Toyota Motor Corp.’s lineup over the next 30 years will contain a myriad of options beyond just electric vehicles, executives at an annual shareholder meeting said Wednesday. “It’s too early to concentrate on one option,” said director Shigeki Terashi, responding to an investor’s question about why the world’s biggest carmaker is taking a different electrification route than Honda Motor Co. which is targeting all electric vehicle sales by 2040. Terashi, speaking from Toyota’s headquarters in Aichi prefecture, said that in the years leading up to 2050, different options including hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles need to compete against each other so that the company is left with the best options.
Volkswagen Expects Chips Shortage to Ease in Q3
Volkswagen expects a shortage in semiconductor supply to ease in the third quarter but sees the bottlenecks continuing in the long-term, a board member told Handelsblatt newspaper. "At the moment we have reached the lowest point. We are facing the toughest six weeks," Murat Aksel, the head of procurement on the Volkswagen board, told the newspaper in an interview. He said he expects around 10% shortage in chips over the long-term as building up production capacities takes up to two years.
Mexico sees return to normal
Mexico's main autopart association INA forecasts that the severe semiconductor chip shortage that has slammed the brakes on the global auto industry will subside in July and return to normal by the end of this year. Semiconductor chips are a crucial component for electronics in modern cars, including touchscreen displays as well as driver assist and other safety systems. The chip shortage in North America alone has caused the region's carmakers to cut previously expected output by 1.16 million vehicles in May, a figure that has accelerated each month since the start of the year, according to data from IHS Markit.
Nissan to idle plants
The global semiconductor shortage roiling the auto industry will have a significant effect on Nissan Motor Co.'s U.S. production this summer. The company plans to idle output of three Nissan models — the Murano crossover, Leaf electric hatchback and Maxima large sedan — at its plant in Smyrna, Tenn., for four extra weeks following the plant's two-week summer shutdown, which begins in late June, according to sources at two suppliers familiar with the matter. Nissan declined to comment on production schedules at its Smyrna, Tenn., plant but said output of the midsize Altima sedan in Canton, Miss., will be suspended for two weeks following the summer shutdown.
Source: Automotive News
According to the latest quarterly report from RVI Analytics, there was a 1.8% year-over-year drop in off-lease volume during April, and further softening is expected. The RVI Lease Supply Index for 2021 is expected to drop 6.5% from 2020. The firm is projecting year-over-year drops of 9.0% and 10.6% in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Then, gains of 5.1% and 17.3% are projected for 2024 and 2025, respectively.
Source: Auto Remarketing
The gap between how quickly competitors are introducing new vehicles is reaching its widest point in recent auto industry history. Honda and Toyota lead in model replacement rates while Stellantis and General Motors trail the pack, according to a study of the U.S. product pipeline contained in the newly released annual study "Cars Wars." At the same time, the arrival of new vehicle models across the industry is ramping up to its highest level of activity in at least two decades, John Murphy, senior auto analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which publishes the annual Car Wars study, said Thursday.
Buyers of Volkswagen brand's ID full-electric cars will soon be able to upgrade their vehicles with over-the-air updates and transfer their personal settings between different cars, paving the way for lucrative add-on services. The use of modular software systems in new cars is one aspect of the automaker's Accelerate digitalization strategy, outlined by executives in an online "Innovation Talk" on Tuesday.
Toyota Motor Corp will aim to make all its global factories carbon neutral by 2035, a senior executive said on Friday, pulling forward the goal by 15 years from 2050. Toyota's chief production officer Masamichi Okada said the automaker will focus initially on introducing new technologies for processes such as painting, coating and casting.
Volkswagen AG's U.S. unit said a data breach at a vendor impacted more than 3.3 million customers and prospective buyers in North America. Nearly all those impacted were current or potential customers of Audi, one of the German automaker's luxury brands. Volkswagen Group of America said on Friday an unauthorized third party obtained limited personal information about customers and interested buyers from a vendor that its Audi Volkswagen brands and some U.S. and Canadian dealers used for digital sales and marketing.
The average age of U.S. cars and light trucks rose to a record 12.1 years in 2020, as Americans drove fewer miles and scrapped more vehicles during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to IHS Markit. The research firm said the two-month increase in vehicles' average age over the 2019 figure could be short-lived as sales of both new and used cars continue to pick up as the pandemic eases.
May was another strong month for used-car sales, as the industry continues to rebound. In fact, Cox Automotive indicated in a recent Data Point report that the SAAR was 41.0 million last month, up from 39.9 million a year ago and steady with April figures. Through May, there have been 17.7 million total used-car sales, beating year-ago figures by 26.5%, according to Cox Automotive. Those numbers are also up 1.7% from the first five months of 2019.
In recent months, voters, auto repair shops, and automakers have been sparring over a measure that aims to update Massachusett’s right to repair laws to include electronic vehicle data. The measure was approved by voters in the 2020 general election and requires that cars sold in the state starting with the 2022 model year come equipped with a standardized open access data platform that would allow mechanics and independent repair shops to access that data for diagnostics and repairs with only owner permission, as opposed to the manufacturer permission that’s required now.
Those that support this right to repair update argue that it gives consumers more choices in terms of automotive repair shops, which leads to increased competition and lower prices. It would also presumably help small, local repair shops better compete with large chains and manufacturer-supported repair centers. However, those that oppose the measure argue that it could make vehicle data more vulnerable and lead to cybersecurity risk.
Automotive manufacturers are among those opposing this measure, and the lobby group Alliance for Automotive Innovation – which represents Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, and other automakers – is currently working to block it. Several members of the organization took the stand in Boston before U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock this week to plead their case, according to Reuters.
Steven Douglas, the vice president for energy and environment at the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, argued that the concept of placing so much critical data in one location would put it at great risk. “That would presumably become the focus point of every hacker, every ransomware hacker, every vehicle thief, and every crime syndicate in the world,” he said. “There’s just no possible way that NASTF could maintain that kind of security or that kind of data.”
Judge Woodlock will ultimately decide the fate of the measure, and whether or not it will be preempted by federal law. Attorneys for the Alliance for Automotive Innovation have argued that safety and emissions-related functions are governed by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Clean Air Act and that the measure conflicts with these laws.
Source: Ford Authority
Startup Ample is ramping up its battery-swapping plans, with an emphasis on fleet vehicles.
Ample announced last week that it's partnering with Sally—a firm that organizes vehicle rentals for taxi, ride-sharing, and last-mile delivery services—to design and build battery-swapping stations in major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.
The swapping stations will use Ample's modular system, which includes a purpose-built battery architecture. Ample previously said these stations could complete a battery swap in 10 minutes. The startup now says a network of stations can be deployed across an entire city in six weeks.
Battery-swapping will be just one amenity offered at what Ample and Sally describe as "EV service stations." The stand-alone stations will also include bathrooms and a place for drivers to rest between trips, the companies said.
While battery-swapping for passenger cars has proven difficult so far, with only Chinese automaker Nio achieving any success, Ample believes it will be a better fit for commercial vehicles. DC fast-charging infrastructure still isn't developed enough, and still requires too much downtime, the startup argues.
A recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance also argued that taxis and ride-sharing might be the perfect use for battery swapping, because of quick turnaround times. Most existing DC fast-charging infrastructure has been built along highways, to enable long road trips, not in city centers, where taxis operate. Taxis and ride-share vehicles are also used around the clock, so time spent charging equals lost productivity.
Daimler's Car2Go dropped the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive from its fleet mostly because of charging logistics. Perhaps the verdict might have been different with battery-swapping?
Source: Green Car Reports
Volkswagen AG is gearing up to make and sell considerably more electric vehicles in North America after U.S. President Joe Biden mapped out a $174 billion plan to accelerate the move to electric cars. The U.S. administration has created a new proposition for EVs in the market, VW brand development chief Thomas Ulbrich told reporters in Munich. VW is drafting plans “to realign to this in a massive way,” Ulbrich said. A final decision is set for later this year during the manufacturer’s annual investment review, and the updated U.S. electric-car strategy is currently “being worked out,” he said.
Legacy automakers General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. have used the past few months to demonstrate two advantages their electric-vehicle rivals can’t match: traditional vehicle businesses to generate cash and the scale to leverage that capital into EV investment. Investors are noticing, sending shares of Detroit's Auto 1.0 behemoths soaring by double digits as Tesla slumps 17% on the year and troubled startups, such as Lordstown Motors Corp., struggle to remain viable. With planned investments in the industry already soaring 41% year-over-year to $330 billion by 2025, according to consulting firm AlixPartners LLP, traditional automakers might have a big edge in the electrification profit desert coming over the next several years.
Source: The Detroit News
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