CHIP SUPPLY MENDING BUT NOT OUT OF THE WOODS
A global shortage of semiconductor chips was the automotive industry's kryptonite for most of 2021 and 2022. But the crisis is now ading, S&P Global Mobility said Thursday. In the first half of 2023, production cutbacks tied to chip shortages fell to about 524,000 vehicles. Supply remains constrained, but automakers have been able to adapt production schedules as chip availability becomes more predictable, S&P Global Mobility said.
Source: Automotive News
VOLKSWAGEN CEO SCHAEFER TO MANAGERS: ‘THE ROOF IS ON FIRE’
Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schaefer is warning of tough times, suggesting “all is at stake” in a fiery address during an internal managers’ meeting held this week. In the hour-long meeting, Schaefer laid out the breadth and severity of problems facing VW as it seeks to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles while continuing to serve global markets with traditional internal-combustion-engine models, telling more than 2,000 senior managers, “The roof is on fire.”
NEW VEHICLE INVENTORIES UP AGAIN, TO 1.95 MILLION
The U.S. new-vehicle inventory continued its steady climb in June as production recovers, according to data from Cox Automotive and the Automotive News Research & Data Center. The growing stockpile of unsold electric vehicles contributed to the overall rise. Cox estimated unsold inventory at 1,953,512 vehicles, or a 53-day supply, up 75 percent from the same point a year ago, and up slightly from 1,928,619, where it stood a month earlier.
FORD CUTS PRICE OF EV F-150 LIGHTNING TRUCK BY UP TO 17%
Ford Motor F -1.38%decrease; red down pointing triangle said it is cutting prices of its electric Lightning pickup truck up to nearly 17% on some versions as it scales up production and lowers costs. The Dearborn, Mich., automaker said it is cutting the price of its F-150 Lightning Pro by almost $10,000 to $49,995. Ford is cutting the price of its highest-end Platinum Extended Range F-150 Lightning by about $6,000 to $91,995.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
EV REGISTRATIONS COOL FOR SOME BRANDS THAT WERE HOT LAST YEAR
Despite surging U.S. sales of electric vehicles, the market is cooling for some of the promising startups and legacy automakers that shot to the top of the EV charts last year, according to new registration data from Experian. New EV registrations rose by a healthy 68 percent in the January-to-May period to a record 447,514 vehicles.
BOSCH INVESTS BIG IN FUEL-CELL TECH, HYDROGEN INTERNAL COMBUSTION
Automotive supplier Bosch expects hydrogen tech—including both fuel cells and hydrogen internal combustion—to play a big role in the future trucking industry. The company expects sales of $3.5 billion from fuel cells, hydrogen combustion engines, and electrolyzers that make hydrogen, according to a press release issued last week that announced the start of fuel-cell module production at Bosch's Stuttgart-Feuerbach facility in Germany.
Those first fuel-cell modules will go to Nikola, which plans to start production of its Tre Class 8 fuel-cell semi truck in Coolidge, Arizona, later this year. Nikola also has a license to manufacture Bosch fuel cells at that location. Bosch also plans to manufacture fuel-cell components at its own U.S. plant in Anderson, South Carolina.
The company expects that globally one in five new trucks weighing more than six tons will be sold with a fuel-cell powertrain by 2030. But Bosch is also investing in hydrogen combustion that, instead of feeding hydrogen into a fuel cell to generate electricity, simply burns it in an internal-combustion engine in place of diesel or gasoline. Bosch plans to launch a hydrogen combustion engine in 2024. The company claims to have four orders for "production projects" so far, and expects six-figure sales volumes by 2030. "A hydrogen engine can do everything a diesel engine does, but on top of that, it is climate neutral," Markus Heyn, chairman of Bosch mobility, said in a statement. That leaves out the emissions that are a byproduct of hydrogen combustion, however. Hydrogen combustion engines still produce pollutants like NOx—the health and climate hazards of which were highlighted in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal.
Bosch was implicated as a supplier to VW for diesel-powertrain components, but in 2019 the company put the diesel scandal behind it with an announcement to support EVs and fuel-cell vehicles. But in 2021 it also said that it would continue to invest in combustion-engine tech into the 2040s. This project cements why.
Bosch's interest in hydrogen for big applications like commercial trucks is supported by some analysis. Some top energy experts like those at the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) expect green hydrogen to scale up this decade, providing a supply of hydrogen that will be truly cleaner than diesel. In addition to fuel-cells for trucking, hydrogen could gradually replace other liquid fuels for airplanes, trains, and other large transport where batteries aren't practical.
Not everyone agrees that hydrogen will go big this time. Some see the wider availability of megawatt charging for battery-powered semis as making all the hurdles of a hydrogen infrastructure not worth the trouble.
Source: Green Car Reports
STELLANTIS SEES SEVERE RISK OF CHIP SHORTAGE ON DEMAND SURGE
Stellantis NV expects semiconductor shortages to re-emerge on growing demand from electric vehicles at a time of increased geopolitical risk, making the current respite short-lived. The risk of a return of severely stretched chip supply “will increase dramatically” in coming years as vehicle software functions balloon, according to Joachim Kahmann, who oversees semiconductor purchases for the Jeep maker.
BATTLE OVER US EV CREDITS HEATS UP WITH CARMAKERS LEFT IDLING
US policymakers, eager to foster the country’s own electric-car supply chain, mostly agree Chinese raw materials shouldn’t play a prominent role in tomorrow’s American-made EVs. But what about battery materials produced with Chinese capital in other nations? Does that count? That thorny question has emerged as a key hurdle as the US Treasury Department fleshes out the minute details in President Biden’s signature climate bill.
US DEALERS HAVE CARS, PRICES ARE STABILIZING, BUT PEOPLE STILL CAN'T BUY
More cars are finally available and prices are leveling off, but buyers now face borrowing challenges that could keep them from getting a new ride. The Federal Reserve said the rejection rate for auto loans in June rose to 14.2% from 9.1% in February, the last time the survey was taken. That was the highest level since this data was first collected in 2013 and for the first time, exceeded the application rate.
Source: USA Today
GENERATION Z AND MILLENNIAL BORROWERS STRUGGLE TO MAKE CAR PAYMENTS
Generation Z and millennial borrowers are falling significantly behind on their car payments at rates last seen during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by car insurance comparison site Jerry. And that's during a time when they didn't have to make their federal student loan payments — a budget burden that could ding millions of borrowers' credit, the alternative credit score provider VantageScore notes.
CDK GLOBAL LOSES 2 COURT DECISIONS AS ANTITRUST LAWSUIT ADVANCES
A federal judge allowed a proposed class-action lawsuit to proceed against CDK Global alleging the dealership management system giant colluded with a rival to reduce competition and boost prices for dealers. A separate but related decision also dismissed CDK's counterclaims, granting the dealerships' motion for summary judgment.
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