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0:08 U.S. New Car Market Plummets, Tesla Soars
1:55 Hertz to Buy 65,000 Polestars
2:38 Car Thieves Turn to Loan Scams
4:10 Electrified Cars = 40% Of French Sales
4:44 BYD Drops ICE-Only Cars
5:05 Tesla Shanghai Still Shut
5:26 Beijing Auto Show Postponed Again
5:40 Mercedes’ Massive Price Hike in China
6:39 BMW i3 Name Reborn in China
7:34 EV Vans Cheaper Than Diesels
8:30 Ford Tops List of AWD Sales
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
U.S. NEW CAR MARKET PLUMMETS, TESLA SOARS
Sales of new cars and trucks in the US market in March fell an alarming 25% compared to a year ago. Even so, automakers managed to sell 1.2 million vehicles. And sales in March were 6% higher than they were in February. But many automakers had a terrible month. Volkswagen dropped the most, with sales plummeting 46%. Nissan was down 40%. Subaru, Porsche and Mitsubishi each lost about one third of their sales. Only one automaker had a terrific month. Only one. And you all know who it was. Tesla. It was up 28%. Wards Intelligence estimates Tesla sold 36,000 cars in the US market last month, easily outselling BMW, Mercedes and Audi. Thanks to Tesla, the total market share of EVs was 4.5%. Of course, it wasn’t only Tesla that drove up sales of electrics. We saw a lot of new entries that came into the market over the last year, such as the Hummer EV, Mercedes EQS, BMW iX, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and models from Lucid and Rivian. Tesla continues to dominate the EV segment, but these new entries stole two points of market share. A year ago, Tesla had 66% of the segment. Now it has 64%. As long as Tesla continues to see its sales grow it probably won’t worry too much about losing share. But it will continue to lose share as more entrants come into the market. It’s a mathematical law. All market share has to add up to 100%.
|U.S. NEW VEHICLE SALES MARCH, 2022
|Source: Wards Intelligence
HERTZ TO BUY 65,000 POLESTARS
Along those lines, Hertz announced it will add 65,000 Polestar EVs to its fleet of rental cars. That’s on a global basis, and over a 5-year period. The cars will become available in Europe, the US and Australia this year. Hertz also offers Tesla Model Ys to rent, and said it was going to add 100,000 of them to its fleet. But Elon Musk said Tesla would not discount those cars and that Hertz would just have to get in line to buy them like anyone else. So it’s unclear if Hertz is turning to Polestar to be able to get the number of EVs that it needs and at the price that it wants.
CAR THIEVES TURN TO LOAN SCAMS
Car thieves are getting more sophisticated. Instead of breaking into cars, they’re walking into dealerships, presenting fake financial information, and getting dealers to give them financing to buy a new car. Wards reports that last year fraudulent car loans came to $7.7 billion, which is a staggering number. Their favorite targets are the Dodge Charger and Challenger, Land Rovers and Mercedes-Benzes, and even the Toyota Camry. They use false credit-application information, like forged pay stubs, fake identities and phony places of employment. And they honed their skills during the pandemic by scamming the government’s unemployment and paycheck protection programs. Car dealers are now investing in software that can identify a potential scammer.
ELECTRIFIED CARS = 40% OF FRENCH SALES
For the first time ever, sales of electrified vehicles outsold gasoline powered models in France. BEVs, plug-ins and hybrids accounted for 40% of sales in the first quarter compared to 38% for gasoline cars. But when you include diesels, ICE models still top the list. The Tesla Model 3 was the top selling EV in France last month. But the total French market was down 20% in March, the tenth straight month sales have fallen.
BYD DROPS ICE-ONLY CARS
Chinese automaker BYD stopped producing ICE-only cars last month. But it will continue making engines for plug-in hybrids. The company sold nearly 105,000 new energy vehicles in March, its highest total ever. New energy vehicles include plug-ins, BEVs and fuel cell vehicles.
TESLA SHANGHAI STILL SHUT
Tesla still can’t restart production in Shanghai. That’s because of drastic COVID lockdowns in the city. It had hoped to open back up today but had to cancel that plan. That plant was making about 16,000 cars a week, but it’s not clear when it will fire up its assembly lines again.
BEIJING AUTO SHOW POSTPONED AGAIN
That COVID outbreak in China is also forcing the Beijing auto show to be indefinitely postponed. The show was supposed to be held later this month but now it’s postponed until further notice.
MERCEDES’ MASSIVE PRICE HIKE IN CHINA
Keeping with China for the moment, Mercedes is significantly boosting prices. For example, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 4MATIC just got a nearly $20,000 price hike. It now costs–are you sitting down–about $490,000. The Mercedes-Maybach S 580 4MATIC got $16,000 added to the price, while the Mercedes S 400 L went up about $4,700. Those are the high-end models. Prices for its more mainstream vehicles are going up anywhere from $100 to $1,000.
BMW i3 NAME REBORN IN CHINA
Hey, check out the new BMW i3. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. That’s a sedan. You may remember we previously reported that the old i3 is on its way out and the name is being reused for the all-electric version of the 3-Series in China, which is based on the long-wheelbase model. But the new and old i3 have nothing in common, other than they’re both BMWs. The new sedan is powered by a single rear motor that produces over 280 horsepower and is fed by a 66.1 kWh battery pack that provides 327 miles or 526 kilometers of range based on China’s test cycle. No range extender for this version. It’s also said the i3 sedan will do 0-100 km/h in 6.2 seconds.
EV VANS CHEAPER THAN DIESELS
Sales of electric cars are really taking off in Europe. They accounted for 9% of new car sales last year. But it’s a different story for electric vans. They only made up 3% of new van sales in Europe in 2021. And that despite the fact that they’re significantly cheaper to operate. According to trade group Transport & Environment, the average electric van costs 25% less to own and operate in Europe over a 4 to 5-year period, compared to a diesel-powered van. Including purchase price, running and maintenance costs an electric van will cost .15 euro cents per kilometer versus .20 cents per kilometer for the diesel van. This does include subsidies for the electric vans but even if you don’t include them, the electric vans are still cheaper to operate in five out of the six countries it ran the numbers in.
FORD TOPS LIST OF AWD SALES
Who do you think sold the most 4-wheel drive vehicles in the U.S. last year? You might say Jeep, but according to data from S&P Global Mobility, it was Ford. It sold 1.2 million 4-wheel powered vehicles, which includes AWD, 4-wheel drive and electric all-wheel drive. That 1.2 million was 18% better than Toyota, the next best-selling brand, and 42% more than Jeep. When you slice it all up, Ford has 13 model variants that would fit into this category.
But that’s a wrap for today. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.