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0:00 Mercedes Dumps EQ Brand
0:36 Tesla 1 Million Unit Gigafactory for Indonesia
1:13 U.S. ATP Close to $50-Grnad
2:44 Porsche Taycan Sales Down in 2022
3:27 NEV Sales in China Up Over 93%
4:18 Last Model With Renault Sport Logo
5:59 Prep Your EV for Cold Weather Driving
6:43 NACTOY Winners
7:29 Magna’s Morphing Surfaces for Active Aero
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
MERCEDES DUMPS EQ BRAND
Well, that didn’t last long. After putting so much effort into creating the EQ brand for its electric cars, Mercedes is throwing it all out the window. Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper reports the EQ brand will go away with the next-gen EVs that Mercedes will launch at the end of 2024. With the automaker going all electric and phasing out ICE vehicles from its lineup, Mercedes feels the EQ name is redundant and that it doesn’t need it anymore.
TESLA 1 M GIGAFACTORY FOR INDONESIA
Elon Musk predicts that Tesla will sell 20 million cars a year by the end of the decade. And now Bloomberg reports that the automaker is closing in on a deal to build a gigafactory in Indonesia. Supposedly, the plant will be able to make 1 million vehicles a year. Tesla also wants to open several other facilities in the country for its supply chain. Indonesia has been courting Tesla for several years, and last year it struck a deal to supply nickel that could be worth $5 billion. Musk says Tesla will eventually build 10 to 12 new plants globally.
U.S. ATP CLOSE TO $50,000
Maybe new car prices will start to come down at some point, but it’s not happening yet. Kelley Blue Book reports that the ATP, or average transaction price, for a new vehicle in the U.S. was $49,507 in December, which is a record high. That’s $900 more than in November and nearly $2,300 more compared to a year ago. If you don’t count luxury vehicles, the average ATP is still a whopping $45,578, which is also a record. Interestingly, electric vehicle prices actually declined last month by nearly $3,600 to about $61,500. That’s because Tesla slashed its prices and since it accounts for 65% of the EV market in the U.S., it dragged down the average EV ATP.
PORSCHE TAYCAN SALES DOWN IN 2022
Sales of electric cars are soaring, but not for every model. The Volkswagen Group sold more than 572,000 BEVs in 2022, an increase of 26% compared to the previous year. But Porsche saw Taycan sales drop. It sold just under 35,000 Taycans around the world last year, a decrease of 16%. Porsche blames supply chain bottlenecks and limited parts availability. However, its total sales were up 3% compared to 2021 and came in at nearly 310,000 units. The Cayenne is Porsche’s best-selling model with deliveries of over 95,000.
NEV SALES IN CHINA UP 93%
Speaking of EVs sales, China nearly doubled the number of new NEVs on its roads in 2022. Automakers sold nearly 6.9 million NEVs, which includes BEVs, PHEVs and fuel-cells. That’s up a whopping 93% compared to the previous year. With total sales around 26.8 million units it means NEVs accounted for over 25% market share in China, which is up from 13.5% in 2021. It’s amazing to see that China sold nearly 27 million vehicles last year. In the U.S., automakers sold less than 14 million vehicles in 2022 and even when it was at record levels before the pandemic sales came in around 17 million units.
LAST RENAULT WITH SPORT LOGO
Renault is getting ready to launch the last vehicle that will ever wear a Renault Sport logo. Based on the Megane R.S. Trophy, the new Megane R.S. Ultime features its own special touches. Highlights include diamond graphics, wider fenders, side air vents, 119-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, central exhaust, rear spoiler and diffuser, 4-wheel steering and Recaro seats. Under the hood is a turbo 4-cylinder that sends its 300 horsepower through a mechanical differential, which helps it get from 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. The Megane R.S. Ultime will be limited to 1,976 examples, the same year Renault Sport was founded. Going forward, Renault says Alpine “will write the next chapters in this story.”
PREP YOUR EV FOR COLD WEATHER DRIVING
EVs lose a lot of range in cold weather. Everyone knows that. So ZETA, the Zero Emission Transportation Association, offers up these recommendations. Turn on the heating system in your EV about 20 minutes before you drive and while it’s still plugged in. That makes sure the battery and cabin are warm before you start and that saves battery power. Plan to charge your car more frequently, and try to use the seat heaters to keep warm, since they use less power than the fan. Also, if you can’t park indoors, brush the snow off your car for better aerodynamic efficiency. And if you’re going to store your EV during the winter, make sure the battery is charged to at least 70%.
NACTOY, The North American Car, Truck and Utility Award, handed out the winner trophies yesterday. The Ford F-150 Lightning took the award for Truck of the Year. The Acura Integra took Car Of The Year. And the Kia EV6 won Utility of the year. Those awards are voted on by 50 automotive journalists from the US and Canada who test drive all the vehicles. Each juror then gets 10 points to distribute amongst the finalists. And the vehicles with the most points win the awards. Automakers covet these because they involve so many different journalists including enthusiast, trade and news reporters–and because NACTOY doesn’t take any advertising from automakers or anyone else for that matter.
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MAGNA’S MORPHING SURFACES FOR ACTIVE AERO
All week long we’ve been reporting on the best new automotive technology that we saw at CES, and that includes the active aero that Magna unveiled. The only problem is that Magna is playing its cards close to the vest. It’s not explaining exactly how it works. It showed the front end of a car where the side vents and grille would open and close to improve a car’s aerodynamics, especially to increase the range of electric vehicles. We think Magna might be using so-called smart materials, where a material can be bent into one shape and then return to its original shape with a low electric current. Magna branded this technology Mezzo Plus, and refers to it as morphing surfaces. The company says it also has safety applications and we can’t wait to learn more about that, as well as how this technology actually works. Check out today’s transcript or description box for an interview we did at CES with Anton Mayer, the CTO of Magna.
AAH ALL ABOUT CES 2023
Speaking of CES, that’s going to be the topic on Autoline After Hours today. That show is so big, it’s hard to cover everything that gets shown there. So we’ve got Chris Thomas, the former CTO of Borg-Warner coming on the show to talk about what he saw. Same goes for Paul Eisenstein, the publisher of The Detroit Bureau. And of course John and Gary will be sharing what they learned from CES. This could be the most comprehensive coverage of the newest automotive technology that debuted last week than you can find anywhere else. And we invite you to tune in when AAH goes live at 3 pm eastern time today.
But that’s it 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.