Listen to “AD #3259 – Mach-E Doubles Mustang Sales; High Prices Opens Door For Chinese Cars; Bridgestone Expands Beyond Tires” on Spreaker.
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0:08 Mach-E Doubles Global Mustang Sales
0:58 Ford Nabs Top Tesla Engineer
1:30 BMW Boosts Chinese Ownership
2:12 Tesla Opens Design Center in Beijing
3:11 Mercedes To Make eSprinter in Germany & U.S.
3:55 Ram EV Will Get Range Extender
4:19 Lincoln Prepares EV Tidal Wave
5:37 High U.S. Car Prices Opens the Door to Cheap Chinese Cars
6:45 Valeo Pivots from ICE to EV
7:11 First 200-kW Motor Without Rare Earths
7:33 Bridgestone Expands Beyond Making Tires
8:10 Car Companies & Their Super Bowl Ads
8:48 You Said It!
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
MACH-E DOUBLES GLOBAL MUSTANG SALES
A lot of Mustang enthusiasts were really upset when Ford called the Mach-E a Mustang. But our review of production numbers from Wards Intelligence shows there is now as much demand for electric Mustangs, as there is for Mustangs with turbo 4s and V8s. Last year, Ford built about 66,000 ICE Mustangs and almost 64,000 Mach-Es. In other words, the electric version doubled the size of the Mustang brand. This year, Ford will ramp up production of the Mach-E in North America to 100,000 units and that doesn’t include the Mach-Es that it’s making in China. So that means this year the electric Mustang will far outsell Mustangs with IC engines. Thanks to the Mach-E, Ford is creating a whole new group of Mustang enthusiasts all around the world.
FORD NABS TOP TESLA ENGINEER
On top of that, Ford just pulled off a major coup by poaching one of Tesla’s top engineers, Alan Clarke. He worked at Tesla for more than 12 years and was most recently the director of new programs engineering. He also worked on products including the Model 3, Model Y and Roadster. Clarke will be part of Ford’s advanced EV development team which is headed by Doug Field, another former Tesla executive, who worked at Apple before joining Ford last September.
BMW BOOSTS CHINESE OWNERSHIP
BMW is taking advantage of a new Chinese law that allows foreign automakers to take a controlling interest in their joint venture partnerships. BMW is boosting its ownership in its joint venture with China’s Brilliance Automotive to 75%. It used to have 50%. The JV has about 23,000 employees and makes 700,000 vehicles a year, but it’s expanding production capacity at two plants and building an all-new one. The extra capacity will be used to make BMW vehicles for the Chinese market, including BEVs. No doubt we’ll see more foreign companies taking control of their joint ventures in China.
TESLA OPENS DESIGN CENTER IN BEIJING
And sticking with the Chinese market for the moment, Tesla will open a design center in Beijing to design cars specifically for the Chinese market. Smart move. Currently, all of Tesla’s operations are in Shanghai. By expanding to Beijing, it’s going to get a lot more support from politicians and bureaucrats in the capital city of the Middle Kingdom.
MERCEDES TO MAKE E-SPRINTER IN GERMANY & U.S.
Mercedes will not only sell its next-generation all-electric Sprinter in both the U.S. and Canada, it’s going to make them in South Carolina, not just in Germany. Here’s what we know so far. The new eSprinter will come in three battery sizes, up from two, two wheelbases and a number of body variants. In some configurations, the range will more than double. The current eSprinter has either a 44-kWh battery that provides 115 kilometers or 71 miles of range, or a 55-kWh pack with 150 kilometers or 93 miles of range. Production kicks off the second half of next year.
RAM EV WILL GET RANGE EXTENDER
Ram teased that it will come out with an all-electric version of the 1500 pickup in 2024. But Autoblog reports that it will also have a range-extender version that hits the market at the same time. There’s no details at the moment but they speculate it’s being done for towing, which would make a lot of sense because you can really zap an EVs range when you hook up a trailer to the back.
LINCOLN PREPARES EV TIDAL WAVE
Ford has been fairly tight lipped about plans to electrify the Lincoln brand. But Reuters reports it plans to introduce at least 5 new battery-powered SUVs in North America. That’s a bit interesting because Lincoln currently only has 4 models in its lineup. We wonder where another fits in? The first to come will be an electric version of the Aviator. It’s said to go into production in late 2024 or early 2025 at Ford’s Oakville assembly plant in Canada. The Corsair and Nautilus EVs follow after that in either 2025 or 2026 and will ride on an improved version of the Mustang Mach-E platform. And finally, is the Navigator in 2026. It will not use the upcoming F-150 Lightning platform but rather an all-new dedicated BEV architecture. The roadmap to electrifying Lincoln is part of Ford’s $30 billion investment in EVs that it announced in May last year.
HIGH U.S. CAR PRICES OPENS THE DOOR TO CHEAP CHINESE CARS
Car prices really shot up a lot last year in the U.S. market. The average new car is now $47,000. Now interest rates are going up, which will make cars even more expensive. And that could open the door for new competitors, like Chinese automakers, to come into the low end of the market. That’s one of the topics on the latest Autoline After Hours. Jeff Schuster, an analyst with LMC Automotive, was the guest on the show. Take a look.
Gary Vasilash: “I even wonder if that might not be a possibility for the Chinese to come into the U.S. market.”
Jeff Schuster: “That, I think, is a very viable option, to come in as a low-cost entry. There’s a lot of capacity, a lot of volume that could be pushed here, if they want to go that route. I think that’s certainly a possibility. As the industry has moved up (in price) you’ve got this white space now that didn’t really exist before, or at least certainly at the level that it does now. I think that’s definitely something to keep an eye on.”
There’s a ton of great information in that show including a segment on Tesla’s chances of surpassing Ford and GM in U.S. market share by the end of the decade.
VALEO PIVOTS FROM ICE TO EV
As you know we like to keep track of what’s going on in the supplier industry, and here are some quick updates. Valeo, the big French supplier, is buying out the stake that Siemens has in their joint venture that makes electric motors, inverters and onboard chargers for BEVs and PHEVs. Valeo expects that business to grow more than 12% a year and top €8.5 billion in sales by 2025.
FIRST 200-KW MOTOR WITHOUT RARE EARTHS
In fact, Valeo just landed a contract with Renault to jointly develop EV motors without rare earth materials. Valeo says it will be the first to mass produce 200 kilowatt motors without rare earths. That’s 268 horsepower. Those motors will go into production in 2027.
BRIDGESTONE EXPANDS BEYOND MAKING TIRES
Bridgestone wants to be more than just a tire company. It wants to get into mobility services. So it just signed a deal with the Spanish startup called Scoobic that makes electric last mile delivery vehicles. Bridgestone will supply software for fleet management including information on battery level, charging time and nearest charging points. And of course, it will supply the tires too. Interestingly, Bridgestone will use its retail stores throughout Europe to service these vehicles. And it plans to use its retail stores for other mobility solutions in other parts of the world as well.
CAR COMPANIES & THEIR SUPER BOWL ADS
The Big Game is this Sunday and Polestar is going to air its first ever Super Bowl ad. Unlike most commercials, it won’t be flashy. It will highlight styling aspects of the Polestar 2 and is centered around its motto of ‘no compromises.’
GM on the other hand, is reprising the role of Mike Myers as Dr. Evil. He’s back after all these years with the rest of the gang, but only to realize he’s no longer the most evil thing in the world. It’s now climate change. So, Dr. Evil vows to save the world, but only so he can take it over again.
YOU SAID IT!
And now it’s time for You Said It! We couldn’t ignore all the comments we got about the protesting truckers along the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit in the U.S. and Windsor in Canada. Of course, people were on all sides of the topic. Luke Rinderknecht says “Salute to the truckers,” while others chimed in with “I support the truckers. Trudeau has to give in” and “Go Truckers! Shut the whole World Down!” On the other side were some, like Lambo2015 who says, “The Freedom Convoy goes beyond a peaceful protest. I fully support the fact that people have the right to protest and should when they feel they are not being heard by the folks that represent us… When you potentially start to alter commerce and the freedoms of others its a problem.” While it’s no shock people are on both sides of the fence, I was surprised how most people stayed rather calm in presenting their side. Keep up the good work everyone.
And we’ll keep on doing our best to be the best source for automotive news. But that’s a wrap for this week. I hope you have a great weekend.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.