Each week TheDetroitBureau.com reports on the biggest news and events about new vehicles, mobility, technology, trends as well as offering our years of experience and insights in our car reviews. Then we put it all into our weekly the Headlight News podcast.
Automakers have struggled to keep production steady due to the ongoing semiconductor shortage and now a resurgence of COVID is putting the brakes on more assembly lines, with Toyota begin the latest automaker to suffer. The Japanese automaker said it would be shutting down two lines, which could make it just a little tougher to get new Corollas and RAV4s, reports Editor-in-Chief Paul A. Eisenstein.
Some of the other stories you need to know about include:
- While automakers and buyers have struggled during the past 18 months or so with lower profits or dashed expectations, auto dealers have enjoyed record profits due to the higher prices and, in some cases, additional markups;
- A new study finds the new EVs coming to market should find plenty of willing buyers with 1 in 4 saying they’re planning to buy an electric vehicle as their next purchase. However, despite this, the overwhelming majority of Americans are still shaking their heads no;
- With more and more Americans continuing to buy crossovers, SUVs and pickups, many automakers have decided to get out of the midsize passenger car segment, and some reports suggest Hyundai and Kia are next, with the Hyundai Sonata and Kia K5 allegedly on the chopping block; and,
- Volkswagen is the latest automaker to “feel the force” rolling out two special versions of its ID.Buzz electric minivan designed to represent the light and dark sides of the force. The moves come as newest Star Wars series debuts, this one focusing on Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Automakers have struggled this year, watching sales and profits slide in the first quarter. With the end of May coming, the predictions by auto analysts are for more of the same, notes Executive Editor Joseph Szczesny. Double-digit losses for monthly sales are expected in May compared to a year-ago — just like in April and March before that. However, there are signs that some change is coming that will at least stop the constant price increases: increased production.
Executive Editor Larry Printz asks if the party’s over? With gas prices at all-time highs, is time to switch to the auto industry’s version of sensible shoes? If so, the 2022 Toyota Corolla hybrid might be the best pair you can find. Perhaps the most overlooked member of the Corolla family is powered by a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a 53 kW electric motor that generations 121 horsepower and returns an astounding 52 mpg in combined driving — best of any Corolla offering and on par with the Toyota Prius. All this in a package that doesn’t resemble an alien life form. Find out more about the hybrid at TheDetroitBureau.com.
Looking ahead to this week, Managing Editor Michael Strong says that despite the long holiday weekend typically being primetime for vehicle sales, it’s unlikely much will change. However, that will all become clear midweek when the automakers report May sales, which are expected to be similar to March and April results.
Ford CEO Jim Farley and his counterpart at Rivian, R.J. Scaringe will be offering up insights about their companies and the industry at the Alliance Bernstein conference. Toyota’s got hordes of journalists coming to its North American headquarters this week so it should be a busy time for TheDetroitBureau.
Printz to walk us through this week in automotive history, starting with 1903 when Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson accepts a $50 bar bet, and he and his mechanic, Sewell Crocker, set out to drive across the U.S. With no driving experience, Jackson drafts Crocker to help. The pair makes it in 63 days despite having no maps — and in some places, no roads!
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!