Newsflash: Volvo EX30 krijgt Smart techniek


+++ If there’s one message that DODGE has consistently tried to reinforce over the past couple of decades, it’s one of muscle. From the rebirth of the Hemi engine to the new introduction of its current Hellcat-branded apogee, Stellantis has clearly positioned Dodge as the preeminent power broker in the United States. And that’s not likely to change as Dodge makes the transition from gasoline to electricity, as evidenced by the Charger Daytona SRT Concept that bowed over the summer. Dodge is still tweaking pretty much everything about the concept, from the color of its retro-inspired interior and exterior to the sound of its so-called Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust system. The latest iteration will debut this week at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. The most immediately recognizable change to the Charger Daytona SRT Concept is its Stryker Red exterior color. But while we appreciate the change in hue, much more important is the announcement of a “stair-step” approach to electrified power levels. First, bear in mind that Dodge is calling these “9 possible powertrain outputs for the all-electric muscle car concept”, so they aren’t meant to be taken as final figures. But Dodge has committed to displaying three levels of electric power at SEMA. The first 2 are based on a 400 volt system with output levels of 456 hp and 590 hp. The third level is an “as-yet-unannounced, factory delivered, power-level 800 volt SRT Banshee powertrain package”. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that 340 and 440 are 2 classic Dodge muscle car engine displacements, but probably not. Those are base power levels, and Dodge plans to offer upgrade kits courtesy of its Direct Connection in-house aftermarket arm. Two so-called eStages are proposed for the 456 hp model, boosting power to either 495 hp or 535 hp. The 590 hp level has kits of 630 hp and 670 hp. Each eStage includes a “crystal” key that plugs into the dash and is tied to the vehicle’s VIN, enabling the extra power. You’ll note that Dodge isn’t talking horsepower for its highest-rung of electric performance. The 800 volt SRT Banshee powertrain package will indeed offer Direct Connection upgrades, as proven by the “Stage 2” fender badging on the SRT Concept, the 18 inch Direct Connection lightweight carbon-fiber concept wheels, and, perhaps more tantalizingly, the 305mm drag radials at all four corners. Remember, this EV sends power to all four wheels, and we’re expecting some truly ridiculous measurements (4-digit horsepower levels?) from the impending production car this foreshadows. Another unique feature of the Charger Daytona SRT Concept is its Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust. Dodge says all exhaust sounds are basically caused by the movement of air, and that the same kind of tuning that’s done with internal combustion can be done with its EV. To aid in getting it just right, Dodge is inviting people who show up to their booth at SEMA to hear various tunes, then rank and evaluate them. +++


+++ FERRARI is preparing a hardcore version of the SF90 with uprated performance and a modified exterior design to vastly improve aerodynamics. A prototype of the high-powered car was spotted testing in Italy, wearing fabric at the front and a black-and-white textured livery at the rear, obscuring the key changes to the model’s bodywork.It has an adapted front bumper, while an upgraded spoiler has been added to the rear. The model’s side skirts have also been updated, in order to enhance aerodynamics. There are likely to be additional changes beneath the fabric that Ferrari is keen to hide until closer to the model’s launch. The exterior is otherwise largely unchanged from that of the current car, while the interior at this stage remains a mystery. Performance details are also unknown but we would expect a significant power boost to what is already Ferrari’s fastest and most powerful road car yet. Any changes to the Ferrari’s plug-in hybrid powertrain would be likely to push the combined power output past that of the current Ferrari SF90 Stradale and open-topped Ferrari SF90 Spider and beyond the 1.000 hp mark. Both versions are driven by a 790 hp twin-turbocharged V8 engine mated to a 7.9 kWh battery and 3 electric motors, combining to produce an eye-watering 1.010 hp. Currently, the Aston Martin Valkyrie rival can complete 0-100 kph in 2.5 seconds and top out at 340 kph. +++

+++ At the end of March this year, GMC said it had 65.000 reservations for the HUMMER EV pickup and SUV. At the time, brand chief Duncan Aldred said, “Production’s actually slightly ahead of plan and we’re putting things in place now to actually expedite that as well, so we can deliver these reservations quicker than we originally thought. We’re seeing momentum building”, adding that “it still means a reservation now probably means delivering in 2024”. By the time of the GMC Sierra EV Denali Edition 1 reveal just a bit ago, that reservation number had climbed to 90.000. GMC shut down the Hummer reservations line a month ago. When Aldred spoke at a media briefing ahead of the Sierra EV reveal, he said the Hummer is “sold out for 2 years or more”. Notice, the word “probably” has been replaced by the phrase “or more” in the production vocabulary. That development likely takes into account what’s happened since March at GM’s Factory Zero, where the automaker currently builds the Hummer. That site, along with the new Orion Township Assembly Plant, will soon build the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra EV and Cruise Origin autonomous vehicle. In a memo from the beginning of the year, GM said a $6.6 billion investment in EV production capability will ultimately allow 600.000 electric pickups to come off lines every year. That’s at least a couple of years away, though. At the beginning of October, GM said it wanted to bump production of the EVs on sale now, which includes the Chevrolet Bolt, to 70.000 vehicles in 2023. Back to the Hummer, GMC increased September Hummer production to 700 units for the month. That was a huge bump over the monthly average in the 9 months up to September, the production totaling 2.750 units for the first 3 quarters, yet well behind what the brand would like. And Factory Zero will shut down for a few weeks in November for upgrades to produce the additional vehicles. All of this assumes the supplies of chips and raw minerals for batteries, industrial supplies and industrial transport don’t suffer another hiccup. If there’s any good news buried in all this, it’s that 95% of Hummer reservation holders were converting to paid orders, an absurdly positive number. Based on what we’ve seen so far, GM’s got some good looking EVs on the way. Let’s cross our fingers that the company can build them quicker. +++


+++ JEEP opened up about its continuing electrification plans in September, sharing details on three battery-electric models and one plug-in hybrid coming in the next 2 years. One of the EVs was called by its codename, Wagoneer S, chief design officer Ralph Gilles saying the “S” stands for “speed, striking, and sexy”. We could also say the S stands for “Stumped”, because Jeep doesn’t have a name for the luxury mid-sizer. Brand president Christian Meunier told regarding a production name: “We have a few in the basket”, but Jeep wants crowdsourced help to choose a handle. This won’t be a free-for-all; as Ford did with the 2023 Mustang’s new Nite Pony black accent package, Jeep will provide suggestions and direction as part of a contest expected to start in the coming month. With the EV’s debut scheduled and reservations opening in early 2023, Meunier wants to crown a winner before the end of this year. As a reminder of the baby being named, the Wagoneer S is a 2-row SUV targeting the likes of the Range Rover Sport. Sized a touch smaller than the latest Grand Cherokee and having more than a passing resemblance to one, its inclusion in the Wagoneer family could possibly be to justify pricing that starts beyond even the current top trim Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve. Why have Grand Cherokee buyers balk at the price gap EVs demand when you could have a Wagoneer buyer think, “Hey, that’s not bad”. Naturally, this means the Wagoneer S will be powered up and kitted out like a luxury EV. In its most potent form, it will come with dual motors making a combined 600 horsepower, good enough to scoot from 0 to 100 kph in 3.6 seconds. Kinder driving is anticipated to return a 640 km range. Standard 4-wheeldrive and a terrain management system will tackle chunky portions of any route. Meunier told the concept is effectively the production model, so what you see above is effectively what will come to market. It’s all kinds of handsome, but we can’t wait to answer our questions about what the sloping hatch does to cargo room. Until then, have a long gander at the renderings and see if the muse proffers the ideal moniker. +++

+++ LAND ROVER customers are being asked to surrender the right to sell their cars to private buyers outside the dealer network within the first 6 months of ownership. Customers who have ordered new Defenders have been asked to sign a document before taking delivery. The document stipulates that the customer cannot sell their car to anyone other than an official Land Rover dealer within the first 6 months of ownership. Since, has heard from 2 further Land Rover customers describing a similar experience. One of these explained how they now wish to sell their car within the first 6 months of ownership, but are worried about doing so outside the dealer network for fear of breaching the document’s terms. Although customers who intend to hang on to their new car may not object, others feel that they should not have to waive their right to do what they want with a vehicle once it’s been purchased. understands that the document covers both cash and finance sales. 2 customers told us that their dealership claimed the demand had come from Land Rover head office, with retailers facing a fine of around €30.000 to €35.000 if a new car they have sold is listed on the general market within 6 months of purchase. Even more Land Rover customers have reported similar cases in online owners forums. The policy often appears to be implemented when Land Rover suspects a customer is a member of the motor trade and therefore likely to sell the car on. When questioned about the policy, Land Rover issued a statement, which seemed to contradict the claims that the issue has originated from the firm’s head office. It said: “Our retail partners work hard to ensure all customers are treated fairly and with honesty. It is not on our instruction or guidance that any agreements are made with customers relating to the onward sale of their vehicle, nor do we endorse it”. +++

+++ There was no shortage of intrigue, anarchy and mayhem in mid-October 2022. First, the intriguing bit. For years Jaguar Land Rover has acknowledged it needs a baby Land Rover. Think 2WD at less than €40.000, and possibly a 4WD version at nearer €50.000. Either way, it must be raised, rugged and with a chunky, tank-like body protecting it and its mostly young urbanite occupants. Good news: such a vehicle made its world debut at the Paris Motor Show, where it was the star. Bad news: sadly, it had zilch to do with JLR. However, those who’ve been prevented from buying the overdue little Landie they crave can soon order the all-new RENAULT 4 instead. At or below €35.000, it comes with a pure-electric motor, not one of those old-school petrol or diesel lumps. An added twist here is that before being installed in the top job at JLR, Thierry Bolloré lost his job as CEO of Renault. Time for him to approach his former employer to cheekily ask if it will kindly, under licence, produce a few Renault 4s in British racing green, and wearing subtle Land Rover badges? Alternatively, the French firm could simply upstage JLR by selling limited-edition Range Raver versions of its imminent Renault 4, I’d argue. +++

+++ The joint venture that makes Jeeps in China will file for bankruptcy, partners STELLANTIS and Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) said on Monday, after a long decline for the oldest foreign auto brand in the world’s largest car market. The move comes after Stellantis’ surprise decision in July to end the venture with GAC, only months after saying it would raise its stake to 75% from 50%. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares at the time blamed the growing “political influence” in doing business with partners in China, while GAC said it was “deeply shocked” by Stellantis’ decision. Stellantis has since said it would pursue an import-based business model in China and there would be no major long-term impact from the break with GAC. Tavares added this month a similar strategy could be followed with Peugeot and Citroën, the other brands Stellantis sells in China, meaning it could pull completely out of manufacturing in the country. Sales for the GAC venture, which sold the Jeep Cherokee and the Compass, have been in sharp decline for the past 4 years. They plunged 50% in 2021 from the previous year to 20.396 vehicles. For 2022, it has sold fewer than 2.000 vehicles, and in May reported selling just a single vehicle. Stellantis’ U-turn leaves question marks over its ability to thrive in China, where it is getting pummelled by international and local rivals. “No global car company can afford not to be in the largest car market in the world”, Tavares said in late 2020, just before completing the merger between Fiat Chrysler and PSA that created Stellantis. The group is aiming for revenues in China to reach 20 billion euros by 2030, or 7% of the expected total; a steep jump from the 3.9 billion euros of turnover in China, India and Asia Pacific in 2021. Bill Russo, head of Shanghai-based consultancy Automobility Ltd and a former Chrysler executive, said the Jeep venture had failed to keep up with changes in the Chinese market. “It had every right to be successful in a market that embraced SUVs” he said. “But you can’t be running a 1980s business model when the 21st century has arrived”. Stellantis said on Monday it had fully impaired the value of its investment in the GAC venture in its first half results, which it previously estimated at about 297 million euros. GAC, which approved the bankruptcy filing, said the venture had liabilities of almost 111% of its assets of 7.3 billion yuan ($1 billion). The bankruptcy would not have a significant impact on its operations, the Chinese company added. Criticizing both Europe’s automotive market and Beijing’s commercial policies, in contrast with a more cautious stance by Western competitors, Tavares said this month Chinese automakers should be subject to the same tariffs when exporting cars to Europe as European brands face when exporting to China. Foreign automakers have been under growing pressure in China, where the market has shifted quickly to battery-electric vehicles and domestic brands have been taking market share. Foreign manufacturers’ share of China’s auto market dropped 5.5 percentage points last year to 45.6%, according to the China Passenger Car Association. Chee-Kiang Lim, managing director China at Detroit-based consultancy Urban Science, said the joint venture model, which China had insisted on to ensure foreign brands shared technology with local automakers, was under threat. Chinese automakers are more “confident that they have closed the gaps with or even surpassed their foreign partners”, so “we have to expect more JVs to unwind in the coming years”, he said. The bankruptcy is the latest chapter in a turbulent history for the Jeep brand in China. The former AMC invested in a Beijing Jeep joint venture in 1984, the first such deal for vehicle production in China by an American brand. It then went through ownership changes after AMC was acquired by Chrysler and then Chrysler was bought by Fiat, which became Stellantis in 2021 after the merger with PSA. Tesla is the only global automaker that was granted a waiver to produce cars in China without a joint venture. +++

+++ VOLVO ’s current all-electric line up consists of 2 models: the XC40 Recharge and its C40 coupe-SUV alternative. Despite this, Volvo expects 10 percent of its sales in 2022 to be fully-electric, with the Swedish firm looking to become purely electric by 2030. Within its electrification plan, Volvo is looking to add a new electric SUV to sit underneath the XC40 Recharge. Volvo’s former CEO Håkan Samuelsson had previously said Volvo will move its nomenclature from the traditional codenames to proper names. However, recent trademark requests suggest the new baby SUV could be named EX30 with the ‘E’ standing for electrification, ‘X’ for SUV and ‘30’ representing the smallest model in Volvo’s range. The new CEO has already confirmed that the new model will feature an SUV body style and be based on a pure-electric platform developed by Volvo’s owner, Chinese conglomerate Geely. Volvo itself has already teased the new car, including it in a model line-up image shown at a presentation last year, and the model is expected to play a major role in the company’s ambition to increase sales from around 800.000 units per year to 1.2 million by 2025. Volvo has said the new ‘EX30’ would follow the upcoming EX90, which itself will be an all-electric successor to the XC90. Samuelsson has spoken on the baby SUV’s launch date, saying, “We’ve said the next new electric car is really the successor of our SUV flagship, after that there will be a smaller SUV, and that’s what we’re talking about here. It’s very likely it will be made in China, yes”. Rather than use the CMA platform currently shared between Volvo and Geely, underpinning the new Volvo SUV could be Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), which will also be used by Volvo’s Polestar sub-brand in the future. SEA is a modular platform, meaning it can accommodate a range of vehicle sizes, from large SUVs like the EX90 and Polestar. The smallest version (SEA-E, ‘E’ standing for “entry”), is already used on the new Smart #1; a car that should rival Volvo’s new small SUV. In the Smart #1, there’s a maximum range of 440 km on a single charge and the 150 kW recharge rate allows a 10 to 80 percent top up of its 66 kW battery. The Volvo SUV is a few years off, so we could see it improve on those figures when it’s released. +++

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