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0:07 JLR 3D Prints Face Visors
0:43 Volkswagen 3D Prints Face Shields
1:03 Making Masks & Ventilators Could Pave Way for Car Production
1:52 Auto Production Will Be Hit Harder Than Sales
3:13 GM Will Build EVs for Honda
3:50 Rivian Launch Likely Delayed
4:07 Audi’s EV Platform Strategy
6:00 ZF Explains Lane Change Assist
7:21 Kia Wants to Give Students $5,000
8:01 Kia Makes “How To” Videos for Simple Treats
8:25 Ford Thinks Sales Are Going Online
9:15 Tesla Props Up EV Segment
10:07 Worst Sales Performers in the U.S.
10:39 Best Sales Performers
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
JLR 3D PRINTS FACE VISORS
Automakers around the world are pitching in to help fight the coronavirus. Jaguar Land Rover is 3D printing reusable face visors at its rapid prototyping facility in England. They’re being assembled by a skeleton crew of four employees in a specially designed clean area. The company is initially going to make 1,300 a week and is aiming to boost that to 5,000 a week. JLR is also going to make the CAD design files for the visors open source, so more manufacturers and suppliers can pitch in and build more.
VOLKSWAGEN 3D PRINTS FACE SHIELDS
And Volkswagen is also 3D printing face shields. It partnered with Airbus to make them and ship them to Spain, which has been hit hard by the outbreak. Most of the brands in the VW Group are pitching in on the effort and in total 50 3D printers at its plants are involved in the project.
MAKING MASKS & VENTILATORS COULD PAVE WAY FOR CAR PRODUCTION
Last month, while automakers were trying to keep their plants open despite the spreading virus, UAW members protested that GM, Ford and FCA were endangering their lives by requiring them to report to work. That was a big reason why the Detroit Three closed down their plants before other automakers. But as GM and Ford rush to manufacture respirators, ventilators and masks, 1,600 UAW members volunteered to return to work to make them. Obviously, they’re wearing protective gear and maintaining social distance. And the companies and the union are keeping a close eye on the workers to make sure none of them get sick. But this could also help everyone figure out how they might be able to resume production at some point.
AUTO PRODUCTION WILL BE HIT HARDER THAN SALES
There’s been a lot of focus on the big slump in sales caused by the coronavirus. But auto analyst Michael Robinet from IHS Markit, says the production side of the business will be impacted more than the sales side. And on Autoline This Week, he explained why that will be the case.
Michael Robinet, IHS Markit
“As you decline on sales, what’s your average dealer going to do? If my local Chevy dealer or my local Ford dealer or Toyota, they’ve got a certain amount of inventory. And as they see the sales volume decline or they’re sheltered in place and people are slowing coming back. They’re going to sell off inventory. So, really what happens in the industry is, as your market comes down, you actually pull from inventory, and we probably have 3.5 million units of inventory in the United States, maybe 3.6? You could see that being pulled easily by half a million, 600,000. And so those are vehicles that would have been built in a regular market but now they’re getting pulled out of inventory. So, there’s this sort of double whammy that once we get up to production, let’s start producing vehicles and maybe it’s a new vehicle, that great. But it’s got lots of inventory we’re going to move from that supply side issue to that demand side issue. And that’s going to be the real switch. ”
You can watch that entire show right now on our website, Autoline.tv or on our YouTube channel.
GM WILL BUILD EVs FOR HONDA
GM was rumored to be close to a deal with Rivian, but it didn’t work out. That’s ok, now GM has another EV partner. Honda. The two companies agreed to jointly develop two all-new electric vehicles for Honda. They will be based on GM’s all-new flexible EV architecture. Honda will design the interior and exterior of the vehicles and help engineer the platform to support its own driving character. GM will make the vehicles in its plants in North America and the EVs will go on sale in 2024.
RIVIAN LAUNCH LIKELY DELAYED
In other EV manufacturing news, Rivian released this video showing the progress of its new plant in Normal, Illinois. Unfortunately for Rivian, it’s had to shut down the facility, which means the launch of its electric truck and SUV will be pushed back.
AUDI’S EV PLATFORM STRATEGY
By 2025 Audi says it wants to have 20 all-electric models on sale, which will ride on 4 different platforms. MLB evo is a modified architecture that underpins a number of Audi gas-powered models. In EV form it’s currently used for the e-tron and e-tron Sportback. The J1 platform will be used for performance electric cars. It was developed by Porsche and is used on the Taycan. Audi showed the e-tron GT concept on this platform. MEB is the platform that Audi will use for small and medium electric vehicles. As we know, there are a large range of vehicles from the VW Group that are or will use the MEB architecture. And finally is the PPE platform that will underpin larger vehicles like the A4 to A8 and Q5 to Q8. It was jointly developed with Porsche and is rear-drive-based with a single motor on the rear axle. Higher end models will get a second motor in the front. Vehicles will use an 800-volt electrical system, which will allow for high-speed charging of 350 kW. With no need for an engine up front, the electric vehicles will be shorter than their gasoline counterparts, but Audi says they’ll have more interior room. Audi is investing 12 billion euro through 2024 to develop and produce its EV lineup.
ZF EXPLAINS LANE CHANGE ASSIST
Tesla was the first to offer automatic lane changes when the car is in cruise control. But that is going to quickly spread to other cars. The supplier ZF is developing it what it calls Lane Change Assist. I recently spoke with Manfred Meyer, the SVP of Engineering of Active Safety at ZF, and he explained how the technology works.
Manfred Meyer, the SVP of Engineering of Active Safety at ZF
“The Lane Change Assist is a feature which adds safety, that’s what’s it all about. So if you hit your indicator and you want to change your lane, many people do not really pay attention to what’s happening behind them. They probably do not indicate they want to change the lane, they change the lane and somebody comes and hits into the car. Lane Change Assist means as soon as you put the indicator to change the lane, we check behind us if everything is ok with a radar, with a camera, with the sensors around us. If everything is safe then we take the steering and put the car aside to the lane and change the lane in a safe manner. And that is what lane change assist brings with us.”
Lane Change Assist is on the market now but Manfred couldn’t reveal with which company. You can watch that full interview on our YouTube channel right now.
KIA WANTS TO GIVE STUDENTS $5,000
Kia is looking for students to give $5,000 to. It’s the second year of the automaker’s The Great Unknowns Scholarship program and young students planning to pursue a college undergraduate degree in one of the STEAM areas, Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Arts, or Math, are encouraged to sign up. There’s a number of factors for winners, including academic performance and ways they’ve made an impact in their local community. Scholarship applications will be taken until the end of the month. Up to 16 will be awarded and winners will be notified in June.
THE KIA KITCHEN
And speaking of Kia, it wants to help you pass the time while cooped up in your house. It launched a new video series, called “The Kia Kitchen” where Kia representatives provide instructions on how to make simple, delicious treats. In honor of its plant in Georgia, the first short video shows how to make Georgia Peach Smoothies.
FORD THINKS CARS SALES WILL GO ONLINE
Ford’s VP of sales, Mark LaNeve says some level of government stimulus after this crisis is over would be appropriate. He thinks it’s needed for both consumers and the auto industry to recover. However, once people get that check, LaNeve doesn’t think they’ll run to a dealer to buy a new vehicle. Rather he says people will turn to online purchases. Our current situation “has just turbo charged the adoption of those processes by both customers and the dealers. To be honest, I think a big chunk of that stays with us even when we’re through the crisis.”
TESLA PROPS UP EV SALES
There’s an urban legend running around the internet that sales of electric cars are soaring during this crisis. Not true. Sales of EVs in the U.S. market fell 12% last month. But the overall market fell 33% so EVs picked up market share. But don’t get too excited, they only accounted for 1.5% of total sales. And if not for Tesla, the segment would have done much worse. Ward’s Intelligence estimates that Tesla’s sales were up 12% last month, but it also warns that those numbers are subject to revision. Other electric cars had a terrible month. Sales of the VW eGolf plummeted 90%, the Nissan Leaf fell 67%, the Chevrolet Bolt fell 61% and the Jaguar iPace was off 28%. Audi sold just under 600 eTrons, which was weaker than in previous months.
WORST SALES PERFORMERS
Speaking of sales, some automakers fared far worse than the rest of the market. Mitsubishi was the biggest loser, down 48%, but BMW was right on its heels with a 47% drop. Nissan fell 44% and the biggest surprise of all was Subaru, down 43%. During the Great Recession Subaru’s sales continued to climb, so we need to find out what’s going wrong there. And Hyundai was down 38%, which is significant, which we’ll explain in a minute.
BEST SALES PERFORMERS
The brands that fared the best include Tesla, which Wards estimates saw a 12% increase in sales. Kia’s sales dropped 12%, which is the least worst performance of all the mainstream brands. In fact, Kia outsold Hyundai and that is sure to raise some eyebrows in the Hyundai -Kia group. Other automakers who outperformed the market include Jaguar Land Rover, down 18%, Audi down 28% and Mercedes-Benz down 29%.
But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching, have a great weekend and we’ll see you again on Monday.
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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.