Ford Motor Co. said Friday it had won approval to defer some quarterly payments due on its U.S. Energy Department retooling loan, but added it will repay the loan on time by June 2022.
In September 2009, Ford was awarded a $5.9 billion low-cost government loan, a key source of liquidity in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
The automaker said its loan was modified in June to reduce quarterly principal payments from $148 million to $37 million. Ford said it has $1.26 billion of remaining principal left on the loan.
An Energy Department spokeswoman said “the flexibility the Loan Programs Office was able to provide through this loan modification is a good example of what (Energy) Secretary Brouillette meant when he asked for all of the Department’s resources to be supportive of the energy industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Ford said “with COVID-19 related economic uncertainty remaining, we believe that is worthwhile to further strengthen our balance sheet and increase liquidity to optimize our financial flexibility.”
The company noted that if it opts to pay a dividend, repurchase shares above a certain threshold, or provide security to other lenders it will have to revert to the original payment schedule.
The company said Friday that “deferring a portion of the principal until the maturity date will also result in incremental interest cost to Ford, in addition to the cost to modify the loan. All costs associated with the modification were covered by Ford through a higher interest rate.”
But it added, “the financing remains very cost-effective.”
The Energy Department did not immediately comment.
Volkswagen Group on Thursday asked the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to reconsider a ruling that said two counties could seek potentially billions in financial penalties over excess diesel emissions.
The 3-0 ruling in June said Utah’s Salt Lake County and Florida’s Hillsborough County could seek “staggering” damages over updates made to polluting diesel vehicles after they were sold.
VW said in court papers Thursday that the ruling, if upheld, could have sweeping ramifications for the U.S. auto industry and could force car companies “either to avoid maintaining or improving the emission control systems of in-use vehicles… or pass on the substantial increased compliance costs to consumers.”
VW asked the panel to reconsider its ruling or for the full appeals court to take up the case, warning the decision could affect millions of vehicles recalled for emissions vehicles annually and could result in “regulatory chaos.”
Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software to cheat U.S. pollution tests in 2015.
VW argues the case will determine if the EPA “exclusively regulates auto manufacturers’ post-sale, nationwide changes to their cars’ emission control systems, or whether, as the panel held, all fifty states and thousands of counties also may regulate this post-sale process.”
Volkswagen settled U.S. criminal and civil actions prompted by the emissions scandal for more than $20 billion, but that did not shield it from local and state government liability, the court found.
The judges wrote they were “mindful that our conclusion may result in staggering liability for Volkswagen. But this result is due to conduct that could not have been anticipated by Congress: Volkswagen’s intentional tampering with post-sale vehicles to increase air pollution.”
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who ruled in VW’s favor in 2018 on the issue, noted the automaker’s “potential penalties could reach $30.6 million per day and $11.2 billion per year.
The scandal has cost VW 30 billion euros ($35.5 billion) in fines, penalties and vehicle buyback costs worldwide to date.
Polestar has today delivered the first European Polestar 2 customer car at the company’s iconic global headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Thunder-coloured fastback is specified with a Charcoal WeaveTech vegan interior.
New owner Sture Stensson commented:
“I ordered my Polestar 2 on launch day. This is my first electric vehicle and I have mounted solar panels on the roof for easy charging at home. I have read all the great reviews in the papers and online, and picked up many new cars throughout the years, but this is the greatest moment so far.”
Polestar announced Polestar 2 to the world in an online reveal in early 2019. Despite the global pandemic, the company worked tirelessly to ensure a safe start of production in its shared production facility in Luqiao, China, in March 2020.
Polestar’s digital-first retail model aims to change the face of automotive retail. Polestar Spaces will feature in major cities across ten launch markets, and 14 spaces are already open across China, Europe and North America. Polestar Spaces allow customers to immerse themselves in the brand and learn more about the cars and the business. Non-commissioned Polestar Specialists are on hand to provide information and advice, while the locations also enable customers to take a test drive. The buying journey remains exclusively digital and direct with Polestar.
This first European delivery marks another crucial step for the electric start-up brand. With vehicle handovers continuing in Europe, China and North America throughout the summer, the brand continues to deliver to plan.
The first Swedish customers are joined by customers in China and the first Norwegian customers in the first week of August, after which customers in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK will begin to receive their cars. Deliveries in Switzerland and North America will follow.
Lexus’ LC is, without a doubt, the best-looking model in the brand’s range no matter if you go for the Coupe or the Convertible.
Sure, the latter does come with a less stiff chassis and is a bit heavier, but if driving at the track is not your thing and live in a sunny place, then the Convertible could be the best choice. The thing is that, with an MSRP of $101,000, or around $112,000 for the one reviewed by KelleyBlueBook, it’s one expensive ride.
Equipped with a few optional features, the drop-dead gorgeous drop-top did impress the reviewer, who had mostly nice things to say about it. The power-folding fabric roof, which takes less than 20 seconds to operate at speeds up to 31 mph (50 km/h), is one of the highlights of the car. The tan leather upholstery might not be to everyone’s liking, and the infotainment system is neither intuitive nor that good, apparently, but everything else is top notch.
Compared to the previous model year, the 2021 LC 500 Convertible (and Coupe) boasts a revised suspension, so it feels more like a sports car than a GT. As for the engine, the sole option is a 5.0-liter V8 that pumps out 471 HP (478 PS / 351 kW) and 398 lb-ft (539 Nm) of torque. At 4.6 seconds for the 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) sprint, there are some cars out there that are way quicker and do not cost that much; but then again, just look at it!
Back off, Boomers. Ease up, Xers. It’s time to quit criticizing the Millennials and their supposed disinterest in the collector car hobby.
No only are Millennials “the fastest-growing demographic of car collectors,” according to Hagerty, but as John Wiley, senior data analyst for Hagerty Valuation Services, points out, “the oldest ones are around 40 years of age. They’re adults now. They have driver’s licenses and jobs.”
In other words, Millennials have come of age and they are buying and selling collector vehicles.
That really shouldn’t come as a surprise, it’s the natural evolution as new generations enter the hobby. However, what might indeed come as a surprise is what Millennials are collecting.
“Five years ago, not very many were interested in collector cars,” Wiley says of the generation ranging in age from the mid-20s to their very late 30s, “but now they have spending money.”
So, what are they buying?
“People have a hard time believing this, but what we see with our policy core data, they really like cars and trucks from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s,” Wiley said in an interview with the ClassicCars.com Journal. “This is where 70 percent of their quotes (requests for insurance) fall, which is what a lot of Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers like, too — pony cars, muscle cars, vintage trucks and SUVs.”
Wiley adds that there’s an assumption that what Millennials want are vintage imports or brand-new sporty cars, “and there certainly are pockets of interest,” he says, “but that’s still a pretty small number.”
Yes, he says, Millennials are more interested that other age-related demographic groups in Japanese Domestic Market cars but, he adds, its primarily because they are the more exotic versions of the cars Millennials could afford back when they were in high school or had just graduated, or they were the cars they were driving while playing video games.
But when it comes to collecting, it turns out Millennials are going collector-car marketplace mainstream.
“There is a lot of interest in pony cars and muscle cars,” he said, adding that Millennials do seem to have more appreciation for such cars from the late ‘70s than do earlier generations.
He also notes that the Millennials’ experience has been that when they were younger, “there weren’t as many nice ones around. After the gas crisis, they were used up and disappeared. But by the 1990s they had been restored or were starting to be restored and they came back into people’s awareness.”
Thus, if you were in high school, say in 2001, among the cars with appeal were a new BMW M3, perhaps a C5 Corvette, and vintage Mustangs and Camaros.
Hagerty says the SN-95 generation of the Ford Mustang, such as this 1997 SVT Cobra, are most popular cars of the 1990s with collectors
While Baby Boomers still comprise 55 percent of collectible car owners, according to Hagerty statistics, those figures indicate the number of Millennials in the hobby has increased 76 percent in the past 5 years.
The 1965-66 Ford Mustang ranks as the most popular collector car in terms of numbers, Hagerty statistics indicate. Looking at those stats, here are the most popular cars with collectors by decade of manufacture:
1950s — Tri-5 Chevrolets
1960s — Ford Mustang
1970s — C3 Chevrolet Corvette
1980s — C4 Chevrolet Corvette
1990s — Ford Mustang (SN-95 generation)
2000s — C5 Chevrolet Corvette
2010s — Dodge Challenger
Wiley also said that while the new and used car markets have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic, collector car values have not suffered negative impact.
“Volume (of sales) fell in total dollars transacted,” he said, “but (vehicle) values haven’t changed much.”
He noted that while live collector car auctions are just starting to return, and are posting strong results, in part to pent-up demand, online auctions have shown significant sales through the pandemic period, including those conducted by such established auction houses as RM Sotheby’s and Barrett-Jackson.
He notes as well as that with online bidding, consignors don’t have to ship their vehicles to an auction venue, and auction companies don’t have to pay for huge tents or other facilities to conduct the sales.
“It has to be a lot less expensive to sell cars online,” he said.
On the other hand, he added, some live auctions have become “events” in their own right, with revenue-generating attractions beyond the buying and selling of cars.
And, he adds, while much is made of auctions, live or online, only 5 percent of collector car sales are done at auction. “Ninety-five percent sold are sold privately.”