Packard Plant may change hands again, GMC flashes ’22 Sierra, Porsche plans 15 hotels

manifold lead Packard Plant Project 2020 Fernando Palazuelo
Packard Plant Project

Packard plant property may soon change hands … again

Intake: Detroit’s iconic Packard plant property could have a new owner by year’s end. In the latest twist in a years-long plan to bring new life to the abandoned grounds, The Detroit News reports that Peruvian developer Fernando Palazuelo hopes to sell the site within the next several months. According to Larry Emmons, a senior managing director for real-estate firm Newmark, there are interested developers with “users in tow.” The property, which consists of two 20-acre sites, has an asking price of $5 million. Palazuelo bought the complex from Wayne County for $405,000 at a tax foreclosure auction eight years ago. In 2017, he broke ground on a plan to redevelop the plant into a mixed-use site. After initial cleanup, the plant’s iconic bridge collapsed in 2019, and about a year ago Palazuelo scrapped his initial plans.

Exhaust: And so it goes for the Packard plant site. The luxury automaker ended production in 1956, and a number of smaller businesses worked out of the buildings on the property until the site was shut down in the late 1990s. Left unprotected from vandals and scrappers, it became a dilapidated eyesore. Palazuelo’s purchase and his initial enthusiasm brought hope for a happy ending. Looks like someone else will have to carry that optimism through to completion.

Mark your calendar: Goodwood announces 2022 dates

Goodwood Revival 2021
Jayson Fong

Intake: As the sun was setting on an a hard-fought Ford battle between a Capri and a Mustang in the Gerry Marshall Trophy at its 78th Member’s Meeting the Goodwood Road Racing Club revealed the schedule for 2022’s action. First off will be the 79th Members’ Meeting held April 9 and 10, with the Festival of Speed taking place from June 23 to 26, and the Goodwood Revival bringing events to a close September 16 through 18. As always, the Members’ Meeting is only open to Fellows and Members of the Goodwood Road Racing Club, while the Festival of Speed and the Revival are public events. Tickets will be on sale to the general public from November 8, with Members and Fellows getting earlier access.

Exhaust: This year’s events felt like a welcome return to normality, with enthusiastic and dapper crowds enjoying spectacular on-track action, although the number of foreign visitors was considerably lower than previous years, for obvious reasons. Goodwood will, no doubt, be looking forward to welcoming its U.S. fans back in 2022. We hope to see you there.

GMC readies updated Sierra for battle of the full-sizers

gmc sierra 1500 teaser image

Intake: GMC has begun teasing the new Sierra full-size pickup truck ahead of its October 21 debut. While details are sparse, expect the new Sierra to feature many of the same updates as its recently unveiled Silverado sibling. Swanky upgrades are likely to include a new 13.4-inch central infotainment screen with built-in Google Assistant and Google Maps. Because the Sierra is the pricier proposition of the two, don’t be surprised if you see a few high-end luxury options tacked on for good measure. We know for sure that it will boast GM’s Super Cruise hands-free highway driving technology. We’d also expect some sort of off-road-minded AT4 option on the new Sierra, potentially cribbing tech from the Silverado ZR2.

Exhaust: The teaser video above calls the new Sierra the “the most advanced and luxurious pickup in its class.” That feels like a tall order, considering that the GM twins have lagged behind the lavish offerings from Ford and Ram in recent years. But as we’ve seen with the new Silverado, GM seems to be taking the correct steps to bring the Sierra and Silverado back on par with its cross-town rivals. We’re looking forward to seeing what the new Sierra has up its sleeve.

Toyota allots $3.4 billion for U.S. battery production through 2030

2021 Toyota Electrified Vehicle Lineup

Intake: About a month ago, Toyota announced its global plan to allocate $13.5 billion toward EV battery development. Today, the Japanese giant divulged that a $3.4-billion-slice of that pie will be coming to America specifically. The move effectively localizes and bolsters Toyota’s EV supply chain operations in the states. The lion’s share of the funds ($1.9 billion) will go toward constructing a new plant, which aims to start production in 2025, and create 1,750 new jobs. Details of the project are yet to come. “This investment will help usher in more affordable electrified vehicles for U.S. consumers, significantly reduce carbon emissions, and importantly, create even more American jobs tied to the future of mobility,” said Ted Ogawa, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. Toyota has been manufacturing in the United States for the better part of 35 years and currently has 10 plants.

Exhaust: The arms race has begun for mass battery production in America. The sentiment seems to be: Hit heavy or not at all. Just today, Stellantis also revealed it’s kicking off a joint venture with LG for a new manufacturing plant that it wants up and running by early 2024. Lest we forget, GM and Ford are already investing in similarly aggressive EV infrastructure trajectories. The landscape of mainstream American auto manufacturing is about to look quite different in just five years’ time.

Ford Bronco gains snorkel and winch next summer

ford bronco warn winch on modular bumper austin launch
Shown here by Ford at the Bronco’s Austin, Texas, launch, this Warn winch may hint at things to come. Phillip Thomas

Intake: Beginning next summer—if all goes well, anyways—you’ll be able to spec a Bronco with a factory-installed winch and a snorkel. As of this writing, it’s unclear whether Ford will allow buyers to spec either (or both) of the goodies on any Bronco configuration—à la the Sasquatch package—or if it will restrict the snorkel and winch to a single “Everglades” trim alongside the Outer Banks, Badlands, et al. Whatever its final manifestation, the Bronco Everglades represents the first time Ford’s offered a winch or snorkel on a Bronco from the factory, yet another signal that the Blue Oval is serious about encouraging its trail-happy customers to duke it out off-road with the Wrangler.

Exhaust: Supplier mishaps and production delays be damned—Ford just keeps scrambling to the next fun Bronco milestone: first the Bronco Raptor, confirmed for 2022 last month, and now this Everglades model. Kudos.

Porsche to launch new 15-strong range … of hotels

Porsche hotel

Intake: The idea of spending the night in a Porsche just got a whole lot more appealing as the German sports car maker has partnered with Steigenberger to launch a new chain of stylish hotels. Plans are in place for 15 of these Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels in major cities around the world including London, Shanghai, Singapore, and Dubai (Porsche’s home town Stuttgart is noticeably absent from the list). Each hotel will boast 150 rooms, suites and penthouses with both exterior and interior design by the 911-makers. It’s not the first time Porsche has got into the architecture game, having previously delivered a 60-story apartment building in Miami.

Exhaust: This is, quite literally, brand building on a massive scale. “The brand perception factor is becoming increasingly important for customers. In hotels we convey the brand experience in a unique way, and this makes it possible to introduce additional differentiation to the market,” says Dr. Jan Becker, CEO of Porsche Design Group. 

Ford pours $315M into U.K. facility to build EV powertrains

Ford Europe halewood transmission plant EV manufacturing
Ford of Europe

Intake: Anticipating Europe’s appetite for electric vehicles, Ford is retooling its Halewood transmission plant—which lies southeast of Liverpool—to build EV powertrains beginning in 2024. Ford of Europe is putting £230M (roughly $315.7M) into the venture, for which it has also received government funding. Ford plans for 250,000 such power units per year once the plant reaches full capacity. (In electric-vehicle parlance, “power unit” denotes the powertrain but not the battery pack.) Halewood will be the first Ford facility in Europe to built EV componentry—but it won’t be the last. Ford of Europe wants 100 percent of its passenger-vehicle lineup to be all-electric by 2030, along a commercial line that’s two-thirds all-electric or plug-in. Ford’s pouring even more money into an Electrification Center in Cologne, which should be active by 2023 and will serve as the firm’s volume hub for European-based vehicle manufacturing.

Exhaust: Given Europe’s ready adoption of EVs, this announcement is no surprise. Local production will save Ford vast amounts compared to shipping Mach-Es across the Atlantic.

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