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EVs at the Tipping Point? Global Sales Could Surge 25% to 1.6m in 2018

Nearly 200 electrified vehicles already on the market.

by on Jun.05, 2018

Automakers are planning to launch as many as 400 electrified vehicles by decade's end, including an all-electric version of the upcoming Maserati Alfieri.

After a painfully slow start, sales of electrified vehicles finally seem to be gaining some desperately needed traction, a new study suggesting global sales of hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles will reach 1.6 million this year, a 25% increase from 2017.

The shift comes at a critical time for the auto industry considering even manufacturers like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, long skeptical of battery-based technologies, are ramping up production plans. About 165 models are already available in various markets worldwide, according to the study by London-based ReportBuyer, and that will grow to “more than 400 models” by 2025.

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“If all the announcements made so far were to come true, there will be about 25 million EVs sold by 2025 or 20% of all cars sold would be EVs,” the electrified vehicle study forecast. While that includes a mix of different products, many of which combine gas and electric powertrains on one platform, other studies have forecast that BEVs alone could account for 20% of the total world vehicle market by 2030.

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GM Reveals Plans to Electrify Fleet in China

Company will have 10 NEVs in country by 2020.

by on Jun.05, 2018

Matt Tsien, left, and chief engineer of GM China Electrification Jennifer Goforth discuss GM's electrification plans for China.

General Motors plans to deliver 10 new energy vehicles according to its newly outlined a path for electrification in China, supporting its vision of a future with zero emissions laid out by the Chinese government.

The announcement made in China notes the 10 NEVs will arrive between now and 2020, and is likely to complicate GM’s discussions on emission standards in the U.S. where the State of California has taken the position that what’s good for China will also work in the automakers home market.

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From 2021 through 2023, GM will maintain momentum by doubling the number of new energy vehicles available even as it pleads for relief from federal fuel economy standards in the U.S. that were set by the Obama administration as it left office in 2017. (more…)

Lexus Isn’t About to Give up on Cars

Commitment remains despite moves of other automakers.

by on Jun.04, 2018

Lexus, like its parent Toyota, remains committed to selling sedans as other automakers bail out of the segment.

Even though utility vehicles accounted for more than two thirds of Lexus’ sales in May, Toyota’s luxury vehicle unit, Lexus, isn’t about to give up on the passenger cars that built its reputation even as American car makers walk away from the sedan segments.

“The fact is there is and will continue to be a very important role for sedans,” said Cooper Ericksen, Lexus vice president of marketing, as he showed off the new, seventh generation Lexus ES during a press event in Nashville, Tennessee. “Half the buyers of SUVs also own a sedan,” he said.

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Sales in the “near luxury” segment, where the ES competes against the cars such as BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Acura TLX, totaled more than 400,000 units last year, which is a substantial market. In addition, like its competitors, Lexus sells the ES in dozens of markets around the world, making it easier to justify the cost of designing, engineering and developing a new model. (more…)

FCA Planning to Plug In

After slow start, automaker reveals big plans for electrification.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The production version of this Maserati Alfieri concept will use an electrified drivetrain to launch from 0 to 60 in barely 2 seconds.

Sergio Marchionne isn’t much of a fan of battery power, or at least he hasn’t been until recently. When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles launched its first all-electric model, five years ago, the CEO actually urged motorists not to buy it, admitting FCA lost about $25,000 on every one of them.

But at the automaker’s “Capital Day,” in Milan on Friday, Marchionne and his management team were far more upbeat, announcing plans to add dozens of electrified vehicles – everything from mild hybrids to pure battery-electric vehicles – into the FCA line-up over the next give years.

Electrifying!

The economics still aren’t great, noted Mark Chernoby, the automaker’s head of technology compliance, but in an era of increasingly stringent emissions and mileage regulations, it’s the only real day to meet targets being set in markets as diverse as the U.S., Europe, China and Brazil. That’s all the more so as FCA continues to migrate from traditional sedans and coupes to the less efficient SUVs and CUVs that will overwhelmingly dominate its global line-up.

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More Products, More Volume, Bigger Margins: FCA Lays Out Aggressive, 5-Year Growth Plan

Morning presentation outlines plans for Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Ram TRX will be among the new models FCA will bring out over the coming five years.

(This story has been revised to update plans for Jeep’s pickup and a midsize pickup from Ram that, CEO Marchionne now says will come to the U.S. market.)

In a sweeping presentation designed to give analysts, investors, media and potential buyers a good look at its future, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives are spending a day detailing their plans for the company and its various brands.

At the midway mark, as they break for lunch, they’ve already lifted the kimono far enough to show what’s coming for the Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands and, in a nutshell, it can be summed up as more products targeting lots more volume and much bigger margins.

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The new five-year plan will be the last crafted under the guidance of Sergio Marchionne, the 65-year-old executive who helped pull off the pairing of two struggling manufacturers to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. His third five-year plan, Marchionne stressed that “The true finish line is the one always yet to come.”

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Tesla Sedan on Autopilot Slams into Cop Car

Latest crash intensifies criticism of semi-autonomous system.

by on May.30, 2018

A Tesla Model S crashed into a police car in Laguna Beach, California. Photo credit: Sgt. Jim Cota

A Tesla Model S sedan operating in Autopilot mode crashed into a parked and unoccupied police car Tuesday in Laguna Beach, California, the latest in a series of incidents linked to the carmaker’s semi-autonomous technology.

While at least two deaths have now occurred in crashes involving Autopilot, the driver of the vehicle in the latest incident suffered only minor injuries. But it is raising further concerns about both Autopilot and the way drivers are using – and possibly misusing – the system.

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A day after the latest crash, California-based Consumer Watchdog called on the state’s regulator to investigate what it described as “dangerously misleading, deceptive marketing practices” which, the non-profit group contends, can lead Tesla owners to believe Autopilot is a fully self-driving technology. (more…)

Dealers Hampering Sales of Electric Vehicles, Study Shows

Sales of EVs predicted to rise 50% in the U.S. in 2018.

by on May.25, 2018

The Chevy Bolt was one of Consumer Reports 10 best vehicles when it came out. Despite this, a new study suggests salespeople don't want to sell them.

Despite the fact that more and more consumers seem to be interested in buying electric vehicles, a new study suggests that dealers still seem to want to not sell EVs.

According to a study by Nature Energy, salespeople are reticent to sell people who specifically ask about electric vehicles an EV. The publication sent out 126 people to 82 dealerships across Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden who were either deterred from buying an EV or were given incorrect information about them.

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These countries are all in the top 15 electric vehicle markets in the world.  (more…)

Jaguar Land Rover Profits Cut By Falling Diesel Sales

Overall sales rose 1.7% with China leading the way.

by on May.24, 2018

Ralf Speth, Jaguar president, touted the company's full-year sales set a new record, driven by a 19% increase in China.

Jaguar Land Rover reported its annual pre-tax profits fell to 1.5 billion pounds, or $2 billion, from 1.6 billion pounds the year before, and fourth quarter profits during the January to March period was almost cut in half from 676 million pounds, or $905.3 million, to 364 million pounds.

The drop in profits during January to March period was affected by the higher charges in its vehicle development program and the drop in sales of diesel-powered vehicles. But the company said its annual pre-tax profit was boosted a 437-million-pound, or $585.2 million, credit from its pension scheme in the first quarter of the year.

Global News!

The automaker, which was re-organized 10 years ago after Ford Motor Co. sold it to Tata, the Indian industrial conglomerate, noted that “consumer uncertainty surrounding diesel models, Brexit and vehicle taxation” hurt sales in the United Kingdom.  (more…)

Bosch Exec Predicts 50 Percent Rise in 2018 EV Sales

Annual sales expected to rise from 1% to 1.5% of total sales.

by on May.23, 2018

The Chevy Bolt will be joined by two dozen other GM battery-electric vehicles by 2023.

Sales of battery electric vehicles are growing steadily and impressively, according to a key executive at Robert Bosch Gmbh, one of the world’s top automotive suppliers.

Sujit Jain, Bosch Group regional president, Passenger Cars and Electric Vehicles, Powertrain Solutions Division, noted the market share of battery electric vehicles has steadily grown in the U.S. since 2013, reaching nearly 1%.

EV News!

On the surface, the number appears small, but the rate of growth has been impressive with EV sales possibly reaching 1.5% this year, Jain said after a presentation at the Bosch Mobility Experience at the company’s North American test track in suburban Detroit. (more…)

China Cutting Tariffs on Imported Vehicles

But revised rate is still six times higher than what U.S. levies.

by on May.22, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to cut tariffs on cars to 15% and components to 6%.

Under mounting trade pressure from the U.S., China said Tuesday that it will reduce duties on imported passenger vehicles from 25% to 15%, while also cutting the tariff on imported automotive parts and components to 6%.

Chinese President Ji Xinping had promised to cut tariffs in comments made last month, though it is unclear if the move will go far enough to satisfy critics as diverse as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and U.S. President Donald Trump. With the exception of pickup trucks, the American tariff on imported vehicles is just 2.5%.

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In a series of tweets last month, Trump referred to the automotive imbalance asked, “Does that sound like free or fair trade? No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE – going on for years!” (more…)