VW Stays Committed to BEVs

First Up 11/27/23

VW Stays Committed to BEVs

Yes, automakers overproduced battery-electric vehicles in anticipation of greater consumer demand, acknowledges Volkswagen strategist Reinhard Fischer. And, yes, U.S. dealer inventories of unsold BEVs are piling up. “But the interest is there,” he says, predicting a bright future for electrified vehicles in America, despite bumps along the way. According to Wards, BEV sales are growing, but at a slower rate than many automakers anticipated. That gives some industry executives pause about the big investment in the historic transition from internal-combustion to electrified propulsion systems. Yet VW remains all-in for the anticipated big pivot. “We’re not scaling back in the U.S., although I’ve read some people are,” Fischer, VW Group of America’s senior vice president and head of strategy, says at a recent Reuters automotive conference here. Although BEV sales growth hasn’t met high expectations, U.S. deliveries of 915,500 units set a record last year. This year, sales are expected to close in on 1.2 million, Fischer says. Click here for the full story.

Porsche Panamera Gets More Power, Sportier Styling in Heavy Update

The Porsche Panamera is receiving a big update that delivers more power and interior tech as well as updated design. According to Automotive News, the 2.9-liter V-6 turbo engine produces 348 hp — an increase of 23 hp from the outgoing model. That helps the Panamera accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds and boosts the top track speed to 169 mph. The Panamera 4 all-wheel-drive variant achieves 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and has a top track speed of 168 mph. The 2024 Panamera will start at $101,550, while the Panamera 4 begins at $108,550. Both prices include shipping. The models should arrive in the U.S. in the spring. Porsche also plans to offer four plug-in hybrid powertrains with increased power, extended range and improved efficiency. It did not disclose pricing or delivery timing for the hybrids. The Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid, which arrives first, features an overhauled 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine paired with an electric motor. It generates a combined 670 hp and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds. The electric motor is integrated into the housing of the updated eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, trimming 11 pounds. Click here for the full story.

Inside Colors Outside the Box

If the Los Angeles Auto Show was any indication of what's coming, consumers will see a variety of bold, colorful interior options in showrooms over the next few years. According to Automotive News, several automakers displayed vehicles with interiors that strayed away from the usual black or gray. Shades of brown popped up more frequently, as though automakers are well aware that consumers still clamor to be outside to explore rocks and mountains. Of the three freshened Sorentos on Kia's stand, one stood out not for its light blue exterior but its aptly named Dust Blue interior. Toyota's display reminded the industry that the reengineered Camry is very much alive by showcasing the venerable sedan with a red interior that could nearly burn a cornea. When automakers provide additional interior color options, customers feel like the car or crossover has been more personalized, said Robby DeGraff, product, and consumer insights analyst at AutoPacific. "Adding a different color leather to an interior might seem like a very expensive thing to do, but oftentimes it might not be," DeGraff said. "You can buy a Camry with a cool leather interior, and it provides just a nice upscale feel." Click here for the full story.

Toyota Lays Out its EV Battery Road Map, Including a Solid-State Battery (Eventually)

Toyota recently announced it had passed the benchmark of having built more than 300 million cars since the company was founded 88 years ago. But despite having pioneered hybrid powertrains, the company's high-level skepticism towards EVs means that very few of those cars have been fully electric; the Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ450e have only gone on sale in the last year. It is one of the last major automakers to enter the EV space. But following the arrival of new CEO Koji Sato, Toyota has dramatically increased its commitment to electrics, with the aim being to catch rivals with a wave of new models and innovative battery technology, reports Car and Driver. One of the first new EVs will be a three-row SUV that is set to be produced at Toyota's Georgetown, Ky. plant from 2025, and which will be aimed at the same part of the market as the Kia EV9. Toyota says this new model will use batteries produced in its own factory in Liberty, N.C., a plant that already employs 2000 people but is set to increase to 5000. Click here for the full story.

How Ferrari’s CEO Stays Ahead of His Competition

Benedetto Vigna is the chief executive officer of Ferrari, overseeing a new era as the carmaker — famous for its roaring engine — transitions to electric. Bloomberg Television’s Francine Lacqua spoke with Vigna, an Italian physicist who has helmed the company for a little over two years, about the firm’s road ahead and the CEO’s own journey. What do you think makes you successful as a leader? Since you are high up in the hierarchy, you may think you know everything. Instead, you have to keep your eyes and ears open to what other people are saying inside and outside of the company. Is there a danger that once you become a CEO, you lose that connection with clients and so misinterpret what they want or what you need to sell? This is one risk. There is also the risk of not listening to suppliers. There is also the risk of not listening to employees. There is, let’s say, the risk that you start to forget that you have two ears and one mouth. Click here to read the full interview.

 

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