Honda Motor Co. has a rude surprise for drivers of its leased cars: No more turning in your vehicles to other dealers. The carmaker said Thursday it will require the drivers with expiring leases to return their vehicles to authorized Honda and Acura dealers and refuse to accept buyouts from unaffiliated dealers or others. Honda cited tight supplies of cars and trucks as a result of shortfalls in critical components and congestion at ports as the economy recovers. The Japanese company is the latest automaker to take more control over leases – and boost inventories – by limiting vehicle returns to its own dealer network. The industry has struggled to meet consumer demand in recent months due to a global shortage of semiconductors, which has curtailed production and lifted prices for used cars.
Volkswagen, which is now subject to Ohio anti-tampering laws that it says could cost hundreds of billions of dollars, wants time to stop a state lawsuit, the automaker said in a Thursday court filing. At issue is the 2015 scandal in which the automaker was found to have rigged its vehicles to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests. The company ultimately paid more than $33 billion in fines and settlements. In the wake of the scandal, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office sued the company, alleging Volkswagen’s conduct — affecting about 14,000 vehicles sold or leased in Ohio — violated the state’s anti-air pollution law.
The luxury-vehicle segment is on a post-Covid high with sales surging 63 percent in the second quarter compared with a year ago. The segment is benefiting from the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in major metro markets, where a higher concentration of premium vehicle sales occur, said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds. Premium brands sold a total of 624,414 cars and light trucks in the second quarter, outpacing the broader industry's 49 percent increase.
Source: Automotive News
Volkswagen Sees Global Chip Shortage Worsening in Second Half
Volkswagen AG warned that the global shortage of semiconductors affecting car production would worsen over the next six months, joining a chorus of auto companies that have dialed down their outlook for the rest of the year. The warnings mark a shift for the industry after auto CEOs and industry analysts had predicted the chip crisis would bottom out in the second quarter, leading to a gradual improvement over the next six months.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
GM Drops wireless charging from 2021 Tahoe, Yukon SUVs over Chip Shortage
The global semiconductor shortage has resulted in yet another tech feature getting yanked from General Motors' trucks. Folks looking to get into a new GM product that charges their phones wirelessly are out of luck, because wireless charging is getting axed from several of the company's most popular full-size SUVs. GM product that charges their phones wirelessly are out of luck, because wireless charging is getting axed from several of the company's most popular full-size SUVs.
Per GM Authority, affected models include some LT, Z71, Premier, and High Country versions of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, some LT, Z71, Premier, and High Country versions of the 2021 Chevy Suburban, and some SLT, AT4, and Denali examples of the 2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. Specifically, SUVs produced today, July 12, 2021 or after, will go without the wireless charging pads. Affected trucks that were supposed to come with the feature will now come with a $75 credit instead.
The lack of wireless charging is reportedly expected to last throughout the rest of the 2021 model year.
Because of a global lack of microchips, GM has already had to pull HD Radio out of the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks, with 2022 HD versions of those pickups reportedly doing without high-def radio too. Buyers will receive a $50 credit in return.
Auto stop-start also had to be dropped from the V8 versions of the same two pickups, a development that was met with relief rather than disappointment among many commenters, not because of any sort of cash compensation but because drivers will have one less thing to habitually turn off every time they start their trucks.
Source: The Drive
Volkswagen AG ratcheted up its mid-decade profitability goal as it hones plans to become the electric-car leader and cash in on what it expects to be a massive new revenue stream from software. Europe’s largest automaker will target an 8% to 9% operating return on sales in 2025, up from 7% to 8% previously. After wooing investors with a Tesla Inc.-style briefing in March, Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess is elaborating further on VW’s plans to phase out combustion engines and equip cars with software systems that can update automated driving capabilities and other features over the air.
Build-to-order is gaining momentum in the U.S. automotive market – finally. That’s because the current situation of high demand but low inventory is spurring some consumers to submit orders for the vehicle they specifically want – including exact model, trim line and color – not an alternative that’s sort of similar but at least is on the dealer lot. Build-to-order involves a dealership customer submitting an order form and then waiting for the automaker to make the vehicle to specifications, then deliver it to the dealer.
On Tuesday, Volkswagen updated its long-term strategy under the tagline “new auto.” Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess and his team laid out how they saw the vehicle business changing this decade and how the company would use its scale as the market leader in Europe and China to take advantage. Volkswagen isn’t the only one preparing to sell services. Ford’s strategy day in May made much of the opportunities an “always-on” relationship with its customers might bring. General Motors has promised an investor event later this year to explore the area.
Hydrogen fuel cell buses are in a race with their battery-electric rivals, and EVs seem to be winning in Europe.
While hydrogen fuel cell cars might be a tough sell to private consumers, as Honda recently discovered, there are other types of vehicles such as semi trucks and buses that could be far more suited to this type of fuel. Hyundai is among automakers most bullish on hydrogen at the moment, and it's not confining its hydrogen fuel cell efforts solely to passenger cars.
In the next few weeks Hyundai will begin real-world testing of its Elec City Fuel Cell bus in Munich, Germany, ahead of a possible commercial roll out of the model in Europe. 108 examples of the bus had already been built in South Korea starting in 2019, so this series of tests will allow two bus operators to evaluate the bus in the Munich area. The automaker handed over the single bus to Busbetrieb Josef Ettenhuber GmbH, and Geldhauser Linien- und Reiseverkehr GmbH & Co. KG at a hydrogen fuel station in Wendling, Irschenberg, Bavaria.
Hyundai's Elec City Fuel Cell bus has a range of more than 310 miles on a full charge, and features a 180-kW high-capacity hydrogen fuel cell system that uses two 90-kW fuel cells featuring a durable hydrogen diffusion layer paired with an electrolyte membrane. The hydrogen itself is stored in tanks on the roof, which can hold about 75 lbs of fuel—enough for the 310+ miles of range.
"The hydrogen-powered buses being used in various public bus routes in the country have reduced carbon emissions by an estimated 7,700 tons to date compared to internal combustion buses," Hyundai points out. "On a yearly basis, Elec City Fuel Cell buses that are currently in operation are expected to reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent amount of CO2 sequestered in a year by 1,500 hectares of forest."
Hydrogen fuel cell buses are expected to become more commonplace in the coming decade, at least in South Korea, but like in the world of consumer cars they're bound to face competition from battery-electric buses. In Europe, Moscow has the continent's largest fleet of battery-electric city buses at the moment, numbering around 600 and operated by MosGorTrans, and hundreds more are on the way through the end of 2021.
The city of Moscow is in the process of replacing all of its buses with battery-electric models. Truckmaker KamAZ produces them, with KamAZ 6282 models using lithium-titanate batteries, which gives them a range of about 43 miles. The upside is that a full recharge only takes between 6 and 12 minutes, because this type of battery composition can accept far faster charging speeds. One thing the KamAZ has in common with Hyundai's hydrogen model is that the batteries are located on the roof, to give the bus a lower floor for easy entry. The bus charges by extending a small pantograph from its roof to a charging point positioned overhead, so no one even has to plug it in manually. After a few minutes, the bus is completely recharged.
Battery-electric buses already have a head start on hydrogen fuel cell models in Europe, with London and Paris both possessing fleets of several hundred electric buses each. So the race between battery-electric models and hydrogen models is on once again.
"With our leading fuel cell technology, Hyundai Motor is demonstrating how mass-produced Elec City Fuel Cell buses can help reduce CO2 emissions while providing clean mobility," said Martin Zeilinger, Executive Vice President and Head of CV Development Tech Unit. "Running these in-service trials will help us further develop our vehicles to meet European customer requirements."
A “high-ranking“ Mercedes-Benz official shared the German automaker’s plans to kill ICE engines by the end of the decade with Automotive News Europe. Athough hybrid vehicles from Mercedes-Benz will go on to live past 2030, the production of all ICE cars will reportedly cease.
The luxury car manufacturer is expected to reveal more details on this topic later this month at an event featuring CEO Ola Kallenius.
This news comes as a bit of a surprise as Mercedes recently claimed the plan was for EVs and PHEVs to make up for roughly half of its sales by the end of the decade. Following new claims from the one of the brand’s officials, this original plan seems to have been scrapped.
Unfortunately, it is unknown as to how AMG will tackle this. Developing engines by itself will certainly be a tall order unless the company decides to opt for a different method of producing their vehicle, perhaps electrifying them.
Clarification on all this should be given on July 22 when during Merc’s strategy day presentation.
The European Union on Wednesday proposed an effective ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, aiming to speed up the switch to zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs) as part of a broad package of measures to combat global warming. The EU executive, the European Commission, proposed a 55% cut in CO2 emissions from cars by 2030 versus 2021 levels, much higher than the existing target of a 37.5% reduction by then. It also proposed a 100% cut in CO2 emissions by 2035, which would make it impossible to sell new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the 27-country bloc.
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