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0:07 Ford Bronco Officially Starts Production
0:40 Tesla Model S Plaid Officially World’s Quickest Production Car
1:17 GM to Add More Battery Plants
1:36 Volkswagen & Audi Hit by Hackers
3:00 Ford GT to End Production Next Year
3:40 Baojun Relaunches Old Wagon with New Name
4:31 Maserati Tests GranTurismo EV
5:01 What Will Alfa Romeo Do?
6:25 Mahle Builds 3D Printing Center
7:31 JLR Develops Fuel Cell Defender
8:01 Geely To Develop Methanol Vehicles
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FORD BRONCO OFFICIALLY STARTS PRODUCTION
Looks like someone at Ford found a box of chips someplace, because the Bronco is finally starting to roll down the assembly line. Ford got 190,000 reservations for the off-road SUV and 125,000 of them were already converted into orders. The Bronco is made at the Wayne Assembly plant, which used to make the Focus and C-Max, and Ford expects to see a billion-dollar profit turn-around at that plant by dropping those cars and adding the Bronco.
MODEL S PLAID OFFICIALLY WORLD’S QUICKEST PRODUCTION CAR
Jay Leno helped Tesla make it official. The Model S Plaid is officially the world’s quickest production car. Leno whooshed down the drag strip at Pomona in California in only 9.2 seconds, at 152 miles an hour. The run was taped for his television show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” and was timed by the National Hot Rod Association to make it official. Leno gushed about the car, pointing out that it’s faster than any million-dollar Ferrari or a $3.5 million Bugatti.
GM TO ADD MORE BATTERY PLANTS
GM already has two EV battery plants in the works but GM President Mark Reuss says that’s not enough. He says GM will announce plans this week to open more battery plants in the U.S. because it needs more capacity to reach its goal of going all-electric by 2035.
VOLKSWAGEN & AUDI HIT BY HACKERS
Volkswagen of America says a data breach impacted millions of Audi owners and shoppers in the U.S. and Canada. Someone stole the personal information of 3.3 million customers and prospective buyers. The hack came through a vendor that VW uses for digital sales and marketing. Mostly phone numbers and email addresses were stolen. But 90,000 Audi owners had their driver license numbers taken, but some had date of birth, social security number and account numbers stolen. VW will offer those Audi owners free credit protection services. The company believes the data was stolen at some point between August of 2019 to May of this year.
FORD GT TO END PRODUCTION NEXT YEAR
When Ford came out with the current version of the GT, it said it would only build 500 of them. But demand came in so strong that it raised that to 1,350. AutoForecast Solutions says the last one will roll off the line in December of 2022. That limited production is necessary to make sure the car holds its value or even appreciates. The GT costs $500,000 but if you go for the Liquid Carbon option, which has a carbon fiber body and wheels as well as titanium lug nuts, you can add another $250,000 to the price.
BAOJUN RELAUNCHES OLD WAGON WITH NEW NAME
Here’s something you don’t see every day. Early last year, Baojun, a sub-brand of the GM-SAIC-Wuling joint venture in China, launched a new vehicle, called the RC-5 and a wagon version called the RC-5W. But due to what they described as “marketing issues” the wagon was discontinued after only 7 months. Here’s the kicker. Baojun is relaunching the exact same car, but under a new name. Now they call it the Valli, with an i on the end. But it’s hard to see how going from RC-5W to Valli will make a difference. The Valli is powered by a 1.5L turbocharged engine mated to an 8-speed CVT and starts between $12,500 and $16,500.
MASERATI TESTS GRANTURISMO EV
Maserati is testing the new GranTurismo coupe in Modena, Italy. While there will still be versions with piston power, it will also be the first Maserati available with a 100% electric powertrain. The new car has a similar shape to the outgoing model, but looks to have some styling inspired by the MC20 hypercar as well. With prototypes undergoing testing it shouldn’t be long before Maserati reveals the production car.
WHAT WILL ALFA ROMEO DO?
Sergio Marchionne relaunched the Alfa Romeo brand with a lot of fanfare a decade ago. He had high hopes that it would become a high-volume premium brand and generate a ton of profits for FCA. But it didn’t work. Sales of the Giulia and Stelvio came in far below expectations. Now, under Stellantis, CEO Carlos Tavares says every brand in the company has one decade to prove itself or he’s going to drop it. So what will Alfa Romeo do? That’s what we’ll be talking about on Autoline After Hours this Thursday. We’ve got Larry Dominique, the head of Alfa Romeo North America coming on the show. So join Gary and I as we let you listen in to the top executives in the automotive industry.
MAHLE BUILDS 3D PRINTING CENTER
3D printing keeps making significant inroads into the auto industry. Mahle just opened a 3D printing center in Germany capable of printing parts out of plastic, aluminum and stainless steel. Remember, last year we reported it is printing pistons for Porsche to use in racing. It’s also printing air charge coolers, oil filter housings, and even structural parts. Mahle says it can easily make components that are 30x30x40 centimeters, which is almost 12x12x16 inches. There is some rework needed, depending on the component. They may have to do some cutting, and if they printed threaded sections, the threads usually need to be cleaned up. One of the greatest opportunities for 3D printing could be with service parts. In the US, automakers must make service parts for 10 years. That means they have to store a bunch of tooling that doesn’t get used very much. With 3D printing there’s no need to hold onto most of that tooling.
JLR DEVELOPS FUEL CELL DEFENDER
Despite a lot of naysayers about fuel cells, a number of automakers continue to develop the technology and now you can add Jaguar Land Rover to the list. It announced it will begin prototype tests of a hydrogen powered Defender later this year. It’s partnering with Delta Motorsport, AVL, Marelli Automotive Systems and UK Battery Industrialization Center. It’s part of JLR’s goal of hitting zero tailpipe emissions by 2036.
GEELY TO DEVELOP METHANOL VEHICLES
Speaking of alternatively powered vehicles, Chinese automaker Geely is developing methanol cars. It has built 10,000 methanol-powered vehicles, including commercial trucks. That includes tests in Iceland to create methanol with carbon dioxide, as a way to decrease greenhouse gasses. Methanol can also be created from coal, and China has huge coal deposits, so methanol could help it become more energy independent. Geely’s chairman, Li Shufu, says the whole effort may fail but they’re going to keep on developing it anyway.
And that wraps up this 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.