Listen to “AD #3067 – Tesla Reports Spectacular Q1; Virtual Tools Shorten GM's Development; Next-Gen F-150 BEV Coming in 2025” on Spreaker.
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0:07 Tesla Reports Spectacular Q1 Earnings
0:51 Why Tesla’s Stock Didn’t Climb More
1:38 Toyota Buying Lyft’s AV Division
2:21 GM Using Virtual Tools To Speed Up Development
3:40 More Hyundai Kona N Details
4:29 Honda Reveals Future Interior Concept
5:07 Next-Gen Ford F-150 BEV Coming in 2025
5:40 Ford Investing in Romania Plant for New LCV
7:03 Buick Envision Nice But Pricey
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TESLA REPORTS SPECTACULAR Q1 EARNINGS
Tesla reported its first quarter earnings and the numbers are spectacular. It sold nearly 185,000 cars worldwide, up 76% from a year ago. Revenue hit $10.4 billion, up 74%. And it posted a net profit of $438 million, up 2,638%. That’s an incredible gain, but keep in mind it barely made a profit a year ago. Even so, it was the highest profit the company ever reported. Strangely, the stock market pretty much shrugged at the news. Tesla’s stock was up 1%, the lowest gain of all the U.S. EV companies.
|Tesla Q1, 2021 Earnings
WHY TESLA’S STOCK DIDN’T CLIMB MORE
One reason investors may have been looking for more is that Tesla earned $518 million from selling EV credits. And it pocketed over $100 million from selling some of its Bitcoin stash. If you take those numbers out, then Tesla actually lost money on its core operations. So some investors may be waiting for Tesla to post a profit simply from selling cars. Even so, Tesla’s financial performance was so strong that Elon Musk is now on track to earn a bonus worth $11 billion in stock options. Musk doesn’t earn a salary at Tesla. All his compensation is based on market cap and top line growth and paid for in stock.
TOYOTA BUYING LYFT’S AV DIVISION
Toyota’s Woven Planet subsidiary, which it created to develop mobility solutions and other advanced technologies, is acquiring Lyft’s self-driving division, called Level 5. The automaker is paying $550 million for the company, which will expand Woven Planet’s footprint beyond Tokyo with engineering teams in Silicon Valley and London. This is the latest in a number of autonomous partnerships Toyota has formed and our question is why? The automaker announced a big in-house development effort, so why is it making acquisitions and forming partnerships, instead of developing the technology on its own?
GM USING VIRTUAL TOOLS TO SPEED UP DEVELOPMENT
When Cadillac first revealed its all-electric Lyriq SUV last year, we wondered why it showed it off then, since it was still two years away from going on sale. But last week it unveiled the production version nine-months ahead of schedule thanks to virtually testing and validating the vehicle. Some of the things it enhanced in the virtual world was cabin comfort for all passengers, aerodynamic improvements to boost range and creating a quieter interior. Thanks to the sped-up development process, the Lyriq is now scheduled to go into production in the first quarter of next year. GM says the virtual tools are reducing its engineering costs by $1.5 billion a year.
MORE HYUNDAI KONA N DETAILS
It does not look like the Hyundai Kona N will be the first N model with all-wheel drive, but we’re learning more about the performance SUV. We talked previously about its roughly 275 horsepower 2.0L turbo engine and 8-speed DCT, which has been specially tuned for the Kona. It’s also going to feature an electronic limited slip differential, which controls torque to the wheels and helps improve cornering. Hyundai claims the Kona N will do 0-100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. No surprise that you’ll find sporty seats on the inside, but it also gets a new 10-inch infotainment screen and digital cluster, along with a head-up display. Now we’re just waiting for price and our chance to drive it.
HONDA SHOWS FUTURE INTERIOR CONCEPT
Honda is showing off an interior design philosophy that its future vehicles will be modeled after. Honda says it’s going for a simplistic look without a lot of visual noise. Some of the things Honda keys in on is only having a few knobs and buttons, creating good visibility for the driver and adding a little character like the air vents that stretch across the entire cabin. The all-new Civic will be the first vehicle with its new interior design philosophy and we’re guessing this design sketch shown in a video released along with the story will be similar to the one in the new Civic.
NEXT-GEN FORD F-150 BEV COMING IN 2025
Speaking of future product, Autoforecast Solutions reports that the next-generation Ford F-150 BEV will go into production in 2025. That’s an interesting timeline. The electric F-150 that Ford only recently announced is expected to come out in the middle of next year. To us it looks like Ford rushed to get an EV pickup to the market and may have been spurred on by competition like Lordstown, Rivian and Tesla. It clearly did not want to be late to the game.
FORD EXPANDING ROMANIA PLANT FOR NEW LCV
In other Ford EV news, it’s going to invest $300 million at its plant in Romania to build a new light commercial vehicle. Production kicks off in 2023, whilce an all-electric version follows the year after that. The Romania plant currently produces the EcoSport and Puma.
Have you heard of Arrival? That’s the British startup that’s going to make electric vans. But what set’s Arrival apart from the rest is that it’s going to make them in mini factories, instead of giant ones. This could be the beginning for a revolution in micro manufacturing. Our guest on Autoline After Hours this week is Mike Abelson, the CEO of the company. So join John and Gary for some of the best insights as to where the auto industry is headed.
BUICK ENVISION VERY NICE BUT PRICEY
The new Buick Envision made its way through the Autoline Garage and we were keenly interested in taking it for a test drive. The Envision is made in China and we were eager to see how well it’s made. We found that the fit and finish both inside and out, as well as the paint job, are world class.
From a styling standpoint, it’s a good looking vehicle, with excellent proportions and balance. All the design elements are well resolved and tidy. Under the hood is a 2-liter turbo coupled to a 9-speed automatic. All wheel drive is optional, but we drove a front wheel drive model. The engine produces a very respectable 228 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque. Our only quibble with the powertrain is that we encountered some mildly clunky 3-2 and 2-1 downshifts. But it was a sporadic issue that we found hard to replicate.
Inside, the Envision is comfortable, well laid out, and pleasing to look at. It offers various levels of connectivity, including Amazon Alexa, wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and 4G Wi-Fi via OnStar. It also comes with a full suite of safety technology, including automatic front pedestrian braking. One aspect we really liked is that the rear seat area has a deep floor. So when you sit in the rear seats you get better thigh support than in most other crossovers where you seem to be sitting on your tailbone.
But then we come to the price. We drove an Avenir, which is the top of the line model. With nearly $4,000 in options and over $1,000 in destination charges the total came to over $45,300. The base model is $33,000. Since it’s imported from China, General Motors has to pay a 27.5% import tariff, and that may well explain why it’s so expensive. Even so, the Envision sells really well in the US market. It’s tied for second with the Enclave as the best selling model in Buick’s lineup.
But that’s it for today, 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.