Newsflash: elektrische Peugeot 308 wordt 156 pk sterk

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+++ AUDI sales dropped by 0.7 % last year as the firm was hindered by semiconductor supply issues, but sales were bolstered by the success of its electric vehicles (EV). The German manufacturer achieved record-breaking deliveries in the first half of 2021 before suffering a significant 34.2 % drop-off, selling a total of 1.680.512 cars by the end of the year. Audi confirmed that the chip crisis hampered local production in China, while the impacts caused by the reduction in VAT in Europe was “noticeable”. It also claimed to have its “highest order backlog ever”, with a “high volume of incoming orders”. It didn’t say which models had the biggest backlog worldwide but told that the Q4 e-Tron and A3 were “by far and away the most in demand” models in Europe. “The year 2021 was challenging, but with our worldwide team’s engaged effort, we very successfully overcame them”, said Hildegard Wortmann, Audi’s board member for sales. “We’re looking to the future with confidence. “High demand for electric vehicles from Audi confirms our early decision in favor of zero-emissions drive systems. We’re taking this momentum with us into 2022 and systematically pressing ahead with our transformation. The large number of incoming orders also shows that we have the right portfolio”. Despite the drop in worldwide sales, Audi’s EV range showed continued success. Around 4.8% of its total sales were electric, as it sold 81.894 EVs last year. That figure represents 57.5 % growth, with the Q4 e-Tron and Q4 e-Tron Sportback leading the way in terms of EV sales. The Q3 achieved the biggest sales growth for a non-electric Audi, at 19.2 %. The A7 gained 9.2 %, while the A5 grew 8.3 %. The Q5 and Q7 also showed that SUV options remain popular, both growing 5.3 %. The A3 was Audi’s bestseller in Europe year. Wortmann believes the chip crisis is likely to continue into the coming months. “Although the semiconductor supply will continue to be strained in the coming months, the strong growth in electric model deliveries gives us a tailwind to stick unflinchingly to our roadmap”, she said. Audi suffered its largest sales drop-off in China, selling 701.289 vehicles there – a drop of 3.6 % after a record-breaking 2020. Meanwhile, sales in the US exceeded 2020 by 5.0 %, with a total of 196,038 cars sold. Audi delivered 617.048 new vehicles in Europe, achieving growth in 31 markets. +++

+++ BMW achieved its highest annual sales figures to date with growth of 9.1 % in 2021, despite supply bottlenecks and issues caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The German manufacturer sold a total of 2.213.795 units worldwide, making it the number one brand in the global premium segment. BMW attributes the significant growth to its recently updated line-up, its “powerful operational performance” and a “clear focus” on ramping up its electric vehicle production. Sales of the firm’s electric models rose 70.4 % year on year to reach a total of 328.316 EVs sold across both the BMW and Mini brands. Worldwide, around 13 % of all BMW and Mini cars sold in 2021 were electrified, while this figure stood at 23 % in Europe. 1 in 10 BMW X3s sold was fully electric. The i3 also achieved significant growth, with sales up 5.4 % to 28.216 units sold. A third of Mini 3-Door Hatch models sold were fully electric as the brand sold 24.851 units for impressive growth of 98.2 %. “In 2022, we want to continue our profitable growth and we will systematically expand our range of fully electric vehicles”, said Pierter Nota, BMW board member for sales. “We have set ourselves particularly ambitious growth targets in this area and aim to more than double our sales of fully electric vehicles from last year”. BMW’s M performance arm also posted all-time record sales, delivering 163.542 vehicles to customers in 2021. The firm says the M3 and M4 were standout performers, with the X5 M and X6 M SUVs also doing well. European sales grew 3.9 % to a total of 948.087 units. A record 846.237 BMW and Mini vehicles were delivered in China for growth of 8.9 %. Sales of electric models rose 69.6 % in the country, with 21.000 BMW iX3 models sold. In the US, deliveries increased by 20.8 % to 336.644, which BMW described as “on par” with pre-pandemic levels in 2019. SUVs were the biggest sellers in the US, with the BMW X range forming 60 % of total sales. Overall, the results means BMW has outsold Mercedes-Benz for the first time in 5 years. Rolls-Royce, owned by the BMW Group, also reported its best-ever sales in its 177-year history last year. +++

+++ BUGATTI yelled “last call!” for the Chiron in October 2021. If you didn’t get your name added to the list then, it’s too late: The French company announced that, after a record-breaking 2021, the final build slots have been spoken for. The track-focused Bolide is sold out as well. Like sister companies Porsche and Lamborghini, Bugatti enjoyed the most successful year in 2021 since its inception. It received 150 orders, which is remarkable considering that all of its cars carry a 7-digit price tag before options enter the equation, and 60% of those orders came from first-time buyers. That number includes the roughly 40 Chiron build slots that were available at the end of 2021 and 40 units of the Bolide. What this means, then, is that you can no longer order a new Bugatti. Every example of the Divo has been delivered, the one-off La Voiture Noire is in the hands of its anonymous owner, and deliveries of the sold-out, EB110-inspired Centodieci will start in 2022. The firm isn’t taking a year off, though. It plans to build and deliver 80 cars in 2022 while presumably working on writing the next chapter in its long history. It’s too early to tell what will take the torch from the Chiron. Bugatti merged with Croatia-based Rimac in July 2021. While Rimac is known for building EVs, Bugatti’s next hypercar won’t necessarily run on batteries. Company founder Mate Rimac confirmed that pistons will live on. “I’m a car guy. We will not just recycle what we have: not restyle the Chiron or hybridize the Chiron. We’re developing a completely new product from the ground up. Everything, because we think that’s the best way to go. That product will have an internal combustion engine”, Rimac affirmed in July 2021. Until then, the quickest (and cheapest) way to put a Bugatti in your garage is to order an electric scooter. +++

+++ The debut of the CHRYSLER Airflow battery-electric crossover at the Consumer Electronics Show was meant to be the harbinger of Chrysler’s arrival as a 21st-century brand. After 4 months on the job as brand CEO, former Ford and Honeywell executive Christine Feuell opened up on her vision for the Pentastar in interviews . When Stellantis asked each of its 14 brand chiefs for one word to describe their intentions, Feuell’s word was “transformation,” that overhaul seeing Chrysler become the mothership’s “startup brand”. The obvious sum of those 2 intentions is more technology, the good news about them is that there will be more product, the best news about them is that there will be more quality. The Airflow is said to arrive by 2025. Chrysler’s 2 current products, the Pacifica/Voyager MPV and 300 sedan, will be replaced by new offerings that serve those same 2 segments but that are “a vast departure from what’s in the market today”. Beyond these three nameplates, visitors to Chrysler dealer lots will be able to choose from “a number of brand-new products that don’t exist today”. I’ll guess there’ll be 1 or 2 more crossovers in addition to whatever else comes, since that form factor hasn’t begun to run out of steam. A couple more family conveyances after the Airflow would cement the Auburn Hills automaker as the people-hauler arm of Stellantis’ U.S. quartet. We’re told to expect something “in the largest segment”, but we’re not certain if “largest” refers to the segment size or vehicle size. Naturally, these transports will be electric, Chrysler aiming to be all-EV by 2028. Feuell said the Pacifica Hybrid has been able to poke its nose into a demographic of tech-friendly buyers, specifically, diverse millennial females with higher incomes. She wants to expand on that success, becoming an attractive option to families with a fair bit of disposable income; you know, Tesla buyers. Assuming she can translate her vision into good product, those shoppers will find in Chrysler “clean mobility, seamless technology”, and unexpectedly rewarding ownership experiences. As for tech hardpoints, between the parent company and Chrysler, there will be 800 volt architectures, the STLA Brain electrical architecture, AI-based Mobil Drive vehicle communication being developed with Foxconn, Smart Cockpit infotainment being developed with Amazon and AutoDrive autonomous capability being developed with BMW. We will see the first of these advances in other Stellantis vehicles due in 2024. Until the Airflow comes, Feuell will be working on Chrysler’s reputation and quality scores. She told: “It’s not just enough to come out with a great product and rebuild the brand, you have to make sure that the customer experience is also there to fulfill their needs at every step of the process from search, to purchase to on-board to ownership”. That’s obvious, but something Chrysler hasn’t had the money and C-suite attention span to provide until now. To keep the Pacifica and 300 in shoppers’ minds until the real show begins, the CEO plans new packages and special editions. Sure, that reads like it deserves an eye-roll, but that 2-step has been a highly profitable specialty at sister brand Dodge, there’s no reason Chrysler shouldn’t gather from that well. +++

+++ Reborn supercar manufacturer DE TOMASO will develop and produce its highly exclusive P72 supercar at a new, dedicated facility next to the Nürburgring. The historic marque (which has been resurrected after going bankrupt in 2004 with backing from Hong Kong’s IdealVenture, responsible for the Apollo Intense Emozione hypercar) will open the new headquarters this summer as part of a fresh partnership with motorsport engineering firm Capricorn Group. Construction on the facility is under way ahead of the P72 entering the final stages of development later this year and customer deliveries starting in the first half of 2023. The mid-engined P72 broke cover at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019. The Pagani Huayra rival is styled with heavy inspiration from 1960s Italian supercars and features high-quality materials and intricate design details in line with its limited build run and $1.000.000 price. The final product will retain the show car’s 700 hp supercharged Ford V8 and 6-speed manual gearbox, but the carbonfibre monocoque has been heavily revamped since 2019 and is now claimed to offer 100 mm of extra leg room and 50 mm more head room “without changing the exterior proportions of the vehicle”. CEO Ryan Berris told that “the powertrain has undergone extensive developments” but details of these modifications have not been made public. The new chassis is claimed to boost safety credentials and quality standards (it meets FIA homologation requirements without the need for a roll cage) while revised suspension geometry brings the centre of gravity closer to the ground. Production of the final P72 prototypes is progressing before new partner Capricorn begins building the 72 customer-bound cars; a build run that De Tomaso has no intention of extending. Berris told: “We are fortunate and humbled to have been oversubscribed for the P72 and to be able to vet who is granted a final allocation”. Production was initially set to take place in the US, but De Tomaso says pandemic-related obstructions there prevented it from meeting its targeted deadlines. Although it has signed a new agreement with Capricorn to bring the car to market, it says it will retain its existing “US partners, facilities, powertrain operations and initiative to expand our North American presence”. Capricorn will be responsible for development of composites, chassis, suspension and castings, as well as overall P72 production. Norman Choi, chairman of the De Tomaso brand, said: “Since our revival of De Tomaso, there has been a large focus on the P72 and its development programme, which is progressing very well. In addition, we have been making extensive progress on our business development, setting a strong foundation for our future expansion of De Tomaso. Today we are proud to announce a new strategic partnership which reaffirms our philosophy, strengthens our core competencies and ensures the highest level of quality for our future offerings. Our P72 will not only be developed on, but also produced at the legendary Nürburgring, providing unrivalled experience, quality and value for our clients”. Following the launch of the P72, De Tomaso will begin detailing a follow-up model, which is already in development. Asked if it could adopt an electrified powertrain, Berris told: “We are certainly mindful of the future of mobility and are pre-planning accordingly. Whilst we remain focused on ICE-powered vehicles and synthetic fuels, when the time comes to execute and implement alternative powertrain solutions, we will have all the mature ingredients in place and do so in a manner the stays true to the spirt, essence and ethos of De Tomaso”. +++

 

+++ FORD ‘s market value breached $100 billion for the first time, as more investors bet on the Detroit automaker’s electrification strategy. The company’s shares, which have more than doubled in value last year, were up 3.7 % in afternoon trade after hitting a more than 2 decade high earlier. Ford is now worth more than its century-old rival General Motors, whose market cap stands at about $88.61 billion and EV start-up Rivian Automotive, whose value is about $77.8 billion. But, the automakers are still dwarfed by EV leader Tesla, which has a market cap of over $1 trillion. Shares of Tesla were down 4.7% after a report said the company updated its Cybertruck model webpage to remove references to the year 2022. Ford’s gains come amid its plans to double production capacity for the electric version of its hugely popular F-150 pickup to 150.000 vehicles as part of chief executive Jim Farley’s aggressive electrification strategy. Demand for the F-150 Lightning electric pickup has been red hot and Ford has had to stop taking reservations for the truck ahead of its arrival this spring at U.S. dealers. Ford’s Farley, who took over as CEO in 2020, has pledged to invest more than $30 billion on EVs, including battery development, by 2030. The EV strategy has buoyed Wall Street brokerages, with Deutsche Bank the latest to raise its price target on Ford. “We see room for Ford’s fourth quarter performance to come in above consensus expectations, based on continued strong pricing offsetting growing raw materials headwinds”, Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner said in a research note, while raising its price target to $24 from $18. The median Wall Street price target is $21.85. +++

+++ JAGUAR LAND ROVER (JLR) sales dipped slightly in 2021 as a result of the semiconductor shortage, but the company is optimistic that supply will improve over the coming weeks. Britain’s biggest car manufacturer sold 420.856 units worldwide in 2021; a 1.2 % decrease compared with its 2020 output, which was itself dramatically impacted by the pandemic. The shortage is attributed to an inability to ramp up production across its factory network due to constrained supply of semiconductor chips. JLR noted that supply improved in the final three months of 2021 and anticipates that supply will “continue to improve in Q4 of the fiscal year ending 31 March 2022”. JLR says it has “proactively managed semiconductor supplies to maximise production of higher-margin products”. The company has a record order bank of more than 154.000 cars to fulfil, of which 30.000 are for the new Range Rover and 36.000 are for the Land Rover Defender, but it says “the chip shortage remains dynamic and difficult to forecast” and has not said how quickly it will be able to deliver these cars. The firm’s chief commercial officer, Lennard Hoornik, said: “Semi-conductor supply challenges continue within the industry but our wholesale volumes are improving. We look forward to completing delivery to global customers as supply improves in 2022”. Supply began to improve in the final 3 months of 2021, facilitating a 91.8 % uptick in wholesale volumes of the Range Rover, 64.0 % of the Range Rover Sport and 34.5 % for the Jaguar I-Pace. Land Rover sold more than 3 times as many cars in 2021 than sibling brand Jaguar (reporting a 3.4 % rise as a stand-alone brand) led by demand for the Range Rover Evoque, which sold 63.398 units, while the Defender was close behind with 63.134 units sold. The Range Rover Sport, even in its 8th year on sale, was a strong contributor, with 57.154 units sold, while its fullsized sibling (the latest version of which opened for orders in the final quarter) achieved 43.335 sales. Land Rover sold 54.214 Discovery Sports, 35.103 Range Rover Velars and 18.248 Discoverys. Meanwhile, SUVs continued to be the strongest performers for Jaguar, with the F-Pace and E-Pace alone accounting for more than half of its 86.270 sales. The XE saloon contributed 14.836 units, compared with 10.214 XFs sold. JLR’s sole pure EV, the the Jaguar I-Pace, made up just over 10 % of Jaguar sales. +++

+++ The NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW will return to Detroit this year after the past 2 consecutive events were cancelled due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. The show will run from Wednesday 14 September to Sunday 25 September at the Huntington Place convention centre, while outdoor activities and displays will take place around downtown Detroit. Regarded as one of the largest car events in the US, the Detroit motor show attracted around 800.000 visitors in 2018. It is estimated that it generates around $500 million (£367 million) for the local economy. Last year, the show was substituted by the ‘Motor Bella,’ a multiple-day, outdoor enthusiast event, held in Pontiac, just north of Detroit. The show’s organisers insist measures will be put in place to keep the event as safe as possible. “We are proud to return to downtown Detroit”, said Rod Alberts, executive director of the Detroit Auto Dealers Association. “Capitalising on everything we’ve learned over the past 2,5 years, we are uniquely positioned to bring a dynamic, engaging, experimental show to Detroit in 2022”. The last North American International Auto Show took place in 2019 and it’s traditionally a major event for US-based manufacturers. The Ford Explorer and Mustang Shelby GT500 were revealed at the 2019 show, while Kia unveiled the Telluride, Subaru the new WRX STI and Toyota the new Supra. European manufacturers also target the event. In 2018, Mercedes launched the G-Class and CLS, including the AMG-honed CLS 53, while BMW revealed the X2. Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini also handed US debuts to the Phantom and the Urus respectively. +++

+++ PEUGEOT has confirmed the battery-electric variants of its 308 hatchback and SW estate will be more powerful, more efficient and have a longer range than its existing e-208. The e-308 will join pure-combustion and plug-in hybrid variants of the family hatchback to complete the Peugeot 308 line up when it goes on sale next year. As with other EVs in the Peugeot line-up, the e-308 has its motor, on-board charger and heat pump under the bonnet. The battery sits under the floor, mostly in spaces beneath the seats, while the boot remains the same size as the 308 plug-in hybrid. The e-308 is front-wheel drive only and will come with just one powertrain option. It has a 400 Volt battery with a 50 kWh of usable capacity (54 kWh gross). The motor makes 156 hp and 270, which is 20 hp more than the e-208. At approximately 1.600 kg, it weighs the same as the 308 plug-in hybrid. The battery is only 4 kWh bigger than the one in the smaller e-208 but Peugeot is claiming that a new NMC811 battery chemistry will give the car increased efficiency, of 5mi/kWh (12.4kWh/100km), “the best among the competition”, according to Agnès Tesson-Faget, Peugeot’s 308 brand project manager. That would give the e-308 a test cycle range of nearly 400 km. It can be fast charged at up to 100kW. The car is still some way from market but Peugeot is expecting it to account for a large chunk of 308 sales. “If we look at the portfolio we have today, the plug-in is already over 20 % of orders and we expect the electric version to reach at least that ratio”, Tesson-Faget told. Peugeot’s CEO Linda Jackson said that the company’s multi-powertrain strategy (which means its cars can have internally combusted, plug-in hybrid and full electric variants of the same model) has been “a commercial success”. “Peugeot was in the sales top-3 in Europe last year”, Jackson said, “and electric versions made up 20 % of sales in December 2021”. The e-308 will go into full production in July 2023, with deliveries shortly afterwards. Pricing will be announced nearer the time. +++

+++ PORSCHE is the latest car manufacturer to report record sales in 2021, delivering more than 300.000 vehicles in the face of drastic supply chain shortages. In the wake of similar announcements from Rolls-Royce, Lotus and sibling brand Bentley, Porsche has confirmed the highest delivery volumes in its 91-year history, driven largely by unprecedented demand for SUVs and its Taycan family. In total, the brand sold 301.915 cars worldwide last year, an 11 % increase year-on-year. Its most popular model, the Macan SUV, accounted for more than a third of this figure, with 88.362 units sold. The larger Cayenne was close behind, selling 83.071 units, while demand for the 2 year old Taycan more than doubled to put it in third place with 41.296 units sold. The Porsche 911 had its best year on record with 38.464 deliveries, which compares to the 30.220 Panameras and 20.502 units of the 718 Boxster / Cayman sold. Porsche highlights a 22 % sales uptick in the US, where it sold more than 70.000 cars, as a driving factor in its strong sales figures. Sales in China, its largest market, increased 8 % over the previous record set in 2020, recording 95.671 sales. A 7 % increase in European sales saw 86.160 cars handed over to customers across the region, of which some 40% were either battery-electric or plug-in hybrids. Commenting on Porsche’s sales figures, sales and marketing boss Detlec von Platen said: ““Despite the challenges posed by the semi-conductor shortage and the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic we have been working hard to enable more customers than ever before to fulfil their dream of owning a Porsche. Demand remains high and our order books are looking very robust, so we start 2022 full of momentum and confidence in all regions of the world”. In the coming months, Porsche will expand the Taycan line-up with the new GTS trim and Sport Turismo estate, and will introduce the hardcore new 718 Cayman GT4 RS as the most powerful version of the 718 yet produced. +++

+++ Consumer Reports’ annual SATISFACTION SURVEY results are often trumpeted by the automakers whose entries top the list. But there’s a dark side to these rankings too. Down here, in the dregs of the list, we find cars that most owners say they wouldn’t buy again, and this list is dominated by the sub- and midcompact SUVs that have slowly been replacing budget-oriented sedans and hatchbacks. These models were rated by CR subscribers who were asked whether they’d make the same purchase again under the same circumstances with the benefit of hindsight, meaning it’s not just a straightforward measurement of brand or model loyalty. The sheer quantity of small SUVs on this list suggests that owners may be unsatisfied with “big” options that aren’t really big. The least-satisfying new cars to own in the United States are: the Jeep Renegade (it has always been a hatchback in disguise, and the early manual-transmission, all-wheel-drive models were a ton of fun to throw around a narrow backroad, but that combination hasn’t been offered in years. What’s left is a Fiat 5-door with a Jeep badge, and that doesn’t seem to be cutting the mustard with current owners), the Jeep Compass (the Compass addresses the Renegade’s dimensional shortcomings, but I suspect its lack of powertrain diversity combined with the lazy 9-speed gearbox contribute to owners’ dissatisfaction), the Nissan Rogue Sport (Qashqai in Europe), the Infiniti Q50 (this descendant of the enthusiast-friendly G35 and G37 failed to capture the magic of its predecessors and has obviously left its buyers unfulfilled), the Chevrolet Trax (Opel Mokka X in Europe; a former blogger referred to the Trax as a “homely little jelly bean” that wasn’t a particularly good value and offered a subpar driving experience. It appears buyers have noticed), the Ford EcoSport (this stopgap model was long in the tooth when it arrived on U.S. shores back in 2017, and things haven’t improved since. This rental-fleet staple is cheap for a reason. We’re frankly amazed the EcoSport didn’t take first place in this “contest” by a significant margin, and this was likely its final opportunity to do so, as Ford is axing the model from its U.S. lineup this year. Good riddance) and the Toyota C-HR (the C-HR was initially panned as one of the most egregious SUV pretenders on the market given its lack of all-wheel-drive even as an option. The lack of decent cargo space (thanks in no small part to that sporty small-hatchback roof taper) probably doesn’t help. Only 29 % of buyers would pull the trigger on this Toyota again). +++

+++ SKODA boss Thomas Schäfer has described 2021 as “one of the most challenging years in the car maker’s history”, reporting a global sales decrease of 12.9 % to 878.200 units. It means the Czech firm failed to sell more than 1 million cars for the first time in 8 years. Amid the semiconductor crisis and Covid pandemic that have affected the entire industry, almost every market was down for Skoda with one outlier: India, where sales increased 108.9 % compared with 2020 thanks to the introduction of the Kushaq midsized SUV. Chinese sales were hit hardest with deliveries down 58.8 %, while Western Europe was down a relatively modest 5.9 % to 409.000 vehicles. The United Kingdom remains important for Skoda as the fifth-most-popular market, behind Germany, Russia, the Czech Republic and China. However, Skoda still achieved double-digit growth in a handful of smaller-volume countries: Portugal (1.800 vehicles, up 37.4%), Norway (9.800 vehicles, up 36.9%), Ireland (9.100 vehicles, up 21.8 %), the Netherlands (19.300 vehicles, up 19.0 %) and Spain (24.600 vehicles, up 17.0 %). The Octavia continues to be the firm’s biggest seller, but sales dropped 22 %. The models least affected by the downturn were the Fabia and Kamiq, whose deliveries dropped 6.0 % and 6.1 % respectively. Despite the challenges, Skoda described “a strong start” for its first stand-alone electric vehicle, the Enyaq iV, with almost 45.000 deliveries in 2021. It predicts semiconductor supply to gradually improve in the second half of 2022 and positive impetus from new products, particularly the Enyaq Coupe iV and refreshed Karoq. Schäfer said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and the shortage of semiconductors have significantly slowed down our growth. Thanks to the flexibility and resourcefulness of the Skoda team, as well as the close cooperation with our suppliers, we managed to steer the company through the year successfully and deliver a respectable result. We expect the semiconductor supply situation to gradually ease in the second half of the year. I am looking ahead with confidence; we have many new products in the pipeline, including the Enyaq Coupe iV, we are experiencing very high customer demand, and we have a highly motivated team. Over the long term, the company is in an excellent position to emerge stronger from the transformation process”. +++

+++ What does SONY mean to you? The days when it was king of the hill in the audio and TV worlds are long gone, but most of us remember Walkmans, TVs and even Sony mobile phones fondly. If you broaden the conversation out to the next generation of new car buyers, Sony means PlayStation and Pictures; the company was behind the latest Spider-Man movie! Which puts the brand in an interesting place when it comes to cars. Clearly it has zero pedigree in the automotive world, other than supplying parts to car makers, and its first concept car in 2020. But, then, Tesla… It certainly gets people team talking, and the prospect of Sony promoting a car through its PlayStation platform, or in its movies, is the sort of marketing other car makers spend millions on, although it rarely pays off. A Sony car could arrive with an element of cool that makes it instantly desirable, as well as a focus on tech and infotainment with real provenance. But can we trust the company to develop and build a complex new electric car? Ultimately, it doesn’t have to, not with the likes of Magna around. Magna is one of the biggest car companies you’ve never heard of. It’s the company that car companies employ to engineer and build their cars. It has already been working with Sony, it’s working with Fisker and it’s also working on the Ineos Grenadier. And currently Magna’s plants build the Jaguar I and E-Pace, the BMW 5 Series and Z4 (and its Toyota Supra sibling) and the Mercedes G-Class. The list of past cars and clients is similarly impressive. What makes a car desirable these days is not only what it looks and drives like, but what the brand stands for and how it’s marketed. Sony may well have lost out to the Koreans in the TV world, but its arrival on the car scene could be one of the most exciting we’ve seen for ages. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN sales dropped around 8 % in 2021 as it battled the ongoing global semiconductor shortage, but it recorded a substantial uptick in sales of all electrified models. The German company delivered 4.897 million vehicles globally, down from 5.328 million in 2020, which was itself a 15.1% decline, attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Volkswagen cited the “lagging supply of semiconductors” as the principal factor in the latest decline, with output of various models restricted by temporary factory closures throughout the year. Volkswagen told that “all factories were affected, some more, some less so”. The main Wolfsburg site was harder hit than the electric car facility at Zwickau, for example, it said. Volkswagen said the effect of the production limitations couldn’t be “entirely compensated for” throughout 2021 and predicts that the first half of 2022 will “remain highly volatile and challenging” as the shortages persist. It claimed to have a record European order backlog of 543,000 vehicles but anticipates that it will lower this figure as production rates stabilise over the course of the year. The sales shortfall is partly made up of cars that “are not lost but will be produced as soon as possible”, Volkswagen emphasised. While overall sales declined, however, Volkswagen is celebrating a 73 % year-on-year increase in the sale of plug-in vehicles. Sales of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) climbed 33 %, while EV volume nearly doubled, soaring 97 % with 263.000 sold globally. Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter hinted that this trend is set to carry on as the electrification of the brand’s line-up continues. “In a very short time, we’ve reached a top position for all-electric vehicles in Europe”, he said. “With our Accelerate strategy and the expansion of the model portfolio, we will continue to increase the pace of the e-mobility offensive. “Before the end of this year, the ID Buzz will represent yet another emotional model in our ID family”. The ID Buzz van is the 4th addition to the ID family in Europe. It will be launched in commercial and passenger-carrying forms later this year, following a reveal in the coming weeks. EVs and hybrids accounted for more than 7 % of global deliveries and almost a fifth in Europe. In Volkswagen’s home market, a quarter of all cars sold had a plug-in drivetrain of some form. The rise in EV popularity was most profound in China, where Volkswagen sold 437 % more EVs than in 2020. It anticipates a “further considerable increase in 2022”. The most popular electric Volkswagen was the ID.4, accounting for nearly half of the 263.000 EVs sold globally, while around 76.000 examples of the ID.3 were sold, compared with 41.500 e-Up and 18.000 examples of the China-only ID.6. +++

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