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0:00 BYD Song L Undercuts Tesla Y By $10,000
0:59 Want A Cybertruck? Fork Over $1,000
1:25 GM Cruise Axes 900 Jobs
2:08 GM Layoffs at Orion & Grand River
2:41 Honda To Lease Used Cars
4:30 More “Icks” From Cadillac
5:12 VW ID.2 All, The Beetle of EVs
6:17 Zeekr Launches New LFP Battery
6:57 Mercedes Brings AI into the Cockpit
8:16 MG 5 Gets Crushed in Crash Tests
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
BYD SONG UNDERCUTS TESLA Y BY $10,000
It looks like Tesla is going to have to cut the price of its Model Y again in China. That’s because the BYD Song L, which is targeted directly at the Model Y, just debuted with a starting price of $26,700. That’s $10,000 cheaper than a Model Y. The base version of the BYD Song L comes with a 71.8 kWh battery and a 150-kilowatt motor, which is 200 horsepower. BYD already outsells Tesla with pure EVs in China, and this new model will probably increase its sales lead even more. Tesla was the company that kicked off the EV price war in China at the beginning of the year. And now it looks like BYD is giving Tesla a taste of its own medicine.
WANT A CYBERTRUCK? FORK OVER $1,000
Speaking of Tesla, it wants you to fork over a non-refundable $1,000 deposit if you’re serious about buying a Cybertruck. A reported 2 million people paid the refundable $100 deposit to reserve the electric truck, but now Tesla is looking for the more serious buyers. And this is also going to help Tesla gauge what the demand actually is.
GM CRUISE AXES 900 JOBS
GM Cruise keeps making headlines, and for all the wrong reasons. Just weeks ago, the CEO and Chief Product Officer resigned. Two days ago, Cruise fired nine executives. And yesterday, it announced it’s cutting nearly a quarter of its workforce or about 900 jobs. Most of the layoffs are related to corporate functions, not engineering. Cruise lost $700 million in the third quarter and more than $8 billion since 2016. But GM CEO Mary Barra says she still believes that Cruise will ultimately turn the corner and become an extremely profitable business.
GM LAYOFFS AT ORION & GRAND RIVER
GM is also laying off people at two other plants in Michigan. It’s cutting 945 jobs at the Orion plant, which builds the Bolt EV, which is going out of production until 2025. And GM will cut 369 jobs at its Lansing Grand River plant where the Camaro is going out of production. But that plant will continue to build the Cadillac CT4 and CT5. GM will offer the laid off worker’s jobs at other plants as soon as they’re available.
HONDA TO LEASE USED CARS
Honda & Acura just launched a new marketing campaign that we think everyone in the industry is going to copy. They’re offering to lease CPO cars. CPO stands for certified pre-owned. They’re used cars that get inspected, fixed up and sold with a warranty. Honda and Acura are also offering free roadside assistance and cheap 1.49% financing. Except that now, Honda and Acura will lease with the target of first-time, young buyers. Some car dealers have been pleading for years for automakers to provide them with the financing tools to lease used cars. This may be one of the answers to deal with the affordability issue, since car prices skyrocketed because of Covid shutdowns and chip shortages. Though leasing is not a gift to the consumer, it does lower the monthly payments, and in the U.S. market, car buyers pay far more attention to the monthly payments than to the overall price. Automakers have been reluctant to lease used cars because they’re afraid it would cannibalize new car sales. But now that Honda and Acura are doing it, we think everyone else will jump on board.
MORE “ICKS” FROM CADILLAC
There’s a new ‘ick’ coming to Cadillac’s EV lineup. First came the Lyriq, then the Celestiq, then the Escalade IQ, more recently the Optiq and now it’s just revealed the all-new Vistiq. It’s listed as a 2026 model year vehicle, which means the earliest it will come out is sometime in 2025, and when it does, it will slot between the Lyriq and the Escalade IQ. That’s about all we have to go on for now, but Cadillac says we’ll get more details sometime next year.
VW ID.2 ALL, THE BEETLE OF EVs
In March Volkswagen revealed a new entry-level EV concept, called the ID.2all that is a preview of a production car that’s coming out in 2025. Now it’s teasing an SUV version that will come out a year later in 2026. Both models ride on its new MEB Entry platform, which is FWD based. And while VW didn’t share any other details about the SUV, here’s what we can tell you about the car version; it has about the same wheelbase and width as a current Golf, but overall, it’s about 9 inches shorter; it will be powered by a roughly 166 kW or 222 horsepower electric motor, which is enough to power the vehicle from 0-100 km/h in about 7 seconds; and it will have about 450 kilometers or 280 miles of range. VW says the ID.2all SUV is an important step to bringing affordable EVs to the masses.
ZEEKR LAUNCHES NEW LFP BATTERY
Chinese automaker Geely’s premium EV brand, Zeekr, unveiled a fast-charging lithium iron phosphate or LFP battery. Its upcoming 007 sedan, which has an 800-volt architecture, will be the first model to use it. The battery is able to provide 300 miles or 500 kilometers of range in just 15 minutes of charging. The 007 has a 75.6-kWh pack, a motor that produces 310-kW or 415 horsepower, and it provides 688 kilometers or 427 miles of range.
MERCEDES BRINGS AI INTO THE COCKPIT
Virtual assistants are about to get a lot better. It just so happens that I shot a video of myself interacting with Mercedes’ current virtual assistant in a recent test car and Mercedes just showed off a teaser video of its new AI-based virtual assistant that will debut at CES in January. And the difference between the fluidity of speech is really obvious. Here’s me asking the current system a question… and here’s the teaser video of the new system. I know the joke the current car tells is not that great, but I did get a better response off-camera a day earlier, which was, “you can’t trust any atoms because they make everything up.” But with Mercedes’ new AI-based system, which we think uses ChatGPT, interactions should be much more natural.
MG 5 GETS CRUSHED IN CRASH TESTS
SAIC, or the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation bought MG in 2007 and has done a terrific job with the brand, especially with exports. So far, this year MG is the Number 6 EV brand in Europe. In the UK it’s Number 2, only behind Tesla. But not all MGs are electric. There are ICE versions too. And in Australia it’s the 7th best-selling brand in the whole market, including all vehicle types. But Australia just crash tested the MG 5 sedan and it failed miserably. The Australian NCAP gave it zero stars. In head-on collisions, off-set, side impact and pole tests, the car did not do well. This comes as something of a shock. Twenty years ago, Chinese cars were famous for folding up in an accident. But that was then. Today, most Chinese cars are well designed to meet crash standards, but clearly the MG 5 was not.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day and I hope that you have a great weekend.
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