Newsflash: Kia wil leider op het gebied van duurzame mobiliteit worden


+++ Auto safety regulators in the United States are investigating complaints that the automatic emergency braking systems on more than 1.7 million newer HONDA cars can stop the vehicles for no reason. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 278 complaints that the problem can happen in 2017 through 2019 units of the CR-V and 2018 and 2019 modelyear Accord sedans. The agency announced the probe in documents posted Thursday on its website. In some cases the owners complained of unexpected speed reductions that could cause increased vulnerability to rear collsions. Agency documents say the inadvertent braking can occur without warning and randomly. In 6 cases, owners told the agency the problem caused collisions with minor injuries. The agency says it’s opening the probe to determine how many vehicles are affected and how bad the problem is. The investigation could lead to a recall. Among those complaining was a Honda owner in Fredericksburg, Virginia, who told the agency that a CR-V came to a complete stop in November of 2019. “While driving on an interstate with no vehicles or obstacles stopped in front of me, my car automatically braked hard”, the owner wrote. “It came to a complete stop on the interstate, which resulted in me getting rear-ended”. The owner, who was not identified in the complaint, reported that 2 people were hurt. The Honda probe is the second investigation of automated braking systems opened by NHTSA in the past week. On February 17, the agency began investigating reports of similar malfunctions on about 416.000 Tesla cars after it received 354 complaints that the vehicles could stop for no reason. The vehicles are equipped with partially automated driver-assist features such as adaptive cruise control and “Autopilot”, which allows them to automatically brake and steer within their lanes. No crashes or injuries were reported. Automatic emergency braking systems have great life-saving potential. They can stop crashes or slow vehicles if drivers are impaired or are not paying attention when something is in the way. But they also can react to shadows, overpasses or other things that appear to be obstructions. The systems are becoming more widespread. In 2016, 20 automakers covering most of the industry agreed to voluntarily make automatic emergency braking standard on nearly all of their new vehicles by September 1, 2022. The systems help prevent crashes or reduce their severity by applying the brakes for a driver. The systems use cameras, radar and other sensors to see when a crash is imminent. They warn drivers to brake, and they brake vehicles automatically if the driver doesn’t act quickly enough. Consumer Reports found last December that more than 12 major automakers have equipped nearly all of their 2021 model year vehicles with the technology. NHTSA also has started the regulatory process of requiring the systems for both heavy trucks and passenger vehicles. The move to require the electronic systems and the investigations come as the government tries to stem a trend of increasing highway deaths. For the first 9 months of 2021, an estimated 31.720 people were killed on the nation’s highways, keeping up a record pace of increased dangerous driving during the coronavirus pandemic. +++

+++ HYUNDAI has set a new sales target of its Electric Vehicles (EV) at 1.87 million units a year, aiming to secure 7 percent of global EV market share in the next 8 years. Such a goal would have EVs turning into a major cash cow for the carmaker over combustion engine cars, as the portion of battery-powered vehicles in overall sales will rise to 36 percent, the carmaker said. By expanding the production of EVs, Hyundai hopes to generate bigger margins of more than 10 percent. Specifically, the company will achieve 11 percent and 6 percent EV market share in the US and Europe, respectively, and 58 percent in Korea. Last year, the carmaker held 4.06 percent market share in the US by selling 15.369 units. Globally, Hyundai recorded a 4.8 percent market share for EVs in the Q3 last year. To increase overall market share, the company will diversify its EV lineup to have 17 EV models by 2030. It will focus mainly on electric SUVs, which are more popular and profitable. Of the 17 EV models that will be ready by 2030, 11 of them will be launched by Hyundai and 6 of them by the luxury brand unit Genesis. The group will also invest 12 trillion won ($9.9 billion) by 2030 to develop software capacity such as connectivity and autonomous driving. It will also invest in big data centers, research institutions and startups in related fields. Hyundai’s software investment is part of the 95.5 trillion won budget set to be used for future business by 2030. Separately, of 95.5 trillion won, 20 percent will be put to electrifying vehicles, developing EV batteries and establishing related infrastructure. “As a mobility solution provider, the Hyundai Motor Group will not only enhance hardware performance, but also strengthen software capacity to continuously offer optimized service and seek sustainable business growth”, said CEO and president Chang Jae-hoon during the 2022 CEO Investor Day held online, Wednesday. In terms of seeking efficiency and optimization of EV battery, the Hyundai Motor Group said its Global Innovation Center in Sinagpore will play a control tower role to manage global EV production. In 9 countries with established EV markets (the US, China, India, Russia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Indonesia and South Korea), the Hyundai Motor Group will build more EV production infrastructures. Its battery system will be standardized under nine types, changing the current cell-to-module battery process to cell-to-pack type to increase battery density and enhance efficiency. It will also seek to find an alternative battery type such as LFP and develop a next-generation battery for a performance upgrade and cost reduction. Under a short-term goal, Hyundai Motor Group said it will cement ties with global top-tier battery makers to secure 170GWh EV batteries needed for production of 1.87 million EVs by 2030. According to the carmaker, 2 new EV platforms will be adopted by 2025, 1 for a passenger car and 1 for a purpose-based vehicle. Models produced based on such platforms will be equipped with Level 3 autonomous driving and Over The Air update function as the standard setting. All Genesis cars that will be launched from the year-end will have an OTA update function. This year, the automaker will launch the all-electric Ioniq 6 midsize sedan followed by the Ioniq 7 (a SUV) next year. Genesis will launch at least 6 EV models through 2030, 4 of which will be SUVs and 2 sedans. The Hyundai Motor will upgrade its E-GMP, a production platform designed from scratch for EVs rather than a modification of systems for internal combustion engine cars. The existing E-GMP was able to make midsize SUVs and sedans but the upgraded version, dubbed Integrated Modular Architecture, will be able to produce passenger cars and trucks. The automaker’s EV goal also includes revamping existing manufacturing facilities that make internal combustion engine vehicles. The Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center Singapore, which is scheduled to be completed within this year, will have the latest manufacturing and logistics systems for EVs. Those systems will be used in other factories, the company said. At the moment, Hyundai’s Korea and Czech Republic factories are responsible for making EVs. The carmaker plans to expand EV manufacturing to other factories, starting with Indonesia this year. Hyundai Motor promised to invest 95.5 trillion won from 2022 to 2030 to realize its EV ambitions. Of the 95.5 trillion won, 45 percent will be spent on facilities and 40 percent on R&D. +++

+++ IM MOTORS , a joint venture among China’s SAIC Motor, e-commerce giant Alibaba and Shanghai’s Zhangjiang Group, will launch its first production model later this month. The premium electric marque started on Monday manufacturing of the model at its plant in Shanghai. The model, a sedan with a 5.098 mm body, made its debut at the Shanghai auto show in April 2021. Before the production version, IM Motors rolled off 200 beta-version ones in December. The carmaker said it has since made improvements in 60-70 parts of the model’s body. “It can easily defeat gasoline rivals in its segment”, said the carmaker, without giving details. The joint venture, with an investment of around 10 billion yuan, was established in late 2020. SAIC is the largest shareholder with a 54 percent stake. Alibaba and Shanghai Zhangjiang each hold a stake of 18 percent. IM Motors said SAIC’s expertise in car production and Alibaba’s advantage in big data and artificial intelligence will make its models more competitive in the market. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Monday that China’s new energy vehicle industry is expected to sustain fast growth this year. Sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids kept improving in January, surging 140 percent from the same period last year to about 431.000 units, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. China aims to raise the proportion of NEVs in its sales of new vehicles to 20 percent by 2025, according to a development plan for China’s NEV industry released in 2020. +++

+++ American Greg KELLY , a former Nissan executive who worked for the automaker’s then Chairman Carlos Ghosn, was given a suspended sentence by the Tokyo District Court on Thursday for underreporting Ghosn’s pay in financial reports. In his ruling of a 6 month sentence suspended for 3 years, presiding Judge Kenji Shimotsu said that Ghosn, 67, had “unpaid remuneration” that should have been disclosed according to the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law. Former Nissan representative director Kelly, 65, was found guilty of a part of the charges related to violating that law, but acquitted of most other charges. Prosecutors had sought a 2-year prison term for Kelly. The court ordered Nissan, indicted based on a dual liability provision of the law, to pay a fine of ¥200 million, in line with what prosecutors had demanded. Kelly had been indicted on charges of conspiracy with Ghosn and others to falsely state that Ghosn’s executive remuneration for the 8 fiscal years through the end of March 2018 was about ¥7.9 billion in Nissan’s financial reports. This figure was about ¥9.1 billion lower than the ¥17 billion Ghosn was supposed to receive. The court ruled that the total amount of Ghosn’s remuneration stated in the financial reports should have included the unpaid portion. It found that Ghosn and Toshiaki Onuma, another former Nissan executive, had conspired to make the false reports over the 8 year period. Onuma, 63, had entered a plea bargain with the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, a system that was introduced in Japan in 2018. Kelly, the court said, had been unaware of the “unpaid remuneration” entitled to Ghosn for the 7 fiscal years through March 2017. It ruled that Kelly had conspired with Ghosn and others only for the reports for the fiscal year ending March 2018. Ghosn has also been charged for aggravated breach of trust under the Companies Law for misuse of Nissan funds. Because Ghosn fled to Lebanon, no prospects are in sight for his trial. +++


+++ KIA is introducing 14 electric vehicle (EV) models by the end of 2027, three more than were scheduled to be introduced through 2026. The 3 new models are 2 electric pick-ups, 1 of which designed for the emerging markets, and 1 entry-level electric car. That would help the carmaker hit its goal of selling 4 million EVs annually by 2030. Kia will have 52 percent of its cars as eco-friendly models by 2030. The company sold 160.000 EVs in 2021, which was 5 percent of its auto production. For markets with state-supportive policies for EVs (South Korea, North America, Europe and China) Kia said it will pull up its EV and hybrid sales portion up to 78 percent by 2030. Starting with the carmaker’s flagship model EV9 slated for a launch in 2023, Kia will launch at least 2 EV models a year until 2027 to complete a full 14-model lineup. “Last year, we changed our mission, logo, product and design. Such efforts paid off as we saw good feedback from global brand evaluations”, said Kia president Song Ho-sung during the CEO Investor Day held online Thursday. “We will continue to seek dynamic change this year to develop as a sustainable mobility solutions provider”, he added. Kia will also strengthen its products’ value through technology, such as putting the Over the Air connectivity update function as a standard setting in all vehicles launched from 2025. From 2026, all Kia vehicles sold in global automotive markets will have an advanced autonomous driving function. Regarding its new business in purpose-based vehicles, Kia said its goal is to become the No.1 brand in the global PBV market by 2030. In 3 years, it will release a unique skateboard-inspired PBV model. Through brand solidification and profit structure improvement, the company said it will achieve 120 trillion won ($99.7 billion) in sales and 10 trillion in operation profit. +++

+++ The KIA EV6 was named Car of the Year at the European Car of the Year awards, becoming the first Korean model to win the accolade. No Korean car model had won the top prize until now. The automotive award started in 1964. Last year, the award went to Toyota’s Yaris. The EV6 won 279 points from the judges, the Renault Megane E-Tech Electric 265 points and the Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 got 261 points. More than 60 models released last year competed for the prize, with 7 models making the shortlist, including Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, Peugeot’s 308 and Skoda’s Enyaq iV. The judge panel includes 61 auto journalists from 23 countries. “It is a great honor to have won the 2022 European car of the Year with the EV6, the first ever Kia to win this prestigious award”, said Jeong Jason, president of Kia Europe. “The EV6 is truly a landmark development that’s been designed from the outset to make electric mobility fun, convenient and accessible by combining a highly impressive real-world driving range, ultra-fast charging capabilities, a spacious high-tech interior and a truly rewarding driving experience”. The sporty-looking EV6 is able to drive 528 kilometers per charge on Europe’s WLTP standards when running on a larger 77.4 kilowatt-hour battery. It can charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in 18 minutes. A total of 11.302 units of the EV6 have been sold in Europe through January since first being made available there in October. “It is an excellent EV because of its fast charging and good range for the price”, said one of the judges. “In comparison with the Hyundai, the EV6 offers less body roll, more playful handling and tighter steering. A bit sportier overall”. +++

+++ MERCEDES-BENZ is speeding up its transformation toward electrification this year after the campaign proved to be fruitful in 2021. Its cars and vans division saw sales slip 5 percent to 2.33 million units, mainly due to the sweeping chip crisis, but its revenue reached €109.6 billion; up 11 percent from 2020, and its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes hit €813.9 billion, soaring 105 percent from 2021. “2021 was a year of strategic progress for Mercedes-Benz”, said Ola Källenius, chairman of the board of management of the Mercedes-Benz Group. He said 3 numbers illustrate the momentum of its transformation: top-end vehicle sales rose by 30 percent, sales of electric cars surged 64 percent, and the adjusted EBIT increased by 105 percent. “With a clear agenda for this year we are confident about 2022.Aside from the relentless focus on cost efficiency and supply chain management, our strategic priorities are scaling electric vehicles, accelerating our car-software plans and growing our luxury business”, Källenius said. The carmaker will introduce a raft of new electric vehicles this year, including the EQE and EQS SUV. Last year, it unveiled four electric models. Mercedes-Benz expects its deliveries this year would be slightly higher than in 2021, but did not give figures because of such factors as the volatile chip market. The company said it expects the chip situation to stabilize in 2022 compared to last year. “In line with the Mercedes-Benz strategy, deliberate prioritization of top-end and electric vehicles continues. Furthermore, deep sourcing and interaction has been intensified with direct suppliers, as well as with the semiconductor suppliers, in order to make the system more robust in the future”, said the carmaker in a statement. +++

+++ STELLANTIS said last week that it made €13.4 billion in its first year after it was formed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot SA. The earnings nearly tripled profits compared with its pre-merger existence, as the maker of Jeep, Opel and Peugeot vehicles exploited cost efficiencies. The result compared to a combined €4.79 billion for the 2 separate companies in 2020 before the merger, which took effect on 17 January 2021. Revenue for the combined business rose 14 percent to €152 billion. The company also announced that its 43.000 US workers represented by the United Auto Workers union will get profit-sharing checks of $14.670. It’s the highest payment since profit-sharing began 35 years ago. The checks, based on North America financial performance and hours worked by employees, will go out March 11. The company’s North American adjusted operating income was €11.36 billion; up 16.3 percent from 2020. Stellantis also said it plans to pay a €3.3 billion dividend to shareholders, who still have to approve the proposal. CEO Carlos Tavares said the results “prove that Stellantis is well-positioned to deliver strong performance” and had overcome “intense headwinds” during the year. Automakers have struggled with shortages of key parts such as semiconductor electronic components and rising costs for raw materials as the global rebound from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic brings more demand. The profits were helped by high prices that Stellantis was able to get for its vehicles because supplies were short. In North America, the company’s most profitable region, Stellantis used its available computer chips to build higher-priced vehicles such as Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. Its average North America sales price rose about 20 percent from a year earlier to $47.000, the company said. Chief financial officer Richard Palmer predicted continued semiconductor supply problems this year, as well as other supply chain constraints and labor costs rising due to absenteeism, particularly in North America. The company expects a 3 percent operating income growth in most of its markets. Tavares told analysts on a conference call last week that semiconductor supplies, rising raw material costs and geopolitical situations will be hurdles for the company this year. “We see an improvement on the semiconductor supply front, but still a very small and very low-pace improvement”, he said. Stellantis said the benefits of the merger were worth some €3.2 billion during the year. Mergers can lead to streamlined costs as companies combine functions and spread fixed costs over a larger revenue base. The company accelerated its rollout of battery-powered vehicles, with sales of low-emission vehicles reaching 388.000; an increase of 160 percent. Tavares said the company currently has 19 battery-electric vehicles on sale globally, and that will rise to 32 by the end of 2023. Stricter environmental regulations in Europe and China are pushing automakers to roll out more electric vehicles with longer ranges. Stellantis started production of a hydrogen fuel cell commercial van under its Opel brand in December. +++

+++ TOYOTA , a late-comer to the battery electric vehicle (BEV) market, is putting in strong efforts to make sure its first mass-market model is safer and lasts longer than rivals’ products when it goes on sale later this year. BEVs have grown in popularity globally, but some consumers have been put off by EV battery-related fire risks and rapid degradation. General Motors and Hyundai were forced last year to recall EVs, carrying batteries manufactured by LG Energy Solution, after reports of fires. “We focused on balancing 3 factors: cruising range, battery degradation and charging speed”, Masaya Yamamoto, a project manager at Toyota, said at a test-drive event for the BZ4X prototype last week. BEVs typically take hours to charge, and using quick-charging methods often cause the battery’s cells to heat up, leading to degradation. That, in turn, reduces cruising range over time, hurting a vehicle’s resale value. Toyota said its batteries, developed with Panasonic, contain a special coolant that does not conduct electricity easily. Battery packs are also structured to keep the cells and coolant separated in case of a leak. This and other innovations mean the new BEV series’ batteries would retain more than 90 % of their capacity after a decade, Toyota said. For consumers in Japan, where EVs have been slow to take off, Toyota is considering offering the EVs only through subscription; a bid to address worries over battery life and resale value. The subscription fee would cover the cost of maintenance and battery replacement among other features. Toyota has said it would start selling the SUV model in Japan and other major markets in mid-2022. Toyota has set a goal of selling 3.5 million BEVs annually by 2030 through an ¥8 trillion ($70 billion) investment to electrify its vehicles. +++

+++ TOYOTA said Thursday it will suspend operations at its plant in St Petersburg from Friday due to supply chain disruptions amid growing concern over the impacts of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. In related moves, Honda has suspended shipments of vehicles and motor bikes to Russia, while Mazda is also planning to halt exports of auto parts to its factory in the country amid fear of potential financial turmoil stemming from sanctions, company officials said Wednesday. Toyota’s factory in St Petersburg, which has an annual production capacity of 100.000 vehicles, manufactures the RAV4 and the Camry. Toyota said in a press release that operations at its St. Petersburg plant will be stopped “until further notice,” while noting that the company’s manufacturing and sales operations in the rest of Europe will not be affected. “We are also monitoring global developments and will make necessary decisions as required”, it said. The Japanese auto giant started production in Russia in 2007 and last year manufactured about 80,000 vehicles in the country. Toyota has its local sales base in Moscow. Honda’s decision to stop shipments to Russia came as the carmaker had long planned to end its exports to the country in fiscal 2022, which runs through March, due to a continued slump in sales. As it does not have a local production base in Russia, Honda had been exporting vehicles from the United States. It sold 1,406 units in Russia in fiscal 2020. Mazda, which has a joint-venture factory in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East region, exports auto parts from Japan and handles assembly at the factory. Among other Japanese automakers which have local factories in Russia, Mitsubishi may suspend operations while Nissan will closely assess the situation, according to officials of the companies. +++

Reageren is niet mogelijk.