Newsflash: prijsindicatie Fiat 500h

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+++ CHINESE BRANDS were mostly up or flat in Germany in May, except Nio, which was 35% down from the previous month. BYD was up 10%, while MG and Polestar rose more than 100%. In May, 236.000 passenger vehicles were registered in Germany; down 4.3% from the previous year. 12.6% were battery electric vehicles (BEV), which translates to 29.708 units; significantly down 30.6% from the same month last year. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) registered 14.038 units, up 1.7%. Chinese brand registered 5.173 electric vehicles (EV), which translates to a 12% EV market share in the largest European auto market, up 44% from April. The data are published by the German Federal Motor Authority, which tracks new car plate registrations in the country. The first spot goes to MG, which registered a record-breaking 2.699 vehicles; up 107% from 1.304 units in April and 52% from 1.780 units last year. In the first 5 months of the year, between January and May, MG sold 8.444 vehicles in Germany; up 24.8% from the same period last year. Smart secured the second position with 1.509 registrations, experiencing a slight decline of 2% from 1.532 units in April. In the first 5 months of the year, Smart sold 6.923 vehicles in Germany; up 5.5%. Geely-made Smart badged EVs are co-engineered with Mercedes-Benz. According to official information, the EVs under the Smart brand are designed by the Mercedes-Benz global design team, while Geely is responsible for the engineering and development of the new models. Smart cars are produced in China in Geely’s Xi’an plant which started production in October 2021. In third place, Polestar registered 414 vehicles, showing an increase of 101% from 206 units in April, though this is a 34% decrease from the 629 units registered last year. In the first 5 months of the year, Polestar sold 1.251 vehicles in Germany; down 43.3%. All Polestar EVs are made in China in various Geely plants, mainly in Chengdu and Hangzhou. GWM (Great Wall Motor) and its EV brand Ora followed with 268 registrations; a 9% increase from 247 units in April and a 73% rise from 155 units in the same period last year. In the first 5 months of the year, GWM sold 1.078 vehicles in Germany; up 149.5%. BYD registered 201 vehicles; a 10% rise from 183 units in April and an impressive 272% increase from 54 units last year. In the first 5 months of the year, BYD sold 777 vehicles in Germany; up 370.9%. Nio saw 35 registrations; a decrease of 34% from 53 units in April and a 20% drop from 44 units last year. In the first 5 months of the year, Nio sold 190 vehicles in Germany; down 7.3%. Shanghai-based EV maker entered Germany in October 2022. Last, they managed to sell 1.263 vehicles in the country. By the end of the year, Nio will introduce its mass-market brand Onvo in Europe, which will be followed by an entry-level brand codenamed FireFly and its sub-30.000 euro electric hatchback in 2025. Lotus registered 29 vehicles, marking a 12% increase from 26 units in April but a 22% decrease from 37 units last year. In the first 5 months of the year, Lotus sold 118 vehicles in Germany; down 4.1%. Maxus recorded 13 registrations; an 86% rise from 7 units in April and a 117% increase from 6 units last year. In the first 5 months of the year, Maxus sold 34 vehicles in Germany; up 277.8%. Aiways had 4 registrations, a “100% increase” from 2 units in April and a “300% rise” from 1 unit last year. In the first 5 months of the year, Aiways registered 7 vehicles in Germany, down 70.8%. On May 15, it was reported Aiways would withdraw from the Chinese market and focus on the European market. Lynk&Co registered only 1 vehicle, experiencing a sharp decline of 95% from 20 units in April and a 100% decrease from 237 units last year. In the first 5 months of the year, Lynk&Co sold 28 vehicles in Germany; down 98.2%. For comparison: Tesla registered 1.896 EVs in Germany; down 64% from the same month last year. In the first 5 months of the year, Tesla sold 16.601 vehicles in Germany; down 41.4%. +++

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+++ Market demand for FIAT ’s new 500h (hybrid) amounts to around 100.000-110.000 units a year, a group executive said as the company offers a cheaper version of its fully-electric model (500e). Fiat maker Stellantis last month announced it would add hybrid versions of its 500e small electric car and the next generation Jeep Compass, to be manufactured in Italy, amid a global slowdown in electric car sales. The 500h will combine a petrol engine and a battery, but not have a plug. The head of the Fiat brand for Europe Gaetano Thorel said in a media roundtable that market demand for the 500h was worth 100.000-110.000 units per year. The fully electric version sold fewer than 80.000 units last year. “There are many clients out there who would like to own a 500e, but cannot afford it. Now we’re giving them a chance to own it”, he said. The 500h will be based on the same platform as the 500e, while Fiat is phasing out the old version of the 500, both petrol-powered and hybrid, which was assembled in Poland. The selling price of the 500e starts form 28.990 euro in the Netherlands, excluding government purchase incentives. Fiat brand CEO Francois Olivier said the 500h would cost “a few hundred euros” more than the one produced in Poland, which starts from 17.790 euro in the Netherlands , as it will offer further technological features. Production is expected to start in the first quarter of 2026 in the Mirafiori complex in the Fiat’s hometown of Turin, in Italy. +++

+++ FORD had planned to start production of its Explorer electric SUV in Germany late last year, but then came the order from CEO Jim Farley himself: wait. The 6-month pause allowed the company to switch to using lower-cost, higher-durability lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries sourced from China’s CATL. “It was better to wait half a year and launch with the latest greatest technology”, Jochen Bruckmann, launch leader for final assembly at Ford’s Cologne factory, explained at an event to mark the start of production last week. Such are the savings unlocked by this newer battery chemistry that entire model programmes, even whole battery plants, are being paused in Europe and the US in the ongoing battle by established car makers to try to match the Chinese on EV costs. +++

+++ MCLAREN boss Michael Leiters was interviewed about how the ex-Ferrari man wants to return the carmaking operation to the top of the charts. Leiter, in place since late 2022, has mainly finished patching the holes in the ship like some organizational issues, delays with the Artura, and securing enough money to stay in business. There’s a long way to go to restore the glow of 12 years ago, when the MP4-12C impressed all with its combination of capability and drivability, however. The company still makes great cars, but of the current lineup, it’s the 750S and 765LT that shoulder McLaren’s aspirational allure; the GTS and Artura haven’t been nearly as convincing to the supercar set, and the balance sheet shows it. RT says 2023’s full-year loss of more than $1 billion on 2.137 global sales equated to McLaren losing more than $500.000 per car. Naturally, Leiters didn’t get into how the current products might change to address that, but he vowed that supercars and Ultimate Series cars like the P1 and Senna would remain the “first focus”. The CEO believes one way McLaren can hit the front of the pack is by achieving what no competitor has so far: A lightweight EV supercar. There’s one such in development, the curb weight target is around the same 1.500 kilos as the Artura PHEV. “For me, a supercar that weighs 2 tons is no supercar”, he said. For comparison: the Lamborghini Revuelto is claimed to weigh about 1.750 kilos, the Rimac Nevera comes in at 2.300 kilos. He also admitted that McLaren’s working on an SUV. Rather, the automaker’s working on a vehicle with “shared performance”, meaning it will fit more than 2 people, because SUV is still a bad word among superluxury makers until the first SUV is out the door making big bucks. The CEO’s ideal powertrain would be a plug-in hybrid based on a McLaren engine, but the car might not be a solo project, Leiters open to partnering with another automaker to “create synergies” so long as the result makes sure “not to lose anything which is core to McLaren and the DNA of the brand”. The idea’s familiar, I’ve just rarely seen it pulled off at this price point outside of the Volkswagen Group. The CEO had more to say on a range of topics, from too much serial production to too many limited editions, why an EV supercar could still make sense despite a softening market, and why the next Ultimate Series car doesn’t need to be all-wheel-drive even if it’s more powerful than the 903-horsepower P1. Head to RT for the full interview. +++

+++ MUSK ’s Tesla pay drama: With major Tesla shareholders appearing divided over whether to endorse Elon Musk’s $56 billion pay package, the company is also looking for support from retail investors who make up an unusually high percentage of the electric carmaker’s ownership base. Norway’s $1.7 trillion sovereign wealth fund said it will vote against ratifying Musk’s pay package. +++

+++ Ex-Nio interior designer Chan Park has joined SKODA to shape the cabins for the Czech brand’s next generation of EVs. A graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, Park spent time at Pininfarina, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Audi before joining Nio in 2021. In his capacity as the Chinese EV brand’s chief interior designer, Park was most recently responsible for designing the characteristically minimalist and tech-centric cockpit for the new ET9 flagship SUV. Headline features of the new crossover’s interior include a luxurious four-seat arrangement modelled on private jets, a modular central workspace in the rear, a distinctive vertically split glass roof and a dashboard that eschews physical controls for a predominantly touch- and voice-operated control interface, as is custom in Nio cars. Prior to joining Nio, Park had a hand in the cockpit of the Audi Q4 e-Tron, which similarly majors on digital functionality and is predominantly controlled using a touchscreen. That minimalist approach is markedly different to that which has come to be expected of Skoda, which has historically touted the benefits of physical switches and buttons, in line with a dual focus on ease of use and comfort. As testament to this emphasis on analogue utility, Skoda has equipped its new Superb and Kodiaq flagship models with a row of ‘Smart Dials’ for adjusting the climate control, audio and other core functions, mimicking traditional rotary devices but with inbuilt screens for a more modern look. Park’s track record with more overtly premium and tech-centric car brands would seem at odds with this approach, but Skoda design boss Oliver Stefani said he is “excited to see him implement his less-is-more design philosophy, perfectly aligning aesthetics and functionality in our vehicles”. Park replaces Peter Olah, who was appointed head of interior design in late 2020 and will now move into a new role leading Skoda’s One Design Identity strategy. “Olah will be in charge of defining and overseeing a holistic 360 degree Design strategy including philosophy, style and future trend research”, Skoda said. +++

+++ The public EV charging situation in the United States isn’t the best, and despite significant advances in the number and reliability of fast chargers across the country, nobody seems to be able to match TESLA ’s dominance. The automaker’s Supercharger network is widely regarded as the best and most consistent in the nation, and a recent study from J.D. Power found that buyers view Superchargers as one of the driving forces behind their purchase of a new Tesla, raising questions about Elon Musk’s decision to lay off the entire department. In the J.D. Power survey, the top-5 electric vehicles for which “charging station availability” was the primary reason for purchase were all Teslas. At the same time, the organization found that the increases it saw in EV owners’ charging satisfaction came from non-Tesla networks that are making gains, suggesting that the automaker’s recent layoffs might not have been the best idea. J.D. Power noted that Tesla remains the market leader but said that its share isn’t set in stone. Additionally, its customer satisfaction score has actually declined for the past 2 quarters, opening the door for other companies to jump in. Companies like Electrify America, EVGo, and others have a long way to go to reach the reliability and availability of Tesla’s Superchargers, but as J.D. Power noted, the right investments and continued improvement in customer satisfaction could make them a legitimate threat to Tesla’s dominance. The real question for Tesla is whether to start investing in rebuilding its Supercharger team. While the automaker has rehired some of the Supercharger team it had cut, the episode created instability within Tesla and among its contractors and investors. With so many buyers saying that the Tesla charging experience is central to their purchasing decision, it’s hard to imagine that ignoring its most important asset is a wise business decision. The Supercharger brand is so tied with Tesla’s that a change in the charging experience could become a loyalty nightmare. +++

+++ TURKEY ’s Ministry of Trade announced over the past weekend that it will impose an additional 40% tariff on cars imported from China. The minimum additional tariff for each vehicle will be $7.000, and it will take effect from July 7. The Ministry stated that the additional tariffs on ICE and hybrids imported from China aim to protect domestic automakers and address the country’s current account deficit issues. China is under increasing global trade scrutiny due to its rising exports of electric vehicles. Various countries have accused Beijing of heavily subsidizing these exports to support its electric vehicle builders. The European Commission will decide this week on implementing provisional extra tariffs. Meanwhile, the US announced 100% tariffs on Chinese EV imports last month. In Turkey, a new tariff of at least $7.000 per vehicle on cars imported from China will be enforced starting July 7, as ordered by a presidential decree. The Turkish Ministry of Trade declared that this tariff will apply to both conventional and hybrid vehicles from China to protect the diminishing share of domestic production. The Ministry emphasized that the decision aligns with efforts to address the country’s current account deficit targets and promote domestic investment and manufacturing. Should the calculated 40% tariff on an imported vehicle’s price fall below $7.000; a minimum tariff of $7.000 will be imposed, basically barring budget Chinese vehicles from entering the country In 2023, Turkey had already introduced additional tariffs on electric vehicle imports from China and implemented regulations concerning EV maintenance and services. The government is pushing for increased production and exports to tackle the chronic current account deficit, which amounted to $45.2 billion last year. Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan concluded a 3-day visit to China, where he met with his counterpart Wang Yi and other officials. The announcement of 40% vehicle tariffs a week later surprised many in China, as can be seen in overreacting posts from local commentators and media. Also, this week, we should learn what tariffs the European Commission will introduce on Chinese EVs. It will most likely not be as harsh as in Turkey and the US, as many local automakers lobby in China’s favour. And they have a good reason for it: Volkswagen China is the biggest market, Mercedes-Benz is 20% controlled by Chinese companies (10% belongs to state-owned Beijing Auto and 10% belongs to Geely founder Li Shufu), and Geely wholly owns Volvo. Moreover, many Chinese automakers have already built vehicle factories in the EU. BYD plans a plant in Hungary, Chery chose Barcelona for its first EV plant in the European Union, Great Wall Motor is choosing between Poland, Germany, Czechia, and Hungary, and Leapmotor vehicles will be assembled in Stellantis Polish plant. +++

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