Workhorse dismisses its legal challenge to USPS contract award

WASHINGTON — Electric vehicle company Workhorse Group voluntarily dismissed on Tuesday its legal challenge against a U.S. Postal Service move to award a multibillion-dollar contract to Oshkosh Defense for delivery vehicles.

The 10-year contract announced in February could be worth more than $6 billion and allows for delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles. Workhorse had proposed building an all-electric vehicle fleet for USPS, while Oshkosh plans a mix of internal combustion-powered and battery-electric vehicles.

Workhorse’s legal challenge, filed in June, had been set to face arguments before a judge on Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Workhorse and Oskhosh did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Tuesday. USPS declined immediate comment.

Lawyers for the Justice Department in July had filed a motion to dismiss Workhorse’s challenge, citing its “admitted failure to exhaust mandatory administrative remedies,” according to court documents. Oshkosh filed a similar motion.

Workhorse later argued that USPS’ administrative remedies violated the U.S. Constitution, the Justice Department said, but it argued that “Workhorse has forfeited its newfound…challenge by failing to raise it before the Postal Service.”

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has committed to at least 10 percent of the fleet being electric vehicles, but has said that with government assistance the USPS could commit to making a majority of the fleet electric within 10 years.

Congress is considering providing USPS billions to speed the adoption of EVs. Earlier this month, a U.S. House of Representatives panel approved $2.4 billion for the USPS to buy new EV postal trucks and build charging infrastructure.

Ford’s India dream turns into a nightmare

NEW DELHI — When Ford Motor Co. built its first factory in India in the mid-1990s, U.S. carmakers believed they were buying into a boom — the next China.

The economy had been liberalized in 1991, the government was welcoming investors, and the middle class was expected to fuel a consumption frenzy. Rising disposable income would help foreign carmakers to a market share of as much as 10 percent, forecasters said.

It never happened.

Last week, Ford took a $2 billion hit to stop making cars in India, following compatriots General Motors and Harley-Davidson Inc. in closing factories in the country.

Among foreigners that remain, Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. and even Germany’s Volkswagen AG each hold less than 1 percent of a car market once forecast to be the third largest by 2020, after China and the United States, with annual sales of 5 million units.

Instead, sales have stagnated at about 3 million cars. The growth rate has slowed to 3.6 percent in the last decade versus 12 percent a decade earlier.

Ford’s retreat marks the end of an Indian dream for U.S. carmakers. It also follows its exit from Brazil announced in January, reflecting an industry pivot from emerging markets to what is now widely seen as make-or-break investment in electric vehicles.

Analysts and executives said foreigners badly misjudged India’s potential and underestimated the complexities of operating in a vast country that rewards domestic procurement.

Many failed to adapt to a preference for small, cheap, fuel-efficient cars that could bump over uneven roads without needing expensive repairs. In India, 95 percent of cars are priced below $20,000.

Lower tax on small cars also made it harder for makers of larger cars for Western markets to compete with small-car specialists such as Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. — controlling shareholder of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., India’s biggest carmaker by sales.

Of foreign carmakers that invested alone in India over the past 25 years, analysts said only South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. stands out as a success, mainly due to its wide portfolio of small cars and a grasp of what Indian buyers want.

“Companies invested on the fallacy that India would have great potential and the purchasing power of buyers would go up, but the government failed to create that kind of environment and infrastructure,” said Ravi Bhatia, president for India at JATO Dynamics, a provider of market data for the auto industry.

Some of Ford’s missteps can be traced to when it drove into India in the mid-1990s alongside Hyundai. Whereas Hyundai entered with the small, affordable “Santro,” Ford offered the “Escort” sedan, first launched in Europe in the 1960s.

The Escort’s price shocked Indians used to Maruti Suzuki’s more affordable prices, said former Ford India executive Vinay Piparsania.

Ford’s narrow product range also made it hard to capitalize on the appeal won by its bestselling EcoSport and Endeavour utility vehicles, said analyst Ammar Master at LMC.

The carmaker said it had considered bringing more models to India but determined it could not do so profitably.

“The struggle for many global brands has always been meeting India’s price point because they brought global products that were developed for mature markets at a high-cost structure,” said Master.

A peculiarity of the Indian market came in mid-2000 with a lower tax rate for cars measuring less than 4 meters (13.12 ft) in length. That left Ford and rivals building India-specific sub-4-meter sedans for which sales ultimately disappointed.

“U.S. manufacturers with large-truck DNAs struggled to create a good and profitable small vehicle. Nobody got the product quite right and losses piled up,” said JATO’s Bhatia.

Ford had excess capacity at its first India plant when it invested $1 billion on a second in 2015. It had planned to make India an export base and raise its share of a market projected to hit 7 million cars a year by 2020 and 9 million by 2025.

But the sales never followed and overall market growth stalled. Ford now utilizes only about 20 percent of its combined annual capacity of 440,000 cars.

To use its excess capacity, Ford planned to build compact cars in India for emerging markets but shelved those plans in 2016 amid a global consumer shift to SUVs.

It changed its cost structure in 2018 and the following year started work on a joint venture with local peer Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. designed to reduce costs. Three years later, in December, the partners abandoned the idea.

After sinking $2.5 billion in India since entry and burning another $2 billion over the past decade alone, Ford decided not to invest more.

“To continue investing … we needed to show a path for a reasonable return on investment,” Ford India head Anurag Mehrotra told reporters last week.

“Unfortunately, we are not able to do that.”

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6, 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, 2022 Lucid Air: Today’s Car News

Hyundai is close to revealing an electric sport sedan based on 2020’s stunning Prophecy concept. It will go by the name Ioniq 6, and we have revealing spy shots of a prototype.

Ford’s F-150 Lightning is now in pre-production and the first customer examples should be rolling off the line soon. Ford has over 150,000 reservations for the electric pickup truck and is doubling production capacity as a result.

EPA-rated range estimates for the Lucid Air are in, and the highest is an insane 520 miles. This is for the flagship Air Dream Edition Range, but most of the other Air models are also in the vicinity of 500 miles.

You’ll find these stories and more in today’s car news, right here at Motor Authority.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6 spy shots: Prophecy concept to spawn Model 3 rival

2022 Ford F-150 Lighting electric pickup already in pre-production

Lucid Air passes Tesla with 520-mile EPA-rated range

Review update: 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara 4xe moves icon into the future

Stellantis tests vehicle-to-everything warning system

GM asks Chevy Bolt EV drivers to park 50 feet from other vehicles, due to fire risk

2023 Aston Martin DBX hybrid spy shots and video: Mild-hybrid first

2022 Chevrolet Colorado review

The Ford Mustang Mach-E could become a police cruiser

Tesla co-founder’s company focuses on “less sexy” key for US-made EVs: Battery materials

How Does The 2021 Ford Bronco Outer Banks Fare In A Challenging Off-Road Trail?

A couple of days after Matt Farah tested the new Ford Bronco Outer Banks through some canyons near Los Angeles, he has now put it through its paces along a challenging off-road trail. Unsurprisingly, it performed very well.

The Bronco Outer Banks is a mid-level variant of Ford’s SUV and the test car tested was fitted with street-focused 17-inch wheels and tires. It was also not equipped with the available Sasquatch package that adds things like 35-inch tires, front and rear-locking differentials, Bilstein position-sensitive monotube shocks, and a 4.7 final drive ratio. As it turns out, the Sasquatch Package isn’t necessary if you want to take the new Bronco off-roading.

Watch Also: The Ford Bronco Is Much Better To Drive On The Road Than The Jeep Wrangler

The first half of the review shows the Bronco being driven up the trail while the second half shows it being driven downhill. Farah and his co-host Zack Klapman test out a host of the Bronco’s available off-road modes, including the 1L mode that can be used just like hill descent control when going down steep hills. At one stage, the duo hit 30 degrees of lean angle when descending a particularly difficult section of the trail.

If this video proves anything, it’s that shoppers don’t necessarily need to buy a high-end Badlands or Wildtrak model if they want to go off-roading. In fact, a mid-level model like the Outer Banks might just be the perfect middle-ground, offering levels of ride quality and comfort on the road that models with the 35-inch tires won’t be able to match while also being capable off the beaten path.

2022 Subaru Forester

What kind of SUV is the 2022 Subaru Forester? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Subaru Forester fits like the cross-trainer of crossover SUVs. A mid-size five-seat wagon with standard all-wheel drive, it’s spacious, safe, and serious competition for the likes of the Ford Bronco Sport, Toyota RAV4, and Honda CR-V.

Is the 2022 Subaru Forester a good car?

Review continues below

It’s useful beyond compare, and it’s a great bargain, too. We give it a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Subaru Forester?

Subaru adds a Wilderness trim level to the lineup, which also includes base, Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring editions. A new front end stamps its face with more grille, and some versions get free automatic emergency steering.

Otherwise, there’s little changed to one of our most highly rated family vehicles, and a prior two-time Best Car To Buy winner. The Forester’s outfitted simply, with a wagon body dressed in interesting details like the brown-butter leather in Touring versions and the Fila-esque trim on Sport models. 

It’s built for work, though its 182-hp flat-4 and CVT don’t conspire to inspire much off-the-line speed: It accelerates adequately, with a fair amount of noise. It’s the ride and the resilient behavior on and off road that draws us to the Forester. It’s tuned to cruise through corners as if it were warming up with deep knee bends; it ambles over rocky dirt paths with X-Mode traction controls and up to 9.2 inches of ground clearance without feeling wobbly. It’s a mud slugger, but it’s anything but profane on the street.

It’s ready to meet your friends, too. Subaru reserves five seats inside, lifts the roof to open up all kinds of head room, and installs hinges to fold down the rear seats to open up the cargo hold to more than 75 cubic feet of things—from mountain bikes to Welsh dressers.

It does it all with nearly faultless crash-test scores and exceptional outward vision—which helps us understand why blind-spot monitors remain an option on base trims.

How much does the 2022 Subaru Forester cost?

It’s $26,320 for a base Forester with 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We’d buy the $29,320 Forester Premium for its bigger touchscreen, power driver seat, and available power tailgate and blind-spot monitors.

Where is the 2022 Subaru Forester made?

In Lafayette, Indiana.