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0:08 Uncertainty Around New UAW Contract
0:43 Chinese Demand for EVs is Weak
1:44 New C8 Corvette Engine Underrated?
3:05 Hyundai Develops Fuel Cell Semi
3:31 Renault Debuts Fuel Cell Commercial Vans
4:27 Color Plays a Role in Used Car Prices
5:18 New Cadillac Escalade Coming Soon
5:58 Volocopter Completes Test Over Singapore
6:40 Dodge Horsepower Sales Gimmick Works
7:21 You Said It!
This is Autoline Daily reporting on all aspects of the global automotive industry.
UNCERTAINTY AROUND NEW UAW CONTRACT
UAW workers at General Motors are voting on the new labor contract their union negotiated with the company. And it’s anyone’s guess how this is going to go. So far two UAW locals approved the contract and one rejected it. Media interviews with plant workers show that there are those who think the contract is good and those who believe the union didn’t get enough. It will probably take another two days before all the votes are counted, and then we’ll know if this strike will wrap up quickly or drag on for a lot more time.
CHINESE DEMAND FOR EVs IS WEAK
China wants to dominate the global market for electric cars, but it may be running into a reality check. As long as generous subsidies were available sales of EVs grew quickly, but they plummeted once the government cut subsidies. And it looks like consumer demand is weak, even with subsidies. Ward’s Intelligence reports that 70% of EV sales go to taxi and ride hailing fleets. And most of the other sales went to government agencies. Ward’s quotes one analyst as saying very few Chinese consumers willingly buy an electric car. Even more telling, the money people are heading for the exits. Venture capital investment in Chinese EV companies dropped 58% so far this year. Even so, China is not backing off its EV mandate and continues to invest in building a charging infrastructure.
NEW C8 CORVETTE ENGINE UNDERRATED?
On last week’s Autoline After Hours, Motor Trend’s Frank Markus noted that MT would make some news about the new C8 Corvette. Well, the story is out. They put a C8 on a chassis dynamometer and it looks like the new ‘Vette cranks out a lot more power than the official numbers suggest. Officially it’s rated 495 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, but Motor Trend found it produced roughly 560 horsepower and 515 to 520 lb-ft of torque. And that was at the rear wheels, meaning it’s much more at the engine crank when you factor in the power loss from the drivetrain. If you assume a 15% loss, that means the engine produces nearly 660 horsepower and over 600 lb-ft of torque. MT conducted multiple tests in different gears and got different numbers. Click on the link to what Motor Trend has to say.
HYUNDAI DEVELOPS FUEL CELL SEMI CONCEPT
Hydrogen fuel cells sure are getting a lot of attention from commercial truck manufacturers. Hyundai is developing a fuel cell truck concept called the HDC-6 NEPTUNE. As you can see the design was inspired by trains from the 1930’s. The company didn’t share any other details but we’ll learn more next week when the concept makes its debut at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta.
RENAULT DEBUTS FUEL CELL COMMERCIAL VANS
And Renault introduced fuel cell versions of its Kangoo and Master vans. The Master fuel cell, which goes on sale next year, has a range of 350 kilometers or about 217 miles. That’s nearly 3 times the range of the pure electric version of the van. The hydrogen Kangoo is available at the end of this year and will have a range of 370 kilometers or about 230 miles. That’s 140 kilometers more than the electric Kangoo. All ranges are based on the WLTP test. The Kangoo fuel cell is available in France with a starting price of around $54,000. Hydrogen powered vehicles make more sense as fleet vehicles, since the trucks return to the same yard every night which makes it easier to set up a refueling station.
COLOR PLAYS ROLE IN USED CAR PRICES
If you’re in the market for a used car, the color can play a big role in how much you pay for it. ISeeCars.com looked at over 4.1 million used vehicles and found that color determines whether or not a vehicle will be discounted. Compared to the average vehicle, a used car buyer would be over 24% more likely to find a deal on a beige colored car. Coming in at second is gold, which is nearly 16% more likely to be discounted. And silver sits at about 14% in third. The color you’re least likely to find a deal on is orange, followed by purple and red. Some of the more vibrant colors are typically offered on sports cars and since there’s not as many of those colors they tend to hold their value better.
ALL-NEW CADILLAC ESCALADE COMING
One of the most profitable vehicles in the U.S. market is the Cadillac Escalade. And Autoforecast Solutions says that an all-new replacement will go into production next July. The Escalade is built at GM’s Arlington plant in Texas, which also makes the Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon. Thanks to those vehicles, Arlington is considered the most profitable assembly plant in the world.
VOLOCOPTER COMPLETES TEST OVER SINGAPORE
Volocopter, which makes electrically powered passenger drones, completed its first flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay. While the goal is to make them autonomous, this test was flown by a pilot. The flight covered 1.5 kilometers or just under a mile and lasted for 2 minutes at an average height of 40 meters or a little over 130 feet. Volocopter is working with the Singapore government to bring an air taxi service to the country. This could be a big market in the future, which is why so many companies in the auto industry are getting involved in passenger drones, including Daimler and Geely which are investors in Volocopter.
DODGE HORSEPOWER SALES GIMMICK WORKS
Remember that sales gimmick that Dodge launched this summer where you got $10 off for every horsepower that you bought? For example, if you bought a Hellcat Redeye with 797 horsepower, you got a rebate for $7,970. Well, that gimmick really worked. Dodge set a goal of selling 500 million horsepower this year, and they hit their goal two months early. Sales of the Charger, Challenger and Durango are up nearly 6% this year and that’s pretty good, considering the overall market is down, and those vehicles are some of the oldest in the market.
YOU SAID IT!
We go through our comments section every day and a few from yesterday caught our eye.
Terrence Quinn saw our story about the Hummer brand making a possible comeback and says, “Didn’t GM sell the Hummer name and design to a Chinese company way back when?” Well, a Chinese company called, Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company, said it was going to buy Hummer in 2009, but later withdrew its offer. So, GM still owns the rights to the Hummer brand. And a number of people commented on that story about the conductive ink being used for heated seats and armrests. Many thought the heated armrests were a silly idea. But, not too long ago I sat in an interior concept that had heating elements behind several panels, the glove box door, center console & door panel. Along with a heated seat, it created a warmth that enveloped the passenger. I found it quite nice. It makes me wonder if a heated armrest would be like a poor man’s version of this? Used more for a radiated heat. As we all know, with ICE vehicles, the heated seats and steering wheel warm up much faster than air coming out of the vents.
And that brings us to the end of today’s report.Thanks for watching and we’ll see you here 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.