Newsflash: Chevrolet Camaro wordt een elektrische sedan

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+++ In the United States, relatively few folks plunked down the cash for BMW ’s M8 Coupe and M8 Convertible in the models’ 2020 launch year. In fact, BMW overestimated demand by a wide enough margin that both the Coupe and Convertible versions of the M8 didn’t see a 2021 model year. BMW said it had enough stock of 2020 model year M8s to last, justifying the decision to not make a 2021 version. However, the hiatus is over, and the M8 Coupe and Convertible are back for the 2022 model year per an official BMW announcement. There’s one big change to note for 2022. Instead of offering both the standard and Competition models, all M8s will be Competition models (even the Gran Coupe) with the 625 horsepower version of BMW’s 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. That seems righteous, as if you’re going for the flagship BMW car, you probably want the best there is. It also means the non-Competition models will likely be rather rare to come by in the future, assuming BMW doesn’t switch back to offering the 600-horsepower non-Competition version again. Pricing for these new M8 models is out, too. Both the Coupe and Gran Coupe have identical starting prices of $130,995. The Convertible causes this price to rise considerably up to $140,495. All of these prices are far lower than where BMW started in 2020, which is likely a direct result of their low sales. For example, the 2022 modelyear M8 Competition Coupe and Convertible models are $16,000 less than their 2020 equivalents. The Gran Coupe is cheaper, too, as it’s $13,000 cheaper than its 2020 equivalent. Will these deeply discounted prices mean more M8s on the road? We’ll just have to watch sales figures and find out. There are a couple notable packaging/option changes for the 2022 model year M8s that we’ll also point out. The big one is the ability to spec the M carbon bucket seats that debuted in the new M3 and M4: those will run you $3,800 and hug you very tight. And secondly, Aventurin Red Metallic has been added as a color option for those interested in a purpley-red M8. +++

+++ It’s impossible to tell what will become of the CHEVROLET Camaro and when, but the news is consistently unkind to the pony car. U.S. sales peaked at 88.249 units in 2011, fell to 29.775 in annus horribilis 2020, the chip shortage has kept sales pacing even lower so far this year, and the 6th generation Z/28 has been canceled. The 7th generation model was first reported to be canceled, then postponed, then rumor said the 6th generation might be asked to carry the torch (however weakly) until 2026. Now, it looks like the Camaro’s going to be dragged behind the woodshed in 2024. That’s the year Camaro assembly is predicted to end, making room for “an electric performance sedan” as a replacement in 2025. Please, let’s all give Camaro fans a moment to digest this. If the Camaro’s really given up the fight, that could remove the primary competition for Ford’s suspected electric Mustang thought to debut in 2028. Dodge just announced a battery-electric muscle car for 2024 with vulgar specs and teaser photos shot in a nightclub, but we’re not sure whether that vehicle will be 2 or 4 doors or come in both forms. A battery potent enough for 2 second sprints to 100 kph and a 800 km range leads us to wager on 4 doors, at least initially. Chevrolet’s entry could be looking more at Auburn Hills than Dearborn, especially by being a sedan, a bodystyle Ford has given up here save for the Mustang Mach-E. And if Chevrolet does expand the Camaro brief by sliding the name onto a 4-door instead of carrying out its teased Camaro silhouette atop GM’s Ultium battery pack, then the faithful will take some heart that it isn’t a Camaro crossover. At least not at first. The mystery electric machine will be part of GM’s enormous and enormously expensive electrification plans. The General has set aside $35 billion to get at least 20 new EV models on the market in the next 5 years, including all of Cadillac’s lineup; a replacement for the Chevrolet Bolt (Opel Ampera-e); at least 1 electric Chevrolet crossover to be dubbed Blazer and perhaps 2 more; a GMC crossover; and battery-powered pickups for the Bowtie and GMC. +++

+++ FORD overcame a critical parts shortage and managed to post a surprise profit in the second quarter, thanks to surging prices on models that have become harder to find on dealer lots. The automaker also raised its full-year forecast for adjusted earnings to a range of $9 billion to $10 billion before interest and taxes. That’s an increase of about $3.5 billion from its previous projection and at least triple what it made last year. The Dearborn, Michigan-based company expects sales volume to increase by about 30 % in the year’s second half. Chief Executive Officer Jim Farley said Ford now has more than 120.000 reservations for its electric F-150 Lightning pickup coming next spring and that demand is similarly high for a revived Bronco. “We are now spring-loaded for growth in the second half, and beyond because of those red-hot products, pent-up demand and improving chip supply”, Farley told analysts on a conference call. Ford has suffered more than rivals from a shortage of semiconductors because it sourced so many chips from a Japanese factory hit by a fire in the spring. Despite that, the company posted second-quarter earnings of $1.1 billion before interest and taxes, which was well above the $167 million analysts predicted. Well received new models, such as the F-150 Lightning, the compact Maverick pickup and the Bronco, as well as a plan to spend $30 billion to electrify the entire lineup, have buoyed Ford shares. Despite the expected increase in volume in the year’s second half, Ford forecast that its earnings before interest and taxes will decline from the first 6 months of the year. Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said rising commodity costs will take a $2 billion bite out of earnings in the second half. Ford Credit, the automaker’s lending arm, also will see profit fall by about $1 billion as sky-high used vehicle prices come down to earth. At the same time, Ford will be spending heavily on electrification and automation. The scarcity of chips has triggered prolonged factory shutdowns and cut inventory on dealer lots by more than half. But that lack of supply drove up the average price of a new Ford model to a record $47.446, according to researcher Cox Automotive. Farley said last month that even after the chip crisis subsides at some point next year, lean inventory on dealer lots will be the “new normal” in order to keep prices high. He told analysts that Ford is moving to an order-bank system rather than flooding dealer lots with multiple versions of every model. The automaker had 7 times more orders at the end of the second quarter than it did a year ago, he said. Switching to orders will help Ford rein in the thousands of dollar per vehicle it spends on incentives to move the metal off dealer lots. “I know we’re wasting money on incentives, I just don’t know where”, Farley said. “With an order-based system, we’ll have much less risk of that”. U.S. vehicle sales rose 9% in the quarter, but fell sharply in June as inventory dried up. Ford’s gains in the quarter were far short of the 50 % rise in the U.S. overall, which caused the automaker’s share in its home market to plummet to a six-year-low of 10.7 %, down from 14.7 % a year earlier, Cox said. Revenue rose 38 % to $26.8 billion in the second quarter, more than the $23 billion analysts expected, driven by strong sales in its home market. Ford Credit earned $1.6 billion before taxes, thanks to high resale prices on used vehicles. That was the biggest contributor to the bottom line in the second quarter. North American operations drove Ford’s earnings, with income before interest and taxes of $194 million. That compares with a loss of $974 million a year ago when the pandemic hit and factories closed for 2 months. The automaker continued to lose money in most of its other key regional markets, including Europe, China and South America. In Europe, Ford posted a loss of $284 million, an improvement from the $664 million it lost there a year earlier. Sales in the 20 key European markets rose 44 % over the previous year, but were down significantly from 2019. Ford also saw more red ink in China, the world’s largest auto market. It reported a loss of $123 million, slightly better than the $136 million it lost a year ago. Sales in the Chinese market rose 24 % in the quarter, as deliveries more than doubled for its Lincoln luxury line. Ford sold nearly twice as many Lincolns in China in the quarter as it did in the U.S. In South America, where Ford is ceasing manufacturing in Brazil after more than 100 years, the company lost $86 million, compared with a loss of $165 million a year earlier. +++

+++ Despite a computer chip shortage that temporarily closed some of its factories, GENERAL MOTORS made a healthy $2.8 billion net profit in the second quarter. The earnings came even though GM plants cranked out 200.000 fewer vehicles than they did during the same period in 2019, the last comparable quarter before the coronavirus pandemic. The automaker told the same story as competitors Ford, Stellantis and others, saying that high prices and strong demand for expensive pickup trucks and luxury SUVs overcame inventory shortages. GM also boosted its net income guidance for the full year to $7.7 billion to $9.2 billion, and pretax earnings of $11.5 billion to $13.5 billion. It had been $10 billion to $11 billion. GM executives said that they expect tight inventory and high prices to continue through the year as the chip shortage lingers into 2022. CEO Mary Barra cautioned that the fast-spreading coronavirus delta variant could cause supply chain problems down the road. But she said GM is managing through the shortages by allocating scarce chips to higher-demand vehicles such as pickups and large SUVs. The company also has plans to handle future shortages by collaborating with semiconductor manufacturers, she said. “There is still more variability than I’d like to see”, Barra said. “This is something we will work our way out of, and it won’t be an issue as we move forward over a little bit longer period of time”. the average GM vehicle sold for nearly $44,000 from April through June, the company said, and it was up nearly $3,000 over that in July. Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said the high prices at present come from high demand for more higher priced trucks and SUVs with a “very rich mix” of options being purchased by consumers. Barra said the prices will subside a bit as inventory grows, but she still expects them to be strong as GM adds electric vehicles to its lineup. The profit eclipsed the same quarter in 2020, when GM lost $806 million as plants closed and sales slumped at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. From April to June 2 years ago, GM factories produced more than 785.000 vehicles, according to the LMC Automotive consulting firm. But LMC estimated that fell 38 % to 569.664 last quarter as GM ran short of semiconductors and had a herky-jerky production schedule with plants shut down on and off through the quarter. GM announced that pickup truck plants in Flint, Michigan, Silao, Mexico, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, would be closed next week due to the chip shortage. Production is to resume on August 16. But factories in Tennessee and Mexico that make cars and SUVs that were down since July 19 will come back on line Monday. +++

+++ HONDA has raised its annual profit forecast as post-lockdown sales surge, but the pair joined other automakers in warning that the global chip shortage would persist. A resurgence in Covid-19 cases has disrupted parts supplies and production at car companies, compounding a months-long pandemic-fuelled chip supply crunch. Honda returned to profitability in April-June, recording a 222.5 billion yen ($2 billion) profit, as better sales and costs cuts added to the Japanese automaker’s bottom line. Honda had racked up a 80.8 billion yen loss the same period the previous year, when the entire auto industry was hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. Its quarterly sales totaled 3.6 trillion yen ($33 billion), up nearly 69% on year, as global vehicles sales recovered in North America. Its motorcycle sales jumped in India and Indonesia. Honda, Japan’s No. 2 automaker by sales, lowered it sales volume outlook to 4.85 million vehicles from 5 million but raised its full-year forecast after swinging to a first-quarter operating profit that was double analyst expectations. “We made a downward revision of our sales volume outlook due to the Covid resurgence around the world but centered around Asia, as well as the impact from the chip shortage”, Honda executive vice president Seiji Kuraishi told reporters. “Still, we decided to revise up our operating profit forecast for the current year … because we believe we can absorb those negative effects by continuing to cut costs”. Honda is facing production problems in China, which on Wednesday reported the most new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases since January. Kuraishi told reporters that the company suspended production at its plant in Wuhan due to a Covid-19 case cluster that developed at a supplier. He added that the stoppage was not expected to last long. +++

+++ JEEP is putting a much bigger focus on electrification now that it is part of the Stellantis group. Jeep plans to release its first series-produced electric vehicle in 2023. The model appeared on a product roadmap that Stellantis distributed to investors this month. It focuses on electrified vehicles, so it doesn’t list the upcoming non-electrified launches, and it sheds light on what the future has in store for all of the carmaker’s brands. Specific details like the type of car planned weren’t publicly released, so there’s no official word on what Jeep’s first EV will look like, but my crystal ball reveals 2 likely possibilities. 1 is a production version of the Magneto concept introduced earlier in 2021. It’s essentially a current-generation Wrangler powered by an electric motor that spins the 4 wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission and a 2-speed transfer case. It’s futuristic but not unrealistic, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it reach showrooms in the coming years. However, another possibility is that Jeep could build a smaller, likely car-derived EV to sell on the European market, where emissions norms are extraordinary strict and the fines for exceeding them are immense. If that’s the case, the model would likely borrow parts from the Stellantis parts bin. It’s also interesting to note a product plan is just that: a plan. Plans change with little or no notice, even in the automotive industry, where planning far ahead is key. Remember, we were promised new versions of Alfa Romeo’s 8C and GTV in June 2018, and both models had been quietly euthanized by November 2019. +++

+++ MITSUBISHI is on the cusp of reviving its dormant Ralliart performance line, and a new report suggests the label will return on a sportier version of the latest Outlander PHEV. The model could make its debut in late 2021. Ralliart’s unexpected revival was announced during a presentation made to investors in May 2021, though no further details were released. The new Outlander PHEV is expected to break cover in the coming months will be the first Ralliart-branded model in several years. How Mitsubishi will make the Outlander PHEV worthy of a name rooted in rallying remains to be seen. The transformation will include a race-inspired body kit but I’m hoping more power from the electrified powertrain is part of the equation as well. While the Ralliart label could merely denote a sporty-looking trim level, like Mercedes-Benz’s AMG Line designation or F Sport in Lexus-speak, there’s a chance it will sooner or later be linked to racing. Mitsubishi boss Takao Kato revealed his team is considering returning to the rallying scene in the coming years to renew ties with the company’s racing heritage. He stressed a rally program hasn’t been approved yet, partly because racing is expensive, and he clarified that a new Lancer Evolution is not in the cards even though shareholders are requesting one. Interestingly, we should have seen the Outlander Ralliart already; it was reportedly scheduled to be unveiled at the 2021 edition of the Tokyo Motor Salon but the event was canceled due to pandemic-related concerns. Mitsubishi could keep the model under wraps until the 2022 show opens its doors, or it might introduce it elsewhere a little earlier. Regardless, if the report is accurate we won’t have to wait long to find out how Ralliart has been reinvented. As for the next Outlander PHEV, it will land in late 2021 first in Japan and arrive in U.S. showrooms halfway through 2022. +++

+++ The 2021 edition of the NEW YORK AUTO SHOW is officially cancelled. It’s only a couple weeks until doors were scheduled to open for what was meant to be the second auto show in 2021, but new restrictions in New York and the rise of the Covid-19 Delta variant “and the increased measures announced recently by State and local officials to stop its spread” have shut it down for certain. “We are enormously appreciative of the automobile industry’s tremendous response and commitment in participating in an August New York Auto Show”, organizers said in their official announcement, “and especially for the overwhelming involvement in the new EV Test Fest, complete with an entire floor dedicated to electric vehicles and four indoor EV test tracks”. It’s a late shutdown to what was going to be a show with some strong reveals. The 2 biggest debuts we already knew about were the new Nissan 400Z and the next-generation Subaru WRX. Now that the show is no longer, expect these reveals to go on virtually like they have for the past year and a half. Cancelling New York also gives us pause about other auto shows scheduled in 2021. The Munich show is scheduled to take place in early September. Motor Bella (a Detroit Auto Show alternative event) is also meant to take place in September. And the LA Auto Show is currently scheduled for mid-to-late November. As of today, the only traditional American auto show that has taken place in both 2020 and 2021 is the Chicago Auto Show. It snuck in before the world shut down in 2020, and once again in 2021’s summer Covid lull. Now that the Covid-19 Delta variant is causing case numbers to perk up again, we’re in an unknown territory for the future of large auto shows where many folks gather in a single place. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks and months. +++

+++ The market for affordable EVs has been gradually getting more crowded and competitive, particularly from the likes of Hyundai and Kia. That’s a problem for NISSAN and its Leaf, which, while still appealing in a number of ways, is packing some older technology. So the 2022 modelyear Leaf will get a major price cut across the board, with a few standard features added to the base model. In the United States, the new base price for the Leaf S is $28,375. That’s $4,245 less than the same car last year. That’s the short-range version. For a Leaf S Plus, the long-range version, pricing now starts at $33,375, a drop of $5,845. On top of the price cut, Nissan has added some standard features to the base S models to sweeten the deal. All models get standard DC fast charging via a CHAdeMO port. Also standard are the features from the old SV Plus Technology Package. Those features include 8-way power drivers’ seat, surround-view cameras, ProPilot highway driving assist, LED headlights, autodimming rearview mirror, driver alertness monitor and electronic parking brake. Exact availability hasn’t been announced, but the 2022 Leaf should start showing up at dealers this year. +++

+++ Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess dodged questions about a potential initial public offering of PORSCHE , saying only that any steps to tap capital markets would have to be carefully considered. “As I said, we continue to review our set up. First priority is now to finance the battery ramp-up where we try to partly externally finance and we are working out the models”, Diess told analysts after presenting first-half results. “And all the other, let say, possibilities to go to market, which might be trucks, where we could dilute a little bit … or any other things, we have to consider”. Volkswagen still owns 89.72% of Traton, the trucks unit it listed in 2019. His remarks came a day after Volkswagen unveiled a bid to buy Europcar jointly with Attestor and Pon Holdings via vehicle called Green Mobility Holding. Volkswagen will hold two thirds of the bid vehicle, with Attestor owning 27 % and Pon Holding 7 %. Volkswagen said that its stake in the vehicle will mean that it will contribute 1.688 billion euros to the offer if it passes a 90 % acceptance threshold. +++

+++ SUBARU and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that the automaker is recalling more than 165,000 vehicles for potentially defective fuel pumps which could cause an engine stall. The in-tank, low-pressure fuel pump in question was utilized quite broadly throughout Subaru’s lineup. Subaru first noted the defect in 2020. A failing fuel pump may cause the engine to run poorly; a failed unit may prevent the car from starting at all. The recall is not limited to any particular engine configuration, as some turbocharged models are included. The pump has also proven problematic in some Hondas. Here’s the full list of Subaru (and related) models that may have been built with the pump in question: 2018 Forester, 2018-2020 Impreza, 2018-2020 Legacy, 2018-2020 Outback, 2018-2019 BRZ, 2018-2019 WRX and 2018-2019 Toyota GT86. “The affected vehicles may be equipped with a low pressure fuel pump produced during a specific timeframe that may include an impeller which has been manufactured with a lower density”, Subaru’s report to NHTSA said. “If the surface of the lower density impeller is exposed to solvent drying for longer periods of time, it may develop fine cracks. These cracks may lead to excessive fuel absorption, resulting in impeller deformation. Over time, the impeller may become deformed enough to interfere with the body of the fuel pump, potentially causing the low pressure fuel pump to become inoperative”. Subaru will contact owners soon with instructions for having the issued remedied at their local dealer. +++

+++ TESLA jacked up the price of its flagship Model S sedan another $5,000 overnight, further inflating a base MSRP that has now climbed more than $20,000 since October, when CEO Elon Musk gamely announced that it would be offered for $69,420 in the United States. Musk recently blamed the 30 % price increase on ongoing pandemic-related supply issues, but analysts suggest that Tesla is padding its U.S. margins to help keep its base prices lower in markets such as China, where it is attempting to gain a more significant foothold. Tesla also raised prices on the most affordable versions of Model 3 and Model Y about a dozen times this year in the United States. At the same time, Tesla recently introduced an affordable Model Y version in China, where it refrained from price cuts. Tesla faces fierce competition in the world’s biggest electric vehicle (EV) market from local rivals and is facing problems that include product recalls, high-profile protests by consumers and pressure from regulators. Meanwhile, the Model S Long Range has increased in price by $10,000 in the past month alone. Tesla posted record vehicle deliveries in the second quarter, and the price increases in North America boosted quarterly profits to a record $1.1 billion. +++

+++ TOYOTA will electrify its global range of off-roaders and commercial vehicles by developing a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain. The system will power bigger, heavier vehicles like the Land Cruiser. Combining a turbodiesel engine and an electric motor is a match made in heaven for users who need as much torque as possible, like motorists who regularly tow, haul or drive off-road. While official specifications haven’t been released, there are speculations the setup will make its debut in 2024 in the next-generation Land Cruiser Prado, which is smaller than the full-size model. The turbodiesel will be a 2.5-liter unit, though some models could also get a 3.5-liter. Toyota’s hybrid technology is versatile; it powers anything from a Prius to a Subaru XV. Linking it to a diesel engine shouldn’t present significant technical hurdles. What remains to be seen is whether it will be a standard hybrid system or a plug-in hybrid setup. Toyota offers both; the RAV4 is a good example of the latter. Toyota’s commercial vehicles are a common part of the automotive landscape especially in Asia. People- and cargo-carrying variants of its HiAce are popular in Japan, for example. With this in mind, it’s unclear if the diesel-electric drivetrain will be sold in Europe. Toyota hasn’t commented on the rumor, and it hasn’t detailed what its future powertrain line-up looks like. +++

+++ In the UNITED STATES , Detroit’s Big Three automakers plan to announce that they aspire to have 40 % to 50 % of new vehicle sales by 2030 be electric models as they call for billions in U.S. government assistance to meet aggressive targets, sources briefed on the matter said. The White House is planning an event on electric vehicles and fuel economy standards with president Joe Biden and chief executives from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis. The administration this week plans to propose revisions to fuel economy requirements through the 2026 model year. The 3 automakers declined to comment, as did the White House. Some major foreign automakers are also expected to support the aspiration target. The administration has been pressing automakers to back a voluntary pledge of at least 40 % of new vehicle sales being electric by 2030 as it works to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Automakers are spending tens of billions of dollars to speed EV adoption, even though U.S. EV sales outside Tesla Inc’s remain small. Consulting firm AlixPartners in June said investments in electric vehicles by 2025 could total $330 billion, a 41 % increase from the firm’s comparable 5-year investment outlook a year ago. As of now, electric vehicles represent about 2 % of total global vehicle sales, and will be about 24 % of total sales by 2030, the firm forecast. Biden has resisted calls from many Democrats to set a binding target for EV adoption or to follow California or some countries in setting 2035 as a date to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered light duty vehicles. Some environmental groups have been calling for enforceable requirements and tough vehicle emissions rules through 2026. Automakers’ target includes full-battery electric, plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, which also have gasoline engines, and hydrogen fuel cell models, sources said. The automakers will make clear in a joint statement that the aggressive EV targets are contingent on additional government support for EVs and the charging industry. The sources said the wording of the statement could still change. Biden has called for $174 billion in government spending to boost EVs, including $100 billion in consumer incentives. A bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill includes $7.5 billion for EV charging stations but no money for new consumer incentives. Last month Stellantis said it was targeting over 40 % of U.S. vehicles be low-emission by 2030. GM has said it aspires to end sales of new U.S. gasoline-powered light duty vehicles by 2035, and said it is focused on full electric vehicles rather than plug-in hybrid vehicles. Ford has said it plans “at least 40 % of our global vehicle volume being all-electric by 2030”. The United Auto Workers union, which has been involved in White House and automaker discussions in recent weeks, has opposed EV mandates, warning it could put jobs at risk. This week, U.S. regulators plan propose revising former president Donald Trump’s March 2020 rollback of fuel economy standards. Trump required 1.5 % annual increases in efficiency through 2026, well below the 5 % yearly boosts set in 2012 by president Barack Obama’s administration. Biden’s proposed rules, which would cover 2023-2026, are expected to be similar in overall vehicle emissions reductions to California’s 2019 deal with some automakers that aims to improve fuel economy 3.7 % annually through 2026. The 2026 requirements are expected to exceed the Obama-era 5 % annual improvements. The United States pledged at a global climate summit this year to reduce emissions 50 % to 52 % by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. In March, a group of 71 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives urged Biden to set tough emissions rules to ensure that 60 % of new passenger cars and trucks sold are zero-emission by 2030. +++

+++ Germany’s auto industry showed more strong results as VOLKSWAGEN ‘s earnings and profit margins beat pre-pandemic levels and the company raised its profit outlook for the year despite an ongoing shortage of key electronic parts that is plaguing the industry as a whole. Volkswagen raised its profit outlook for the full year while warning that shortages of semiconductor parts would continue to affect its business, leading the company to lower its forecast for deliveries to customers. The earnings follow strong margins and profits announced last week by competitor Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz. Germany’s export- and China-focused auto industry has benefitted from a recovery in key global auto markets and continuing demand for the highly profitable premium vehicles that are its specialty. Volkswagen Group earnings were driven by its luxury brands, Porsche and Audi, both of which turned in record unit sales for the first half of the year and saw profit margins in double digits. A strong used car business helped boost profits at the company’s financial services division. Volkswagen’s cash pile now stands at 35.0 billion euros; money that it can invest in areas that are driving change in the industry, such as battery-powered cars, software and digitally driven services. “We’re keeping up our high pace, both operationally and strategically”, CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement. Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen turned in operating returns on sales of 8.8 % and raised its profit outlook for the year by half a percentage point to 6.0 %-7.5 %. Operating earnings came in at 11.4 billion euros, compared to a loss of 0.8% billion euros in the first half of last year. when the pandemic led to factory shutdowns and closed dealerships. But earnings also beat the comparable figure of 10.0 billion euros from the first six months of 2019. Sales rose 35 % over the first half of last year to 129.7 billion euros, also beating the 2019 figure. +++

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