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0:00 China Adds NEV Incentives
0:57 Bosch To Slash 1,200 Software Engineers
2:04 U.S. To Invest $325 Million In Chargers as Bitter Cold Strands EVs
3:11 Ford Cuts Lightning Production, Boosts Ranger & Bronco
4:32 Jeep Teases Wagoneer EV
5:04 Hyundai Bets on Indian Car Market
6:01 Cadillac Boosts Lyriq Sales, Adds Dealers
7:05 Bentley Bucks Luxury Segment, Sees Sales Fall
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
CHINA ADDS NEV INCENTIVES
China is once again extending subsidies for new energy vehicles or NEVs, which include BEVs, plug-ins and fuel cells. This year and next year, NEVs will be fully exempt from vehicle purchase taxes and in 2026 and 2027, NEVs will be exempt from half of taxes. Automakers sold nearly 9.5 million NEVs in China last year, a 38% gain. And this year, NEV sales are expected to hit 11.5 million units, a 20% increase and a market share of 37%. So, it’s surprising to see China extend NEV incentives once again, since the segment is going strong. That suggests the government is concerned the slowdown in its economy will hurt car sales.
BOSCH TO SLASH 1,200 SWEs
If we were to believe early forecasts, we’d all be riding around in autonomous cars watching movies, getting some work done or catching some shut-eye, instead of actually driving. But that’s not the case and the supplier Bosch says that slow rollout is the reason it has to make cuts in its software division. The company wants to slash 1,200 software development jobs by the end of 2026 because autonomous driving has not taken off like it thought it would. But we think something else could be going on here, too. As traditional automakers begin developing Software Defined Vehicles, or SDVs, they want to copy Tesla and write all their software in-house. Right now, 150 different suppliers are writing software code for 150 different microprocessors in the average car, and automakers don’t have access to that code. So, as SDVs catch on, suppliers are worried that they could just end up building parts to spec, and lose all that software business.
U.S. TO INVEST $325 MILLION IN CHARGERS AS BITTER COLD STRANDS EVs
The winter weather has been bitterly cold in much of the United States this week and there’s been blaring headlines of problems with charging electric cars–like, they won’t charge at all. The worst case seems to have been in Chicago, where subzero temperatures meant that public chargers would not charge the batteries, including Tesla Superchargers, which are the best public charging system by far. Some say that owners did not pre-warm their batteries before charging. They point out that the chargers will operate very slowly at first, while the battery warms up, and then charge faster when it gets to the right temperature. But when drivers see their car charge so slowly at first, they assume the charger is not working. This is just the latest problem with public chargers, which is why the US government will invest $325 million to replace broken chargers, as well as reduce battery costs and improve EV technology. It’s all part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, or NEVI, which is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
FORD CUTS LIGHTNING PRODUCTION, BOOSTS RANGER & BRONCO
Ford is once again cutting production of the F-150 Lightning. It says “to achieve the optimal balance of production, sales growth and profitability” it will reduce LIghtning production to one shift, which will impact roughly 1,400 employees. 700 of those people will go to Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant, where it’s adding a third shift to build the Bronco and Ranger. The remaining employees from the Rouge plant where the Lightning is built will be moved to other roles there, placed in another facility or they can take advantage of a retirement program. But Ford really needs to start making more Rangers. Michigan Assembly was one of the plants shut down by the UAW strike and from October to December of last year it didn’t make more than 500 Rangers in a month. The pickup ended the year in the U.S. with roughly 32,000 units sold, which is way behind the competition. Even the Honda Ridgeline, which had a pretty good year for itself, easily outsold the Ranger.
JEEP TEASES WAGONEER EV
Jeep is getting ready to launch its first EV for global markets, the Wagoneer S and showed this teaser image to mark the occasion. From what we can see it looks pretty close to the concept that it showed in September of 2022. It’s a mid-size SUV that Jeep says will have 4xe off-road capability, 600 horsepower and will be able to do 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds. Sales kick off in the U.S. in the fall of this year, followed by other major markets, including Europe.
HYUNDAI BETS ON INDIAN CAR MARKET
Hyundai used to be a pretty big player in China. But in 2016, when South Korea bought an anti-missile defense system from the United States called Thaad, the Chinese government retaliated against everything from South Korea. It banned K-pop bands from performing in China, it prevented Chinese tourists from going to South Korea, and it strongly encouraged citizens not to buy any products from Korean brands. That started Hyundai’s long slide downward in the Chinese market, and it has never recovered. So, it’s not surprising to see Hyundai making a major investment in the Indian car market, which is booming. It bought GM’s assembly plant there and is investing over $700 million to boost its assembly capacity in the country. Hyundai is already the second largest automaker in India, and this latest investment will bring its production capacity there to over 1 million units.
CADILLAC BOOSTS LYRIQ SALES, ADDS DEALERS
Cadillac had a strong year in 2023. Its overall sales in the U.S. were up 9.3% last year. And it had its best year for sedan sales since 2018, including record years for the CT4 and CT5. Its V-Series had a record year as well, up 55%. Its global sales were also up but Cadillac didn’t provide the figures. And while it struggled to ramp up production of the Lyriq EV, it says it’s now fixing those issues. Even with all the problems, Cadillac delivered 9,000 Lyriqs in the US last year, which it claims makes it the best-selling luxury compact EV. In the fourth quarter, it delivered 3,800 Lyriqs, accounting for 12% of its retail sales. And in China Lyriq sales are up 60% year-over-year. Surprisingly, Cadillac has also added a few dealerships in states where EV adoption is high. And despite talk of slowing EV growth, Cadillac says there’s still strong demand for luxury EVs.
BENTLEY BUCKS LUXURY SEGMENT, SEES SALES FALL
It seems like all high-end luxury brands are doing well. But not Bentley. Its sales dropped 11% last year. It sold 13,560 cars, down from more than 15,100 in 2022, which was a record. And sales were down across the board, including the Americas, China and Europe. But it did say more customers chose to personalize their vehicles and that business was up 43%. Bentley blames “challenging market conditions” for the sales drop. But other luxury brands had great years, so that makes us wonder what’s going on at Bentley? And will have us keeping an eye on the ultra-luxury brand going forward.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for tuning in and I hope you have a great weekend.
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