EV Start-Up Rivian Nets New $350M Investment from Cox Automotive

First Up 09/11/19

GM Recalls 3.5 Million U.S. Vehicles Due to Braking Issue
General Motors Co is recalling 3.46 million U.S. pickup trucks and SUVs to address a vacuum pump issue that could make braking more difficult and increase the risk of a crash, reports Reuters. The recall, which covers 2014-2018 model year vehicles, including some Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra, Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon vehicles, was triggered because the amount of vacuum created by the vacuum pump may decrease over time, GM told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in documents posted Wednesday. NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation into the issue in November 2018, and said it had reports of 9 crashes and two injuries related to the issue. GM said dealers will reprogram the Electronic Brake Control Module with a new calibration that will improve how the system utilizes the hydraulic brake boost assist function when vacuum assist is depleted. Read more here. 

EV Start-Up Rivian Nets New $350M Investment from Cox Automotive
Electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive LLC has netted a $350 million investment from Atlanta-based Cox Automotive as the automaker readies to produce its first vehicles. According to The Detroit News, the investment announced Tuesday follows $500 million from Ford Motor Co., and $700 million from Amazon.com Inc. earlier this year. Rivian aims to launch its first electric pickup truck and electric SUV by 2021. The automaker is currently renovating an old Mitsubishi plant in central Illinois where it plans to start building those vehicles late next year. The automaker has grabbed the attention of big-name investors and the public for its vision of rugged, longer-range electric vehicles that can go off-road, haul, and stand up to wear and tear that electric vehicles aren't currently known for. Read more here.

Climate Change, Trade Woes Reshape Frankfurt Auto Show
The headwinds buffeting the auto industry are making themselves felt at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with companies confronting a slowdown in sales due to global trade uncertainty and pressure from governments to lower emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. The Washington Post reports that signs of the times at this year’s show include a slew of new, market-ready electric cars led by Volkswagen’s ID.3 compact that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. World sales of cars are expected to slip to 78.3 million this year, from 83.0 million last year. The U.S.-China trade conflict has hurt economic growth in China and dented earnings at companies like Germany’s BMW and Daimler, both of which make cars in the U.S. for export to China. Europe’s car market grew only 0.1% last year amid weakening economic growth. On top of that comes continuing uncertainty over the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU, currently slated for Oct. 31. Read more here. 

EPA Chief Hints Agency May Soften Auto Mileage Rollback
The Trump administration is still evaluating key aspects of its plan to weaken Obama-era fuel-efficiency requirements, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said, signaling that the final standards for autos after 2020 may be more stringent than initially recommended. According to Automotive News, a final decision on the fuel-efficiency requirements that automakers must meet after 2020 hasn’t been made, Wheeler told reporters at a Washington event Tuesday, adding “it’s safe to say our final will not look exactly like the way we proposed it.” Wheeler added that he is still committed to easing the auto standards set during the Obama administration. The EPA and Transportation Department’s 2018 proposal recommended capping emissions and mileage requirements at 2020 levels, along with several options that would require annual improvements. Most automakers have opposed the agencies’ plan to freeze the standards, instead urging the Trump administration to adopt rules requiring annual improvements. Read more here.  

Volkswagen Gets a New Look – and Sound
Volkswagen has a new look. The automaker’s familiar logo is getting a makeover designed to help it enter “a new era,” according to a senior executive who helped preview the makeover at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday. The Detroit Bureau reports that the outgoing logo, with its “V” and “W” arranged inside a chromed circle, won’t simply vanish. In fact, some less observant eyes might not realize the design has changed. It’s simply switching to what Jürgen Stackmann, the corporate board member heading sales and marketing for the German automaker, calls a more “flat” and “two-dimensional” appearance that happens to play out better in digital designs. On top of the logo update, VW will be getting a new “sound logo,” and not one bringing back the familiar “Fahrvergnugen” audio meme that was seemingly omnipresent in VW’s U.S. marketing efforts throughout the 1990s. Read more here. 

Webinar: Auto Market Trends & Outlook
Join AIADA’s AutoTalk on Tuesday, September 17th at 2:00pm EDT as Jonathan Smoke, Cox Automotive's Chief Economist, reviews:

  • Key economic and automotive market trends 

  • Latest forecasts

  • Economic fundamentals and the impact key trends have on new and used car sales, including vehicle prices and affordability

  • Wholesale market supply

  • Auto loan rates

  • Consumer credit access

  • And ongoing trade concerns and the challenges impacting dealers

To register, click here.

Around the Web

This Classic-But-Custom Land Rover Defender From 007's 'Spectre' Can Be Yours [Autoblog]

Forget Driving. You'll Wish You Could Watch TV in This Car. [Wired]

Hyundai's 45 Electric Concept Car is a Futuristic Blast From the Past [The Verge]

Can't Miss Vehicles of the Frankfurt Motor Show [USA Today]