Each week TheDetroitBureau.com reports on the biggest news and events happening in the auto industry and relays those stories in its weekly the Headlight News podcast. The roundup includes news, features, reviews and more.
Toyota took home the global sales crown — again. The Japanese automaker distanced itself from Volkswagen, which was second in 2020 as well, selling 10.5 million vehicles worldwide in 2021. VW came in as the runner up, despite a worse year in 2021 than 2020.
Some of the other stories you need to know about include:
- U.S. new vehicle sales are expected to be down in January as automakers continue to play catch up with inventory levels while struggling with semiconductor and other shortages. U.S. dealers have barely 1 million vehicles in stock and J.D. Power says it’s not getting better anytime soon;
- GM CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley met with President Joe Biden last week to talk about the importance of the now-delayed tax credits for electric vehicles. The credits are part of the Build Back Better plan that is still in limbo in Congress;
- Mazda began making vehicles in the U.S. again, launching production of its new CX-50 crossover at the plant it shares with Toyota in Huntsville, Alabama;
- A slew of new product made their debuts this week, starting with the Toyota Sequoia, which the automaker is hoping will help fill the void left by the now-ended Land Cruiser. Other newbies popping included a new all-electric offering from Lotus, BMW showed off the new 8 Series, plus more; and,
- Tesla beat analysts expectations for 2021, both in the fourth quarter and the full year. CEO Elon Musk predicted sales would rise 50% in 2022 and that he believed the company’s full self-driving program would be fully operational — providing safety better than a human — by the end of the year.
Executive Editor Joseph Szczesny notes that in the next three years, GM plans to spend more than 7 billion dollars in Michigan to expand production of EVs and the batteries that power them. In fact, it was the biggest story of last week. The biggest piece, 4 billion dollars, will be used for the renovation an assembly plant in suburban Detroit. The rebuilt plant will make battery electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks starting in 2024. In fact, all of the investment is expected to be up and running by then.
Much of the sport-utility segment these days is focused on bigger, faster and more powerful with plenty of cutting-edge technology mixed in. After a week in the new three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Managing Editor Michael Strong says it checks all of those boxes and more. Check out the review the TheDetroitBureau.com.
Managing Editor Strong notes February kicks off earnings season for automakers, and the two biggest ones this week are GM and Ford. GM reports its fourth quarter and full-year financial results Tuesday, while Ford does so on Thursday. There is plenty of product news coming this week as well, starting with the announcement that Aston Martin plans to offer a high-performance version of its DBX crossover utility vehicle. We’ll also offer our first driving reviews of the Kia EV6 and Toyota Tundra Capstone.
In 1934 the Chrysler and DeSoto Airflow debut at the Chicago Auto Show, notes Executive Editor Larry Printz. The Airflow models are the industry’s first unit-body, aerodynamic cars. But their streamlined styling and recessed headlights are too radical for the time, and sales prove meager. Also, in 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard” debuted on CBS. While John Schneider and Tom Wopat held the lead roles, but it was the General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger that was bright orange with the Confederate flag on the roof, is the star.
Find out more the industry’s history and more by listening to TheDetroitBureau’s latest edition of the Headlight News podcast by clicking here. And look for a new episode every Monday!