Follow us on social media:
0:26 Chevy Bolt EV Sales Plunge
1:48 Car Sales Stall in Europe
2:31 Chinese Market Slowing Down
3:27 Honda Backs Out of Deal with Waymo
4:09 Valeo’s Clever Camera Lens Cleaner
4:38 GM #1 Company in Gender Equality
6:06 Autonomy’s Impact on Automakers
On today’s show…what the heck is going wrong with the Chevy Bolt EV?…Valeo comes up with an intriguing way to keep the lenses clean on sensors…and we’ll tell you why autonomous cars could cut sales in half. All that and more coming right up on Autoline Daily.
This is Autoline Daily the voice of the automotive industry.
CHEVY BOLT EV SALES PLUNGE
What the heck is going on with sales of the Chevrolet Bolt EV? Back in July, General Motors said it was boosting production of the little electric car because demand was so high. But sales of the car are plummeting in the U.S. market. They were down 41% in the last quarter. And according to Ward’s data, there is a 92-day’s supply of the car, up from 52 day’s a year ago. GM says sales are down because it’s diverting production to Canada and South Korea. Sure enough, sales of the Bolt in Canada were up 23% in the third quarter. But that’s only an increase of 85 cars. Sales in South Korea for the first half of the year, the latest data we have available, were up a whopping 700%. But that’s an increase of fewer than 2,000 cars. Meanwhile GM has nearly 6,000 Bolt EVs sitting on dealer lots in the U.S. waiting for customers to show up. So GM’s claims that it needs to boost production don’t hold water. And we wonder what’s really going on.
By the way, here’s a little factoid for you to tuck away. Did you know the Bolt EV is actually classified as a truck in the U.S.? Strange but true. It is not classified as a passenger car.
CAR SALES STALL IN EUROPE
Speaking of sales, the auto industry is in a meltdown in Europe. LMC Automotive reports that new car registrations plummeted 25% to a SAAR of only 11.3 million versus 18 million a year ago. The culprit is the new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure, what they call the WLTP. Europe is now using new test methods, including on-road testing of cars for emissions. And it turns out many models are failing the test, including most plug-in hybrids. There’s also a backlog of cars waiting to get approval because the WLTP takes a lot longer to conduct.
CHINESE MARKET SLOWING DOWN
The Chinese market is also slowing down. Sales of passenger vehicles dropped 4.5%, and while sales of commercial vehicles were up 16%, the total market was down 2.5%. LMC Automotive says the auto industry is too important to China and the government will likely come out with tax cuts or other stimulation packages to get sales going again. All we can say is that a market that depends on government subsidies, is a market that’s headed for dark days of reckoning.
Coming up next Valeo has a clever way to keep lenses clean for the sensors and cameras on cars.
HONDA BACKS OUT OF DEAL WITH WAYMO
Honda made a huge splash in the news when it announced it’s investing in GM’s Cruise Automation. Actually, Honda had been in talks with Waymo and was close to signing a deal, but it walked away, in part, because Waymo was not willing to share its autonomous technology. We also wonder if this meant Waymo was not going to allow Honda to get its hands on the data generated by the vehicles. As we’ve said, data monetization is the huge pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that automakers are scrambling to get. Studies suggest that data monetization from cars could be worth $750 billion a year in another decade.
VALEO’S CLEVER CAMERA LENS CLEANER
Backup cameras are a very useful tool to have, but they often get gummed up with dirt and grime. So, the supplier Valeo has come up with a neat solution, called everView Centricam. The lense covering the camera spins so fast that it whips water right off it, clearing up the view. Valeo says this would be good for automated vehicles to ensure the sensors function properly. And would also work with mud and dust.
GM #1 COMPANY IN GENDER EQUALITY
A new study from Equileap, a group that researches gender equality, says General Motors is the number one company in the world for gender equality. It looked at 3,000 companies in 23 countries and rated them based on 19 categories, including equal pay, gender equality in leadership and work flexibility. GM came out on top because it has a woman as CEO, Mary Barra, and at the time the study was conducted, it had an equal number of men and women on its board of directors. GM recently added another man to its board. But it also just named a woman as its Chief Financial Officer. GM is also number one because it doesn’t have a gender pay gap across the company and offers flexible work hours and locations. And speaking of women in the auto industry, be sure to watch yesterday’s Autoline After Hours with Chris Lezotte, who’s written a book about women who are enthusiasts of muscle cars.
Coming up next, GM’s former head of R&D says autonomous ride-sharing could cut car sales in half.
AUTONOMY’S IMPACT ON AUTOMAKERS
Larry Burns is the former head of R&D at GM, and he’s written a book called ‘Autonomy’ that says the convergence of autonomy, electrification, connectivity and ride sharing is going to change the auto industry as we know it. He’s our guest on Autoline This Week, and he discussed how automakers will be impacted by that change.
(The ATW preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
You can watch that entire discussion right now on our website, Autoline.tv or you can find it on our YouTube channel.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.
Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website: WardsAuto.com
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.