AD #3463 – Alfa Romeo Kisses the ICE Goodbye; BorgWarner Spins Off ICE Business; VW Modifies MEB Platform

December 7th, 2022 at 11:42am

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Runtime: 10:14

0:08 Alfa Romeo Kisses the ICE Goodbye
1:02 GM to Install 40,000 L2 Chargers
1:53 Europe Sees Strong New Car Sales
3:14 VW Modifies MEB Platform for Bigger Batteries
4:59 Apple Scales Back AV Car
5:50 Uber Launches Robotaxis In Las Vegas
6:57 BYD To Build EVs In Europe
7:23 Cadillac Celestiq Chief Engineer on Autoline
7:58 Polestar OTA Adds 68 Horsepower
8:47 BorgWarner Spins Off ICE Business

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29 Comments to “AD #3463 – Alfa Romeo Kisses the ICE Goodbye; BorgWarner Spins Off ICE Business; VW Modifies MEB Platform”

  1. Wim van Acker Says:

    @GM L2 chargers in rural areas: those seem to me most suited for a boost charge, because a full charge would take at least three hours at a 19 kW power level.

  2. Lambo2015 Says:

    So do all these companies like Alfa really think that everyone wants a EV? So what happens when sales dont materialize and the 2035 deadline gets pushed out a few more years? They wont have anything to offer. Think I would want a plan B.

    Sean you can ask Celetiq chief Engineer if they maybe look at service any different on a hand built car vs production. Because I know that no one at GM looked at serviceability on the Traverse. Try and remove the belt tensioner pully. The bolt is so long it hits the sheet metal before the threads are out of the block.. So, drop the engine to change a pully?

  3. Albemarle Says:

    For $1200, the performance increase of the Polestar 2 looks to be a good deal. With ICE, often the bigger or more powerful engine is several thousand dollars more expensive and you need to commit at the time of purchase.
    Too bad you can’t spend $100 and have the performance over the weekend for when your brother-in-law is visiting…

  4. Lex Says:

    Borg Warner such consider renaming their ICE Business spin off to “ICE-Borg”!

  5. Wim van Acker Says:

    @2 while I agree with your logic I believe the situation of Alfa Romeo is as follows. It is a dying brand with a limited presence in Europe (Italy) and a tiny presence in the U.S. So going 100% EV means: either it flies and it could be a path to revival, or it does not fly and you give up the brand which was close to dead anyway.

  6. GM Veteran Says:

    On the Polestar upgrade, I don’t recall what the price was for performance upgrades from Tesla, but they seemed to be a lot more expensive than this. I agree, this seems like a reasonable price for what you receive.

  7. Wim van Acker Says:

    @4 yes, and then ICE-Borg could merge with Titanic Distilleries, which would be a unique combination of an auto supplier and a liquor company.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    If one of those GM chargers happened to be at my condo, or at one of the restaurants I frequently go to, it could help sell me an EV. For that to be likely, though, there would need to be hundreds, or more likely, thousands of the chargers.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    8 That’s hundreds or thousands of chargers per dealer.

  10. Kevin A Says:

    Not sure about the need for a Plan B within an all EV brand. If Alfa needed an ICE model, they could just do a ‘special edition’ of an ICE made by any of the other brands in the company. New grill, new taillights, some special graphics and voila, a new model.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I wouldn’t pay $1,195 for extra horsepower that the Polestar already has. I might pay a little to NOT have the “upgrade,” because it change the throttle pedal mapping to make it more sensitive. I like the opposite, better for driving smoothly.

  12. Kevin A Says:

    BorgWarner should rename their ICE business ‘Geely’… although Oldmobile would be good too.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    5 That makes sense, regarding Alfa. The had only about 26K sales in Europe in 2021, and 18K in the U.S. I doubt if they sell many in China, the other major market. It’s sad to see a historic brand like Alfa in their current state, but they have been declining badly for a number of years. As recently as 2011, they sold ~131K in Europe.

    https://carsalesbase.com/europe-alfa-romeo/

  14. ChuckGrenci Says:

    1200 dollars for an upgrade in power, just for software, seems a little steep; if hardware additions were needed, then if would make sense. After all, the performance is already built right in (except for the code needed to unlock it).

  15. MERKUR DRIVER Says:

    13) I get so mad with Alfa for killing themselves over the past 30-40 years. I love their cars but hate their reliability. They became known for making cars with striking designs but very poor reliability and shockingly expensive repair costs.

    EV will likely fix the one thing that has plagued Alfa for decades…Reliability. Won’t make them any less expensive, but they will likely be reliable at least. At that point they may actually sell cars and be a viable company again. EV is likely the only thing that can save Alfa.

  16. Lambo2015 Says:

    5,10,15 Yea that makes sense Alfa could grab a model from another brand and do a rebadge if they need a ICE beyond the next couple years and I agree going Ev may be the one chance to turn the brand around.

  17. merv Says:

    Alfa Romeo,interesting history. That new Caddy is amazing.

  18. Albemarle Says:

    14 I think the value is what benefit the customer gets, not what it costs the manufacturer to provide the benefit. They didn’t cripple the Polestar 2’s normal performance to make this addition a necessity. So if they make a buck on the upgrade and I get the performance improvement I want, it’s a win-win.

  19. Kit Gerhart Says:

    16 I guess they could make Alfa’s Cimarron by rebadging a Fiat, but is that really a good idea?

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    18 The Polestar would be far beyond “fast enough” without the software tweak, but the idea of paying extra to use what is already there is a turnoff to me, kind of like if I had to pay extra to have all 8 cylinders of my Corvette work.

  21. wmb Says:

    @5, 10, 15 and 16.) It is sad that Alfa still make very attractive vehicles, but the one sticking point is poor perceived quality! What I mean by that is, there are those who have not had one issue with their compact sedan and SUV. Yet, there have been enough to cause a specter to hang over those two models and a number of their failures have been epic! On the sales front, I don’t think they have to offer a lot of models and sell in big numbers to be a successful brand. When you look at Tesla, with only four models, they are still a relatively small automaker. When you factor in their purchase price, along with potential buyers willing to wait in line to take possession of their new Tesla (who, arguably, doesn’t have the greatest record on quality themselves!), I think Alfa would welcome and be okay with such an outlook! That is not to say that Tesla is not selling a lot of vehicles, just that it is still a small company and Alfa would benefit greatly if they sold half as much as Tesla does worldwide. So even if BEV sells didn’t materialize and many are expecting (hoping) that they do, if Alfa got the right vehicle mix, offered the styling that their customers love and was able to convince their customers, the rest of the industry and the buying public that the quality was on par with best of the industry, IMHO, I think they would find the sells they need to stay in business!

    Well I understand the arguments that have been made, the thought of paying $1200 a year for more power, be it Mercedes or Polestar, I feel is nonsense. The only way it makes since, is if when you purchased/leased and believed the power out put would be enough, only to later after driving the vehicle a while, to come to the conclusion that what you have is not enough. Even then, to have to Re-up ever year, just seems like a money grab to me! What makes more since to me is, because the software to increase BEV battery/motor efficiency is always improving, I could see charging a fee to get the latest update. Today when you buy/lease a ICE vehicle, your getting the latest and greatest of what they offer in that model to date! But, when they offer a new model, they may carry over the previous generations engine hard and software. Two years later or during the vehicle’s mid cycle fresh, they bring updates to the engine, it’s management systems (with may bring more power and a greater range) and any updates to the infotainment and other electronic. I can see paying a one time cost for such an over the air update/upgrade in my vehicle, every two to four years! Though safety updates and updates should be automatic, those others would give me the choice of whether to get the update or not. Maybe a person maybe okay with their vehicles current performance and wouldn’t need the extra power or efficiency. For example, my wife and daughter only use their vehicles to go to work and college, but they ride with me in the vehicle I take to work, when we run errands, go to movies and travel. So, incremental increases in efficiency for them may be good, but not be as impactful with the ‘relatively’ little driving they do compared to me. Doing the lions share of the family driving, greater power and efficiency would be something I would be looking for and may be willing to pay a one time over the air upgrade fee.

    While it may not make much since now, but I think that once VW gets their BEV software straightened out, they may be a force to be reckon with on the EV front. Time will tell though.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 In addition to reliability, perceived or real, Alfa has only a handful of dealers in the U.S., and the vehicles are pricey. As far as reliability, the Stelvio is no worse than 3 of 4 Tesla models in CR’s reliability surveys.

    The Stelvio starts at $46,575 with a 4 cylinder engine and RWD. With 4WD, the V6 and a higher trim level, it can get much pricier. There is a lot to chose from for $60K and above. Also, I would expect the resale value to be dismal. Given sales numbers, things must be similar in Europe.

  23. wmb Says:

    John, I just read in Car and Driver that GM is creating Camaro and Escalade BEV sub brands. Could you ask your guess , if that is true? If so, wouldn’t doing do just create in showroom competition for other Cadillac EVs? Instead of creating a Camaro and Escalade sub brands, why wouldn’t GM just bring back Pontiac, Oldsmobile or Saturn? Or create sub brands from popular models from those mentioned brands like they did with Hummer under GMC? Like a Saturn Sky sub brand? Or a Pontiac Firebird, or and Oldsmobile 225 (Dues and a Quarter) sub brand?

  24. Lambo2015 Says:

    The power upgrade could be used by dealers to help sell a vehicle. Not sure if they could get a break on the price but rather than throw money on the hood via a sale or other incentives, they may provide the power upgrade and can weave it into the price where it doesnt come off as $1200. I could see them using it to their advantage.
    Personally, though I would have a hard time paying to unlock capabilities the vehicle already has.
    I suppose its like cable TV and you pay more to get more channels. But I also remember all the devices that supposedly unlocked all the channels.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe GM should bring back the Geo sub-brand, and Toyota should bring back Scion. Do sub-brands ever make much sense, except maybe Smart, which is so completely different from other Mercedes-Benz products?

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Well, Smart is a brand, not a sub-brand.

  27. wmb Says:

    John, could you also ask what would be the benefit to an Escalade, verses just, during the Lyriq’s midcycle refresh, just making it and all future Cadillac models be styled to more closely resemble the Escalade?

  28. wmb Says:

    John, could you also ask what would be the benefit to an Escalade, verses just, during the Lyriq’s midcycle refresh, just making it and all future Cadillac models be styled to more closely resemble the Escalade?

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yesterday, I went by the local Cadillac dealer to see when they’d have any Lyrics to look at. They said they were supposed to have one for a couple hours on the 19th, that is going around to different dealers for people to see, probably mostly dealer staff.

    While there, I took a look at an Escalade in the showroom. The interior looked nice, but where did the myth come from about SUVs being easy to get in and out of? You almost need a step ladder to get in that thing, and I think it was just a standard long, Suburbany Escalade, with no special lift or anything. A regular sedan is much easier to get in and out of.