Newsflash: BMW presenteert M3 Touring in juni

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+++ BMW ’s earnings before tax (EBT) in the first quarter (Q1) of fiscal year 2022 more than quadrupled year-on-year to reach 12.2 billion euros ($12.9 billion), the German carmaker said on Thursday. The full consolidation of BMW’s joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings had a positive one-time effect of around 7.7 billion euros, according to the company. Back in February, the German carmaker increased its stake in BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) from 50 to 75 percent. Revenues rose by 16.3 percent year-on-year to reach 31.1 billion euros in the first 3 months of the year. The consolidation of BBA also had a positive effect on this development. According to BMW, the new Chinese subsidiary contributed 3.3 billion euros in revenues. “The strength and resilience of the BMW Group are particularly evident in this challenging environment”, said Oliver Zipse, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, stressing that the consolidation of BBA was an “important strategic move”. Due to supply bottlenecks and the pandemic development in China, global car deliveries of the BMW Group fell by 6.2 percent to 596.907 units. The group’s luxury brand Rolls Royce was the only to record a notable increase: up 17.7 percent to 1.624 units in the first quarter. Sales of electrified vehicles continued to grow and rose by 28 percent to 89.669 units in Q1, according to BMW. Sales of purely electric vehicles particularly more than doubled to 35.289 units. “Bolstered by strong global demand” for its premium vehicles, the BMW Group is maintaining its guidance for fiscal 2022, expecting earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to range between 7 and 9 percent. +++

+++ FERRARI will offer its upcoming Purosangue SUV with a V12 engine, boss Benedetto Vigna has confirmed. “We’ve tested several options. It was clear that the V12, for the performance and driving experience it could provide, was the right option for the market”, Vigna told ahead of the Purosangue’s unveiling in the coming months. His comments come after the sports car maker posted a video online, confirming it was creating a new V12 powered Ferrari, prompting speculation about whether it referred to the Purosangue or the unnamed successor to the Ferrari 812 Superfast. The firm referenced “our new thoroughbred’s bloodline”, which hinted that it will be the SUV because the car’s Italian name translates as thoroughbred, before the news was confirmed by Vigna. It remains to be seen whether this will be the 6.5-litre unit deployed in the 812 Superfast. Ferrari added: “The V12 has always been an intrinsic part of Ferrari DNA. It is a celebration of our heritage, and a symbol of our relentless quest for new heights of performance and pure driving emotion”. All future Ferrari models will be built around 2 bespoke architectures, giving 2 distinct model lines: one for mid-engined supercars, such as the Ferrari 296 GTB, and the other for front-mid-engined GT-style cars, including the new SUV. Both architectures are able to accommodate V6, V8 and V12 engines, with or without hybrid assistance and with a transaxle dual-clutch automatic gearbox; rear or four-wheeldrive; and 2-, 2+2- or 4-seat cabins from variable wheelbase lengths. From these wide-ranging parameters, the SUV will take the form of a 4-seater with a length of around 5 metres, and its high ground clearance is likely to be achieved through height-adjustable suspension and an anti-roll system to allow for impressive on-road dynamics and some off-road ability. The car’s design has been officially previewed in only a front-end shot that gave little away, but leaked images earlier this year provide a better look at the Purosangue’s overall design. “I’m convinced on this car and the technical concept”, Ferrari’s then chief technical officer, Michael Leiters, told in 2019. “I think we’ve found a concept and a package which is on one side a real SUV and will convince SUV customers to buy it, but on the other side there’s a huge differentiation of concept to existing SUVs”. That concept is based around Ferrari’s ability to mix a bespoke architecture (as opposed to one shared across a wider group, such as the Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7 derived MLB platform used by the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus) that endows the car with not only Ferrari levels of performance and dynamic ability but also the space, comfort and user-friendly cabin required of an SUV. “The challenge is to open a new segment for Ferrari”, said Leiters. “We always have very, very sharp positioning. It helps to develop cars in a certain, focused manner and easily decide certain trade-offs. “The trade-off decision is totally different for us here. We will have totally new engineering challenges”. Plug-in hybrid technology is also set to feature as pressure grows to cut emissions, with the powertrain to be derived from that of the new V6 powered Ferrari 296 GTB, though a version of the electrified V8 used by the SF90 is on the cards. “SF90 is a new product with so many new innovations on the car. Then we find the elements to go onto other cars”, said Leiters, on the technology transfer from the SF90 Stradale to other models. “The challenge with the SUV is a totally different one. There are some innovations to go on, but our organisation has learned to do innovation”, he added, in reference to the likelihood of the Purosangue featuring innovations of its own. All the Ferrari GT models, including the SUV, will get a completely new interior layout based around what the firm calls an ‘eyes on the road, hands on the wheel’ approach. Among the features will be a new steering wheel design, new infotainment, a head-up display, new instruments, new ways of operating the cabin controls, rear-seat entertainment and improved ingress and egress. +++

+++ FISKER ’s new Project Ronin electric sports car promises a range bigger than any EV on sale and will be unique in its positioning as a 4-door convertible. Company founder and CEO Henrik Fisker has revealed that the Ronin (which is being developed by Fisker’s new Magic Works facility in the UK, run by ex-Aston Martin special vehicles boss Dave King) will be a ‘4-door EV luxury sedan’ with an opening roof. This, he explained, is “a big challenge” because “it needs a unique, innovative, strong lower rocker structure to compensate for the lack of a B-pillar, to be able to sustain side impacts”. There are no electric, four-door convertible sports cars currently on sale, but German firm Wiesmann last week revealed its new Project Thunderball, a 2-door roadster with 680 hp and a 2.9 seconds 0-100 kph time. A new preview image of the car shows the Ronin with its top down. Fisker also confirmed that the Ronin will target a range of 1.050 km on the WLTP cycle (which does indeed surpass any production car currently on sale) while packing a tri-motor drivetrain that will get it from 0-100 kph in less than 2 seconds. It is scheduled to be revealed in August next year and enter production in the second half of 2024, joining the Ocean SUV and the firm’s upcoming Pear urban EV in an expanding line-up. A 4th model will follow in 2025, but its design and positioning are still being finalised by company bosses. The Ronin will be the third model in the American brand’s line-up, following the Ocean and Pear compact car. Henrik Fisker said the Ronin will be constructed using advanced, lightweight materials and focus on range, performance and overall driving experience. It will also feature active aerodynamics and an innovative battery design, with the pack integrated into the structure of the vehicle. Fisker promises it will have the spirit of “a proper British sports car” and described it as “a redefinition of a luxury sports car of the future”. It will feature unique doors and a vegan interior with an “advanced design”. Henrik Fisker said: “The aim is to achieve the world’s longest range for a production EV, combined with extremely high levels of performance. Project Ronin will be a showcase for our internal engineering, powertrain and software capabilities”. Fisker plans to put 1 million EVs on the road between now and 2027 and will expand the company further to become a million-cars-per-year business beyond 2030. +++

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+++ The GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED this year will celebrate BMW M, including with its central sculpture. The overarching theme for 2022 is ‘The Innovators – Masterminds of Motorsport’, focusing on the technical innovations that have shaped motor racing over the decades. BMW was previously honoured as the central feature in 2016 in celebration of 100 years since its inception. The German car maker said it will unveil a new model at the event, which could be the long-awaited BMW M3 Touring. “As BMW M, we feel honoured to play a very special role at this year’s Festival of Speed”, said BMW M boss Frank van Meel. “For our 50th anniversary, we couldn’t imagine a better place to celebrate our products with fans of the brand. I’m particularly looking forward to unveiling a certain vehicle to the world’s public for the first time; a vehicle we have been waiting a long time for”. Goodwood had previously said the 2022 event will focus on “the technical landmarks that have seen the racing automobile develop from crude behemoth to space-age projectile” while promoting the link between motorsport-derived technology and the future of mobility. Prices for the UK’s flagship automotive event start from £44 for standard admission for the opening date of Thursday 23 June, rising to £177 for a full 4-day pass. Goodwood said those who buy a ticket before 31 March will benefit from the “creative industry tax relief” put in place by the UK government, with a reduced VAT rate of 12.5%. Children under the age of 12 go free, while those aged between 12 and 21 are eligible for a young person’s ticket, which starts from £22 for Thursday entry, rising to £89 for all 4 days. The event will run from Thursday 23 June to Sunday 26 June (having taken place in July for the past few years), with the newest models, technology and innovation on display. Formula 1 cars, drift displays and champion drivers will also make a return, as will the festival’s Future Lab and Electric Avenue, which made its debut last year. 2 new events will also begin at Goodwood this year, with dog-themed Goodwoof taking place from 28 to 29 May and cycling-focused Eroica Britannia from 6 August to 7 August. These will respectively bring all things dog and vintage cycling to the estate’s popular events portfolio. Tickets for the Festival of Speed can be purchased through the goodwood.com website. +++

+++ HYUNDAI is steadily expanding its presence in Indonesia, targeting the Southeast Asian market largely dominated by a few Japanese automakers. Electric vehicles (EVs) may give the company the breakthrough it needs to squeeze into the saturated market. The Korean carmaker said on May 1 it received 1.587 orders for the Ioniq 5 in Indonesia from April 22 to 27. That’s more than double all of the all-electric vehicles sales in the country during the whole of 2021, in which only 693 units were sold, according to data by the Association of Indonesia Automotive Industries. Hyundai first introduced the Ioniq 5 in Indonesia in late March during the Indonesia International Motor Show. The sticker price starts at 718 million rupiah ($50,000) there. Hyundai’s achievement is very surprising as Southeast Asian markets are traditionally considered to be the stronghold of Japanese carmakers. The market share of Japanese car brands in 6 Asean countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore was around 74.3 percent as of the end of 2019, according to the Korean Automotive Manufacturers Association. In Indonesia alone, 5 Japanese carmakers (Toyota, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Isuzu and Honda) accounted for nearly 94 percent of the share last year. But things are different in terms of the EV market. A total of 605 units of the Ioniq 5 and Kona Electric were sold in Indonesia last year, making up 87 percent of the country’s all-electric vehicle market. Though EVs take up less than 0.1 percent of the country’s total car sales, Hyundai hopes the growing awareness will contribute to boosting its combustion engine car sales as well. Hyundai sold 1.440 units of the gasoline-powered Creta SUV in Indonesia in March alone, beating Honda’s HR-V. The HR-V has long been the No. 1 vehicle in Indonesia in terms of sales in the mid-size SUV category. Hyundai in April completed a $1.55 billion manufacturing plant in Bekasi of West Java, Indonesia; the Korean automaker’s first in the Asean region. The factory, which was built on a 777.000 m2 site, will have an annual production capacity of 150.000 units by the end of the year. Hyundai intends to expand the capacity to 250.000. Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, Creta and Santa Fe will be produced at the new plant and shipped to Southeast Asian nations such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand. Those exports will be exempt from tariffs due to the Asean Free Trade Area agreement. “Indonesia is a country that Japanese automakers entered so long ago and have dominated for decades, so it was quite hard for us to enter the market”, said a spokesperson for Hyundai. “But we now have a manufacturing plant in Indonesia and it will be a lot easier to make cars and sell them there right away”. In July 2021, Hyundai and LG Energy Solution established a 50-50 joint venture to build a battery factory in Karawang Regency, Indonesia, 65 kilometers southeast of the capital of Jakarta. The factory will occupy a 330.000 m2 plot and will have an annual production capacity of 10 gigawatt-hours, or enough for approximately 150.000 EVs. Construction is expected to finish in the first half of 2023, and operations should start in 2024. Its batteries will be sourced to Hyundai’s Bekasi plant. Indonesia is rich in natural resources essential to making EV batteries, which will help Hyundai cut the cost of components. It has the world’s largest nickel reserves, 21 million tons, around 22 percent of the total, according to U.S. Geological Survey data. The agency estimates Indonesia produced 760.000 tons of nickel in 2020. “Though Hyundai has grown to 1 of the world’s 4 biggest automakers beating Stellantis and General Motors, its sales in Asean countries were not significant”, said Kim Yong-jin, business professor at Sogang University. “It would be able to secure a stronger position in the Southeast Asian market if it could catch up with the Japanese brands taking Indonesia as the bridgehead”. +++

+++ Hyundai ’s first all-electric vehicle, the IONIQ 5 , is set to hit some 90.000 unit sales globally since its launch a year ago. According to the carmaker on Thursday, the electric midsize crossover utility vehicle sold 88.871 units (33.212 units at home and 55.658 units abroad) as of March this year. The Ioniq 5 made its debut in April last year, becoming the first car to be running on Hyundai’s own EV platform, called the Electric-Global Modular Platform, or E-GMP. Symbolizing Hyundai’s transition into electrification, its style was inspired by the carmaker’s first production car Pony rolled out back in 1974. The car is also the first in the world to be equipped with the ultra-fast 800V charging capability for a 10-80 percent charge in just 18 minutes. On a single charge, the car can drive up to 429 kilometers, one of the longest in the market. At home, the car is the best-selling EV, making up 31.59 percent of the total sales of 22.587 units last year. Its competitiveness has also been recognized globally by winning numerous accolades, including the World Car of the Year by the World Car Awards, German Car of the Year, UK Car of the Year and Auto Express Car of the Year. “Innovative design, outstanding interior space, and various advanced features are what entices customers to buy Ioniq 5”, said a Hyundai official. +++

+++ Toyota has unveiled details of the RZ, the first exclusively electric vehicle model under its LEXUS brand, hoping to make its presence felt in the luxury EV market. Electric vehicles are more expensive than gasoline-powered cars, and thus luxurious cars are expected to take a leading position in the EV market, and there is hope that the new Lexus RZ will become Japanese carmakers’ global frontrunner in that arena. The automaker intends to strengthen its presence in the high-end market, in which Japanese makers lag behind their U.S., European and Chinese competitors. Takashi Watanabe, chief engineer at Lexus, said at the RZ’s online launch on April 20: “We have advanced Lexus design and driving performance even further with electrification technology. This model embodies the future of the electrification of Lexus”. The RZ is the luxury brand’s second entry into the electric vehicle market following the UX300e, a compact sport-utility vehicle launched in 2020. While the UX came in gasoline, hybrid and EV models, the RZ is designed exclusively as an electric vehicle. The carmaker aims to promote its advanced technology and quality to establish the Lexus brand in the electric vehicle field. Toyota plans to launch the RZ in Japan, North America, Europe, China and other markets starting in winter of this year. While EVs are more expensive than gasoline-powered and hybrid vehicles, their profit margins are said to be lower than those of gasoline-powered vehicles due to the higher cost of batteries and other components. Once sales of luxury brands like Lexus get on track, the company is more likely to secure profits. Many rivals In Europe and the United States, major manufacturers are already focusing on high-end electric cars. Mercedes-Benz’ EQC and BMW’s iX have been launched in Japan, and Tesla’s Model Y is scheduled to go on sale. All are strong rivals for the RZ. The transition to electric vehicles for luxury cars will continue to accelerate in Europe. Mercedes-Benz plans to convert all of its new cars to electric vehicles by 2030, and Audi plans for all new models launched after 2026 to be EVs. Volvo has also announced a plan to make all its models EVs by 2030. In December last year, Toyota set a target of selling 3.5 million electric vehicles globally, including 1 million Lexus units, by 2030. It plans to make the Lexus lineup fully electric across the globe by 2035. Toyota’s operating officer Koji Sato announced on April 20 that Toyota will unveil a new Lexus electric vehicle as early as this summer. “We will deploy the electrification technology we have acquired through the development of the RZ to all Lexus electric vehicles”. The RZ will be a touchstone for Lexus to determine whether it can compete with the world’s leading brands in the EV field. The RZ is a 5-seat SUV that can travel approximately 450 kilometers in WLTC (worldwide-harmonized light vehicles test cycle) mode on a single charge Following the planned launch of Toyota’s first mass-produced EV, the BZ4X, in May, the new model will be built on an EV-specific chassis that was jointly developed with Subaru. A new four-wheeldrive system utilizing electrification technology is being adopted for the first time in a Lexus vehicle. The system automatically controls the front and rear driving forces according to driving and road surface conditions. The vehicle’s design was modified to reduce aerodynamic drag, thereby extending the vehicle’s cruising range. The battery control technology cultivated in the development of hybrid vehicles has been improved to achieve a battery capacity retention rate of 90% or more after 10 years. +++

+++ PEUGEOT is readying an all-new, rakish-roofed SUV to fill the gap between the 308 and 3008, and sharing underpinnings with those models means it will offer a broad array of combustion and electrified powertrains. The new car, which is mechanically based on the new 308, is now testing on public roads, giving clues as to how it has been styled with influence from traditional coupé, saloon and SUV models; in a similar vein to the new Citroën C5 X, with which it shares Stellantis’s EMP2 architecture. That platform can accomodate both pure-combustion and plug-in hybrid powertrains, the latter of which is being tested in these new spy shots, as evidenced by the camouflaged charging port at the rear. and the model is expected to be offered with the same drivetrains as the EMP2-based 308: 2 plug-in hybrids, a 1.5-litre diesel and a 1.2-litre petrol in 2 states of tune. However, both the 308 and the closely related Opel Astra will also be offered with pure-electric versions in 2023, paving the way for this new model to go down the same route, in line with Peugeot’s plan to go all-electric by 2030. ​The all-electric e-308 will offer 155 hp / 270 Nm and 400 km of range from a 54 kWh battery. The new car, thought to be called the 4008, appears to be smaller than the Citroën C5 X, meaning it would rival models such as the Renault Arkana, while an all-electric version would serve as a competitor to the Volvo C40. The new Peugeot model has entered testing not long after company CEO Linda Jackson suggested there were no plans to expand the French firm’s vehicle line-up with a 308-based coupé. “We work on a core model strategy, that is, key models in the volume profit pool”. Jackson told in February, explaining how the French firm would target global expansion. More details of its design will become clear as testing progresses and the camouflage starts to come off, but already it is clear that the new crossover will be a close visual relation to current Peugeot models including the 208 and 308, with distinctive ‘sabre-tooth’ running lights, angular headlights, a prominent front overhang, and inside the driver-oriented i-Cockpit dashboard layout. +++

+++ TOYOTA is inching closer to using up a key U.S. tax credit for hybrid and electric vehicles, a milestone the automaker argues will raise its costs and hinder adoption of climate-friendly cars. Current law allows automakers to offer a $7,500 tax credit to buyers of fully or partly electric cars, but only up to 200.000 per company. Demand for Toyota’s plug-in hybrid vehicles has steadily grown, especially as gasoline prices have surged past $4 a gallon, pushing up its cumulative sales of eligible vehicles to 183.000 as of the end of 2021. The company reported sales of another 8.421 plug-in hybrid and electric cars in the first quarter. The Japanese manufacturer, which has been at the center of a debate in Washington over whether extra tax credits should be extended to unionized carmakers, is poised to become the third manufacturer to hit the limit, joining General Motors and Tesla. Toyota executives have said they are planning for their share of credits to run out as soon as this summer. “We’re planning for it, because Tesla’s out, and General Motors is out, and we’ll be out probably in the second quarter”, Bob Carter, Toyota North America’s executive vice president of sales, said in a recent interview. “When you’re out, you enter a step-down phase down, so we’re planning for that”. The automaker has joined its rivals in lobbying for an extension of the cap, but Toyota and Tesla have vocally opposed an effort by the Biden administration to offer an additional $4,500 in credits to unionized carmakers, a position favored by GM, Ford and Stellantis. Senator Joe Manchin, a swing vote and lynchpin for such an extension, on April 28 called the White House’s current proposal to expand the popular tax credit “ludicrous”, noting a large existing backlog of orders for EVs and other vehicles as carmakers wrangle with shortages of critical parts. Gradual phase-out Absent Congressional action in the near future, Toyota faces a wind-down period that would halve the value of its credits every six months until hitting zero. The phase-out process starts 2 quarters after the cap is reached, meaning Toyota’s credit could be reduced to $3.750 as soon as January 1, 2023. Toyota could have no more credits to offer car buyers as soon as next October. Toyota dealers have prioritized sales of increasingly popular hybrid models, which now make up more than a quarter of the company’s U.S. sales volume. Demand for the gas-electric version of the brand’s top selling vehicle (the RAV4) rose by double digits last quarter. Carter said Toyota has considered lowering the price of its new EVs to compensate for the looming loss of the federal tax credit. Nissan and Ford are the next nearest manufacturers close to tapping out on credits. The Japanese company has sold 166.000 electrified vehicles as of the end of 2021, followed by Ford’s 157.000. Carmakers sold a record 657.000 hybrid or all-electric cars in 2021, according to an analysis by BloombergNEF. While that accounted for only 4.4% of new car sales, it was double the level of a year earlier. Analysts say they see no sign of that growth halting anytime soon, even without the full federal credit for some brands. “We have seen quarter-by-quarter increase in shopping for EVs and hybrids” since the fourth quarter of 2020, Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive, which conducts market research for auto dealers, said in an email. +++

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