Newsflash: nieuwe Ford Mustang debuteert in april 2023

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+++  The current run of non-Blackwing CADILLAC V models had Americans prepared for the 2023 modelyear Cadillac Escalade-V to be a somewhat quicker version of the full-size luxury SUV, but nothing too crazy. As it turns out, it’s a lot quicker. In fact, it has the most powerful gas-powered engine General Motors has available: a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 making 682 hp and 900 Nm. The engine is closely related to the engine from the CT5-V Blackwing’s engine, but with a few key upgrades. It has a bigger 2.65-liter supercharger, plus it has a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, an aluminum head and titanium valves. It’s also hand assembled in Bowling Green, like the CT5-V Blackwing’s engine, and a little sports car by the name of Corvette. The engine is paired with a specially calibrated version of GM’s 10-speed automatic transmission. Not only that, but the Escalade-V comes with a full-time all-wheeldrive system, rather than the traditional 2- and 4-wheeldrive setups used by GM’s full-size SUVs. It has a default power split of 50/50 front/rear, but can adjust that as needed. It also has an electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential. With the SUV’s launch control function, Cadillac claims it will get to 100 kph in 4.6 seconds. Cadillac has also upgraded the chassis. It features steering and suspension tuned for sportier driving, and it comes standard with the combination magnetic shocks and air springs. Up front, the Escalade-V has 6-piston Brembo brakes. Also, while the Escalade-V is much quicker, it still maintains much of its capability. It still has a provision for a tow hitch and can handle 3.150 kg on a trailer. And if you need maximum people and cargo space, it’s available not just as the standard-wheelbase model, but as the stretched ESV version. The V is visually quite subtle. It has a unique front fascia, as well as a rear bumper with a diffuser design and quad exhaust tips. It also features 22-inch wheels and dark trim all around. The interior is the same as the top-spec Platinum, available in Black or Dark Auburn with Zebra Wood trim and full leather upholstery. Being a Platinum model inside, it also gets the full OLED displays measuring a total of more than 38 inches plus a 36-speaker sound system. One of the few options available for the Escalade-V is Super Cruise, which will be offered later in the year and has automatic lane change and towing functions. The Escalade-V will go on sale near the end of this summer. It will also be the most expensive Escalade with an eye-watering price of $149.990 with destination. Then again, it’s GM’s most monstrous production V8 yet in arguably the company’s most luxurious model. +++

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+++ When FISKER AUTOMOTIVE released an image of its planned Ronin battery-electric vehicle, the closed roof, Karma vibes and non-specific press release led everyone to believe it was a 4-door sedan targeting an array of impressive specs. Turns out the Ronin is a 4-seat convertible, making at least one of those specs even more impressive if Fisker hits it. Instead of the “900 km of range” in the initial release, Henrik Fisker clarified that the Ronin’s shooting for 1.050 km of range on the WLTP cycle. That would beat anything on sale today even after converting to EPA figures, but the Ronin isn’t due for its first deliveries until 2024. I also expect that range figure is a top-up number only; in view of all the turbulent air created behind a convertible’s windshield, top-down range may vary considerably. Fisker’s quote that he wants the Ronin to have “the world’s longest range for a production EV, combined with extremely high levels of performance” and be “a showcase for our internal engineering, powertrain and software capabilities” still holds true. Last year, the company opened a development facility in the UK called Magic Works, run by David King, formerly in charge of special vehicles at Aston Martin. King’s team is working on making a cabriolet boulevardier that also evokes “a proper British sports car”. Special features will include “unique doors for better ingress and egress”, necessary because of the lack of a B pillar. That quote from the automaker boss leads us to suspect the Ronin is the evolution of the Fisker EMotion (pictured) luxury sedan the company took to CES in 2018. Chop the top off the EMotion, anchor the rear doors in the rear fenders instead of the C-pillar, and voila, a Ronin. That’s all just a guess, though. What’s not a guess is that Magic Works is working on special features like a battery integrated into the vehicle structure, powering a 3-motor drivetrain able to get the Ronin to 100 kph in 3 seconds. That sprint would take the same time Wiesmann predicts its 2-door, 2-seat Thunderball to hit the same mark. If it comes off as predicted, the technology showcase with the vegan interior would show other automakers what Fisker is capable of in the realm of “highly specialized materials and technologies designed especially for the eco-conscious automotive enthusiast”, and cost retail buyers something close to $200.000. Before then, Fisker’s got a lot of homework. The Ocean is slated to enter production in Austria in November, the $29,900 Pear is planned for production at Foxconn’s Lordstown, Ohio plant next year. The Ronin would make the third member of the lineup, after which a 4th model is due in 2025, on the way to a goal of selling 1 million EVs by 2027 and selling 1 million cars per year by 2030. +++

+++ FORD sold 8 million shares of electric-car maker Rivian for $214 million, or $26.80 apiece, the U.S. automaker said in a filing. Ford now holds nearly 94 million shares, or a 10.5% stake and is still the 4rth-largest shareholder in the Irvine based company. Rivian is struggling in a competitive market, including competition from Ford’s F-150 Lightning electric pickup, while a supply chain crisis is limiting production at its plants. The electric-car maker earlier slashed its planned 2022 production in half to 25.000 vehicles. Ford’s selling price of $26.8 per share came in lower than Rivian’s close of $28.79 on Friday. Rivian shares have dropped nearly 21% since CNBC reported the sale over the weekend. T.Rowe Price Associates is the largest shareholder in the electric car maker with an 18.2% stake, followed by Amazon.com’s 17.7% stake. Amazon.com posted a 59% slump in its first-quarter operating income, largely hurt by its investments in the carmaker. The U.S. retail giant, which is also one of Rivian’s key customers, expects to receive 100.000 delivery vans by 2024. A markdown in the value of Ford’s stake in Rivian led to its first-quarter net loss of $3.1 billion. +++

+++ The world first saw the 6th generation (S550) FORD MUSTANG in late 2013; it’s replacement could debut 10 years later. The new car could debut on April 17, 2023. If that happens, the 7th-generation Mustang would greet the world exactly 59 years after the first Mustang greeted the 1964 New York World’s Fair. There are plenty of spy shots of the next-gen pony car. So far, all of them suggest evolutionary rather than revolutionary styling. The powertrains are thought to be small steps ahead as well. Barring misadventure, the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and 5.0-liter V8 will power the new car. The 4-cylinder could be run up to 320 hp; a 10 hp increase over the current base engine. It’s not clear if anything’s in store for the stock Coyote V8. The attention-getting news under the hood is the arrival of a hybrid Mustang that Ford has already said will target “delivering V8-like performance with more low-end torque”. In 2018, Ford told me the hybrid version would arrive in 2020. Whenever it does show, the phrase “V8-like performance” leads me to believe electrification surgery will be performed on a mill with fewer than 8 cylinders. We can probably expect to see some chassis upgrades to give the Mustang a better showing against the Camaro, even though the Camaro is expected to be saying goodbye as the new Mustang enters. With it looking possible that the Mustang will be the last combution engine Pony Car standing before the competition goes electric or gives up, the Mustang might make make the most of being the last horse standing with raucous special editions. We know there’s a GT3 race car on the way. Ford and Multimatic campaigned the Mustang FR500C GT for 13 years, until 2019, but left road car buyers out of the fun. I hope Ford doesn’t do the same this time. Inside is where the big money has been spent. Buyers will be greeted to a digital gauge cluster behind a flat-bottomed steering wheel. The cluster sweeps into a driver-focused infotainment system boasting a larger screen, all set into a cabin with upgraded material quality and feel. If the speculated reveal date holds true, we only have 11 months to wait, assuming world events don’t head even further down the drain. +++

+++ After GENERAL MOTORS sold Opel and Vauxhall to PSA (now Stellantis) in 2017, the U.S. automaker didn’t leave the continent entirely, continuing to sell the Corvette and Cadillac there. And not only that, GM said the same year, not long after the sale closed, that it might not be finished with Europe. In December 2017, CEO Mary Barra told that “Nothing keeps us from going back to Europe”. The idea at the time was that “GM could re-enter Europe with self-driving tech or mobility services”. And here we are: Barra said last week: “We we are looking at the growth opportunity that we have now, because we can reenter Europe as an all-EV player. I’m looking forward to that”. Her comments merely bolstering the public positioning as GM continues its slow burn to familiar territory. Last November, the company installed Mahmoud Samara as the Zurich-based president and managing director of GM Europe. Samara had been Cadillac’s North America head of sales and marketing, helping transition the luxury brand to an all-electric lineup. His mission in Europe is creating a sustainable, profitable “non-traditional mobility startup” for EVs and autonomous vehicles, software, connectivity services, logistics and defense. The region is the third-largest vehicle market in the world, but the second-largest EV market after China. Last year, an EV analyst said 20% of new cars sold in Europe and Britain last year were battery-electric (plug-in hybrids included), compared to EVs taking about 3% of the U.S. market. It’s thought that on the 4-wheeled size, as well as making a pitch to European EV buyers with the Lyriq, GM could take its BrightDrop Zevo 600 and Zevo 410 electric vans, and BrightDrop EP1 electrified pallet to serve the commercial sector. Going commercial might make the most sense as a starter, fleet operators and delivery companies exhibiting a global appetite for EVs. There’s also the Cruise autonomous vehicle, which could get a great chance to prove itself in compact European city centers. No matter which way GM reopens its European account, at least one analyst believes it won’t be a … cruise. Joe Phillippi of AutoTrends Consulting told: “It will be a dogfight to contest local makers like VW and Ford, so GM better be prepared to lose a boatload of money” on the way to profitability. +++

+++ RIVIAN on Wednesday reaffirmed its annual production forecast of 25.000 units, saying ongoing supply chain disruptions and material costs prevented the electric vehicle maker from reaching its original target of 50.000 vehicles. “We remain focused on ramping production throughout 2022. We believe that the supply chain constraints will continue to be the limiting factor of our production”, Rivian said in a letter to shareholders, adding that it would be able to double its annual output absent supply constraints. Rivian had halved its 2022 forecast in March as it struggled to secure the chips needed to make its R1T pickup, R1S SUV and electric delivery van for Amazon.com . It delivered 1.227 vehicles in the first quarter, up from 909 units in the previous quarter. Rivian said it has received over 90.000 pre-orders in the U.S. and Canada for its R1S SUV and R1T. The company’s first-quarter revenue came in at $95 million, below analysts’ estimates of $130.5 million. It’s net loss widened to $1.59 billion from $414 million a year earlier. Wall Street investors have been disappointed with the company’s progress and vehicle order numbers, and Rivian shares came under growing pressure this week as the company’s post-IPO lockup period expired. Ford offloaded 8 million Rivian shares for $124 million, a Tuesday filing showed. At around $18.5 billion, Rivian’s market valuation has plummeted since it went public in November. The company is now valued roughly in line with the $17 billion it holds in cash and cash equivalents. Rivian, which currently operates a single plant in Illinois, is planning to invest $5 billion to build a new production plant in Georgia. A company spokeswoman last week said Rivian aimed to open that plant in late 2024, but Rivian on Wednesday said it targeted a 2025 launch date. +++

+++ Vietnam-based VINFAST could delay its initial public offering (IPO) until 2023, according to Pham Nhat Vuong, the chairman of parent company Vingroup. Speaking at an annual general meeting, he explained that the move might be pushed back due to market uncertainties. “The IPO is not just for fundraising. It’s also about marketing and claiming VinFast’s position globally”, the chairman said. While the IPO remains scheduled to take place in the fourth quarter of 2022, VinFast is ready to move it back to 2023 if needed. VinFast is facing many of the same setbacks as bigger and better-established rivals. Its operations have been affected by the on-going chip shortage, a problem compounded by Covid-19-related lockdowns in Shanghai that have forced semiconductor factories to close. Predicting when the situation will improve is difficult, but Vuong stressed that the IPO will take ultimately place “no matter how uncertain the market”. Some of the funds that VinFast will raise by holding an IPO will help it build a $2 billion factory in Chatham County, North Carolina, that’s expected to create about 7.500 jobs. Construction work will begin as soon as the company receives the necessary permits, and the plant is tentatively scheduled to begin manufacturing a pair of electric crossovers called VF8 and VF9, respectively, by 2024. However, executives are also looking at ways to secure other sources of funding. One option that remains on the table is the American government’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, a $25 billion program that aims to help EV makers. In the meantime, VinFast remains on track to start selling cars in the United States by the end of 2022. Delaying the IPO, a decision which hasn’t been made yet, would not affect the timing of the company’s launch on international markets because the rollout was planned before the stock market entry. VinFast will open its first 3 stores in California in June 2022. More details will be announced shortly, and 27 additional stores are expected to opened by the end of 2022. +++

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