Online auto marketplace CarGurus.com made a major push into wholesale vehicle sales Thursday, announcing an agreement to purchase a 51% stake in CarOffer, a web-based wholesale trade platform. Under the agreement, CarGurus, based in Cambridge, Mass., will have the option to buy the remaining equity in CarOffer over the next three years. The move is significant as rising transaction prices of new vehicles have put them out of reach for many consumers who have turned, instead, to used car lots.
South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Group on Thursday said it is launching a brand dedicated to its hydrogen fuel cell system in a move meant to boost that business. Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp, said the name ‘HTWO’ stands for the hydrogen molecule, H2, as well as “hydrogen” and “humanity.” Hyundai said it is stepping up efforts to develop fuel cell systems that can be used in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM), auto, vessels and trains markets, with a focus on Korea, the United States, Europe and China.
Experimental computer chips that try to mimic the way human brains work could accelerate the use of voice and gesture commands in automobiles, researchers at Intel Corp. and Accenture PLC say. The cutting-edge technique, known as neuromorphic computing, could use significantly less energy than traditional computer- and graphic-processing units that connect wirelessly to a car via the cloud. Today’s cars don’t have the AI capabilities to recognize many speech and gesture commands, in part because of the energy requirements necessary to make those functions work.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Three powers of the U.S. auto industry played a part in persuading state lawmakers to gut a bill that would have allowed Tesla Inc. to sell vehicles directly to would-be customers in Michigan, three sources familiar with the decision told The Detroit News. Two of Detroit's three automakers — General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. — and the United Auto Workers argued the bill would give the Silicon Valley automaker an unfair advantage by making it the only company with a carve-out to allow direct sales of vehicles to consumers.
Source: The Detroit News
The average U.S. Cadillac dealer sold 176 new vehicles last year, while BMW and Mercedes-Benz stores sold more than 900 apiece. By the end of next year, almost 1 in 5 Cadillac dealers are planning to give up their franchise, with hefty buyout payments in hand. But Cadillac will still have about twice as many stores as its German rivals. That may be why, two weeks after the deadline to accept a buyout, General Motors was still negotiating with some dealers who were on the fence about sticking with Cadillac as it aims for an all-electric lineup around the end of this decade.
Source: Automotive News
Like canaries in a coal mine, carmakers and suppliers in China are warning that a shortage of automotive microchips is threatening to slow down the global industry's pandemic recovery. The alarm was sounded this month by Volkswagen and German suppliers Bosch and Continental, which cited tightening supplies of semiconductors and said bottlenecks could run into 2021. The industry is beginning to brace for impact as microchip prices rise and inventories dwindle.
General Motors is investing $76 million in two plants that make engines for the automaker's full-sized pickups. GM will invest $70 million in its Tonawanda Engine Plant near Buffalo, New York, and another $6 million in Parma Metal Center near Cleveland, Ohio. These investments support continued strong demand for the full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. GM's investment in Tonawanda will allow it to boost the number of engines it can build. At Parma, the investment will pay for four new metal assembly cells to support increased production of pickups.
Source: Detroit Free Press
Volkswagen has defused a power struggle over measures needed to accelerate its expansion in electric vehicles, lifting its shares by 5% on Tuesday as investors welcomed Chief Executive Herbert Diess getting allies appointed to key roles. The conflict had pitted Diess against Bernd Osterloh, Volkswagen’s powerful labour boss, whose views differed on the pace required to turn the 83-year old automaker into more of a tech company modelled on Tesla. Volkswagen’s supervisory board provided unanimous support for the 62-year old CEO in a statement on Monday, as well as backing key appointments he had requested, including Arno Antlitz taking over as finance chief from Frank Witter in June.
Here’s potentially a positive record on pace to be set during this tumultuous year. Kerrigan Advisors reported on Monday that the dealership buy/sell market continued to soar during the third quarter, putting it on track to surpass record transaction numbers established in 2015. And with a flurry of mega dealer transactions and high dealership earnings, the firm’s Third Quarter 2020 Blue Sky Report also highlighted that blue-sky values shot to unprecedented levels during the quarter, too.
Source: Auto Remarketing
About half of General Motors' 1,900 GMC dealers in the United States have agreed to invest up to $140,000 to sell the 2022 Hummer all-electric pickup truck. The dealers are onboard in part because the Hummer Edition 1 already has 10,000 preorders. Also, GMC promises to have more EVs in the lineup beyond the Hummer pickup, including a Hummer SUV version that GM will officially reveal early next year and an all-electric Sierra pickup "soon."
Most vehicle buyers say COVID-19 affected their buying process in ways they didn’t expect. But as a result, many were more satisfied, according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, released Thursday. J.D. Power redesigned the study for 2020, placing a much greater emphasis on digital retail and remote buying. The study also ranked mass market and luxury vehicle brands in the area of sales satisfaction. Ranking highest in sales satisfaction among mass market brands with a score of 824 was MINI, while Lincoln ranked highest in sales satisfaction among luxury brands with a score of 827.
Ford is conducting final quality checks on thousands of early-production F-150 pickups that are stockpiled in lots around Detroit Metro Airport as dealers clamor for deliveries of America’s best-selling truck. Ford factory employees at the Dearborn Truck Plant have been working to meet an insatiable demand for the 2021 F-150. That meant Ford had to build trucks while the prototypes were still being driven as test models. Those trucks from the early build make up the stockpile of vehicles that are plain to see parked near the airport lately, and they are undergoing a final assessment, according to Ford.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s leader criticized what he described as excessive hype over electric vehicles, saying advocates failed to consider the carbon emitted by generating electricity and the costs of an EV transition. Toyota President Akio Toyoda said Japan would run out of electricity in the summer if all cars were running on electric power. The infrastructure needed to support a fleet consisting entirely of EVs would cost Japan between ¥14 trillion and ¥37 trillion, the equivalent of $135 billion to $358 billion, he said.
The price of battery packs for electric vehicles is fast approaching a tipping point. According to a price survey conducted by BloombergNEF, EV makers soon will be producing models that are as affordable—and as profitable—as comparable combustion engine models, and without the help of tax subsidies. The average price per kilowatt-hour for a lithium-ion battery pack, according to the survey of nearly 150 buyers and sellers, has fallen to $137, down 13 percent from $157 in 2019. A decade ago, these batteries sold for more than $1,100 per kilowatt-hour. The threshold for price parity with gasoline engines, according to BNEF, is around $100/kWh.
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