Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 22

22
* APRIL 2023
Quebec mine turns out Canada's only lithium
The project is expected to be
the sole major new source of
the EV mineral within North
America for two years
By DAVID KENNEDY
T ORONTO BUREAU CHIEF
CANADA HAS REJOINED THE RANKS OF
global lithium producers as the North American
Lithium (NAL) project in northwestern Quebec
begins commercial production of spodumene concentrate
destined for electric vehicle maker Tesla
Inc., and battery cell manufacturer LG Chem,
among others.
The mine came online briefly in 2018 under different ownership,
but falling lithium prices forced an end to operations and in 2019
put the previous owner into creditor protection.
PHOTO: SUPPLIED PHOTO
The open-pit mine in La Corne, Que., jointly
owned by Australia-based Sayona Mining Ltd.,
and U.S.- based Piedmont Lithium Inc., officially
restarted production March 30 following a US $80
million retrofit and upgrade project.
Piedmont CEO Keith Phillips said the
restart is an " exciting milestone " for the North
American market.
" NAL is positioned to be a key contributor to
the electric vehicle and battery supply chains as
demand for lithium continues to rapidly expand
along with the electrification economies in both
Canada and the U.S., " he said in a release.
The Quebec mine is expected to be the only
major new source of lithium-rich spodumene
concentrate within North America for the next
two years. Sayona and Piedmont are aiming to
produce 226,000 tonnes of the material a year,
which contains roughly six per cent lithium
oxide.
The restart of production is a second chance
for the Quebec project, which came online briefly
in 2018 under different ownership. Falling lithium
prices halted operations and the previous
owner into creditor protection in 2019.
Sayona and Piedmont purchased the mine in
2021; respectively, they own 75 and 25 per cent
stakes in the project.
Piedmont also has an offtake agreement in
place, giving it rights to purchase about 65 per
cent of the site's output. In turn, the company
has struck a supply deal with Tesla, as well as
with battery cell maker LG Chem.
Other customers have not been disclosed.
Shipments from the mine are scheduled to
begin in the third quarter. - ANC
Diversity at dealerships is lacking, and it's obvious
Panel delves into
startling data on
the showroom
interactions of
more than 1,100
respondents
By GRACE MACALUSO
MANAGING EDITOR
A NEW STUDY INDICATES
that automobile buyers, regardless
of their racial background,
notice a lack of diversity among
staff at Canada's dealerships.
Commissioned by Accelerate
Auto, the study found that 63
per cent of Black respondents
perceived a dearth of employee
diversity.
" The interesting thing when
we looked at the numbers is
that that 63 per cent is very uniform
across all segments " of
respondents, said
Raj Kuchibhatla,
founder and managing
partner at the
marketing firm RK
Insights.
" The findings
are really telling us
that if you have a
dealership without
any diversity in
sales staff or leadHOST
Stephanie
Henry
On-air
personality,
Rogers
Sports
and Media
ership, the customers do notice,
Black customers notice, other
minority customers notice, [as
do] white customers.
" So, that was a bit of a surprise. "
The
report encompassed
responses from 1,116 participants
from different racial
backgrounds who had purchased
a vehicle over the past
decade.
The study was the focus
of the March 28 Embracing
Diversity online panel organized
by Automotive News
Canada and Accelerate Auto,
a group that aims to advance
career opportunities for Black
talent in dealerships and within
SCAN TO VIEW
THE VIDEO
PRESENTATION
automotivenews.ca
(Found under
'EVENTS & AWARDS')
auto manufacturing,
the aftermarket
and suppliers.
The other panelists
were Jerry
Chinner, vice-president
of sales
and business
development at
taq Automotive
Intelligence; Anne
Marie Desando, vice-president
of manufacturer partnerships
and dealer programs at
Scotiabank Auto Finance; and
Shereena Robinson, senior
manager of HR at Porsche Cars
Canada Ltd.
PROFILING IS REAL
The study also found that
Blacks and other minorities are
more likely than white consumers
to be financially profiled at a
dealership and directed toward
lower-priced vehicles.
Negative experiences, such as
staff assuming that a customer
had poor credit, were cited by
76 per cent of Black consumers,
compared with 64 per cent of
white consumers and 82 per cent
of other minorities, according to
the study.
A diverse employee base within
a dealership " makes great
business sense, " said Chinner,
who is also a founding member
of Accelerate Auto. " People like
to talk to people in the sales process
with [staff] they can relate
to. "
Chinner urged dealers to get
involved with underrepresented
groups on a local level.
" Go to the local schools, start
talking to people, " he said.
Chinner cited an event organized
by Accelerate Auto last
summer at a Toronto high
school that was visited by representatives
of Nissan Canada and
suppliers.
" The students loved it, "
Chinner said, " just the fact that
we brought part of the industry
down to them so they can
see it. "
During the Canadian
Anne Marie
Desando
Vice-president,
manufacturer
partnerships and
dealer programs,
Scotiabank
Auto Finance
Jerry
Chinner
Vice-president
of sales and
business
development,
taq Automotive
Intelligence
PANELISTS
Embracing Diversity,
March 28
er experiences that are as great
and as legendary as the cars, "
Robinson said.
A survey leading up to the
program found that some of
Porsche's employees didn't
always feel as if " they belonged
in the dealership, " she said.
" So, we needed to change the
narrative, " Robinson said, adding
that the two-year-old program
has been " embraced " by
Porsche's dealer body.
Raj
Kuchibhatla
Founder and
managing
partner,
RK Insights
Shereena
Robinson
Senior manager
of HR, Porsche
Cars Canada Ltd.
CREDIT FOR NEW CANADIANS
Vehicle affordability also
emerged as a key concern of
survey respondents. That issue
is a priority at Scotiabank,
Desando said, citing the financial
institution's StartRight
FINDINGS AT A GLANCE
A study commissioned by Accelerate Auto was designed to
understand the car-buying experiences of Black Canadians. It
was conducted in September and encompassed responses from
1,116 consumers across Canada.
* Nine per cent of respondents
described dealerships as
diverse.
vehicle. However, technology
mattered more to Blacks and
International AutoShow in
February, Accelerate Auto partnered
with the Toronto District
School Board for an event that
included students from five predominantly
Black high schools,
Chinner said.
" At the beginning of the
event, we asked how many of
the students were considering a
career in the automotive industry
and two of the students put
their hand up, " he said. " At the
end, we asked the same thing,
and 40 out of the 45 put up their
hand. "
In an effort to create a biasfree
workplace, Porsche Canada
launched a diversity, equity
and inclusion training program
aimed at " delivering custom*
92 per cent of respondents,
regardless of race, saw
well-paying opportunities in
the automotive industry.
* 32 per cent of Black consumers
said the auto industry
lacks diversity, compared with
24 per cent of white consumers
and 16 per cent of other
minorities.
* More than 75 per cent of
Black respondents reported
having had negative experiences
at dealerships, versus
64 per cent for whites.
* Affordability, reliability and
safety were the top three considerations
when buying a
other minority groups than to
white Canadians (46 per cent,
vs. 30 per cent for whites).
* When preparing to shop
for a vehicle, 64 per cent of
consumers employ at least
one strategy to ensure that
the sales staff treats them
respectfully. That figure is
higher for Blacks - 73 per
cent, compared with 74 per
cent for non-Black minorities
and 55 per cent for white customers.
*
Black consumers (30 per cent)
were more likely than white
(16 per cent) or other consumers
(21 per cent) to say,
" I ensured that my clothing/
dress was immaculate. "
Auto Finance program.
" Oftentimes, underrepresented
groups are new to Canada
[and] don't have a credit history
in Canada, " she said. The
program helps newcomers
" establish credit for the first
time [and] buy that first vehicle
when they come to the country, "
Desando said.
With the federal government
planning to boost immigration,
the auto industry needs to
focus on vehicle affordability,
said Chinner of taq Automotive
Intelligence.
" We're on the verge of pricing
a segment of the population
out of vehicle ownership and
moving people down a different
path, " he said. - ANC
http://www.automotivenews.ca

Automotive News Canada - April 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - April 2023

Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - CT1
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - CT2
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 1
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 2
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 3
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 4
Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 5
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Automotive News Canada - April 2023 - 34
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