Volkswagen Bets an Old SUV Can Help It Win Over Americans

First Up 05/30/23

Volkswagen Bets an Old SUV Can Help It Win Over Americans

After decades of trying to sell German engineering to Americans only to end up with a tiny slice of the world’s most profitable car market, Volkswagen has a new strategy: Pretend it is American. Inspired by electric-truck startups like Rivian and the buzz around Tesla’s planned pickup, the European car giant is about to relaunch the defunct Scout brand as an off-road electric vehicle made to Americans’ tastes. The Wall Street Journal reports, VW is hoping that the combination of a U.S. brand, a marketing message heavy on Americana, and a foray into SUVs and pickup trucks — the biggest and most profitable segment of the U.S. car market — can finally boost its presence in the country. The stakes couldn’t be higher for VW, which has become reliant on China for almost half its sales. As it loses ground there to nimbler homegrown EV startups, it is under pressure to increase its presence in other markets, and the U.S. is where it has the most headroom. The carmaker is planning to launch more than two dozen electric models in the U.S. across its stable of brands. Click here for the full story.

Toyota, Daimler Truck, Hino, and Mitsubishi Fuso Join Forces

German truck maker Daimler, Japan’s top automaker Toyota and two other automakers said Tuesday they will work together on new technologies, including using hydrogen fuel, to help fight climate change. The companies said Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., whose top stakeholder is Daimler Truck, and Hino Motors, the truck maker in the Toyota group, will merge. Daimler Truck and Toyota Motor Corp. will equally invest in the holding company of the Mitsubishi-Hino merger, reports Autoblog. The companies plan to cooperate in reducing carbon emissions and developing other technologies such as autonomous driving, net-connected services, and electric vehicles. “This collaboration among our four companies is a partnership for creating the future of commercial vehicles in Japan and the future of a ‘mobility society,’ said Toyota Motor Corp. Chief Executive Koji Sato. The two truck companies will work on commercial vehicle development, procurement, and production to become globally competitive, the executives said. “We at Daimler Truck are very proud of our products because trucks and buses keep the world moving. And soon they will even do so with zero emissions,” said Daimler Truck Chief Executive Martin Daum. Click here for the full story.

Analyst: IRA China Rules Could Handcuff BEV Sales in U.S.

A senior analyst at S&P Global Ratings is raising a caution flag about the U.S. Treasury Dept.’s new, tighter China rules for implementing the IRA. Those rules went into effect April 18 and will disqualify automakers from receiving the full $7,500 tax credit in 2025 if they include battery minerals and components “from a foreign entity of concern” – mainly China. Already, models such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Rivian R1T, Tesla Model 3 and Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe have failed to make the full subsidy list, reports Wards. “With updates to the IRA made in April, the tax credit part of the equation obviously depends on vehicle manufacturers having a mostly North American battery,” Nishit Madlani, S&P Global’s senior director in charge of autos, business and technology services points out. “The way we are reading it, Chinese batteries will automatically disqualify a vehicle from those incentives starting next year. And if a large portion of the minerals are mined or processed in China, those will also not be eligible starting in 2025,” he adds. Click here for the full story.

Tacoma Shares Design DNA of Toyota's 'Four Brothers' Body-on-Frame Trucks

As the global online reveal of the redesigned 2024 Toyota Tacoma wound down at a posh seaside tropical island resort here, after the fire dancers had departed the volcano-themed stage, Kevin Hunter sat alone, nearly unnoticed, in the driver's seat of a white Tacoma with the door open. For a few minutes, while journalists and guests just feet away largely ignored him, the president of Toyota Motor North America's Calty design studio let his hands glide across the much-improved interior contours of what is easily one of Toyota's most important products. Automotive News reports, his design teams in California and Michigan had been working on the Tacoma for more than three years, and this was an early opportunity to touch and feel what had previously existed only in a digital world. He wasn't going to let the moment pass, especially given the scope of a project that not only affected Toyota's third-bestselling nameplate in the U.S., but its whole body-on-frame lineup. The 2024 Tacoma is the third of four Toyota trucks to move onto the automaker's global F1 body-on-frame platform, following the Tundra full-size pickup in 2021 and Sequoia full-size SUV in 2022. Click here for the full story.

Volvo EX30 Watches Out for Bicyclists

Volvo Cars' entry electric crossover will be the Swedish automaker's first vehicle to offer a safety solution aimed at preventing deadly accidents with cyclists. The EX30, which will make its world debut June 7, warns occupants with visual and audio cues if they are about to open the door in front of a passing cyclist or other traffic user, reports Automotive News. The system will be part of the EX30's standard safety equipment. "Dooring" accidents account for up to one-fifth of all reported bike accidents in some cities. Dooring happens when a cyclist is hit by or runs into a vehicle door that is opened into the path of travel. The collision usually knocks the cyclist off the bike, causing serious injuries and, in some cases, death. Volvo will be the second member of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to offer the technology. Volvo CEO Jim Rowan said that the EX30 will be a "big part" of achieving the company's 2025 targets of boosting global sales 95 percent compared with last year to 1.2 million, with half of those models being full electric. Click here for the full story.


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