Surging interest rates and sticker prices are reshaping the American car market. Average monthly auto loan payments are now approaching $725, with some even surpassing $1,000. Affordability is a growing concern for consumers facing declining trade-in values and limited credit negotiation options. While deals are available—such as OEM financing on overstocked models like Buick—budget strains are increasing due to higher insurance rates and longer-term loans, leading to more pressure on service centers and concerns over loan delinquencies.
Polestar has partnered with SK On for battery supplies for its upcoming Polestar 5 EV. In a separate move, Polestar is offering a flexible leasing program for the 2024 Polestar 2, with rates starting at $349 per month and a unique option to return the vehicle after just five months. The lease includes an $8,500 credit, enticing consumers to electric cars in a competitive lease market.
In Sweden, Tesla mechanics are on strike, demanding collective labor agreements. Their efforts are gaining momentum as dockworkers have joined in, refusing to unload Tesla shipments. Tesla is now initiating negotiations, spotlighting the strong influence of unions in Sweden and the growing global push for organized labor rights within Tesla's operations.
Jeep is going electric, with plans to launch an electric Wrangler by 2028 and an all-electric Grand Cherokee expected in 2027. Parent company Stellantis invests $19 billion in EV development, including new battery plants and updating facilities. This commitment is part of a more significant labor agreement with the UAW, offering substantial worker benefits and marking a significant shift in the automotive industry as Stellantis gears up to introduce new EVs for Dodge and Ram.
China's EV giant BYD is reportedly opening its first European car factory in Hungary, building on its electric bus operations. This move strategically positions BYD to sidestep potential EU tariffs. It is a response to Hungary's open-door policy toward Chinese investments. BYD's expansion indicates a broader trend towards localizing EV production, a strategy also encouraged by incentives like the U.S.'s IRA.