Newsflash: Toyota Aygo opvolger debuteert komend najaar


+++ Since 2011, the average price of a new ELECTRIC car in China has fallen from €41.800 to €22.100; a drop of 47 %. In Europe, however, the average has increased from €33.292 in 2012 to €42.568 this year; a rise of 28 %. Average prices have climbed even more in the US, growing by 38 % in the past decade. EVs are 52 % more expensive than ICE cars in the UK, while in the Netherlands that figure stands at 54 %. Norway is the only European country to buck the trend, where the average EV costs €8.500 less than the average petrol or diesel car. According to Jato Dynamics, China’s progress over the last decade is the result of a consolidated effort to establish itself as a leader in the EV industry following heavy government investment in 2009. As a result, it has already started phasing out consumer incentives, whereas manufacturers in Europe are still heavily reliant on government schemes to make EVs widely affordable. China has also focused on the affordable end of the market, with 40 % of its EV sales coming from the city car segment, where the average price stands at €6.700. The cheapest EV can be bought for as little as €3.700, in stark contrast to the minimum of €15.470 needed to buy an electric car in Europe. In the US, the cheapest EV costs €24.800. “Governments and manufacturers have made significant progress over the last decade in expanding the EV market. However, the industry remains under pressure as it continues to adapt to the requirements of sustainability targets and shifting market forces”, said Jato Dynamics CEO David Krajicek. “The incentivisation of EVs has supported western manufacturers seeking to expand their offering as consumer demand has evolved. However, the industry’s key players must start to address the price gap between EVs and ICE cars if they’re to remain competitive with their peers in China”. The report says it isn’t clear how European and American car makers will adapt when EV incentives begin to decline, but it cites Tesla and Volkswagen as examples of how to lower production costs and improve profitability. Tesla has increased global production by a “record” 109 % at just 2 factories this year, while Volkswagen’s ID-badged range of EVs is being rolled out on its scalable MEB platform that can accommodate any type of car. “China has been hugely successful in the race of EV leadership, growing and evolving their model ranges at incredible pace, which is a positive result of a number of factors working in tandem”, said Ye Qi, a member of the Volkswagen Sustainability Advisory Council. “The urgent need to combat the country’s air pollution problem, the influence of visionary and entrepreneurial leadership and the country’s significant financial subsidies all contributed to the impressive adoption rates seen in recent years. Looking ahead, as the climate crisis climbs even higher on the government agenda, it’s more likely that western countries will start to push EVs into the mainstream with the same determination that China has done since 2013”. +++

+++ GENESIS , the luxury brand of Hyundai, has unveiled the design of its first all-electric GV60 ahead of its launch later this year. The GV60 is Genesis’ first-ever EV based on the same electric-global modular platform (E-GMP) as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6, and the luxury brand’s third SUV following GV80 and GV70. It employs the brand’s “Athletic Elegance” design language throughout, which includes signature quad light fixtures up front, matching taillights in the rear and a shield-shaped grille. Its long clamshell hood and low ride height give it the look of a coupe-style luxury crossover utility vehicle, and digital side mirrors project an image atop two screens using exterior-mounted cameras. Genesis said it will reveal GV60’s driving range, performance and prices upon its release in the coming months. Last month, Genesis debuted the EV variant of G80 midsize sedan in the domestic market to speed up its electrification push. +++

+++ HYUNDAI sold 24.420 cars in Vietnam in the first 5 months of this year, overtaking Toyota (24.112) to become the top seller there. Its affiliate Kia sold 23.440 cars to rank third. Japanese carmakers such as Toyota and Mazda had dominated the Vietnamese market for a long time since making inroads there in the 1970s. But a new era began last year as Hyundai took the top spot in terms of annual sales for the first time in the country, boosted by the popularity of its i10 and Accent compact sedans. The carmaker has a joint-venture factory with a capacity to manufacture 100.000 cars annually, which was built in 2017 after it first entered the market in 2011. Hyundai is also expanding its market presence in other Southeast Asian countries. In India, Hyundai and Kia sold a combined 36.501 cars last month, edging out perennial leader Maruti Suzuki (32.903 cars), a subsidiary of Japanese carmaker Suzuki. The Korean carmakers’ strong sales were driven by Hyundai’s small SUV Creta and Kia’s Seltos. Additionally, Hyundai is currently building a plant in Indonesia with the aim of producing some 150.000 electric cars annually in order to meet potential demand in the emerging Southeast Asian market. The plant is scheduled to be completed by late this year. +++

+++ The MERCEDES GLE is reaching middle age so it comes as little surprise that spy photographers have snapped a facelifted prototype on the Nürburgring. Caught wearing a moderate amount of camouflage, the updated crossover has a revised front bumper with pronounced air intakes featuring a horizontal accent. They reside on either side of a new skid plate that features a central intake on top. Elsewhere, there is a more rounded grille and updated headlights. The latter are obscured by camouflage, but it appears they will feature led daytime running lights that echo those found on the C- and S-Class. Additional changes are limited, but the rear end will receive a minor refreshening. However, the updates will apparently be limited to the taillights which feature revised graphics. The interior will likely follow suit as there doesn’t appear to be any major changes. However, we wouldn’t be surprised to find a new steering wheel, an updated infotainment system, and revised trim and upholstery combinations. Engine options remain the biggest mystery, but the GLE currently offers a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 259 hp and 370 Nm as well as a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with 367 hp and 500 Nm. Customers can also opt for a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with outputs ranging from 490 hp to 611 hp. While the V8 variants are getting dropped in the United States for 2022, they’ll presumably return the following year as long as supply chain issues have been worked out. +++

+++ Credit card company Samsung Card will divest all of its 19.9 % stake in automaker RENAULT SAMSUNG MOTORS , in a sale that would pull the plug on its parent Samsung Group’s old, botched auto dream. The company said the decision was made recently and has tapped Samsung Securities, Samsung Group’s financial investment arm, to lead the exit. “Though we are pursuing the stake sale, details such as the method of sale, the buyer and the process have yet to be decided”, the credit card company said in a statement. Further details will be announced within the next month, it added. The automaker said it will keep the current emblem for the vehicles that will be produced at its manufacturing plant in Busan after the stake sale, though it has yet to change its name. Samsung first entered the automotive industry with Samsung Motors in 1994. In 2000, the car unit was acquired by French automaker Renault Samsung with Samsung Card purchasing the stake for 87.6 billion won or around $78.2 million at that time. Renault holds a controlling 81 % stake. As part of the deal, Samsung earns a 0.8 % royalty from the automaker’s domestic earnings each year. The move comes after Samsung Electronics and Samsung C&T decided not to renew a deal with Renault on the use of Samsung’s brand, which came to an end in August last year. When a 2-year probation period ends in 2022, Renault Samsung Motors will have to drop the conglomerate’s brand from its name. Hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Renault Samsung Motors suffered an operating loss of 79.6 billion won ($67.9 million) last year. Multiple failed wage negotiations with the company’s labor union has also put a further strain on the automaker. On top of poor sales performance and a series of union strikes in recent years, a growing preference for foreign car brands in the country has also cast doubt over the profitability of the partnership. In a semiannual report, Samsung Card estimated the value of its stake in the South Korean unit of Renault at 249.2 billion won. +++

+++ SSANGYONG issued a sale notice to launch the search for a new owner. The cash-strapped SUV maker said it will accept letters of intent from buyers and conduct a preliminary assessment in August. It hopes to find a preferred negotiating partner by late September. But the search for a buyer with deep pockets is expected to be difficult. U.S. car retailer HAAH Automotive Holdings, which had signaled interest, is now in financial difficulties of its own. One industry insider said, “Chinese automakers have shown interest, but there is no guarantee that the union will accept an offer due to bad memories of SAIC, which bought Ssangyong and then drove it into court receivership”. Court-appointed assessor Ernst & Young Korea told the Seoul Bankruptcy Court in an interim assessment last week that liquidating Ssangyong would raise W1 trillion but keeping it running would result in a corporate value of only W600-700 billion (US$1=W1,132). +++

+++ TOYOTA is betting on 2 brand-new small crossovers to increase its market share in Europe: the Yaris Cross (B segment) and the upcoming Aygo successor (A segment). Matthew Harrison, Toyota Europe CEO, explained the significance of their new high-riding models. “The vast majority of our growth is coming from the Yaris Cross introduction”, Harrison said. This is Toyota’s first attempt into a crowded segment which is Europe’s second-largest overall with 1.73 million sales. The Toyota Yaris Cross, first unveiled in April 2020, will start production soon in Valenciennes, France, where the regular Yaris is produced. The jacked-up supermini is sharing the GA-B platform with the new Yaris but has a redesigned and larger body measuring 4.180 mm long, 1.765 mm wide and 1.560 mm tall, allowing for more room inside the cabin. The hybrid version (which is expected to be the most popular of the range) combines a 1.5 VVT-i engine with 2 (FWD) or 3 electric motors (AWD-i), producing 116 hp and 120 Nm. The fact that the Yaris Cross is available with all-wheel-drive is considered a competitive advantage in the B-SUV segment, as the only other models currently offering that option are the Dacia Duster, the Suzuki Vitara and the Hyundai Kona. In 2020, the B-SUV market leaders in Europe were the Renault Captur (177.556 sales), the Volkswagen T-Roc (158.776 sales) and the Peugeot 2008 (156.150), with almost every carmaker offering at least one proposal in this segment. Toyota is expecting an 8 % share and 150.000 sales for the Yaris Cross in 2022, placing it in the top 5. The second high-riding model is the successor of the Aygo (A-Segment), previewed by the Aygo X Prologue Concept in March 2021. Given that many automakers are abandoning the A-Segment due to the small profit margins with electrification not being an option for budget vehicles, Toyota is betting on increasing its market share with the new model. Despite its age, the current Toyota Aygo is still going strong. In 2020, it ranked third overall in the A-Segment with 83.277 sales, behind the Fiat Panda (144.348 sales) and the Fiat 500 (137.267 sales). The current and the previous generation of the Japanese city car were part of a collaboration with Peugeot and Citroen who built the sibling 108 and C1 models. For the next generation, the French stepped out of the deal, but Toyota decided to keep developing the Aygo as a standalone model. The new Aygo (based on a shorter version of the Yaris’ GA-B architecture) is expected to debut in autumn 2021, with production starting at Toyota’s factory in Kolin, Czech Republic, before the end of the year. The low CO2 emissions of Toyota’s mostly-hybrid range mix, allow the automaker to offer the Aygo in ICE-only variants, making it affordable to the masses. Furthermore, the crossover-inspired styling will attract young buyers, contributing to a sales increase compared to its predecessor. With 2 brand new models that could be placed among the market leaders in their segment, Toyota is optimistic about the future. Recently, Toyota revised their sales targets for Europe to 1.2 million for 2021 (up from 1.1 million) and 1.5 million in 2025 (up from 1.4 million). +++


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