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0:07 Global Sales Projected to Drop Due to Coronavirus
1:14 NIO May Receive Bailout
1:45 Rivian Struggling to Open Stores
2:31 NTSB Rips Tesla & NHTSA Over Autopilot
3:25 Slow I-Pace Sales Force American Axle to Adjust
4:24 Study Says Ride Hailing Increasing CO2 Emissions
5:29 PSA Reveals New DS 9 Luxury Sedan
6:42 Mahle Is Adapting to EV Growth
7:34 Lordstown Motors Receives First Order
8:21 New Hyundai i30 Unveiled
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GLOBAL SALES PROJECTED TO DROP DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
The coronavirus continues to be a major disruption in the auto industry. FCA warned in a regulatory filing that it poses a risk to its global business. Toyota also warned that manufacturing in Japan will be affected by parts shortages in the coming weeks and it’s also banning non-essential travel for all employees in Japan. Meanwhile, car sales continue to plunge in China because the virus is keeping customers out of showrooms. Last week sales dropped 83%, which followed a 92% decline in the first two weeks of February. But the sales decline won’t be limited to China. Moody’s is forecasting that global sales will fall 2.5% in 2020, which is worse than the 0.9% drop it previously projected. And LMC Automotive says if things get worse, sales could fall by as much as 3 to 4 million units, which would represent a 4.4% decline. As we’ve said, 2020 is going to be a lousy year for the auto industry.
NIO MAY RECEIVE BAILOUT
NIO, the Chinese EV maker looked like it was going to run out of money. Despite spending heavily on flashy advertising and dealerships, sales of its electric SUVs have been underwhelming. But NIO could be getting a bailout from the provincial government in Hefei and says it’s going to raise $1.4 billion. That sent its stock soaring. Even so, one analyst who follows the stock says the outlook for NIO is still dubious.
RIVIAN STRUGGLING TO OPEN STORES
Tesla spent years battling states for the right to sell its vehicles directly to customers. Thanks to loopholes and negotiating its own deals, it now has stores or showrooms in 28 states. But Tesla’s efforts haven’t paved the way for other EV startups. Bloomberg reports that Rivian is running into trouble in Colorado to sell directly to consumers without a franchised dealer network. It hoped to open its first store in the state this year but it’s been lobbying legislators for the past year with no luck. Rivian will instead open its first showrooms in California. The company is also lobbying legislators in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania and it hired a former Tesla lobbyist to lead the effort.
NTSB RIPS TESLA & NHTSA OVER AUTOPILOT
The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board ripped into Tesla and NHTSA over the safety of Tesla’s Autopilot system. The remarks were made during a hearing to determine the cause of a fatal crash in California in 2018 that involved a Tesla Model X, where the driver was playing games on his phone. The chairman said Tesla has ignored safety recommendations issued in 2017 to make Autopilot safer. And he criticized NHTSA for not acting on a recommendation from the NTSB to create safeguards for systems like Autopilot. And because of these findings, Consumer Reports is calling on all automakers to include driver monitoring technology with these types of driver assistance systems. And it wants NHTSA to enforce that rule and says it needs to take real action to keep people safe.
SLOW I-PACE SALES FORCE AMERICAN AXLE TO ADJUST
The other day we reported that Jaguar and Audi were cutting back on EV production and Mercedes was delaying production for a year because of battery shortages. We said we don’t believe them, because we believe it’s really about dismally slow EV sales. At a presentation for investors yesterday, David Dauch, the CEO of American Axle, said sales of the Jaguar I-Pace are running at half of what Jaguar expected, and that American Axle had to adjust its business accordingly. With the exception of Tesla, all EVs have sold well under their sales targets which is putting a financial strain on the car companies and their suppliers.
STUDY SAYS RIDE HAILING INCREASING CO2 EMISSIONS
While a recent study from the University of Oxford in England found that ride-hailing led to a 9% reduction in serious accidents, a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists says that those services are increasing carbon emissions. The group found that on average a solo ride-hailing trip emits nearly 50% more carbon dioxide than a solo trip in a private vehicle. The reason for the big increase is that ride-hailing vehicles have to drive to the customer before taking them to their destination and oftentimes have to wait with the engine idling. For that same reason, ride-hailing emits 70% more carbon dioxide on trips than a person who would have otherwise taken a bus, train, bike or walked. While shared rides are better, they only account for 15% of all ride-hailing trips in the U.S. We agree with the conclusion of the Concerned Scientists: ride-hailing companies need to do a better job of encouraging shared rides and need more electric vehicles.
PSA REVEALS NEW DS 9 LUXURY SEDAN
The PSA Group’s luxury brand DS is expanding its lineup. It revealed the all-new DS 9 mid-size sedan, which rides on the same platform as the Peugeot 508 but with a longer wheelbase. Overall exterior design is pretty muted but it does have an expressive running light that almost looks like a tear streaming down from the headlamp assembly. Engine choices are all gasoline and will range from 225 horsepower up to 360. They can be paired with 2- or all-wheel drive and are mated to an 8-speed transmission. A plug-in hybrid is also available, which combines a turbo engine with 80 kW electric motor and a 11.9 kWh battery. It returns 40 to 50 kilometers of WLTP range or about 22 to 27.5 EPA miles. Other highlights include a fairly luxurious-looking interior with lots of leather, a large center display screen and Level 2 autonomous capabilities. The DS 9 is made in China and will be sold in global markets starting in the second half of this year.
MAHLE IS ADAPTING TO EV GROWTH
Automotive suppliers that make traditional components are under threat from electric vehicles, unless they adapt. And a good example is the German supplier Mahle. It started making electrically powered air conditioning compressors for electric cars. Even more, its compressor is not just used to cool the passenger cabin, it’s also used to cool the battery, the traction motor and the power electronics. Mahle says it is also beneficial for hybrids and traditional internal combustion engines since the compressor can be used on demand, which increases fuel economy and reduces CO2 emissions.
LORDSTOWN MOTORS RECEIVES FIRST ORDER
The other day we showed you how Lordstown Motors is using hub motors on its electric pickup truck, called the Endurance. Today Lordstown announced it got its first order. First Energy, an electric utility company in Ohio says it will buy 250 of the electric pickups for its service fleet. First Energy says one of the reasons it likes the electric trucks is that they will also serve as power units for field repairs instead of using portable generators or leaving the engines running in their traditional trucks. Lordstown says the Endurance will start at $52,000, have a driving range of 250 miles and a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds. It’s supposed to go into production at the end of this year.
NEW HYUNDAI i30 UNVEILED
Hyundai revealed the new i30. It comes as a sedan, wagon and hatchback, which is also sold as the Elantra GT in some markets. Hyundai describes the design as bold and sleek and it now features a grille similar to the new Sonata. The automaker’s sporty trim, called N Line is now available on all body types, a first for the wagon. The interior sees a new 7-inch digital instrument cluster, a ten and a quarter inch infotainment screen and 3 new accent colors. It also has a number of driver assistance features. Depending on the market, there will be a number of new and updated powertrain options to choose from. The engines range from a little over 100 horsepower to about 160 and can be paired to a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch transmission. 48-volt mild hybrid technology is also an option on a few of the setups. The new i30 will debut in Geneva.
And be sure to join us for Autoline After Hours tomorrow afternoon. The topic will be about creating a racing series for autonomous cars and joining John and Gary for that discussion is John Warniak from SEMA, and the one and only Autoextremist, Peter DeLorenzo. It should be a fun show and it kicks off at 3PM eastern time on Thursday.
But that’s it for today, 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.