Listen to “AD #3494 – Toyota Corolla Still #1 In the World; Saudis To Buy Out Lucid; Aptera Needs Your Money!” on Spreaker.
Follow us on social media:
0:08 Saudis To Buy Out Lucid
1:26 Renault & Nissan Form New Alliance
2:16 Nissan Uses EV For Elevators During Earthquakes
3:23 Aptera Needs Your Money!
4:24 Xpeng Gets VTOL Flight License
5:01 Corvette Offers GT3 Race Car
6:53 Chinese Auto Exports Booming
7:47 Vertige Is New British Sports Car
8:46 Toyota Corolla Still #1 In the World
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
SAUDIS TO BUY OUT LUCID
Saudi Arabia sure is throwing its money around. No doubt you already know about how the Saudi Public Investment Fund invested $2 billion in its LIV professional golf league. It’s trying to take over the WWE wrestling series and reportedly is ready to shell out $20 billion to take over Formula One. It’s willing to pay about $860 million to buy Newcastle United in the UK’s Premier League, and it’s paying soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo $428 million to play for a Saudi team and lobby for Saudi Arabia to get the World Cup. The Saudi Public Investment Firm is also investing heavily in automotive. It owns nearly 17% of Aston Martin. It invested about $680 million in McLaren. It has a deal with Foxconn to build electric cars in Saudi Arabia using technology it will license from BMW. And now comes word that it will buy out the rest of Lucid Motors. The kingdom is trying to get ready for the day when demand for oil drops and the Public Investment Fund has a war chest of $620 billion to invest in whatever strikes the fancy of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
RENAULT & NISSAN FORM NEW ALLIANCE
Renault and Nissan laid out the groundwork to make them more equal partners in their alliance. Renault will chop its stake in Nissan from 43% to 15%, and put 28% of Nissan shares into a French trust. Nissan will also have a 15% share in Renault and get full voting rights for the first time. Nissan also agreed to invest in Renault’s EV unit, Ampere. And the two automakers will jointly develop vehicles and technologies for Latin America, India and Europe. The Alliance was at risk of unraveling because Nissan was unhappy that Renault had more power, even though it was a smaller company than Nissan. As long as it’s approved by the board of directors, the structural change is a big win for the Japanese automaker.
NISSAN USES EV FOR ELEVATORS DURING EARTHQUAKES
And in other Nissan news, it’s partnering with Hitachi to develop a system that will use EV batteries to power elevators during any blackout through bi-directional charging. The two companies demonstrated a pilot project that ran an elevator with the capacity for nine people, for 10 hours at slow speeds. It did this by drawing power from an electric Sakura, a kei car Nissan sells in the country. Japan is prone to earthquakes and this system is designed to keep the elevators running even if the power gets knocked out.
APTERA NEEDS YOUR MONEY!
Aptera, the solar EV maker, is attempting to crowdfund its start of production. Despite just showing off its production-intent model, Aptera says it needs another $20-50 million dollars to start production. So, it’s launching an Accelerator Program to raise funds. Anyone that invests $10,000 or more will be added to a leaderboard, and the first 2,000 Launch Editions go to the people who invested the most. Aptera will also waive the $100 reservation fee and offer a 5% discount on the final price of the vehicle for those who invest $10K+. The Program runs towards the end of March and since its manufacturing partner, CPC Group, estimates it will take 6 months to start building bodies, the first Aptera to reach a customer’s hand won’t be until later in the year at the earliest. Aptera says it has 40,000 reservations, representing $1.5 billion in potential revenue.
XPENG GETS VTOL FLIGHT LICENSE
Soon commuters in China could be taking to the skies, rather than the roads. The air mobility division of Chinese automaker XPeng was given the first flight license by the Civil Aviation Administration of China for its electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft or eVTOL, the X2. It will be allowed to conduct flights under “licensed conditions.” However, it didn’t reveal what those conditions are. The X2 is actually the 5th aircraft built by XPeng, but the first to get the license, which is a real milestone for VTOLs.
CORVETTE OFFERS GT3 RACE CAR
For the first time ever Chevy is going to offer a GT3 race car to privateers. It’s based on the Corvette Z06 and is built by GM’s Motorsports Engineering division and Pratt & Miller, the same company that fields the Corvette C8.R. The Z06 GT3.R starts out life as a bare aluminum chassis, which then has a steel roll cage bolted to it. The suspension configuration – double-wishbone front and rear – is the same as the Z06, but the race car also gets stiffer springs and dampers as well as racing brakes. And, of course, there’s all the added aerodynamic bits. Also like the Z06, it shares a 5.5L flat plane crank V8, but there have been a few tweaks. Chevy says the race engine and production engine are over 70% the same. It’s specifically targeting customer racing teams with the Z06 GT3.R. It makes its racing debut at the 2024 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Corvette really needs more teams racing its cars. At the Rolex yesterday, only one Corvette competed against 31 other cars from Porsche, Mercedes, Aston Martin, Lexus, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Acura, McLaren and BMW.
CHINESE AUTO EXPORTS BOOMING
The Chinese economy is trying to regain its footing after Covid lockdowns disrupted business. But one area where it’s booming is with automotive exports. Last year China exported 3.1 million vehicles, up 54%. Some of its most successful markets are the UAE and Mexico. Nearly 680,000 of total exports were New Energy Vehicles, representing a 120% gain. They mostly went to Belgium, the UK and the Philippines. New Energy Vehicles are also selling well in Southeast Asia, a market that is dominated by Japanese automakers. But with the Japanese lagging far behind in EVs, they could lose their dominance to Chinese automakers. The biggest exporters from China last year were SAIC, Chery, Tesla, Changan and Dongfeng.
VERTIGE IS NEW BRITISH SPORTS CAR
Britain pretty much taught the world how to make small, lightweight, nimble sports cars and the roots of that tradition still run deep. Meet the latest effort, the Vertige, a mid-engine sports car that only weighs about 1,800 pounds. It’s powered by a naturally aspirated Ford Duratec engine with 208 horsepower and 155 pound feet of torque that’s delivered through a 6-speed manual gearbox. Though the car is small there is 7 cubic feet of luggage space in the trunk, I mean the boot. The car is hand built to order. 100% of it comes from England. It starts at $60,000, which includes a 20% value added tax. And we want to thank our UK viewer Richard Hinton for bringing this to our attention. We do a pretty good job of covering the auto industry, but we don’t see everything, so if you see something that you think is pretty interesting, send it our way.
TOYOTA COROLLA STILL #1 IN THE WORLD
Toyota dominates the list of the 10 best-selling models in the world. According to data collected by Focus 2 Move, the Corolla was the number one seller last year, with 1.12 million sold. That was well ahead of the 871,000 RAV4s sold last year, which is second on the list. It was followed by the Ford F-Series. And the Tesla Model Y shot up 15 spots to number 4 on the list, thanks to a nearly 90% increase in sales. And rounding out the top 10 in order are the Toyota Camry, Honda CR-V, Chevy Silverado, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota Hilux and the Ram pick-up. And next year BYD may sneak into the top 10. Its Song crossover ranked 14 on the list, up from 85th place the previous year and its Qin Plus sedan ranks 26th, up from 120.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for joining us.
Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website: WardsAuto.com
Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.