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VW JV keeps Anhui Jianghuai Automobile going – the week

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VW spent the equivalent of a EUR1bn to buy 50% of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Holdings which had controlled Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motors)

VW spent the equivalent of a EUR1bn to buy 50% of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Holdings which had controlled Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motors)

A shake-out which began a year ago is seeing many brands disappear from China’s monthly sales charts. For a while, Anhui Jianghuai Automobile also looked vulnerable. Instead, this medium-sized car maker has found a niche by contract manufacturing EVs and continuing a steady roll-out of of its own JAC-brand models. Thus continued our analysis of automakers and future models. A JV with VW is the key – the group spent the equivalent of a EUR1bn to buy 50% of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Holdings which had controlled Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motors). This gave the German company full control and, at the same time, VW lifted its stake in JAC-Volkswagen, the electric vehicles JV, to 75% (from 50%). Further, the VW Group told the media of new intentions to launch five additional electric models by 2025 and also erect a plant for such vehicles. Production of MEB architecture models is due to commence at this factory by 2023.

Motor shows might be on hiatus in most countries but in China, they are back. This week, we published a list of world premieres for this year’s event in Chengdu.

Mitsubishi Motors shocked its UK and European distributors when it announced a three year, mid term business plan (from fiscal 2020 to 2022), ‘Small but Beautiful’, to concentrate its management resources on its core regions and technologies. It is ending new model launches in Europe but will continue to offer parts and service. Under this initiative, MMC will concentrate its management resources on the ASEAN region, where it is competitive. Also, MMC will expand its profitability by further enhancement of its unique, competitive edge technologies such as PHEV, HEV and 4WD, also by introduction of cutting edge models leveraging the Alliance partners’ technologies. MMC said it was ‘freezing’ new model launches for Europe though sales of existing models would continue. After sales and services would continue “for customers who prefer to use Mitsubishi products”.

Could Mitsubishi’s withdrawal from the UK and Europe open the door to new entries from Chinese EV makers? That is one possible outcome of MMC’s shock announcement. Long-time, independent UK importer, the Cirencester-based Colt Car Company (CCC), appeared to have been caught on the hop by the announcement in Japan which coincided with MMC’s latest dire financial results and gloomy outlook. CCC reportedly said in a letter to dealers it “did not, at any point, anticipate receiving this news”. It said it would attempt to “accelerate its plan to bring other emerging brands into the UK”. Surely, a well established importer, with a big import centre at Portbury Docks near Bristol, plenty of parts and service aftermarket expertise, and a dealer network well seasoned in selling into niches and keeping local customers happy, would have some appeal to other brands? We’ll watch with interest. CCC will continue to sell the cars currently offered until such a time that they no longer comply with European regulations and as many retailers as possible would aim to be retained as part of a parts and aftersales network. The planned introduction of the new Eclipse Cross plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and the next generation Outlander PHEV would not happen. CCC reportedly said in its letter to retailers: “In terms of the future for The Colt Car Group of Companies, we have already been looking at opportunities to bring additional new vehicle brands into the UK as a distributor and have already been in early dialogue with some alternative emerging market brands with an EV product strategy. Whilst the discussions are at an early stage, in light of today’s announcement we are focused on accelerating these opportunities with the goal of introducing additional brands to our business as quickly as possible. Clearly, if we are able to progress some of these initial contacts into a viable business proposition it will represent future options and opportunities for us all.”

Britishvolt said it is collaborating with Pininfarina to build the UK’s first large-scale battery gigaplant at the former Royal Air Force base of Bro Tathan in Wales. It aims to establish the UK as the leading force in battery technology with a target product launch date of 2023. The gigaplant will be situated in 80+ hectares of green industrial park, with a production capacity of up to 35 GWH.

Data compiled by just-auto parent GlobalData shows that light vehicle sales fell by 19.1% in June year-on-year to 6.2m, for a SAAR of 73.1m in the month. While these results are some way behind industry norms they do demonstrate that the global market has recovered from its April nadir when a SAAR of 48.2m was registered. Without exception all major regions marked June with sales recovering from their earlier low points. The best performing region was Asia-Pacific, with sales there falling 11.7% year on year, pushed along by a 40.7% hike in South Korea’s market and China’s market returning near to year ago levels. COVID-19 continues to impact demand negatively in India, but even there the 49% fall is an improvement on May when sales fell by 85% and the notorious result of April when zero new vehicle sales were made in the country. Elsewhere, Europe’s sales declined by 20.2% (May -54% and April -75.6%) helped along by the easing of lockdowns and the introduction of industry support in France and other West European countries. Additionally, Turkey’s continued to surprise with sales there 66% ahead year-on-year which contributed to East Europe’s marginal 1.6% slump in June. After a strong recovery in May, North America’s performance in June was a bit watered down with sales there falling 26.5% just over 6% better than May’s results. With Brazil in the midst of its fight against the pandemic, sales in South America where the country’s the largest single market slumped 40.8%. However, this still represented a better result than the plus 70% falls seen in both April and May.

PSA Group posted a positive profit result for the first half of the year despite the heavy impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and much reduced revenue.
It announced a 3.7% automotive division adjusted operating margin of EUR731m on EUR25.1bn revenue. The group booked EUR595m net profit and also reported EUR153m automotive positive free cash flow, excluding working capital, and “strong financial security” with EUR23.2bn in reserve.

Between this year and 2025, PSA Group will move gradually from two multi-energy platforms to two 100% electrified platforms to support e-mobility development. Its new eVMP platform will serve as the basis for a wide range of electric vehicles for the C- and D- segments. It will offer high-performance with an autonomy of up to 406 miles/650km (WLTP cycle) and a benchmark storage capacity with 50 kW.h per metre available within the wheelbase. From 2023, new vehicles in the C- and D-segments, from sedans to SUV will be launched in various markets worldwide.

A new GBP70 million research and development centre is to be established in the UK with the ambition of becoming ‘one of the leading independent facilities of its type in the world’. Led by The University of Bath, the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) is designed to both accelerate the pace of innovation across companies of all sizes and to increase the supply of engineers with the skills needed to develop the next generation of clean vehicle powertrains.

General Motors has named Alan Wexler to the newly created position of senior vice president, innovation and growth, effective 17 August, 2020.
Wexler is the former chairman and CEO of digital business transformation firm Publicis Sapient. He will be responsible for creating, executing and sustaining overall corporate strategy including identifying future growth opportunities and driving innovation throughout the company.

Have a good weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com

Source: https://www.just-auto.com/comment/vw-jv-keeps-anhui-jianghuai-automobile-going-the-week_id196992.aspx?utm_source=article-feed&utm_medium=rss-feed&utm_campaign=rss-feed

Automotive

Genesis GV60 Will Recognize Your Face To Unlock The Car

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The Genesis GV60 is a talking point, to say the least. Whether you like it in its initial attention-grabbing shade of yellow or the staler white, that’s all up to you. Or maybe you dig its stealthy all-black hue, which somehow hides its polarizing body accents.

But lest we forget, it is Genesis’ first luxury crossover electric vehicle, which will serve as a benchmark for the Korean marque’s bid to electrification. Parts of this offensive of course are tech toys that will attract buyers into the brand.

Genesis announces just that – a facial recognition system that’s claimed to improve control of the vehicle.

Genesis GV60 Facial Recognition

Initially to be available for the Genesis GV60 and will be gradually rolled out to the rest of the lineup, the “Face Connect” technology allows the EV to recognize human faces, which in turn can open and close doors without using a smart key. Similar to the one found inside the Subaru Outback, the vehicle will apply the settings saved under the profile of the saved face, which include driver’s seat and steering wheel positions, as well as HUD, side mirrors, and infotainment settings.

Of note, Genesis touts a Near-Infra-Red (NIR) camera, ensuring that the face recognition system will work even under low visibility – yes, even at night.

With this new tech, Genesis aims to liberate drivers from the “hassle” of bringing their keys every time. You can even leave the smart key inside the car, go out and do some wet outdoorsy stuff (locking the car in the process), then come back and unlock the car using your face. Just maybe don’t hit your face with something so the car will still recognize you.

Along with the Face Connect tech, Genesis announces a “Fingerprint Authentication System” that allows the users to start the car using only their fingerprints.

The automaker also expanded the scope of its OTA software updates. Beyond the settings on the infotainment system, navigation, digital cluster, and HUD, OTA software updates will now include electric vehicle integrated control device, suspension, brakes, steering wheel, and airbags.

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Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/533678/genesis-gv60-facial-recognition/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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Jeep Grand Cherokee L Loses Quadra-Lift Suspension Due To Chip Shortage

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Modern technology brings all kinds of neat features to automobiles, but it’s proving to be a double-edged sword for manufacturers. The latest casualty of the global semiconductor shortage reportedly comes from Jeep, specifically the Quadra-Lift air suspension system available on some new Grand Cherokee L models.

The height-adjustable suspension is – or was – standard equipment on Overland, Summit, and Summit Reserve according to Mopar Insiders. Nosing around the Grand Cherokee L online configurator, only the standard suspension shows up now. Further investigation found that the Quadra-Lift feature was removed, with the report citing a Jeep spokesperson as stating it was removed due to the ongoing chip shortage. Motor1.com contacted Jeep to confirm this, and to determine if there’s a projected timeframe for when the feature will return. We will provide an update if new information becomes available.

The air-ride system provides five different settings that alter suspension stiffness and ride height. Clearance can vary as much as 4.2 inches, which is significant for any vehicle with off-road intentions. As such dropping the Quadra-Lift feature from the lineup changes the Grand Cherokee L’s maximum approach and departure angles.

save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Jeep Grand Cherokee

 

Realistically speaking, we suspect very few owners would be trekking their $60,000 three-row SUVs in an environment where such capability is required. That’s probably why Jeep decided to remove the feature instead of delaying overall production. And since it was a standard item on some Grand Cherokee L trim levels, Mopar Insiders reports a credit of $750 is applied to the final MSRP on affected models.

This is the latest in a series of on-the-fly adjustments made by numerous automakers to keep production lines operating. Earlier this year, GM delivered Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups without the fuel-saving cylinder deactivation feature on models with the 5.3-liter V8. Volkswagen sold its subcompact Fox in Brazil without infotainment systems. Ford built F-150 trucks without some electronic modules, but held them until those modules were available before sending them out. Even with these solutions, temporary production-line shutdowns have affected most every automaker around the world to some degree.

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Source: https://www.motor1.com/news/533659/grand-cherokee-quadra-suspension-dropped/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RSS-category-technology

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Rivian vehicles are now ready for sale in all 50 states, following key certifications

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Rivian vehicles have received certifications from three agencies, the final hurdle that allows the electric automaker to sell and deliver its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV in all 50 U.S. states.

Rivian confirmed to TechCrunch in an email that the vehicles are fully certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. Bloomberg also reported that Rivian has received regulatory approval to deliver vehicles to customers.

Rivian has a direct sales model, in which customers can order its vehicles online. Dealer protection laws in many states prohibit companies like Rivian from having its own stores, where customers can take test drives and learn about financing options. However, there are no restrictions from customers ordering online from those states.

Today, 22 states allow for all vehicle manufacturers to sell vehicles to customers, according to the NRDC. In those states, Rivian can set up stores, display vehicles, offer test rides and importantly discuss financing. Another 11 states allow for only Tesla, which also has a direct sales model, to sell vehicles, often in a limited number of locations throughout the state.

Rivian plans to begin deliveries of the R1T launch edition this month. Deliveries of the R1S SUV are expected to follow this year.

Confirmation of the certifications from the state and two federal agencies followed a trio of announcements in the past several weeks that , including the first production Rivian R1T electric pickup truck in “Rivian blue” rolling off the assembly line Tuesday morning at the company’s factory in Normal, Illinois. The company’s two vehicles also received official EPA ranges of 314 miles for the first edition version of its all-electric R1T pickup truck and 316 miles for the R1T SUV.

All of this follows Rivian confidentially filing paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. The company, backed by a host of institutional and strategic investors including Ford and Amazon, has not size and price range for the proposed offering.

Sources familiar with Rivian’s IPO plans said the company has not yet started the “roadshow,” a process in which an underwriting firm and company management make a series of presentations to potential investors before going public.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/14/rivian-vehicles-are-now-ready-for-sale-in-all-50-states-following-key-certifications/

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Rivian’s first production R1T electric pickup truck rolls off the line

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The first production Rivian R1T electric pickup truck in “Rivian blue” rolled off the assembly line Tuesday morning at the company’s factory in Normal, Illinois, marking a milestone more than a decade in the making for the automaker and its founder and CEO, RJ Scaringe.

The company, which started in 2009 as Mainstream Motors before adopting the Rivian name two years later, has undergone explosive growth in terms of people, backers and partners in the past few years. Today, Scaringe tweeted the news and a photo of the first production truck painted in Rivian Blue.

“After months of building pre-production vehicles, this morning our first customer vehicle drove off our production line in Normal,!” he wrote. “Our team’s collective efforts have made this moment possible. Can’t wait to get these into the hands of our customers!”

What isn’t clear is who will get this first customer vehicle.

Rivian operated in relative obscurity, aka stealth mode, for years before it revealed prototypes of its all-electric R1T truck and R1S SUV at the LA Auto Show in late 2018.

Since then, Rivian has raised billions of dollars ($10.5 billion since 2019); expanded its Normal, Illinois, factory; hired thousands of employees; landed Amazon as a commercial customer; and, most recently, filed confidentially for an IPO. Today, in addition to its Illinois factory, Rivian has facilities in Palo Alto and Irvine, California; and Plymouth, Michigan; and an office in the U.K.

When it first revealed the two electric vehicles in 2018, Rivian had about 600 employees. Today, it has 8,000.

Scaringe’s announcement Tuesday, which marks the official beginning of R1T production for customers, comes after at least two delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and global chip shortage. Earlier this summer, Scaringe wrote in a letter to customers that R1T deliveries would begin in September, with the R1S to follow “shortly.”

Rivian has been juggling the dueling priorities of prepping and eventually producing the R1T and R1S for consumers and commercial delivery vans for Amazon. The Illinois factory has two separate production lines producing vehicles. One is dedicated to the R1 vehicles and the other line is for its commercial vans.

Amazon ordered 100,000 of these vans, with deliveries starting in 2021. Earlier this year, Amazon began testing the electric delivery van in several cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Earlier this month, Rivian announced that the first edition version of the R1T pickup truck has an official EPA range of 314 miles, while its R1T SUV comes in at 316 miles.

The official range and fuel economy values posted on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website align with Rivian’s previous estimates, which it advertised as 300 miles.

The moment is also important because it means Rivian has the benefit of being the first electric truck on the market. Ford’s F-150 Lightning, which isn’t expected to come on the market until spring 2022, has a targeted range of 230 miles in the standard and up to 300 miles in the extended version. The EPA has not issued official ranges for the Ford Lightning.

Rivian’s “Launch Edition” R1T truck and R1S SUV come equipped with a 135 kWh battery pack that is branded as the “large pack.” Deliveries of the Launch Edition vehicles are slated to begin this month.

Clarification: Rivian has raised $10.5 billion since 2019, not in total. Rivian has not shared the total amount but sources have said it is around $11 billion. 

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/14/rivians-first-production-r1t-electric-pickup-truck-rolls-off-the-line/

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