Follow us on social media:
0:07 Strike Hurt GM & UAW
0:51 New Chevy Trailblazer Details
2:02 Kia Plans for Its Electric Future
3:07 Urus Drives Huge Growth for Lamborghini
3:57 Rolls-Royce Has Its Best Sales Year Ever
4:26 Velodyne Develops Affordable Lidar
5:10 Car Sales Will Remain Strong for 5 to 10 Years
6:15 Audi Bringing SQ7 & SQ8 to the U.S.
6:56 Porsche Files Patents for VTOL
Visit our sponsor to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone.
This is Autoline Daily with the latest news in the global automotive industry.
STRIKE HURT GM & UAW
That 40-day long UAW strike against General Motors really hurt both the union and the company. GM lost over 51,000 sales during the strike, and lost a tenth of a point of market share. And while it ran its plants on maximum overtime and offered sales incentives to try and get those sales back, it came up short. Moreover, there are still parts shortages caused by the strike which is infuriating customers who can’t get their cars repaired. They may not want to ever come back and buy a GM car again. One of the main bargaining issues for the UAW is job security. But you don’t get job security when you drive up to 51,000 customers away.
NEW CHEVY TRAILBLAZER DETAILS
Chevy is revealing more information about the new Trailblazer, which it first confirmed for the U.S. market back in May of last year. Under the hood are two engine options, a 1.2L turbo and a 1.3L turbo, which produces 155 horsepower. A CVT is standard, but a 9-speed automatic is also available on 1.3L models with all-wheel drive. There will be two trim levels to choose from, RS and ACTIV. RS has a more sporty appearance, while ACTIV has a more off-road look with unique tires and shock tuning. We don’t always report on trim levels, but we find the Trailblazer’s ACTIV trim interesting because Ford already offers Active versions of some of its passenger cars in Europe that are also meant to be more rugged in appearance. The only real difference is Chevy spells its in all caps and without an “e” at the end. We wonder if the two companies have some sort of agreement or if we could see some sort of lawsuit. Maybe we’ll find out closer to when the Trailblazer, which starts at under 20-grand before destination charges, goes on sale in the spring of this year.
KIA PLANS FOR ITS ELECTRIC FUTURE
The shift to electric vehicles is underway and Kia just laid out its EV goals over the mid to long term. Called Plan S, by the end of 2025 the company will offer 11 battery electric vehicles and is aiming to hit 6.6% of the global EV market, excluding China. And by 2025, it’s targeting 500,000 pure EV sales annually and 1 million global sales of eco-friendly vehicles, also excluding China. On top of that, the plan includes expanding mobility services for electric and autonomous vehicles and entering the Purpose-Built Vehicle market. It’s an ambitious plan which is why the company will spend $25 billion by the end of the 2025, to help achieve its goals.
URUS DRIVES HUGE GROWTH FOR LAMBORGHINI
What a difference one SUV makes. Lamborghini sold 8,205 vehicles last year, up a whopping 43% from the year before and double the number from 2017. Nearly 5,000 of those 8,000 vehicles were the Urus, Lambo’s first SUV. This has got to worry Ferrari. Lamborghini is closing in fast, and is only about 1,000 units behind in total sales. And it’s all thanks to the Urus. Ferrari’s SUV, the Purosangue, is over two years away and is more of a shooting brake than a real SUV. And so we wonder, could Lamborghini catch Ferrari in sales? There was a time when we would never have even thought to ask that question.
ROLLS-ROYCE HAS ITS BEST YEAR EVER
And the same goes for Rolls-Royce. It sold 5,152 cars last year, up 25% from the year before, and the most cars it has ever sold in its 116-year old history. While Rolls did not break out sales for its different models, it said the Cullinan, it’s first SUV ever, is what drove that increase in sales. And all of this must delight BMW, which owns Rolls-Royce.
VOLODYNE COMES OUT WITH AFFORDABLE LIDAR
A decade ago a Lidar unit for an autonomous car cost about $70,000. But at CES, Velodyne unveiled a Lidar unit that only costs $100. Called the Velabit, it’s smaller than a deck of playing cards. Though it’s not as capable as the spinning mechanical units, it’s still quite impressive with a range up to 100 meters, and a field of view of 60-degrees horizontal by 10-degrees vertical. Velodyne says it’s perfect for Level 2 and Level 3 cars and for passenger drones.
CARS SALES WILL REMAIN STRONG FOR 5 TO 10 YEARS
Car sales in the U.S. last year dipped below the 17 million mark for the first time in five years. Some analysts expect that trend to continue but thanks to more people getting their license, especially millennials, sales are expected to remain strong over the next 5 to 10 years. According to Benchmark Co., there was a record 227.5 million licensed drivers in the U.S. in 2018. By 2025, there will be 245 million licensed drivers, which could result in an extra 3 million car sales a year. Over the last five years, there were 15.4 million new drivers in the U.S., the biggest increase since the 1970’s. And over the next five years, another 12.5 million people will get their license. And because of that, the report says the underlying demographics supports demand of 16.5 to 17 million units annually for the next 5 to 10 years, which would be great news for the auto industry.
AUDI BRINGING SQ7 & SQ8 TO U.S.
SUVs are all the rage and sporty versions of them bring even bigger profits. So, Audi is bringing the S versions of the Q7 and Q8 to the U.S. They’ll be powered by a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 that makes 500 horsepower, which is planted to the ground via a 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Both models will do 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds. Other highlights include unique 20- or 21-inch wheels, standard all-wheel steering and a sport differential. Pricing will be released closer to when the SQ7 and SQ8 go on sale this spring.
PORSCHE FILES PATENTS FOR VTOL
Last year Porsche signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Boeing to explore premium urban air travel and someone has uncovered patents the automaker filed for its own VTOL. You can see where inspiration for the Boeing concept came from, but there are a few differences. Mainly the four propellers that allow the VTOL to fly. The two at the front are stationary, while the two at the rear are able to rotate. The aircraft is fully electric and autonomous, but does allow qualified people to take over if need be.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow.
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.