Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 22

22
* MARCH 2024
TRANS-CANADA NEWS
5,000 KILOMETRES OF STORIES
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3
announce where it will construct its manufacturing
plant, citing an ongoing reverse merger with a
California company. - Joe Knycha
Commercial EV tech companies merge
CALGARY - EXRO TECHNOLOGIES INC., AN
Alberta developer of power-control electronics
that optimize electric motor and battery operation,
is acquiring SEA Electric Inc., headquartered in
California, which offers electric power systems for
commercial vehicles to companies such as Mack and
Hino.
The all-stock purchase that values SEA at about
$402 million aims to speed development of electrified
drive systems through the two companies' complementary
technologies, Exro said. Following the deal,
it forecasts the combined company will deliver more
than 1,000 propulsion technology systems in 2024
and post revenues of more than $200 million.
Exro is also developing a pipeline of big-name customers.
In May, a five-year partnership with Tier
1 supplier Linamar Inc. was reached to use Exro's
trademarked Coil Driver energy-management technology
for medium-duty commercial electric vehicles.
- Steve Mertl
Stellantis dealers want vehicles with the
'best mix of affordability and desirability'
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3
We had several discussions with
Stellantis Canada's leadership and
it's going to be a main topic of discussion
at our meeting in mid-March
as to how the pricing changes in the
U.S. affect Canada. "
Jeep sales in Canada fell 15 per
cent last year compared with 2022.
" We've got to be competitive, " said
Haukaas. " In terms of brand recognition,
we're right there with Coke.
Stellantis knows it is imperative
that Jeep regains its rightful place in
the market, and as Jeep dealers we
are ready to execute on a plan to do
that. "
The roundtable remarks made by
Filosa apply only to the U.S. market,
said LouAnn Gosselin, a spokeswoman
for Stellantis Canada.
" Each country develops its own
product and pricing plans to best support
customers in their markets, " she
said.
Anything Stellantis can do to make
Jeep more attractive from an affordability
standpoint is a win, Haukaas
said.
" As dealers, we always want to
have the best mix of affordability and
desirability on our showroom floors.
You put those two together,
and that ends up moving the
iron. "
'TUG OF WAR'
Incentives make sense
from a dealer's perspective,
Haukaas said. But it's a " tug
of war " with the automaker,
which has to keep an eye on
margins.
" It's always a balance
between not having enough
inventory and having them
stacking up on lots, and the
only way to move them is
to make the price and value
equation more attractive for
consumers, " he said. " If a
consumer can smell a deal,
they're going to take advantage
of it.
" It's a simple business.
Sometimes we overcomplicate
it. "
Jeff Hines
became
the new
president
of Stellantis
Canada
on March
1, and will
meet with
dealers
this month
to discuss
sales
challenges.
SUPPLIED
PHOTO
In February, Haukaas and his
dealer-council counterparts in the
United States and Mexico met with
new Stellantis North America COO
Federal government and Ucore officials
announce on Feb. 5 the $4.2-million funding for
rare-earth metal research in Kingston.
PHOTO: UCORE RARE METALS INC.
Ottawa supports projects for local EV metals
KINGSTON, ONT. - TWO FEDERAL
investments in February aim to provide a leg up
to rare-earth mineral production in Canada.
Ottawa announced a $4.2-million investment in
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. on Feb. 5. The U.S. company
will use the funds to scale up its new process
for producing rare-earth elements being developed
in Kingston. The company's separation technology
generates high-purity neodymium and praseodymium,
two key elements in the permanent
magnets used in electric motors and wind turbines.
The
provincially owned Saskatchewan
Research Council, meantime, will receive $5 million
to advance development of its own process
for isolating rare-earth metals. The project at the
Crown corporation aims to develop capacity to
produce enough metals for 500,000 electric vehicles
a year.
The pair of investments - awarded through
Natural Resources Canada's Critical Minerals
Research, Development and Demonstration program
- come as Canada and the United States
look to onshore more of the rare-earth supply
chain. Most rare-earth metals come from China.
- David Kennedy
Defrost tech for EVs uses less energy
OAKVILLE, ONT. - STARTUP BETTERFROST
Technologies Inc. is partnering with Japanese
auto-parts giant Denso to develop a defrosting and
defogging system for electric vehicles that uses 20
times less energy than existing systems.
The Oakville company that specializes in
low-energy de-icing systems said the $1.5-million
deal is backed by about $500,000 from the Ontario
government's Vehicle Innovation Network
research and development partnership fund.
In a joint release, the partners said the project
aims to enhance EV energy efficiency by extending
cold-weather range. The technology will be
tested on an EV at Betterfrost's Oakville test centre
for demonstration to car and truck makers.
- Steve Mertl
Higher borrowing costs weigh
on AutoCanada's earnings
$40 million
in one-time
expenses were
the main driver of
the quarterly loss,
but revenue was
$1.48 billion, up
from $1.39 billion
By DAVID KENNEDY
TORONTO BUREAU CHIEF
AUTOCANADA INC.
swung to a loss in
the fourth quarter
of 2023 with higher
interest rates adding
to floorplan costs
and a large, one-time
charge pushing the
company into the
red.
The Edmontonbased
dealership
group reported a loss
of 81 cents a share
for the final three
months of 2023, compared
with earnings
of 52 cents per share
in the same quarter
a year earlier.
Canada's only
publicly traded dealership
group owns
66 franchised dealThe
charges, equating to
$1.50 per share, were tied to
AutoCanada's consolidation
of ownership in its Used
Digital Division as part of a
deal disclosed Dec. 27.
Without these sharebased
compensation and
transaction costs, the company
would have posted
earnings of 69 cents
per share for the quarter,
Lalani said.
Antony:
Floorplan
interest
expenses
doubled year
over year,
rising to
$68.6 million
in 2023 from
$33.6 million
in 2022.
FILE PHOTO
erships in Canada and 18 in
the United States.
Company CFO Azim
Lalani said on a March 7
conference call with financial
analysts that nearly
$40 million in one-time
expenses were the main
driver of the quarterly loss.
But heightened borrowing
costs also took their toll
on earnings, AutoCanada's
Executive Chair
Paul Antony said.
" Higher interest
rates were a headwind
during the
fourth quarter and
last year, resulting
in greater floorplan
and finance costs,
and impacting consumer
affordability
and financing preferences, "
he told
analysts.
Floorplan interest
expenses doubled
year-over-year,
he said, rising to
$68.6 million in 2023
from $33.6 million
the previous year.
Despite the negative
quarterly earnings,
the company's
revenue remained positive,
rising in the final three
months of 2023 to $1.48 billion
from $1.39 billion in the
same period of 2022. For the
full year, AutoCanada posted
revenue of $6.44 billion,
up from $6.04 billion in 2022.
- ANC
Carlos Zarlenga, within a week of his
appointment.
" That was a huge olive
branch put out toward us as
dealers to show that he was
very interested in our feedback, "
Haukaas said.
" So, in terms of communication,
in terms of leadership,
I'm very bullish that we have
a dance partner. But there's a
lot of work to be done. "
Haukaas declined to disclose
specifics about the private
discussion with Zarlenga
but said the COO " clearly
understands the problems
and challenges we face. "
Haukaas is optimistic that
Hines, Canada's new top executive
at Stellantis, will keep
the lines of communication
open.
" Jeff and I have had several
calls relating to the challenges
Stellantis dealers are
facing in Canada, and he's a
quick study, " Haukaas said. " I have
full confidence we'll work together
to address the challenges facing the
dealer body. " - ANC
CAMI backstops GM's
Ultium battery production
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3
B shifts, each with about 350 workers, will rotate two
weeks on, two weeks off.
Over the longer term, Unifor expects a return to at
least a two-shift operation that would put all 700 members
back to work full time.
BATTERY PLANT JUMP-START
CAMI's new battery-module plant, meantime, is
scheduled to ramp up quickly, Van Boekel said.
GM began work to expand the plant more than a year
ago and formally announced its battery-production
plans in July. The
project was set to
add about 400,000
square feet (37,000
square metres) to
the CAMI site and
create about 300
jobs, the automaker
said at the time.
The new facility
will build battery
modules and finished
packs for both
the BrightDrop
vans built on-site
as well as for other
GM plants. Ultium
production at CAMI
is in addition to
A shortage of Ultium battery
modules, which power the
BrightDrop Zevo 600 and 400
vans and other GM vehicles,
has kept the CAMI Assembly
Plant idle since October.
Production is expected to
gradually resume starting
April 1. SUPPLIED PHOTO
production at several facilities in the United States.
Modules consist of a series of stacked battery cells
equipped with cooling plates and electrical componentry.
Battery packs - the finished product ready to be
integrated directly into vehicles - are made up of a set
of modules with additional cooling equipment and electrical
circuitry.
Van Boekel expects the battery-module plant to ramp
up to three shifts, each employing 75 workers, by the
end of April. Union members have already begun training
for their new roles. Depending on the position, the
courses range from 40 hours to four weeks, he said.
While the BrightDrop volumes " aren't where we were
hoping they would be, " the restart of production is positive
for members, who have endured an " unbelievable "
amount of downtime over the past four years, Van
Boekel said. - ANC

Automotive News Canada - March 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - March 2024

Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 1
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 2
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 3
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 4
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 5
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 6
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 7
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 8
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 9
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 10
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - I1
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - I2
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 11
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 12
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 13
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 14
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 15
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 16
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 17
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 18
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 19
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 20
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 21
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 22
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 23
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 24
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 25
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 26
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 27
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 28
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