Newsflash: nieuwe Ford Mustang ook als Hybrid

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+++ AUDI is recalling nearly 50.000 of its larger Q8 and Q7 SUVs to address an issue with the fuel pump that, under rare circumstances, can strand drivers after an internal failure. V6 models produced for the 2019-2021 model years before January 2021 were shipped with pumps containing internal components that can be damaged by pressure fluctuations within the pump, damaging the unit and potentially starving the vehicle of fuel. While this failure mode rules out the possibility of a fuel leak, the broken pieces of the pump damage the sealing membrane on the fuel pressure regulator. In rare circumstances, the debris can restrict fuel flow to the point that the car stalls unexpectedly. “An inoperative fuel pump due to these conditions could result in illumination of the ‘emission control system’ light, rough engine running and/or an engine no start”, Audi’s defect report said. “However, in rare instances, an engine stall while driving could occur, increasing the risk of a crash”. Notifications have begun circulating to dealers and owners; they should receive instructions by September. +++

+++ The BMW i4 eDrive40, i4 M50, iX xDrive50 and iX M60 battery-electric battery-electric vehicles are being recalled due to the potential for battery fires. BMW advises owners not to drive their vehicles, not to park them inside or near other vehicles and structures that could catch on fire, and not to charge them. It’s possible that the battery pack cells in the affected populations suffered a defect during manufacturing. After a few incidents overseas and in the U.S., a BMW investigation found that a cell’s cathode plate might have been damaged when the cells were made. If cathode debris gets loose inside the cell, it could cause a short circuit that results in a fire. BMW says it isn’t aware of any accidents or injuries derived from the issue. It sounds similar to what happened to the Chevrolet Bolt (Opel Ampera-e) battery packs. In Chevy’s case, a torn anode and a torn cell separator had the potential to short circuit the battery and cause a fire. And as with Chevrolet, the BMW batteries came from a supplier; BMW developed the cells at its Battery Competence Center, but Samsung SDI and CATL handle mass production. BMW said the cells at issue came from Samsung SDI. Unlike the Bolt, though, authorities advise the BMWs not be driven nor charged. The fix is a trip to the dealer for a new battery. BMW won’t begin mailing notification letters until September 19, but said it will contact owners by phone immediately. The automaker also said it would “provide owners with alternate transportation until parts become available”. It’s the second recall in two months for the i4 and iX. In June, the EVs were called in for a potential software glitch in the driver’s display when the vehicles were put into Valet Mode. +++

+++ A giant Chinese supplier of electric-vehicle batteries decided to push back announcing a multibillion-dollar North American plant to supply Tesla and Ford due to tensions raised by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, according to people familiar with the matter. CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd.), the world’s biggest maker of batteries for electric vehicles, has been considering at least 2 locations in Mexico near the Texas border, as well as sites in the US, for the plant. China’s CATL has been in an advanced stage of site selection and negotiating incentives, in anticipation of announcing its selection in the coming weeks. CATL now plans to wait until September or October to make the announcement, the people familiar with the process said Tuesday, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The concern is that an announcement could stoke tensions at a sensitive time in US-China ties amid the controversial Pelosi visit to Taiwan, they said. Pelosi landed in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, on Tuesday evening local time in the face of threats and opposition from China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory. Pelosi’s trip makes her the highest-ranking US politician to visit the island in 25 years, and Chinese officials have called it “provocative”. CATL’s headquarters are in Fujian, across the Taiwan Strait from the island. China has announced military exercises will take place around the island this week in response to Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. Bloomberg News reported last month that CATL is considering Ciudad Juarez, in the state of Chihuahua, and Saltillo, in Coahuila, and that the company is contemplating an investment of as much $5 billion in the project. Sites in the US and Mexico are still under active consideration, and there’s no intention to walk away from the plan, the people said. CATL is also weighing the need to establish a North America site alongside the potential impact of a US legislative package being brokered between Democratic senators Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin, the people said. A key piece of that legislation requires EV makers to source a portion of battery minerals from (or processed in) a country with which the US has a free trade agreement, in order for their vehicles to qualify for consumer incentives. The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement went into effect in July 2020. +++

+++ Stellantis shuttered its only Jeep factory in CHINA because local politicians are increasingly meddling in business in the world’s biggest car market, chief executive officer Carlos Tavares said. The carmaker is implementing an “asset-light” strategy in the country because of concerns that rising political tensions could lead to sanctions in a conflict between China and the rest of the world, the CEO said in an interview. “We have been seeing over the last few years more and more political interference in the world of business in China”, Tavares said. “We don’t want to be a victim of cross-sanctions as has been the case for other companies in other regions of the world recently”. The CEO’s candid comments offer an explanation for Stellantis’s announcement last week it’s leaving a 12-year manufacturing partnership with state-owned Guangzhou Automobile Group. The exit raises uncomfortable questions about what the future may hold for foreign manufacturers in China. The war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains in Europe, and the lengthening list of sanctions targeting Russia is a grim reminder of what could happen if China were to assert itself in Taiwan. Business for carmakers including Stellantis, Volkswagen and General Motors in the country is becoming more challenging as local manufacturers including BYD, Li Auto and Nio are catching up fast, including with a slew of fully electric offerings. Tavares acknowledged that the Jeep joint venture was racking up losses but said the company’s reasons for leaving run deeper. While Stellantis had signed a deal to raise its stake in the venture, its local partner GAC “did not do what it was supposed to do,” Tavares said. “So we considered that it was better to unwind”. The venture had produced the Jeep Cherokee, Renegade, Compass and Grand Commander models primarily for the domestic market. Stellantis will instead ship an electrified lineup of different Jeep vehicles to Chinese dealers. +++

+++ FERRARI beat earnings forecasts and reported record orders in the second quarter, prompting the luxury sports car maker to raise its full-year targets, as Portofino M and F8 family models drove sales. The Italian company, famed for its roaring engines powering super-cars with price tags starting at over 250.000 euros (in the Netherlands), in June rolled out its new business plan, with a promise to make electric and hybrid cars 80% of it models by 2030. Shipments in the April-June quarter rose 29%, with deliveries more than doubling in China to 358 units. The carmaker said hybrid models made up 17% of its shipments in that period, when first deliveries started for the 296 GTB, which added to the SF90 Stradale, the company’s first hybrid car. Ferrari said it now expected adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) between 1.70 billion euros and 1.73 billion euros this year, up from a previous forecast range of 1.65-1.70 billion euros. “The quality of the first 6 months and the robustness of our business allows us to revise upward the 2022 guidance on all metrics”, chief executive Benedetto Vigna said in a statement. “Also the net order intake reached a new record level in the second quarter”, added Vigna, who took charge of Ferrari last September. The demand increased even as most of its models were currently sold-out, Ferrari said in slides prepared for analyst presentation. Second-quarter adjusted EBITDA rose 15% to 446 million euros topping the 427 million euros forecast in a poll. However the margin on adjusted EBITDA fell to 34.6% in the quarter, from 37.4% a year earlier, in part because of industrial cost inflation, the company said. Ferrari has promised to deliver its first fully electric car in 2025, one of 15 new models it plans to launch between 2023 and 2026. But in September it will unveil its much awaited first SUV, called Purosangue, “thoroughbred” in Italian, fitted with its gas-guzzling V12 trademark engine. Ferrari said on Tuesday it expected to start Purosangue production (along with that of the 840 horse power Daytona SP3 Icona-series car) late in 2022 with deliveries in 2023. +++

+++ We’re about 6 weeks from the debut of the 7th generation FORD MUSTANG , codenamed S650. It’s incredible that for what’s considered the bestselling and most customized sports car in the world, almost every important thing about it is still just supposition. Case in point, sources claim the S650 will get a version with close to 500 hp. However, the source couldn’t say whether that would be the Mustang GT, which makes 450 hp at the moment, or a special trim like the Mach 1, which makes 470 hp. In fact, I don’t know if the Mach 1 will make the jump to the new model, either, despite recent spy photos of the 2024 Mustang apparently being benchmarked against the current Mach 1. Here’s what I’m pretty sure of: the new ‘Stang will gallop in with evolutionary styling outside but a seriously revamped interior. Spy shots have revealed a digital instrument cluster behind a flat-bottomed steering wheel, a larger infotainment screen, and fewer physical controls. The engines will be basically carryover, meaning the 2.3-liter EcoBoost as a base and the 5.0-liter V8 for the GT. They’ll shift through either a 6-speed manual transmission or a 10-speed automatic. There’s a hybrid coming. Probably. And production is slated to begin next April. That’s the extent of what I’m 99.9% sure about. Everything else is a guess. Previous expectation that the Mustang would switch to the CD6 platform that debuted with the current Explorer seems to have given way to belief that the new car will ride on an evolution of the present D2C platform. If the car shows up on the CD6, it would undoubtedly be larger and possibly heavier than today’s car. The hybrid version has been guessed as having the 2.3-liter at its heart and possibly the 5.0-liter V8. Spy shots of a prototype with dual calipers on the rear rotors have been called in as circumstantial support for a larger platform and a V8 hybrid, the extra stopping power needed to slow a larger, far more powerful coupe. Another note about that hybrid: It’s often twinned with a rumor about all-wheel drive; the ICE would turn the rear axle, an e-motor or two would turn the front. Some believe there’s an AWD model on the way, some don’t. If it does come like this, some further believe the Mustang would benefit from a small all-electric driving range. Back on the ICE side, the 5.2-liter Predator V8 in the GT500 might get a short run. We could see this engine at the heart of a 60th anniversary edition celebrating the model’s debut in 1964. But it won’t survive stricter emissions regulations due for 2026 without a major rework that no one thinks Ford will attempt. So, back to what we know. The debut happens September 14, on the first day of the Detroit Auto Show. Get your popcorn ready. +++

+++ Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) US, formerly known as the Chrysler Group, was placed on probation for 3 years Monday and ordered to pay roughly $300 million for deceiving regulators about diesel emission systems on the JEEP Grand Cherokee. The sentence was part of an earlier agreement. FCA in June pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court in Detroit. Engineers were accused of using software tricks and taking other steps to meet U.S. emission standards while marketing the vehicles as “clean EcoDiesel”. The vehicles were diesel Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 model years. FCA now is part of Stellantis. “Stopping violations of environmental laws and the defrauding of consumers is paramount to the protection of clean air and human health”, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said. Separately, 3 FCA employees face charges in the investigation. In 2017, Volkswagen was ordered to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty for cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests. The company also paid $1.5 billion in a civil case brought by the government and said it would spend $11 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation. +++

+++ Dennis Levitt got his first Tesla, a blue Model S, in 2013, and loved it. “It was so much better than any car I’ve ever driven”, the 73-year-old self-storage company executive says. He bought into the brand as well as Elon MUSK , Tesla’s charismatic chief executive officer, purchasing another Model S the following year and driving the first one across the country. In 2016, he stood in line at a showroom near his suburban Los Angeles home to be one of the first to order two Model 3s: one for himself, the other for his wife. “I was a total Musk fanboy” Levitt says. Was, because while Levitt still loves his Teslas, he’s soured on Musk. “Over time, his public statements have really come to bother me”, Levitt said, citing the CEO’s spats with US President Joe Biden, among others. “He acts like a 7-year-old”. Before it was reported Musk had an affair with Sergey Brin’s wife, which he’s denied; before his slipshod deal, then no-deal, to acquire Twitter; before the revelation he fathered twins with an executive at his brain-interface startup Neuralink; before SpaceX fired employees who called him “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment”; before his daughter changed her name and legal gender after his history of mocking pronouns; before an article said SpaceX paid an employee $250,000 to settle a claim he sexually harassed her, allegations he’s called untrue; Musk’s behavior was putting off prospective customers and perturbing some Tesla owners. The trends have shown up in one consumer survey and market research report after another: Tesla commands high brand awareness, consideration and loyalty, and customers are mostly delighted by its cars. Musk’s antics, on the other hand? They could do without. Creative Strategies, a California-based customer-experience measurer, mentioned owner frustration with Musk in a study it published in April. A year earlier, research firm Escalent found Musk was the most negative aspect of the Tesla brand among electric-vehicle owners surveyed. “We hear from Tesla owners who will say, ‘Look, I love my vehicle, but I really wish I didn’t have to respond to my friends and family about his latest tweet’ ”, says Mike Dovorany, who spoke with thousands of EV owners and potential buyers during his two years working in Escalent’s automotive and mobility group. Tesla has so far had no trouble growing its way through Musk’s many controversies. The dip in vehicle deliveries the company reported last quarter was its first sequential decline since early 2020 and largely had to do with Covid lockdowns in Shanghai forcing its most productive factory to shut for weeks. Competitors that have been chasing the company for a decade may still be years away from catching up in the EV sales ranks. Musk’s star power, built in no small part by his activity on Twitter, the same forum where he’s become such a lightning rod, has contributed immensely to Tesla, especially since it’s shunned traditional advertising. His steady stream of online banter, punctuated with the occasional grandiose announcement or stunt (shooting a Roadster into space, for instance) keeps Tesla in the headlines. During the company’s earlier days, the trolling and glib comments were a feature, not a bug. They allowed Musk to shape media coverage and made him the ringleader for Tesla’s legion of very-online fans. But after making Tesla and himself so synonymous with one another, Musk has waded into political conflicts, attempted to buy one of the world’s most influential social media platforms and struggled to bat back unflattering coverage of his personal life, putting the company’s increasingly valuable brand at risk. Jerry James Stone, a 48-year-old chef in Sacramento, California, who teaches his 219.000 YouTube channel subscribers how to make vegan and vegetarian meals, drives a Volkswagen Beetle convertible and plans to go electric with his next car. He isn’t sure yet which model, but certain it won’t be a Tesla. “Elon has just soiled that brand for me so much that I don’t even think I would take one if I won one”, Stone says. “You have this guy who’s the richest dude in the world, who has this huge megaphone, and he uses it to call somebody a pedophile who’s not, or to fat-shame people, all these things that are just kind of gross”. According to Strategic Vision, a U.S. research firm that consults auto companies, some 39% of car buyers say they wouldn’t consider a Tesla. That’s not necessarily out of the ordinary: almost half of respondents say they won’t consider German luxury brands. But Tesla does lag more mass-market brands: Toyota, for example, is only off the shopping list for 23% of drivers. Emma Sirr, a 28-year-old worker in cloud computing who lives in Bozeman, Montana, gets around with her partner and their 2 dogs in a Nissan Frontier. They’ve been researching EVs for about 3 years and until recently considered Teslas the only viable option, given their range and the charging infrastructure the company has built in their area. But they refused to buy one because of Musk, their main gripes being his politics, staff turnover at the company and its cavalier approach to autonomous-driving technology. “We took Tesla off the table from the get-go”, Sirr says. She and her partner have their eyes on the Kia Niro and Chevrolet Bolt as possible alternatives. “As consumers, our power is what we buy. I think younger generations in particular vote with their wallets, and I feel like that might come back to bite”. For much of the past decade, Tesla lacked competitors that matched its models’ battery range and other measures of performance. Consumers put off by Musk’s mischief had few EVs to turn to. As legacy automakers introduce more capable electric models, Tesla won’t have as much leeway. “We’ve seen among the early adopters more of a willingness to take risks or to put up with things that are out of the ordinary”, says Dovorany, who left Escalent for an automotive tech startup earlier this year. “We’re not seeing that as much with incoming buyers”. To win this cohort, automakers need to check every box, and for some, that includes employing a CEO who doesn’t share Hitler memes on social media. Levitt, the self-described former Musk fanboy, took a test ride last month in a Lucid. He wasn’t sold on it, partly he says because it didn’t have enough cargo space for his golf gear. He’s still waiting for another automaker to steal him away from Tesla and considering models from Audi, Mercedes and BMW. “If you take Mr. Musk and his antics out of the equation, I’m about 98% certain that my next car would be a Tesla”, Levitt says. “His antics put me in play”. +++

+++ Audi and Jaguar Land Rover are each recalling several thousand vehicles for separate potential SEATBELT ISSUES . The recalls cover the 2022 model year Audi A3 and S3; the 2022 model year Jaguar F-Type, F-Pace and XF; and the 2022-23 model year Land Rover Defender, Discovery, Discovery Sport, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Velar. Examples of these vehicles may have shipped with seatbelt pretensioners that will not function properly in the event of an accident. Audi is recalling its sedans for tensioner devices that may not adequately restrain drivers or passengers during a crash. The issue was discovered during Korean market crash testing of the high-performance RS 3. “The seat belt tensioner in the affected vehicles serve the purpose of holding the passenger in his position in the seat”, Audi said in its defect report to NHTSA. “In the event of a crash, the retention force of the seat belt may not reach the intended level. As a result, the position of the body can be further to the front of the seat, which leads to a negative influence on the whole restraint system, increasing the risk of injury”. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), meanwhile, also has an issue with a batch of pretensioners installed in its cars and SUVs. Pretensioners are the devices that fire off to rapidly retract the seatbelt when a crash is detected. Most utilize an explosive charge and pressure tube JLR says that some pretensioner devices provided by one of its suppliers may not have properly-specified pressure tubes that may not channel the gasses to the retraction mechanism correctly. “A damaged front seat belt pretensioner tube may have been installed on the seat belt retractor”, JLR’s report said. “This may result in a reduced level or complete loss of pre-tensioning in the event of a crash and increased occupant injury”. Owners of the models included in both recall campaigns should receive notices from the manufacturers in the coming months. +++

+++ TOYOTA is recalling the 2022 model year RAV4 to address an issue with the front passenger seat that can prevent the airbag from deploying correctly, presenting a potentially significant risk for increased passenger injuries during an accident. The recall is limited to units equipped with an 8-way power seat with height adjustment. These seats may have a stop on the frame that interferes with the occupant sensing system. This interference can trick the onboard safety systems into believing the seat is unoccupied, which would prevent the airbag from deploying in the event of a collision. “There is a possibility that a stopper and the seat frame near the OCS sensor were assembled with variations that created interference between these parts, causing the OCS sensor to incorrectly detect the occupant load”, Toyota’s defect report to NHTSA said. Toyota says the issue is not likely present on all models equipped with the 8-way power passenger seat, but could occur in as many as 70% of vehicles so equipped. The issue was discovered by Toyota engineers, and the company has not reported any injuries associated with the defect in the field. Toyota will instruct its dealer service departments to correct the parts clearances on affected models; notifications should be distributed to owners and dealers by September. +++

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