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0:07 Foreign Brands Losing EV Race in China
0:57 Baidu Takes Robotaxi Lead
1:40 USPS Gets $3 Billion to Go Electric
3:13 ZEEKR 009 Gets Tech-Bling Styling
4:29 GM’s China JV Sells 1 Millionth EV
5:22 Cheapest & Costliest Brands to Maintain
7:09 GM Adds $1,500 “Option” to All Vehicles
7:55 Mercedes EQS SUV is Pricey
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FOREIGN CAR COs LOSING EV RACE IN CHINA
Foreign automakers are losing the EV race in the Chinese market. Last month Chinese brands accounted for 73% of sales for New Energy Vehicles of passenger cars. That’s up 9 percentage points from a year ago. BYD, Chery and GAC led the way. Tesla only accounted for 1.2% of the New Energy Vehicle segment, down from 2.2% last year. Foreign automakers like Volkswagen and General Motors, which are still the largest automakers in China by sales volume, are minor players in the NEV segment. While they have a full lineup of EVs on the way, it’s clear that domestic Chinese automakers have grabbed the first-mover advantage. And they have no intention of giving up their lead.
BAIDU TAKES ROBOTAXI LEAD
Looks like China just took the lead in the robotaxi race, too. Baidu became the first company in China to offer fully autonomous taxi rides with no safety driver. People in Chongqing and Wuhan can use the service which is called Apollo Go. Rides cost $2.37 plus another 41 cents per kilometer. In the U.S., Waymo and Cruise also offer robotaxi rides, but only in two cities: Phoenix and San Francisco. Baidu, which is an internet services company, claims it has the most patents globally for autonomous technology.
USPS GETS $3 BILLION TO GO FULL EV
Earlier in the year, when the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to update its fleet of vehicles it only planned for 10% to be electric. That unleashed a ton of criticism, so the USPS increased that number to 40%. But that meant a good portion of its fleet would be gas guzzling delivery vehicles that only get 8.6 MPG. The Post Office said it would need $3.3 billion more to go fully electric. Well, it just got the money. As part of the big climate bill that just passed the Senate, the USPS gets $3 billion to electrify its fleet.
ZEEKR 009 GETS TECH-BLING STYLING
What is it with minivans in China? They have some of the most expressive styling in the world. This is the 009 from a company called Zeekr, which is a premium electric brand from Chinese automaker Geely. Its massive, shiny grille jumps out at you right away. Zeekr calls it “the fountain of light” thanks to 154 strips of LEDs. The 009 is built on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture and features three rows of seating with room for 6 people. That’s the same platform Zeekr’s other model, the 001, is built on as well as Lotus’ new SUV, the Eletre, and the upcoming Polestar 5, which will be the production version of the Precept Concept. The 009 is said to have a 700 kilometer or 434 mile range, but that’s based on the outdated NEDC test cycle, so real range will be less. It’s predicted to reach those figures with a 100 kWh battery pack and a 272 horsepower electric motor that drives the rear wheels. The van will go on sale in China before the year is out.
GM’s CHINA JV SELLS 1 MILLIONTH EV
Speaking of EVs in China, the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture announced it sold its 1 millionth electric vehicle in China since it introduced its first EV in 2017. That’s a slow ramp up, for sure, but a lot of that came in the last two years thanks to the success of Wuling’s cheap, little MINI EV. And the numbers will only continue to grow. As we reported previously, Wuling started producing the joint venture’s first model outside of China, the right-hand-steer Air EV in Indonesia. Not only does that provide it an export hub but a way to avoid geopolitical issues should they arise. The JV also revealed they will expand their NEV lineups to include hybrid and plug-in hybrids.
CHEAPEST & COSTLIEST CAR BRANDS TO MAINTAIN
Which car brands have the lowest operating costs, and which have the highest? You’re going to be shocked by a Consumer Reports study that ranks brands by how much they cost to maintain and repair per year after 5 and 10 years of ownership. Stunningly, Cadillac is the least expensive brand to maintain, only costing owners $225 a year on average after the vehicle is 10 years old. The average owner spends $208 annually on repairs on a vehicle that is five years old, and $406 a year after 10 years. So Cadillac is way below that. Then come Buick, Toyota, Chrysler and Mazda. At the other end of the spectrum, BMW is the most expensive brand, costing $911 a year on average once the vehicle is a decade old. European luxury brands dominate the most expensive list, including Audi, Mercedes, Volvo and MINI. Consumer Reports says parts and labor are far more expensive with the European automakers.
GM ADDS $1,500 “OPTION” TO ALL VEHICLES
Here’s a good way to tick off your customers. General Motors is forcing buyers to pay $1,500 for an OnStar plan that’s listed on the window sticker as optional. The three-year plan is standard but owners will be charged even if they don’t activate OnStar. Since the beginning of June, Buick and GMC buyers have been forced to pay for the package, Cadillac started doing it in July and Chevy will soon disclose its plans. GM claims by making OnStar standard it will enhance the ownership experience. But not surprisingly, customers aren’t happy with this and even dealers are upset because they have to go along with it.
MERCEDES EQS SUV IS PRICEY, PRICEY, PRICEY
Mercedes is opening up the order books for the EQS SUV in Europe, so now we know what the big electric SUV will cost. In Germany it starts over 110,500 euros, including taxes, which is about $113,000. The top-of-the-line EQS 580 4Matic starts at roughly 135,300 euros or about $138,500. The EQS SUV is built at Mercedes’ plant in the U.S. and the first examples will reach customers in December.
SANDY MUNRO RETURNS TO AUTOLINE AFTER HOURS
We’ve got a great Autoline After Hours coming up Thursday. Sandy Munro will be back on the show and we’ll get his insights on everything from what he sees going on in the auto industry today to how he turned into a YouTube star. So join John and Gary for what promises to be a lively, unscripted and brutally honest discussion.
But that’s the end of today’s show. Thanks for joining us and we’ll be right back here again tomorrow.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.