FCA Italy recently started production of the new Jeep Compass plug-in hybrid – and other electrified models – in Melfi
FCA Italy, the wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and other Italian companies in the FCA Group have signed a three year, EUR6.3bn credit facility with Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy’s largest banking group.
FCA said the proceeds would be “dedicated exclusively to FCA’s activities in Italy and to support the more than 10,000 small and medium enterprises that make up the Italian automotive sector”.
The facility will be guaranteed by FCA NV.
The facility will also be 80% guaranteed by SACE, Italy’s export credit agency, under the Italian government’s liquidity decree (decreto liquidita), as overseen by the Ministry of Economy and Finance – MEF, and the Ministry of Economic Development – MISE.
The funds under the facility will be available on receipt of the SACE guarantee.
Under the facility’s innovative mechanism – which provides a potential model for assistance to other business sectors in Italy – all disbursements from the credit facility will be managed through dedicated accounts opened with Intesa Sanpaolo for the purpose of providing liquidity to FCA business in Italy and to Italian suppliers, supporting the restart of industrial production in Italy and the continuation of key investment projects at the group’s Italian plants and suppliers.
FCA said the Italian automotive ecosystem is the largest investor in research and innovation in the country and”fundamental to Italy’s future economic competitiveness in an era characterised by rapid technological change”.
The automotive sector accounts for approximately 6.2% of Italian GDP and some 7% of all manufacturing sector employment.
As part of the Italian automotive sector’s transformation towards a low emission, hybrid/electric-powered and connected future, FCA Italy recently started production of the new Fiat 500 electric in Turin and the Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass plug-in hybrids in Melfi, while development has been completed and production is due to start on the new Maserati MC20 at Modena.
The Pomigliano plant will be prepared for production of the new Alfa Romeo C-UV, Turin for production of the new Maserati GranTurismo, GranCabrio (available also in electric), the Maserati Ghibli and Levante (including hybrids) and Cassino for production of the Maserati D-UV.
Other initiatives include development of the GSE/MHEV (Mild Hybrid) engine module at Termoli for the Renegade, Compass and 500X produced at Melfi.
In Piedmont, significant investments have been initiated at the former Rivalta plant – for the construction of the Mopar brand’s new parts distribution centre – and at the Mirafiori complex, where FCA is to install solar power production units consisting of photovoltaic panels, a battery assembly centre (battery hub) and has started the vehicle to grid pilot project.
Main production launches will be phased over 2020 and 2021 with all completed by 2022.
FCA said the new credit facility forms part of its broader plan to support the safe restart of its Italian operations.
This follows the unprecedented period in which rapid measures were taken to protect employees, families and communities during the COVID-19 emergency which resulted in a complete suspension of industrial and commercial activities in Italy.
Pietro Gorlier, FCA chief operating officer for the EMEA region said: “Faced with an unprecedented crisis, this is an example of Italy coming together to safeguard a vital industrial ecosystem. The combined strengths of government, our nation’s largest bank and FCA have been put to work to ensure the Italian automotive system as a whole can continue to play its role in the restart of Italy’s economy”.
“[All] of the money this facility provides will be directed to our Italian business and so to the thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of workers who depend on the successful relaunch of our entire sector as we continue a transformative shift to a new electric and hybrid powered future.”
Earlier report: Italy set to approve FCA loan
Tesla is taking reservations for its Cybertruck in China
Tesla has opened up reservations for its all-electric Cybertruck to customers in China, a move that will test the market’s appetite for a massive, futuristic truck.
The Cybertruck, which was unveiled in November at the Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, Calif., isn’t expected to go into production until late 2022. But that hasn’t stopped thousands of U.S. consumers to plunk down a $100 refundable deposit for the truck. Just weeks after the official unveiling, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that there were 250,000 reservations for the vehicle.
Tesla is now testing potential interest among Chinese consumers.
It’s impossible to predict how many of these reservations — in China and the U.S. — will convert to actual sales. It will be more than a year before there are any answers. Tesla hasn’t even finalized its decision of where it will build the vehicle.
Musk tweeted in March that Tesla was scouting locations for a factory that would be used to produce Model Y crossovers for the East Coast market as well as the Cybertruck. At the time, Musk said that the factory would be located in the central part of the United States.
Initially, Tesla was eyeing Nashville and had been in talks with officials there. The company has since turned its attention to Austin and Tulsa. Talks in Austin have progressed rapidly and it appears likely that the factory will end up in a location just outside of the city. Although Tulsa officials have been quick to note that talks with Tesla have continued there as well.
Tesla has said it will offer three variants of the Cybertruck. The cheapest version, a single motor and rear-wheel drive model, will cost $39,900, have a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds and more than 250 miles of range. The middle version will be a dual-motor all-wheel drive, have a towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds and be able to travel more than 300 miles on a single charge. The dual motor AWD model is priced at $49,900.
The third version will have three electric motors and all-wheel drive, a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds and battery range of more than 500 miles. This version, known as “tri motor,” is priced at $69,900.
June Class 8 truck orders rebound to four-month high
Preliminary new Class 8 truck orders in North America rose 139% in June over May, following rebounding freight rates to set a four-month high. But industry experts do not expect a sustained comeback until later this year.
The 16,000 orders more than doubled combined bookings in April and May. That’s when shelter-in-place regulations led to a near collapse of the economy. Orders exceeded the same month a year ago by 23%, according to ACT Research,
“North American Class 8 net orders were up against an easy year-ago comparison, when orders were under pressure from still large backlogs and rising equipment overcapacity,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT president and senior analyst.
June is typically a slow month for orders. They typically rise in the fall when large fleets place orders for delivery the next year.
FTR Transportation Intelligence reported net orders of 15,500, a 130% improvement over May and a 20% improvement over a year ago. Net orders for the last 12 months stand at 158,000 units,. But that is less than half the number of new truck deliveries in 2019.
After near-record deliveries in 2018 and 2019, the industry predicted a 30% retrenchment in orders this year before the coronavirus pandemic. The latest estimates expect the pullback to exceed 50%.
“June’s order activity is good news, after last month’s disappointing number,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. “We expected orders to average around 10,000 units for a few months. Now they have averaged 11,000 for the past two months. The Class 8 market is on the slow, steady recovery that matches our forecast.
“It is also encouraging that fleets are showing enough confidence in the economy to begin placing some viable orders,” he said. “The trend should continue. But a significant increase is not expected until October when the big fleets begin placing orders for 2021 delivery.”
The improved orders should help truck makers continue to produce at reduced levels, depending on the stability of supply chains. In Mexico, for example, COVID-19 infections are among the highest in the world. That threatens the flow of components made there.
Order volume should exceed the 10,000-unit mark monthly throughout the summer as freight volumes continue to improve, FTR said. But it is doubtful that July will match or exceed June orders, especially as U.S. COVID-19 cases are again spiking.
Preliminary North American orders for Class 5-7 medium-duty trucks improved 77% in June over May. However, they were down 20% from the year-ago June volume, ACT reported.
FreightWaves Flashback 1955: Shipside to Chicago in three nights
The many industries that make up the world of freight have undergone tremendous change over the past several decades. Each Friday, FreightWaves explores the archives of American Shipper’s nearly 70-year-old collection of shipping and maritime publications to showcase interesting freight stories of long ago.
The following is an excerpt from the July 1955 edition of The Jacksonville Seafarer.
Shipside to Chicago in three nights
New and stronger ties between the Port of Jacksonville and the fertile midwestern territory are being developed by truck lines bent on developing return traffic for their trailer units, which supply Florida with consumer merchandise.
The present imbalance of traffic due largely to Florida’s retired and tourist citizens is being corrected by placing greater emphasis on import traffic.
Such action not only benefits the common carrier truck operators by supplying round-trip loads but aids shippers and receivers who are seeking faster, cheaper methods of getting their goods from shipside.
Great Southern Trucking Company, a pioneer in developing import and export traffic from the Midwest to Jacksonville, is now handling shipments of import commodities to points as far away as Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.
Great Southern’s General Traffic Manager, J.R. Horne has uncovered export traffic from manufacturers in the Midwest and intermediate states who have been seeking relief from port charges along the North Atlantic.
“We are particularly anxious to develop freight movements out of Florida and are using import traffic as a target,” Horne says. “Our policy is to go after any and all traffic which can be handled with a three-line combination of common carrier truck lines.”
Third morning to Chicago
Horne and William C. Biggs, interline traffic manager, within the past year have succeeded in building a network of through-rate service to each of the 48 states.
Great Southern itself goes directly into Atlanta, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Charlotte, Greensboro and Durham from Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa.
Connections are made at its big interior terminals with cooperating lines to more distant points.
Schedules from Jacksonville to representative interior cities are:
Atlanta – Overnight
Chattanooga – Following day on truckload traffic; 2nd morning on less-than-truckload traffic
Albany – Overnight
Greensboro – Next day
Charlotte – Next noon
Cincinnati – 3rd morning
Chicago – 3rd morning
St. Louis – 3rd morning
Great Southern, the largest common carrier truck line operating within the Southeast, grossed over $16 million in 1954. It provides open, closed and refrigerated equipment along its routes. While it does not provide heavy lift and hauling equipment, its trailers take single lifts up to 10,000 pounds.
The truck line, a division of Ryder System, cut its teeth in the import picture handling shipments from the local docks to plants along its route.
Later, Great Southern began handling green coffee shipments to Birmingham, Charlotte, Atlanta, Chattanooga and similar points with roasting plants.
With the opening of the Maxwell House Instant Coffee plant last year, the truck line broke into a more extended operation. It now carries instant coffee, imported and processed at Jacksonville, to numerous Southeastern and Midwestern cities.
When traffic justifies, motor carrier import and export commodity rates are established to the advantage of shippers.
Other port traffic
Coffee is just one of the commodities that Great Southern transports to and from the port. Among others are petroleum, packaged goods, sugar, burlap, bagging, canned goods brought in via intercoastal service from California, and many others.
Great Southern was recently made a division of Ryder System headed by youthful J.A. Ryder, who purchased the truck line in 1952 and has since spent millions of dollars in modernizing and extending its operations.
Great Southern operates 1,262 units of equipment. The Ryder Truck Rental Division has 1,702 units and is the largest truck rental organization in the Southeast. Another division, Yellow Rentals, based in Philadelphia, has 905 units of equipment. There are 2,192 employees in the System.
Since 1952 Ryder has spent more than $2.5 million to make the company’s chain of terminals and call stations as modern as any in the United States.
This spring, he opened a $500,000 terminal at 2060 King Road, Jacksonville.
The terminal is designed to handle 10 million pounds of freight weekly in the 408-foot long warehouse. Installed in the warehouse is a continuous under-floor conveyor, the first installed by a local motor carrier.
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