BMW CEO WARNS AGAINST ELECTRIC-ONLY STRATEGY
BMW Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said companies must be careful not to become too dependent on a select few countries by focusing only on electric vehicles, adding that there was still a market for combustion engine cars. He has long advocated against all-out bans on combustion engine car sales in the face of rising pressure from regulators on the auto industry to curb its carbon emissions and environmental impact.
TOYOTA SAFETY RECALLS 460,000 VEHICLES OVER STABILITY CONTROL ISSUE
Toyota is recalling about 460,000 vehicles (both Toyota and Lexus models) in the U.S. to fix a software problem that can inadvertently disable the electronic stability control system. The software error could prevent the "vehicle stability control system" from automatically turning on when the car is restarted, according to a statement by the company. That can disable the system, which uses a computer to individually brake wheels to help drivers keep control.
Source: USA Today
HOW RUSSIA’S WAR IS CUTTING GLOBAL AUTO PRODUCTION
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led auto industry watchers to cut production and sales forecasts for the next two years. The crisis has shuttered factories in Eastern Europe, and caused spikes in the prices of already precious raw materials. Some factories in Ukraine have tried to keep going amid the invasion. Workers have reportedly had to break from work to flee rocket fire. In March, S&P Global Mobility, formerly IHS Markit, cut its global auto production forecast by 2.6 million vehicles in both 2022 and 2023 because of the conflict. The worst-case scenario totaled as much as 4 million lost vehicles.
CAR PRICES EXPECTED TO REMAIN ELEVATED IN 2022, PROLONGING BUYER PAIN
Car-company executives gathered at the New York International Auto Show painted a gloomy picture of the inventory constraints that will continue to affect availability for both new and used cars throughout 2022. While car prices are easing off their record levels, they remain higher than normal. That isn’t expected to change because of depleted car lots, strong consumer demand and lower factory output.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
AUTO DEALERS PROCLAIM THEY’RE ON BOARD WITH ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The “all-in” slogan, as in, “Dealers Are All-In On EVs” was prominent at the recent press days for the New York International Auto Show and at last month’s National Automobile Dealers Assn. show in Las Vegas. “Consumers demand dealers in an EV world,” Mike Alford, 2022 NADA chairman, says at the New York Auto Forum. “Sounds crazy, right? But it’s not. It’s not crazy, but that’s not the popular narrative.” The forum was hosted by J.D. Power, NADA and the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Assn., which sponsors the New York auto show. Alford is dealer principal of Marine Chevrolet in Jacksonville, NC, and Trent Buick-GMC-Cadillac in New Bern, NC.
BMW, BOSCH RESTART PRODUCTION LINES IN CHINA AS LOCKDOWNS EASE
Car and auto-parts factories in China are gradually getting underway again as Covid-enforced lockdowns in the country’s northeastern Liaoning and Jilin provinces ease. BMW has resumed full production at its two plants in Shenyang in Liaoning after an almost month-long shutdown, the company said in a statement Tuesday, while Robert Bosch GmbH, the world’s biggest auto-parts maker, said its components factory in Jilin’s provincial capital Changchun reopened last week.
STELLANTIS SUSPENDS VEHICLE PRODUCTION IN RUSSIA
Carmaker Stellantis on Tuesday said it was suspending production at its Russian plant due to logistical difficulties and sanctions imposed on Moscow. The world's fourth-largest automaker, which produced and sold the Peugeot, Citroёn, Opel, Jeep, and Fiat brands in Russia, has just 1% of the country's car market. It runs a van-making plant in Kaluga, around 125 miles (201 kilometres) southeast of Moscow, co-owned with Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi, which halted production at the facility earlier this month.
ANALYSIS: SOARING BATTERY COSTS FAIL TO COOL ELECTRIC VEHICLE SALES
Buyers around the world are lining up to purchase electric vehicles this year even with sticker prices surging, flipping the script on a decade and a half of conventional auto industry wisdom that EV sales would break out only after battery costs dropped below a threshold that was always just over the horizon. This year, EV demand has stayed strong even as the average cost of lithium-ion battery cells soared to an estimated $160 per kilowatt-hour in the first quarter from $105 last year. Costs rose due to supply chain disruptions, sanctions on Russian metals and investor speculation.
VOLKSWAGEN FOCUSES ON REGIONS TO REDUCE SUPPLY CHAIN VULNERABILITY
Volkswagen said on Tuesday that a new growth plan would aim to reduce its vulnerability to the effects of global conflicts, such as supply chain disruption and rising prices, by divesting more power to its regions and brands. “The latest geopolitical changes and increased block-building have been exposing our global vulnerability, particularly with regards to the U.S.,” Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess said in a LinkedIn post.
LEASED TESLAS CANNOT BE PURCHASED AT END OF LEASE
With used-car prices skyrocketing, Tesla is no longer allowing customers to buy cars at the end of leases. "All Tesla vehicles delivered on or after April 15, 2022, are not eligible for purchase," according to new language on the company's website first spotted by Electrek. "Third-party dealerships and third-party individuals are not eligible to purchase leased vehicles."
Certain customers who leased a vehicle before April 15 may still be able to purchase it at the end of the lease, Tesla noted. This is typically an option with other automakers, but this isn't the first time Tesla has withheld it.
When it introduced widely available leasing options in 2019, Tesla wouldn't let customers leasing the Model 3 buy the cars. At the time, Tesla said it planned to use the cars in its "robotaxi" autonomous ride-hailing network. But that network—and the autonomous-driving technology needed to make it happen—never materialized.
In the meantime, used EV prices have surged compared to the same time last year. Increased demand and lack of inventory due to supply-chain issues has driven up prices across the board, with used Tesla prices seeing some of the biggest spikes.
A flood of used Tesla Model 3s returning from lease over the past year didn't seem to at all help make used Teslas more affordable, as average prices remained propped up by robust demand nationwide.
At the same time, periodic price increases have made new Teslas more expensive. Brand-new, the Tesla Model 3 now costs more than a third higher than a year ago.
While used and new prices have risen, there are other ways to get behind the wheel of a Tesla. California-based Autonomy offers a monthly Model 3 subscription, and Hertz is adding the Model 3 to its rental fleet. Uber drivers are also eligible to rent a Model 3 from Hertz, which is likely as close as Tesla will get to its promised robotaxi ride-hailing fleet for the foreseeable future.
Source: Green Car Reports
CANADA COMPETES WITH DETROIT FOR AUTO INVESTMENTS, JOBS
Ontario's economic development boss Vic Fedeli remembers the moment the government decided to secure Ontario's spot as the second-largest auto hub in North America behind Detroit. It was a few years ago when Sergio Marchionne, the former chairman of Fiat Chrysler (now called Stellantis) logged a complaint. “The then-chair of what was then called Fiat Chrysler suggested that the government of Ontario create the conditions to be more competitive,” Fedeli told the Detroit Free Press.
Source: Detroit Free Press
FORD PICKUP TRUCK TAILLIGHT THEFTS PART OF ONGOING TREND
Ford F-Series pickups have long been a popular target among thieves, a problem that can largely be traced to that model’s popularity. But it isn’t just entire Ford pickup trucks that are begin stolen in large quantities – thieves also target valuable parts on those vehicles, including catalytic converters, tailgates, and now, taillights are becoming a rather popular target for criminals as well.
In Hays County, Texas, a recent Ford pickup taillight theft wave hit a grand total of three vehicles over Easter weekend, according to News 4 San Antonio. In each case, thieves reportedly cut wiring to remove the taillights, causing quite a bit of damage in the process. Police note that it only takes thieves around 30 seconds to remove some taillights with a cordless drill, but modern units require a bit more work and time to remove.
This trend is apparently nothing new in the state of Texas, as taillights began disappearing from Ford pickups in Houston last year, according to ABC 13 News. David McCarver, who owns a Ford F-250, was a victim of that particular crime, along with another vehicle that was parked near his. “It’s frustrating as you can imagine,” McCarver said. “I’ll be honest. When I first saw it, I thought that was no big deal. That’s not a big expense. After doing my research and talking to the parts folks at the local dealership here, it’s $1,083 per taillight.”
Police did offer a few tips on how to prevent taillight theft, which are quite similar to advice on preventing vehicle theft as well. They include backing a vehicle up against a structure and locking the tailgate if possible, installing security screws that are specifically designed to make it difficult to remove the taillights or tailgate, parking in well-lit areas, locking the vehicle, and installing a security camera if the vehicle must be parked outside.
Source: Ford Authority
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