Newsflash: Nissan neemt gas terug in Europa

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+++ The  past 12 months have seen unprecedented shifts in human behaviour, with enormous disruption in everything from the airline industry to public transport and working life. The car industry hasn’t escaped the turmoil of Covid-19, with factory and dealership closures coming at the same time as increased demand for electric vehicles and different buying patterns from customers, many of whom no longer feel the need to visit the showroom before signing up for a new car. How has the industry reacted to these shifts? And will the trends continue as we move into 2021 ? Here, I put those questions to 5 experienced executives in the global car industry. 1) Andy Palmer, the ex-Aston Martin boss and now CEO of Palmer Automotive. Question: How do you think the global car industry can recover in 2021? Answer: “Automotive historians may look back on this time as the turning point away from the internal combustion engine (ICE) and towards the mass-adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and other alternative clean-energy vehicles. The onus is on car manufacturers to adapt to these changes and seize the opportunity”. Q: Covid-19 has caused a number of shifts in customer behaviour. Were there any that you found particularly notable? A: “When I was developing and launching the Nissan Leaf in 2008-2010, the product was considered left-field by customers and derided by the industry. The customer attitude to EVs 10 years later has transformed”. Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges that EVs and the push towards electrification will face in 2021? A: “EVs should not be considered as the only solution for new-energy vehicles. We should not rule out hydrogen fuel cells for HGVs and synthetic fuels for sports cars, drones, planes, etc. Also, Europe must invest in battery gigaplants and lead its own chemistry development rather than licensing it from Asia. If we fail to attract investment in batteries, we will lose our domestic car industry within a decade”. Q: Which trends from 2020 are we going to see continuing, or even accelerating, as we head through 2021? A: “Keep an eye on the ‘last-mile’ transport. Whether it’s urban buses, transportation for logistic companies, shared transport, taxis or e-scooters, this promises to be the next global battleground, with multiple players vying for supremacy, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it”. 2) Ian Robertson. Inducted in 2013 while at BMW, Robertson now sits on the board of home appliance maker Dyson. Q: How do you think the global car industry can recover in 2021? A: “Whenever there’s been a crisis of some form over the years, the car manufacturers have emerge at the other side stronger, more motivated and more driven to succeed. This won’t necessarily apply to all areas of the business, but I do think that the majority will have embraced the opportunities with a clear focus on the future”. Q: Covid-19 caused shifts in customer behaviour. Were there any that you found particularly notable? A: “The digitalisation of the customer interaction has taken another big step forward, while still evolving the roles and responsibilities within the customer journey. This will continue to develop and cover new areas like servicing, with more and more moving online”, Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges that EVs and the push towards electrification will face in 2021? A: “The ongoing big issue for governments is to motivate and support the charging infrastructure across the wider country as well in the homes of the customers. While this is a chicken-and-egg story, incentives will play a significant role in the customer acceptance, as well as milestone targets such as the ones just announced for 2030 and 2035”. Q: Which trends from 2020 are we going to see continuing, or even accelerating, as we head through 2021? A: “2020 saw a much better balance between supply and demand, with many factories forced to close across the world. In many ways this has been good for the manufacturers, the dealers and the customers, because pricing stabilised and the used-car market strengthened. The challenge is to maintain this as a discipline, with a tempering of the focus on volume”. 3) Linda Jackson, former CItroen boss is now playing a crucial role managing brand identities at PSA Group. Q: How do you think the global car industry can recover in 2021? A: “2020 has certainly been a challenge. To recover, the industry needs to be extremely responsive in reacting and changing processes to adapt to this new environment. I think that the pandemic has shown that Groupe PSA is a very agile business where our priority has been to protect the health of employees and ensure the sustainability of the business by putting the right energy in the right place at the right time”. Q: Covid-19 caused a number of shifts in customer behaviour. Were there any that you found particularly notable? A: “Customers have been more willing to transact online and I’m delighted that our digital teams were able to deliver end-to-end online sales systems across our brands”. Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges that EVs and the push towards electrification will face in 2021? A: “With lockdown in many countries, people enjoyed the experience of reduced emissions. This and the various governments’ objectives to reduce CO2 emissions have increased awareness and demand for electric vehicles. I’m very proud that Groupe PSA has achieved the stringent CO2 emissions objectives this year”. Q: Which trends from 2020 are we going to see continuing, or even accelerating, as we head through 2021? A: “Without doubt, electrification and transacting online. And despite the pandemic, I do believe that there remains a need for shared mobility solutions. We have ambitions for a full range of mobility services for all”. 4) Steven Armstrong, currently at the helm of Ford’s Changan operation in China. Q: How do you think the global car industry can recover in 2021? A: “The rate of recovery will vary by region and by segment. For example, here in China we have already seen a strong recovery, led by the higher-priced premium and near-premium segments, whose customers were less impacted economically by the effects of the epidemic”. Q: Covid-19 caused a number of shifts in customer behaviour. Were there any that you found particularly notable? A: “What I did find interesting was that we saw customers wanting to feel ‘safe’ in their own space, so we found ways to provide more reassurance for customers in their vehicles, with obvious things like air purification filters but also by explaining the other active safety technologies they have”. Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges that EVs and the push towards electrification will face in 2021? A: “The lack of investment in infrastructure. As the vehicles on offer improve their range, traditional range anxiety will be replaced with charge-point anxiety. There is still a lot to do to support the transition in the time frames being suggested. Vehicle manufacturers clearly have a role to play, but the governments need to step up their support, too”. Q: Which trends from 2020 are we going to see continuing, or even accelerating, as we head through 2021? A: “I think the shift to online will continue. It’s too soon to call the death of the motor show but it is clear that the old approach to shows and vehicle launches has passed its prime. Manufacturers have found more efficient ways to target audiences and share messages in a crowded world”. 5) Duncan Aldred, who leads GM’s Buick and GMC divisions, and is overseeing the return of Hummer as an EV. Q: After a turbulent 2020, how do you think the global car industry can recover over the next 12 months? A: “From a China perspective the industry has recovered to pre pandemic levels. Similarly in the USA, the industry has now recovered to monthly run rates that are amongst the best in history. We expect this to continue into 2021. We have also seen a shift in the mix of sales with full size pick-ups as a percent of the retail industry growing to record levels. The GMC Sierra full size pick-up has just set a new all time sales record with 2 weeks to go and we have been making trucks for over 100 years!  Average transaction prices have also recovered and are now at record levels. SUVs remain strong and sedans continue to weaken. EV’s are definitely growing, Hummer EV has garnered huge interest and pre orders. It is expected that the new administration will accelerate the transition to EV and GM will be in the forefront of that, pursuing our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion”. Q: The pandemic caused a number of dramatic shifts in customer behaviour. Were there any you found particularly surprising or notable? A: “We did see more customers shop online and complete more of the transaction online. This sets a trend for the future as online capability and legislation changes to facilitate more online sales and home deliveries.  It remains a small percentage today but the trend is definitely there to see. The most surprising trends in the USA was the increased shift to pick-up trucks, the sustained level of demand and the higher transaction prices that have been achieved. As people had less places to spend their money due to lockdowns, a significant portion of that money definitely came to the new vehicle business”. Q: The push for electrification seems to have real momentum now. What do you think are the biggest challenges that EVs will face next year? A: “The transition is happening and I am bullish about the adoption rates both in North America and China. The new administration in the USA will only accelerate that transition. The barriers are similar to those that existed when I was in Europe – charging infrastructure and associated range anxiety. Also a significant barrier will be affordability. As vehicles begin to be priced closer to internal combustion engines I expect adoption to rise rapidly”. Q: Car sharing schemes were being touted as the ‘next big thing’ before the pandemic struck. Do you still think there’s a future for shared mobility services, even after the Covid scare? A: “I believe covid will significantly impact this for a considerable time. Similarly public transport will be affected. This will lead to increases in alternative forms of transportation including new and used vehicles”. Q: Which trends from 2020 are we going to see continuing, or even accelerating, as we head through 2021? A: “EV adoption, online transactions and home delivery”. +++ 

+++ BMW has confirmed the new, hardcore M5 CS is due to be unveiled later this month, and has confirmed it will boast a 635 hp power output. The most powerful M5 was briefly teased in an Instagram post by BMW M boss Markus Flasch, who revealed the output of the car’s engine. The 635 hp total puts it ahead of the M5 Competition’s 625 hp and will mean a 0-100 kph time very close to 3 seconds dead. A sign in the background of the Instagram post had the words ‘You shall drift everyday’ written on it, giving a clue as to how BMW sees this car performing. Coupled with a confirmed weight loss of 70 kg over the M5 Competition, it means the M5 CS will be the most focused M5 yet. Details of exactly where BMW has trimmed the weight from remain scarce at this stage, but Flasch did confirm that the M5 CS will feature carbon bucket seats, like in the M3 and M4. However, unlike a lot of lightweight specials, the M5 CS will still feature rear seats so it appears that practicality hasn’t been completely sacrificed for the sake of performance. Flasch also revealed a few glimpses of some design details that will set the CS apart from the other M5s. Gold bronze highlights feature heavily, appearing on the front grille surround, forged alloys and side strake. The car also gets a subtle ‘M5 CS’ badge on the front grille. Carbon ceramic brakes are mentioned, including red calipers. Unusually, the car also has yellow headlights, in a nod to BMW’s motorsport heritage. Although Flasch didn’t mention anything regarding the exhaust or suspension set-up in his Instagram post, we would also expect to see a bespoke performance exhaust and firmer suspension, in line with the car’s performance angle. As Autointernationaal has reported previously, the M5 CS will likely command a significant premium over the standard M5. +++ 

+++ CHINA will cut subsidies on new energy vehicles (NEVs) to promote the healthy development of the industry, said a circular posted on the official website of the Ministry of Finance (MOF). Subsidies for NEVs in public transportation, environmental sanitation, postal services and logistics, and civil aviation airports, among others, will be cut by 10 % compared to that of 2020, said the circular. Subsidies on other NEVs will be cut by 20 %, according to the circular jointly released by the MOF, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the National Development and Reform Commission. China will also strengthen regulations on the blind investment and manufacturing of NEVs to prevent over expansion in the sector, the circular said. In November last year, China unveiled a development plan for its NEV industry in 2021-2035 that aims to accelerate the country’s transition into an automotive powerhouse. The proportion of new NEVs in the sales of new vehicles is expected to rise to 20 percent by 2025, and vehicles used in public transportation will be completely electrified by 2035, according to the plan. Boasting the world’s largest inventory of NEVs, China accounts for 55 % of global NEV sales. +++ 

+++ FORD has said it was calling off its automotive joint venture with India’s Mahindra due to the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The companies said in separate statements that the decision was driven by changes in the global economy over the last 15 months, causing both to reassess their capital allocation priorities. “The global economy and business environment are not the same as October last year”, Ford spokesman T.R. Reid said. The deadline to finalize a joint venture between the companies was this month and both made the decision to end the agreement rather than close a deal or extend the timetable to do so, Reid said. In October 2019, Ford and Mahindra said they would form a joint venture in India in a move to cut costs for developing and producing vehicles for emerging markets. The companies said at the time they expected to launch 3 new utility vehicles, starting with a midsize SUV, and also jointly develop electric vehicles for emerging markets. Asked if those vehicles were now canceled, Reid said, “At this point, there’s nothing to talk about other than the joint venture isn’t going to happen”. Ford said its independent operations in India will continue. Pressure to pursue mergers or alliances in the auto industry has grown as the costs of developing electric and self-driving vehicles drives companies to preserve funds for those efforts. France’s PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles expect to close their $38 billion merger in the first quarter of 2021. Ford executives have repeatedly touted a company strategy that includes partnerships, including with Mahindra, as a way to increase efficiencies and reduce costs on its path to achieve 8 % global operating profit margins. Reid said that strategy would continue, when asked whether Ford would look to partner with another automaker in southeast Asia. Mahindra said in its statement that the decision will not have any impact on its product plan, and that it is accelerating efforts to develop electric SUVs. +++ 

+++ It was a strong year for South Korea’s automotive industry. HYUNDAI AND KIA grew more in the American market than any other major manufacturer. According to JD Power, between January and November the wider industry’s sales fell 12 %, as compared to 2019. With the pandemic it’s easy to understand why. And it’s only a little more complicated to understand why Kia and Hyundai’s sales held steady through the year. “The market has been down for everyone, but Hyundai and Kia seem to be the ones coming out of it stronger”, Vanessa Ton, a senior industry intelligence officer at Cox Automotive told. The first reason for Hyundai and Kia’s growing numbers is the new vehicles it has been coming out with. Starting a few years ago with cars like the Stinger and the Veloster N, 2020 was the year that bigsellers, SUVs like the Telluride, were set to take off. Not only are these going into the fastest growing segment in the marketplace, they’re also getting critical acclaim. A growing reputation for selling feature-loaded vehicles for less than the competition also helps, especially when people are shopping during a crisis. Premium design and good features are combining to help the brands shake past perceptions as budget-friendly brands. Kia is going so far as to change its corporate slogan and logo. It wasn’t all down to new vehicles, though. South Korea’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that there were fewer disruption at its factories there. While American factories were forced to shut down in March, many had to shut down again in the spring. The combination of value, features, design, and production all helped Kia and Hyundai weather the storm of 2020. +++ 

+++ KIA may be changing its company slogan and logo to reflect its new premiumness. Gone is “the power to surprise”, the slogan equivalent of a back-handed compliment, and in comes “Movement that Inspires”. Or at least, that’s what the automaker has trademarked with the Korean intellectual property office. The trademarks include the slogan as well as a new logo. The new logo eschews the old oval, in favor of a minimalist, flowing script. The logo was previewed by Kia’s Inspire concept in 2019 and has since been spotted in spy pictures as well. Kia’s head office, meanwhile, took the old logo down, presumably to make way for a new one. The Korean automaker may decide to go the Volkswagen route. The German company recently redesigned its logo (though you could be forgiven for not noticing) and released images of the new logo being unveiled on its company headquarters in Wolfsburg. The new logo first premiered on the Imagine concept unveiled by the car manufacturer at 2019’s Geneva Motor Show. Kia is currently in the middle of a 5-year plan plan, intended to reinvent itself around electric vehicles and mobility. Ho Sung Song, its new global head, was recently quoted saying he wants the company to be more “dynamic, stylish, and inventive”. The company also plans to bring 11 electrified vehicles to market by 2025 and to have 7 EVs in its lineup by 2027. It has also been working hard to make itself more credible as an upmarket brand, bringing stylish cars to the market. A new, stylish logo may help the brand shake its old image as a primarily budget-friendly car. The new slogan may also help. “The power to surprise” sounds like something you say while struggling to be polite about a deadbeat friend. Although “movement that inspires” is a bit nebulous, it is at least lyrical. +++ 

+++ MAHINDRA will focus on developing its core portfolio of SUVs and their electric version, a senior executive said after the company ended joint venture talks with Ford. Anish Shah, the deputy managing director, said Mahindra will focus mainly on large SUVs for its core India market in the short term and move to electric in the medium term, as it charts a new strategy for its automotive business. “We are going back to our core”, Shah, who will take over as managing director from April. “We are going to look ahead at how we can accelerate our investment in electric and really start moving to the new age. We clearly hold the ambition to be a global brand and there again the electric journey is an important one”, Shah said. Mahindra’s high-end electric vehicle Pininfarina Battista is a starting point, Shah said, adding that the automaker would look at developing more electric platforms in India to build SUVs for the local and export markets. Mahindra and Ford called off their automotive joint venture due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted them to reassess their capital allocation priorities. The 2 companies had plans to jointly develop vehicles for manufacture in India for local sales and export to dozens of emerging markets under the Ford badge. However, Mahindra was not convinced the venture would generate returns needed to justify the higher investment it would have to make in a post-pandemic world. Shah told reporters Mahindra had initially planned to invest about 30 billion rupees ($410.68 million) in the venture, half of which would have been equity. Now, Mahindra plans to invest the money in electric vehicles, he said, adding it is open to collaborating with Ford in the future, including in EVs. The review is part of a broader restructuring at Mahindra under which the company is exiting several loss-making businesses, including its South Korean unit Ssangyong, to focus on profits and cash flow. Mahindra said it is close to agreeing a deal with a potential investor for its majority stake in Ssangyong, which has been placed in receivership. Its total investment in the SUV-maker is $264 million and the extent of the write-off would depend on what deal is agreed, Shah said. The automaker last year also pulled the plug on its U.S. electric scooter unit GenZe and aviation business GippsAero. Its other global subsidiaries include Peugeot Motorcycles. Mahindra sold close to 190.000 passenger vehicles in India in the last fiscal year ended March 31, giving it close to 7 % share of the market, industry data shows. +++ 

+++ Tesla said it has started selling China-made MODEL Y and will deliver them to customers this month, as the U.S. electric vehicle maker expands sales in the world’s biggest car market. China, which offers hefty subsidies for electric vehicles as it seeks to cut down on pollution from petrol or diesel cars, is key to Tesla’s global strategy. It is expanding its Shanghai car factory, where it also builds its Model 3. In October, it started exporting Model 3 vehicles to Europe. It is also adding manufacturing capacity for EV chargers in Shanghai and expanding its sales and service network around the country. It sold over 20.000 vehicles in November. Tesla’s rivals in China include Volkswagen, BMW as well as local startups such as Nio Inc, Xpeng and Li Auto, which all have electric SUV models. +++ 

+++ NISSAN is planning to further reduce its presence in Europe and outsource the sales and manufacturing of its cars to alliance partner Renault. As part of its global turnaround plan, which is reversing a rapid expansion led by the ousted former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, Nissan will cut its distribution channels in 30 countries, mainly in East Europe. It is also planning to close its Avila plant in Spain and convert it into a warehouse. The Japanese motor company is currently moving its operations away from Europe and shifting its focus to China, the United States, and Japan. Nissan, which expects to post a record operating loss of 340 billion yen ($3.25 billion) in the year to March 31, is cutting production capacity and model numbers by a fifth and aims to slash operating expenses by 300 billion yen over 3 years. The company’s 3-way alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi was plunged into uncertainty in 2018, when Ghosn was arrested on financial misconduct charges, which he denies. He later fled Japan while being monitored by law enforcement and awaiting trial at his residence. +++ 

+++ The PEUGEOT 308 made a splash when it arrived for its second generation in 2014, picking up the title of European Car of the Year and kicking off a golden era for the French brand. But now it’s time for an all-new 308 to be launched. It’s due to be revealed in late 2021 before hitting the road in 2022. The car will change dramatically when compared with the current model. A sharper, more angular design, similar to that of the latest 208, 2008 and facelifted 3008, is coming, and we expect a similar update in the cabin. Rather than the minimalist layout found in today’s car, the new 308 will get a digital upgrade to the standard of Peugeot’s latest models. Peugeot will fight on an entirely new front with its new hatchback, too, because plug-in hybrid and fully electric power are both being considered. The head of electric vehicles at Peugeot’s owner, Groupe PSA, revealed her desire to make the next 308 a car for buyers of petrol, diesel, plug-in and fully electric models, highlighting the flexibility planned for Peugeot’s next family car. “The 308 can be produced on both platforms: e-CMP and EMP2”, explained Anne-Lise Richard. “So clearly we could have both PHEV and EV. I think there is room for both technologies for the customers”. The reference to 2 different platforms (the CMP layout for superminis, plus the larger EMP2 architecture used by Peugeot’s current 308) doesn’t mean that the new car will be built across 2 different sets of underpinnings. Instead, it’s indicative of the tech that the firm has at its fingertips. The e-CMP platform is used on the new Citroen C4, whereas the upcoming DS 4 will use the updated EMP2 underpinnings. It’s more likely that the new 308 will use EMP2 rather than CMP, given the suggestion that both plug-in hybrid and electric power are being considered. The smaller CMP system is suitable for petrol, diesel and pure-electric powertrains, but the EMP2 platform is being developed to accommodate fully electric power, alongside the combustion engine and plug-in hybrid options (found in the PSA Group’s compact SUVs) offered at present. A fully electric car based on EMP2 has yet to be launched, but Peugeot, Citroen and Opel have all revealed medium-sized electric vans using the same technology, so a family car with a range of more than 320 kms would be the next logical step. Retaining plug-in hybrid power alongside a fully electric 308 could be a move that caters to performance enthusiasts. Peugeot has just revealed the 360 hp 508 Sport Engineered saloon, and its 1.6-litre petrol-electric powertrain could slot straight into the 308 if desired. Irrespective, the hatch is almost certain to be offered with a less potent, more economical version of the 1.6-litre plug-in hybrid system, with 225 hp and 50 km of electric range. The new 308 is expected to be an important Peugeot in regards to 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, too. Automatic versions are likely to gain a new electrified dual-clutch transmission developed by Punch Powertrain in time for launch in 2022. +++ 

+++ Tesla’s growing SUPERCHARGER network is only getting larger, and the EV maker has just announced its largest station yet. Located in Shanghai, IT features 72 stalls and beats the company’s previous record of 56 stalls found in their Firebaugh station in California. However, unlike the California station, which is outdoors, this new one will be covered. The station is located at Jing’an International Center, an important commercial district in Shanghai. According to Engadget, however, all 72 stalls are said to be using V2 Superchargers that produce up to 150 kW, while the 56 stalls in the California station use 250 kW V3 chargers. That will mean a longer charge time at the Shanghai station, but it might be a moot point for some Tesla owners as only the Model 3 and Model Y support V3 charging in the first place. The Chinese market, where Tesla delivered over 20,000 locally manufactured Model 3s, plays a key role in the company’s plans. They reportedly manufactured 23.000 EVs overall at the Shanghai-based Gigafactory 3 in November, some of which were sold in the People’s Republic while others were exported. So far, the company has opened more than 500 Supercharger stations of varying sizes all across China, and they don’t seem so show any signs of slowing down, so we guess we might see the first station with 100 stalls before the end of 2021. +++ 

+++ TESLA is dominating the electric vehicle market in China but next year, it is expected to face unprecedented challenges from its rivals. This year, Tesla has sold approximately 120.000 vehicles in China, making the Asian nation the carmaker’s second-largest market behind the United States. As impressive as that figure is, some analysts believe Tesla’s Chinese sales will skyrocket next year but local EV makers should also experience sales increases. The China Passenger Car Association speculates that Tesla could sell as many as 280.000 vehicles in the country next year, spurred on by the fact that the Model Y being built at Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory is clearing the final regulatory stages before sales of it commence next year. Elon Musk expects the Model Y to outsell the Model 3, Model S, and Model X combined. “China could see eye-popping demand into 2021 and 2022 across the board with Tesla’s flagship Giga 3 footprint a major competitive advantage”, said Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives in an interview. While Tesla’s sales in China are expected to rise, the China Passenger Car Association predicts total sales of 1.7 million new energy vehicles in the nation in 2021, meaning more than 80 per cent of the market will remain up for grabs. Companies such as Nio, Xpeng and Li Auto are in an excellent position to capitalize on growing EV sales. “Since June, you’ve seen a steady rise in sales by Nio, Xpeng, and Li Auto”, said chief executive of advisory firm Automobility Ltd, Bill Russo. “Can you stay competitive with these fast-moving, internet-backed, very deep-pocketed companies?” It’s not just Chinese automakers that Tesla needs to worry about. Traditional car manufacturers like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz are aggressively expanding into the electric vehicle space and European sales figures reveal that the Volkswagen ID.3 is already selling like hotcakes. +++ 

+++ On Christmas Eve, the United States Patent and Trademark Office released a patent application from TOYOTA for something called a “car wash judgement system”. It seems to be a system allowing future autonomous cars drive themselves to a car wash when they’re in need of a cleaning. Sounds wild, right? This simple patent image very clearly illustrates how the system would work. Toyota describes it as the following in the patent application’s abstract: “In a car wash judgement system, an acquirer acquires traveling information of a vehicle. A condition retaining unit retains a certain car wash condition. A judgement unit judges whether or not traveling information acquired at the acquirer satisfies the certain car wash condition. An unpaved road information retaining unit retains unpaved road information indicating of an unpaved road. The certain car wash condition includes traveling on an unpaved road by the vehicle. When a vehicle that has transmitted traveling information is an automated driving vehicle capable of performing automated driving  and when the traveling information of the automated driving vehicle satisfies the car wash condition, a car wash instruction unit transmits an instruction signal for moving the automated driving vehicle to a car wash station”. In layman’s terms, if the car is going somewhere it knows is dirty, it will notify the car wash, which will in turn instruct the car to drive there and get itself clean if need be. The following diagram details the logic of the “judgement unit”. The system uses a set of parameters and conditional statements to determine whether or not the car needs to be washed, and will run the self-driving protocol to the car wash if it sees fit. Things like positioning information, road conditions, weather, and available time are all taken into account. The whole idea begs an interesting question not often thought about: If cars become fully autonomous and are no longer privately owned, how do they get clean? And in this case, it seems Toyota has provided the answer to that question with its car wash judgement system. +++

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