Posts with «automotive industry» label

Ford will reopen F-150 Lightning orders this week at a much higher starting price

Ford will open up orders for the next wave of F-150 Lightning reservation holders this Thursday, but those buying the electric pickup as of this week will need to dig deeper in their pockets. The automaker is bumping up the prices by between $4,200 and $8,900, depending on the trim. It cited "significant material cost increases and other factors" as reasons for the adjustments.

“Current order holders awaiting delivery are not impacted by these price adjustments,” Model E chief customer officer Marin Gjaja said in a statement. “We’ve announced pricing ahead of re-opening order banks so our reservation holders can make an informed decision around ordering a Lightning.” Those who have a reservation and already received an invite order but chose to wait for their preferred configuration to be available will "receive a private offer for use in upcoming waves," Ford said.

The base F-150 Lightning now costs $46,974 (up by $7,000) and the standard mid-range XLT is $59,474, which marks an increase of $6,500. At the higher end of the scale, Ford bumped up the price of the Platinum Extended Range by just over $4,000 to $96,874. The biggest increase, per The Verge, is for the Lariat Extended Range, which has jumped up by $8,900 to $85,974. Those prices don't include the delivery fee.

As somewhat of a makegood for the price increase, models with the standard-range battery will have a target EPA-estimated range of 240 miles, an increase of 10 miles per charge. That battery is available for the Pro, XLT and Lariat trims. Ford is also adding Pro Trailer Hitch Assist tech, which it says will make it easier for drivers to hitch trailers thanks to automatic steering, throttle and brake controls. It's available as part of the Tow Technology Package on Pro, XLT and Lariat trims and as standard on some Lariat trims and the Platinum trim.

Ford is changing up the color options too. Avalanche Gray and Azure Gray metallic tri-coat options will replace Atlas Blue, Ice Blue Silver and Smoked Quartz Metallic. Those will not be available on models it builds as of this fall.

The automaker temporarily capped reservations at 200,000 last December, after receiving enough to fill three years of production capacity. Ford began making the F-150 Lightning in April and it started deliveries the following month. It has sold more than 4,400 to date. Starting in 2023, the company aims to produce 150,000 units per year at a plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

MG's new all-electric hatchback will cost just $31,400 when it arrives in the UK

Last month, MG revealed the all-electric MG4 hatchback with range of up to 281 miles (on the WLTP system). Now, we know it will be one of the least expensive EVs available in the UK with a starting price of £25,995 ($31,400). It's set to arrive in the UK in September this year.

As a reminder, China's SAIC Motors now owns the MG brand following the collapse of MG Rover in 2005. The vehicles are manufactured in China, but SAIC has a design studio in London. It also has joint venture partnerships with Volkswagen, GM and others to produce branded vehicles in China.

The MG4 first arrived as the Mulan in China, built on SAIC's MSP (Modular Scalable Platform) architecture that will be used on future MG EVs. It'll come in three versions in the UK. The starting SE Standard Range model is priced at £25,995 with a 51kWh battery delivering 218 miles of WLTP range, compared to £36,195 ($43,800) for the ID.3 with a 58kWh battery and 265 miles of range.

The £28,495 ($34,490) Long Range SE model uses a 64kWh battery to go 281 miles on a charge, which takes about 35 minutes to go from 10-80 percent thanks to the 135kW charging capacity. 

And finally, the EV Trophy costs £31,495 ($38,120) and offers 270 miles of range with the 64kWh battery. The extra cash gets you features like an upgraded version of the MG Pilot system (with lane-keeping, blind spot warnings, etc.), a leather interior and more.

As for performance, the highest-powered 201 bhp version with the 64kWh battery can go from 0-62 MPH in under eight seconds, with the top speed limited to 99 MPH. On all vehicles, MG is promising copious storage, an "Active Grille Shutter" that improves aerodynamics, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen, Car Play and Android Auto connectivity and more. However, the price will likely be the main draw, particularly as the UK recently eliminated its EV rebate incentive.

Lucid Motors has drastically reduced its production target, again

Luxury EV startup Lucid Motors changed its yearly production target again, lowering it to an expected output of between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicles, the company announced today. That’s only a fraction of the 20,000 cars that Lucid initially promised to deliver in 2022. The Tesla competitor has only produced 1,405 vehicles so far this year, giving it a mere four months to build thousands of new cars.

Supply chain woes and a shortage of parts and raw materials are to blame for the slow output, the company claims. In a call with investors, the California-based company’s CEO Peter Rawlinson said it is planning a number of structural changes to amp up production. "Our revised production guidance reflects the extraordinary supply chain and logistics challenges we encountered," said Rawlinson. "We've identified the primary bottlenecks, and we are taking appropriate measures – bringing our logistics operations in-house, adding key hires to the executive team, and restructuring our logistics and manufacturing organization."

On top of ongoing production struggles, this May the company was forced to recall all of its 2022 Air EVs due to wiring issues — a total of over 1,000 cars. Such challenges haven't appeared to impact demand for the luxury vehicles. So far, there have been 37,000 reservations for Lucid Motor’s all-electric sedan, the Lucid Air, the company disclosed in the call. On top of that, Lucid plans to sell over 100,000 cars to the government of Saudi Arabia — which poured over $1 billion into the company and owns a 62 percent stake.

GM will limit warranty transfers and ban buyers from flipping Hummer EVs

GM doesn't want people buying some of its newer and most sought-after models, such as the GMC Hummer EV, to quickly sell them for a profit. The automaker is implementing several aggressive measures meant to discourage the practice, even if it ends up losing the company some customers. In a letter obtained by Corvette Blogger, Steve Carlisle, GM President for North America, told the GM Dealership team that the company is "limiting the transferability of certain warranties" if the vehicle being resold was purchased within the past 12 months. Further, GM will ban the seller from "placing future sold orders or reservations for certain high demand models (as identified by GM)."

Carlisle said the models affected by this new rule are the GMC Hummer EVs (SUT and SUV), the 23MY Cadillac Escalade-V and the Chevrolet Corvette Z06. GM has been struggling to keep up with the demand for its electric Hummer vehicles, and the company said it's because it was developed from scratch and was built on top of its new Ultium EV platform. According to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this month, GM has only been producing up to a dozen electric Hummers a day. A spokesperson told the publication that the company's output will increase sharply in the second half of the year, but the automaker has over 70,000 reservations for the vehicle, and some people may run out of patience and just purchase from a reseller. 

"When vehicles are quickly resold, particularly by unauthorized dealers or other resellers that do not adhere to GM's standards, the customer experience suffers and GM's brands are damaged," Carlisle said, explaining the reason behind the automaker's decision. "These changes are being implemented to ensure an exemplary customer experience, to ensure our brands remain strong, and to help prioritize ownership by brand enthusiasts and loyal customers."

In addition to these particular measures, GM also recently announced that it's giving $5,000 in reward points to customers who keep their eighth-generation Corvette Z06 sports car for a year.

Ford reveals an F-150 Lightning built for police work

Don't be surprised if you see an electric pickup truck assisting cops in the near future. Ford has introduced a version of the 2023 F-150 Lighting built for police, the Lightning Pro SSV (Special Service Vehicle). The new model is designed for tasks that don't involve pursuit, such as assisting at crime scenes or towing boats, and includes modifications to match. You'll find optional police lights for the roof, an instrument panel tray with easier equipment mounting, and toughened seating with steel intrusion plates in the front seatbacks. While this truck probably won't cart suspects to the station, it could in a pinch.

The Lighting Pro SSV is otherwise similar to other pro F-150 EVs, although that's not a bad thing. You can outfit the police version with the same regular or extended-range battery packs, with motors providing a respective 452HP and 580HP. You'll likewise get driver assists such as Co-Pilot360 and automatic emergency braking, and Ford Pro promises telematics and support you don't get with ordinary models. To no one's surprise, Ford is pitching the Lighting's design as officer-friendly — the slew of power outlets will help illuminate crash scenes, while the large frunk provides extra gear storage.

Ford doesn't expect to share full details of the 2023 F-150 Lightning until later this summer, so you'll have to wait a while for range estimates and other details. Still, this could be an important launch. The Lightning Pro SSV is the first US electric pickup designed for police, as Ford is keen to point out. While it's not a cruiser, it could still play a significant role in electrifying departments.

'Grand Theft Auto VI' reportedly has a female lead

Grand Theft Auto VI might reflect evolving social attitudes as much as it does gameplay. Bloombergsources claim Rockstar's future open-world title will include the franchise's first playable female lead character. The Latina woman will reportedly be part of a Bonnie and Clyde-inspired duo at the heart of the story. Developers are also trying to shake a past reputation for transphobia and won't make jokes about marginalized groups, the tipsters said.

Rockstar's attempt to avoid crunch time is also affecting both the scope and release date for the game, according to the sources. GTA VI was supposedly meant to cover large portions of North and South America, but was whittled back to a fictional version of the Miami area (presumably Vice City). And while financial analysts are predicting a release sometime between April 2023 and March 2024, Bloomberg's contacts believe the game is "at least" two years away.

The company has apparently overhauled its design and management structures to reduce the need for excessive work hours. It reportedly added team members, created more opportunities for time off and fired leaders who were allegedly abusive or difficult. While the insiders described problems with bureaucratic overhead and some frustration over a lack of progress, many employees were said to be happy with the reduced pressure.

There's enough financial breathing room, at least. GTA V and GTA Online have enjoyed success for years. GTA V only left The NPD Group's top 20 yearly bestsellers in 2020, and that was because NPD stopped tracking digital sales from Rockstar parent company Take-Two. GTAO, meanwhile, has been popular enough that Rockstar launched a GTA+ subscription service this year to profit from the game's biggest fans. GTA VI may arrive more than a decade after its predecessor, but its creators won't suffer much from the long wait.

Volkswagen begins ID.4 electric vehicle production in the US

Volkswagen has begun producing its all-electric ID.4 crossover SUV in the United States. The automaker announced on Tuesday that it plans to scale production of the ID.4 at its Chattanooga, Tennessee factory to 7,000 vehicles per month by the end of 2022 before further increasing output throughout 2023.

According to Volkswagen, customers can expect deliveries to begin by October, starting with both rear- and all-wheel-drive variants of the 82kWh model. Later this year, the facility will begin manufacturing the more affordable 62kWh variant as well. To date, the automaker says it has delivered more than 190,000 ID.4 units globally since it launched the crossover last year.

Volkswagen credits this week’s milestone to an $800 million investment the company made to electrify its Chattanooga factory. With today’s announcement, the facility is now one of six sites worldwide where Volkswagen is producing electric vehicles. In March, the automaker said it would spend $7.1 billion over the next five years to increase its North American EV production capacity. By 2030, Volkswagen plans for electric vehicles to account for about 55 percent of its sales in the US.

Mercedes EQXX first drive: Driving the future of Mercedes

Mercedes had a singular goal: Build a one-off concept vehicle that could travel 1000 kilometers (621 miles) on one charge from a battery pack slightly smaller than 100kWh. The result was the EQXX, a coupe that looks as good as the technology that powers it. Typically these vehicles are off limits to anyone outside of a chosen few within an automaker. But Mercedes decided to let us behind the wheel for a test drive.

Designed to slip through the air with as little drag as possible, the EQXX doesn’t wow with off-the-line performance. Instead, the power really comes after you’ve gotten to highway speed. But even then, the concept vehicle is an efficiency machine that feels like the future. Mercedes has no plans to put the EQXX into production, but what it's learning now will at some point land in its vehicles. Watch the video below for the full story.

Ford is reportedly planning to cut 8,000 jobs to help fund its EV plans

Ford is reportedly planning to cut up to 8,000 jobs over the coming weeks in an effort to fund its plans to build EVs, according to Bloomberg. The layoffs would occur at its Ford Blue unit, recently created to develop vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE), and would affect other salaried positions in the company. The bulk of cuts are expected to occur in the US.

In March, Ford CEO Jim Farley restructured the company, dividing it into the Ford Blue and Model E divisions, with the latter dedicated to electric cars and pickups like the Mach E and F150 Lightning. As part of that, he announced plans to cut $3 billion in costs by 2026, with the aim of transforming Ford Blue into "the profit and cash engine" for the entire company.

"As part of this, we have laid out clear targets to lower our cost structure to ensure we are lean and fully competitive with the best in the industry," Ford's CCO Mark Truby told Bloomberg in a statement, without revealing more details about the cuts. Ford currently employees around 31,000 salaried US workers. 

In March, the automaker announced plans to boost electric vehicle spending to $50 billion and plan to build two million EVs by 2026. The company sold just 27,140 EVs stateside last year, but got a significant 76.6 percent boost last month as shipping commenced for the F-150 Lightning. 

250,000 car deliveries in one quarter can't save Tesla from dwindling revenue

The supply chain issues that have wracked the rest of the automotive industry for more than a year appear to have finally caught up with Tesla. The EV automaker announced on Wednesday's Q2 investors report that its automotive revenue has declined by more than 13 percent following last quarter's record-breaking mark despite ending the quarter with "the highest vehicle production month" in company history. 

Per the company, Tesla produced 258,580 vehicles last quarter and delivered 201,304 of them. During last quarter's investor call, CEO Elon Musk estimated that the company could increase its annual deliveries by 60 percent in 2022. To date, the company has delivered 564,743 vehicles and would need to sell another 935,257 of them by year's end to meet that goal. 

This could prove challenging given that the company produced nearly 18 percent fewer vehicles this quarter than last (though still up 27 percent year over year). COVID-related lockdowns shuttered the Shanghai Gigafactory for most of Q2, though ramping production at the newer Austin and Berlin-Brandenburg plants have helped offset the closure. Austin has begun producing vehicles with the company's new 4680 battery cells and the Berlin Gigafactory notched a production rate of more than a thousand vehicles in a single week during the last three months. 

Tesla had generally managed to avoid the supply chain woes that have hamstrung the automotive industry since the start of the pandemic — until now. The MSRP of a Model Y long-range currently sits just under $66,000, that's 30 percent higher than it cost in 2021. 

The company was sure to point out that its total revenue grew 42 percent year over year to $16.9 billion, operating income had improved year over year to $2.5 billion (with an impressive 14.6 percent operating margin) and is currently sitting atop a $18.9 billion pile of cash.

This is thanks in large part to Tesla's liquidating 75 percent of its Bitcoin holdings (worth $936 million) over the past three months. The company invested $1.5 billion in the digital pseudo-currency in February 2021 and sold off a 10 percent stake a couple months later. Tesla's backing of Bitcoin, much as with Musk's pet Dogecoin currency, helped to further mainstream the crypto schemes. Musk reportedly had "a super bad feeling about the economy" in June. 

Tesla executives are scheduled to hop on an investor teleconference after markets close this afternoon at 5:30 pm ET / 2:30 pm PT so stay tuned for updates live from the call. 

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