BMW LIFTS GUIDANCE AS HIGHER CAR PRICES COUNTER CHIP WOES
BMW AG raised its profit expectations for this year after higher car prices outweighed a worsening semiconductor shortage that's hampering output across global automakers. The German luxury carmaker sees earnings before interest and taxes on automaking of between 9.5% and 10.5% on sales, up from a previous view of 7% to 9%, according to a statement Thursday. BMW's earnings before tax are still expected to rise "significantly," it said, adding free cash flow is seen at around 6.5 billion euros ($7.5 billion).
LOW AUTO INVENTORY/HIGHER PRICES WEAR DOWN FRUSTRATED CAR SHOPPERS
The auto industry's more than yearlong struggle to get more vehicles on dealership lots is starting to wear on car shoppers, some of whom are giving up and dropping out of the market until the situation improves. Major car companies are expected to report third-quarter U.S. sales on Friday, with analysts predicting that quarterly results will fall for the first time this year. Research firm J.D. Power forecast auto-industry sales will total 3.3 million for the July-to-September period, a 13% drop from the year-earlier quarter.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
GM TO OPEN BATTERY CELL DEVELOPMENT CENTER IN PUSH TO CUT EV COSTS
General Motors Co on Tuesday said it will open a battery cell development center in southeast Michigan to help it drive down the cost and boost the driving range of electric vehicles with lithium ion and solid-state battery cells. The Wallace Battery Cell Innovation Center, to be located on the No. 1 U.S. automaker's technical campus in Warren, Michigan, is expected to open in mid-2022 and begin building prototype cells in the fourth quarter, GM said.
MERCEDES LOSING GROUND IN LUXURY MARKET
Mercedes-Benz, the leader in luxury sales after the first quarter but topped by BMW in the second quarter, continues to lose ground as the automaker grapples with production shortfalls caused by tight semiconductor supplies that have roiled the industry since the start of the year. Mercedes now stands in third place, behind BMW and Lexus, as its third-quarter U.S. deliveries tumbled 21 percent to 55,130.
Source: Automotive News
GM & GE TO DEVELOP SUPPLY CHAIN OF RARE EARTH MATERIALS FOR EVS
General Motors is partnering with a General Electric division to develop a supply chain of rare earth and other materials used in the manufacturing of electric vehicles and renewable energy equipment, the automaker said on Wednesday. The collaboration with GE Renewable Energy will create a supply chain based in North America and Europe and evaluate ways to improve supplies of heavy and light rare earth materials and magnets, copper and electrical steel, GM said.
GM OUTLINES AMBITIOUS PLANS
General Motors Co. riding a wave of investor enthusiasm for its electric-vehicle plans, set one of its most ambitious financial targets in years Wednesday, telling investors it aims to more than double revenue by 2030. The Detroit auto maker also took direct aim at Tesla Inc. saying it plans to take the lead in electric-vehicle sales in the U.S., without pegging a timetable. GM executives outlined their longer-term goals ahead of a daylong event for investors and analysts at GM's research center in suburban Detroit.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
CHIP IMPACT UPDATES
Chip Crisis Dashes Industry's Hopes for Post-Pandemic Sales Recovery
Hopes that 2021 would recover much of the auto sales lost to the pandemic in 2020 are fading as the semiconductor shortage continues to bring widespread factory stoppages. Last month, IHS Markit, which many automakers use as their benchmark for production forecasting, said it was trimming its production forecast by 6.2 percent, or 5 million units, to 75.8 million for 2021.
Source: Automotive News
GM sees Improvement
Nearly all of General Motors' U.S. assembly plants will be running next week, as the automaker said production would restart at its two Lansing, Mich., factories. Lansing Grand River Assembly will resume production Monday, ahead of schedule. Cadillac CT4 and CT5 production at the plant has been idle since May 10, and Chevrolet Camaro production has been down since September 13 because of the global microchip shortage.
Source: Automotive News
But not in Mexico
General Motors Co said Thursday it will extend by two weeks a halt to Chevrolet Blazer sport utility vehicle production at its Ramos plant in Mexico because of the ongoing chips shortage as it resumes production at other North American plants. The largest U.S. automaker said production will resume Monday at its Lansing Grand River Assembly plant that builds the Chevrolet Camaro and the Cadillac CT4 and CT5. Cadillac production has been halted at the Michigan plant since May. Production of the Blazer at the Ramos plant, which has been halted since August 23, will now not resume before October 15.
Ford Fiesta Production Paused Through October As Chip Crisis Persists
The ongoing fallout from the microchip shortage has forced The Blue Oval to shutter many of its facilities this year, a situation that shows no signs of abating, given the recent spate of production cuts that Ford Authority reported earlier today. In addition to the new round of cuts that will impact Ford Mustang, Ford Transit, and Ford Super Duty inventory in North America, buyers in Europe will have a hard time finding the Ford Fiesta at dealers, as the automaker recently announced that the Ford Cologne Assembly Plant will be idled through the entire month of October, according to Automotive News Europe.
The plant, which solely builds the Ford Fiesta, will not produce any vehicles through October 31st, 2021, and could remain idle into November. The setback comes just after the reveal of the refreshed 2022 Ford Fiesta, which boasts significant tech upgrades, exterior tweaks, and a torque boost for the performance-oriented Ford Fiesta ST. But activity around the plant will almost certainly continue, as the push toward electrification will eventually transform the site into the Ford Cologne Electrification Center. While it is currently unclear what impact the transformation will have on Ford Fiesta production, the redesigned plant is slated to produce vehicles that will utilize the Volkswagen MEB platform, as part of the region's pivot away from internal combustion vehicles. Ford of Europe is intent on switching completely over to battery-powered vehicles by 2030.
In addition to simply pausing production at its assembly plants, Ford has also reconfigured certain vehicle lineups in ways that reduce their reliance on microchips. As Ford Authority recently reported, the Ford Puma model range now features "Design" equipment offerings, which feature less electronics, and a lower price tag. The Ford Puma has supplanted the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus to become the most popular Ford in Europe.
Source: Ford Authority
Audi CEO Sees Chip Shortage As 'Perfect Storm' But Will Get Through It
Premium car brand Audi, Volkswagen's biggest profit contributor, has to troubleshoot on a day-to-day basis to tackle an ongoing shortage of auto chips, its chief executive said. "We had a very strong first half in 2021. We do expect a much weaker second half. We really have trouble," Markus Duesmann told Reuters ahead of the Reuters Events Automotive conference, calling the situation "a perfect storm".
TESLA ALLEGES BATTERY TECHNOLOGY SECRETS STOLEN
Tesla is continuing its trade secrets fight with Rivian, alleging that the electric-truck hopeful poached employees and stole "highly proprietary" battery technology, according to a Bloomberg report. The Silicon Valley firm filed a lawsuit against Rivian 14 months ago, but claims the company has continued poaching its staff, and using them to steal trade secrets. In a court filing last month, Tesla cited numerous alleged incidents of former employees stealing trade secrets on their way out the door to join Rivian.
Earlier reports suggested Tesla's lawsuit covered areas like charging, sales, and manufacturing. But next-generation battery tech is perhaps a much bigger accusation. It also comes as Rivian prepares for an initial public offering (IPO), with a reported $80 billion valuation. The company has also said it is ready to begin customer deliveries of its R1T electric pickup truck.
A California state court judge in San Jose allowed Tesla to add its new allegations to the pending case, and add three more of its former employees as defendants, according to the Bloomberg report. Rivian had reportedly objected, arguing the new allegations were unsupported by the facts and that expanding the scope of the litigation would delay resolving it. Rivian already lost its initial request for dismissal of the case in March, Bloomberg noted.
Rivian has boasted of some battery innovations, claiming 25% more energy density than other EVs-including Tesla.
The company has also planned ahead for second-life uses for the cells, and rolled out a battery warranty that tops that of Tesla. Its cell supplier, Samsung SDI, has reportedly considered an Illinois plant, potentially in the same town as Rivian's assembly plant.
Source: Green Car Reports
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