Listen to “AD #2771 – Chery Jumps into North American Market; Daimler’s Earnings Are Alarming; Hyundai Partners with Canoo” on Spreaker.
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0:07 Hyundai Partners with Canoo
0:58 Volvo Trucks Shows Off All-Electric Semi Trucks
1:46 Daimler’s Earnings Are Alarming
2:27 Tesla Sales Up in France & Canada
3:24 ZF’s Cost Effective Level 2 System
4:41 Gordon Murray Design Creates Autonomous Pod
5:44 China’s Chery Jumps into North American Market
7:08 Used Car Sales Soar
7:36 Denso Using AI to Improve Production
8:16 Nissan Sues Carlos Ghosn
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
HYUNDAI PARTNERS WITH CANOO
Hyundai is teaming up with EV startup Canoo, to co-develop a platform for electric vehicles. Based on Canoo’s proprietary skateboard design, the new platform will be used for future Hyundai and Kia electric vehicles, as well as purpose built vehicles from the companies. This deal is part of a broader commitment from Hyundai to invest $87 billion over the next five years to fuel future growth. And the partnership will help the automaker reach its goal of having eco-friendly vehicles comprise 25% of its lineup by 2025. If the name Canoo sounds familiar, we talked about them a few weeks back when the Cruise Origin first came out and viewer GM Veteran said he liked the Canoo better because it reminded them of a downsized GM Futurliner.
VOLVO TRUCKS SHOWS OFF ALL-ELECTRIC SEMI TRUCKS
And in other electric news, Volvo Trucks demonstrated its all-electric Class 8 semi at a company event in California. It’s part of the company’s LIGHTS project, which is a collaboration between 15 public and private partners to demonstrate the viability of all-electric semis in high traffic and urban areas. As part of the $90 million project, prototypes of the trucks will be used in real world operations by two of California’s leading freight companies. Volvo Truck engineers will monitor the truck’s performance, driving cycles, load capacity and range over the next several months. The company will use that data to help improve the production versions which it is aiming to launch by the end of the year.
DAIMLER’S EARNINGS ARE ALARMING
Daimler reported its earnings for last year and the numbers are alarming. Sales were essentially flat, but revenue was up slightly, largely thanks to higher prices. But its net profit plummeted 64%. A key reason why, is that the company had to fork out over €4 billion for cheating on diesel emissions. It also paid out €949 million to fix defective Takata airbags, and €167 million on recalls. However, even if it didn’t have those charges, Daimler’s profit would still be down, which means costs are getting out of control.
TESLA SALES UP IN FRANCE & CANADA
We have a red alert for Tesla shorts. We’re starting to get some sales numbers for January outside of the U.S market, and they’re sunny side up. Tesla sales in France shot up 431% last month. But don’t get too excited. The French only bought 170 Tesla’s. Meanwhile, in the Great White North, Canadians bought over 2,000 of them, up 138% as reported by Wards Intelligence. While Tesla sales are down sharply in the U.S., as long as it can grow overall sales in overseas markets, its stock price should do just fine.
ZF’S COST EFFECTIVE LEVEL 2 SYSTEM
The auto industry is racing to develop Level 4 and 5 self-driving technology. But according to the supplier ZF, Level 2 autonomy is where the money is at. On a recent Autoline After Hours, we were joined by Aaron Jefferson, the Vice President of Electronics and ADAS at ZF, and he talked about the benefits of its Level 2 Plus system, which the company claims is the most cost effective system on the market. It uses front cameras, and radars in both the front and corners of a vehicle, to enable some single lane functionality. It’s essentially the same as other systems in the market today but much cheaper, less than $1,000. That doesn’t include driver monitoring but Aaron Jefferson says it’s not that expensive to add to the system. He wouldn’t give a specific price with driver monitoring but says it would be much less expensive than what GM and Tesla offer. The Cadillac Super Cruise system is around a $6,000 package while Tesla charges about $7,000 for Autopilot with Full Self Driving. ZF will start producing its Level 2 system at the end of the year in Asia. But the company doesn’t expect Level 2 systems to catch on until 2023.
GORDON MURRAY DESIGN CREATES AUTONOMOUS POD
Gordon Murray is a designer best known for his work on the McLaren F1, but we’ve also highlighted the 700-horsepower supercar he’s making, called the T.50. So, it’s a little bit surprising to see his design house come out with the MOTIV, a wacky-looking autonomous pod. It’s a one-seater vehicle that’s meant for personal mobility or last-mile deliveries. The chassis and suspension are made from aluminum and the panels and door are composite, which gives it a weight of 450 kilograms or just under 1,000 pounds, not including the battery pack. That pack is 17.3 kWh and is mated to a 20-kW electric motor, which gives it a top speed of 40 MPH and an estimated range of 100 km or about 62 miles. Gordon Murray Design says the MOTIV could be ready for mass production in two to five years, depending on application and legislation.
CHINA’S CHERY JUMPS INTO NORTH AMERICAN MARKET
Another Chinese automaker is trying to crack into the North American market. Chery Automobile is partnering with HAAH Automotive Holdings, an automotive import and distribution company located in California, to build and sell its vehicles in North America. The first vehicle will be a rebadged Exeed TX SUV sold under an all-new brand, called Vantas. Its platform can accommodate hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains, although no announcement has been made about what will power the North American vehicles. Also not known is where they will be made and when they’ll go on sale. But they will be sold on an online platform and what the company says “at better-than-competitive pricing.”
And be sure to join us for Autoline After Hours this week. Our special guest is Gary Bandurski from GM, who will be talking about the company’s new electronic architecture, which allows features like electric drive, Super Cruise and other safety systems to all run at the same time. Join us Thursday afternoon to learn all about it.
USED CAR SALES SOAR
With the average price of a new car in the U.S. around $38,000 we keep hearing that affordability is a big issue. We’re probably just a few years away before the average car is forty grand. And that’s a key reason why used car sales are red hot. AutoNation, which is the largest automotive retailer in the American market, reports that its gross profits on used cars jumped 21% in the fourth quarter.
DENSO USING AI TO IMPROVE PRODUCTION
While robotics are being used more in factories, humans still perform 72% of tasks. So the supplier Denso has teamed up with Drishti Technologies to optimize production. They’re using AI and computer vision to digitize human motion continuously and in real time to provide analytics on manual tasks performed by its production employees. This allows them to quickly identify and eliminate bottlenecks, improve processes, boost efficiency and prioritize tasks. The technology is now being used in several of Denso’s facilities in North America.
NISSAN SUES CARLOS GHOSN
Nissan is suing former CEO Carlos Ghosn over his alleged financial misconduct and is seeking about $91 million in damages. The company says the damages will likely increase in the future because it expects to pay more fines related to Ghosn’s misconduct. But maybe Ghosn can pay that fine with the TV and movie deal he’s seeking. As we reported yesterday, Ghosn hired one of Hollywood’s best known agents to snag him a deal. We asked you who should play Ghosn and what the name of the movie should be and boy did we get a lot of great responses. There were suggestions for Joe Pesci and Robert Downey Jr., who would be good choices. But we like the suggestions for Mr. Bean actor, Rowan Atkinson, since he’s pretty much a dead ringer for Ghosn. The movie title suggestions were even better though. Ghosn, Ghosn, Gone; Ghosn with the Wind; Ghosn in 60 Seconds; and Nissan: Impossible, were all fantastic. But we feel Jim Head’s is the best with Dude, Where’s My Carlos? Thanks to everyone who commented, we really enjoyed your responses.
But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching and we’ll see you 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.