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Volkswagen Suffers Q2 Loss; Board Publicly Backs Diess

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Volkswagen AG Chairman Herbert Diess got a public vote of confidence from the company’s board.

Volkswagen is the latest automaker reporting negative second quarter results, largely stemming from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world.

The company posted an adjusted operating loss of 1.7 billion euros, or $2 billion, for the period, which is down from a 5.1 billion-euro profit from a year ago. Meanwhile, group sales revenue decreased 23.2% to 96.1 billion euros, or $113.2 billion.

Officials were also forced to offer up a show of support for VW AG CEO Herbert Diess after a dustup with labor leaders about his desire to cut costs, including labor, that they felt were unreasonable.

(Volkswagen offers up refreshed Tiguan for 2022 model year.)

“The most important message is that the supervisory board and executive committee … are in complete agreement that our CEO Herbert Diess is leading the implementation of our strategy,” Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter said in remarks which were read out on a call with journalists on Thursday, Reuters reported.

Like many other automakers, Volkswagen was forced to shut down many of its operations, like its Chattanooga plant, for some time due to the pandemic.

The public vote of confidence follows the company move to push him out of the day-to-day management of its Volkswagen brand, the move made to mollify angry labor leaders just before a new slate of tough changes were released.

The company’s sad financial results weren’t surprising given that vehicle deliveries were down 27.4% compared with Q2 2019 dropping from 5.4 million units to 3.9 million. The percentage decline on prior-year month has been decreasing consistently since May, officials noted.

However, the company expects to see a significant decline in full-year sales, there has been some recovery globally – particularly China – as restrictions have begun to ease. Volkswagen is the largest foreign automaker in China, which has led the automotive recovery as it was first to experience the pandemic.

(Leaked images reveal production Volkswagen ID.4 EV.)

The company said its 2020 operating profit, before and including special items, would be severely down on the year before, albeit in positive territory, Reuters reported. Officials also said they plan to cut the dividend for 2019 to 4.80 euros per ordinary share and 4.86 euros per preferred share. The original plan called for 6.50 euros per ordinary share and 6.56 euros per preferred share.

Volkswagen is production facilities are now back online, and the company expects improved results in the second half of the year.

“The first half of 2020 was one of the most challenging in the history of our company due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health of our employees, customers and business partners is still the top priority,” said Frank Witter, member of the Group Board of Management responsible for Finance and IT.

“Thanks to the great team effort, we have gradually been able to ramp up operations within the Group and up until now, have steadily managed to navigate through this unprecedented crisis. Due to the positive trend exhibited in our business over the past few weeks and the introduction of numerous attractive models, we look cautiously optimistic to the second half of the year.”

The Volkswagen brand saw its sales drop during the first six months by 39.8%, although sales of the T-Cross increased, thus bucking the trend, and the Atlas Cross Sport was also very popular. Audi sales fell to 416,000 vehicles worldwide from 632,000 units during same period. The Q3, A6 and e-tron models were the bright spots, recording “increasing demand,’ the company said.

(Volkswagen making $2B wager on China’s EV market.)

Porsche’s global sales dropped 14.8% between January and June while the company’s ultra-premium brand, Bentley sales were largely flat for the period: 4,569 vehicles this year compared with 4,670 in 2019. Sales revenue improved to 860 million euros from 835 million on the back of mix effects, although operating result fell due to higher depreciation and amortization charges and one-off expenses for restructuring measures.

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Source: https://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2020/07/volkswagen-suffers-q2-loss-board-publicly-backs-diess/

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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