Newsflash: nieuwe Peugeot 5008 wordt praktischer en meer sexy


+++ Japan is paving the way for AUTONOMOUS DELIVERY ROBOTS to become part of everyday life, with social distancing efforts required during the coronavirus pandemic making the push all the more vital. The coronavirus crisis has increased the appeal of services that allow for reduced human contact and Japanese firms are counting on the potential of robots that can, in the not so distant future, deliver a range of products from nearby warehouses or shops to consumers. In August, an autonomous delivery robot developed by ZMP, dubbed the DeliRo, will deliver Japanese soba noodle dishes to customers in a trial in Tokyo. Customers can place orders via tablet device during the event from August 12 to 16 near Takanawa Gateway Station, make a cashless payment and have their food delivered by the robot within a designated area. “We want to explore what kinds of autonomous delivery services are possible and what the DeliRo can offer at a time when new lifestyles are called for amid the coronavirus outbreak”, a ZMP official said. The DeliRo, measuring about 1 meter in height with a load capacity of 50 kilo, is capable of detecting and avoiding obstacles blocking its way using advanced autonomous driving tech. It travels at a maximum speed of 6 kph. The Japanese government is stepping up its push for autonomous delivery services in the hope they will alleviate the acute shortage of labor in the rapidly aging country. One outstanding issue, however, is to decide how to treat low-speed, self-driving vehicles that travel below 6 kph because the existing legal framework in Japan does not cover them, an impediment to conducting test runs on public roads. An expert panel under the National Police Agency has begun discussions on how traffic rules should apply to the delivery robots and the government aims to allow trials on public roads this year, as long as they can be monitored remotely. E-commerce giant Rakuten has said it plans to carry out a demonstration of a delivery service using an autonomous vehicle on a public road by the end of 2020. +++ 

+++ Modern cars become more and more loaded with novel technology and a prime example of that is BMW, who is offering a special ‘Remote Engine Start’ feature for select models with its iDrive Operating System 7.0 and Remote Software Upgrade functionality. Remote Engine Start is available in the facelifted 5-Series and new M5 / M5 Competition and will also be used by the new 4-Series. The system allows the vehicle owner to start the engine for up to 15 minutes at a time from any location through the BMW ConnectedDrive App. This allows for the cabin conditions to be optimized before the driver and occupants enter the car. BMW says the function can also be enabled via the car’s key at a range of between 30-70 meters. If the vehicle in question has features like seat heating, seat ventilation and steering wheel heating, these functions can also be toggled remotely. Remote Engine Start will be particularly useful in hot and cold climates, where the owner may want to pre-heat the interior or cool it down before stepping inside. Vehicles that leave the BMW factory without the function but with the Remote Software Upgrade can be equipped with it through the BMW ConnectedDrive Store. A plethora of models can be equipped over-the-air with the system. These include the 320i, 330i and M340i models produced since July 2019, the entire 4-Series Coupe range built from July 2020, 520i and 530i models from July 2020 onwards as well as 740i, 740Li and 840i models built from July 2019. It is also available on post-July 2019 Z4 models and post-August 2019 BMW X5 xDrive40i plus X6 xDrive40i models. +++ 

+++ In CHINA , carmakers’ steps to go global have been hindered as key overseas markets remained depressed by the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of the year. The export of Chinese vehicles declined 20,9 % in the first 6 months, totaling 386.000 units, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers forecast that China’s automobile exports will be reduced by nearly 200.000 units this year, reaching a total of around 800.000 units. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown in some countries has taken a heavy toll on overseas markets. India, Iran, Russia and Brazil are some of the worst-hit Covid-19 countries and are major overseas markets for Chinese vehicles. Chinese carmakers have had to shrink or suspend their overseas businesses as a result. Last month, the Times of India reported that the Indian government has put 3 agreements signed with China companies worth some $670 million) on hold. The projects include Great Wall Motors setting up an automobile plant in Talegaon. In February, Great Wall Motors showcased 2 concepts and 4 SUVs under its popular Haval brand and 2 Great Wall branded electric vehicles at an auto expo in Delhi, India and was the only Chinese carmaker to exhibit at the auto show. The carmaker said it will launch a full range of Haval SUVs in the country, with Great Wall EV also rolling out a variety of models. The first India-made models will roll off the assembly line in 2021. The carmaker exported 3.592 new vehicles in June; up 134.3 % month-on-month. The company exported a total of 20.536 new cars in the first half of 2020. Chongqing-based Changan Automobile started its overseas businesses in 1991 and its products are now on sale in more than 50 countries. Last year, the carmaker exported 67.000 units; increasing 12 % year-on-year. Changan’s overseas business has been affected by Covid-19 with the carmaker reducing or suspending projects in the Middle East, Africa, South America and ASEAN countries. Changan has also lowered the export target for this year. SAIC-GM-Wuling, a GM joint venture with SAIC and Guangxi Automobile Group, reported its total sales revenue in overseas markets growing by 51 % year-on-year to reach $250 million during the first half of 2020. It exported 38.786 vehicles in the first 6 months of this year; up 42 % compared with the same period in 2019. A total of 25.287 completely-built units and components for assembly of the joint venture’s compact SUV model Baojun 530 were exported between January and June, surging by 86.2 % year-on-year. The carmaker also shipped the first batch of its new, self-developed subcompact crossover model Baojun 510 to South America last week and plans to export the model to the Middle East, Africa, Mexico and other overseas markets, the company said. Last month, the export volume of Chery increased 27,3 % month-on-month. In the first half of the year, the carmaker exported 41.799 passenger cars, growing 42 % year-on-year. Chery said they adjusted strategies according to different periods of the pandemic and effectively stabilized the overseas markets. Sales in Brazil and Russia have even hit new 5 year records. Unlike the above carmakers, SAIC, BAIC, JAC and Geely saw exports decline in the first half of the year. New York-based consulting firm AlixPartners said automakers might not recover from the coronavirus until after 2025. Xu Haidong, vice-chief engineer of the CAAM said the determination and confidence of Chinese carmakers to expand in overseas markets is unlike before. However, the impact of the pandemic that has slowed global opportunities and demand is temporary. Despite this, Xu said Chinese carmakers should remain hopeful that their global strategies should return to normal once the pandemic ends. +++ 

+++ Do you look at the Mercedes-Benz lineup and wish for a rear-wheeldrive car that slots between the C-Class and E-Class? Apparently the automaker sees this as a viable niche because it allegedly intends to introduce the CLE CLASS in 2023. Mercedes uses the CL prefix to denote its coupe-inspired saloon models. This means the CLE would have the arching roof of vehicles like CLA and CLS. There would also allegedly be coupe, convertible, and estate variants of the new model. To prevent overcrowding the lineup, these models would replace the C-Class Coupe, C-Class Cabriolet, E-Class Coupe and E-Class Cabriolet. The CLE-Class would reportedly come with rear- or all- wheeldrive layouts. The models would reportedly be available with a new mild-hybrid 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine. Developing the CLE-Class is intriguing because quotes from company execs indicate that Mercedes wants to simplify its lineup. “We are reviewing our product portfolio, especially as we announced so many pure EVs”, Markus Schäfer, Mercedes R&D boss, said in an earlier interview. “Knowing the complexity after the growth in the last couple of years means we are definitely reviewing our current lineup. The idea is to streamline: taking car variants out, but also platforms, powertrains and components”. Another factor making the CLE-Class rumour intriguing is that spy shots appear to show Mercedes developing the next-generation C-Class estate. Having estate versions for both of these very similarly sized vehicles doesn’t seem to fit with the automaker’s plan to simplify its lineup. However, it’s entirely possible that the camouflaged vehicle in recnt spy shots really is the CLE-Class estate. The design similarities with the C-Class could make it possible to confuse the 2 vehicles, particularly when camouflage is concealing the body. +++ 

+++ Electric Brands, a company out of Germany, has plans to bring its eye-catching E BUSSY to the market next year. The intriguing eBussy is underpinned by an electric platform and is fully modular, meaning it can be transformed from a regular minivan into a tipper truck, a pickup and various other forms. In fact, there are 10 different body styles that will be offered and the eBussy can be easily converted from left- to right- handdrive, or even center-drive, by simply sliding the steering wheel across the dashboard. This ability to adjust the driving position is due to the fact that the vehicle uses drive-by-wire technology and doesn’t have a steering wheel or pedals that are mechanically connected to the front wheels. All eBussy models come with a tiny 10 kWh battery pack that is apparently good for 200 km of range. However, an optional 30 kWh battery is available, bumping up the range to 600 km. Driving the wheels are in-hub electric motors that produce just 20 hp but, at the same time, an extremely impressive 1.000 Nm) of torque. While that’s a very small horsepower figure, the eBussy only weighs between 450 kg and 600 kg depending on the body. Unsurprisingly, the vehicle is focused primarily on urban use. All eBussy body styles are equipped with solar panels in the roof and the vehicle also uses a brake energy recovery system. Electric Brands is also looking to establish a network of charging stations. The eBussy will be very affordable, with a basic model priced at just €15,800 including VAT. Prices of course vary depending on the body style selected and whether or not the vehicle is optioned out in off-road guise. The most expensive variant is the eBussy Offroad Camper that’s priced at €28,800. +++ 

+++ FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES (FCA) South Korea confirmed that president Pablo Rosso has been suspended following allegations of sexual harassment, verbal abuse and assault. The US-based automaker’s headquarters and Asia-Pacific regional unit launched an investigation into the allegations and suspended him from his duties. A petition was posted on the Cheong Wa Dae website saying: “Rosso habitually makes sexual jokes and uses abusive language with female employees. Please punish him for his sexual crimes, assaults and abusive language”. “We were investigating the matter internally because there were related reports from the company first. We decided that we should suspend the work during the investigation period in order to be transparent and fair”, FCA said in a statement. The firm said it would investigate the matter internally for now because there is no criminal investigation request yet. Pablo Rosso was appointed as president of FCA South Korea in December 2012. He was the first foreign president of the Automobile Importers & Distributors Association in March this year. +++ 

+++ FORD has obtained commitments from enough relationship banks to extend the maturity of at least 90 % of $5.35 billion of revolving loans for one year, a source close to the financing said. The second-largest US automaker was in discussions with its bank lenders since early July about a one-year extension of its $3.35 billion 3-year main corporate revolving credit facility and its $2 billion 3-year supplemental revolving credit facility. JP Morgan leads the deal, according to the sources close to the transaction. The Ba2/BB+/BB+ automaker is seeking to address loan maturities for the first time since downgrades in March removed its last investment grade rating. The move is expected to test banks’ willingness to lend to a US household name in an industry that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. More lenders could agree to extend before the transaction closes. The company is looking to complete the extension ahead of its earnings call on July 30, a second source said. “They want to be prepared so they can say something good”, the second source said. “That they were able to extend the liquidity by another year”. To incentivize banks to agree to the extension, Ford offered to repay the $3.35 billion 3-year main corporate revolver it borrowed in March as part of a larger $15.4 billion drawdown under its credit facility, the 2 sources said. The company is expected to use cash on its balance sheet to repay the $3.35 billion 3-year loan on July 27 after the amendment and extension closes, 2 sources familiar with the transaction said. As of April 9, Ford had cash of $34.6 billion, including the revolving credit drawdowns, and $8 billion in bond issuances, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. “We typically don’t comment on rumor or speculation”, said a Ford spokesperson. A JP Morgan spokesperson declined to comment. Both the $3.35 billion 3-year main corporate revolving credit facility and the $2 billion three-year supplemental revolving credit facility come due on April 30, 2022, according to SEC filings. The loans will be extended to 2023, 2 sources close to the transaction said. The company is offering an all-in spread of 225bp over Libor, split between a drawn spread of 175bp and an undrawn fee of 50bp for the main corporate and supplemental revolving credit facilities that are extended, 2 sources said. All lenders who agree to the extension will receive a 40bp fee on the amount extended. Lenders who choose not to extend will remain in the existing loans at a current all-in spread of 175bp over Libor, split between a drawn spread of 147.5bp and an undrawn fee of 27.5bp for the main corporate and supplemental revolving credit facilities. The company is leaving unchanged its fully funded $1.5 billion supplemental term loan that matures on December 31, 2022 and the $10.05 billion 5-year corporate revolving credit facility tranche due April 30, 2024. “It’s good. Given that they are not in an easy sector”, the first source close to the transaction said. “It’s a good outcome”. The fees Ford’s lenders received for its $8 billion in bond issuances in April may have helped them get more comfortable with the extension. The perception the US government supported the automaker via the Federal Reserve’s corporate bond purchasing program may have been another positive, the source said. The company first reached out to its JP Morgan-led bank group in February to refinance $15.4 billion in revolving credits but in March decided to draw down on the facilities and postponed its refinancing plans as market conditions deteriorated, 2 banking sources said at the time. In March, Ford drew $13.4 billion under its corporate credit facility (including the 3-year corporate revolver it is seeking to extend) as well as $2 billion under its 3-year supplemental credit facility, for a total of $15.4 billion. The company said borrowings would be used to “offset the temporary working capital impacts of the coronavirus-related production shutdowns and to preserve Ford’s financial flexibility”, according to a March 19 press release. Ford reported a 33.3 % drop in US sales in the second quarter tied to shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders due to the coronavirus, the company said in a July 2 press release. +++ 

+++ Chinese electric vehicle maker LI AUTO , backed by food delivery giant Meituan Dianping, has launched an initial public offering of up to $950 million, in one of the biggest U.S. listings by Chinese companies this year. The 5-year-old automaker, formerly known as CHJ Automotive, is selling 95 million American depositary shares (ADS) at an indicative range of $8 to $10 per share, according to its updated prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Each ADS represents 2 Class A ordinary shares. Private equity firm Hillhouse Capital plans to invest $300 million in the float, the company said in the filing. The IPO is the latest gauge of U.S. investor demand for Chinese companies going public. For Li Auto and some others, prestige and listed comparables continue to propel them toward a U.S. listing in spite of escalating Sino-U.S. geopolitical tension and negative sentiment toward Chinese firms following fallout from Luckin Coffee. Li Auto’s rival, Xpeng, plans to go public in New York later this year, according to sources with knowledge of the matter. At $950 million, Li Auto’s IPO would surpass the $510 float by cloud service provider Kingsoft Cloud which has been the biggest U.S. listing by a Chinese firm this year. Alongside the IPO, Li Auto will also raise $380 million from a concurrent private placement of shares to investors including Meituan Dianping via its British Virgin Islands-incorporated unit and TikTok owner ByteDance via a Hong Kong unit. The automaker plans to use most of the proceeds raised for capital expenditures, and research and development of new products. It is building Li ONE extended-range electric SUVs in China. It is set to price the float on July 30 and begin trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol ‘Li’ the next day. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS and CICC are among underwriters for the IPO. +++ 

+++ Before MERCEDES reveals the new S-Class on September 2, the German luxury automaker will preview a new safety technology: airbags that protect passengers in frontal crashes. Details about the latest tech are scarce, though the automaker will post another ‘Meet the S-Class Digital’ episode on July 29 that will dive into the new technology. Mercedes says the new S-Class will be the first car to equip airbags designed to protect rear-seat passengers in a frontal impact. “It calls for an entirely different concept to that of front airbags”, the automaker says, noting that the airbags must adapt to child seats. But it’s not the only expansion of safety features coming to the new luxury model. The S-Class will also feature the company’s new Pre-Safe Impulse Side function that will use the E-Active Body Control suspension to raise the entire vehicle when the vehicle senses a crash is imminent. This joins the tech Mercedes uses to move front passengers toward the centre of the vehicle using the seat air cushions. While the new S-Class reveal won’t happen for more than a month, spy photos and leaked images have shown the car in its entirety. The exterior design doesn’t change much, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t substantial updates underneath. It’ll be packed with high-tech goodies, including those rear-seat frontal airbags and so much more. We don’t have long to wait to learn all about it. +++ 

+++ MITSUBISHI forecasts an operating loss of 140 billion yen ($1.33 billion) in the year to March as the automaker continues to struggle from a fall in demand for cars due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. Japan’s No. 6 automaker also said that, as part of its restructuring plan, it would stop producing its Pajero in the first half of 2021 and close the plant in central Japan which makes the vehicle. Mitsubishi reported a 53.3 billion yen operating loss in the first quarter, after vehicle sales more than halved between April and June from the previous year. +++ 

+++ The next-generation Nissan NAVARA could receive some parts from the outgoing Mercedes-Benz X-Class. It’s no secret that the X-Class was underpinned by the same platform as the Navara. However, not everyone knows that Mercedes-Benz did make some alterations to the platform, adding some structural reinforcement to add to its strength and improving the driving dynamics. When the new Navara hit the market, Nissan will do so with the strengthened platform of the X-Class, including its new cross members and the same supplementary crossbar. Nissan will apparently start manufacturing the first prototypes of this chassis before the end of the year at a factory in Argentina. +++

+++ NISSAN is set to report a smaller-than-projected operating loss for the latest quarter, as the automaker reduces costs ahead of schedule, a person familiar with the matter said. The accelerated cost cuts mean that the quarterly loss will be about ¥150 billion ($1.4 billion), said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. That’s less than analysts’ average prediction for a ¥253 billion loss for the fiscal period ending June. The carmaker, which will report results Tuesday, is struggling to restore profitability and sales after the November 2018 arrest of its former chairman Carlos Ghosn and because a lack of new models left it ill-prepared to face a downturn in global vehicle demand amid the corona virus pandemic. After announcing its biggest loss in 20 years for the business year that ended March, Nissan unveiled plans to cut ¥300 billion in fixed costs, close production lines and slash capacity by 20 %. The annual fixed-cost reduction target will be raised to ¥350 billion and 3 more global factory lines will be shut down. That will increase total worker cuts to about 14.000 over the next few years, compared with the 12.500 job cuts announced a year ago, the documents show. 2 rented offices near Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama are being closed as well, as more people work from home during the Covid-19 outbreak, the person said. As part of its efforts to generate cash, Nissan is pushing forward with plans to sell assets. Nissan has been struggling to find a buyer for subsidiary Nissan Trading. Earlier this month, the automaker raised ¥70 billion in debt by issuing notes ranging from 18 months to 5 years, paying interest that was the highest among all debt issued by Japanese firms this fiscal year. The efforts to reduce spending and increase cash will put Nissan on track to return to positive cash flow for the automotive business during the January-March fiscal fourth quarter, the person said. Like many other automakers, Nissan’s revenue plummeted during the April-June period this year, by about a half, the documents showed. Although the manufacturer announced 3 new SUV models this year, the X-Trail, Qashqai and the electric Ariya, they aren’t on sale yet. Nissan is considering moving more of its sales online, after learning that about 10 % of its vehicles were sold digitally during the pandemic lockdown, the person said. Nissan is also selling off all of its corporate jets, with 4 out of 5 aircraft already sold, the person said. One of them is the Gulfstream G650 with the tail number N155AN that was used by Ghosn. +++ 

+++ PEUGEOT is considering refocusing its flagship SUV, the 5008, into a more practicality-focused model when its next generation arrives in 2023. Like its smaller sibling the 3008, the Peugeot 5008 was revamped completely in 2017, switching from a pseudo-MPV into a more conventional SUVs. The earlier model’s poor fortunes have been reversed as a result, helping to swell Peugeot’s balance sheet. A facelifted 5008 should arrive in October. But looking further into the future, customer analysis has led some inside Peugeot to push for the next new generation of the car to be moved in a more extreme direction, forgoing a little SUV style in favour of practicality that its owner base seems to appreciate. Peugeot’s design chief Gilles Vidal said: “The 5008 is bought by young adults who have kids. So the bigger car is bought by the families, but often the people with more means and more money are buying the smaller one the 3008. “That may lead us for the next generation of 5008 to go even more square and find a way to make it sexy”. A more vertical rear glass line would improve overall boot capacity and improve accommodation for the third row of seats. Vidal’s task will be to make the roofline still look aggressive, perhaps through clever use of the side chrome trim, and to reduce the visual depth of the car’s metal flanks without resorting to complex, fussy surfacing. Vidal said that he was experimenting with how to make a more practical 5008 still have visual appeal; the sort of characteristic that has persuaded increasing numbers of people to move away from MPVs in favour of SUVs. “When I say square in relation to the 5008, it shouldn’t be a boring square”, he said. “There’s a place, for sure, to make it more practical and then generate a design that is still amazing but not through dynamism. It’s another kind of sexy”. As with the next 3008, the next 5008 should be based on an evolution of the current car’s EMP2 platform, called EMP2 V4. This will allow the car to be powered by petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or pure electric powertrains. +++ 

+++ It’s been nearly 2 years since RIVIAN introduced the R1T and R1S at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, and now I know they’ll be delayed by approximately 6 months. In an update, the automaker revealed their pilot production line in Illinois is now running. The company went on to say this is an “important milestone” which “brings us another step closer to our full production launch”. More importantly, the company said the launch of their pilot production line means they can “more precisely estimate delivery timing”. As things stand, R1T deliveries will begin in June of 2021. R1S deliveries will follow 2 months later in August. Needless to say, that’s a significant delay as the models were originally scheduled to be launched late this year. Of course, the delay isn’t unexpected as the company admitted the coronavirus had thrown a wrench in their plans. While delays are never good, Rivian said they’re looking forward to sharing more updates soon. This will include details about key vehicle features, their plans for a charging network, and when customers will be able to configure their R1T or R1S. The models are some of the most highly anticipated electric vehicles and they’re slated to have four electric motors and battery packs with capacities of 105 kWh, 135 kWh and 180 kWh. There will also be different powertrain configurations including models with outputs of 407 hp, 709 hp and 764 hp. Pricing starts at $69,000 for the R1T and $72,500 for the R1S. While their launch is nearly a year away, Rivian is accepting pre-orders for a refundable deposit of $1,000. +++ 

+++ The new generation SEAT Leon will continue to be offered with a diversified range of powertrains, from the usual gasoline and diesel units to CNG and plug-in hybrids, but a full-electric model isn’t on the menu. While this may come as a surprise to some, especially considering the Volkswagen Group’s major electric push, the truth is that the Leon is based on the MQB platform, like the latest VW Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia, and has been designed to support mostly internal combustion engines. For electric vehicles, the VW Group has the dedicated MEB architecture. The company’s chief of communications, Carlos de Luis, confirmed that a BEV variant of the new Leon will not happen. The Seat exec reminded journos at the presentation of the car in Spain that the VW Group’s new EVs are based on the MEB platform and highlighted the fact that the Spanish brand does have a zero-emission vehicle: the Mii Electric. +++ 

+++ SOUTH KOREA ‘s auto output sank nearly 20 % to an 11-year low in the first half of the year due to the coronavirus outbreak, industry data showed. Marketleader Hyundai and 4 other automakers produced 1.63 million vehicles in the January-June period; down 19.8 % from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association. It was the lowest figure since the 1.53 million units produced in the first half of 2009. The sharp drop resulted mainly from tumbling exports. Automakers’ overseas shipments plunged 33.4 % on-year to about 826.700 units in the first half; the worst record since 2002. In contrast, their domestic sales came to nearly 802.500, the largest figure since 2016. GM Korea, the South Korean unit of General Motors, suffered the biggest setback, with its production falling some 31 % on-year to a 16-year low of about 159.400 units. SsangYong, the South Korean unit of Indian carmaker Mahindra, saw its first-half output dip 32.6 % on-year to some 48.160; the lowest since 2010. Hyundai’s first-half production fell 17 % on-year to some 742.370 units, with Kia posting an 18.5 % drop to some 608.300 units. +++ 

+++ TESLA accounted for almost half of government subsidies in Korea for electric cars in the first half of this year. Chinese electric bus makers also benefited significantly. According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers Association (KAMA), electric vehicle sales during the January to June period increased 2.7 % on-year to 16.359 cars. Korean automakers’ sales plunged 43.1 % during that period due to the delayed release of new models, as well as reduced subsidies per car and increased recharging costs. But sales of imported electric cars surged 564.1 %. Tesla’s aggressive marketing of its Model 3 resulted in sales surging from just 417 to 7.080 while its share of Korea’s EV market rose to 43.3 % in the first 6 months. The U.S. carmaker benefited from W90 billion worth of subsidies or 43 % of the total. Chinese automakers also performed well thanks to their electric buses. Their sales of electric buses here rose 64.5 % on-year to 181 as provincial government expanded subsidies for green vehicles. That meant Chinese electric bus makers Hifus and J Motors’ sales doubled to 70 and saw their share of the Korean market rose to 38.7 %. They benefited from 35.1 % of EV subsidies or W5.9 billion. KAMA chairman Chung Man-ki said, “Subsidies come from taxpayers so we need to revise the system to benefit Korean automakers”. According to KAMA, France in May overhauled its EV subsidy system to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to benefit PSA more and Germany did the same so that Mercedes-Benz and BMW gain more. China offers subsidies only to EVs that use Chinese-made rechargeable batteries. +++ 

+++ VOLVO ‘s global sales of its plug-in hybrid models jumped by 80 % in the first half of the year on the back of strong demand in Europe. This puts Volvo within reach of having its electrified models account for 20 % of its global sales. In Europe, Volvo sold a total of 123.198 vehicles in the first 6 months of 2020. Of these, 29.918 were plug-in hybrids, accounting for 24 % of sales. That’s a significant increase over the 15,.43 plug-in hybrids that Volvo shifted last year in Europe, or 9 % of the 174.653 vehicles it sold in the first half of 2019. Globally, plug-in hybrids accounted for 14 % of the Swedish automaker’s sales. In total, it delivered 37.775 such cars; up from the 21.015 during the same period in 2019. When is comes to plug-in hybrids, 79 % of Volvo’s sales were in Europe during the first 6 months. Plug-in hybrid variants of the V60 and XC40 proved particularly popular. In China, on the other hand, PHEVs accounted for 3.2 % of Volvo’s sales or about 2.100 units, driven primarily by demand for the S90. Last year, Volvo set a target of having plug-in hybrids account for 20 % of its global sales in 2020. Chief executive Håkan Samuelsson says this target is still in sight despite the coronavirus pandemic. “That target definitely has not been halted by the pandemic. Customers are asking for advanced electric cars”, he said. “Revenues from the sale of plug-in hybrids have covered the material cost increase from moving to electrification. Long term, what would be really bad for your profitability is trying to sell those old school cars”. +++ 


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