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+++ For the first time ever at this point in the year, the BMW Group has delivered more than 2 million vehicles to customers around the world. A total of 2,008,849 vehicles have been sold in the first 10 months of 2017, an increase of 3.4 percent on the same period last year. October sales of 197,601 (+0.8 percent) achieved the same high level as last year, despite the current changeover of the significant X3 model, the new version of which is arriving in dealerships during November. “Our sales results for the first 10 months of the year confirm the broad range and appeal of our model line-up”, commented Ian Robertson, BMW management board member for sales. “Despite significant model changeovers and headwinds in some of our biggest markets, we have delivered over 2 million vehicles to customers in the first 10 months of the year. Vehicles as wide-ranging as the X1, the 5 Series, 7 Series and the i3, to name just a few, have all contributed to that growth”, he continued. The BMW Group’s unrivalled range of 9 electrified vehicles boosted their sales by a total of 63.7 percent in the first 10 months of 2017, with a total of 78,096 delivered to customers. Independent research confirms the BMW Group’s leading position when it comes to combined sales of battery and plug-in hybrid electrified vehicles worldwide, with the company well ahead in Germany and Europe as a whole. In October, BMW i and iPerformance vehicles made up around 8 percent of total BMW sales in the USA, France, the UK and the Netherlands, with electrified sales in Scandinavia accounting for over 30 percent of total BMW deliveries. October sales of BMW i, BMW iPerformance and MINI Electric vehicles totalled 9,405, an increase of 60.3 percent on the same month last year. The i3 increased sales in the month by 20.3 percent (2,851). Global BMW brand sales in the first 10 months of 2017 increased by 3.6 percent with a total of 1,706,020 customer deliveries worldwide. These record figures can be attributed to increased sales across a variety of models in the portfolio. For example, the X family continues to be a strong growth driver, despite availability of the X3 being significantly affected by the current model changeover. Total X sales were up 11.3 percent (578,336) in the first 10 months of the year. Other models contributing significantly to sales growth this year include the 1 Series (161,804 / +12.5 percent) and the 7 Series (53,043 / +11.9 percent). Meanwhile in October, the new 5 Series was delivered to a total of 29,370 (+8.5 percent) customers worldwide. This increase was achieved despite the ongoing ramp-up in the 5 Series’ biggest market, China. Even before the car is fully available in all markets, in October, the new 5 Series sedan was already the world’s best-selling business limousine. The 5 Series is just one of a number of new models launched as part of the company’s ongoing model offensive. Other new or refreshed models such as the 2 Series Coupé and Convertible (4,689 / +5.0 percent) and the 4 Series Gran Coupé (6,001 / +21.6 percent) also made significant contributions to the brand’s sales growth. +++

+++ For the past several years, BMW has been working on ELECTRIC mobility, or electrifying their current models. This is why the German automaker has trademarked a range of ‘i’ nameplates for their future lineup of electric models. One of the latest models would be the ‘iX3’ trademark that suggests that BMW’s best-selling SUV will be the first of many in a long lineup of EVs. BMW has filed the trademark of the iX3 name earlier this month, and it will be joined by a range of i-badged trademarks that already exist, such as the iX1, the iX9, and everything in between. Without a doubt, the iX3 nameplate will be seen on the back of the BMW’s electric X3. It is currently the only fully electric SUV that the company has confirmed for production by far, and according to the automaker, this model should be out sometime in 2019. Other models that will join the iX3 would be the upcoming i5, which was first previewed to us by the Vision Dynamics Concept. The German company plans to schedule the production of this model in 2020 to rival Tesla’s Model S, with its 480 kilometer range. Keeping their hopes up, they expect these two models to make up as much as 25 percent of their overall sales by 2025. In 2017 alone, BMW has plans on selling 100,000 plug-in hybrid cars, alongside an overall cumulative sales figure of around 200,000 vehicles. BMW has more to offer than just the iX3 and the i5, as they also have the i3 ready to go on sale in a few months. It comes with a sporty ‘S’ trim, a wider track, a set of 20-inch wheels, and some added exterior design elements on the front and the rear fascia. Of course, it comes with an electric motor that gives out as much as 184 horsepower and 280 Nm of torque. Moreover, we can expect to see the first ever i8 Roadster at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month. What we know so far is that it will be equipped with a larger 14-kWh battery pack, which is double the size of its coupe sibling. It is also possible that this model will have a boosted electric range that will enable it to give out 400 horsepower on tap. Also, do not be surprised if in the next few years, all of BMW’s vehicles will begin offering plug-in hybrid options – this includes even the M cars. BMW’s decision to start electrifying their current models comes from the perception that that their competitors such as Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes have all joined the bandwagon, with models like the e-tron, iPace and EQC SUVs. +++

+++ Tata has reportedly bought a 10 percent stake in troubled Chinese electric startup FARADAY FUTURE . Chinese media outlets are reporting Tata has purchased 10 percent of Faraday Future for 900 million dollar. If the reports are true, a healthy cash infusion could see the help stabilise the situation at the troubled EV manufacturer, which has undergone an exodus of senior personnel in recent weeks. Stefan Krause, Faraday Future’s chief financial officer, left the company in mid-October. Krause joined Faraday in March, after serving executive roles at BMW and Deutsche Bank. This was followed by a report in The Verge claiming Ulrich Kranz, chief technology officer, and Bill Strickland, vehicle line chief, had also left the firm. Kranz formerly headed BMW ‘i division’, and only joined Faraday Future in July. Strickland previously led the team responsible for the current Ford Fusion, North American sibling to the Mondeo. In May, Bloomberg reported Faraday Future was looking to raise around 1 billion dollar in funding. Faraday Future’s primary backer thus far has been Jia Yueting. Ambitious expansion plans have led to financial troubles for Yueting and his LeEco group, which saw the media and streaming company branch out and launch its own electric car in direct competition with the Faraday Future FF91. Tata could be looking to expand its electric vehicle technology portfolio with the investment, although it already has access to EV technology through its wholly-owned Jaguar Land Rover subsidiary, which is set to launch the I-Pace electric crossover soon. Faraday Future abandoned its ambitious plans to build a 1 billion dollar factory near Las Vegas, Nevada, in August. Instead, the company will lease a smaller factory in Hanford, California. +++

+++ FORD has just stopped producing its C-Max Energi. While speaking with Dan Jones, Ford North America’s Communications Manager, it has been confirmed that the electric version of the C-Max has bowed out of the assembly lines while its hybrid version is expected to come next in the following year. The recent decision could be due to the C-Max series’ unfulfilled sales expectations. Ford has only delivered a total of 40,690 C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids from October 2012 up to the end of October this year. For a while now, it has also been wildly anticipated that Ford will soon be replacing it with some new models. Given that the company has just started testing its new Ford Escape Energi plugins as well as the expected arrival of the new Ford Focus Energi, the C-Max Energi’s production course has inevitably ended. For one, The C-Max Energi has never been as popular in the US market. Despite selling a total of 2,374 units in 2012 followed by 7,154 in 2013 and 8,433 in 2014, the sales volume never really took off as much as the Tesla Model S or Nissan Leaf or Toyota Prius or even Chevrolet’s Volt and Bolt EVs. Even so, Ford has sold as many as 7,591 C-Max plugins in 2015, 7,957 in 2016 and 7,181 in 2017 and has stayed consistently among the top10 hybrid models in the country. Ford only has one remaining plug-in hybrid model under its portfolio and that is the Ford Fusion (Mondeo) Energi with the same powertrain. The Ford C-Max was first introduced in the market as a 2013 model bearing the tall 5-door compact hatchback design similar to Prius or Toyota’s popular hybrid range. However, some issues have been raised later on with regards to its claimed EPA ratings that do not match with what its customers have actually been experiencing. Due to this, Ford was impelled to reduce the C-Max Hybrid’s EPA ratings which occurred a couple of times while the electric range and energy efficiency of its C-Max Energi plugin has also been adjusted in the process. 0Either way, sales for both C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi plugin hybrid models have not been so impressive in the last 10 months. The non-plugin version has sold just a total of 8,331 while the plugin only has a total of 7,181 examples sold as said earlier. The Prius line has already sold more than 90,000 in the first ten months of 2017 if we have Toyota to compare it with for the same period. Ford is now rearranging its vehicle lineup for the US and will be shifting more of its attention on SUVs and pickup trucks instead of small vehicles. At any rate, it is good to note that the company is moving this way without having to put aside electro mobility solutions from its priority list. +++

+++ The HYUNDAI Santa Cruz Concept has earned a ton of praises after it was unveiled in Detroit almost 3 years ago. Oddly, it took a while before the company came to realize its importance in boosting the US sales which as of late, have not been quite so impressive. It can be recalled that Michael J. O’Brien, Hyundai Motor senior executive, has told before about the company’s plan of launching a new pickup truck in the US. It was also mentioned then that the main issue was on how to increase the production; especially for the Tucson which often runs short of supply. Initial reports also indicate that the Kona, which is slated to launch in US early next year, will come from South Korea. Then there is Dave Zuchowski, former Hyundai Motor America CEO, who said earlier this year that new SUVs including the Santa Cruz project have all received the go-signal from its corporate headquarters. It was confirmed by Hyundai later on that the Santa Cruz concept has indeed been given the notice to proceed and is now aimed directly for the US market. Moving on to the present, the latest word came earlier this week from South Korea’s Seoul Economic Daily, stating that that Hyundai could build its pick-ups in the US beginning 2021. That is to say, both the Tucson and Kona crossover SUVs could also be manufactured at the existing manufacturing facility in Alabama. The Alabama plant is where the Sonata and Elantra sedans are being made along with the Santa Fe. According to Seoul Economic Daily, Hyundai’s anonymous spokesperson has told that they have been considering all the possibilities. Also according to the same source, Hyundai’s Alabama factory currently has the capacity of building 380,000 to 450,000 vehicles per year. If the 2 crossovers and new pickup will be made in the US, they might have to consider upgrading the manufacturing plant in Alabama as well. Hyundai Motors however did not confirm if it had any plans at all to expand the factory’s current capacity. The company has suffered a significant sales drop in the US just this October. In fact, the 15 percent decrease is Hyundai’s biggest downfall so far. Sharing the same facility in building the new Tucson and the supposed new pickup is sensible enough given that the pickup truck has already been set to use the same architecture as the Tucson. As for Hyundai’s Kona, there is no better way to take advantage of the increasing demand for small crossovers than by making them in the US instead of importing them all the way from South Korea. All in all, it is too early to tell where this is going but if all that is said here prove to be real, a car-based pickup like the Santa Cruz concept will surely be worth the wait. +++

+++ The all-electric KIA Niro EV has been spied during development testing in Germany. The Niro prototype was also spied alongside a camouflaged version of the upcoming Hyundai Kona EV. It’s expected the 2 electric crossovers will share elements of their underpinnings and technology suite. Reports claim the Kona EV will come with 2 battery options: a 39.2 kWh variant and a long-range 64.2 kWh version. Hyundai is targeting a 390 km+ range with the standard car, while reports suggest the larger unit will be capable of over 500 km on a single charge. Should the Niro get the same standard inclusions, it may get a slightly shorter driving range due to its larger size and the inevitable weight that brings compared to the more compact Kona, though a sub-$40,000 electric car with over 350 kilometres of range is no shameful feat. Little else is known about the upcoming EV, though the current Hyundai Ioniq EV puts out 88 kW and 295 Nm from its electric motor; and its smaller 28 kWh battery pack claims a range of up to 280 km. Hyundai, meanwhile, is quite keen on both the Ioniq EV and Kona EV. Maybe Kia will follow suit? +++

+++ Global deliveries of MINI brand vehicles in the first 10 months topped the 300,000 mark for the first time ever at this point in the year. A total of 300,212 Mini’s were delivered worldwide, an increase of 2.5 percent. With a sales increase of 19.3 percent and 64,339 units delivered, the Countryman was the brand’s major growth driver. October sales of that model grew by 45.0 percent (7,503) with more than 1 in 10 of those cars the plug-in hybrid Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 (fuel consumption in the EU test cycle: 2.3-2.1 litres/100 km, electricity consumption 14 kWh/100 km, CO2 emissions: 52-49 g/km). +++

+++ The VOLKSWAGEN Beetle could be revived as a rear-wheel drive electric vehicle (EV) as part of the company’s upcoming I.D. family. Volkswagen’s Herbert Diess said the company needs to decide on “emotional concepts” for its upcoming electric cars; a term he defines as covering iconic models like the Microbus and Beetle, along with the Kübelwagen and Buggy. “If we wanted to do a Beetle, electrically it would be much better than today’s model, much closer to history, because it could be rear-wheel drive”, he said. While Diess was careful not to confirm whether a decision has been made on a Beetle successor, his comments point to an EV as the most likely route. Should it be put into production, the Beetle would be the second Volkswagen ’emotional concept’ to be revived as an all-electric I.D. model, with the market version of the I.D. Buzz concept to revive the Microbus in 2022. It’s possible that the ‘I.D AEROe’ referenced in a product roadmap could be the a sporty rear-wheel drive coupe-styled hatchback reviving the Beetle name, though there rumours that it will be a successor to the now-defunct Scirocco are also circulating. Like the most recent Beetle, the Scirocco shared its architecture with the previous-generation Golf. Diess said Volkswagen’s MEB electric platform is already pencilled in as the basis of 15 EVs in the coming years, 5 of which will be sold with Volkswagen badges. The remaining 10 will likely be Audi, Seat and Skoda models. +++

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