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0:06 U.S. To Take on China EV Supply Chain
0:56 EV Sales Skyrocket
1:27 Hybrid Sales Strong
1:52 Plug-In Hybrid Sales Plummet
2:11 Green Cars Hit 4.8% Market Share
2:50 FCA Reports Weaker Earnings
3:17 Camaro Gets Updates
4:07 Ford Lures Customers to Dealerships
4:53 European Luxury Car Sales Drop
5:25 How Lincoln Corsair Design Element Came to Life
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This is Autoline Daily reporting on the global automotive industry.
U.S. TO TAKE ON CHINA EV SUPPLY CHAIN
We are about to see the market get flooded with electric cars as automakers race to meet stricter emission regulations. But Tesla is warning that we’re about to run into a shortage of the key materials needed to make batteries. Tesla’s global supply manager for battery metals told an industry conference that we’re facing shortages of nickel, copper and other metals in the long-term because of underinvestment in mining in the U.S. China currently dominates the supply chain for battery materials. So, to take on China, U.S. Senators, Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin plan to introduce legislation that will streamline regulation and permitting requirements of mines for lithium, graphite and other materials needed for batteries for EVs.
EV SALES SKYROCKET
Speaking of battery electric cars, sales shot up 88% in the US market in April compared to a year ago, and almost all the credit goes to Tesla. The Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-Tron are new entries to the segment, but their sales are puny, just a little over a couple of hundred units each. Tesla was up 107%, and that wasn’t just because of the Model 3. The Model S was up by double digits and the X was up 104%.
HYBRID SALES STRONG
OK, so how are sales of other green cars doing? Hybrids were up 34% thanks to strong performances from the Toyota RAV4, and surprise, surprise, the Ford Fusion hybrid, which is now the second-best selling hybrid in the American market. Yep, even better than the Prius. The Honda Accord hybrid and the addition of the Honda Insight also helped drive hybrid sales higher.
PLUG-IN HYBRID SALES PLUMMET
But plug-in hybrids sales are abysmal. Sales plummeted nearly 34%, with big drops coming from the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius plug-in. Sure sounds like car buyers who want green cars are gravitating to regular hybrids or battery electrics.
GREEN CARS HIT 4.8% MARKET SHARE
When you lump all these green cars together–hybrids, plug-ins and electrics–they hit 4.8% market share in April, which I think is an all-time record. We’ll have to watch how this develops as the year progresses, because if they get 5% market share, I wouldn’t call it a tipping point, but I would call it a significant development.
FCA REPORTS WEAKER EARNINGS
FCA reported its first quarter earnings and they came in a bit below what Wall Street was expecting. FCA sold just over one million vehicles, which was down 14%. Revenue dropped 5%, but it’s net profit and cash flow plummeted in half. FCA says this was expected and it’s standing firm on its guidance that it will be solidly profitable with decent margins by the end of the year.
|FCA Q1 2019 EARNINGS|
CAMARO GETS UPDATES
Sales of the Chevrolet Camaro are up a solid 8% this year and they could maintain that momentum because Chevy just gave it a few updates The SS gets a somewhat swoopier front-end and headlamps that were first shown on the Camaro Shock show vehicle at SEMA last year. A new LT1 performance model has been added to the lineup, which is powered by a 455 horsepower V8 engine. It’s also the most affordable V8 Camaro, with a starting price of $35,000. And lastly, a new 10-speed automatic transmission is available for the 3.6L V6 in LT models, which should improve fuel efficiency and drivability. The 2020 Camaro goes on sale this fall.
FORD LURES CUSTOMERS TO DEALERSHIPS
Nearly two-thirds of Ford owners don’t return to the dealer when their cars need to be fixed. So to try and turn that around, Ford is launching a new service, to get customers to go to the dealership to get their vehicles serviced. Called FordPass Rewards, which is part of its FordPass app, customers who buy or lease a new Ford vehicle receive three complimentary maintenance visits to the dealer and they can earn points every time they go to the dealer for service. The company is also expanding a pilot program that allows customers to arrange maintenance service at their homes or work. It’s currently in California but it’s expanding to dealers in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey and Florida. The company may expand it again based on the results.
EUROPEAN LUXURY CAR SALES DROP
Hey, what’s going on with sales of European premium luxury cars? They really took it on the chin last month, dropping 9%, falling far faster than the rest of the market. Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche fell even more than that. Could it be the Tesla effect or is something else going on? I’d like to hear your thoughts too.
HOW CORSAIR DESIGN ELEMENT CAME TO LIFE
Lincoln is really upping its game when it comes to styling. And one of the reasons is thanks to breakthroughs in manufacturing that are making it possible to add more expressive design elements. On Autoline This Week, David Woodhouse, the Design Director of Lincoln, explains how the manufacturing team was able to implement what they call the S-Curve styling element located on the side of the new Corsair.
(The ATW preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)
For a deeper dive into Lincoln’s new styling direction, you can watch that entire show right now on our website, Autoline.tv or you can find it on our YouTube channel.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show, thanks for watching and have a great weekend.
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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.