Listen to “AD #3504 – Tesla Surpasses GM, Ford in Profits; Ram REV: Changes from Concept to Production; Baojun’s Cute Yep EV” on Spreaker.
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0:08 Ford’s Big Battery Announcement
0:57 Tesla Surpasses GM, Ford in Profits
1:47 Tesla Faces Competitive Threat in China
3:20 Ram REV: Changes from Concept to Production
4:24 Porsche Names Paint Job Color After Customer
5:17 Izzat an EV? Yep.
6:47 OEMs Take Data Mining In-House
7:43 Pricing Party Over for Car Dealers
8:12 BYD Branches Out to The World
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FORD’S BIG BATTERY ANNOUNCEMENT
By the time you’re watching this, the official news will already be out. As we were getting ready to post today’s show, Ford was getting ready to announce plans for an LFP battery plant that it’s going to build with CATL in Michigan. The plant represents a $3.5 billion investment and will create 2,500 jobs. Ford will own the plant and run the operations, while CATL will supply its LFP intellectual property and know-how. This is the same plant that governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia rejected because it involved CATL, which is a Chinese company. So we’d like to know what you think. Would you reject a battery plant that involves a Chinese partner, or would you welcome the jobs and the investment?
TESLA SURPASSES GM, FORD IN PROFITS
Here’s something that’s kind of a historical milestone in the auto industry. Last year Tesla made more money than GM or Ford. It had a higher net profit. And it wasn’t even close. Ford lost $2 billion, so it wasn’t even in the game. GM made $9.9 billion, which was quite good. But Tesla made $12.5 billion. Keep in mind that GM and Ford sold millions of more vehicles than Tesla did. And even if you strip out all the ZEV credits that Tesla got, it still made more money than either company. So for Tesla to make more money than GM is a turning point in the industry. We’ve got a video that goes into a lot more detail and you can catch that on our YouTube channel.
TESLA FACES COMPETITIVE THREAT IN CHINA
But Tesla could face some real challenges from Chinese EV companies that are moving at lightning speed. Analysts say that Tesla is facing an onslaught of good looking EVs, while its styling stayed the same for years. It pretty much only sells the Model 3 and Y in China, while competitors are filling up other market segments. It hasn’t added luxurious interiors like its competitors. And it doesn’t offer white-glove treatment for top line luxury buyers which is now the expected way of doing business in China. Tesla managed to boost sales last month with aggressive price cuts, but one analyst warns that BYD and others could cut prices and eliminate that advantage. Tesla is a resourceful company and can quickly move to address these issues, but Elon Musk admits that China is where they face their most competitive threats.
RAM REV: CHANGES FROM CONCEPT TO PRODUCTION
When Ram debuted its all-electric pickup concept at CES in January, it had top executives in the industry worried that it might actually end up looking like the renderings. But will the production truck, officially called the 1500 REV, look like the concept? The answer to that is no. Debuting during the Big Game yesterday, the electric Ram looks much more like the current Ram truck but with the concept’s lighting slapped on the front and rear. It also has traditional door handles, whereas the concept didn’t have any. The missing B-pillars are back and the doors open traditionally, not like the suicide rear doors on the concept. And to our eye the bed and cabin look completely separate, so we’re guessing that it doesn’t have the massive pass-through that was on the concept. The real “Revolution” of the Ram 1500 REV will likely be a class-leading interior and technology under the skin, including a range extender.
PORSCHE NAMES PAINT JOB COLOR AFTER CUSTOMER
Many high-end brands allow customers to paint their cars in a one-off color that is completely unique to them. And now for the first time, Porsche is integrating one of those one-off colors into its palette of paints that anyone can order. It’s a bright green, called Essmanngreen, and is named after long-time Porsche owner Michael Essmann who based the original paint on the colors of the family business. In order to get accepted as an official color, Essmanngreen had to be tested vigorously to make sure there wasn’t any color deviation going from aluminum to plastic or carbon fiber parts. Each one has its own paint composition, application method and drying temperature. Including binders and additives, Essmanngreen has over 100 ingredients.
IZZAT AN EV? YEP.
Hey, did you get a new car? Yep. What’s it called? Yep. No I mean what’s the name of the car? Yep. I expect some sort of ‘who’s on first’ conversation in China with the introduction of Baojun’s latest electric SUV, called, you guessed it, the Yep. It’s a small two-door vehicle with boxy styling that kind of looks like a tiny Jeep. It will launch with a single motor on the rear axle that generates 50 kW or 68 horsepower and an LFP battery that provides an estimated 303 kilometers or 188 miles of range. A twin motor, 4-wheel drive option is also reportedly on the way. Baojun is part of GM’s Chinese joint venture and the Yep is expected to launch sometime in the middle of the year.
OEMs TAKE DATA MINING IN-HOUSE
Data mining could be a huge revenue stream for automakers and they’re not interested in sharing the wealth. So they’re starting to bring data mining in-house. And that’s hurting the startups that hoped to cash in on the new business. Israeli startup Otonomo reported just $2 million in revenue in the third quarter and started cutting jobs to save cash. And British startup Wejo only brought in $4.8 million through the first nine months of 2022. The startups are looking to standardize and organize data that is useful to insurance companies, fleet managers and city planners. The problem is automakers don’t want to share data all that much and the data they do share isn’t that valuable to outside buyers. Automakers see big bucks in monetizing that data, and they want to control it all.
PRICING PARTY OVER FOR CAR DEALERS
Car dealers all across the US took advantage of low inventory over the last couple of years to charge customers thousands of dollars over MSRP. But that’s not going to last much longer. Prices are expected to drop this year as inventory starts to build back up. Moreover, car buyers are ready to wait for those prices to drop. And for car dealers, that means the pricing party is over.
BYD BRANCHES OUT TO THE WORLD
BYD is already the top selling EV company in China, and it’s slowly branching out all over the world. It’s been the top selling EV company in China for 10 straight months in a row. And it was also the top seller of BEVs in Israel and New Zealand in January. The numbers are small, just 3,000 in Israel and only 235 in New Zealand, but a year ago BYD didn’t sell any EVs in either country and now it’s already number one in each market. BYD exported more than 10,400 BEVs last month, which is 31 times more compared to a year ago and it’s aiming to export 300,000 vehicles for the full year.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Please like, comment or subscribe.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.