Listen to “AD #2969 – Mustang Mach-E Performance Edition; Hindenburg Says Kandi Mislead Investors; All-New Genesis G80 Review” on Spreaker.
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0:38 Lucid on Track for Spring Production
1:19 Mustang Mach-E Gets Performance Edition
2:07 Hindenburg Says Kandi Mislead Investors Too
3:35 Ford Urges Automakers to Back California’s Standards
4:27 Will Automakers Buy Into More Voluntary Safety Agreements?
6:22 Webasto Gives Corvette Its 1st Retractable Hardtop
7:43 All-New Genesis G80 Review
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
LUCID ON PACE FOR SPRING PRODUCTION
EV startup Lucid Motors says it’s on track to start production in spring of next year. The first phase of construction is done at its site in Arizona and the company is now commissioning and then will be testing the equipment needed to make its Air sedan. The factory, which first broke ground about a year ago, is currently a shade under a million square feet and will have an initial capacity to build up to 30,000 vehicles a year. In 2023 production of Lucid’s first SUV is scheduled to start. By 2028, it expects the facility to be over 5 million square feet and have the ability to produce 400,000 units a year.
MUSTANG MACH-E GETS NEW PERFORMANCE EDITION
The Mustang Mach-E is feeling like any other Mustang. It’s barely been on the market and it’s already getting a special edition model. The Mach-E GT Performance Edition is able to draw more power from its battery pack and has a target 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds. With 480 horsepower and 634 lb-ft of torque sticking to the EPA estimated range of 235 miles might prove difficult. Other enhancements include 19 inch Brembo front brakes, 20 inch wheels with summer tires, MagneRide dampers, sculpted front seats and an aluminum bezel around the instrument panel. The Performance Edition will be available late next summer.
HINDENBURG SAYS KANDI MISLEAD INVESTORS TOO
Uh-oh, Hindenburg is pointing its finger at another company. The investment firm that specializes in shorting the stock of startups took down Nikola earlier this year when it documented how the founder Trevor Milton had lied and exaggerated about his company’s capabilities. Yesterday Hindenburg went after Kandi, the Chinese startup that wants to sell the lowest cost EVs in the American market. Hindenburg documented how Kandi falsified its sales and revenue to dupe investors. And that was enough to eliminate a quarter of the company’s value in just a matter of hours. In fact, that triggered a sell off of other Chinese EV companies including BYD, Nio, XPeng and Li Auto. So, it feels like we need to say, startups beware! You better tell the truth or Hindenburg will hunt you down.
FORD CALLS ON MORE AUTOMAKERS TO BACK CALI’S EMISSION STANDARDS
Last week, General Motors announced it’s no longer backing the Trump Administration’s legal battle with the state of California to set its own emission and fuel economy standards. And now Reuters reports that Ford sent a letter to other automakers urging them to adopt California’s standards. The letter was sent to members of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group that is meeting today to discuss the issue. Last year, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW reached a deal with California to voluntarily reduce vehicle emissions. A few months later, GM, Toyota, FCA and other automakers backed the Trump Administration’s battle with California. However, automakers just want one national standard and now that Joe Biden is president-elect, automakers will likely get behind California’s rules.
WILL AUTOMAKERS BUY INTO MORE VOLUNTARY SAFETY AGREEMENTS?
Four years ago, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety along with the Department of Transportation, got all automakers that sell vehicles in the U.S., to voluntarily agree to equip automatic emergency braking in their vehicles by 2022. Usually, a mandate like this is regulated. But some automakers have already met the deadline and others are close behind. So could we see more voluntary agreements for other safety technologies moving forward? On Autoline This Week, David Harkey, the President of the IIHS had this to say.
“So, another technology that is being worked on in paramount is a big issue and has been for decades. We still have almost 30% of the fatalities in the U.S. involve alcohol impairment. And so, we’ve been working on the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, the DADSS program, for a long time now and it’s about to reach a point where it’s ready for primetime production. And so one of the real questions there is, whether the automakers will pick that up and put it in all vehicles or select vehicles? How will that be implemented? That’s an example where I think it’s going to take regulation in order to get automakers to adopt that particular technology and put it in all vehicles. I don’t think you will make that work with a voluntary agreement. Something like headlight technology on the other hand, I do think we can potentially use a voluntary agreement to do something similar we did with AEB and get automakers to advance their headlight technologies. So, I think it’s going to be a mix of those two things moving forward.”
WEBASTO GIVES CORVETTE ITS 1ST RETRACTABLE HARDTOP
We love highlighting what suppliers are developing because they can add so much value to a vehicle. Here’s another example. For the first time the Corvette will be available with a retractable hardtop, which was designed by Webasto and is assembled in Michigan. The two-part top features 6 electric motors, which is said to create a more compact package compared to a hydraulic system. Four of the motors have integrated controllers, eliminating the need for a central control unit. It’s able to open and close in 16 seconds at speeds up to 30 MPH or 48 km/h. Because the roof panels fold on top of the engine trunk space is not affected even when open, but also requires the small back window to operate independently of the top, so it can be used as a wind deflector. The roof system weighs about 140 pounds or 64 kilograms.
GENESIS GOES AFTER VALUE & STYLING WITH ALL-NEW G80
Genesis, the luxury brand from Hyundai, kind of botched its launch into the market a couple of years ago. But now it’s trying to make up for lost time. We just had the all new G80 come through the Autoline Garage and it’s pretty clear that Genesis has a two-pronged strategy to elbow its way into the luxury segment: great value for the money and head turning styling. Let’s look at prices first. The base, rear-drive G80 starts at $48,700. That’s almost five grand cheaper than a Mercedes E-class, BMW 5-series or Lexus GS. But the one we drove, with the Prestige trim line, had all-wheel-drive and a 3.5 liter turbo, came in at $69,000.
Now to the styling. The G80 almost looks like it could carry a Bentley badge, which should come as no surprise. Sangyup Lee, the head of design at Genesis, previously worked at Bentley. So he knows what kinds of details make a car stand out. The G80 has sweeping lines that take your eye from the bold grille and move them all the way to the back of the car. Note how the headlamp graphic is picked up again behind the front wheel wells and yet again at the taillamps. Study this carefully because every Genesis is going to use this look.
Inside, the G80 is tastefully appointed and quietly comfortable. But the instrument cluster behind the steering wheel looks rather bland, and there’s a rotating ring on the center console to operate the navigation, radio and HVAC controls that takes some time to figure out.
Under the hood you get a choice of a 300 horsepower 2.5 liter turbo, or a 3.5 liter turbo V6 with 375 horses.
Overall this is a sophisticated car that deserves a test drive if you’re in the market for a luxury sedan. But one thing’s for sure. Genesis needs to get the word out. In October sales of the G80 in the US market fell 86%. And we think this is a car that deserves far better than that.
Henrik Fisker tried to launch a car company a decade ago but it crashed and burned. But rather than give up and slink away, he’s back. And this time he’s going all electric. But that’s not nearly as interesting as how he plans to develop and build his new cars. What’s that all about? Well join us this Thursday for Autoline After Hours when Henrik will be our guest.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching and please join us 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.