Newsflash: na GTI, GTD en GTE volgt bij Volkswagen GTX


+++ BMW Group sales continued their positive trend in November. Worldwide deliveries increased by 1.4 % over the same month last year to 225.662 units. Deliveries in the year to the end of November were up 1.7 % year-on-year, with a total of 2.296.174 BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles sold. “After renewed growth in November, we continue to approach a new record for the full year as planned”, said Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW and responsible for Customer, Brands and Sales. “Our electrified vehicles also performed particularly well in November, with sales increasing by 18.4 % to reach a new all-time sales high. Last month, one in five 5 Series Sedans was a plug-in hybrid”, Nota continued. Total sales of BMW brand vehicles grew by 2.9 % in November to 194.690 units. In the year to date, BMW brand sales increased by 2.4 % to 1.97.,394 cars. Alongside the successful luxury segment, the new and revised X vehicles, in particular, also contributed to the brand’s growth, with sales rising 23.1 % to 870.267 vehicles in the year to the end of November. The popular 3 Series Sedan (+33.7 %) and Touring (+21.6 %) also posted high double-digit growth in November. Last month, sales of BMW Group electrified models reached a new all-time high of 17.480 units. This includes 13.590 plug-in hybrid models (+20,3%). The BMW i brand continued its positive sales trend in the year to date with the i3 and the i8 (38.497 units; +18.0 %). Sales of the Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Plug-in Hybrid climbed almost 50 % in November (1.950 vehicles). This development reflects customer interest in electrified mobility. The BMW Group supports this trend and will be providing more than 4.100 charging points for electrified cars at its locations across Germany by 2021. As an e-mobility pioneer, the company intends to have 1 million electrified vehicles on the roads by the end of 2021. A quarter of the BMW Group vehicles sold in Europe will be electrified by 2021; this will reach a third in 2025 and half in 2030. The BMW Group also plans to offer 25 electrified models by 2023 and more than half will be fully electric. +++

+++ The head of CADILLAC said a majority, and possibly all, of the brand’s models will be electric vehicles by 2030. President Steve Carlisle also said Cadillac is on track for “low double digit” sales growth in China, despite a drop in overall vehicle sales in the world’s largest vehicle market. Cadillac has previously signaled a move toward electric models. Carlisle also said Cadillac will offer a large electric SUV similar to the Escalade. Cadillac could continue to offer internal combustion models alongside electric vehicles, depending on consumer demand, he added. +++

+++ CHINA ’s auto market, the world’s biggest, is set for a third year of contraction with a 2 % decline in sales next year, hit by a weaker economy and U.S. – China trade tensions, the country’s top auto industry body said. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) expects sales to slide to about 25.31 million vehicles in 2020, Xu Haidong, assistant secretary general, said at a conference. CAAM told in October that 2019 sales are expected to fall to about 26 million vehicles this year, down about 8 % year on year. Xu repeated that prediction. China’s car sales fell by 9.1 % in the first 11 months this year, having slid 3 % last year in the first sales contraction since the 1990s. +++ 

+++ CLIMATE CHANGE has become an overarching global issue and the need to reduce CO2 emissions to halt global warming is now (largely) accepted as scientific fact. And there’s no escaping that the car industry is a major contributor to CO2 emissions. For example, the Volkswagen Group estimates that, through its operations and the cars it has made, it is responsible for around 1 % of the world’s total carbon emissions. It might sound audacious, even somewhat hypocritical, to hear industry bosses say they want to take the lead in cutting CO2 emissions. But that’s exactly what Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson did at the recent launch of the XC40 Recharge, the firm’s first electric car. “Despite decades of political climate summits and very bold emission targets, CO2 levels are still increasing”, said Samuelsson. “Something else is needed to turn this tide and we believe the answer must be action from the business community”. Similarly, Hyundai’s R&D chief, Albert Biermann, said recently: “The car industry needs to play a big role to find solutions to the issue of global warming. We want to be a big player on this planet, so we take it as our responsibility to come up with sustainable solutions”. Undoubtedly, the current move to mass electrification by the car industry has been sparked primarily by increasingly tough emissions targets from the EU and other regulators. Those targets are largely a product of the 2016 Paris Agreement (signed by 195 nations) which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degree C above pre-industrial levels. The EU has mandated tough average fleet emissions targets for car manufacturers, starting with a 95 g/km limit in 2021. For car manufacturers to meet those goals, they are essentially forced to produce (and sell) electrified cars. But the CO2 produced by a car’s powertrain is only part of the story. Volvo says that such emissions account for only 59 % of a car’s total lifetime CO2 footprint. Another 36 % come from CO2 produced in the manufacturing supply chain, with the remaining 5 % due to operations such as distribution and servicing. So, many car firms are aiming to go further, planning to cut CO2 emissions across the entire production chain. For example, Volvo wants to become a climate-neutral company by 2040. It has set a series of goals to achieve this, including a 40 % reduction in each car’s life-cycle CO2 footprint by 2025, at which time it is aiming for its global manufacturing network to be climate neutral. For example, Volvo has said it will use blockchain data-sharing technology to trace the source of the cobalt that suppliers CATL and LG Chem use in its lithium ion batteries to ensure the raw materials are sourced responsibly. It will also show buyers an average lifetime carbon footprint for each future model. Like Volvo, Volkswagen has set itself a CO2 -neutral target, but by 2050, and it has proudly advertised the ID 3 as its first carbon-neutral car, with the Zwickau factory, where it is produced, running entirely on renewable energy. Numerous other car firms have made changes so their plants run purely on renewable energy and are cutting emissions in other ways. It’s not hard to see the contradiction of companies built on producing carbon-emitting cars now pushing to be seen as leaders in the move to reduce those emissions, especially in the case of Volkswagen, given its actions unearthed in the Dieselgate scandal. Volkswagen’s argument is ‘who else can?’, a view rooted in that stat about it accounting for 1 % of the world’s carbon emissions. Ralf Brandstätter, the firm’s chief operating officer, said recently: “Our big size means big responsibility”. And he insists that the push towards emissions-free mobility will become the “guidepost” of Volkswagen’s future action, adding: “It will be our compass in future. It’s our mindset”. Samuelsson said Volvo is also making the reduction of emissions part of its core, comparing it with another driving force of the firm: “We made safety a part of our company and we should do the same with sustainability”. Samuelsson added that the increasing public drive towards sustainability meant the car industry could suffer if it doesn’t respond. He said: “Economic growth, new technology and competition is not necessarily bad. It should not be seen as part of the problem but as part of the solution for a really sustainable future. We believe the ability for people to move should not be seen as a negative. It should be seen as a positive. We should be careful about restricting freedom to move, but we should make it sustainable”. That’s also key: although it will cost the car industry billions to achieve CO2-neutral production and motoring, the cost of not doing so could ultimately be vastly more. According to Biermann, that desire to appeal to eco-conscious customers could begin to drive electrification faster than the legislation that has kicked it off: “Eco-friendliness has become a big area of competition with battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids. In areas such as Europe, this will be a very enjoyable fight – and it will be good for the customers who will go for an electrified car”. +++

+++ CUPRA is unlikely to build a bespoke sports car in the foreseeable future, with CEO Luca de Meo telling it will focus on SUVs. “You want roadsters, 2-seaters, cabrios? This is a typical perspective from the British market”, said de Meo. “We don’t get that question from other markets, sometimes from Germans”. He elaborated by saying: “SUVs are called sports utility vehicles because they represent a new concept of sportiness. These kinds of things, SUVs with a coupé look, this is what for us was the 2-door: an impractical coupé you could barely fit in, but it was fast, the handling was amazing because of a low centre of gravity etc. These things are gone”. De Meo said the argument about building a sports car is an emotional one, not a rational one, for the time being. “I cannot afford to drop a few hundred million on something where I sell 15,000 cars at a loss just for the sake of doing a sports car”, he said. “When I have some resources, I can tell you we have a lot of creativity, but right now this is not a priority. Seat sells 500,000 cars annually. I do not have the luxury to do that sort of thing, although I do like it”. There have been 3 new Cupra models since the brand was spun off from Seat and all are SUVs: the Cupra Ateca, the Formentor (top) and the Tavascan (bottom), a sporting electric SUV concept that’s likely to enter production in the next 2 years. De Meo said the original idea for Cupra was far less ambitious: “I wanted to create a business around the motorsport division to protect it from my successor coming in and saying ‘Racing? We don’t need that’ and closing it. I wanted to create a business around motorsport that can finance its operations. That was the initial idea. Then it became much bigger”. +++

+++ EUROPE is poised to lead global growth in electric-car sales next year as governments across the region offer consumers ever-sweeter incentives toward the purchase of new vehicles. Momentum is building in a market that is already the world’s second-biggest (well behind China, but significantly ahead of North America) as the European Union on Wednesday set in motion an unprecedented plan to become net neutral on carbon emissions by mid-century. With automakers already facing the stark choice of either offloading emissions-free vehicles or paying stiff EU penalties on polluting models, 2020 is shaping up as do or die for the industry. “It’s better to subsidize electric cars than to pay high fines for selling combustion engines”, said NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. “We should see steady gains in the numbers next year”. In Europe, sales of full-electric and plug-in hybrid cars are expected to grow 35 % in the first 9 months of 2020, a rate far higher than China and North America. Full-electric vehicles have long outpaced plug-in hybrids in the 3 regions. The forecast is for 32 % growth in Europe this year, compared with a cooling of the market in China as the government pulls back on subsidies and in North America as Tesla sends more Model 3s abroad. The push to sell is taking on greater urgency as companies like Volkswagen Group spend record amounts to roll out new models. In Europe, electric cars still represent a relatively small proportion of the market, although the share is approaching that of China. “Pricing and the development of charging infrastructure will be the cornerstone of EV growth”, said Fitch ratings analyst Emmanuel Bulle, noting some consumers are reluctant to pay more for full-electric cars because of range anxiety. In response, European governments are also pushing for the expansion of charging networks. In the UK and Germany, companies like and Ubitricity are integrating chargers into street lamp posts as a way to broaden infrastructure more quickly. +++


+++ FERRARI won’t have its first fully electric model ready until after 2025 as the battery technology requires more development, Chief Executive Louis Camilleri said, pushing back expectations. The luxury carmaker had previously said a fully electric vehicle would be available only after the current industrial plan ends in 2022. Analysts said they had not expected it before 2023, but the latest comments suggest an actual launch could be further off.
“The battery technology is not where it should be yet”, Camilleri told reporters during a lunch in the Centro Stile at Ferrari’s Maranello factory. “There are still significant issues in terms of autonomy, in terms of speed of recharging. So eventually we will come out with one. But it’s post-2025. Not in the short term”. he added. Camilleri said Ferrari was “certainly” studying a fully electric grand tourer car (GT), but that it would stick to hybrid vehicles for the “current foreseeable future”. Earlier this year, Ferrari unveiled the SF 90 Stradale, its first hybrid car in series-production. Ferrari wants 60 % of its cars sold by 2022 to be hybrids. Camilleri said the group was also considering alternative technologies for its cars, including hydrogen and biofuels. “We are looking at various powertrains and trying to see what would be the most efficient and effective in terms of what our vision is for Ferrari cars in the future”, he said. Last month, Ferrari raised its guidance for this year’s core earnings to €1.27 billion and said it expects a strong performance in 2020. “We’re about to close another record year, we did pretty well on all the metrics, volume, revenues, income, cash flow. So you’ll see a lot of smiling faces around here”, Camilleri said. +++

+++ The chief executive of autonomous vehicle company Cruise signaled the GENERAL MOTORS subsidiary intends to offer shared rides “at a radically lower cost” as part of a bid to move eventually “beyond the car”. Dan Ammann, former president of the largest Detroit automaker and now the CEO of Cruise, wrote in a blog post that to “make order-of-magnitude (rather than incremental) improvements in transportation, we need to build alternatives that are superior to the status quo in every way”. The post was headlined “We Need to Move Beyond the Car”. Cruise’s mission, he said, is to “reduce congestion through making shared rides more compelling by providing an awesome experience at a radically lower cost”. Only then, “will we truly move beyond the car to the transportation system that we deserve”. Ammann did not elaborate on Cruise’s plans in his post. Cruise said it would offer more details at an event in San Francisco on January 21. Cruise previously announced a partnership with Honda to develop a purpose-built autonomous vehicle for use in ride-sharing. Honda is a minority investor in Cruise. Cruise was valued at $19 billion in May after a $1.15 billion round of investment. GM’s market capitalization stood at $50 billion. Earlier this year, Ammann scrapped a goal of launching a Cruise robotaxi service by the end of 2019. GM rival Ford and its development partner Argo AI are planning to launch self-driving vehicles in commercial ride-sharing and delivery services in the United States in late 2021. Waymo is already providing ride-sharing services in Arizona in partnership with Lyft. +++


+++ HYUNDAI will focus more on a typical customer’s lifestyle and needs when designing its future cars, said SangYup Lee, the head of the brand’s global design center. Until now Hyundai’s lineup has had a family look with all cars having the same face, Lee said. In the future the design of new models will have more diversity. The Vision T plug-in hybrid concept, unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show last month, shows the styling of future Hyundai cars, he said. Hyundai aims to find a design element of design that can give the brand a distinctive image like Audi did 10 years ago with its light design, Lee said. He hinted that the concept previews the next generation Tucson. “The show car is a very strong statement. You will be surprised by how close the production car to the Vision T”, he said. The Vision T is the 7th in a series of Hyundai Design Center concepts expressing the brand’s evolving “Sensuous Sportiness” global design language. The Vision T’s new grille and lighting elements are part of the updated design theme, Lee said. On the concept, the grille and front lighting are integrated. When stationary, the grille is closed to create a seamless appearance. When the car is being driven the grille’s air shutters move in sequence to create a flowing look that also has the functional effect of controlling airflow to the powertrain, optimizing aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, Hyundai says. Lee said the brand’s signature, so-called “cascading grille” will remain “but we don’t want it to be the first element of the car”, he said. Another feature of the Vision T that Hyundai will try to use more in the future are the little steps sticking out on the car’s shoulder, which help to give the doors a more muscular look but require a more precise manufacturing process, Lee said. “This is one area where I’m working very closely with our manufacturing guys”, he said. Surface treatment to create a chiseled mineral quality can also help to give Hyundai’s cars more personality, Lee said. “We will also use some kind of cues that are normally considered a no-go in design schools, such as triangular shapes or crisscrossing character lines”, he said. Both cues are visible on the sides of the Vision T. Another design element Hyundai will be paying close attention to is the position of sensors for autonomous driving equipment. “External sensors will acquire a major role in giving each car a distinctive look”, Lee said. Autonomous cars will have a big sensor hub on the roof. “Whoever gets the best design for the sensor hub will add value to the brand character”, he said. Lee drew a comparison with what happened 20 years ago with light design. “Lamp design has become an important design cue for cars and the same will happen for sensors in the near future”, he said. +++ 

+++ Aeva said it has shrunk the main components of its LIDAR self-driving car sensor onto a single chip, a move it expects to dramatically lower the price of a sensor widely considered a bottleneck in the mass production of autonomous vehicles. The company, founded by ex-Apple engineers Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk, also said it has taken investment from Porsche; the majority-voting shareholder of Volkswagen. Lidar sensors generate a 3D map of the world around the car. In addition to the map, Aeva’s sensor detects the velocity of objects in a car’s surroundings, which could help cars determine whether an object hundreds of meters down the road is a tree or a pedestrian. The investment, whose size was not disclosed, follows a previous deal in April with the Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit of Audi (another Volkswagen marque) which plans to use the startup’s lidar sensor on its e-Tron development fleet vehicles in Munich. Aeva’s sensor uses a different technology than other lidar units currently being tested on the road, which have spinning parts and send out powerful laser bursts. Aeva’s sensor has no moving parts and uses a less powerful continuous wave. That allowed the company to put the most important parts onto a chip about the size of a U.S. quarter that can be made in the same factories that currently make data center networking chips. “We have not used any exotic components”, Salehian said in an interview. Aeva believes it can sell sensors for less than $500 that can see 300 meters ahead. Early next year, Aeva plans to release a unit that is half the size of its predecessor but with a field of view which is twice as wide at 120 degrees. It aims to release a smaller, final production version by 2022. The falling cost and size of the units captured Volkswagen’s attention and prompted it to partner more deeply with the startup, said Alex Hitzinger, senior vice president of autonomous driving at Volkswagen and chief executive of subsidiary Volkswagen Autonomy. Current lidar systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars, a cost automakers say must come down to a few hundred dollars. Hitzinger said Volkswagen is looking into using Aeva’s sensor on the ID.Buzz, an electric reboot of its iconic microbus that is scheduled to launch in 2022 or 2023. “Cost is very, very important”, Hitzinger said in an interview. “These things are extremely expensive at the moment, especially the lidar sensors. We need to get to a technology that is scalable”. +++ 

+++ MERCEDES ‘ second-generation GLA gets a roomier interior and a tech upgrade to serve as a conquest vehicle in its growing segment. Mercedes unveiled the new GLA on Wednesday online, the first time the brand has premiered a new model on a live stream. The GLA will arrive in European dealerships in the spring and go on sale in the U.S. and China next summer. It will be a rival to the BMW X2 and Audi Q2 in Europe. The GLA is is the 8th member of Mercedes’ compact-car family and the brand’s entry-level SUV. It’s based on the A class and is positioned below the more practical, boxy GLB, which offers up to 8 seats, as a rival to the BMW X2 and Audi Q2. “The GLB is the most functional and most spacious representative of our compact class family, while the new GLA is positioned as its sporty brother and as a lifestyle-oriented SUV”, Mercedes sales and market chief, Britta Seeger, said in a statement. The GLA targets millennials before they have a family, said Sam Fiorani, vice president at AutoForecast Solutions. “Where their parents would have purchased a coupe, today’s aspiring professionals look to stylish utilities before moving up to the bigger models when their own kids arrive”, Fiorani said. The latest GLA provides more interior space than the first generation for hauling people and their weekend bags. It is 100 mm taller than its predecessor, but 15 mm shorter, offering more headroom in the front and more legroom in the rear. Design changes include an upright front section, short overhangs at the front and rear, and protective cladding. The dashboard is anchored by a free-standing display unit, available with either two 7-inch displays or two 10.25-inch displays. The GLA, like the brand’s newer models, features the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, infotainment system. The model also offers a suite of driver-assistance systems. Its active brake assistance system can apply autonomous braking to avoid a collision or to reduce its severity. The driving assistance packages now include a turning maneuver function, a warning function alerting the driver to approaching cyclists or vehicles, and a warning when pedestrians are detected near crossings.
Launch engines are 163 hp, 1.3-liter and 306 hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline units. Further options will be introduced later. Mercedes has sold more than 1 million GLAs globally since the model debuted in 2014. +++

+++ Focusing on profitable sales growth in a highly competitive segment, worldwide MINI brand sales for the year to the end of November trended lower (-2.7 %) at 319.125 units. In November, 30,509 units (-6.8 %) were sold. In addition to its core models, John Cooper Works variants proved especially popular with customers. +++

+++ Chinese EV start-up NIO has secured a key deal to build an advanced self-driving car using technology developed by Intel’s Mobileye division, but the firm is still searching for new funding to meet its ambitious growth plans. Nio, which currently offers a range of electric SUVs in China, has agreed to construct a new car featuring Level 4 autonomous systems (which allow for hands-off driving) designed by Mobileye. The Israeli firm, which tech giant Intel bought for €13.5 billion in 2017, has developed a range of sensors, radar and software systems for self-driving cars. Nio wants to use the Mobileye system in its next-generation battery-electric vehicle platform and has begun initial engineering work on the project, with crash simulation work being undertaken at Nio’s Oxford engineering centre. But the firm is unlikely to be able to begin detailed design work and production engineering until it has secured new funding. Nio, founded in 2014 by Chinese entrepreneur William Li, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In the run-up to flotation in mid-2018, Nio lost €430 million, and after a recall hit sales of the ES6 and ES8 SUVs this summer, it recorded a further €390 millio loss. Its share price has fallen sharply this year, – although it rose after the Mobileye deal was announced. A refinancing package earlier this year raised €175 million in extra funding. Nio’s Europe boss, Hui Zhang, said: “We definitely need more finance and we are still working on the new fundraising”. Zhang believes the new platform (called NP 2.0) could be key in securing Nio’s future. Although there are no specific technical details, it is set to feature motors, a battery pack and power electronics that are more efficient than those of the existing NP 1.0 architecture, along with Mobileye’s system. Zang said: “The focus is on an advanced electrical powertrain system and ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) and the motor will be definitely different”. Although Zhang won’t commit to a launch date for the new NP 2.0 platform, it is likely to arrive around 2023/24, based on the 36-month development cycle of Nio’s first platform, but that date depends on the firm securing investment. Nio’s financial problems led to it delaying the launch of the ET7 saloon, a Tesla Model S rival, that it showcased at the Shanghai motor show earlier this year. The NP 1.0 platform features an induction motor on the rear axle and a more conventional electric motor at the front. It is likely to be used for a model Nio is planning to unveil in December. The model is likely to be a smaller SUV or a coupé version of the ES6. If funding can be found, Zhang said Nio still has ambitions to expand to the UK and mainland Europe. He said: “We are working internally on market and execution strategies for the start of sales but it might be before the arrival of the new platform”. Nio is expected to initially focus on countries where it believes buyers will pay a premium price (likely to be around €60,000 in The Netherlands) for the ES6 and ES8. “You have wealthy customers in the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland who can afford our cars and are ready to go green”, said Zhang. He added that Nio’s plans for Europe would be based on using contract manufacturing. In China, its cars are assembled by state-owned JAC at a bespoke Nio facility. +++ 

+++ SUBARU expects its U.S. vehicle sales to rise to a record high in 2020, as demand for its SUV crossover models helps it buck the trend of slowing car sales in the Japanese automaker’s biggest market. The company has been growing rapidly in the United States, the world’s No.2 auto market, roughly doubling the number of vehicles sold over the past 6 years, thanks in part to a ramp-up in local production capacity and a marketing strategy focused mainly on affluent and liberal-minded consumers featuring slogans such as love and inclusion. Japan’s smallest automaker said that ongoing U.S. demand for its Forester and Outback models would likely boost overall sales in the country to 720.000 to 730.000 units next year, up by as much as 4.3 % from the around 700.000 vehicles it expects to sell by the end of this year. “We expect the U.S. market to slow only slightly next year, so we’re planning to see more growth in our sales. We think we can achieve this”, CEO Tomomi Nakamura told reporters in Tokyo. He added that he saw room for the automaker to expand its share of the SUV market, which stands at around 7 % at the moment, given that Subaru’s SUV models outsell its sedan models, which include the Legacy and the Imprezza. “If competition in the SUV market continues, that segment will keep growing even as the overall market slows”, he said. American sales account for around 65 % of Subaru’s total global sales of around 1 million units. By the end of November, sales of the Forester this year had climbed 6.4 % from a year ago, while sales of the Outback, its best-selling model in the country, were up 0.9 %. However, the rapid growth in the country has coincided with a jump in global quality-related issues which has sapped profitability in the past year or so. +++ 

+++ Automakers selling cars in the EU may face TOUGHER CO2 EMISSIONS reduction targets after the European Commission signaled it will review goals already set for 2030. The Commission will propose to revise by June 2021 legislation on CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans “to ensure a clear pathway from 2025 onward toward zero-emissions mobility”, it said in a document called the European Green Deal. In April, the European Union passed legislation that mandates automakers selling cars in Europe to cut their average fleet CO2 emissions by 37.5 % by 2030 to 60 grams per kilometer relative to a 2021 baseline of 95 g/km. In 2018, emissions from new cars increased for the consecutive second year, rising to 120.4 g/km. The new European Commission presented its long-term roadmap for a climate neutral EU economy. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has put climate action at the top of her legislative agenda for the next 5 years. “The Commission is within its mandate to propose a new target, but any such step would come with the requisite economic impact assessment and require approval from the EU Parliament and EU Council to enter into legislation”, a Commission spokeswoman said. She declined to comment on whether a 15 % intermediate CO2 emissions reduction target for 2025 could also be reviewed. The emissions reduction targets are part of the EU’s commitment to tackle climate change by moving to carbon neutrality by 2050. As a result, it is not uncommon for Brussels to re-evaluate whether targets were proving effective for achieving policy goals, and adjust them where necessary, the spokeswoman said. The guidelines will push automakers to invest even more heavily in in electric cars to avoid fines from the EU for missing targets. Sales of full-electric and plug-in hybrid cars are expected to grow 35 % in the first 9 months of 2020; a rate far higher than China and North America, according to Bloomberg. The Commission said it would consider including road transport in the European emissions trading scheme (ETS) already used by energy-intensive industries such as utilities, and steel and cement producers as a further tool to reduce CO2 output. Road transport accounts for one fifth of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions and its CO2 footprint has grown since 2014, according to the most recent data from the European Environmental Agency. Germany’s VDA auto industry lobby said it opposed any new targets. “There is the danger that the most stringent fleet emissions targets worldwide could be tightened further, even though the current ones were only agreed last year”, VDA president Bernhard Mattes said in a statement. The VDA welcomed including road transport in the ETS scheme as the “best market-based solution” for protecting the environment. PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares, president of the ACEA European automakers association, has strongly criticized EU lawmakers for suggesting greater climate efforts do not come without a cost to employment in the industry or indeed personal liberty. “Freedom of mobility is something fundamental to our democracies”, Tavares said in September. “Many things need to be coordinated in a 360-degree approach to ensure safe affordable and sustainable mobility”, he said. +++ 

+++ TOYOTA will unveil its GR Yaris hot hatchback next month, promising that the new car will incorporate technology developed from the firm’s World Rally Championship experience. The new model will be shown for the first time at the Tokyo Auto Salon on 10-12 January, and will be the second model in the firm’s Gazoo Racing-branded GR sports car line, after the GR Supra. The GR Yaris was due to be unveiled at Rally Australia earlier this month, but the reveal was shelved after devastating wildfires caused the event’s cancellation. Toyota has yet to release any technical information about the GR Yaris, but says it “incorporates all the technologies, knowledge and experience learned” from the team’s title-winning WRC campaign with the Yaris WRC. The model is currently undergoing testing sporting a camouflage livery that features the code GR-4; an indication that the car could follow the WRC version in featuring 4-wheel drive. The prototype car will also feature at the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival in Japan on 15 December. The machine will effectively succeed the previous generation’s limited-run Yaris GRMN as the range-topping version of the small hatch. While likely to be offered in greater numbers than the GRMN, it is possible that the new car will serve as a ‘homologation special’, forming the basis for the next-generation Yaris WRC. The new preview shows that its styling is familiar from the existing Yaris, but with the addition of far wider rear wheel arches and an aggressive bodykit to fit the car’s likely high-performance brief. In a further nod to the car’s intent, it sports the camouflage livery used by most recent hot Toyota models of recent years, including the recently revived Supra. At the launch of the revamped Yaris recently, Toyota’s executive vice-president, Matt Harrison, told that a performance version of the model would likely be launched to strengthen the link between Toyota’s road cars and its Gazoo Racing motorsport arm. Toyota has applied various levels of branding under the Gazoo Racing theme in order to develop a model structure for its high-performance models. These include the hardcore limited-run GRMN versions that are positioned above models that carry the GR badge, which represents an “authentic sports model”. The firm also offers a GR Sport trim level that offers a more aggressive look while retaining an unchanged mechanical package. Toyota secured the 2018 World Rally Championship manufacturers’ title with the Yaris WRC, with Ott Tänak claiming this year’s drivers’ title. +++ 

+++ VOLKSWAGEN is set to use the GTX name on a range of electric-powered ID performance models, high-ranking sources at the German car maker have confirmed. The new nomenclature, already trademarked by Volkswagen, has been chosen for a number of ID models, including a production version of the Crozz coupé, which is likely to take the name ID.5 GTX in its most powerful guise. The GTX title follows tradition at Volkswagen, which also uses the GTI, GTD and GTE names on performance-oriented petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid models respectively. Volkswagen won’t confirm when the first GTX model is planned for launch, though has been told that development of a performance version of the ID 5 is ongoing at the company’s Braunschweig R&D centre in Germany and likely to be unveiled by early 2021. As with existing GTI, GTD and GTE models, the GTX range will be differentiated from their standard ID siblings by a number of exterior and interior styling upgrades that aim to provide them with a more sporting flavour. Further changes will be focused on electric drivelines. The X in the GTX name is claimed to denote 4-wheeldrive, suggesting upcoming performance-oriented ID models could use a twin-motor set-up, one motor powering the front wheels and a second the rear wheels. The fastest ID powertrain currently detailed is the 204 hp version of the ID.3. Given that it makes its power from one rear-mounted motor, a GTX should gain a significant boost. Although new to Volkswagen, the GTX name has been used regularly by General Motors and its subsidiaries, mainly on futuristic concept cars. Volkswagen is also considering a hotter range of ID models under its R Performance arm. +++ 

+++ VOLVO Cars CEO Håkan Samuelsson has set ambitious goals for the automaker. He wants half of Volvo’s global sales to come from full-electric cars by 2025 and the other half should be hybrids. He also wants the company to become climate neutral by 2040 and to get there it must reduce its life cycle carbon footprint by 40 % per car by the middle of the next decade. Samuelsson explained how Volvo aims to achieve these goals in an interview: “We should get close to 10 % for EVs of our global sales in about 2 years, assuming that the market will continue to grow In the short term, it will put pressure on our margins, but the electric cars will be profitable from day one. They probably will not provide the same level of per unit profit as our other models at first. That will take a bit longer. However, I definitely would not want to only have cars with combustion engines in my lineup five years from now. That would be really risky. Our plug-in hybrids are profitable too. They are crucial to helping Volvo meet the EU’s tougher CO2 emissions target that starts to take effect in 2020. Years ago we concluded that we needed to sell customers what they want, which is big, heavy SUVs. You cannot do this and reduce CO2 with a conventional powertrain. You would spend billions and maybe get a 2 %savings. You have to electrify them. Next year we want 20 % of our sales to be plug-in hybrids. If people recharge them 50 % of the time that corresponds to 10 % of our cars essentially being full-electric cars already in 2020. It’s a big step. Volvo still sells a lot of diesels in Europe, but we need to convince those customers that we have an alternative that is as good as the diesel: the mild hybrid. If you have no intention of charging, then a gasoline mild hybrid should match the consumption of a diesel but without the NOx problems. When it comes to the XC40 Recharge, we did some customer research and I was surprised to learn that on average people are out with the cars 15 times a day. This includes picking up and dropping off kids at school and sports, grocery shopping and so on. There is a lot of driving going on in suburbia. So you probably need to offer more than 400 km of range otherwise you are on the short side. That range is easier to achieve with a smaller car. For Volvo, it is important to have battery cell production in Europe, the U.S. and China because I think there will continue to be a big backlash against globalization. I think that is what is behind the current trade wars. We cannot expect that everything is produced in China and people in the U.S. and Europe will only work in the service industry. There need to be jobs in Europe and America for highly qualified workers such as building cars or other industrial products. I’m very glad we have a production footprint in all 3 regions. The move toward electrification will help us do an even better job localizing production because we can reach a higher level of local content faster than we can with complicated combustion engines. Batteries will be localized from the start and so will electric motors. Volvo named China’s CATL and South Korea’s LG Chem as its electric-car battery suppliers but a Swedish firm, Northvolt, is getting started and already has a deal with Volkswagen Group. Volvo will not do business with Northvolt just yet, even though they are a potential supplier, but in the first step we prefer to work with suppliers that can follow us globally and not just supply us in Europe. We went with LG Chem and CATL because they will build battery factories in Europe, the U.S. and Asia-Pacific. Volvo is on track to sell a record 700,000 cars this year and our ambition is to reach 800,000 next year. We are on the way because we have never had such a strong product offering. We have traditionally sold cars to customers but we believe they would like to have mobility in other ways. And it shouldn’t be overly complicated. They want the freedom to move. To get this in the past I had to go to the dealership with a lot of money because I bought a car in cash. Then I could get a loan. Then I could lease it. What will be very attractive in the future is paying a flat subscription rate for the product. You still get the freedom to move because this car is at your disposal. After three years if you like it you keep it for three or four more years. If you want a bigger one you change to a bigger one. If you don’t want it anymore you cancel the contract. That’s what you get with Care by Volvo. There is absolutely no reason why this should not be as profitable as leasing. A capital investment of €50.000 is a lot more than committing €500 a month. This makes Care by Volvo especially attractive to younger people. Our Care by Volvo customers are 10 years younger than our typical customers. They normally have good jobs and a decent cash flow but they don’t have €50,000 to invest in a car. Sustainability has risen to the same level of importance as safety at Volvo. It is really important that we treat sustainability the same way we treat safety because that’s a very concrete way of expressing what we’re trying to achieve. Safety is part of the mindset at Volvo. We don’t need to have task forces or special projects around safety. People just know this is part of our business. Other parallels between safety and sustainability are a combination of market forces, technology and international regulations. That has really driven car safety to improve in the last 50 years. Why shouldn’t that also work for sustainability? About how Volvo will cover the cost of the investments needed to cut the company’s carbon footprint, one thing we will do it is by carving out our combustion engine business and put it together with Geely to fully focus on future powertrains. That’s one way that we can afford the investments we are making to become climate neutral, by prioritizing. We have to keep the investment into r&d at around 5 % or 6 % of revenue. Volvo’s U.S. plant will start producing a battery-electric vehicle in 2022. We have real confidence in EV sales. This is part of the beauty of Volvo. We will not stop making conventional cars. We will have both in parallel. Of course, it would be a bigger bet if you would stop production of conventional cars and rely on a big uptake for EVs. On the other hand, every EV we will sell is an additional car to our overall volume. We are quite confident that EVs will contribute to our growth. We feel the same about our plug-in hybrids, which will now be part of the Recharge line. That’s is not just an alternative to a conventional car. It’s something more, so, it should bring us growth. We are quite confident it will. But we have to do a better job marketing it. We have to be better at communicating what the advantages are with plugging in. And that’s why we decided to give these cars their own name. The Recharge car line should account for 20 % our global sales next year. We have the capacity for that. This will bring environmental advantages as well as economical because electricity is cheaper than fuel for that consumer. In addition, we will pay the electricity bill for one year for cars in our Recharge line. And, we need to encourage people to recharge their plug-in hybrids. I think plug-in hybrids will really help us grow. And these cars are not just offering environmental advantages. Many of them have a combined 400 hp. There is nothing wrong with that. And it’s also all-wheel drive. In the US market, conventional cars will still be the base. But if we only had that, I would be more skeptical about the growth prospects in America. I think that both the BEVs and PHEVs will help us grow. And it is not just about sales it’s about building the brand. While there are no guarantees I am quite sure that by being a bit more progressive with BEVs and PHEVs will improve our brand image. This will be good for all Volvo models. Globally, SUVs were at 62 % of our totals sales and in the US it is probably more. But there might still be room for an additional SUV. Let’s see. But you should also maybe anticipate that the move toward electrification will probably make people think about air resistance again. People who are interested in longer range cannot ignore that lower riding cars are better for this. Electric cars would probably be a bit lower and smaller. I wouldn’t be surprised if as we move toward electric cars market forces cause a comeback for smaller sedans, especially if you don’t need the size of an SUV. I think this is especially true with younger drivers. How much U.S. production capacity does Volvo need, long term? Your new plant has only recently started production but is there still greater need to produce there? The simple answer would be that we should produce as many cars in the U.S. as we sell in the U.S., but not necessarily exactly the same cars. We can build 150.000 cars at the Charleston factory and we if we can sell a 150.000 we would also have a really good balance of trade. Therefore, we would really contribute to the ambitions that the government has right now to import less and build more in the U.S. We sell more than a 100.000 cars in the US and maybe produce a third of that in the U.S. But we will add car lines (starting next year with the third-generation XC90) so we can have it at one to one. That is how we react to all of these discussions about trade restrictions. I think that is the best way because I sense there is a good understanding in the U.S. that you don’t have to sell only what you build. You want to create employment for a 150.000 cars. I think that’s what the government is after and not having totally closed borders. +++

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