Listen to “AD #3400 – EV Startups’ Stock May Never Recover; Toyota Supra Gets 6-Speed Manual; EVs Do Well in Euro NCAP” on Spreaker.
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0:08 U.S. Inventory Shortage Easing
0:50 EV Startups’ Stock May Never Recover
1:49 Foxconn Lands Luxgen n7
3:39 Valmet Lands EV Assembly Contracts
4:52 Toyota Supra Gets 6-Speed Manual
5:20 Lithium Mine to Open in Canada
6:08 EVs Do Well in Euro NCAP
8:06 Renault Takes EVs To Latin America
8:56 NIO Offering AR Glasses
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
U.S. INVENTORY SHORTAGE EASING
Prices of new cars started shooting skyward ever since inventory tightened up, first because of Covid shutdowns and then because of the chip shortage. Well, maybe we’re in for some relief. Wards reports that inventory levels in the U.S. rose over 10% in August and are 18% ahead of where they were a year ago. Automakers now have 1.7 million vehicles in inventory which translates to a 29-day supply. Wards says transaction prices are easing up a bit and automakers are actually increasing their incentives, and that should lead to higher sales.
EV STARTUPS’ STOCK MAY NEVER RECOVER
Elon Musk has said that Tesla was only a month away from going bankrupt in 2017, just before the Model 3 was launched. And that launch saved the company. But the Wall Street Journal says other EV startups can’t count on that kind of rebound. They’re all struggling with shaky supply chains, soaring commodity prices and are burning through cash. Worse still, they’re facing much stiffer competition from legacy automakers, something Tesla did not have to contend as much with five years ago. And as the legacy automakers come out with their own EVs they don’t need to buy ZEV credits, so that eliminates another income opportunity for the startups. Add it all up and the Wall Street Journal says those startups may never recover their early stock valuations, when the market was going crazy over EV startups.
FOXCONN LANDS LUXGEN n7
Foxconn is doing contract assembly work for Lordstown Motors and Fisker, and now it landed another automaker: Luxgen. That’s the brand from Yulon Motor which is based in Taiwan. Foxconn, which is Apple’s largest contract manufacturer, actually created a subsidiary called Foxtron to handle all its automotive work. And it was Foxtron that helped design and develop the Luxgen electric crossover called the n7. We don’t know much about it, except that it is built on Foxtron’s open-source MIH skateboard and that it will go on sale next month in Taiwan.
VALMET LANDS EV ASSEMBLY CONTRACTS
Finnish contract manufacturer, Valmet, has a majority of the solar electric vehicle or SEV market locked up. Yesterday, we said NEVS, the company that bought out Saab, would make the Sono Sion, but thanks to Robert Kempe who pointed out Valmet will make the SEV in Finland. Sono made the switch from NEVS to Valmet in April. And Valmet is also going to build another SEV, the Lightyear Zero. You may remember when we reported on the wickedly aerodynamic and wickedly expensive vehicle back in June. That’s when it opened the order books for the $250,000 solar electric. But Lightyear’s next model will be much more affordably priced. The Lightyear 2 is meant to be a higher volume vehicle that will cost around 30,000 euros and is scheduled to go into production in 2025. The company just raised another 81 million euros in its latest funding round, which it will use to keep production of the Lightyear Zero on track and development of the Two moving forward.
TOYOTA SUPRA GETS 6-SPEED MANUAL
Toyota is doing its part to #savethemanuals. It added a 6-speed manual transmission option on the 6-cylinder version of the Supra for the 2023 model year. And the car is now on sale in the U.S. market. Even better still, there’s no price difference between the automatic. It starts at roughly $53,500, including destination charges.
LITHIUM MINE TO OPEN IN CANADA
As we have said before, Canada has all the natural resources needed to make EVs and a new lithium mining company wants to start supplying to the automotive industry. Snow Lake Lithium, whose mine is located in Manitoba, says it expects to pull enough lithium out of the ground to power 500,000 EVs a year. That production is scheduled to kick off in 2025, but right now Snow Lake is looking for a major OEM or battery manufacturer to form a joint venture with. We suspect that will happen soon. But that lithium may not make its way to the US market. The Inflation Reduction Act requires EV batteries to be made in the U.S. or they won’t qualify for a tax credit.
EVs DO WELL IN EURO NCAP
Automakers are doing a good job of making their electric cars safe. The Euro NCAP released its latest round of crash tests and several EVs earned a 5-star score. That includes the Tesla Model Y built in Germany, which was praised for its ability to avoid accidents. Another electric, the Genesis GV60, also got 5-stars, in part, because of all the safety equipment that it comes standard with. You might have expected that from those brands, but what about Chinese automaker Great Wall? Two of its EVs, the Ora Funky Cat and Wey Coffee 01, both received a 5-star rating as well. And these are just the latest in a long list of EVs that earn a 5-star score in the Euro NCAP.
JD POWER’S DOUG BETTS ON AAH
Are legacy automakers starting to make inroads in the EV segment? That’s going to be the topic tomorrow on Autoline After Hours. Doug Betts, the president of Automotive at JD Power will be on the show. He says buyer consideration for EVs from legacy automakers is going up fast. So, how fast and how much? We want to know too, and we invite you to join us tomorrow on our website or our YouTube channel.
RENAULT TAKES EVs TO LATIN AMERICA
EVs are not just for developed countries. Renault is expanding its EV lineup into Central and South America, for both passenger and commercial vehicles. Last year, it started selling its Kwid E-Tech Electric in Brazil and in the first half of 2023, Renault will make it available in 13 more Central and South American countries. In addition to that, the Megane E-Tech Electric will go on sale in Brazil in the first half of 2023 followed by Argentina, Columbia and Mexico in the second half of the year. Renault will launch the electric Kangoo van in those same countries in 2023 and it will offer the larger Master electric van in Brazil, Columbia and Mexico next year as well.
NIO OFFERING AR GLASSES
Chinese automaker NIO is taking in-car entertainment to a new level. It just launched augmented reality glasses designed to work with its panoramic digital cockpit. It offers a cinema quality 3D viewing experience with an equivalent 130-inch screen and a Dolby Atmos sound system. Since they’re designed for in-car use, the glasses feature a higher brightness, anti-glare and anti-shake functions compared to regular AR glasses. They currently only work in NIO vehicles built on its NT 2.0 platform but it’s working on making it available for vehicles based on the prior platform. The AR glasses cost $330 and were made in collaboration with Nreal Technology.
But that’s a wrap for today. Thanks for joining us.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.