SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT DELAYS NEW VOLVO
Volvo Car AB will delay the production start of its electric flagship SUV because the company needs more time for software development and testing. Output of the EX90 is now expected to begin in the first half of 2024, Volvo said Thursday. The Sweden-based carmaker had previously said the car would start rolling off the line in the fourth quarter of 2023. The shares fell as much as 6.4% following the news.
Source: Bloomberg News
MAZDA RACES TO FEED U.S. DEMAND FOR CX-90 - LOOMING SHIPPING SHORTAGE
Export-dependent Mazda Motor Corp. expects a big surge in U.S. sales this year. That is, if it can secure enough car carriers to transport its popular product from Japan. A global shipping shortage is causing the Hiroshima-based automaker to scramble to secure enough sea transport to feed soaring demand for Mazda vehicles, especially its crossovers. Mazda expects wholesale deliveries to jump 13 percent, or by 140,000 units, in the current fiscal year as it launches new nameplates such as the CX-90 and ramps up production.
Source: Automotive News
NEW-CAR BUYERS WARY BUT CURIOUS ABOUT SUBSCRIPTION FEATURES
New-car buyers have long had to pay extra for certain options, from cold-weather packages that add heated seats and steering wheels to driver-assist suites that bring blind-spot monitoring and other similar tech. But what do shoppers think about the trend of subscription-based options that some automakers are trying? A new study conducted by Cox Automotive suggests a majority of new-car buyers are unaware but interested in on-demand features.
Source: Car and Driver
AGE OF VEHICLES ON ROAD CLIMBS TO 12.5 YEARS
US Consumers Keep Vehicles for a Record 12.5 Years on Average
Americans in the waning days of the COVID pandemic are keeping their combustion-engine vehicles longer, according to a new study. The average age of U.S. cars and light trucks this year climbed to a record 12.5 years, reflecting the impact of supply constraints on dealer inventories of new vehicles in 2022, as well as reduced consumer demand from higher inflation and interest rates, according to the study by S&P Global Mobility.
Gas-Powered Cars Won't Die Off Any Time Soon
Americans are keeping their vehicles longer than ever — good news for repair shops, but bad news for anyone expecting a rapid phase-out of gas-powered cars. Why it matters: The longer people hold onto their internal-combustion cars, the longer it will take to replace those vehicles with newer, more environmentally sustainable technology. Driving the news: The average age of light vehicles on the road in the U.S. is now at an all-time high of 12.5 years, up three months from 2022, according to S&P Global Mobility.
TOYOTA TEASES FUTURE EV, PLANS 3 ROW ELECTRIC SUV BY 2026
Toyota made a number of announcements that suggest it might be stepping up its electric vehicle strategy versus what has been previously announced. In an annual roundup of the company’s financial results presented on Wednesday, president and CEO Koji Sato stated that it plans to launch ten models ranging from luxury vehicles to compact cars and commercial vehicles, “mainly in the United States and China.”
The executive re-upped the company’s target of 1.5 million battery electric sales by 2026 as a “base volume,” and said that for battery supply it “will seek to speedily secure the necessary volume by increasing our in-house production capacity and collaborating with our partners.”
That suggestion of boosted capacity hasn’t yet resulted in any update of Toyota’s U.S. EV targets, however. At last update, in 2021, Toyota anticipated that 85% of its U.S. vehicles sold in 2030 would still have tailpipes. Toyota pointed out that its 2026 EVs may actually be built on three different platforms: a software platform, an electronic platform, and a body and chassis platform. It has also said that it’s completely rethinking the manufacturing process for EVs. The company also announced Wednesday that it will debut its next-generation EV (above) in concept form at the Tokyo auto show in October. In a teaser sent out ahead of the financial presentation, the photo was captioned with “greater efficiency,” and “set hearts racing.” Toyota teased a number of EV concepts in late 2021, with an announcement that it planned 30 new EVs globally by 2030, so it’s unclear how much overlap there might be between those former concepts and those that are production-bound. In October it reportedly paused development on some EVs, while mulling a larger commitment.
It's unclear if that commitment was made, but in Wednesday's update, Toyota included a three-row SUV in its timeline of additional models by 2026.
Today, the Toyota bZ4X electric crossover is a low-volume model for multiple markets, the bZ3 is an electric sedan for China, and the Proace Electric is an electric van variant for China and Europe. There’s also the Lexus RZ for the U.S., China, and Europe, and the Europe-specific Lexus UX 300e.
Although Toyota may be focusing more on EVs for North America, it’s by no means pivoting its focus globally to them quite yet. It aims to boost its market share in emerging markets and Asia, and in Wednesday’s presentation it pointed to projections that in Asia, the hybrid market is expected to rise from 8% in 2022 to 21% in 2030, while battery electric models will rise to 5% by then, from just 1% in 2022. As Toyota has argued in recent years, with limited supplies of lithium, it can yield a larger reduction in overall emissions by producing hybrids rather than relying entirely on EVs. Certainly, not everyone agrees.
Source: Green Car Reports
INCENTIVES ARE KEEPING VEHICLE SALE PRICES BELOW MSRP
For the second time in as many months, the average transaction price (ATP) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. fell, and it’s all thanks to incentives. That means it still remains below the average manufacturer’s suggested retail price, according to data from Kelley Blue Book. The ATP of new vehicles sold in April fell 0.03 percent — a whole $14 — from March to $48,275.
VOLKSWAGEN AIMS FOR 'MARGIN PARITY' ON SOME EVS BY 2025
Volkswagen Chief Financial Officer Arno Antlitz said on Wednesday rising battery material costs mean it will be 2025 before the automaker can build some electric vehicles at the same profit margins as combustion models. When Volkswagen launched its new electrification strategy in July 2021, it said it expected to reach margin parity between combustion engine and electric vehicles "within the next two to three years". Now, Antlitz said, rising materials costs mean the profitability goal depends on VW making its own batteries.
SUBPRIME SHRINKS, DELINQUENCIES RISE
In today’s high-price, rising interest rate environment, the subprime share of auto loan originations continues to shrink and delinquencies among younger borrowers are on the rise, researchers for the New York Federal Reserve Bank say in their first-quarter Report on Household Debt and Credit. Over time, those trends could have a more significant impact on brands and dealers with a higher share of buyers with low credit scores, according to a separate Cox Automotive analysis.
EXPLODING AIR BAGS PROMPT FEDS TO DEMAND MASSIVE RECALL
Federal vehicle-safety regulators are calling for a recall of air-bag inflation devices that would trigger one of the largest safety actions in U.S. history, citing at least two deaths and eight injuries. The maker of the devices says it doesn’t believe a recall of that scope is necessary. Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made public its demand that Tennessee-based ARC Automotive recall about 67 million air-bag inflators because of a risk they could explode in a crash and spray the car’s interior with metal shrapnel.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
TOP TOYOTA SCIENTIST SAYS WORLD LACKS THE RESOURCES TO GO ALL-EV
Toyota Motor Corp.’s top scientist warned that transitioning to electric vehicles too quickly could lead drivers to hold on to old gas guzzlers and called for hybrids to be given a longer leash ahead of a Group of Seven leaders summit in Japan. Subsidies and restrictions targeting combustion cars will make EVs attractive for customers who can afford them, but gas-electric vehicles remain a better fit for other consumers, Gill Pratt, Toyota’s chief scientist and chief executive officer of the Toyota Research Institute, told reporters in Hiroshima on Thursday.
GM'S 2025 EV OUTPUT COULD BE CRIMPED BY BATTERY BOTTLENECK
General Motors has said it will have the capacity to build 1 million electric vehicles in North America by 2025, but a slow ramp-up of its three U.S. battery plants could limit actual EV production to less than 600,000 at mid-decade, according to a forecast and analysis prepared for Reuters.
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