Newsflash: Hyundai heeft de verbeterde Kona Electric klaar

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+++ Tech giant Amazon revealed several initiatives at CES centered on ALEXA AUTO , furthering the retail tech giant’s quick and ambitious push into the automotive space. Amazon announced expanded vehicle integrations of its Alexa Auto voice assistant, new in-vehicle Alexa features, partnerships on the Alexa Auto software development kit and the international rollout of the Alexa-enabled Echo Auto device. The company has been growing its Alexa Auto experience over the past few years. The voice assistant is available with several automaker brands and vehicles, but General Motors was the first automaker to announce it would fully integrate Alexa Auto. In September, GM said it would fully embed Alexa Auto into its vehicles for the 2018 model year and beyond. At CES, Amazon announced that its fleet of 100,000 all-electric delivery vans (ordered from startup Rivian in a deal announced in September) would integrate Alexa Auto. Rivian will also integrate Alexa into its first 2 all-electric vehicles, the R1S and R1T. Amazon said its Echo Auto smart device will be launched internationally this year, including in India this month and a European rollout in February. The device was created for use in vehicles that don’t have Alexa Auto and for automakers that don’t plan to fully embed the assistant but want it available in their vehicles. The tech giant also announced it would integrate its Alexa Auto software development kit with suppliers Bosch, Here, Melco, Telenav and TomTom for developers to increasingly integrate Alexa into in-vehicle infotainment systems. Lastly, Amazon has expanded its cloud-based web services for automotive applications. Amazon Web Services is working with BlackBerry to develop a connected-vehicle software platform for in-vehicle applications. The platform combines BlackBerry’s QNX automotive operating system with Amazon Web Services’ offerings in the cloud and in the vehicle. Also related to the cloud, Amazon is partnering with software development company Unity Technologies to showcase Unity Simulation, a cloud service to test, train and validate an autonomous perception system. +++ 

+++ ASTON MARTIN warned its 2019 profits would almost halve due to weak European markets, sending its shares sharply lower. The downgrade is the latest from the British luxury carmaker, whose shares have now plunged about 3 quarters in value since their 2018 listing. The 107-year-old firm, famed for being fictional agent James Bond’s brand of choice, cut its forecast for wholesale volumes and profit margins in July, and reduced its volume forecast again in November. It has blamed weak UK and European markets and subdued demand for its Vantage model and said those conditions continued through December, leading to a 7 % drop in wholesale volumes for 2019. “From a trading perspective, 2019 has been a very disappointing year”, chief executive officer Andy Palmer said, as the company’s shares plunged as much as 16 %. While Aston Martin spent 2019 ploughing money into a new factory to build its first SUV, the highly lucrative market a number of carmakers have entered, rivals such as Rolls-Royce and Bentley appear one step ahead. Aston Martin hopes the DBX will emulate their success and revive its fortunes next year. About 1.800 orders have been booked since its launch in November, the company said. “The order rate is materially better than any other car that we have ever launched before”, Palmer told. For 2019, Aston Martin expects earnings of 130-140 million pounds ($171-$184 million). The company reported 247.3 million pounds in core profit a year earlier, while analysts’ average forecast was 196 million pounds for 2019, according to a company-compiled consensus here. Aston Martin said it was also in talks with investors for a potential equity investment and would draw down $100 million in bond notes. Its shares have lost nearly 3 billion pounds in market value since their listing. +++ 

+++ The United States and China aren’t the only markets suffering through dwindling new car sales, as AUSTRALIA also experienced a significant decline in new car sales throughout 2019. In official figures recently published by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), it’s been revealed that a total of 1.062.867 new vehicles were sold for the full calendar year of 2019. That represents a 7.8 % decrease on 2018’s sales figures and is the lowest annual sales result since 2011. In December, a total of 84,239 new vehicles were sold; a decrease of 3.8 % over December 2018. “2019 reflects a tough year for the Australian economy, with challenges including tightening of lending, movements in exchange rates, slow wages growth and, of course, the extreme environmental factors our country is experiencing”, chief executive of the FCAI Tony Weber said in a statement. Much like the U.S., Australian consumers are clearly favoring SUVs, with vehicles of this sort now accounting for 45.5 % of the total market; a 2.5 % increase from 2018. Light commercial vehicles account for 21.2 % of the market, while traditional passenger cars make up 29.7 % of overall sales. Interestingly, sales of SUVs did decline despite them now accounting for a larger share of the market than ever before, dropping by 2.4 % compared to 2018’s numbers. Sales of passenger vehicles fell by 16.5 % compared to 2018, while sales of light commercial vehicles declined by 5.2 %. The top 10 best-selling car manufacturers in Australia in 2019 were Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Ford, Kia, Nissan, Volkswagen, Honda and Holden. +++ 

+++ BENTLEY returned to profitability in 2019, helped by a 5 % sales increase after a strong performance in Europe and the Americas, the Volkswagen-owned brand said. Sales reached 11.006 vehicles last year, boosted by the new Continental GT Convertible model and a series of derivatives and limited edition models. “This result secures our return to profitability, demonstrates the successful implementation of our turnaround and sends a clear signal for the potential of Bentley for 2020”, said chief executive Adrian Hallmark. The firm did not disclose its profit figure for the year but in the first 9 months of 2019, operating profit stood at €65 million, according to previously released figures from Volkswagen. In 2018, the marque reported a loss of €288 million due to delays in the start of the Continental GT model and the effect of exchange rates. Sales in China fell by just over 12 % to 1.940 cars, which Bentley said was due to the lack of availability as the Continental GT only arrived in December. +++ 

+++ BMW has won the luxury sales crown as the automaker finished 2019 with 324.826 sales in the United States. Sales were up 4.4 % from 2018 and BMW credits the increase to SUVs such as the X3, X5 and X7. The company also noted the all-new 3-Series was a “top performer in the premium sedan segment”. While the 3-Series is off to a strong start, sales of BMW SUVs jumped 35.5 % from 2018 to 159.277 units. Sedan sales, on the other hand, fell 14.4 % to 165.549 units. If this trend continues, a majority of BMW sales will come from SUVs in the near future. Mercedes wasn’t far behind as they sold 316.094 units in 2019. Sales were essentially flat compared to 2018 as the company only sold an additional 135 vehicles. Like BMW, car sales plummeted as models such as the CLA (-45.0 %), C-Class (-18.6 %), E- / CLS-Class (-13.6 %), S-Class (-16.4 %), SLC (-7.7 %) and SL (-20.5 %) all saw significant declines. The only bright spots were the all-new A-Class, which racked up 17.641 sales, and the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe which helped to increase AMG GT sales 175.9 % to 4.208 units. On the SUV side, sales were up for every model except the GLA which saw a decline of 8.3 %. G-Class sales were up 85.1 % to 7,348 units, while the GLE and GLC saw increases of 8.6 % and 5.6 %, respectively. Lexus finished third as the company moved 298.114 vehicles in 2019. That’s a slight decrease of 0.1 % and the drop can be chalked up to slow selling sedans such as the IS (-34.9 %), GS (-48.8 %) and LS (-40.6 %). On the bright side, ES sales climbed 5.9 % and RC sales jumped 36.7 %. All SUV models also saw declines with the exception of the UX. That model arrived at dealerships in late 2018 so sales technically jumped 3.592.1 % to 16.725 units in 2019. Fourth place went to Audi which saw sales climb 0.4 % to 224.111 units. Cadillac was also up 1.0 % to 156.246 while Lincoln sales jumped 8.3 % to 112.204 units. Japanese luxury brands had a tough year as Acura sales were down 1.0 % to 157.385 units. However, that’s not nearly as bad as Infiniti’s performance where sales dropped a staggering 21.1 % to 117.708 units. Every single Infiniti model saw declines with the biggest drops coming from the QX30 (-60.1 %), Q60 (-44.4 %) and Q70 (-43.0 %). +++ 

+++ FORD posted a 1.3 % fall in fourth-quarter vehicle sales as soft demand for passenger cars outweighed higher sales of pick-up trucks. Ford’s figures rounded off U.S. automakers’ sales for 2019, with passenger cars falling out of favor with buyers amid lower oil prices and as automakers focused on SUVs and pick-ups that are more profitable. Total U.S. light-vehicle sales fell by about 1 % from 2018, but still finished above 17 million vehicles for the fifth consecutive year. Discounts during the key holiday season and lower interest rates helped pushed sales of Ford’s trucks to 330.075 in the quarter; up from 284.859 trucks a year earlier. However, passenger car sales at the company declined 41 % to 63.400 cars. The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it sold 601.862 vehicles in the quarter, compared with 609.693 vehicles a year earlier. Ford sold 896.526 full-size pickups in 2019, outselling rival General Motors, which sold 802.962 pickups during the year. GM, which was hit by a month-long strike by its 48.000 hourly employees, reported a 6.3 % fall in sales for the fourth quarter. +++ 

+++ GENERAL MOTORS vehicle sales in China fell for a second year as overall auto sales declined amid a slowing economy and because of competition in the key mid-priced SUV segment. Sales in 2019 fell 15’% from a year earlier to 3.09 million vehicles, GM (which is China’s second-biggest foreign automaker), said. The company delivered 3.65 million vehicles in 2018 and 4.04 million units in 2017. GM has a Shanghai-based joint venture with SAIC Motor, in which the Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac vehicle brands are made. It also has another Liuzhou-based venture, with SAIC and Guangxi Automobile Group, in which they make no-frills minivans and have started to make higher-end cars. Sales of GM’s affordable Baojun brand dropped 27.6 % for the latest quarter, while sales of mass-market Chevrolet tumbled 20.1 % and Buick fell 16.7 %, the statement said. But luxury brand Cadillac’s sales increased 3.9 %. GM is focused on bolstering its product lineup and improving cost efficiency, Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president and president of GM China, said in the statement. “We expect the market downturn to continue in 2020, and anticipate ongoing headwinds in our China business”, Tsien added. China’s auto market is set to contract by 2 % in 2020, the third year of declines, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers has forecast, because of the weaker economy and the trade dispute with the United States. Over 28 million units were sold in 2018; down 3 % from the prior year, while 2019 sales are expected to decline 8 % from the prior year. +++ 

+++ In GERMANY , registrations surged 20 % in December as automakers pushed sales of vehicles with higher emissions ahead of the European Union’s Jan. 1 introduction of stricter CO2 limits. Registrations were 283.380 last month, according to data released by the KBA motor transport authority. Big gainers included Nissan, whose registrations rose 103 %; Smart, up 94 %; Honda, up 86 %; Dacia and DS, both up 67 %; Mazda, up 46 %; and Fiat, up 42 %. Also seeing large double-digit gains were Peugeot, up 35 %; Hyundai, up 34 %; Ford and Kia, both up 28 %. The Volkswagen brand, German’s top-selling marque, saw sales rise 19 %. Premium brands gained volume with BMW sales up 11 %; Mercedes-Benz up 8.4 %; and Audi up 5.7 %. Opel’s registrations fell 28 percent  in as the brand continued to suffer the sales effects of axing its Adam, Karl and Cascada. Tesla sold 1.130 cars. The KBA did not give a year-on-year comparison. Tesla sold 10.711 cars in Germany in 2019; up 462 %, helped by the introduction of the Model 3. The German market ended 2019 with full-year sales up 5 % to 3.6 million. The market share of gasoline cars last year dropped to 59.2 % from 62.4 % in 2019. Diesel cars accounted for a 32.0 % share down slightly from 32.3 %. Hybrid cars took a 6.6 % share of the market, including a 1.3 % share for plug-in hybrids. Battery-electric cars had 1.8 % share. +++ 

+++ Tokyo prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Carlos GHOSN ’s wife Carole for allegedly lying in testimony, as officials sought ways to bring the fugitive car industry boss back for trial on financial misconduct charges. The perjury arrest warrant accuses Carole Ghosn of falsely claiming not to know, or to have met, people connected to a company that received payments from Nissan, part of which it subsequently transferred to a firm owned by Ghosn. Separately, a senior Ministry of Justice official said staff were poring over Lebanese laws to find a way to return Ghosn and that Japan “will do whatever it can” to have him face trial. The former Nissan and Renault chairman is scheduled to hold a news conference soon; his first such appearance since his arrest in November 2018 and his dramatic flight last month to Lebanon, his childhood home. “Last time Carlos Ghosn announced a press conference and got re-arrested. This time, the day before he is announced to speak out freely for the first time, they issued an arrest warrant for his wife Carole Ghosn”, a spokeswoman for Ghosn told Reuters in Beirut. Ghosn is expected to detail some of the claims he has made against Nissan since his arrest. Citing an interview with Ghosn, Fox Business reported that he said he has “actual evidence” and documents to show there was a Japanese government-backed coup to “take him out”. He plans to identify those he believes responsible, the broadcaster said. In earlier court filings and statements released by his lawyers in Japan, Ghosn has claimed that he was unseated to destroy any possibility of a merger between Nissan and Renault, accusing Nissan executives of colluding with Japanese prosecutors and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry officials. Ghosn’s legal team in Japan also said prosecutors withheld evidence, citing concerns voiced by Nissan that it included sensitive information about operations and employees. Nissan said Ghosn’s flight from Japan would not affect its policy of holding him responsible for “serious misconduct”. “The company will continue to take appropriate legal action to hold Ghosn accountable for the harm that his misconduct has caused to Nissan”, the automaker said in a statement. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, described Ghosn’s escape to Beirut as “regrettable” and said Tokyo had asked Lebanon for help, although he declined to say what exactly Japan had asked of Lebanon. “It’s necessary to carefully consider the legal systems of both countries”, he told a news conference, Lebanon does not normally extradite its citizens. The decision by Japanese prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for Carlos Ghosn’s wife shortly before the fugitive car boss was due to speak publicly about his case was “pathetic”, a spokeswoman for Ghosn told. He said Carole Ghosn voluntarily went back to Japan 9 months ago to answer prosecutors’ questions and was free to go without any charges. “The issuance of this warrant is pathetic”, she said. +++ 

+++ HYUNDAI introduced an upgraded Kona Electric to the local market, building on the model’s earlier success. The largest automaker by sales in Korea announced that the new vehicle comes with enhanced convenience features. The Kona Electric has already been well received. According to the automaker, 13.587 units were sold in the domestic market last year, making it the best-selling electric vehicle in the country for 2 consecutive years. The model was awarded ‘Best SUV model’ in North America last year during the 2019 North American International Auto Show held in Detroit. For the latest edition, the Kona Electric comes with a 10.25-inch display infotainment system. Navigation and map data are automatically updated wirelessly. The system also comes with features exclusively for electric cars, such as an application that helps the driver find the nearest charging station. Hyundai said the 2020 modelyear Kona Electric, which can travel up to 406 kilometers per charge, has heated second-row seats and an air filtration system that can clear fine dust from the vehicle. All other features remain the same as the predecessor. The Kona Electric is rated at 204 hp and 380 Nm on a 64-kilowatt-hours battery. The introduction of the new Kona Electric is in line with an ambitious plan to invest more than 100 trillion won by 2025 to become a force in the eco-friendly vehicle market and the future mobility sector. The Hyundai Motor Group, which also includes Kia, plans to introduce a total of 44 electric vehicles, 11 of them being purely electric, by 2025. Last year, the group sold 24 different electric models globally, and the group is targeting to eventually expand the lineup to include 13 gasoline hybrids, 6 plug-in hybrids, 23 all-electric cars and 2 hydrogen fuel-cell electric cars. This year, the 2 automakers will offer hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Sorento, Tucson and Santa Fe models. By 2024, the group plans to introduce a new electric car architecture for its vehicles. +++ 

+++ LAMBORGHINI has introduced an Amazon Alexa function to its Huracán Evo, claiming to be the first manufacturer to offer in-car control via the program. The Alexa-integrated supercar, which will be demonstrated at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, will allow drivers to adjust climate, interior lighting and seat heating with voice commands. With Alexa available to order on every Huracan during the course of 2020, drivers will be able to use it to place calls, get directions, play music and audiobooks and check the news. Users will also, following the recent trend for home-car connectivity, be able to control Alexa-compatible objects in their home, such as entry gates, thermostats and lights. Commenting on the new function, Lamborghini boss Stefano Domenicali said: “Lamborghini is a future shaper, and this is the first time an automaker will deliver in-cabin car control through Amazon Alexa to bring together car controls as well as smart commands and Alexa’s standard capabilities”. Ned Curic, vice-president of Alexa Auto at Amazon, added: “Our vision is for Alexa to become a natural, intuitive part of the driving experience, and Lamborghini has embraced that by integrating Alexa directly into its onboard infotainment systems”. A number of manufacturers (such as Volkswagen, Toyota and Ford) have previously disclosed intentions to integrate Alexa into their car’s infotainment systems. However, it seems that Lamborghini will be the first to bring it to market. The introduction of Alexa comes in the wake of the addition of a rear-wheel-drive Huracán Evo to the range. It also signals the company’s increasing investment in technology, as evidenced by its recent partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on research projects focused on supercapacitor energy stores. +++ 

+++ LEXUS has a lineup in need of a refresh. The brand, which once led its German rivals, is falling behind. While the company has freshened the ES en LS sedans, its crossovers and SUVs have languished. Consumers are gobbling up crossovers and BMW and Mercedes-Benz have hustled to roll out new, competitive crossovers they want. Lexus is next. Paul LaRochelle, chair of the brand’s dealer council and general manager of a Lexus franchise in Maryland, said Lexus would make “significant gains” over the next several years with new and refreshed products. Lexus plans to launch at least one new crossover, according to LaRochelle, adding that it’d be a 7 or 8 passenger car. However, he didn’t say when it would arrive. Lexus’ smaller crossover, the NX, needs a mid-cycle refresh. The UX is one of Lexus’ latest crossovers, and it debuted in 2018. Lexus’ flat sales and stagnating product lineup don’t mean Lexus is resting on its laurels after dominating the luxury car segment. Last November, Lexus introduced the UX 300e, the brand’s first electric crossover. It’s destined for China, Japan, and Europe, offering 400 km of range on the NEDC cycle and 204 hp. The next few years will be interesting for both Lexus and automakers in general. Consumers are still eager for crossovers and SUVs, even as overall new car sales level off. Automakers are researching and developing electric powertrains while working on autonomous cars and semi-self-driving technologies. It’s a lot happening all at once, and it’ll be fascinating to see what happens. +++ 

+++ NISSAN has strengthened a taskforce of senior officials ahead of an expected onslaught of criticism from former chairman Carlos Ghosn following his dramatic escape from house arrest in Japan, 3 sources familiar with the matter told. Ghosn, who fled Japan to his home in Lebanon late last month, has said he will hold a press conference on Wednesday to give his side of the story following his arrest in late 2018 for alleged financial misconduct, which he denies. He has argued through his lawyers that his arrest was part of a boardroom coup d’état and that top Nissan executives signed off and participated in some of the financial transactions that are now central to the charges against him. Nissan has denied this, and is bracing for more such allegations. “Now that he has escaped, he can say anything he wants and will keep throwing mud at us until people prove him otherwise”, one company executive told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “The more sympathy he gets from the media and general public, the stronger his leverage over the Lebanese government to protect him”. The Nissan taskforce was set up shortly after Ghosn’s arrest to deal with “anything Ghosn-related”, as one source put it; a testament to the significance of a man who forged the company’s alliance with French carmaker Renault and presided over it for almost 2 decades. The taskforce is led by chief executive Makoto Uchida and has recently been reinforced with the inclusion of former acting CEO Yasuhiro Yamauchi and former senior executive Hitoshi Kawaguchi, the sources said. Both former executives were previously close allies of Ghosn and while they stepped down in a recent management shake-up they remain employed at Nissan as advisers. Ghosn’s flight from Japan presents a fresh distraction for Nissan at a time when Uchida and his newly-installed management are trying to turn around a business hit by plunging profits, collapsing sales in the United States and tensions with Renault. The sources said most members of Nissan’s executive committee were not receiving information from the taskforce to allow them to focus on day-to-day operations and the turnaround. +++

+++ RENAULT has developed a new car-to-home connectivity service that aims to help its cars “blend into” its customers’ digital lives. Created in collaboration with Otodo, a French smart home connectivity company, the service allows drivers to control smart-capable objects in their home from their car and vice versa. Drivers can select 1 of 2 options: Leaving Home, which puts their home to sleep (by reducing thermostats and turning off lights, for example) and Arriving Home, which switches devices back on. These are selected from the vehicle’s dashboard and can be customised to include different items or features via a smartphone app. The service will be available in all Renault cars that have the latest Easy Link system, including the new Zoe, Clio and Captur. Jean-François Labal, marketing and partnership head for connected cars and services at Renault, said: “With this service, we’re offering our customers a trailblazing experience and a completely secure system to connect their home’s connected objects to their vehicle. The interface to set it up is very intuitive, and it comes with two advantages: it’s automatic, so it makes life simpler, and it saves energy by switching lights and heating on and off as needed”. The link between the car and devices at home is produced by Otodo, which has been developing the technological platform used since 2016. Otodo’s CEO, Eric Denoyer, said: “Our platform has enabled Groupe Renault to create a simple and universal link between smart cars and smart homes that works across brands and technologies. Very soon, everyone will be able to use this platform to organise their daily life from their car”. +++ 

+++ ROLLS-ROYCE said it recorded a 25 % jump in sales in 2019, underpinned by solid demand for its first-ever SUV, Cullinan, just a year after the launch. The 116-year-old British company said it sold a record 5.152 cars in 2019, compared with 4.107 units in the prior year. “Worldwide demand last year for our Cullinan has driven this success and is expected to stabilize in 2020”, chief executive officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös said in a statement. The Cullinan was unveiled in 2018. The BMW-owned brand’s strong numbers serve as a breather at a time when the global automobile industry is still grappling with various challenges amid a broader economic slowdown that dented sales of automakers such as Volkswagen and Ford. North America continued to be the biggest contributor with about a third of Rolls-Royce’s total sales, followed by China and Europe. +++ 

+++ As early as July, autonomous vehicles could be plying the streets of SOUTH KOREA . The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Sunday announced it has adopted Level 3 safety standards for autonomous driving, making Korea the first country in world to do so. This means that starting in the second half of this year, manufacturers will be allowed to sell Level 3 autonomous vehicles, which maneuver on their own under restricted conditions. Level 1 and Level 2 vehicles merely have driving assistance systems, whereas Level 3 to Level 5 autonomous vehicles can be driven hands-free. Level 5 is a fully autonomous vehicle. In a Level 3 vehicle, called conditional driving automation, a driver needs to take control in such situations as changing lanes or in emergency situation including collisions. The vehicle has the ability to maintain a minimum safe distance from vehicles ahead of it. Level 3 vehicles are equipped with safety features including alerts for the driver 15 seconds before unexpected situations such as exiting a highway or approaching road construction. If the driver fails to respond within 10 seconds, the vehicle has the ability to reduce its speed and turn on the flashing emergency lights. The vehicle’s dual system allows the driver to immediately take over when the autonomous driving system fails. The ministry said it will continue to work on small changes to the safety standards over the next 6 months while coming up with a system to certify the autonomous vehicles’ abilities. “Korea will lead in international standards on autonomous vehicles by actively engaging in the international safety standard discussion”, said Lee Chang-gi, director of the ministry’s advanced motor vehicles division. Although the German automaker Audi was the first to introduce a Level 3 automated driving system, its autonomous vehicle wasn’t able to be sold due to regulations. With the government’s adoption of the Level 3 autonomous vehicle safety standard, development and the actual launch of such vehicles is theoretically possible. The Japanese manufacturer Honda already plans to use its Level 3 technology on its luxury Legend model this summer. Other major automotive companies such as Germany’s Mercedes-Benz are also vying to launch their own Level 3 vehicles this summer. Korea’s leading autocompany, Hyundai, plans to launch Level 3 autonomous vehicle in 2021 and then Level 4 vehicles (which communicate with each other) in 2024. The Moon Jae-in government’s goal is to commercialize Level 4 autonomous vehicles by 2027. The government plans on setting up infrastructure including wireless networks for vehicles on major roads and 3-D maps. +++ 

+++ The TESLA brand has become the first to reach cumulative sales of all-electric cars of 1 million units. In 2019, Tesla achieved an amazing sales record for the Model 3, delivering a little over 300,000 units to customers (globally)! That’s absolutely the first model to achieve such a high level. Cumulatively, Tesla sold some 448.634 Model 3 (preliminary number) and about 900.000 total of all cars since 2008. That brings us to the question of when will the Model 3 overtake the Nissan Leaf in cumulative sales stats? Nissan announced on March 5 that the Leaf reached 400.000 (the first electric car to ever hit that level). That’s since December 2010. Another official report from November 25 says more than 430.000 sales, but I think those numbers might not be up to date. I assume that by the end of 2019 the Leaf was at about 450.000 to 460.000. In other words, the Tesla Model 3 at about 448.634 should catch the Nissan within weeks. Definitely during the first quarter of 2020. The Tesla Model 3 will then become the top-selling electric car of all time (cumulatively) and, probably by the end of Q1 2020, also the first at 500.000. With more than 900.000 electric cars sold since 2008, Tesla is expected also to become the first manufacturer ever to reach a milestone of 1 million sales cumulatively. All they have to do is to sell some 100.000 more in Q1, which after an outstanding Q4 (112.000) seems very likely. +++ 

+++ VOLVO has registered 705.452 units global sales in 2019; up 9.8 % from 2018, when it retailed 642.253 cars, informs the Swedish automaker. The luxury car brand also says that this was the first time it has sold more than 700.000 cars for the first time in its 93 year history. 3 SUVs of the automaker have contributed significantly in global sales. These include the XC40, XC60 and XC90. December was the company’s best-ever sales month, with a 23.4 % year-on-year increase to 74.239 cars sold. Volvo also sold 45.933 units of plug-in hybrid models in 2019; up 22.9 % compared with 2018 and more than double from 2017. Commenting on this sales performance, Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo, said: “I am very pleased to see that for the first time in our history we sold more than 700.000 cars, while we gained market share in all our main sales regions”. He also said: “We aim to build on this positive trend in 2020 as we start to roll out our Recharge range of chargeable Volvos”. In China, one of the key markets for the brand, Volvo sold 154.961 cars in 2019; up 18.7 % compared with 2018. This was an all-time record for the Volvo Cars in China and the highest sales number it has ever reached in a single market, claims the brand. It also claimed that the XC60 continues to be the best-selling model for the company globally, followed by the XC40 and XC90 SUVs. +++

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