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0:27 Ferrari Reveals Product Strategy
1:08 New Ferrari Models Feature Most Powerful Engine Ever
1:58 U.S. Justice Department Investigating Tesla
3:21 Ford Reveals Plug-In Transit Custom
3:58 VW’s SEAT Introduces 1st Large SUV
5:11 Car Sales Soar in Europe
5:45 EVs Concern Convenience Store Owners
On today’s show…the U.S. Justice Department launches a criminal probe into Tesla…Ferrari plans 15 new models, including an SUV…and car sales in Europe soar in August. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the voice of the automotive industry.
FERRARI REVEALS PRODUCT STRATEGY
The late Sergio Marchionne promised to double Ferrari’s earnings to 2 billion euros by 2022, but new CEO Louis Camilleri has softened that target slightly. He adjusted the earnings forecast range between 1.8 and 2 billion euros. To maintain growth at the company, Ferrari plans to introduce 15 new models, including an SUV and more hybrids. By the end of its plan, 60% of its lineup will be hybrid vehicles. Ferrari will also focus more on GT vehicles that put an emphasis on styling and the driving experience, rather than extreme performance.
NEW FERRARI MODELS FEATURE MOST POWERFUL ENGINE EVER
But don’t think the company is going soft. It just introduced two new vehicles, the Monza SP1 and SP2 that will feature the most powerful engine Ferrari has ever come out with. The V12 engine will rocket these cars from 0 to 100 kilometers an hour in just 2.9-seconds. The open-top sports cars are the first models in a new concept of limited-edition special series cars, called ‘Icona’ and were inspired by iconic Ferraris of the late-40’s and 1950’s. The entire body is made from carbon fiber and the hood and side fender assembly is actually all one piece. And the lack of a windshield really accentuates the length of the front end.
U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATING TESLA
Back in August, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted he was considering taking the company private and secured funding to do so. He’s since abandoned those plans but it led to an inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission to find out if he really did have that funding. That probe is still ongoing and now Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Justice Department is also investigating Tesla for possible fraud. Tesla said it’s cooperating with investigators and expects the issue to be resolved quickly. But this is another black eye for the company, which Elon Musk has put in the news for all the wrong reasons lately.
Still to come…Ford introduces a plug-in version of the Transit Custom.
Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours tomorrow, when our special guest will be none other than Bob Lutz. Always insightful, often controversial and plenty entertaining, Lutz still has a lot to say about where the automotive industry is headed. Join us here live tomorrow afternoon.
FORD INTRODUCES PLUG-IN TRANSIT
Ford just introduced a plug-in hybrid version of the Transit Custom. The company is estimating 50 kilometers or about 31 miles of pure electric range and 500 kilometers or 310 miles of total range. In addition to the 14-kWh lithium-ion battery powering the electric motor, a 1.0L EcoBoost engine is used as a range extender. Fuel economy numbers will be revealed closer to its on-sale date. The Transit Custom PHEV goes into production in the second half of 2019.
VW’S SEAT INTRODUCES 1ST LARGE SUV
SEAT, the Spanish automaker owned by the Volkswagen Group, is on a roll in 2018. Through the first 8 months of the year, the company sold nearly 384,000 vehicles globally, which is up 22% compared to last year. And it hopes to keep the momentum rolling with the first large SUV in its lineup, called the Tarraco. It’s built-on VW’s MQB long wheelbase platform and it’s the first model in SEAT’s lineup to feature its new design language. Customers can choose from four different engines, two gasoline or two diesels. And each of those can be mated to a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. The SEAT Tarraco goes on sale in early 2019 in Europe.
And speaking of Europe, a new emissions test in the region caused car sales to soar in August. We’ll tell you why right after this.
CAR SALES SOAR IN EUROPE
August is usually a slow month for car sales in Europe but according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, they were up a whopping 31%. The likely reason car sales jumped by so much is the new World Harmonized Light Vehicle Test that went into effect on September 1st. The stricter emissions test applies to all-new car registrations in the region. So, to help clear inventory of old models that don’t meet the new standard, many automakers offered generous incentives to consumers, which helped boost sales.
EVs CONCERN CONVENIENCE STORE OWNERS
Did you know that 80% of gasoline is sold through convenience stores? Many gas stations in the U.S. are attached to convenience stores, and gasoline accounts for 60% of their sales. But it accounts for less than 30% of their profits. They make most of their profit by selling things like milk, bread and beverages. And the convenience store owners are worried about electric cars. If more people in the future are charging up at home or work, they’ll drive right past these convenience stores and that would be bad for business. One thing they’re looking at doing is installing fast chargers for electric cars but right now there are not enough electric cars to justify the cost. And so we’re probably going to see consolidation, where mom and pop shops get bought out by big corporations.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.