Listen to “AD #3033 – Chip Shortage Help on the Way; Mitsubishi Getting Rebadged Renaults; Acura Tech Could Kill SUA Claims” on Spreaker.
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0:07 Bosch Readies New Chip Factory
0:39 Hyundai Starts to Feel Chip Shortage
1:09 LG Looking to Make 4680 Cells in the U.S. or Europe
1:40 Northvolt Buys Battery Startup Cuberg
2:09 EV Companies Surge on Wall Street
3:37 Mitsubishi Getting Rebadged Renaults for Europe
4:08 Design Sketch Likely Previews Wrangler EV Concept
4:30 Hyundai Teases Performance Kona N
5:00 Chrysler Turbine Car Going Up for Auction
5:24 India’s Maharaja Cars Going on Display
5:57 What’s a Regular Screwdriver?
6:48 Acura Tech Could Kill SUA Claims
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
BOSCH READIES NEW CHIP FACTORY
Automakers are still struggling with that chip shortage, but help is on the way. Bosch is getting ready to open a new semiconductor factory in Dresden, Germany, that is fully automated. It’s currently pre-producing wafers and will go into full production later this year. Bosch is investing around one billion euros into the facility to produce 300 millimeter, or about 12 inch wafers, which will be used for DC-DC converters in electric and hybrid vehicles, plus other applications.
HYUNDAI STARTS TO FEEL CHIP SHORTAGE
And South Korea is exempting people who work in chip production from two-week COVID quarantines and it’s prioritizing them for vaccinations. While Hyundai did a good job of stockpiling chips and has been able to keep its factories in the country running, it’s starting to feel the crunch from the shortage. Yesterday a union official told Reuters that overtime of less popular models had stopped and that production schedules were changing from week to week.
LG LOOKING TO MAKE 4680 CELLS IN THE U.S. OR EUROPE
LG is looking at potential production sites in the U.S. and Europe to build more advanced 4680 battery cells for Tesla starting in 2023, Reuters reports. The two companies haven’t signed a deal yet but LG is producing samples of the cells and, according to sources, is facing technological hurdles and issues trying to scale up production. Tesla will also build the cells but it needs more supply in order to hit its production targets.
NORTHVOLT BUYS BATTERY STARTUP CUBERG
And in other battery news, Swedish battery maker Northvolt is buying U.S. startup Cuberg, which was spun out of Stanford University in 2015. It’s developed lithium metal battery cells that increase range and capacity by 60% compared to conventional lithium-ion cells. Cuberg already counts Boeing as one of its customers, while Northvolt plans to use the cells for electric vehicles.
EV COMPANIES SEE NICE SURGE ON WALL STREET
Buy on the dip, they tell you. And that’s just what investors did. As we pointed out the other day, stock prices of EV companies had lost almost half their value from their peaks earlier this year. And investors could not resist those cheaper prices. They bid Tesla shares up 20% and that pulled the entire segment with it.
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MITSUBISHI GETTING REBADGED RENAULTS FOR EUROPE
As part of the restructuring of the Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi Alliance last year, Mitsubishi announced it would stop new car development for the European market. Instead, Mitsubishi will get two rebadged Renaults starting in 2023. They’re supposedly based best-sellers in the European market. They’ll be made in Renault plants and will have some minor differentiation. They’ll be sold alongside the Eclipse Cross PHEV to round out Mitsubishi’s European lineup.
DESIGN SKETCH LIKELY HINTS AT WRANGLER EV
Just about a month ago we told you Jeep will reveal a Wrangler EV concept at the Easter Jeep Safari and now we have the likely name for that model. It teased this design sketch of the Magneto, which based on the name we’re assuming is an electric Wrangler. The event kicks off on March 27th, so more details to come soon.
HYUNDAI TEASES PERFORMANCE KONA
Speaking of teasers, Hyundai is giving us our best look yet at the performance version of the Kona. The newest N model is also its first utility vehicle and like all N models features a much more aggressive style, which is highlighted by the new lighting signature. On top of a roof spoiler, dual exhaust and rear diffuser, the Kona N also has unique wheels, red accents and N badging. Like the Jeep, more details are said to be coming soon.
CHRYSLER TURBINE CAR GOING UP FOR AUCTION
There’s only a handful of the Chrysler Turbine cars left and one of them is going up for auction. It still features its original paint, trim and interior and the latest owner even rebuilt the engine so the car runs again. No price is listed but these cars are reportedly worth over $400,000. After all, it literally is a museum piece.
INDIA’S MAHARAJA CARS GOING ON DISPLAY
Speaking of classic cars, the Auto Royale Concours D’Elegance, said to be Britain’s newest classic car event, is going to display cars from some of India’s wealthiest rulers of the 20th century. These rulers would compete with each other to get the finest automobiles and for some of the vehicles, it will be the first time they’ve ever left India. The Maharaja Cars will be on display from July 16th to the 18th and tickets start at 48 pounds, which is about 66 bucks.
WHAT’S A REGULAR SCREWDRIVER?
We recently got a letter from viewer Lambo2015, who has an interesting question he’d like to pose to you all. I’ll leave out some of the backstory for now as not to possibly influence some of the answers. But he asks, “if you’re asked to get a regular screwdriver, what style do you get?” Let us know in the comments. We’ll tabulate all the answers and give you the story in tomorrow’s show why Lambo2015 had this question pop up.
ACURA TECH COULD KILL SUA CLAIMS
Ever since automatic transmissions became popular over half a century ago, complaints started popping up about cars accelerating out of control. Officially, it’s called SUA, or sudden unintended acceleration. But it’s really driver error. People step on the gas pedal, thinking they’re stepping on the brake.
Lawyers who make their living suing car companies blame some sort of gremlins. They claim mysterious “whiskers” growing in the electronics cause short circuits that lead to runaway cars. But here’s what they can’t explain. Sudden acceleration mostly happens with older drivers. And while it’s not PC to say so, it mostly happens with older women. Moreover, it doesn’t happen with cars with manual transmissions.
In the mid-1980’s SUA almost killed Audi in the U.S. market. “60 Minutes” did a hack job report that blamed it on the car, and sales collapsed. Only the deep pockets of parent company VW AG kept it alive. Audi’s solution was the shift-lock mechanism. And that’s why every car today forces you to put your foot in the brake before you can shift out of Park.
But that didn’t stop the problem or the lawsuits. A decade ago Toyota got hammered. Two years ago it was Tesla. Today, Subaru faces a class action lawsuit. Tesla was lucky, It has the onboard technology that proved drivers were stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake.
But winning lawsuits doesn’t solve the problem. And that’s why the new Acura MDX may have the solution. At speeds under 6 miles an hour, it will not allow the vehicle to accelerate suddenly if there is something in front or behind it, like a car, a person or a garage door. They use the sonar to figure that out.
Every automaker needs to look at Acura’s solution. Acura calls it collision mitigation throttle control. That’s a mouthful, but it could save lives and stop the lawsuits.
Before we wrap up, a reminder about Autoline After Hours tomorrow. We’ll have Mike O’Brien, former product planning guru at Hyundai and Toyota, And we’ll be talking about how automakers do product planning, and where there are opportunities to go after. So join me and Gary for some of the best insights into how the auto industry works.
That’s it for today, we’ll be back 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.