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COVID-19 and Brexit could cost UK car manufacturers £40bn by 2025, says SMMT

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The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) expects 32% fewer cars to be produced in UK factories in 2020 after volumes declined by 48.2% in June.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said that the latest production report from the sector made for “grim reading” as he once again reflected on the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus and the impact of Brexit.

The UK car manufacturing output declined by 48.2% in June with 56,594 units produced, rounding off what the SMMT described as the sector’s “weakest six months since 1954”.

Year-to-date factories impacted by COVID-19 lockdown periods produced 381,357 cars – 42.8% (285,000 vehicles) down on 2019.

UK car production rolling data from the SMMT, June 2020The SMMT said that with 11,349 jobs had already been cut across manufacturing and retail during the pandemic, with more at stake without dedicated restart support as firms fear double whammy of Brexit tariffs.

New analysis suggests car production losses could total 1.46 million units by 2025 – worth just over £40bn – if no FTA is in place by the end of 2020, forcing the sector to trade on WTO terms with full tariffs applied.

Hawes said: “These figures are yet more grim reading for the industry and its workforce and reveal the difficulties all automotive businesses face as they try to restart while tackling sectoral challenges like no other.

“Recovery is difficult for all companies, but automotive is unique in facing immense technological shifts, business uncertainty and a fundamental change to trading conditions while dealing with coronavirus.

“The critical importance of an EU-UK FTA is self-evident for UK Automotive. Our factories were once set to make two million cars in 2020 but could now produce less than half that number, a result of the devastating effects of the pandemic on top of already challenging market conditions and years of Brexit uncertainty.

“This industry has demonstrated its inherent competitiveness and global excellence over the past decade. Its long-term future now depends on securing a good deal and a long-term strategy that supports an industry on which so many thousands of jobs across the country depend.”

June’s car manufacturing volumes for the domestic market declined by 63.8%, reflecting the gradual easing of the UK’s retail lockdown.

Production for export fell by 45%, although overseas orders accounted for nine-out-of-10 vehicles built as key global markets, including in the EU, China, US, South Korea and Japan, opened for business earlier than the UK.

UK car production data from the SMMT, June 2020The SMMT said that “significant questions remain” about the nature of trading conditions from January 1, with uncertainty about customs procedures, regulation and damaging tariffs causing real concern.

According to the latest survey of SMMT members, this lack of clarity is now severely hampering nine in 10 companies’ (93.5%) ability to prepare for the end of the transition period.

The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated this, it said, with six in 10 (61.3%) automotive companies saying COVID-19 had diverted resources away from Brexit preparations, while more than seven-in-10 (77.4%) viewed securing a tariff and quota free FTA as crucial to their future success.

The latest independent production outlook commissioned by SMMT, and also released today, now expects just over 880,000 cars to be produced in the UK this year – some -2% lower than made in 2019 and 30% less than anticipated in January pre-crisis.

Source: https://www.am-online.com/news/market-insight/2020/07/30/covid-19-and-brexit-could-cost-uk-car-manufacturers-40bn-by-2025-says-smmt

Automotive

GM Debuts Even Quicker Fourth-Generation Magnetic Ride Control

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It’s been almost 20 years since Cadillac first introduced their nifty MagneRide technology on the Cadillac STS Seville, and, at the time, was pretty groundbreaking stuff, offering technology that would adjust and adapt suspension components of a vehicle in real-time in response to changes in terrain. Now on its fourth generation, MagneRide 4.0 gets a number of substantial upgrades across the board making it, in Cadillac’s own words, the world’s fastest reacting suspension technology. And with up to 45% faster damping response than the third generation, we kinda believe that claim. 

According to Cadillac, these are the most dramatic changes yet to the MagneRide system yet, and will elevate the driving performance and road-going comfort of the 2021 Cadillac CT4-V, CT5-V, CT5 Sport, and Escalade. “With MagneRide 4.0, the world’s fastest reacting suspension system is now even faster,” said Thomas Schinderle, Cadillac vehicle performance engineer. “When paired with our sedans’ award-winning rear-wheel-drive architecture, the result is two of the most responsive sport sedans on the market, with reflexes that elevate the already high threshold of the V-Series legacy.”

MagneRide is an active damping system that literally uses electromagnets and magnetorheological fluid to help vary the damping rate of the shock absorbers. Wheel accelerometers read the road up to 1,000 times a second, triggering adjustments in the magnetic charge in the fluid. This fluid then adjusts the shocks almost instantly, allowing the vehicle to better respond to different road surfaces and corners, maximizing the traction on the road at all times. 

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Every facet of the previous MagneRide system was improved to create version 4.0, with new wheel hub accelerometers, an inertial measurement unit that processes changes four times faster and is more precise, new temperature maps for the fluid, new flux control to provide more consistent and more accurate changes between rebound and compression, reduced damper friction for more pronounced differences between drive modes, and new software and hardware to help the vehicle remain more level when transitioning through corners. 

MagneRide 4.0 comes standard on the 2021 Cadillac CT4-V in rear-wheel drive and CT5-V and starts at $45,8901 and $48,7901, respectively. The 2021 CT5 Sport can get MagenRide 4.0 as part of an optional V Performance Package, plus suspension performance upgrades and a mechanical limited-slip diff. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade will have MagneRide 4.0 on the Sport and Platinum models as standard, which starts at $86,8901 and $101,2901, respectively. The Premium Luxury trim may get MagneRide 4.0 as part of an optional Performance Package. 

Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/449461/gm-debuts-new-magnetic-ride/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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BMW Gives Android Auto, Other Freebies To 750,000 Owners In OTA Update

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In 2012, Wired reported that Tesla would deliver the auto industry’s first over-the-air (OTA) update to more than 100 Model S sedans. Fast forward to 2020, and BMW has announced it’ll deliver a free OTA update to more than 750,000 cars in markets worldwide. BMW OS 7 and the Remote Software Upgrade tech allow the automaker to update existing features while introducing completely new ones, like adding wireless Android Auto for the first time.

Google’s in-car connectivity software joins Apple CarPlay that has already been available in BMW models, though there’s a lot more included in the update. BMW is updating its proprietary map software for an “entirely new navigation experience.” BMW says its cloud-based system can calculate routes faster by combining real-time info with forecast models. Even CarPlay gets some love with turn-by-turn directions and lane information that’s now viewable in the head-up display. Oh, and there’s no mention of an Android Auto subscription.

BMW’s other new features try to make the driving a bit less frustrating. BMW’s Connected Parking, which helps drivers find parking spots and shows the probability of a spot being open, can now consider the vehicle’s size when assisting. BMW’s eDrive Zones can automatically switch the vehicle to its pure electric driving mode through geofencing. So far, 90 European cities have established such zones. Even BMW’s Intelligent Personal Assistant is a bit smarter, distinguishing between whether the driver or passenger is speaking.

OTA updates for cars didn’t exist a decade ago. But today, BMW, Ford, GM, and others are offering it, or they will be offering it soon. It is just one example of how pure vehicles are changing, highlighting their rapid digitalization and increased connectivity, enabling a host of new and interesting features. Pair that with electric vehicles, and you have a rapidly changing automotive landscape. All you have to do is download it.

Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/449377/bmw-ota-update-750000-cars/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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VW Uses Engine Rev Hang To Cut Emissions

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It has been almost a year since Volkswagen introduced the eighth-generation Golf – the latest version of VW’s best-seller. While a lot can be said about the Golf’s design, one of the great things about it is that it still can be ordered with a 6-speed manual transmission. For enthusiasts and purists, that’s a huge thing, considering that only 12 percent of new models in the U.S. are offered with a stick shift.

But as with most modern cars, the latest VW Golf has an engine rev hang, which is most noticeable in cars equipped with a manual gearbox.

Douglas Skorupski, Volkswagen of America, Inc.’s powertrain strategy manager, has a good explanation for this, as reported by Autoweek. According to Skorupski, the engine rev hang cuts the Nitrous Oxide (NOx) emissions of cars.

“As you pull your foot off the throttle, what we are trying to prevent is a big hunk of air getting into the chamber without any fuel. If air gets in that way, when you do reapply throttle, it creates a lean condition (a higher than 14.7:1 air-to-fuel ratio), which generates nitrous oxides or NOx. By delaying the fuel cut-off in the cylinder, we get some fuel in there with the air to keep the mixture correct and avoid the lean condition and prevent the NOx from occurring,” Skorupski said in an explanation in Autoweek‘s report.

Engine rev hang isn’t actually limited to the VW Golf. Most modern cars are equipped with electronic throttle bodies, resulting in the catalytic converter’s better control of air/fuel ratio balance and improvement of throttle control. But the use of this technology also ushered in engine rev hang, especially felt in manual gearboxes since you’re in full autonomy.

While it can be intrusive for some, it’s good to know that engine rev hang has a positive environmental effect – no matter how marginal it sounds. 

Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/448273/vw-golf-manual-rev-hang/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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