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0:07 Ford Makes the Maverick Official
1:11 U.S. Sales Strong in May
2:13 Japan to Greatly Expand Charging Infrastructure
3:34 SEAT Improves, Speeds Up Part Inspections
4:31 Jaguar F-TYPE Going V8-Only
5:15 CATL Plans Big Expansion
6:35 Buick Reveals Updated Enclave
7:19 Formula E Team Develops Polar Exploration EV
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
THE FORD MAVERICK IS OFFICIAL!
Ford finally made it official this morning. It’s newest pickup truck, the Maverick, will hit showrooms in the U.S. market later this year. Ford officially unveils the truck on June 8th on the TikTok and Instagram channels of the actress Gabrielle Union. It will also be on Ford’s social media outlets and on Hulu. We’ll get more details then, but here’s what we’ve already reported. The Maverick is made at Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, which is where the Bronco Sport is made. Base price: just under twenty grand. Four-cylinder, front wheel drive, with all wheel drive optional. Based on the same platform as the Bronco Sport, which itself is off the Escape. It’s not a work truck. It’s a lifestyle truck. Translation: it’s for carrying bikes, motorcycles, camping equipment and that sort of stuff. Look for it to hit showrooms by the end of the summer.
MAY SALES STRONG IN THE U.S.
Automakers sure had a strong May in the U.S. market. Wards Intelligence says they sold 1.5 million vehicles. The SAAR came in at just under 17 million, down from April’s 18.7 million because of low inventory caused by the chip shortage. But several automakers shrugged off the shortage. Mazda had its best May ever. Sales shot up 35% compared to April. Mitsubishi was up 31%. Volvo up 19%. Hyundai up 16%, and Nissan up nearly 14%. But it was a terrible month for Ford. Sales plummeted 19% compared to April, with some of the biggest drops coming from the F-150 and Explorer. Get this. Ford was outsold by Toyota, General Motors, Stellantis and Honda, pushing it down to 5th place in the American market.
|U.S. New Vehicle Sales
|Total Sales||1.57 Million|
|Company||Sales||Change from April|
JAPAN TO GREATLY INCREASE CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE
Japanese automakers have put more chips on hybrids than BEVs. But the Japanese government wants people to buy more EVs. So Japan is going to dramatically increase the number of its EV charging stations–five-fold!–to 150,000 stations according to Bloomberg. It’s also going to increase the number of hydrogen stations to 1,000 by 2030, and it wants 100 gigawatt hours of manufacturing capacity for EV batteries. Japan also set a goal to increase the number of commercial EVs from 20 to 30 percent. Right now EVs and fuel cell cars make up less than 1% of the Japanese market.
SEAT IMPROVES, SPEEDS UP PART INSPECTIONS
It’s hard to manufacture a vehicle. Thousands of parts and pieces come in from all over the world and all of them have to fit perfectly together. Today’s quality inspections generally rely on random parts pulled from the manufacturing process and measured to see if they meet specifications. A lot of that is done manually and usually only a few parts are measured per shift. So SEAT started using photogrammetry, which is a non-contact optical measurement technology that uses cameras to capture millions of points on an object, including depth and thickness. Those points are then put into a colored map that shows if anything is out of spec. Seat used to only analyse 3 parts a day, now it does 30. Seat is not the first to do this, but we think it’s the first to roll it out on a large scale.
JAGUAR F-TYPE GOES V8-ONLY
Jaguar doesn’t sell a lot of F-Types but it needs to sell more. So they simplified the build complexity to cut costs and chop the price. No more 4- and 6-cylinder engines for the F-Type, it’s going V8-only. Only two variants are available; the new F-TYPE P450 and the F-TYPE R. The big news is that the new entry-level P450 starts at just over $71,000, including destination charges, which is almost $10-grand less than the old V6 model. Reducing build complexity may limit how customers can order their car, but chopping the price so much should help move the metal.
CATL LOOKS TO EXPAND
China’s CATL is already the world’s #1 battery maker and it wants things to stay that way. Reuters reports it’s planning to open a new plant in Shanghai to make 80 gigawatt hours of battery cells a year–enough to power roughly 800,000 EVs. These would be CATL’s cell-to-chassis batteries, which are integrated right into an EVs platform. Going to Shanghai puts CALTL to Tesla, and CATL says it hopes to supply half of the battery cells that Tesla uses globally, including for both EVs and roof-top storage. If that happens, it’s going to put a lot of stress on Tesla’s other suppliers.
BUICK REVEALS UPDATED ENCLAVE
Buick introduced the updated version of the Enclave. Its exterior styling gets a slightly new look, most notably the headlamps and grille. Inside, the center console has been restyled and has buttons instead of a shifter to select the gears. They also added heated, ventilated and massage seats. It also comes standard with nine active safety features. The top of the line Avenir trim gets unique styling accents, badging and more standard equipment. And it keeps the same 3.5L V6 with 310 horsepower mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. No word yet on when it goes on sale or what it will cost.
FORMULA E TEAM MAKES POLAR EXPLORATION EV
Venturi, a small car manufacturer based in Monaco, just introduced its next-gen electric, polar exploration vehicle called the Antarctica. Venturi is an interesting company. Founded in 1984 and since 2000, it specializes in high-performance electric vehicles and is even involved in Formula E. The Antarctica is optimized for the extreme cold and can operate at temperatures as low as -60 degrees Celsius or -76 degrees Fahrenheit. It runs on two tracks like a tank and is equipped with two 60-kW electric motors, one for each track. It also features a 52.6 kWh battery, which provides a range of 50 kilometers or 31 miles, no matter what the temperature is. It can seat two people in the cockpit and four in the rear. Instead of a steering wheel it features a joystick, which allows either of the front two passengers to control the vehicle. Venturi has already tested the Antarctica in a simulator and now plans to put it through its paces in the real world.
We’ve got a great topic for Autoline After Hours coming up this afternoon. Who’s got the better retail model? Traditional automakers with franchised dealers, or EV startups that want to sell direct to consumers? Our guest will be Dave Zuchowski, the former president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. Now he’s with a company called Unite Digital, which is on the bleeding edge of digital sales and marketing and e-commerce. Other topics we’ll get into: Why do people like Hyundai and Kia so much? Will hydrogen be a global matter or be a local solution? Do car companies need battery plants? Steve Finlay will also be on the show, so join Gary and I for some of the best insights into what’s going on in the automotive industry.
And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for making Autoline Daily a part of your day.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.