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0:16 Ford Goes for Jeep’s Throat
3:03 Renault ZOE EV Sales Surge in Europe
3:36 NEVS Launches Autonomous Vehicle
4:55 BMW Ramps Up E-Drive Production
5:42 Toyota Eliminates Pedal Misapplication
6:38 Toyota Reproducing 2000GT Parts
7:25 Hyundai Introduces Fuel Cell Truck
8:46 Hyundai Head-Hunts German Executives
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FORD GOES FOR JEEP’S THROAT
Over the last decade, the Jeep brand became the most important franchise for FCA. Sales soared the world over and we here at Autoline wondered why no other automaker would take it on. How could they possibly let Jeep achieve so much success and not give it any competition? Well, by bringing back the Bronco nameplate, Ford is going directly after Jeep.
Joy Folatico, Chief Marketing Officer, Ford
“So our customers were looking for something rugged. They were looking for a vehicle they could use on the ranch with, but would also take them to trout streams, or to a trail head. The project name was GOAT, for goes over any terrain.”
Bronco is going to become its own sub-brand within the Ford Motor Company and will launch with three models, a 2-door, a 4-door and a smaller SUV called the Bronco Sport. As part of its frontal assault on the Jeep brand, Ford is reminding everyone that it actually built 270,000 jeeps during World War II. And to remind everyone that the brand has been around for over half a century, Ford is showing off this original sketch from 1963. It also dug up footage of off-road races from the 1960’s that the Bronco won, like the Mint 400 and Baja 1000, to cement its off-road heritage. The new 2-door and 4-door Bronco are aimed directly at the Jeep Wrangler and will offer hard core off-road capabilities. The Bronco Sport, which reminds us a bit of a Land Rover LR4, looks like it’s aimed more at the Jeep Cherokee. You’ve heard of the Jeep Jamborees, right? Ford is going to do the same sort of thing with what it calls Bronco Off Rodeo.
Mark Grueber, Ford U.S. Consumer Marketing Manager
“Coming with the return of Bronco is a great new online community called Bronco Nation. This is a singular online community for Bronco lovers and fans to go to and learn about Bronco and the Bronco lifestyle. Bronco Off Rodeo is included with the purchase of your Bronco two or four-door or your Bronco Sport Badland series. It’s an opportunity for new owners to learn about and experience the capability of their vehicle from off road instructors at one of four outstanding epic locations across the US. ‘Built Wild’ explains the DNA of the Bronco The unparalleled ability of the vehicle, we’ve tested it out in the wild in some extreme environments such as Johnson Valley. It describes the design DNA that’s purposeful and true to the design of all Broncos, and also describes the ability of the Bronco that it can go over any type of terrain.”
Ford officially launches the Bronco next week and we’re going to have a ton of more info then.
RENAULT ZOE EV SALES SURGE IN EUROPE
Despite a weak overall car market, sales of Renault’s small electric car, the ZOE, surged in Europe last month. The number of new registrations in June was just below 11,000, which is up 107% compared to a year ago. France and Germany accounted for the bulk of the sales thanks to new EV incentives. If the ZOE is able to continue its sales pace, it will battle the Tesla Model 3 for the top selling EV in Europe this year.
NEVS LAUNCHES AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE
National Electric Vehicle Sweden, or NEVS, which bought Saab’s assets in 2012 after it went bankrupt, introduced a new autonomous vehicle called the Sango. It’s equipped with Level 4 autonomous technology from the Chinese company AutoX but it was developed to use any self-driving software. The Sango is designed for ride sharing, not for personal ownership. It features a flexible interior with three settings; private, social and family. Depending on the setup it can seat up to 6 people. It’s also fitted with walls that can be raised and lowered for more privacy. NEVS will test 10 vehicles in a pilot program in Stockholm, which will be open to the public.
BMW RAMPS UP E-DRIVE PRODUCTION
BMW is getting ready to make more EVs and opened a new manufacturing center for e-drive production. The center will employ up to 2,000 people and will make half a million of BMW’s 5th-gen e-drive unit, which will first be used in the iX3. The e-drive integrates the electric motor, transmission and power electronics into one unit. The system no longer requires rare earth materials and will be available in a number of power outputs. BMW also says the vehicles that use this new e-drive unit will get new and more powerful batteries, which are being built in the new center as well. The automaker says it will have invested more than 500 million euros in the new facility by 2022.
TOYOTA ELIMINATES PEDAL MISAPPLICATION
Many claims of unintended acceleration boil down to driver’s accidentally mashing down the accelerator pedal instead of the brake. That’s one reason why in 2018, Toyota introduced a Pedal Misapplication Acceleration Control System. And now it’s bringing out an even better version of that system. The old system needs to detect an object in front of the vehicle to suppress acceleration. The new system does not have that need. Toyota looked at cases of known pedal misapplication and compared that to data from its connected vehicles, eliminating times where driver’s genuinely need to accelerate fast. On new vehicles, the system is activated when the doors are unlocked with a new smart key and it can also be retrofitted to vehicles as far back as 2015 for about $360.
TOYOTA REPRODUCING 2000GT PARTS
Speaking of Toyota, it’s now reproducing parts for one of its most-classic sports cars, the 2000GT. The parts include gears, syncros, gaskets, seals and washers for the car’s 5-speed manual transmission as well as a final gear kit for the rear differential. Only owners will be able to buy the parts, but they’ll be sold worldwide and can even be purchased from the dealer. Toyota is also making reproduction parts for A70 and A80 Supras.
HYUNDAI INTRODUCES FUEL CELL TRUCK
Fuel cells for semis sure are getting a lot of attention these days. You probably saw our Autolnie After Hours show with Trevor Milton, the chairman of Nikola, which is going to come out with fuel cell trucks. But Hyundai is going to beat it to the market with this cab-over heavy duty truck that it calls it the Xcient. Hyundai will ship 50 of them to Switzerland this fall, and expects to have 1,500 of them in operation by 2025. It’s powered by two 95-kW fuel cells for a total of 190-kW. It uses 7 hydrogen tanks that can hold just over 32 kilos of hydrogen which will deliver about 400 kilometers of range. That’s about 250 miles. Hyundai says that refueling time takes anywhere from 8 to 20 minutes. Hyundai says it’s working on a version that will go 1,000 kilometers and will sell the trucks in North America and Asia. It chose to launch the truck in Switzerland for several reasons. First, fuel cell trucks avoid a heavy road tax in Switzerland, so it’s instantly cost competitive with diesel trucks. Second, Hyundai wants to use only green hydrogen made with hydro power, which Switzerland has in abundance. Also, fuel cell electric trucks will have plenty of power to handle mountainous roads in the Alps.
HYUNDAI HEAD-HUNTS GERMAN EXECUTIVES
Interestingly Hyundai just head-hunted away one of Daimler’s top executives to run its truck operations. Martin Zeilinger is now Hyundai’s Executive Vice President for Commercial Vehicles. He reports to Albert Biermann, the head of Hyundai’s R&D, who was head-hunted away from BMW.
But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching and we’ll see you right back 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.