Newsflash: nieuwe BMW M5 CS is de snelste op de Ring

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+++ BENTLEY is making headlines this week, after its announcement that it plans to go electrified-only by 2026, and pure electric-only by the end of the decade. That’s a bold target for a company with such traditional values, let alone one whose main models are still powered by V8 and W12 petrol engines. But Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark is not wrong in setting his sights high. The past week is proof that, when challenged, car company engineers can come up with fascinating innovations. Take Toyota’s GR Yaris, for example. Although I have driven more hot hatchbacks than I’d ever care to mention, even I am surprised (and yes, just a little bit pleased) with this new arrival. If you’d have said 2 years ago, amid the push towards electrification and low CO2 targets, that Toyota would launch a turbocharged 3-cylinder, 4-wheeldrive version of the Yaris, complete with its own unique 3-door bodystyle, you’d have been laughed at. Yet here it is. And it’s really rather good. Equally, Audi has to move with the times: not just on electrification, but also on sustainability. So when its take on the Porsche Taycan arrives in 2021, the well heeled shoes of the e-tron GT’s owners will press down into vegan carpet. Even Land Rover has learned new tricks and crammed them into the improved cabin of its revised Discovery. It’s these examples of progress that make me so excited about the announcement from Bentley. Because for all its expertise in leather and wood crafting, the Crewe-based brand needs real powertrain innovation if it’s to remain remotely relevant to those who can afford its products. Now that it has recognised this, you can bet the company’s engineering department will be buzzing. I can’t wait to see what solutions they come up with. +++ 

+++ BMW chief executive Oliver Zipse said he would seek to strengthen bonds with Toyota and wants the current alliance between the German and Japanese carmaker centred on fuel cells and sportscars, going beyond 2025. “In the next decades, we would do well to strengthen bonds”, Zipse told. The alliance which currently includes a cooperation deal on fuel cell cars and joint development of a sportscar, should continue beyond 2025, Zipse said. Fuel cell cars, which are powered by hydrogen, may benefit from a concerted push by policymakers, to industrialise the production of hydrogen, Zipse said. Separately, Zipse said BMW is seeking ways to save costs by slimming down its portfolio of models. “Coupés, convertibles and roadsters, we will see what will be left”, Zipse said, commenting about one of the areas where BMW is reviewing its product offering. +++ 

+++ Carmakers in the United Kingdom have already invested nearly a billion pounds into preparing for BREXIT , with that amount set to climb even higher if Britain’s exit agreement with the EU results in no deal. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), £735 million has been spent by manufacturers on Brexit measures already, with £235 million spent in 2020 alone. More than twothirds (67 %) of companies across the automotive industry are preparing for new process that will arrive on January 1, including stricter border measures for imports and exports. As part of that preparation, 70 % of those companies have obtained GB Economic Operators Registration and Identification numbers; 60 % have upped their spending on stockpiling parts from abroad, while 52 % have taken to employing their own customs agents. However, 86 % of companies are still struggling to prepare as a lack of clarity surrounding post-Brexit measures remains. A no deal outcome could end up costing the UK car industry as much as £47 billion in lost trade over the next five years. It’s already cost the industry £27.5 billion in lost car production according to the SMMT. “As the UK-EU FTA negotiations enter the endgame, now is the time for both sides to deliver on promises to safeguard the automotive industry”, said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “Securing a deal is absolutely critical but it cannot be any deal. To work for UK Automotive it must deliver for UK products and that means securing the right terms and conditions that allow our exports, now and in the future, to be zero tariff and zero quota trade. “A deal that failed to achieve this would be the equivalent to no deal at all, devastating jobs and slamming the brakes on the UK’s ambitions to be a world leading manufacturer and market for electrified mobility and battery technologies. +++ 

+++ FERRARI has launched the new SF90 Spider as the most powerful series-production convertible in the world, claiming the title from its own 812 GTS. Making its debut 18 months after the SF90 Stradale was unwrapped, the Spider is Ferrari’s second hybrid convertible, following the 2017 LaFerrari Aperta, and is claimed to offer the same “record-breaking performance” as the hard-top while bringing “further driving pleasure and versatility to the mix”. Customer deliveries are set to get underway in the second quarter of 2021, with prices in its Italian home market starting at €473.000. The Stradale’s 4-wheeldrive plug-in powertrain is carried over wholesale, meaning the Spider’s 780 hp twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 is mated to a pair of electric motors on the front axle and one at the rear. Combined, the electric units produce 220 hp and contribute to an overall power output of 1000 hp and 900 Nm. Power is sent to all 4 wheels via an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The SF90 Spider matches the Stradale’s 2.5 seconds 0-100 kph sprint time and falls short of that car’s 340 kph top speed by just 2 kph. More significantly, the convertible has posted a lap time of 1min 19.5sec at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track; just 0.5 seconds behind the hard-top and 0.2 seconds quicker than even the fixed-roof LaFerrari. Technically the second Ferrari model to be capable of electric-only running, the SF90 Spider’s 7.9 kWh battery allows it to be driven with the petrol engine off for up to 25 km. Like all convertible Ferraris of the modern era, the Spider features an aluminium retractable hard-top, which opens and closes in just 14 seconds and is said to save 40 kg and require at least 50 litres less storage space compared with a conventional system. The rear windscreen can be raised or lowered when the roof is retracted to alter wind buffeting at high speed. The roof mechanism and associated chassis reinforcements add 100 kg, bringing the Spider’s kerb weight to 1670 kg; nearly 300 kg more than the carbonfibre-tubbed LaFerrari Aperta, for reference, but Ferrari says the improved stability and traction brought by the electrified front wheels equates to an “equivalent weight reduction” of around 200 kg. Ferrari designed the Spider with the aim of minimising turbulence, noise and performance losses with the roof open. Aerodynamic elements carried over from the Stradale include the forged wheel designs, prominent air-channelling structures at the front end and the ‘shut-off Gurney’, which effectively changes the shape of the rear spoiler at different speeds for optimum downforce. Allowances also had to be made for the impact of the new roof storage compartment. To ensure the engine bay is still appropriately ventilated – temperatures inside are understood to reach nearly 900 degree C; the Spider’s engine lid gains a pair of vents that are said to serve “as an efficient ‘chimney’ without interfering with the car’s aerodynamics at speed”. The exterior styling is otherwise largely unchanged from the existing car’s, save for the addition of subtle new trim elements in the cockpit that work to funnel air away from the driver and passenger. With the retractable hard-top in place, the SF90 Spider retains the overall shape and proportions of the Stradale, despite the addition of the complex, sizeable roof mechanism. The key difference is the addition of a pair of buttresses behind the passenger compartment, which line up with the headrests to minimise any loss of rearward visibility. Less obviously, the cockpit has been moved slightly forward in the chassis to make way for the roof mechanism, the roofline itself is 20 mm lower and the windscreen has a steeper rake. The cabin is identical to that of the coupé, featuring a wraparound-style 16.0 inch digital display cluster that shows live telemetry and a battery charge indicator, a head-up display and a motorsport-inspired steering wheel with an array of touch-sensitive controls. An optional Assetto Fiorano upgrade package brings Multimatic shock absorbers, a 21 kg weight loss and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 performance tyres, and likely a sizeable price premium. +++ 

+++ The all-electric F-150 pickup truck will arrive in U.S. dealerships in mid-2022 at the earliest, but FORD has already decided it needs to significantly increase the initial production capacity. Citing “strong early interest” in the model since the September announcement, Ford said it is now increasing production plans by 50 % versus original plans. To deliver more units, the automaker will add 200 new jobs at the new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, in addition to the 300 jobs previously announced for the electric truck. Ford did not say how many electric F-150s it will be able to build, though. In addition to investments in U.S. manufacturing for the battery-powered F-150 and E-Transit, Ford is also investing $1.35 billion to transform its Oakville Assembly Complex in Ontario, Canada starting in 2024 to include next-generation battery-electric vehicles. According to Ford, this will mark the first time ever that an automaker has produced full BEVs in Canada for the North American market. Finally, the automaker also confirmed plans to produce an additional electrified vehicle at its plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, where the Mustang Mach-E is made. The company said the new vehicle will share “a similar electrified platform” as the Mustang Mach-E, delivering manufacturing and engineering efficiencies. Ford did not disclose how many jobs the additional vehicle will create in Mexico. These investments add to the $100 million and 150 additional jobs announced for the Kansas City plant to build the E-Transit electric van, as well as the $150 million pledged for the Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, to make e-motors and e-transaxles for new EVs, including the F-150. “Our electric vehicle business is a dynamic source of growth. We’re setting ourselves up for profitable business now and in the future”, said John Savona, vice president, North American manufacturing. +++ 

+++ GENERAL MOTORS has accelerated the rollout of 2 electric-vehicle programs since its EV Day in March and plans to hire 3.000 technology-related employees through the first quarter, an executive said. The U.S. automaker has pulled forward “2 major programs” since its March 4 event, at which it said it would invest $20 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles, Ken Morris, GM vice president of electric and autonomous programs, told reporters. He declined to identify the programs but mentioned them after discussing the GMC Hummer EV pickup. “We are moving faster than ever”, he said on a conference call. “GM’s progress on and investment in EVs is not slowing down. The vehicles that we’ve announced, like the Hummer EV and the Cadillac Lyriq, we’re already well on the way on those, but we want to advance the entire EV portfolio”, Morris added. As part of that push, GM said it will hire 3.000 employees across engineering, design and information technology through the first quarter. Chief executive Mary Barra said last week GM will boost capital spending over the next 3 years to speed development of EVs. The Detroit company plans to more fully outline its EV strategy during an appearance by Barra on November 19 at a Barclays conference. In March, GM executives hosted a private showing for analysts and media of the company’s future portfolio of EVs, including prototypes of a full-size Hummer pickup and SUV, a full-size Cadillac SUV about the size of the combustion-engine Escalade, a mid-sized Cadillac crossover called Lyriq and a large Cadillac luxury sedan called Celestiq. The Hummer EV pickup will be launched in late 2021, followed by the Lyriq crossover in 2022. GM has promised 20 new electric vehicle models globally by 2023, to be built in North America and China. +++ 

+++ HONDA is looking to become the world’s first carmaker to mass produce Level 3 autonomous vehicles. These cars will be capable of driving themselves in congested motorway traffic while legally allowing drivers to take their eyes off the road. The Japanese government has already awarded Honda a safety certification for its ‘Traffic Jam Pilot’ system. The first model to feature this updated system will be the Legend, hitting the road in Japan sometime before the end of March 2021. “Self driving cars are expected to play a big role in helping reduce traffic accidents, provide transportation for the elderly and improve logistics”, said Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. In order for a car to meet key safety standards with regards to automated driving, the system must be able to “warn the driver of the transfer of control (handover) back to the driver and must continue safe driving until the handover is completed. When the handover cannot be made, the equipment must safely stop the vehicle”. Other must-haves include the equipment featuring a driver monitoring function, as well as cyber security measures in order to prevent security threats such as unauthorized access. Furthermore, a recording device must be present to “record data to confirm operating conditions of the automated driving equipment for a 6-month period (or 2.500 times)”. Last but not least, Level 3 autonomous cars will require a sticker indicating that the vehicle features an automated drive system. This sticker “should be affixed on the backside of the vehicle body”. +++ 

+++ HYUNDAI is supercharging its product portfolio next year with the introduction of several new SUVs, while looking even farther out to the launch of its first urban air taxis toward the end of the decade, the company’s top U.S. executive said. “We are all-in on autonomous vehicles”, as well as electric vehicles, said Jose Munoz, president and CEO and Hyundai North America. His remarks come at a time when investment in robo-taxis has slowed, even as the global pandemic has spurred interest in personally-owned vehicles, especially trucks and SUVs. Hyundai hopes to tap that interest next year with the all-new Santa Cruz, a compact pickup, and the Ioniq 5 crossover, the first in a series of new all-electric models. Early next year, the redesigned Tucson goes into production at Hyundai’s Montgomery, Alabama plant, which also will begin building the Santa Cruz in late spring as part of a $410 million expansion. Munoz said Hyundai will work with the new Biden administration to develop infrastructure to support battery electric and hydrogen electric vehicles. He seemed most excited by Hyundai’s work with Motional (its $4 billion self-driving technology joint venture with Aptiv PLC) and its partnership with Uber Technologies on urban air taxis, which Munoz predicted would be in operation at such major U.S. airports as LAX in Los Angeles and JFK in New York “by 2028, maybe earlier”. Hyundai already is developing “flying devices” powered by electric motors and batteries that can transport five to six passengers from highly congested urban and suburban centers to those airports, Munoz said. “We see a lot of opportunity ahead of us in autonomous vehicles, including air taxis”, he said. Hyundai announced that it will expand its range of electrified vehicles to 10 offerings by the end of 2022. The updated lineup will include 2 new models in its Ioniq sub-brand, one of which will be a crossover. Earlier this year, Hyundai announced that Ioniq will become an all-electric lineup, much like Volkswagen’s battery-electric ID series. Hyundai is even taking a page from Volkswagen’s product nomenclature guidebook, announcing plans to launch the Ioniq 5, Ioniq 6 and Ioniq 7 in the coming years. Odd-numbered models will always be crossovers or SUVs, and even-numbered models will be sedans. The first one coming in 2021 is the Ioniq 5. Hyundai says it’s a midsize crossover based on the Hyundai 45 concept. We’ve already seen this car in spy photos out testing, assuming it would be a Hyundai. Turns out, it’s going to be an Ioniq. Hyundai says it’s going to take inspiration from the past but combine it with cutting-edge parametric pixels for a modern twist. The Ioniq 6, also teased here, borrows from the Prophecy concept and looks to be a rather intriguing sedan or 4-door coupe. Knowing Hyundai, it will probably be offered in an N or N Line variant, which means it might boast some convincing enthusiast chops. Also confirmed in this teaser are plug-in hybrid versions of the Tucson and Santa Fe. Both of these were already known quantities, but Hyundai has been hesitant to elaborate on their plans for introducing them in the United States. This appears to be a solid confirmation that we should expect both to go on sale here by 2022. “We’re not only developing the vehicles our customers need now, we’re also envisioning smart mobility solutions for pressing environmental and transportation needs of the future. Ultimately, this full spectrum of new technologies will promote a planet-friendly, zero-emission ecosystem as part of our ‘Progress for Humanity’ global vision”, said Olabisi Boyle, vice president of Product Planning and Mobility Strategy, Hyundai Motor North America. +++ 

+++ Next week is jammed packed with debuts as there will be introductions from Honda, Subaru and Mini. If that wasn’t a busy enough schedule, JEEP has announced plans to introduce a “new vehicle” on November 17. Unfortunately, the company declined to release a teaser image so there’s no word on what the mystery model is. However, there are a number of suspects as Jeep is putting the finishing touches on an assortment of new vehicles. While nothing is official, one of the most likely possibilities is the 3-row version of the next-generation Grand Cherokee. The model was originally slated to go into production late this year, but it has been delayed until the first quarter of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jeep has been tight-lipped about the model, but previous reports have suggested it will ride on a modified version of Alfa Romeo’s Giorgio platform and be offered with an assortment of familiar engines including a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and a 5.7-liter Hemi V8. FCA has also confirmed there will be a plug-in hybrid variant, but little is known about it at this point. Another likely contender is the facelifted Jeep Compass which was recently snapped undisguised. It features a revised front fascia with a new grille and restyled headlights. Spy photos have also shown an updated interior with a freestanding infotainment system that features a metallic frame. Jeep is also working on a new Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. The latter 2 were previewed by a luxurious concept in September, but production isn’t slated to begin until the second quarter of 2021. The redesigned Grand Cherokee is even farther out as it won’t go into production until the third quarter of next year. There’s always the possibility that Jeep has something else up their sleeve, such as the V8-powered Wrangler, but we’ll find out for sure next week. +++ 

+++ The new BMW M5 CS has been a long-time coming. We’ve seen it a number of times in spy photos plus reports about the facelifted version of the high-octane saloon have been around for quite a while. In any case, the M5 CS’s design isn’t the biggest news in its arrival. As a performance model, we can expect more things from the sedan that can help it perform better on track. Although, don’t expect a power bump as reports have stated that it will have 625 hp as the M5 Competition. To showcase the M5 CS’s performance on the track, a prototype was used for exclusive testing. The limited-run M5 performed well, lapping the Hockenheim-GP in 1 minute and 53.6 seconds, just below the 992-generation Porsche 911 Carrera S on sport auto’s tests with test driver Christian Gebhardt at the helm. But apart from showcasing the M5 CS’s performance, there could be something greater: the map of Nürburgring is etched on the headrest. This could hint at another Green Hell record, I reckon. The M5 isn’t a stranger to ‘Ring records. To recall, the performance version of the 5 Series set a record at Nordschleife back in 2018, lapping the German track in 7:38:92; also in the hands of sport auto’s test driver Christian Gebhardt. We’ll know more about this development as we inch closer to the M5 CS’s reveal in the weeks or months to come. It’s expected to be revealed quite soon since recent reports reveal that production will start in March 2021. +++ 

+++ Porsche is readying a second facelift for its 6 year-old MACAN as the SUV’s life is extended before a new, fully electric version arrives in 2022. The updated version of the current petrol-powered model will be sold alongside the battery-powered version in a transitional period while sales of EVs continue their gradual growth globally. Thinly disguised prototypes of the facelifted model, seen testing alongside the current car in Germany, don’t reveal extensive revisions. However, we’re expecting tweaks to the front and rear bumpers and lights and a revised grille profile. The changes could be more extensive inside, however. The Macan, which has been on sale since 2014 and was last substantially updated in 2018, still uses the button-heavy centre console and dashboard design that Porsche phased out with the new Panamera and Cayenne. Expect that to be switched to the now more familiar touch-sensitive button panels and touchscreen-only infotainment. The newer steering wheel from the recently updated Panamera could be brought in, too. It remains to be seen if there will be any powertrain revisions to the Macan, but don’t expect anything extensive, given the recent refresh. That means the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol and 2.9-litre and 3.0-litre V6 units should stay, albeit with minor efficiency-related changes. I don’t yet know when the updated Macan will make its debut, but we expect more news on that (and the forthcoming electric model) next year. +++ 

+++ MAZDA posted a 7.59 billion yen ($73.4 million) operating loss in the 3 months ended September 30 as sales contracted amid the coronavirus pandemic. The loss compares with an 18.9 billion profit in the same quarter last year and a 45.3 billion yen loss in the first 3 months of the business year, which was its worst in quarter in 11 years. Mazda posted a smaller loss in the second quarter after it benefited from a rebound in sales in North America, its biggest market. Vehicle sales there rose 1% from a year earlier. Japan’s No.5 automaker kept its full-year forecast for an operating loss of 40 billion yen. That is better than the average full-year estimate for a 53.3 billion yen operating loss from 17 analysts. For the full business year the maker of the CX-5 kept its full-year prediction for global vehicle sales to fall 8.5 % to 1.3 million units; the lowest in 7 years. Mazda used their second quarter financial results to tease their upcoming inline-6 engine, but that wasn’t the only interesting thing included in the company’s presentation. Since sales are down 21 % and they had an operating loss of ¥52.9 billion (€425.9 million), it’s little surprise that Mazda wants to save money. As a result, they’re accelerating cost reductions and “enhancing” their alliances with other automakers. Mazda also wants to raise their “brand value” by investing in unique products and technologies. As part of this effort, the company is investing in a longitudinal architecture which use the upcoming inline-6 engine. The presentation also suggests there will be petrol, diesel and Skyactiv-X variants of the upcoming powertrain. The platform will also support all-wheel drive as well as mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. Smaller models will instead adopt “multiple electrification technologies using rotary engine technology”. Longer term, the company will embrace electric vehicles and develop an “exclusive” platform to underpin them. The company will also focus on autonomous driving and greater vehicle connectivity. In the United States, Mazda is aiming to increase annual sales to 450.000 units. As part of this effort, “next-generation” dealerships are being built and customer financing should be improved thanks to a partnership with Toyota. Speaking of Toyota, Mazda will promote its American ties thanks to the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant in Alabama. Mazda has been tight-lipped about what they will built at the plant, but they have already said it will be a crossover with a production capacity of 150.000 units annually. That isn’t much to go on, but the presentation confirms the upcoming model will be offered with a Toyota-sourced hybrid system. Mazda will also offer what appears to be a badge engineered version of the Toyota Yaris. Little else is known about the model at this point, but it will be a hybrid that will be sold in Europe. +++ 

+++ BMW chief executive Oliver Zipse said he is weighing options for the company’s MOBILITY SERVICES joint venture with Daimler, including bringing in new partners or possibly a partial sale. BMW wants to continue to participate in the mobility services market “whether we bring in new partners or whether we sell it”, Zipse told a videoconference of reporters. “This is a very dynamic environment”, he said. “You will see where we make one or the other move”. The future of Free Now, the BMW-Daimler venture that includes car sharing, ride hailing and other services, has been uncertain. Last month, it was reported Uber Technologies had offered €1 billion for the venture. +++ 

+++ NISSAN cut its annual operating loss forecast by 28 % on Thursday, albeit to a still record $3.2 billion, helped by a rebound in demand from the coronavirus crisis, particularly in China. The new forecast, which brings it into line with analysts’ estimates, comes as Nissan pursues a turnaround drive that is reversing the rapid expansion led by ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn. The company is cutting production and its vehicle line-up by a fifth, and slashing costs by $2.9 billion over 3 years. “We are confident we are on track” with restructuring plans, chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta told a briefing. He said global car sales volume in September was on a par with last year. In July-September, Nissan’s second quarter, it sold 390.000 cars in China; 4 % more than the same period last year. The world’s biggest auto market grew by 12.8 % in September. Nissan’s sales fell elsewhere in annual terms, but showed a recovery from the pandemic-ravaged previous quarter, with North America up 35.1 % quarter-on-quarter to 300.000 vehicles. That rebound is benefiting other carmakers too, including local competitors Toyota and Honda, which have pushed ahead of Nissan in China and are, for now, also better positioned to tap a North America recovery. Nissan, Japan’s third-largest automaker, is striving to recover from the scandal surrounding the ousting of Ghosn on financial misconduct allegations, which he denies. But it has been hobbled by an ageing model line-up as drivers’ tastes in North America shift to sport-utility vehicles and large pickups. Toyota and Honda last week both more than doubled their full-year operating profit forecasts to 2.47 trillion yen and 420 billion yen respectively. Nissan chief executive Makoto Uchida said the company had to restore the faith of suppliers and dealers. “I am committed to building models that embody Nissan-ness”, he said, without elaborating. Nissan, Gupta said, was on track to launch 6 new models in North America within 20 months, including electric cars and models that feature its latest autonomous driving technology. The company, which has slashed its poorly-performing U.S. fleet business, cut overall inventories by a quarter during the most recent quarter compared with a year earlier, he added. The maker of the Leaf, the world’s first mass-produced electric vehicle, will try to lure consumers in China with nine new models planned over the next 5 years as demand there increases for mid-sized and large luxury vehicles. Amid the pandemic, Nissan said it was also changing the way it sells cars with a shift to online sales, which now account for around a third of sales in China. Nissan’s new prediction for a full-year operating loss of 340 billion yen compares with the 470 billion yen loss it forecast 3 months ago. For the second quarter, it posted a 4.83 billion yen loss compared with a 30 billion yen profit last year. But that was much less than the 80.6 billion yen loss forecast on average in a poll of 5 analysts. Nissan is 43 % owned by Renault and its second-quarter loss will have a negative impact of €30 million on the French carmaker’s third-quarter net income. Nissan, once viewed as a symbol of Japanese manufacturing prowess, raised its forecast for full-year global vehicles sales to 4.165 million units from 4.13 million units, although that still represents a decline from the previous year. To weather the coronavirus downturn, Nissan said it had issued $8 billion and 2 billion euros in debt, and had a 2 trillion yen credit line with lenders. +++ 

+++ Bentley has warned that a NO DEAL BREXIT could make it difficult for the company to continue producing products in the United Kingdom. Bentley is owned by the Volkswagen Group, and as such has to make production decisions with its German-based sister companies. Right now Bentley produces all of its products at its factory in Crew in the North West of England, but the company’s CEO Adrian Hallmark has said that in the future that could change. “Every time we launch a product (even though we’re a 100-year-old company based in Crewe for over 80 years) we have to fight to keep the products in Crewe”, Hallmark told. “And our competitiveness, our flexibility in terms of cost structure and our relationship with our colleagues and workforce, these are key factors”. Hallmark confirmed that there is no immediate risk to UK production, despite plans to cut 1.000 jobs, as announced in June. And even if negotiations between the UK government and the EU result in no deal, the workforce shouldn’t be reduced either. Bentley has however stocked up on imported components in anticipation of increases in tariffs and taxes, and is wary of its profitability being affected. “It doesn’t risk the existence of the company, it doesn’t risk our establishment in the UK, but it does definitely dent our profitability”, Hallmark said. +++ 

+++ NORWAY ’s love story with all-electric cars is well documented and so the local delivery of the 1.000th Porsche Taycan should come as no surprise. Porsche reached that milestone at the beginning of this month when a customer from the Scandinavian country took delivery of his brand new Taycan at the Porsche Center Oslo. That’s an impressive feat for a company like Porsche, which used to sell only several hundred cars per year in Norway. The arrival of the all-electric Taycan has changed the game, however, leading to a doubling of Porsche sales this year in Norway compared to the same period in 2019. Customer Thomas Røed is no stranger to Porsche, having previously owned 5 models from the German brand. He says he expects the Taycan to deliver the same driving characteristics as his previous Porsches. “I hear that the Taycan performs well, so I really look forward to the first drive that goes up to the mountains”, Røed says. Mind you, he did not choose the Taycan only for its performance. “My focus is not on driving as fast as possible on the track, I am more a touring man. The everyday joy of driving is most important to me. So, I feel at home in the term car enthusiast”, he explains. Since 2017, the market share of EVs in Norway has more than doubled and is today at almost 50 %. Naturally, Porsche sees an interesting volume potential in the market. “The Norwegian government is supporting electric mobility with a tax system that encourages choosing electrified cars, a great charging infrastructure and other measures”, says Barbara Frenkel, vice president region Europe at Porsche. “All this led to a great headstart of the Norwegian market on the way to emission-free car traffic. We want to be part of this with our great electrified sports cars”. +++ 

+++ All future Hyundai, Genesis and Kia models will come standard with the NVIDIA Drive in-vehicle infotainment system starting in 2022. Nvidia’s Drive includes a hardware and software stack that encompasses all audio, video, navigation, connectivity and AI-enhanced connected car services. The system will be used from entry-level to premium vehicles and is perpetually updateable over-the-air. With the Nvidia Drive, the Hyundai Motor Group will equip future models with its new connected car operating system that’s been developed in-house and brings together data generated by the vehicle and its sensors, as well as external connected car data centers, to provide drivers and occupants a more pleasurable and convenient experience. The new Genesis GV80 and G80 already feature a state-of-the-art system powered by Nvidia Drive, and the 2 companies are also collaborating on an advanced digital cockpit set to be released in late 2021. “At Hyundai Motor Group, we’re committed to delivering greater value, safety, functionality and enjoyment over the lifetime of the car”, senior vice president of the Electronics Tech Unit at Hyundai Motor Group, Paul Choo said. “The Nvidia Drive platform is proven: it is scalable, energy-efficient and has the performance to support our next generation of software-defined vehicles. Nvidia brought consumer electronic functionality and a graphics-rich user interface to infotainment systems more than a decade ago”, added Ali Kani, vice president of autonomous vehicles at Nvidia. “Now, we are once again transforming these systems through the power of AI, helping Hyundai Motor Group increase safety and value, along with enhancing customer satisfaction, throughout the lifetime of the vehicle”. +++ 

+++ PORSCHE ’s CEO Oliver Blume shot down rumors about a potential all-electric 911, revealing instead some potential information about the long-rumored plug-in hybrid version. Blume was adamant that an all-electric variant of the Porsche 911 is not going to happen anytime soon, if ever. “Let me be clear, our icon, the 911, will have a combustion engine for a long time to come”, Blume said. “The 911 is a concept of the car that is prepared for the combustion engine. It’s not useful to combine it with pure electric mobility. We believe in purpose-designed cars for electric mobility”. Turning the 911 into a battery-powered sports car isn’t ideal according to Blume, who believes that if Porsche ever made an all-electric sports car, it would likely be an all-new model. “I think for the future there is also space for very sporty pure electric sports car to add to those other sports cars”, Blume commented. “There are big opportunities”. However, the iconic 911 isn’t immune to the industry’s major shift to electrified powertrains; Porsche’s boss stopped short of confirming the rumored plug-in hybrid variant of the 911 that been circulating for quite some time, but he did speak about certain ideas they have about such a variant. “In the future for the 911, there are good ideas for a special kind of hybrid, a very performance-oriented hybrid, where we use, for example, a 400 volt system for our electric engine. That’s more or less our idea of how to continue with the 911”. +++ 

+++ Electric vehicle startup RIVIAN revealed pricing and product details for its electric pickup truck and SUV, with deliveries for both EVs scheduled for next year. The launch editions of the electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV were priced at $75,000 and $77,500, with a 480 km driving range on both vehicles. Rivian has had pre-orders open for the vehicles since November 2018. Rivian, which is backed by Amazon.com and Ford, said U.S. deliveries for R1T would start in June 2021, while the R1S deliveries would begin in August. Pre-order holders will get early access on November 16 to configure their vehicle color, battery range as well as wheels and tires. Rivian is building EV delivery vans for Amazon, which has ordered 100.000 vans from the startup, while Ford invested $500 million in April with plans to use the Rivian EV platform to build a new vehicle in North America. +++ 

+++ The head of the Berlin engine plant run by Mercedes-Benz has defected to rival TESLA , German union IG Metall said, calling on employees to protest over his departure. IG Metall declined to name the head of the plant, which has been run by Rene Reif, one the most experienced manufacturing executives at Mercedes-Benz who helped expand manufacturing capacity for Daimler in China. Reif used to be head of engineering and manufacturing at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Daimler’s Chinese joint venture, which has a manufacturing capacity of around 480.000 cars and started building the electric Mercedes-Benz EQC last year. Tesla declined to comment on whether it had found a new manager for a Gigafactory being built on the outskirts of Berlin but the electric carmaker is on a global manufacturing expansion push, building or expanding new factories in Texas, Germany and China. Last month, a source told that a Tesla manager who oversaw the construction of the electric carmaker’s Grünheide plant, had left his position. Daimler said that Reif, 57, the manager of its Mercedes-Benz Berlin plant, which makes powertrains, would go into early retirement at the end of the year, at his own request. German unions have lamented the fact that traditional carmakers are cutting investment into combustion engine technologies as regulators clamp down on emissions and as demand for vehicles is hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. IG Metall said there would be a protest in front of the Mercedes factory and called on Daimler to present solutions that would help to guarantee the future of the plant. The union said Daimler managers had outlined cost savings plans and union officials fear the Berlin plant’s future is at risk. Daimler said Clemenz Dobrawa, who currently heads up the Mercedes-Benz battery manufacturing plant in Kamenz, had taken over leadership of the Mercedes-Benz plants in Hamburg and Berlin earlier this month. “Thanks to his activity as representative in Kamenz, he brings important know-how for the transformation toward electromobility”, Daimler said, adding the Berlin plant would be restructured to serve an ‘Electric First’ strategy. +++ 

+++ According to VOLKSWAGEN Group boss Herbert Diess, his company will invest heavily in its plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, as opposed to opening a brand new location in Turkey. Diess confirmed that VW has had to reassess its capacity requirements because of the pandemic, and ultimately decided that it doesn’t need an additional plant. The German carmaker will instead go on to build a new assembly line, as well as a new body shop as part of its expansion in Slovakia, where it builds most of its premium SUVs. In fact, the Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, Audi Q8 and Porsche Cayenne are all built in Bratislava, alongside the Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii minicars, as well as bodies for the Bentley Bentayga, that is before those are shipped to Crewe in the United Kingdom. Initially, VW wanted to open a plant in Turkey near Izmir in order to build the next-generation Volkswagen Passat and Skoda Superb, come 2022. However, both models will now be built in Slovakia. As for how this decision might affect the carmaker’s sales in Turkey, Diess stated that there will definitely be an impact. “It remains a disadvantage that we cannot better develop the market there via a plant in Turkey”, he said during the interview. The VW Group’s Bratislava plant is a multiple-time winner of the Occupational Safety Trophy, meaning it already has a rich history of having high safety standards. +++

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