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0:00 Audi Exec to Plead Guilty in Dieselgate
0:55 Ford Makes $1.7 Billion Net
2:00 Stellantis Boosts Revenue 14%
2:25 GM Makes Management Changes
3:25 Tesla Brings Back Long Range M3
4:27 Worlds’ Biggest EV Battery Makers
5:21 Fisker Getting into Battery Swapping
6:02 Toyota Offers HD Fuel Cell Kit
7:28 Q1 Global EV Sales Hit 1.8 Million
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
AUDI EXEC TO PLEAD GUILTY IN DIESELGATE
Rupert Stadler, the former CEO of Audi, is getting a Get Out of Jail card. But it wasn’t free. He was up to his neck in the diesel emissions cheating scandal at the VW Group, but he cut a deal with German authorities to avoid jail time. Stadler has been on trial since 2020 and was accused of not preventing the company from selling vehicles with illegal emission cheating software after it was made public. Up until now, Stadler denied those allegations but faced with the possibility of spending up to 2 years in the slammer he changed his tune. Stadler will now confess that he was involved and pay a fine of 1.1 million euros. But he will not go to jail.
FORD MAKES $1.7 BILLION NET
Ford and Stellantis reported their first quarter earnings today. And they both made significant improvements, especially Ford. It sold just over a million vehicles worldwide, up 9%. Revenue grew by a solid 20% to $41.4 billion. Its operating profit of $2.1 billion was up 57%, and it saw its bottom line swing from a $3.1 billion loss last year to a $1.7 billion net profit this year. Digging into those numbers a bit deeper, Ford Pro, which makes commercial trucks and vans tripled its EBIT profit to $1.4 billion. Ford Blue, which makes ICE cars, trucks and vans doubled its profit of $2.6 billion. And while the company did not break out quarterly earnings for Ford Model E, which makes EVs, we’d estimate that it lost somewhere around $750 million.
STELLANTIS BOOSTS REVENUE 14%
Meanwhile, Stellantis, which only reports its full earnings every 6 months, gave us a bit of info on how it performed over the last 3 months. It sold over 1.5 million vehicles, up 8% from a year ago. And its revenues were up 14% to €47 billion. We won’t get a full financial report until sometime in July.
GM MAKES MANAGEMENT CHANGES
General Motors announced some important management changes yesterday. Steve Carlisle, who’s 61 years old, is retiring as President of North America. He’ll be replaced by Englishman Rory Harvey, who’s 55, and who had been running Cadillac, and spent the earlier part of his career in Europe at Opel and Vauxhall. Cadillac will now be run by John Roth, 54, who had been running GM’s customer care and aftersales, and spent a good part of his career in Canada, Africa and the Middle East. That position will be filled by Josh Tavel, 44 years old, who was executive chief engineer for GM’s electric trucks and SUVs. That’s quite a promotion, to go from executive engineer to global vice president. So for those of you who like to try and spot future presidents and CEOs, keep an eye on Josh Tavel.
TESLA BRINGS BACK LONG RANGE M3
Tesla is taking orders for the Long Range version of the Model 3 in the U.S. again after being gone for nine months, but it won’t qualify for the full federal tax credit. It’s only eligible for half of the $7,500 that’s available, which means that its battery is coming from outside of the U.S. The new Long Range model is also rated at 325 miles of range, down from 358 miles, which suggests the battery could be a new type of chemistry as well. Most likely the cells are LFP or lithium iron phosphate, like the ones in the Standard Range and Chinese-built Model 3.
WORLDS’ BIGGEST EV BATTERY MAKERS
South Korea’s SNE Research ranked the top battery makers in the world by who has the most batteries equipped in vehicles, which includes BEVs, PHEVs and hybrids. And not surprisingly, China’s CATL tops the list. It had a market share of 35% in the first quarter of the year. That’s more than double BYD, which is in second place with a 16% share. LG Energy is close behind at 14%, then it drops to 9% for Panasonic. And then SK On and Samsung round at the top 6 at around 5% market share each. Of the top 10 battery makers in the world, 6 are Chinese, 3 are South Korean and 1 is Japanese. So the Americans and Europeans really need to pick up the pace.
FISKER GETTING INTO BATTERY SWAPPING
Is Fisker going to be the automaker that gets battery swapping to catch on in the U.S. and Europe? Well, it’s certainly going to try. It’s teaming up with a company called Ample to launch versions of the all-electric Ocean SUV with swappable battery packs. Ample, an energy management company, is also going to build the swapping stations. They first plan to go after fleet operators, which makes sense to us because it’s much easier to serve vehicles that operate out of a central hub rather than a broad base of regular car buyers. Fisker says it’s aiming to offer Oceans with swappable batteries in the first quarter of next year.
TOYOTA OFFERS HD FUEL CELL KIT
Only days after California announced it would start banning new ICE heavy-duty trucks in 2036, several automakers are cranking up their fuel-cell efforts in the U.S. Toyota and PACCAR announced they’re expanding development and production of fuel cell semis and are planning to start customer deliveries sometime next year. Those trucks will use Toyota’s hydrogen kit, which goes into production late this year and includes the tanks, fuel cell stacks, batteries, electric motors and transmission. The kit recently received a Zero Emission Powertrain certification from California, which means that anyone who purchases a truck equipped with the system is eligible for both state and federal incentives. Hyundai also announced that it’s bringing its heavy-duty fuel cell truck to the U.S. Called XCIENT, it currently operates in Switzerland, Germany, Israel, Korea and New Zealand, racking up more than 4 million miles. It has two fuel cell stacks, a 350 kW or nearly 470 horsepower motor and over 450 miles of range when fully loaded. We give an extra pat on the back to Hyundai for also saying it plans on helping to build out the hydrogen infrastructure.
Q1 GLOBAL EV SALES HIT 1.8 MILLION
More and more car buyers are choosing electric vehicles. According to the China Passenger Car Association, 2.55 million New Energy Vehicles, which include BEVs, PHEVs and fuel cells, were sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2023, which is up 26% from last year. And not surprisingly China led the way and accounted for nearly 60% of NEV sales. And BEVs overwhelmingly accounted for the majority of those sales, at nearly 1.8 million units or 70% of the total.
But that’s the end of today’s show. Thanks for joining us.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.