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0:00 EVs Driving Most of BMW’s Sales Growth
1:07 BMW #1 In Premium Sales
2:00 Chinese Cars Help Boost Sales in Russia
2:45 China Has 435 Million Registered Vehicles on Its Roads
3:53 Dodge Fans Not Happy with EV Design
4:23 Tier 1 Suppliers Developing Alcohol Detection Systems
5:44 Nissan Delays U.S. EV Production
6:29 Nissan Unveils NISMO Version of The Ariya
7:09 LG Opens 1st U.S. EV Charger Plant
7:33 EV Charger Generates Energy by Burning Wood
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
EVs DRIVING MOST OF BMW’S SALES GROWTH
BMW’s CFO says the company is at a tipping point with EVs and ICEs. He says that most of BMW’s sales growth now comes from EVs and it won’t be looking back. Last year the BMW Group, including MINI and Rolls-Royce, sold over 2.5 million vehicles, which was up 6.5%. But total Group BEV sales were up over 74% to a little more than 375,000 units or a 15% share. The CFO doesn’t think its ICE sales will go up anymore and will continue at roughly their current rate before starting to fall off, which should happen in the next couple of years. However, BMW is still making more profit on its ICE vehicles and it doesn’t expect it to even out until 2026 when it predicts its EV sales share will be a little more than double the 15% it is now.
BMW #1 IN PREMIUM SALES
And speaking of BMW sales, the German automaker was once again the top selling premium brand globally last year. It sold more than 2.2 million vehicles in 2022, a 7% gain. That helped BMW stay ahead of second place Mercedes which sold just over 2 million vehicles last year. Audi was in third place with nearly 1.9 million vehicles sold but Tesla was hot on its heels with more than 1.8 million sales. So, if Tesla is able to keep up its sales growth this year, it could threaten to take over the top spot from BMW. As far as EV sales go, the BMW brand sold nearly 331,000 electrics, Mercedes sold 222,600 and Audi sold 178,000 EVs last year.
CHINESE CARS HELP BOOST SALES IN RUSSIA
We’re going to stay on the sales side of things for another moment. Russia’s car sales are finally on their way back up and it has the Chinese to thank. Before Russia invaded Ukraine and all major foreign automakers pulled out of the country, it sold about 1.6 million vehicles a year. But with no one really making new cars to sell, that number dropped by about a million units. And that left the door open for the Chinese to swoop in. Last year, Russia sold over a million new cars, which is a jump of nearly 70%. But Chinese brands accounted for almost half of those sales or nearly 500,000 units. And it seems like the Chinese could dominate the Russian market for a long time.
CHINA HAS 435 MILLION REGISTERED VEHICLES ON ITS ROADS
China has roughly 150 million more vehicles on its roads than the U.S. There’s about 280 million cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles in the U.S., but according to China’s Ministry of Public Security it has 435 million registered vehicles. And cars alone account for 336 million of that figure. Even though those are big numbers, it doesn’t represent a whole lot of growth. Only a .05% increase over 2022. As we know China has become such a competitive market that brands are starting to rely more heavily on exporting and for the first time ever, China became the world’s biggest car exporter last year.
DODGE FANS NOT HAPPY WITH EV DESIGN
The design police were on patrol over the weekend. Dodge revealed pictures of a pre-production version of its first EV based on the Charger Daytona SRT Concept. While it does look close to the concept, many people were critical of the car, especially the front end. They seem to think it doesn’t look as muscular, some even saying it doesn’t look like a Dodge. But let us know what you think. Is this an EV worthy of wearing the Dodge badge.
TIER 1 SUPPLIERS DEVELOPING ALCOHOL DETECTION SYSTEMS
One of the big automotive trends we saw last week at CES was technology to determine if a driver is drunk. At least half a dozen Tier 1 suppliers are working on it because the U.S. Congress mandated that alcohol detection systems have to be in all light vehicles by 2027. Two versions of the technology are leading the way. One uses a camera to monitor a driver’s eyes. If it sees that they are staring, or not moving very much, that’s an indicator of intoxication. The other technology uses a breathalyzer to detect alcohol on a driver’s breath. Both systems are still under development, and the suppliers who make them were not confident that they would be ready by 2027. NHTSA has not written the regulations that companies have to follow. There’s also a lot of testing and development that needs to be done. And then automakers have to integrate the systems into their cars. An even bigger issue: will the public go along with it? What if your car detects you’re drunk, but there’s a raging forest fire and you need to get out? Or what if you’re being stalked in the parking lot outside of a bar and need to get away? Preventing drivers from driving drunk is a great goal, but it’s a lot more complicated than some people may realize.
NISSAN DELAYS U.S. EV PRODUCTION
Nissan is delaying EV production at its plant in Canton, Mississippi for a second time. Production of a Nissan EV will start in November 2026 and production of an Infiniti EV will begin in April 2027, about five months later than originally planned for both models. According to a memo obtained by Automotive News, the automaker is delaying production because it needs to “enhance product competitiveness.” Nissan is also concerned about slowing EV demand, so it’s considering extending production of the Altima, which is also built in Mississippi, by another year. Nissan had planned to end Altima production in late 2025.
NISSAN UNVEILS NISMO VERSION OF THE ARIYA
And while Nissan is delaying the launch of new EVs, it’s expanding the lineup of one it already has in the market. The automaker unveiled a NISMO version of the Ariya, which is based on the all-wheel-drive version of the model, which Nissan calls e-4ORCE. The NISMO version has a peak output that’s about 10% higher than the base model. It also features an exclusive driving mode for better response and improved aerodynamics that reduces drag and improves downforce at higher speeds. The NISMO version of the Ariya goes on sale in Japan this spring but no word yet if it will launch in other markets.
LG OPENS 1ST U.S. EV CHARGER PLANT
LG is not only building EV batteries in the U.S., it’s also now producing EV chargers. The company announced it opened its first U.S. EV charger plant in Texas, which has the capacity to make 12,000 units a year. It will initially produce Level 2 portable wall chargers and later this year it will start building Level 3 chargers.
EV CHARGER GENERATES ENERGY BY BURNING WOOD
Speaking of EV chargers, here’s a new one that generates electricity by burning wood. A company called Air Burners teamed up with Rolls-Royce and Volvo Construction Equipment to launch the BioCharger, which converts the residual heat energy from burning vegetative waste into electric energy and stores it in a 450-kWh battery unit. Air Burners says it can generate enough electricity every day to power 3-6 machines and by using air curtain technology it can reduce the amount of harmful particulates that are released into the air.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for tuning in.
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