Listen to “AD #3118 – Used Prices Returning to Normal; Airless Tires Continue to Make Progress; New Civic All Grown Up” on Spreaker.
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0:07 Daimler Has Strong Q2 Outlook Despite Chip Shortage
0:45 Used Car Prices Returning to Normal
1:25 EV Startup Has Long Way to Reach Goals
2:01 BAIC’s NEV Sales Stink
3:16 Chevy Still Having Bolt Fire Issues
4:02 Goodyear Continues to Develop Airless Tires
4:34 VW Golf GTI & R Prices Set
6:12 Lucid Reveals Warranty & Service Plans
7:22 New Honda Civic Review
9:55 Pininfarina Designs Wild Concept Virtually
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
DAIMLER HAS STRONG Q2 OUTLOOK DESPITE CHIP SHORTAGE
That chip shortage may be crippling automotive production around the world, but it’s sure not crippling profits. Daimler posted its preliminary second quarter earnings and there’s black ink all over the place. It earned 5.1 billion euros over the last three months before interest and taxes. €3.4 billion of that came from selling cars and vans. €820 million came from selling heavy trucks. And €924 million came from a part of the business they call Daimler Mobility, which offers financing, leasing and insurance.
USED CAR PRICES STARTING TO RETURN TO NORMAL
As we’ve reported, used car prices have soared due to low inventory of new vehicles, which led to a shortage of used cars, causing prices to spike. And even though inventory is still tight, used car prices are starting to drop. Wholesale prices for top-selling vehicles at Manheim’s auctions fell 1.3% in June compared to May. However, prices are still 34% higher compared to June of last year. But Cox Automotive says prices are returning to normal and buyers will start seeing better deals compared to the spring.
EV STARTUP HAS LONG WAY TO REACH GOALS
There are probably too many EV startups in the world to survive. But that’s not stopping entrepreneurs that want to create the next Tesla. Meet Leapmotor, the latest EV startup to start selling cars in China. It plans to sell 800,000 EVs a year by 2025, but sold less than 4,000 mini cars and SUVs last month. It’s being funded largely with government investment money, so that means it will probably not be allowed to fail, no matter how bad things get.
BAIC’S NEV SALES STINK
And while sales of New Energy Vehicles are soaring in China, a subsidiary of the Beijing Automotive Industry Company that makes New Energy Vehicles can’t seem to get things going. It sold only 318 cars last month–which is a complete disaster. Sales dropped 77% even though the total NEV market was up 177%. And that should be a warning to all EV startups. Just because you make cars doesn’t automatically mean that people will buy them.
CHEVY STILL HAVING BOLT FIRE ISSUES
Chevy is still having issues with Bolt’s catching fire. And as a precaution General Motors is telling owners to park their car outside and not to charge them overnight because two Bolts recently caught fire after recall repairs were made. GM says its moving as quickly as it can to investigate the issue which affects about 50,000 Bolts from 2017 through 2019. It recommends owners follow the steps until it comes up with a fix. Last November, GM recalled the Bolt because of battery fires and in April it came out with diagnostic software to look for problems in the batteries. But obviously there’s still an issue.
GOODYEAR CONTINUES TO ADVANCE AIRLESS TIRES
Goodyear has developed an airless tire for autonomous shuttles. The tire maker has tested the tire for the past three years with Local Motors using its Olli shuttle. And now it will be tested in the real world in Jacksonville, Florida as part of its Autonomous Vehicle Test & Learn program. Airless tires could be ideal for autonomous shuttles because they don’t require as much maintenance and are longer lasting, which means you can keep them in operation longer.
VW GOLF GTI & R PRICES SET
Volkswagen revealed how much buyers will have to shell out for the new GTI and R versions of the Mk 8 Golf. The GTI starts around $30,500, including destination, and goes up to just under $40-grand for a top-of-the-line Autobahn model. With the Golf R your choice is really, do you want a manual or a dual clutch automatic? The manual starts just over $44,500, while the DSG tacks on another $800-bucks. These are two of the best hot hatches coming out into the market, but, to me, that still seems like a lot of money.
LUCID REVEALS WARRANTY & SERVICE PLANS
While Lucid Motors has been impacted by the global chip shortage, its Air sedan is scheduled to come out soon. And to make sure its customers are confident that their vehicle will get them to their destination consistently and reliably, it’s revealed its warranty and service plans. The Limited Warranty covers basic vehicle issues for 4-years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first, while the powertrain and battery are covered for 8-years or 100,000 miles. If there is a problem with the vehicle there’s a number of avenues to take to get it fixed through its service plan, called Lucid Care, which is very similar to what Tesla has done. Most repairs can be handled by over-the-air updates and mobile techs who come right to you to fix the car. Their service vehicles are even equipped with a coffee maker, so the owner can enjoy a warm brew while their vehicle is being worked on. For more serious issues Lucid will tow the car for free to one of its service locations, which it says is rapidly growing and includes satellite or independent service facilities.
NEW HONDA CIVIC IS ALL GROWN UP
We just had the new Honda Civic come through the Autoline Garage and one thing we can say is that it sure has grown up. What used to be a small, light, athletic econobox has morphed into a larger, quieter, more comfortable sedan. Size-wise, the 11th generation of the Civic is probably as big as the original Honda Accord. Maybe that’s why it outsold the Accord last month in the American market. It even has some of the design cues of the Accord like that eyelash extension of the rear quarter window. Inside, the instrument panel has a very clean look, with long horizontal lines and none of that three-layer stacking that’s used on the Accord. The use of interior materials is good and some parts look downright sophisticated. There’s a honeycomb trim piece made of metal on the dash that hides the HVAC vents. Those vents are controlled by little joy sticks that feel solid and precise. Nothing cheap about it. The seats are soft, comfortable and offer good lumbar support. There’s a standard 7-inch screen or an optional 9-inch one that are easier to use thanks to bigger icons and fewer menus. Engineering-wise, Honda stiffened up the structure of the car, added more sound suppressing material, and even anchored the engine down better to reduce NVH. It shows. The suspension was re-tuned for a smoother ride and the Civic is now the kind of car you could comfortably take on a long trip, while you listen to the excellent Bose audio system. Under the hood is a naturally aspirated 2-liter engine that develops 158 horsepower. Or you can choose a 1.5 liter turbo that makes 180 horsepower, which is what we drove. Both are mated to a CVT that really doesn’t feel like a CVT thanks to it shifting in steps. Different trim lines with either engine will yield between 33 to 36 miles to the gallon. The base Civic starts around $23,000, but the top-of-the-line Touring model we drove cost $29,300. And of course we always include destination charges when we can when we quote prices. That’s a lot of money for what used to be an entry level car. But then again, you get a lot of car for the money.
PININFARINA VIRTUALLY DESIGNS WILD WEDGED CONCEPT
Pininfarina, the Italian design house that’s now owned by Indian automaker Mahindra, is known for coming up with some of the most iconic vehicle designs of all time. Now it’s showing off a very unique wedge-shaped concept, called the TEOREMA. No surprise, it’s electric and autonomous. But what makes this car really unique is that it was designed completely using virtual reality. Along with a scalable and modular architecture, Pininfarina says VR makes the design process faster and more efficient and it sounds like it hopes to implement it with future projects.
And that’s the end of today’s show. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you right back here again tomorrow.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.