FORD, TOYOTA, HONDA STAND OUT FOR CPO VALUE
Ford's model-level strength helped it perform well in the eighth annual Vincentric Best Certified Pre-Owned Value in America Awards. Although Ford won more model-level awards than any other brand with eight, Toyota and Honda also had a strong showing with four model-level awards each. Vincentric president David Wurster said many people in the United States are looking to save money in the current uncertain economic times by purchasing used vehicles.
Source: Auto Remarketing
FEWER NEW CARS UNDER US$20,000
The category of new cars costing less than $20,000 has shrunk in recent years, and it may keep younger buyers out of the market for a car, pushing them further toward ride-sharing and other forms of transportation. Data from J.D. Power shows that sales of cheap cars fell off a cliff in recent years, despite the fact that overall car sales have been strong. In 2013, sales of cars costing less than $20,000 made up 20.1% of total annual new car sales. By 2020, that figure was 9.4%.
SEMICONDUCTOR SHORTAGE WOES
Volkswagen AG is bracing for a major production disruption from a shortage of semiconductors. The world's largest automaker will need to adjust first-quarter manufacturing plans around the globe because of the bottleneck, VW said in an emailed statement Friday, without giving specific figures. The number of cars affected could be in the low six-digit range, according to people familiar with the matter.
IIHS, CONSUMER REPORTS PUT BMW, MAZDA, SUBARU ON SAFETY'S NICE LIST
FCA, GM remain naughty
A joint effort by the IIHS and Consumer Reports to encourage the adoption of automatic emergency braking found that most automakers have implemented the life-saving technology on their vehicles. Some automakers, though, remain on a list of those that have not equipped most of their vehicles with the technology in advance of the the 2023 model year, according to a report published Thursday by the IIHS and echoed by the NHTSA.
In 2015, every major automaker in the U.S. committed to equip 95% of new passenger vehicles sold with automatic emergency braking (AEB) by Sept. 1, 2022. Ten of the 20 automakers have already fulfilled that requirement; five automakers lag behind the rest when it comes to safety.
"Many automakers have shown ingenuity and agility in making city-speed AEB standard," David Friedman, vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports, said in a statement. "NHTSA should build on this progress by ensuring that by 2025 all new vehicles come standard with more advanced systems that can also detect pedestrians and work at highway speeds."
Working with the IIHS, Consumer Reports lauded Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Tesla for reaching the threshold last year. Now, BMW, Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen earn praise announced Thursday from the non-profit consumer advocacy and safety groups.
Using cameras and radars, the life-saving technology can mitigate or avoid crashes altogether, cutting rear-end collisions in half, according to the IIHS. The system, along with forward collision warnings, must reduce speeds by at least 10 mph from 25 mph in testing conducted by the IIHS. The IIHS teamed up with the NHTSA to broker the initial voluntary agreement five years ago to get automakers to comply in seven years. More than half are ahead of the timeline, benefitting drivers and pedestrians alike. "Through this voluntary approach, we are seeing significantly faster deployment of automatic emergency braking than we would have through regulation, and that means lives are being saved and injuries are being avoided today," NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Owens said in a separate statement.
Traffic fatalities in 2019 dropped 2% despite a 1% increase in more miles driven. It was the third consecutive year of reduced traffic fatalities. "This voluntary effort is succeeding in getting an important crash prevention technology into vehicles quickly," the IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement. "It's great to see AEB become a mainstream safety feature that's now standard equipment not just on luxury cars and SUVs, but on affordable models as well."
Ford, Honda, and Nissan equipped 9 out of 10 cars produced in the last year with AEB, while Kia had a rate of 75%. Porsche equipped 55% of their vehicles with AEB, according to data gathered by Consumer Reports and reported by automakers to the IIHS. Ford logged the largest year-over-year improvement, and advanced to the next level of the commitment by installing AEB on 62% of its trucks and other vehicles that weigh between 8,501-10,000 pounds.
But there are some laggards, most notably from American automakers Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors. Jaguar Land Rover, Maserati, and Mitsubishi round up the bottom of the class by having fewer than half the units produced meet the AEB requirements.
"The few automakers lagging far behind on their AEB commitment—and especially Fiat Chrysler—must lay out exactly how they'll reach and surpass where the industry is today," Friedman said.
Source: The Car Connection
FIAT CHRYSLER-PSA DEAL WINS CONDITIONAL APPROVAL FROM EU
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and PSA Group won European Union approval to merge their operations, overcoming the biggest hurdle in their year-long quest to become the world's fourth-largest carmaker. The European Commission said the company's pledge to make vehicles at French and Spanish plants for Toyota Motor Corp. and open up its repair network to rivals eliminated concerns about the combined firm's growing power over small vans crucial to deliveries.
THE APPLE CAR
Apple Inc is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The iPhone maker's automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple drew back the effort to focus on software and reassessed its goals.
VOLKSWAGEN TO BE INVESTIGATED
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said on Monday it is opening in investigation into whether German automaker Volkswagen AG infringed on patents held by Jaguar Land Rover for a system used for off-road driving. In November, Jaguar Land Rover, a unit of Tata Motors, filed a complaint with the ITC seeking to prevent the import of some VW Porsche, Lamborghini and Audi models with "certain vehicle control systems" that allegedly infringe on its patents.
VW CEO SAYS APPLE CAN MOUNT MAJOR CHALLENGE WITH AUTO PUSH
Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess said cash-rich technology giants invading the auto industry pose a much bigger challenge for the German manufacturer than traditional rivals like Toyota Motor Corp. "We look forward to new competitors who will certainly accelerate the change in our industry and bring in new skills," Diess said in a LinkedIn post when asked about reports that Apple Inc. is developing a self-driving car. "The unbelievable valuation and the practically unlimited access to resources instill a lot of respect in us."
NO ONE KNEW SECRET BEHIND FORD'S MUSTANG MACH-E, BRONCO SPORT —
The Bronco Sport wasn't in the original plan at Ford. It started out as a boxy, bland, nondescript, unmemorable small SUV . Definitely not part of a legendary Bronco family. And the Mustang Mach-E SUV was initially going to be a cautious toe in the water for an automaker debuting its first all-electric vehicle. It was conceived to help meet fuel economy targets for the company. Now each SUV has a waiting list.
Source: Detroit Free Press
THE CORONAVIRUS HOLDS DOWN AUTO SALES, BUT IT'S STILL A SELLER'S MARKET
The deadly coronavirus pandemic continues to cast a shadow on the U.S. economy and auto sales, probably through at least the first half of 2021, until vaccines become more widely available, according to a forecast from Cox Automotive. In a typical business cycle, it's a buyer's market when U.S. auto sales decline, because in a typical business cycle, the auto industry overproduces when sales first start to go down. Inevitably, that forces the automakers to cut prices to move the metal. But in the current cycle, U.S. auto sales are down for the year, and so are inventories, so it's still a seller's market.
LG AND MAGNA ANNOUNCE $1 BILLION JV TO BUILD ELECTRIC CAR COMPONENTS
It's the latest of several big collaborations to produce EV hardware
South Korea-based LG Electronics Inc and automotive supplier Magna International Inc are launching a joint venture that will make key components for electric cars, the companies announced on Wednesday. The joint venture, tentatively called LG Magna e-Powertrain and valued at $1 billion, will manufacture e-motors, inverters and onboard chargers, according to LG Electronics. The deal expands a wave of consolidation among suppliers aiming to capture a growing market for electric vehicle, e-axle systems, which combine electric motors, power controls and driving gears in one unit. Earlier this year, gear maker BorgWarner Inc acquired rival Delphi, and Japanese manufacturers Aisin Seiki Corp, Denso Corp and Toyota Motor Corp have created a new e-axle venture called BluE Nexus.
Shares of LG Electronics in Korea jumped nearly 25% to their highest since 2011.
LG Electronics is an affiliate of South Korea's fourth-largest conglomerate, with interests ranging from electronics, including smartphones, to home appliances. LG Group's major affiliates include LG Display Co Ltd, which counts Apple Inc as its customer, as well as LG Chem Ltd, whose wholly owned LG Energy Solution subsidiary provides EV batteries to Tesla Inc.
LG will own 51% of the new company, and Magna will own 49%, LG said. The transaction is expected to close in July 2021 pending LG shareholder approval, among other conditions, and will employ 1,000 people at LG locations in the United States, Seoul and China, according to a press release.
LG has previously supplied motors, battery packs and other components to GM'S Bolt EV.
Magna already makes electronic vehicle gear for companies including Volkswagen. But gaining more control over production of the high-value parts of an electric car "has always been part of the strategy as we move forward," Magna's incoming CEO, Swamy Kotagiri said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday ahead of the announcement. "With combined synergies of both companies together I think we'll be able to address not only our existing customers, but all the major audiences and preferably the new entrances looking for electric platforms," he said.
LG Electronics' vehicle component solutions business has reported 19 quarters of consecutive losses.
When asked about the timeline of its Vehicle Component Solutions business' turnaround during an earnings call in October, the company said LG Electronics expects to swing to profit in the third quarter of next year. Sales from this business were $150 million in 2019, but Kotagiri said he expects a compound annual growth rate of around 50% by 2025.
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