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0:07 Unprecedented Move by Manufacturers Association
1:04 Top Performing Automotive Stocks
2:54 Wuling MINI EV Continues Sales Success
3:28 European Car Sales Look Bleak
4:15 Details of Chevy’s ATPs
5:03 Chevy Launches Virtual Shopping Experience
5:42 Jeep Adds All-New Long Wheelbase Grand Cherokee
8:01 More Details on Bollinger’s Commercial Vehicles
8:33 Goodyear Tests Tires on Lordstown’s Endurance
8:58 U.S. December BEV Sales Up Big
9:23 Diesels Post Strong Sales in the U.S.
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
UNPRECEDENTED MOVE BY MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION
In an unprecedented move, the National Association of Manufacturers, which represents 14,000 manufacturing companies, including many automakers and suppliers, asked U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to seriously consider removing President Trump after he incited a mob to attack the Capitol building yesterday. The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows for the removal of the President under extraordinary circumstances. General Motors CEO Mary Barra tweeted out, “It’s imperative that we come together as a country and reinforce the values and ideals that unite us.” Other business executives were far more forceful. Jay Timmons, the head of the National Association of Manufacturers, and a former Trump supporter said, “This is sedition and should be treated as such.”
This story is far from over, but let’s get back to the latest developments in the automotive industry.
TOP PERFORMING AUTOMOTIVE STOCKS
On Wall Street, the automotive supplier sector enjoyed a pretty good day. The Autoline Stock index of traditional suppliers was up 4.3%. Leading them all was Canadian parts supplier Martinrea, up nearly 10%. Lydall, which makes thermoacoustic materials was right on its heels, up 9.5%. Tenneco and Dana rose over 6%, while American Axle was up 5%. It’s interesting to see traditional suppliers posting strong market gains. Maybe all the investor interest in SPACs or reverse mergers and startups has some people nosing around for other opportunities in the automotive sector.
We invite you to join us later this afternoon for the first Autoline After Hours of 2021. Some of the topics we’ll be tackling include: Will FCA really get rid of the Chrysler and Dodge brands? And are autonomous cars just some kind of vaporware, or are they really on the way? Our guest for the show is Jeff Stout from Yanfeng. If you haven’t seen him before, he’s got great insights and a fun way of expressing them. Pete Bigelow will also be on board, so join John and Gary for some of the best insights into the automotive industry.
WULING MINI EV CONTINUES SALES SUCCESS
As we’ve reported for the last several months, Chinese consumers are snapping up the Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV and December was no different. Over 35,000 were sold last month, once again making it the number one EV in the market. And since the model first went on sale in June, more than 127,000 have been sold. That’s pretty impressive for a tiny two-door car with a short range of only 105 miles. But consumers are likely more attracted to its low starting price of just $4,400.
SALES LOOK BLEAK IN EUROPE
And speaking of car sales, things are looking bleak in Europe. Bloomberg reports that registrations dropped 25% last year in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, the five largest markets in Europe due to strict coronavirus lockdowns. The UK saw its largest drop in sales since World War II. Bloomberg says the first quarter of 2021 will be difficult but things could pick back up in the second quarter if lockdowns are eased. However, it still estimates that sales in 2021 will be down 15% compared to 2019. There was one bright spot though, electric vehicles. Sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and BEVs passed sales of diesel-powered cars for the first-time last quarter.
DETAILS OF CHEVY’S ATPs
In other sales news, yesterday we reported Chevrolet increased its average selling price 6% last year. And now the folks at Chevy are sharing more details about its average transaction prices or ATPs. Last year, its ATP was $36,400, thanks to higher priced models in its lineup, like the Corvette, Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado. It’s most affordable crossover, the Trax, has an ATP of $18,500 compared to the segment average of $22,200. And in high volume car and crossover segments, Chevy’s ATP is at or about the segment average and compares favorably to its key competitors like Ford, Nissan and Toyota.
CHEVY LAUNCHES VIRTUAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
And speaking of Chevy and sales, the automaker launched a virtual shopping experience for customers. Called Chevy MyWay, it gives customers access to one-on-one live tours of its vehicles with product specialists or a virtual auto show experience. Chevy is currently testing the platform but plans to add more features over the coming months.
JEEP ADDS ALL-NEW LONG WHEELBASE GRAND CHEROKEE
We’re not sure what took so long, as customers have been asking for a 3-row Grand Cherokee for quite a while now, but Jeep is finally giving it to them. The Grand Cherokee L rides on an all-new platform that features a 7-inch longer wheelbase and is also slightly wider. This is not the same platform as the Wagoneer. That vehicle is body-on-frame. And Jeep says there will be a clear distinction, likely in size and price, between the two vehicles. Styling of the new Grand Cherokee is clearly an evolution from the current model, but there are a number of tweaks and you may even notice a few unique differences between the Reserve and Overland trim lines seen here. A short wheelbase version will still be available and a hybrid is coming at a later date as well. Some of the bigger changes to the design that are a little less obvious, include a lowered belt line and thinner A-pillar. Designers also said they learned the grille forward a little bit, which makes the hood look longer and keeps the right proportions for the longer wheelbase. Changes to the interior styling is a lot more obvious though. It looks like things like the vents, Jeep badge on the steering wheel and HVAC controls were thinned out to help make the interior look wider. And note how the infotainment screen bridges the gap between the dash and center console. Overall it has more of a premium vibe. Two engines will be available at the vehicle’s launch; a 3.6L V6 and a 5.7L V8. The all-new Grand Cherokee L arrives at dealers in the second half of this year, while the 2-row and hybrid follow later in 2021. Jeep says that 75% of the Grand Cherokee’s competitors offer a 3-row setup, but it was still the leader in the segment with just a 2-row offering, so it expects to grow its lead with the long wheelbase version.
BOLLINGER PROVIDES MORE COMMERCIAL VEHICLE INFO
Bollinger is providing more information about its commercial vehicles. They’re a bit more different than its B1 and B2 vehicles than we thought. There’s a lot of overlap, like the battery systems, hi-volt motors and most of the hi-volt electronics, a lot of the low-volt developments and the powertrain. But Bollinger says it then takes those core components and rearranges them, in what looks like a completely different frame, to accommodate customer needs. Although, still no word on when we could see something like this on the road.
GOODYEAR TESTS TIRES ON LORDSTOWN’S ENDURANCE
Goodyear Tires is giving us one our best looks at Lordstown’s all-electric Endurance pickup truck to date. That’s because Goodyear is going to supply Lordstown with tires and tire services and it recently got to try out the EV truck at its testing facility in Ohio. Goodyear says it wants to have the technology that takes it into the future with EVs and AVs and this is the first step towards that.
BEV SALES UP BIG
Sales of electric cars hit an important milestone in the US market last month. They managed to hit 2% market share. A small number, to be sure, but sales last month were up a whopping 77% compared to November. Most of that was thanks to Tesla, but the Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq and Porsche Taycan all posted impressive percentage gains.
|U.S. December BEV Sales|
DIESELS POST STRONG DECEMBER
Ironically, it was also a great month for pickup trucks and vans with diesel engines. Sales were up 46% and they outsold electric cars by more than two to one.
|U.S. December Diesel Sales|
But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching.
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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.