Welcome to The Grid, R&T’s quick roundup of the auto industry and motorsports news you should know this morning.
Elon Musk Disregards Stay-at-Home Order, Reopens Tesla Factory
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been one of the most vocal critics of stay-at-home orders designed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Many American automakers have been able to reopen their factories as some states relax those orders, but California’s Alameda county, where Tesla’s factory is located, hasn’t yet allowed this. The Verge reported yesterday that Tesla restarted production over the weekend, with Musk later confirming this and asking to be arrested. Tesla workers who aren’t comfortable returning to the factory aren’t required to, but they’ll have to forgo pay.
Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.
All of this comes after Tesla and Alameda county came close to an agreement to allow the factory to reopen on May 18th, but talks seem to have broken down as Musk tweeted on Saturday that he was suing the county and threatened moving Tesla production out of state.
Toyota and Honda See Profit Drops
The bad news keeps coming for automakers. Reuters has separate stories on Toyota and Honda, which both will see profits fall as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Toyota expects profits to fall by 80 percent while Honda reported a 13 percent drop for the year ending in March. “The coronavirus has dealt us a bigger shock than the 2008 global financial crisis,” Toyota boss Akio Toyoda said in a press conference. “We anticipate a big drop in sales volumes, but despite that we are expecting to remain in the black. We hope to become a leader of the country’s economic recovery.”
Both companies will be able to start building cars again soon (if they haven’t already), but production will be down as supply chains are fractured and new-car demand is soft. We’re a long way away from “normal.”
How NASCAR Plans to Keep Teams Safe
NASCAR will be the first racing series to return to the track with this Sunday’s Cup Series race at Darlington. The race will be held behind closed door and with extremely limited personnel at the track. Fox Sports NASCAR reporter detailed on Twitter how the series plans to keep everyone safe. Each team will be limited to just 16 people—driver, crew chief, and spotter, plus four garage workers, five pit crew members, two hauler drivers, and two organizational members. That’s it. For more, head to Pockrass’s profile.
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