league has ever seen, but the countless others across this world he has had an indelibly positive influence on.”
The Lightyear One will hit the production line thanks to contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive.
Valmet Automotive is one of the world’s largest automotive contract manufacturers and currently builds the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and GLC-Class at its facility in Uusikaupunki, Finland.
In a statement, Lightyear says it spent more than a year finding the perfect production partner for the all-electric One. The partnership will see the first prototypes of the Lightyear One built in Finland in January 2022 before production commences in the summer of 2022.
“Two years ago, we announced our prototype Lightyear One. We are really excited to have found a production partner with whom we will manufacture this exclusive model,” chief executive and co-founder of Lightyear Lex Hoefsloot said in a statement. “Valmet Automotive is a great partner, has a well-established track record and over a decade of experience in EV production. It’s also a good cultural fit with our company. We are proud that we will soon realize the actual production of Lightyear One with Valmet Automotive.”
Watch Also: Lightyear One EV Can Run On The Power Of The Sun
The Lightyear One features four small in-wheel electric motors and a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. In addition, the entire roof, hood, and rear decklid are clad in solar panels and according to Lightyear, these panels can add 31-43 miles (50-70 km) of range per day during summer. The company is targeting a range of 450 miles (725 km) on a single charge. Further aiding in the car’s impressive range is the fact that it has a drag coefficient of just 0.20.
“Our experience as a car manufacturer, as well as our focus on electric mobility and battery systems make us predestined for processes in which mobility must be redefined,” Valmet Automotive chief executive Olaf Bongwald added. “We are ready to enter new areas also in manufacturing cars and are therefore pleased that Lightyear has selected us as their production partner.”