President Joe Biden invited Detroit's big three automakers to the White House to promote sales of electric vehicles - leaving off the guest list the company that sells more than any other: Tesla Inc.
Yeah, seems odd that Tesla was not invited, Elon Musk, Tesla's chief executive, said in a tweet.
Also left out is Nissan Motor Co. whose Leaf was a pioneer in electric cars, Honda Motor Co. the first Japanese automaker to promise to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles, and Volkswagen AG, which has nearly $2 billion invested in diesel R&D as penance for the Mitsubishi cheating scandal.
Toyota Motor Co., which introduced the top selling hybrid car in the form of the Prius, was also absent.
Stellantis is headquartered in Europe, formed earlier this year from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group.
'We are falling behind China and Europe as manufacturers invest billions into expanding their markets and expanding manufacturing, Curry said in a statement before the event. 'We need to invest in the United States.
Biden has made the making of U.S. manufacturing and the support of labor pillars in his Build Back Better economic plan. While several foreign carmakers sell EVs in the U.S. and many operate factories there, they have generally built their plants in right-to-work states and successfully thwarted efforts by unions to organize them.
The nod of Biden to the union comes as his party is working to recapture white working class voters who used to be party of the Democratic core ahead of the 2022 mid-term elections, said Paul Sracic, a youngstown state university professor of politics and international relations.
The vote has traditionally been union friendly oriented. Whether they can get that vote back is an open question, Sracic said in a phone interview. It looks like they are trying to stay on message to show a pro-labor, pro-union friendliness. The optics for the White House are better this way.
Why wasn't Tesla invited to the event, David Westin asked Acido, deputy White House climate adviser, why Bloomberg TV praised the company's innovation and pointed out it received an Energy Department loan which it has repaid.
But, he added: "We are excited to get together with three of their largest employers on our campus.
The event was convened for Biden to announce an executive order establishing the goal that half of all cars sold to be battery-electric, plug-in hybrid or fuel cell-powered by 2030. Biden also announced his administration is crafting greenhouse gas-reduction standards and fuel economy requirements for vehicles, including medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks.
The UAW endorsed Biden in his 2020 presidential race in early 2020.
The three new Detroit automakers accounted for about 39% of all new car sales in the U.S. in the first half of the year, according to Cox Automotive data. Toyota's 15.5% share topped both Ford and Stellantis, and ranked second behind market leader GM's 15.9%.
'We of course welcome the efforts of all automakers who recognize the potential for an electric future and support efforts that will help reach President Biden's goal, including the automakers committed to electrifying their fleet and reducing emissions, the White House said in a statement.
'Our members would have welcomed the opportunity to meet at White House today, said Jennifer Safavian, president of Autos Drive America, a trade group of foreign automakers.
'International automakers account for half of all new vehicle sales and manufacturing in the United States and are committed to building a greener car market, she said in a statement. 'We hope that President Biden recognizes the efforts of the entire U.S. auto industry that continues to invest billions into their manufacturing operations and American workforce.
If they felt snubbed, it didn't come through to say things in Tesla statements other than some of the unselected people.
'With LEAF, Nissan shows our pioneering spirit in electric cars, said Jeremie Papin, chairperson, Nissan Americas. 'Nissan is committed to taking our part towards building a safer, stronger and more inclusive society for all.
Scott Keogh, the president of Volkswagen Group Of America, said on LinkedIn that the company is spending $800 million on a plant to build electric vehicles in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
'Today the Biden administration is going to issue new rules that present our industry with tough new challenges. I like them, Keogh wrote.
'In fact, I am thrilled with Environmental Protection Agency's latest move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said. It means electric policy is finally catching up to what we realized years ago : we must head toward a cleaner future together — and federal vehicles are what will drive us there.