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0:00 Yanfeng Faces More Cyber Threats
1:13 EV Sales Slow in China
2:21 GM, Ford Offset UAW Labor Costs with Cuts
3:25 Used EV Residuals Drop
4:15 Toyota Adds EVs To EU Lineup
5:16 BYD Offers Awards to Stop Smears
5:56 Xpeng Shows Off AV Tech
6:44 Will Rivian Sue Tesla?
7:21 Forecast: Cybertruck Will Only Sell 36,000/Year
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
YANFENG FACES MORE CYBER THREATS
We’re learning more about that cyber-attack on the supplier Yanfeng last month. It makes seats and all kinds of interior components, and it was hit by a cyber-attack that not only shut down part of its operations but also shut down some operations at Stellantis. Now a ransomware gang, called Qilin, has claimed responsibility for that cyber-attack and says it has a lot of sensitive information that it will dump out in public in the coming days. Cyber experts expect Qilin to demand a 6- or even 7-figure payout to not release that information. So Yanfeng will probably be forced to figure out how valuable that information is. You may recognize the name Qilin. It’s the same name that CATL uses for its new EV battery. And it’s the name of a unicorn-like creature in Chinese mythology.
EV SALES SLOW IN CHINA
We’ve got the latest EV sales numbers from China, and they seem to suggest that the growth of the EV segment is slowing there, too. Most EV automakers, except Tesla, posted strong year-over-year increases in November. BYD, NIO, Li Auto, Zeekr and XPeng had double digit percentage increases, while Tesla’s sales fell nearly 18%. However, on a month-to-month basis, from October to November almost all EV makers showed little or no growth, while Tesla posted a 14% increase. China’s economy seems a bit wobbly at the moment, and that may explain the slowdown in EV growth. But we also saw EV growth slowdown in the U.S. and European markets this summer. Last month, EV sales in Europe shot up again, so maybe this is just a normal seasonal variation in car sales. But we’ll really want to keep an eye on EV sales in China and the US to see if they get back to their prior growth rate.
GM, FORD OFFSET UAW LABOR COSTS WITH CUTS
GM and Ford say they will be able to off-set the cost of their new labor contract with the UAW, even though it will add roughly $9 billion in costs over the next 4 years. But those off-sets will be painful. Most of the savings will come from reducing capital spending, slashing marketing costs, reducing the number of model variations they sell and reducing headcount. While both companies will remain solidly profitable, they’re going to hit the lower end of the guidance for profits and cash flow they gave to Wall Street. While Stellantis hasn’t reported the cost of its contract, it’s very likely going to resort to the same tactics to offset higher labor costs.
USED EV RESIDUALS DROP
Used EVs are not holding their value very well right now. Market research firm Black Book estimates that the average 3-year old used vehicle held about 66% of its original value in October. But a 3-year old used EV only held about 49% of its value. The biggest factor is a drop in new EV pricing, which has a trickle-down effect on the used EV market. Not only are automakers figuring out ways to build electric vehicles cheaper but with more competition we’ve seen significant price discounts. Experts predict the wild fluctuation in the EV market could end up driving more new car buyers into leasing because they’ll be less impacted by the steep depreciation of the vehicle.
TOYOTA ADDS EVs TO EU LINEUP
Toyota keeps talking about hybrids but it’s quietly ramping up its EV efforts. In Europe, it plans to increase its EV lineup to six models by 2026 and is aiming to sell 250,000 BEVs there by then. Toyota revealed concepts of two of those models. The production version of the Urban SUV concept goes on sale next year and will offer two battery choices but Toyota didn’t reveal their sizes. The other concept is called the Sport Crossover which is a fastback SUV that will get a production model in 2025. Some of those new EVs could have a new battery chemistry. As Toyota previously announced, it’s developing a method to produce solid-state batteries in higher numbers and is aiming to commercialize them in 2027 or 2028 with a production capacity of “several tens of thousands of vehicles.”
BYD OFFERS AWARDS TO STOP SMEARS
Chinese EV maker BYD is dead serious about protecting its brand image. It’s offering tipsters rewards of $7,000 to $700,000 if they report about anyone trying to smear the company’s reputation. BYD says the evidence it wants collected should include chat records, emails, contracts, fund transfers and other information. If BYD verifies the smear campaign is true, it will then reward the tipster. And this is not a new problem for BYD. It actually started the reward campaign in 2021.
XPENG SHOWS OFF AV TECH
In the U.S., there are lots of questions about the future of autonomous vehicles. But that’s not the case in China. XPeng is showing off its autonomous technology with a video it posted on social media showcasing its X9 electric minivan. It was able to drive into an underground parking garage, find an open spot and park itself. The van was then summoned with an app and drove itself out of the garage and to the owner. XPeng says the function is only for testing purposes and isn’t available to the public yet. But unlike some other autonomous parking systems, it doesn’t look like XPeng requires any sensors installed in the parking structure itself. It looks like it’s all in the van.
WILL RIVIAN SUE TESLA?
Could one of Tesla’s competitors block it from using the range extender battery pack that it revealed for the Cybertruck? In 2019 Rivian filed a patent for its own removable battery pack that fits into the bed of its R1T pickup. The setup also includes an integrated cooling system for the battery. And now some are wondering if Tesla’s system is close enough to Rivian’s that it could be considered copyright infringement or if it’s already made some sort of deal with Rivian? I doubt either one is the case, but it’d be pretty wild if they were.
FORECAST: CYBERTRUCK WILL ONLY SELL 36,000/YEAR
The official launch of the Cybertruck last week kicked off a media frenzy. But how many of them will Tesla actually be able to sell in the US market? On the most recent Autoline After Hours, Warren Browne from RFQ Insights, who does sales forecasting, said his projections show that only 36,000 Cybertrucks will be sold every year. That does not include sales outside the US, but pickup trucks only sell well in a handful of global markets. However, that sales number could easily be a bit pessimistic. In a Facebook post, Ford CEO Jim Farley says the company sold 4,400 F-150 Lightnings in November. If Ford could hold that sales rate it would sell over 52,000 electric pickups in a year. By the way, Warren Browne does believe that electric pickup sales will grow… a lot. Here’s forecasting sales of over 320,000 units a year by 2027. And if you’d like to watch more of that show with Warren Browne and industry expert Lindsay Brooke we’ll provide a link in the transcript and description box.
But that brings us to the end of this show. Thanks for tuning in.
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