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Time to Rethink Day-to-Day Corporate Mobility
The pandemic changed the way we commute, work, and interact with one another. Considering driver wants, fleet trends, and economic realities, is now a good time to rethink how we move about on the company dime?
- Jordan Wiklund
2022 Accident Management & Fleet Safety Survey
Despite standard high-tech safety features, accident rates and severity are up – and so is the cost to repair them.
- Mike Antich
Fleet Industry Veteran Retires
A Chicago area native, Bob Loeffler started his fleet career in 1982 as the maintenance manager and later purchasing manager for Chicago-based Genway Fleet Leasing Corp., which was founded in 1966 as Chevway, a Chevrolet dealer group involved in negotiating national fleet leases.
- Jordan Wiklund
Best Practices in Managing Fuel Spend
Controlling fuel spend is a top priority for fleet managers. There are more tools and strategies than ever to not burn the midnight oil, start saving (and stop sweating) on fuel spend.
- Staff
Samsara, Whip Around Partner
Two global fleet management and maintenance platforms are now integrated to improve fleet sustainability.
New AI Strategies Reduce Dashcam Size and Cost
Emerging AI-based video telematics solutions for improving safety and event analysis are moving most processing from the edge to the cloud, reducing the space required for components and heat management while also slashing camera costs as much as 64%.
- News/Media Release
Mercedes Partners with Sila on High Silicon Battery
Sila's silicon anode chemistry will be incorporated for the first time in batteries for the Mercedes electric G-Class.
- News/Media Release
GM Partners with Red Hat to Advance Vehicle Software
The collaboration allows the integration of Red Hat's in-vehicle operating system into GM's existing Ultifi platform to upgrade the company's software systems.
- Staff
2021 Crash Fatalities Hit 16-Year High
New projections from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate a 10.5% increase in U.S. traffic deaths in 2021.
- Staff
U.S. Ranks Third as Most Dangerous Country to Drive
Zutobi’s annual analysis ranks countries for dangerous driving based on factors like speed limits, seat belt compliance, blood alcohol concentration limits for drivers, and road traffic death rates.
- Staff
Fleet Electrification: The Straight Dope
At the next Fleet Forward: The Tour stop in Chicago Ryan Pritchard of Pritchard Companies will share his firsthand experience driving and charging 54 electric vehicle models.
- Cindy Brauer
Kia Debuts 2023 Soul
The Soul lineup now include LX, S, EX, GT-Line, GT-Line Tech trimlines. The refreshed Soul is powered by a single powertrain: a 2.0L inline four-cylinder. Kia’s intelligent variable transmission is standard for all trims.
- News/Media Release
Cadillac Introduces New All-Electric Luxury Vehicle
Cadillac’s first fully electric vehicle, the LYRIQ, offers an EPA-estimated 312 miles of range on a full charge. Ordering opens May 19.
- Staff
Vision Zero Fleet Forum Virtual Conference Kicks Off May 18
Together for Safer Roads is holding its annual Vision Zero Fleet Forum conference virtually this week, bringing together road safety experts in a critical event for fleet operators looking to reduce collisions and improve safety.
- Jordan Wiklund
Nation’s Largest Zero-emissions Public Carshare Program Launches in Twin Cities
Featuring over 100 vehicles and 70 charging stations, the Evie Spot Network is the nation’s largest public electric mobility program and represents more than three years of intracity collaboration with the communities closest to the program area.
- Mike Antich
The Drumbeat of Recession and Its Potential Impact on Fleet
Take a closer look at the potential of an economic recession and the impact of inflation on fleets in this State of the Fleet Industry video.
- Amanda Huggett
Transform Your Fleet Using Keyless & Automated Technologies
How can the latest in digital key technology transform your fleet operations? For starters, a key in the cloud becomes associated with a person rather than a vehicle, ultimately allowing for more control.
Controlling Fuel Costs
High fuel prices aren’t the only reason why a fleet’s fuel costs can spiral out of control. Even with today’s volatile fuel prices you can take practical steps to ensure that you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing this critical fleet expense.
- Mike Antich
Wheels Donlen CEO Unveils Fleet Platform Strategy
In this installment of the State of the Fleet Industry Spotlight Interview, Mike Antich interviews Wheels Donlen CEO Shlomo Crandus for an update on the Wheels Donlen merger and its platform integration.
- News/Media Release
Volkswagen to Launch All-Electric Pickup and SUV
Volkswagen Group revealed plans for its new all-electric pickup and SUV for the U.S. market under its Scout brand, with production slated to start for 2026.
SsangYong Motors UK has expanded its dealer network with the addition of North City SsangYong.
Car subscription software provider Loopit is witnessing increased demand from retailers looking at alternative revenue stream solutions for their used car inventory. 
Only 5% of car buyers plan to purchase a diesel powered model and two thirds said they’d never buy one, according to a new study.
Mazda UK sales director Peter Allibon has discussed the Japanese brand’s challenging launch of online retail, its direct vehicle imports to the UK and agency model retail in a wide-ranging interview with the AM News Show.
The AM Awards moved to a new location last night - the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London. The industry's biggest and most influential players were there to welcome it. Here are full results from the 2022 ceremony.
Marshall Motor Group has succeeded in condensing the operations of three Audi premium car dealerships into one flagship location with the opening of its new Audi Centre in South East London.
Wholesale used car prices have declined for a fourth successive month at BCA remarketing centres across the UK as chief operating officer Stuart Pearson asserts “we have seen the market soften”.
Vauxhall has removed its Insignia to align its range to “UK market trends” as it moves towards the full electrification of its new car models.
Audi has suspended the production of its A4, A5 and A8 saloon cars as component supplies continue to hamper the German premium car manufacturer.
Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) has partnered with Wagonex to pilot a subscription service for the new Cupra Born performance electric vehicle (EV).
Eastbourne MG has taken car sales to the ‘high street’ with its relocation into the coastal town’s Langley Shopping Centre.
The National Franchised Dealers Associations (NFDA) has indicated that it is keen to learn what influence new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation from the European Commission (EC) will have on the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Auto Trader has struck-up a new partnership with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which will see the used car marketplaces data become an official economic barometer for the authority.
JCT600 apprentices have told the AM News Show how they overcame stigma about the automotive sector to find a new ‘home from home’ in Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz franchised dealership roles.
The squeeze on household incomes and continued new car supply constraints mean that the UK’s car finance sector is likely to be restricted to ‘single-digit growth’ in 2022, the FLA has said.
Advertisement feature from AutoBI
Vertu Motors has completed a £2 million share buy back transaction to boost its employee benefit trust” as chief executive Robert Forrester increased his own shareholding in the car retail PLC.
Available Car has appointed former Renault Retail Group regional operations director Craig Heathershaw as its new chief operating officer.
Mark Hankey has joined Aston Barclay’s ‘new look’ sales team as chief revenue officer.
The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has announced its sponsorship of the Automotive 30% Club’s Inspiration for Innovation Network.
- Malcolm Hogan
IIHS Performs More Aggressive SUV Side-Impact Crash Tests with Interesting Results
2022 suv iihs side-impact crash test ratingsThe recent news of traffic fatalities increasing to levels not seen since 2005 is disheartening, especially considering how far we have come with automotive safety and technology surrounding accident avoidance.  Full Article »
- Malcolm Hogan
New Car Preview: 2023 BMW 3 Series Sedan
2023 bmw 3 seriesThe BMW 3 Series has undoubtedly been a benchmark for the luxury compact sports sedan segment for nearly as long as it has been in existence. To keep the 3  Full Article »
- Malcolm Hogan
2022 Acura MDX SH-AWD A-Spec Review & Test Drive
2022 acura mdx a-specThe Acura MDX has long been a trend-setter for the mainstream three-row luxury crossover segment, and it continues to retain such a place with the newly redesigned fourth-generation bringing us  Full Article »
- Malcolm Hogan
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance Gives Us a Glimpse into The Electrification of Motorsports
Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformanceThe future is bright, or in the automotive world, it’s electrified. The thing is, automotive electrification looks to open a new world of motorsports where vehicles get even faster and  Full Article »
- Malcolm Hogan
2023 Nissan Z Attempts to Redefine the Affordable RWD Sports Car Starting at $41,015
2023 nissan zThe reviews are out, and the 2023 Nissan Z looks to be a champion that potentially marks the very last of such a rear-wheel-drive ‘analog’ thrill machine that is relatively  Full Article »
- Malcolm Hogan
New Car Preview: 2023 Cadillac Escalade-V
2023 cadillac escalade-vThere’s no doubt that America loves its big SUVs, and, in some cases, we indulge in a little fun in having our big SUVs pumping out some extra power because,  Full Article »
- Malcolm Hogan
New Car Preview: 2023 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
We’re certain that most will agree with us when we say Range Rovers are some of the best-looking luxury SUVs around, and the 2023 Range Rover Sport gets even better  Full Article »
- Malcolm Hogan
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD Review & Test Drive
2021 ford mustang mach-eThere was bound to be some controversy over the name of the new Ford Mustang Mach-E just as there’s controversy surrounding the inevitable emergence of electric vehicles (EVs). However, after  Full Article »
- Editor
MORE DELUSIONAL THINKING BROUGHT TO YOU BY VW.

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. Every time this business seems to be lulling itself into a tedious holding pattern of waiting for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Waiting for Godot?) to EVs – with the mind-numbing cadence, predictability and years this will entail – blundering controversy always seems to be never far away. This week, it’s those rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have come to the front of the line, broadcasting their thought balloons out loud much to the consternation of everyone, especially their long-suffering U.S. dealers.

What have those preening – “we’re geniuses, just ask us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. dealers this time? VW dropped the news – totally out of the blue, of course – that the company would produce a pickup and off-road-oriented SUV for the U.S. market under the Scout name, not VW, beginning in the year 2026. 

There was very little substance to the announcement beyond that, which made VW dealers crazy and highly suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was really up to. Was Diess aiming to cut U.S. VW dealers out of the equation and sell directly to consumers? That is a distinct possibility, as it’s commonly known that Diess is a huge, unabashed fan of St. Elon. And the fact that there were basically no other details – as in zero – about the plan forthcoming pretty much confirmed those suspicions. No plant details, no initial marketing strategy, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-market by 2026.”

Do the U.S. VW dealers have good reason to be suspicious? Absolutely. The German-based VW executives have a long history of abusing U.S. dealers. The abuses include: 1. Failing to acquire even a modicum of understanding of the U.S. market, let alone care. 2. Dim-bulb marketing and strategic decisions based on these same executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. market needed, rather than listening to direct feedback from the people who actually knew the market, aka the VW dealers. I could add several more points, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW vehicles bound for the U.S., based on the fundamental assumption made by those same German VW executives that they knew what was best, and besides, the dealers would make it work somehow. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to listen to their U.S. dealers about the need for a larger, competitive SUV for this market to the point that it was almost too late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a profitable lifesaver for the brand here.) 

You’re damn right VW dealers here in the U.S. have every reason to be wary of Herbert Diess and his longing to be considered a futurist and an EV visionary when it comes to cementing VW’s future status in the “Grand Transition.” Diess’ delusional thinking is no real surprise, either, considering it has been a trademark of every German auto executive over the last 40 years, at least (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just one glaring example). 

The train of thought for these German auto executives goes something like this: 

“I am a genius, and it will be better for all of us if you just accept that fact.” (To be fair, this applies to certain notorious U.S. auto executives too.)

“My gut feelings are far better and more accurate than any research, in-market dealer input or other reasoned advice, especially from the denizens of our U.S. market outposts.” (Ditto, see above.)

“Anyone who questions my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential position, never to be heard from again.” 

But then again, none of this is surprising to any German brand dealer here in the U.S. It’s all the same refrain whether it’s Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror stories from these dealers are eerily similar, and they all revolve around the fact that there has never been a more miserable lot of so-called “executives” who have done less with more than your typical German auto executive. Paraphrasing what Joe Pesci famously said in Casino“These guys could fuck-up a cup of coffee.”

I’ll give you a couple of examples. Remember when BMW’s German executives adopted the simple word “Joy” for a global redirect of its advertising? And then they proceeded to try to shove it down the throats of its U.S. dealers? The same dealers who had been living, breathing and nurturing “The Ultimate Driving Machine” - one of the most iconic auto advertising themes of all time – for over 30 years? Yes, BMW executives in Germany actually tried to get the U.S. dealers to adopt “Joy.” And needless to say, it did not go well. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was never heard from or seen again here in the U.S., and “The Ultimate Driving Machine” lives on.

And then there’s Mercedes-Benz. M-B executives are the acknowledged Kings and Queens of doing less with more. They have botched model launches, tried to pawn-off faux Mercedes as real Mercedes, tried to convince the American consumer that the Smart car was actually worth considering, squandered decades of a once-glorious brand history by unleashing innumerable marketing screwups, unloaded too many models in this market by creating niches upon niches that only served to confuse buyers, while conveniently ignoring the fact that their dealers weren’t asking for them. I could go on, but you get the idea.

That’s why this latest Diess-led VW initiative has all the signs of yet another German auto executive directive based on “We know what’s best for you, even though you’re too stupid to figure it out for yourselves” kind of a play. Except this initiative stinks to high heaven, and if I were a VW dealer, I wouldn’t let Diess and his minions get away with it. 

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

(VW)

The Scout renderings released by VW last week.

 

Editor's Note: You can access previous issues of AE by clicking on "Next 1 Entries" below. - WG

- Editor

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. After watching the documentary about Sheryl Crow on Showtime – which is well worth your time by the way – one of her most famous songs stood out to me: “If It Makes You Happy.” It seems to resonate even more so than it did back in 1996, when it was first released.

Since we’re living in this era of constant rancor and seemingly relentless hatred for anything and everything – including each other – it might be a good time to step back and let things cool a bit. Or at least count to three before lashing out at the outrage du jour, because the hair-trigger overreactions are debilitating and beyond tedious at this point.

Clearly, I’m not just talking about the car business here. This so-called life we’re dealing with seems to be mired in an out-of-control series of events and hostilities that make our stomachs churn and our blood boil. That this has become an unhealthy existence is the understatement of this or any other year.

In automotive terms, the world is flat-out out of control. Cars are not only becoming prohibitively expensive, they’re in painfully short supply. (Honda dealers on average have a 3-day supply. Think about that.) And the combination of the unrelenting chip shortage and the “Grand Transition” to BEV production is compounding the problem. Do you want more? According to a report in the latest edition of Automotive News dealers are selling used cars with over 150,000 miles on them, or more, because of the shortage of vehicles overall. Yes, I know cars are better built these days, but wow. Are people really signing up for that kind of commitment to the unknown? Apparently so.

But then again, if it makes you happy, who am I to suggest otherwise? I look at the stupid money being thrown around when it comes to high-profile cars these days – both used (and new) on Bring A Trailer and in new car showrooms around the country where rapidly ascending price points know no bounds – and it is simply staggering to contemplate.  

Just one example? Once upon a time not too long ago, a Porsche was somewhat affordable, that is if you squinted tightly and gulped really hard. Now? They have joined the ranks of exotics with prices frequently approaching $200,000, or more. Porsche has long prided itself as “the most profitable car company in the world” in statements to the media, but it has now taken its place in the rarefied club of the greediest car companies extant. But they’re not alone. 

Manufacturers will bore you with their studies about demographics and wealth, that this explosion in wealth pretty much has removed traditional limits when it comes to luxury vehicle prices, but I wonder when this “greed circus” will all come crashing down upon their collective bottom lines? It’s not just the German and Italian manufacturers, either. The wave of brand-new Broncos on BaT that approach six-figures – and more – is eye-popping. This goes far beyond the classic first-on-the-block syndrome that has been part of this business almost since its inception. No, this is something else altogether. I have no doubt that a lot of the pricing shenanigans going on right now in this business are simply unsustainable. But then again, I’ve never seen the Swinging Dick-ism Meter being pegged as it is right now. It seems that people have an insatiable desire to flaunt their – ahem – wares through their four-wheel conveyances, more so than at any other time in history. Who would have thought that being “The Biggest Tool in the Shed” would carry such appeal? 

But I digress. Men and women can’t – and shouldn’t – live by the car business alone, in case you haven’t noticed. Yes, I know, in this company town that notion is hard to fathom, but it’s the High-Octane Truth. After all, when you travel to other parts of the country, where anything related to automotive news doesn’t even merit mention in the local newspaper or website business sections and media outlets, you’re quickly reminded that people in the rest of the world really don’t care all that much. I like to remind people buried in this business that this is the case, because I think it’s helpful to at least retain a shred of perspective.

I once counseled an executive friend of mine who was having a terrible time with the then-current leadership at his company. I could see it in his face that it was weighing on him dramatically, and it was getting dangerously close to the point of affecting his health. I pointed out to him that one distinct advantage he had was that he could avail himself of the more fun aspects of this business without “interference” from above. In other words, to go do the things that would make him happy, and I encouraged him to do so whenever he had the chance. I had a conversation with him several months later and he said it was the best advice he ever received. 

Getting back to this idea of stepping back and giving things a little time before jumping on a position or lashing out seems like a strong course of action at this juncture. Living in a state of having a constant short fuse is dangerous for any number of reasons. As Chris Rock once famously said: “They say life is short. No, it ain’t. Life is looong if you’re unhappy.” Truer words were never spoken. 

No, this isn’t a mind-numbing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” sermon. Not by a long shot. Are you kidding? In these too often grim times we’re living in worrying is part and parcel of our existence. And that won’t go away by wishing it to be so. But you can step back and step away, even if it’s for a moment. And do something that makes you happy. If that means going for a long ride or drive to nowhere, then by all means, do it. If it means immersing yourself in a good book or some kick-ass music, why not? 

One thing you can’t do is to stew and percolate in your own juices. If you do that long enough you will start seriously impacting your health. Step back and step away for a while. As Sheryl says:

If it makes you happyIt can’t be that badIf it makes you happyThen why the hell are you so sad

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

 

Editor's Note: You can access previous issues of AE by clicking on "Next 1 Entries" below. - WG

- Editor

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. After experiencing two of the three best vehicles GM has ever built, the Chevrolet Corvette and the Cadillac CT5 V-Series Blackwing, and with the third coming next week – the Cadillac CT4 V-Series Blackwing – I can safely say that these milestone machines are a testament to the True Believers, the men and women responsible for every inch of them, GM’s “Best and Brightest” in every respect.

As I said last week, as much as I loved the exceptional Corvette Stingray, the Cadillac CT5 V-Series Blackwing broke my personal meter for cars I have experienced. But confining praise to the straight-line ferocity of the CT5-V Series Blackwing doesn't do it justice. The combination of that supercharged V8 – the throttle response is fantastic – the slick-shifting gearbox, the big-ass ceramic brakes and a chassis precisely fine-tuned to the last responsive detail makes the CT5 V-Series Blackwing one of the most compelling high-performance machines I have ever driven. In fact, I have to say that this Cadillac is the one machine I would want, more than any other, to ride out the end of the ICE Age with, and it is simply the finest car I have ever driven. I understand the ramifications of that statement, that it translates to high praise indeed considering all of the fantastic machines I have had the opportunity to drive over the years, but it is the High-Octane Truth.

But there is something more than a little melancholy about experiencing these peak ICE Age machines, because we are fast approaching the end of the road for them. And I find that to be distressing and decidedly depressing. Yes, I understand where everything is going, the inexorable march to this “Grand Transition” to a BEV industry and infrastructure is picking up momentum by the day. Where that eventually takes us remains to be seen, but everyone in this business is hell bent on getting there. There will be advantages to be sure, especially in urban areas, but there will be disadvantages, too, some of which we can’t foresee, no matter how accurate the predictions seem to be.

One clear disadvantage for me that is glaringly apparent is the sound – or lack thereof – associated with BEVs. The “soulless appliance” aspect of these machines is exacerbated by the mindless whir associated with them. And after having the CT5 V-Series Blackwing for a week, I can safely say that there is no electric vehicle – or electric vehicle with synthesized sound – that can compare to the visceral sound of a high-performance V8. Or will compare, for that matter. 

It’s funny (but not really) that recently, some “concerned” citizens around here have expressed their sour displeasure about the “noise” emanating from Woodward Avenue, especially at night. What they’re complaining about is the rumble from the high-performance machines being – ahem – “exercised” on the most famous strip of asphalt in America. Now, admittedly, some nights it sounds like echoes from the old Detroit Dragway (or even the high banks at Daytona), with big cubic inch monster V8s barking their sweet soul music, but I fail to see – or hear – the problem. After all this is the soundtrack of the Motor City. We’re not known for sewing machines around here, thank goodness. We’re known for hot-rodded V8s (and even V6s), it’s part of the fabric of this area, and to pretend otherwise is just, well, I don’t know, disingenuous? Stupid? Disheartening?

Yes, I know, the times are a changin’, but this march to BEV Nirvana is going to have some negative consequences. And pressing the “mute” button on the mechanical sounds of the ICE Age is the biggest one for me. Yes, of course, I grew up immersed in the glory days of this business, but this is one aspect of the burgeoning BEV Age that will never sit well with me.

After all, I’ll never forget the sounds from the open pipes on the ’59 corvette Sting Ray racer.

Or the 289 Cobra and the Shelby GT350 Mustang and that distinctive mechanical rasp of those hopped-up Ford V8s. (And the time I was invited by its owner to wheel a freshly-restored 427 Cobra on Telegraph Road in the early 70s. He said “go ahead and punch it” then begged me to slow down as I shifted into fourth gear with my foot still well and truly in it.)

Or the unmistakable guttural roar from a Chevy 427 L88 big-block in an “A” Production Corvette, a sound you could hear around racetracks all over America in the 60s and 70s (or on the street, if you were lucky enough).

And even better, the glorious noise from a 500-cu. in. fuel-injected V8 in the back of a Can-Am McLaren, flat-out at Road America. To this day, there is nothing like it, and never will be, frankly.

Or the fantastic sounds emanating from the turbo V8s ricocheting off of the walls and grandstands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A truly singular experience.

And even now, with the Dodge Hellcat Challengers and Chargers, the clear favorite machine of choice on Woodward these days (and nights).

Or the fantastic sound from the supercharged V8 in the Cadillac CT5 V-Series Blackwing, something I’m absolutely sure I will never get tired of.

And I have many, many more ICE highlights in my memory bank, to be sure.

I intend on immersing myself in the experience of a high-performance ICE V8 for as long as I possibly can. Because despite the eye-popping performance numbers generated by EVs, they will never compare to the thrilling aural appeal of a high-performance ICE machine. It's just not possible.

When the streets and byways of America go silent with the perceived – both real and imagined – bliss of BEVs, and the sounds of ICE Age machines slowly fade away except for special car events and at racetracks, I am quite sure about one thing:

We’re going to miss it.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

- Editor

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. GM President, Mark Reuss made a special announcement on LinkedIn on Monday (4/25): "Some time ago we moved the Corvette team into the EV space in Warren, Michigan, and when we revealed the new mid-engine Corvette, I said there would be 'more to come.' This morning I sat down with Phil LeBeau of CNBC and finally answered the question I’ve been asked countless times. Yes, in addition to the amazing new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and other gas-powered variants coming, we will offer an electrified and a fully electric, Ultium-based Corvette in the future. In fact, we will offer an electrified Corvette as early as next year. Details and names to come at a later date. In addition, we also announced today Ultium Platform’s energy recovery system, a patented onboard system that takes the heat generated by EV batteries and uses it to warm the cabin, create more efficient charging conditions, and even increase vehicle acceleration. And it can boost the vehicle’s range by about 10%. It’s a perfect example of how developing a ground-up EV platform like Ultium enables unique features not easily done with a retrofit."  Watch the teaser video in On The Table.

An electrified Corvette? Yes, and it was inevitable. Those in the know around this town knew that GM’s Best and Brightest, the True Believers responsible for the three greatest ICE cars in the company’s history – the mid-engine Corvette, the Cadillac CT5-V Series Blackwing, and the Cadillac CT4-V Series Blackwing – had been moved to GM’s EV development programs two years ago. The significance of this move did not go unnoticed, and it underscored GM’s all-hands-on-deck commitment to electrification.

The Mark Reuss announcement confirmed what was already known around GM, and that was the fact that a Hybrid C8 was already nearing the final production development phase, and that the ninth-generation Corvette would be fully electric. Now, before anyone starts wailing about the “end of the ICE Age for Corvette!” let me be clear: I can safely say that the ICE Corvette – in all of its upcoming iterations, including the Z06 and more – will be around for a long, long time. The Corvette will be available in an ICE version, a hybrid and eventually a fully-electric machine. And they will all be built in the same Corvette manufacturing facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

To me, this pragmatic approach for the future of the Corvette makes excellent sense. Rather than turn off the core Corvette buyers, you give them propulsion options of their choosing going forward. Having experienced a 2022 Corvette over the past week (see On The Table – WG), I called it “one of the most seductive combinations of power and overall performance that money can buy.” The sound of that high-performance V8 in the Corvette is mesmerizing and addictive. Longtime readers know my predilection for V8 power, and I must say that the new Corvette offers everything I want and more. The sound alone is worth the price of admission, and the scintillating overall performance is just icing on that V8-powered cake.

But that’s what I prefer. For many others – and especially for the buyers new to the Corvette brand – a hybrid version makes perfect sense. You only have to consider the spectacular new Ferrari 296 GTB to understand where all of this is going. This new Ferrari offers a combined 819HP from its mid-mounted V6 and 6.0-kWh electric motor. You can assume that a Corvette competitor to this machine is a given, especially given the talents and capabilities of GM’s True Believers.

But they aren’t stopping there, because a fully-electric Corvette is “what’s next” down the road. The biggest challenge by far for GM engineers will be to deal with the one thing about EVs that puts a damper on overall performance, and that is the huge weight penalty that comes with the mass of the batteries. GM’s proprietary Ultium platform bristles with many design breakthroughs and technological advances, but it’s also burdened by the one thing that plagues all EVs, and that is its crushing weight.

But I wouldn’t bet against GM’s “best and brightest” when it comes to solving these challenges for the next-gen Corvette. After all, the pundits “out there” said that designing, engineering and manufacturing a mid-engine high-performance sports car that adhered to the Corvette’s cost-effective mission couldn’t be done. “They” were proved wrong of course, as the new Corvette delivers on its mission and then some. 

And with lighter-weight batteries and other BEV-related technology progressing at a furious rate, I have no doubt that by the time a ninth-generation Corvette makes its debut, it will deliver on its high-performance mission as well.

The Mark Reuss announcement today confirmed a lot of known facts and rumors about Corvette’s future plans. And for current and future Corvette enthusiasts, the news has to be encouragingly optimistic.

I share that enthusiasm and optimism, because after experiencing the 2022 Corvette, I have no doubt that GM’s True Believers are up to the task at hand.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

 

Editor's Note: You can access previous issues of AE by clicking on "Next 1 Entries" below. - WG

- Editor
CORVETTES I HAVE KNOWN.

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. As longtime readers well know, the Chevrolet Corvette has played an inexorable role in my ongoing car addiction. I’ve been honored to have experienced some of the most famous and spectacular Corvettes ever built in period and in real time. Those experiences are forever etched in my mind, and for reasons I’ll explain later, I think it’s high time I give you a glimpse into Corvette history, because for me, it never gets old.

(GM)The 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer photographed at the GM Styling viewing courtyard in 1960. 

The 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer. As I’ve stated many, many times in these pages, this machine is my all-time favorite car. I first saw it one blistering summer afternoon in our neighborhood in 1962, and I will never forget that day. I was still in my bike-riding days back then, but I remember resting with my buddies on a corner in our neighborhood after a long, hot day of riding around aimlessly – we did that often back then – when we heard a rumble and roar coming from off in the distance. I knew right away that it wasn't motorcycles and that it was more than one of whatever it was – and just then a pack of the most stunning cars we'd ever seen burst around the corner and came rumbling right past us – the sun glinting off the barking pipes and the canopy of trees shimmering off the perfect mirror finishes of the paint jobs. This "horsepower train" was led by the 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer in Silver, followed by the XP700 Corvette (a "bubble-top" show car with side pipes also in Silver – it was Mitchell's favorite color), the first Mako Shark Corvette and a concept called the Corvair Super Spyder (also in Silver), a wild, racing-inspired show car with dual cut-down racing windscreens and three pipes curling out and around each side in the back. 

(GM)A rare photo of the Corvette Sting Ray racer in its original red livery, taken at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, in 1959.

(GM)The Corvette Sting Ray racer as it appears today.

(conceptcarz.com)The Corvette Sting Ray racer "live" at a car show.

(GM)The 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer and the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray production car photographed at the GM Styling viewing courtyard in the fall of 1962.

(GM)Bill Mitchell photographed with the 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer and the 1961 Corvette Mako Shark at the test track, GM Technical Center, 1961.

They were so loud we couldn't even hear ourselves screaming whatever it was we were screaming, but after a split second to think about it we took off, pedaling our guts out after them. It was apparent that these machines were heading for our part of the neighborhood – and as we tried to keep them in sight, I realized they were turning on to my cross street…

We came around the corner and saw them pull into a driveway, exactly one block from my house. We stopped right at the end of the driveway with our mouths gaping down to the asphalt, as the drivers of the other cars handed the keys to the driver of the Sting Ray and he took them up to the front door where a woman collected them. Then, an Impala pulled up and the four men got in it and were gone, leaving the cars sitting in the driveway all lined up ticking and spitting as their pipes started to cool. This became the Friday afternoon ritual in the summer, because that’s the way Bill Mitchell wanted it. GM’s legendary design chief liked having a selection of his toys to play with on the weekends, and I was lucky enough to live just a block away from him.

All of those cars were special, but the ’59 Sting Ray racer was by far my favorite the moment I laid eyes on it. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing the original Sting Ray racer in person, it is a stunning machine. (Although for those who haven’t, you might not be prepared for how compact it is.) 

Its taut, beautifully rendered lines absolutely glow in Mitchell’s favorite color – German racing “silver arrow” metallic – and as I said, to this day it remains my all-time favorite car. A favorite story? When Ed Welburn took over the reins of GM Design many years ago, the first thing he did was order the restoration of the ’59 Sting Racer, which had fallen into neglect and in desperate need of rejuvenation. And the GM artisans did a phenomenal job bringing it back to its previous glory. But the one area they didn’t touch? The seats, because Ed wanted them to remain in their original condition, in honor of all of the famous people who sat in them. An exquisite touch, and it remains the jewel of GM’s collection of historic vehicles.

No, I don’t count myself as one of those famous people, but I did have the honor of riding shotgun in the ’59 Sting Ray racer several times with Bill Mitchell at the wheel. The memory remains as technicolor vibrant as if it happened yesterday.

(GM)The wild 1958 Corvette XP-700 concept from GM Styling.

(GM)Another angle of the Corvette XP-700. 

1958 Corvette XP-700 concept. This wild Corvette concept was the first car I rode in with Bill Mitchell at the wheel. Some may not like the looks of this beast, but it was surprisingly alluring in person. The one thing I can report is that its “bubble” top – which was an infatuation of Mitchell’s at the time – redefined the concept of “solar gain” as it baked your brains out in the summer sun. And that was fine with me, because to ride around in that cool, futuristic machine was a treat beyond words. The XP-700 eventually disappeared. Why? It became the underpinnings of the next car…

(GM)The 1961 Corvette Mako Shark I. 

1961 Corvette Mako Shark. The Mako Shark concept (XP-755) was another thing altogether. This machine bristled with remarkable details, like the “gills” that doubled as sequential turn signals, the glorious side pipes and, of course its bubble top. But the most remarkable characteristic was its fantastic paint job, which mimicked the gradations of a Mako Shark. That paint job was mesmerizing back then and amazing in every sense of that overused word. Today, this machine is in desperate need of a full restoration, but that paint job remains its signature. How did this all come about? One of the countless anecdotes from the Mitchell era was that he caught a Mako shark on a fishing trip in Florida and had it mounted on a wall in his office. He kept telling the designers that he wanted the paint job on the Mako Shark concept to look exactly like the shark on his wall, with the same color gradations. After Mitchell rejected several attempts at painting the XP-755 and amid growing frustration, a few designers sneaked into his office late one night while Mitchell was out of town and removed the shark from his office wall. They then had the paint shop paint Mitchell's prized catch exactly like the latest version of the paint job on the Mako Shark concept. They then put the shark back up on his wall and presented the new paint job on the Corvette Mako Shark concept to Mitchell, who pronounced it "perfect." 

(GM)The paint job is truly wild - and stunning - on the Mako Shark I.

(GM)The 1961 Corvette Mako Shark I as it appears today.

(GM)The 1961 Corvette Mako Shark 1 and 1965 Corvette Mako Shark II, photographed at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, in 1965. 

1962 Corvette Convertible. Going by the specs, this GM PR car was nothing special. It was white with a black top and black interior, and it had the 300HP 327 V8 with a four-speed gearbox. Standard fare for a Corvette back then. But it was the Corvette that we “borrowed” almost every weekend, and it was the machine that burnished “Corvette” in our collective consciousness forever.

(GM)The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray remains one of the most iconic automobiles ever built. 

Ed Cole’s 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. We got to know Ed (and Mitchell, of course) through our father, who was in charge of GM PR from 1957-1979. Ed took note that my brother Tony and I were totally into cars, so he often would send over cars for my brother to drive. One year he sent over his personal driver, which was a 409-powered Impala with a 4-speed. The only other 409 in existence was in “Dyno” Don Nicholson’s hands at the NHRA finals. Needless to say, we had a blast mopping up everything in sight on Woodward Avenue that weekend. But the most memorable car that Ed sent over was his personal 1963 fuel-injected Corvette Sting Ray coupe in Sebring Silver (with a 4-speed gearbox, of course). The new Sting Ray had been announced, but there were none on the street yet, except for Ed’s company car. To this day, the Sting Ray was one of the most dramatic and memorable auto introductions of all-time, and driving it that weekend was like piloting a rolling space ship. No other car said “The Future” like the first Corvette Sting Ray. It was simply spectacular.

(The DeLorenzo Archives)

Watkins Glen, 1964. The "Zora-ized" Corvette Sting Ray coupe as it appeared for the SCCA Driver's school that summer. Note the straight pipes out the back.

The 1964 “Zora-ized” Corvette Sting Ray. By early summer of 1964, my brother Tony’s automotive bug started to seriously turn toward sports car racing. He innocently asked "big" Tony if we could order a Corvette company car for the summer, and little did he know that the adventure was just beginning. As my brother said: "He made two errors: 1.) He agreed to do it and 2.) He let us order it!" And order it we did: A Black/Black 1964 Corvette Sting Ray Coupe with Heavy Duty finned drum brakes; Heavy Duty gearbox; knock-off aluminum wheels and radio delete. Little did our father know that Tony planned to take it to SCCA Driver's School in Watkins Glen, New York. So, the moment we got it we took the interior carpeting out, took the bumpers off, removed the spare tire carrier, and then we had a roll bar put in and we were good to go. Or so we thought. While Tony was sitting at his desk at Chevrolet Sales Promotion (his summer job) a few days later the phone rang. This is how he remembers it:  

"Hello?" 

"Tony, this is Zora Duntov." Yikes, it was the God of the Corvette calling. "Your father has ordered a heavy-duty Corvette. Who is going to drive it?"  

"Um… He is?!!"  

Silence.  

"Who is going to drive it?"  

"Um, I am." 

“What are you going to do with it?”  

"Uhhh… I'm going to go to SCCA driver’s school at Watkins Glen." 

“Ok.” 

And “God” hung up. But not before requesting that we drop the car off at Chevrolet Engineering in Warren so he could "take care of a few things." Two weeks later we went back to get the car, and Zora took Tony out to the little test track that sits inside the Tech Center. And there it was, it was the same Corvette but it sat lower and it was wearing the biggest Goodyear Blue Streak racing tires that could fit inside the fenders on the knock-off wheels. Zora also pointed out that the stock exhaust system underneath now had flanges just in front of the mufflers. Those flanges had been put on by Bill Mitchell's famous Styling Garage mechanic, Ken Eschebech, so that once we got to Watkins Glen, we could attach 4' long straight pipes designed to hang on special hangers, so that they would shoot straight out the back. Because, well, you can't run a Driver's School at Watkins Glen with standard mufflers, right? Zora was a genius.

But those changes were just the tip of the iceberg. The car had been completely gone through, including the brakes, the suspension and sure enough, the engine. In retrospect, we were convinced that Zora had the engine yanked, gone through and tweaked, because the thing was a rocket. 

That trip to Watkins Glen was an adventure unto itself. We arrived very late one night at the rustic Glen Motor Inn, and the one and only Vic Franzese checked us in, but not before he could show us his beautiful Lotus 11. The school went exceptionally well for Tony; at one point the Chief Instructor went to ride a couple of laps with him and emerged muttering something like "he's doesn't need any more instruction" – and that was the beginning of his racing life. The return trip was eventful, too, as were so tired by the end of the weekend that we said, "screw it" and left the straight pipes on, rattling hearts and bones all the way back. 

There's more to this story. It was getting toward the end of that summer, when dad informed us that the car had to go back to Chevrolet to be put back into stock condition. It turns out that our oldest sister's boyfriend at the time, who lived in Chicago, had expressed interest in buying the car. We took the roll bar out, piled the stock components in it and voila! It returned two weeks later as if none of it happened, with dad saying: “When that car comes back to the house, don’t touch it!” We didn't. The sad end to this chapter? The guy in Chicago had it for two days. On the second night it was stolen, stripped – and totaled.

Dollie Cole's "Bluebird" 1965 Sting Ray convertible. Ed Cole was the brilliant engineering genius and true enthusiast who was one of the creators of the small block Chevrolet V8 and who led GM Product Development in its heyday. Ed is a true icon of the industry. Dollie was his radiant wife, a fierce defender of all things Ed and a fiery enthusiast in her own right. She roared around Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham - two northern suburbs of Detroit - in her '65 Nassau Blue Corvette roadster with a white interior, a removable hard top, a 4-speed and side pipes. Dollie also had a lead foot and drove the hell out of it. She famously dubbed it her "Bluebird." Ed stuffed a big-block 396 V8 in it months before the engines were released to the public. She let Tony borrow it on several occasions. It was quick and suitably loud. 

(GM)The 1965 Corvette Mako Shark II, another stunning machine from GM Styling.

The 1965 Corvette Mako Shark II. What can be said about this machine other than the fact that Bill Mitchell and his handpicked designers turned the dial up past “11” to come up with one of the most iconic Corvette shapes of all time? The obvious successor to the Mako Shark I, the “II” bristled with spectacular details that even today – in its “Manta Ray” guise – resonate mightily. 

(GM)The Mako Shark II transformed into the 1969 Corvette Manta Ray, which is how it appears today.

(GM)The 1969 Corvette Manta Ray photographed at GM Styling in Warren, Michigan.

(The DeLorenzo Racing Archives)Wilmot Hills, Wisconsin, May, 1967. Tony DeLorenzo's first race in a Corvette - and first win in "A" Production - came at an SCCA Regional in Wilmot Hills, Wisconsin, in this brand-new 1967 L88 Corvette Sting Ray roadster sponsored by Hanley Dawson Chevrolet in Detroit. It was also the first time a 427 Cobra encountered the new L88 in an "A" Production race. This well-traveled Sting Ray is one of the most valuable Corvettes in the world not named "Grand Sport."

The 1967 Corvette 427 L88 racing car. Tony began his racing career in something much more realistic and affordable than a Corvette, which turned out to be a '65 Corvair. We started out pounding around at our local track here in Michigan – Waterford Hills – and from there it was on to Nelson Ledges, Ohio, and Mid-Ohio; a one-time event at an airport in Grayling, Michigan; Lime Rock Park, Vineland (New Jersey); and on and on. Two years later Tony talked Hanley Dawson, who owned Hanley Dawson Chevrolet in Detroit at the time, into sponsoring a Corvette in SCCA Racing. And after he agreed to do that, we ordered one of 20 L88 Corvettes made in 1967, in Black, of course (it actually turned out to be the first one built that year). I’ll never forget going down to the dealership after it arrived and taking it around the block. The thing was a monster in every sense of the word, and the sound that L88 made was spiritual. The first weekend we had it we installed a roll bar, replaced the stock exhaust system with a set of "OK Kustom" headers (from Flint), added a set of “Torq-Thrust” American Racing wheels, a set of Firestone racing tires, and we removed the windshield, cut the windshield posts down and put a plexiglass windscreen on. The debut race – and win – for Tony and that famous L88 Corvette came six weeks later in an SCCA Regional race at an obscure road race track in Wilmot Hills, Wisconsin. He went on to qualify for the SCCA Runoffs with that car, and then it eventually disappeared. It surfaced again, and after Tony documented its authenticity, it was restored back to its street configuration; then it was returned to its racing configuration – with Tony driving it in the Monterey Historics – then back again to its street configuration. This has become one of the most valuable L88 Corvettes in existence, and I think the last time it changed hands was for just under $2 million.

The 1969 Corvette “Daytona GT” L88 convertible. After the Owens/Corning Fiberglas sponsorship came to fruition (read “The Glory Days” series here -WG), we had the idea of building a limited-run of street Corvettes that would be branded as “Corvette Daytona GTs.” We build a prototype, which was based on a Black/Black (of course) Corvette convertible powered by a 427 L88 and equipped with our competition headers and side pipes, our FIA-specific Plexiglas covered front headlights, American “Torq-Thrust” wheels and racing tires. We even displayed it at the Detroit Auto Show at Cobo Hall that year. From the “Best Laid Plans” File, the demands of our burgeoning – and successful – racing effort overwhelmed everything else, and the Daytona GT idea fell by the wayside. But that wasn’t exactly the end of the story. The car was stored at my parent’s house, and I was tasked with keeping it in running condition, which I performed with relish. Needless to say, a Black/Black L88 Corvette with open side pipes caused quite a stir on Woodward and the surrounding environs. It was the quintessential Bad Ass machine. What happened to it? A Lufthansa Airlines co-pilot befriended Tony at Daytona, and he eventually asked if he would consider selling him a OCF-prepared Corvette. A deal was reached, and the Daytona GT was converted to OCF Corvette Racing specs. But not before Randy Wittine, the brilliant GM designer who created all of our iconic racing team liveries back then, came up with a wild “psychedelic” paint job for it that was drop-dead gorgeous. (Pictures exist somewhere, but they haven’t turned up.) Tony and I dropped it off at Detroit’s Metro airport, and watched it being loaded on to a Lufthansa freighter. That pilot proceeded to terrorize the equivalent of German SCCA national racing with that monster, humbling the usual assortment of Porsche 911s in the process. The car ended up back in the states somehow and is now used for vintage racing. Another Corvette life well-lived.  

The 2022 Corvette Stingray Coupe. I am trying out a 2022 Corvette Stingray Coupe over the next few days, and I will have a report on it in our “On The Table” column next week. The well-optioned machine looks fantastic in its Hypersonic Gray Metallic and its “Morello Red Dipped” interior. And so, a new chapter begins…

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

(GM Styling)Bill Mitchell pulling out of his driveway on Bradway Boulevard in Bloomfield Village, Michigan, in the 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer. He drove his favorite cars all the time.

- Editor

By Peter M DeLorenzo

Detroit. Yes, the inexorable automotive march continues. To where, no one really knows for sure. The EV thing is definitely coming, and it will be coming over the next fifteen years. Make no mistake, the developments in battery technology, weight reduction and charging speed are unfolding at a furious pace, and the seemingly insurmountable problems of today will give way to radical solutions in seven to ten years. 

In the meantime, the show pony EVs – the six-figure-plus vehicles of all stripes – will continue to dominate the headlines, but the tipping point will be when the more affordable mainstream EVs arrive. Even so, until the public charging infrastructure is dramatically improved – and steps are taken to anticipate and improve the supply of electricity – the EV “thing” is going to play out in fits and starts. As I’ve said many times before, when you can pull off the highway and get a 80 percent charge in five minutes or less, you will know that the EV “moment” has arrived. 

Some have suggested to me that the High-Octane Truth will not survive that “moment.” But rest assured, that will not be the case. This business remains a kaleidoscope of vision, projection and yes, even the day-to-day mundane. That has been the reality of this business since its inception. And that will not change anytime soon.

And where does that leave AE?

Every now and then I think it’s an excellent idea to take a step back and remind people what this publication is all about. It’s good for the mind, it clears the air and it provides a moment of clarity for the lost souls wandering around in the automotive wilderness, the ones who can’t seem to separate the real from the imagined, or the pipe dreams from what’s truly important.

I find most of the confusion lies with the unfortunates who have managed to create their own very special fantasies about their place in this motorized circus. Because some of you out there seem to get confused, or some of you let your self-appointed “insider” view – which is loosely based on a remarkable propensity for self-delusion when it comes to your place in the automotive world – get in the way. Which is inherently sad, because learning to live in world of disappointment must be a particularly tedious cross to bear, but I digress.

As I’ve said repeatedly, this business isn’t for the faint of heart. And though it seems that there are still legions of recalcitrant twerps, two-bit hacks and spineless weasels running around out there who add nothing of import to the discussion and who pump up their self-worth for reasons that remain a mystery, the real essence of the business remains unsullied.

When we first contemplated doing Autoextremist, I wrote a manifesto for what it was and what it was not. Today it seems like a good time to update it, because some of you out there, as I said, seem to be confused.

First things first, and this is something that too many still find out the hard way – I’m talking to you, Elon –that designing, engineering and building automobiles is one of the most complicated endeavors on earth. And to do it properly takes vision, creativity and an unwavering passion that makes other pursuits seem positively ordinary.

Note that there is nothing in there about doing it just good enough to get by, engineering to the lowest common denominator, covering your ass or any of the other pillars of “standard operating procedure” that once dominated certain quarters of this business and have been, for the most part, purged.

Except that isn’t really true, unfortunately. All the bad old habits are still present and accounted for and then some, and as much as reasoned, logical and eminently bright executives in charge at these auto companies protest otherwise and insist that “we don’t do that stuff anymore,” that kind of bad behavior is just one wrong product or marketing decision away from rearing its ugly head, and usually at the most inopportune time too.

That’s what we do here in this publication, in case you haven’t noticed. We expose the go-along-to-get-alongs and the kick-the-can-down-the-road hordes on a regular basis, because the damage they cause can bring these companies to their knees in a heartbeat. 

This is a key point in the Autoextremist Manifesto, because it resonates throughout this business. This just in: Mediocrity – in any way, shape or form – isn’t bliss. Instead, it’s an insidious disease that has not only decimated this industry, it has screwed up life as we used to know it too.

At some point this business – and American life – turned down the wrong path. Pushing the envelope, getting knocked down and picking yourself back up and going at it again, battling to the buzzer, and striving for achievement were part and parcel of the upward trajectory of the automobile business – and country – we used to live in. Achieving greatness wasn’t just a goal, it was an expectation to shoot for, because anything less would be, well, ordinary. And even worse, boring.

In the old days, this business often gave way to an unspoken attitude of just doing enough to get by because when it came right down to it, judging by the chorus of muttering I used to hear, doing more begged the question, “Does it really make all that much difference?” Back then, fundamental accountability was replaced by “It’s not my problem.” And “It’s okay, at least you tried” not only became more than just an acceptable phrase, but a mantra that too many people lived by. After all, when everyone got a group hug and a trophy just for showing up, why bother extending effort to do better, or achieve greatness, or strive to be the best?

Why bother, indeed.

The result? Abject mediocrity became a virulent disease in this business (and rampant throughout the country too). I recall some people saying to me (and with a straight face), “Get over it, it’s the world we live in today.” But I didn’t buy it then because it was simply unacceptable to me. And I’m not buying it now either, which is why I will continue to call people and companies out on it whenever and wherever I see it. It’s not a value-added path for this business, and it’s already proven not to be the answer for the country, either.

The stellar machines of our day – and we are living in the golden age of automotive greatness in case you haven’t noticed – aren’t the product of “it’s good enough.” Instead, these machines bristle with the passion, vision and commitment of the men and women who created them, those “True Believers” that I often write about. If it weren’t for them, this business would be riding on the Last Train to Nowhere, next stop, Oblivion.

Railing against mediocrity and mediocrity “creep” is an essential component of the Autoextremist Manifesto. And it’s not confined to the designing, engineering and building of automobiles, unfortunately.

The marketers at these car companies can be wildly suspect as well, too often taking the easy way out when the situation is just aching for a bold move. That they often end up taking the road frequently traveled rather than risk ruffling some feathers, even though their gut tells them the results will be well worth it, is a sad commentary. Because repackaged tedium stinks; it always has and it always will.

Are there exceptions and exceptional people involved in the marketing functions at these companies and their advertising agencies? Yes, absolutely. And thank goodness. The creative cream still rises to the top, and when it emerges in a bit of magic it is something to savor.

And let’s not forget the media, because mediocrity is prevalent there too. In fact, I maintain a reservoir of intense loathing for certain journalists on the auto beat who blithely sleepwalk through their coverage, performing rote regurgitations spoon-fed from the company PR staffs and calling it news (or even worse, writing) because after all, going-along-to-get-along is a lot easier than having their oftentimes clueless editors field a phone call from an irate PR minion who is upset about a story.

Ever wonder why there’s sameness to the coverage of the auto business? That you can plug and play stories from one publication to another and not see any difference? There’s a reason for it. It’s a lot easier to cover the auto companies the way they want you to, because going against the grain is difficult, because bad things happen to those who don't toe the line.

Thankfully, there’s no danger of that happening here. Going against the grain is our specialty. It’s what we do best and why you keep coming back. I don’t say what people want me to say; in fact, as much as the mediocrity-brandishing hordes (oh, you know who you are, the recalcitrant twerps, the self-important hacks clinging to their little piece of the pie – and their dubious titles – by their fingernails, hoping to get out before being exposed for the worthless parasites they truly are, and of course the spineless weasels who continue to wreak their particular brand of righteous intransigence and havoc to the detriment of companies everywhere. Yeah, you) who are so protective of their pathetic little fiefdoms want me to sit down and be quiet – for good – the likelihood of that happening is slim. And none.

As a matter of fact, I’ve got really bad news for those who so wish I would just go away, because the Autoextremist Manifesto has been recharged and powered up to a new level of intensity.

You won’t find restrictor-plates, aero matching or “spec” anything around here.

For many, the kind of unflinching commentary that we specialize in is like a tonic for the soul in this swirling maelstrom of shit masquerading as the world we live in today.

As for the rest of you?

Well, it’s quite simple: You can’t handle the High-Octane Truth.

- Editor

Editor's Note: If you've enjoyed Peter's recent columns about his High-Octane Life, I'm sure you will enjoy his special series - "The Glory Days" - the inside story of his brother Tony's racing career, which begins in this week's "Fumes." Tony is one of the most successful Corvette racers of all time and a member of the Corvette Hall of Fame (2009). And Peter's recounting of the exploits of the famous Owens/Corning Corvette Racing Team has been one of the most popular and widely read pieces ever to appear in these pages. I think you'll really enjoy it, because it perfectly captures a different time and a different era, one never to be repeated. -WG

 

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. This business has become a churning, burning hunk of love-hate. On the one hand, dealers are making ca$h-ola hand over fist (more on that later). On the other, automotive production is spiraling downward, as are automaker profits. And the list of ingredients churning the “new” auto business is growing more precarious by the day. 

The silicon chip shortage situation isn’t going away. In fact, it is being amplified by the war in Ukraine. It turns out that several key automotive components are sourced in Ukraine, and the shortage has already decimated European automakers in particular, and it threatens the rest of the global automakers as well. A specific example? Between 45% to 54% of the world’s semiconductor-grade neon, critical for the lasers used to make chips, comes from two Ukrainian companies, according to Reuters. Both firms have shuttered their operations, according to company representatives contacted by Reuters. The stoppage casts an ominous cloud over the worldwide output of chips, already in short supply after the coronavirus pandemic drove up demand for cellphones, laptops and eventually, automobiles. This situation will become even more critical as it plays out over the next few months.

But that’s just one part of this burgeoning Shit Show. As I said, auto dealers are very happy, at least for now, because the dealer business has been turned upside down overnight. The old days of floor-planning costly inventory to cater to the instant gratification whims of the traditional American car-buying consumer are over. This has been replaced by the European model of car shopping, where consumers are forced to plan ahead by ordering their vehicles, and then wait for them to come in to the dealer. The result? Discounting has gone right out the window; with vehicles in short supply, the gross profits on each vehicle are soaring. And “added market adjustments” to the sticker prices are gaining favor with some dealers as well, which isn’t sitting well with consumers. But it’s not the first time car dealers have gorged on short-term thinking. That’s why I mentioned that the dealers are exceedingly happy right now. Their profits have been jaw-dropping over the last eighteen months, and gloating could be seen and heard at the recent NADA convention.

But unfortunately for dealers who are incapable of seeing the big picture, this cannot and will not last. As this chip shortage situation grows more serious by the week, the already precariously short supply of vehicles will get worse. Production is already being severely impacted – again – and in turn, corporate profits are taking a huge hit. With sales sliding between 15-25 percent for the major automakers doing business in this country in the first quarter, the skies off to the horizon are growing even more ominous.

Added to all of this is the inexorable push to EVs that is dominating every waking moment at the automakers and eating every bit of their R&D budgets as well. Yes, this Big EV Push seems to be moving at a glacier pace in terms of waiting for these vehicles to actually materialize in showrooms, but that doesn’t alter the fact that vast amounts of money are being consumed at an alarming rate to design, develop, engineer, produce and market these vehicles. And when production is being slammed by material shortages, directly affecting profits and cash flow, it’s no wonder this business feels like a pressure cooker.

But there’s one more thing that’s about to wreak havoc in this business, and that is the ominous lack of affordability in the vehicles being made available for sale. I have been writing about this issue for several years now, and it seems to be reaching a critical point. It’s a fact that manufacturers are building more and more expensive vehicles, and while their dealers gleefully extract big-time grosses on every one they sell, I believe the point of diminishing returns is being reached.

But wait, it’s all good, right? From the manufacturer and dealer perspective it certainly is, but from the consumer perspective it is definitely a depressing development. Cars and trucks are just too damn expensive. Mainstream vehicles costing $65,000, $75,000, $85,000 or even much more have become the norm, and that’s just ridiculous. And it isn’t sustainable either. That’s why I applauded Ford for the Maverick pickup when it was first announced. It would behoove other manufacturers to follow Ford’s lead and start offering vehicles costing around $30,000. Real vehicles with enough real features to make them livable and serviceable for everyday driving by real consumers.

Now that would be a development worth celebrating in this business.

I’ve been taken to task by some of our readers for referring to this business as being a swirling maelstrom, that from their perspective things just aren’t that dire and things will work out, and that my-doom and-gloom bleating isn’t helpful. With all due respect, I have been immersed in this business one way or the other for more decades than I care to count. I’m not in the business of giving “head-in-sand” feel-good perspectives for the sake of putting a sunny slant on things, because that definitely isn’t helpful for anyone.

I try to give an insider’s perspective for those who are interested in this business from afar, but I also call ‘em like I see ‘em for the people immersed in this business up to their eyeballs too. The High-Octane Truth is what people in this business have grown to expect from me, and even if they may not agree with everything I have to say, they wouldn’t have it any other way.  

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

- Editor
THE SUMMER OF ’64.

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. As longtime AE readers know, my formative years were a blur of fast cars (with my older brother Tony behind the wheel), plus experiencing the latest concepts from GM Styling in the flesh (with none other than Design Legend Bill Mitchell at the wheel). It was a different time and a different era to be sure. Everything was seemingly on an upward trajectory. More power. More Speed. More dynamic and exciting new cars arriving onto the scene on a daily basis. 

It was wild to be that close to the action, to get our hands on machines that wouldn’t hit the rest of the country for months to come. Even then, I started to appreciate the fact that this was far from normal, but as time went on it was easy to forget that. It just became a surreal reality.

One weekend, it was the 1964 Pontiac XP-400 concept from GM Styling. The very trick, Nassau Blue convertible based on a '64 Catalina was powered by a 421 cu.in. V8 with a 671 GMC Blower race-prepared by Mickey Thompson. When Ken Eschebech, Mitchell’s on-staff personal mechanic and expert car guru dropped it off, he warned us that the motor was set-up for drag racing and the oil must be checked every time we stopped for gas. Which, as you might imagine, was often. I will save this story for another time, but I distinctly remember the rear tires breaking loose as Tony shifted into 4th gear - with five guys in the car. That thing pulled like a runaway train. Oh, and we went through 21 quarts of oil in three days of flat-out running.

Then there was the brand-new 1964 Electric Blue Shelby 289-cu.in. Cobra that we borrowed from Ford PR for a weekend. (It was a beautiful swap system: We would get a Cobra, and Ford PR would get a Sting Ray from GM PR.) When I said it was brand new, I mean brand new, with less than 50 miles on the odometer. It had silver-painted wire wheels and thin white walls, which was de rigueur for street Cobras at the time. And, of course, it wasn’t our first go-around with the Cobra either, as we were fortunate to “borrow” an early ’63 260-cu.in. Cobra that belonged to Pontiac Engineering pretty much the entire summer before. Though we were well-versed in Corvettes, the Cobra was an entirely different animal. It smelled different – like an old English sports car with its leather hides covering the seats – and it was much more compact and dramatically lighter than the Corvettes of that era. Translation? It was blistering fast. 

We spent that late-spring weekend tearing around – especially on Woodward Avenue – humiliating mere mortal cars every chance we got. The Cobra would leap off the line and pull multiple car lengths ahead on just about anything, especially Corvettes. The best part? Riding in it at night, when the cool spring air was punctuated by the ferocious bark of that hopped-up 289, and the smell of burning rubber from our tennis shoes wafting in the cockpit. What? Yes, the floor got so hot in the Cobra that it caused the soles of our tennis shoes to actually melt. Just part of the memorable Cobra experience. I’ve read countless books and articles about the impact of the Cobra. It’s one thing to hear or read about the impact of the Cobra on the scene back then, but it was totally different to experience the Cobra in real time, in-period. It was truly fantastic.

There were many, many other cars and moments and stories that summer: The Black/Black ’64 Corvette Sting Ray Coupe that we drove to Watkins Glen so Tony could go through SCCA driver’s school. The ’63 Ferrari 250 GTE that belonged to GM Styling. More Cobras, and a machine that I’ve never talked about before: an early 1964 Porsche 904 GTS that Bill Mitchell brought home one afternoon.

I distinctly remember that day. Everything was vibrant green due to the stormy weather that had been rumbling around for days. Our neighborhood was blessed with hundreds of majestically tall elm trees, so much so that when we rode our bikes around it was like riding through a tunnel of trees that enveloped and shaded the streets. (Those same elms were decimated by Dutch Elm Disease over the next three years. It was really bad.) It was darkly overcast that afternoon, with threatening clouds off in the distance. I was on my bike (per usual), riding in the direction of Bill Mitchell’s “new” house. (After a period of relative quiet, I had learned that he moved from being one block north of our house to a home that was one block west. It seems that Mitchell had gotten divorced, as I had heard my parents comment about it, and he met and married a widow who lived a block away in the other direction. His new house was actually closer, which was fortuitous.)

As I was riding along, a small, low, all-black sports car rumbled by me. I knew it was Mitchell so I followed him into his driveway. Before he could emerge from it, I saw the writing on the back – “904 GTS” – and I recognized the Porsche logo on the front. Mitchell leapt out and greeted me with, “How do you like this? We just got it!” and I could barely mumble the word “Wow!” in response. I had never seen anything like it in person. As I said, it was all-black and unadorned with any bright work at all, set-off by its classic silver metallic Porsche wheels.

When Mitchell said, “We just got it” what he meant was that GM Styling just acquired it. As I’ve said in many of my writings before, Mitchell was akin to a potentate of a small country within the GM empire. He often acquired the sports cars of the moment for “research” purposes – it was “his” budget after all – and he’d have them parked in the GM Styling viewing courtyard next to the Design building for days at a time so that his designers could glean some inspiration from them. At least that was the idea anyway. The rest of the time? They’d end up being his personal toys on weekends. His favorite “inspirational” machines were Ferraris, but he even had GM Styling buy an ATS 1000 GT (look it up) and other machines of note. But this 904 was the very first Porsche he displayed in the Styling viewing courtyard, and it was the very first Porsche he had brought home.

Mitchell went inside and I immediately went home and informed Tony that Mitchell had something called a “Porsche 904 GTS.” And we were both right back down in Mitchell’s driveway inspecting every inch of that Porsche. The more I looked, the more I was entranced with this machine, which was basically a limited-production racing car for the street. Mitchell came out and asked Tony if he wanted a ride, and without hesitation he got in the passenger seat and off they went. They returned about fifteen minutes later, and Tony was wide-eyed and smiling broadly. Mitchell went back inside, and I asked Tony what it was like and he said, “Fantastic! Except…” and his voice trailed off. 

“Except what?” I asked. He said, well, it was really cool, but “I noticed the redline was 7,600 rpm, and he was shifting at 8,600 rpm. Every shift.” I didn’t quite understand the ramifications of that statement yet, but I would in a couple of months.

Sure enough, a couple of months later Mitchell offered the 904 to Tony to drive for a weekend. In typical Mitchell fashion the 904 had been transformed. Gone was the Black/Black livery, replaced by Mitchell’s favorite German racing silver metallic. The interior was re-worked too – with darkish-blue leather and retractable three-point seatbelts, the first we’d seen. That 904 absolutely glowed now. That weekend was memorable, with several high-speed runs up to Flint (where we used to live) and back, and generally just a total, blissful immersion into everything Porsche 904. And it was great, right up to the point on Sunday afternoon when we were almost back from another run up to Flint, when suddenly the engine started making an unmistakable clickety-clack racket behind us. We quickly determined that it was a giant bowl of Not Good situation, and Tony shut it off immediately. He had to hike to a payphone to get some friends to come and help. 

It gets worse. The idea of getting some sort of trailer or tow truck to come and pick up the car wasn’t on our consideration list back then, and the only thing our friends brought was a big heavy rope. Against all odds, we secured that rope to both vehicles, and they proceeded to tow us the ten miles back to our house. As I recall, it was one of the hairiest, white-knuckle experiences I can remember. One false move and that now-pristine Porsche could be wrecked in an instant. I think we were lucky enough to only have to deal with a couple of traffic lights and remarkably, we got it back to my parents’ garage in one piece. I still shake my head thinking about it.

The next morning, Tony put a call into Ken Eschebech, telling him that something was seriously wrong with the Porsche’s engine, and Ken was over in about an hour. We tilted up the back bodywork to gain access to the engine, and Ken had Tony start the Porsche, while he listened. The noise was coming from the right cylinder bank, so Ken took a broom handle and put it up against that part of the engine, and a few seconds later he had Tony shut it off.

“It threw a rod,” Ken said, matter-of-factly. Tony discussed with Ken that he observed Mitchell exceeding the redline on their little drive together, and Ken wasn’t surprised. “Yeah, I’m aware of that too.” Ken left and two hours later a truck and trailer from GM Styling arrived and the Porsche was loaded up for the return trip back to GM Styling. 

End of story? Not quite. Apparently, Mitchell had to pay for the rebuild out of his own pocket – which had to be considerable – and he was furious at Tony, blaming him for it. As a matter of fact, Mitchell didn’t speak to my brother again until January 1969, while they visited on the starting grid before the Daytona 24 Hour. After that, all was well again.

That summer of ’64 had everything. More speed. More horsepower. And even a white-knuckle experience that remains vivid to this day.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

(Getty Images)

A Porsche 904 GTS as it appears in show condition today.

- Editor
IT WAS GOOD. AND HARD. AND FAST.

Editor's Note: Every now and then, it's good to hit the PAUSE button. This week is one of those times (as in, Stop the world - I want to get off). So here's a special, unvarnished missive from The Autoextremist, and a look inside his incomparable high-octane life. Enjoy! -WG

 

By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. I am the passenger. I am a Technicolor Dream Cat riding this kaleidoscope of life. I’ve seen some things, indeed, more than most. Magic things. Loud things. Fast things. 

I once looked up at a ghostly tornado finger drifting overhead in Flint. It was ominous and beyond scary. A lot of people died that day too. But then, a few years later, I saw my first 707 hanging in the sky. It was majestic and powerful. And the Jet Age was on.

I got introduced to horsepower, side pipes and chrome, and I happily got sucked in. Corvettes and 409s, GTOs and Starfires. And Sting Rays. Forever Sting Rays. And in the midst of all that, I bought and rebuilt a Bug go-kart, had the Mac 6 engine rebuilt and hopped-up, painted it bright orange, and spent one summer terrorizing our neighborhood. I dubbed it the Orange Juicer Mk 1, and found out how fast 60 mph felt that low to the ground. It was everything, all the time. 

It was good. And hard. And fast.

Woodward wasn’t just a thing. It was Life. In 0 to 100 bursts. It all came alive at night. Open pipes, rumbles and roars, dares and boasts. The drive-ins smelled like burning rubber and French fries. Girls leaned and preened. Boys slouched and crouched. To get a better look. Riding shotgun with my brother, it was a world that called me. 

From there, it was riding with The Maestro, Bill Mitchell – our neighbor – in the original Sting Ray racer, thinking it was normal and knowing it was not. But I soaked it all in anyway, and it was just the beginning. There were Mako Sharks, Monza Super Spyders and GTs; and XP-700 Corvettes and XP-400 Pontiacs. And on and on. It was all stunning to look at. And be in. The grass was greener and the sky was bluer, and the sounds were intoxicating.

It was good. And hard. And fast.

And then came the Cobras. All lithe and tiny next to the Corvettes. And a new kind of fast. Blistering, neck-snapping fast. A two-car-length jump off the line fast. Open-top roadsters lurking for a fight. It was the smell of English leather and burning tennis shoes when running the Cobras in the cool of the night. And believe me, there was nothing else like it. 

And then road racing came calling. My brother Tony’s driver school at Watkins Glen in June of ’64. In a Tuxedo Black Sting Ray that had been personally massaged by Zora and his troops, complete with straight pipes to install when we got there. Riding on Goodyear Blue Streaks the whole way. The Glen Motor Court beckoned, but the track was the thing. That Sting Ray barked and blurted out speed, and Tony was the fastest man there. There was no turning back at that point.

It was good. And hard. And fast.

Next up was a “A” Sedan Corvair that we flat-towed all over hell and back. Starting out at our local Waterford Hills raceway, and then on to Nelson Ledges, Mid-Ohio, Lime Rock, Vineland, Grayling and even a 12-Hour endurance race at Marlboro, Maryland. But that was just the pre-game. 

The real stuff was coming in 1967. We ordered what turned out to be the first of just 20 427 L88 Corvette Sting Rays built that year. I remember when we went to Hanley Dawson Chevrolet in Detroit to see the bad-ass Sting Ray for the first time. It had just been unloaded off the truck and it was stunning. We hopped in it just to see, and suspicions were conformed: It was a wild, unruly beast. We dismantled it over a weekend and had a roll bar welded-in, installed a set of American Torq-Thrust racing wheels and bolted-on some OK Kustom headers. We added a few other tweaks and we were off to our first SCCA Regional race in Wilmot Hills, Wisconsin. In “A” Production. There was a 427 Cobra there, too, but it was no match for our Super Sting Ray. Tony won going away. And then it was off to the races, literally: Mid-Ohio, Road America, Blackhawk Farms, Nelson Ledges, Watkins Glen, Daytona.

It was good. And hard. And fast.

And then everything changed. Owens/Corning Fiberglas became our sponsor. And the races got bigger. Twenty-two straight wins in “A” Production, with twelve 1-2 finishes with teammate Jerry Thompson, who would go on to win the National Championship in ‘69. Then it was the major endurance races with GT class wins at Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen. And the Trans-Am series in 1970 with Camaros, and in 1971 with ex-Bud Moore factory Mustangs. And finally, the infamous Budd-sponsored Corvette in 1973, with Tony sitting on the pole at Sebring for the all-GT 12-hour race that year. 

They were fleeting moments in time, but they were unforgettable. Pouring a bucket of water over my head after gas spilled all over me during a pit stop at Marlboro. Waking up in the cab of our semi on the Ohio Turnpike in the middle of the night on the way to Lime Rock only to see that my brother was fast asleep as we were running diagonally off the left shoulder and headed for the median. I yelled. We made it. But that was just the way it was back then. No sleep for days on end getting the cars ready – to the point of exhaustion – only to then have to load up and drive to the next race. It was relentless. 

Then there was the infamous Pontiac street race in 1974. It was a dubious track at best, with haybales and guardrails offering little protection for the drivers, or the crowd. Tony was passing a slower car during the race and the driver moved over on him. The move forced Tony into some haybales, turned him sideways, causing his Corvette to barrel roll 20 feet in the air taking out a light pole. That impact with the light pole saved him from going into a spectator area of at least one hundred people. I was a fair distance away when I saw a flash of his car going end-over-end (after the light pole impact) down the straightway on Wide Track avenue. I sprinted to get there, only to see the car burst into a fireball. I arrived to see my brother laying on the ground. He had gotten out in time, barely a moment before the car burst into flames. It was only later that we found out that a guy who was keeping the car in Florida in-between Daytona races had removed the check-valve in the fuel cell “to save weight.” Idiot. 

Needless to say, that was a dark day, especially since a reporter at the event called one of my dad’s GM PR staffers – my mom and dad were at an outdoor party with his entire PR staff – and informed him that Tony had been killed in Pontiac. (He never saw Tony get out of the car.) My dad’s right-hand man informed my parents that they had to go to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Pontiac immediately. They feared the worse, of course. So that was me at the hospital seeing the ashen look on my parents’ faces when they arrived. I took them to see my brother on a gurney in the hallway; he was alert but battered and extremely sore. My parents were relieved, and so was I.

But that was only part of my ride on this kaleidoscope of life. There was the time we built a prototype ’69 L88 Corvette roadster (in black/black, of course) called the “Daytona GT” with the intention of selling customer versions. It was basically one of our racing cars equipped with a few more comfort options. We even got display space at Cobo Hall during the Auto Show to show it off. But the pressures of running the racing team meant that the project was shelved. The Corvette was eventually rebuilt to fully race-prepared OCF racing team specs, given a psychedelic paint job and sold to a German Lufthansa pilot who used it to terrorize local and national racing events over there. But before that all happened, I was tasked with keeping it in running order and exercised. Needless to say, I relished that assignment and I happily terrorized the area with open headers on my “exercise” jaunts.

It was good. And hard. And fast.

Then I veered off on my own and became enchanted with the Porsche 911. I bought a used ’75 911S and proceeded to drive that car all over hell and as fast as it would go. I spun-out once going 100 mph on a two-lane road because unbeknownst to me the shoulder had just been graded and there was dirt all over the road in a left-hand sweeper. I came to a stop with the rear wheels right on the edge of a 20-foot drop. And then there was the infamous late-afternoon run from East Lansing to Ann Arbor that I did flat-out, rarely going below 100 mph the entire distance. I made it to my destination in just under 30 minutes, door-to-door.  And it is just as vivid for me today as it was when I did it. Fleeting moments indeed.

And then there was the time during my ad career that I spent shooting commercials at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, for a full week. We were short performance drivers, so I spent the week assisting with the driving while tearing around the circuit for the filming. And if that wasn’t special enough, NATO jets were using the wide-open terrain to practice high-speed, low-level maneuvers. How low? We could see the helmet marking on the pilots as they banked over us at tree-top level. It was a week-long orgy of speed that I will never forget.

The point of all this? I’m still a Technicolor Dream Cat riding this kaleidoscope of life. This column gave you fleeting glimpses of some fleeting glimpses. There’s plenty more to tell and a long, long way to go. And I'm not close to being finished.

It was good. And hard. And fast. Indeed. 

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

The Autoextremist. March 1976, East Lansing, Michigan. (J. Geils called; he wants his look back.)

- Editor
THINKIN' 'BOUT THE TIMES I DROVE IN MY CAR, PART I.

By Peter M. DeLorenzo 

Detroit. It’s 3:00 a.m., so often my normal writing time, and it’s time to get it into gear. This business is so dominated by betting on the come of the battery electric vehicle explosion that I’m afraid this industry may have completely lost the plot. Yes, I know, this is nothing exactly new from me, but it bears repeating. This EV transition is going to play out in fits and starts, and to assume everything is going to go according to plan is a fool's errand. But that won't stop certain manufacturers - and their executives - from touting their EV prowess and boasting how successful they're going to be, because that just comes with the territory. I mean, after all, if auto executives stopped overpromising, something would be very, very wrong, wouldn't it?I am going to set that aside, however, since this is a drum that will need beating for years to come. 

Today I'd rather write about what got us here in the first place. I’m talking about our collective experiences with cars and the road that are all different and individually significant, but all special in their own way. The people you were with, the places you experienced along the way, and the fleeting moments in time that are indelibly seared in our memories. And they’re simply irreplaceable.

As you might imagine, I have a few car stories. I try to dribble them out now and again – people never get tired of my Bill Mitchell columns, for instance – just to keep things interesting, but today I will offer up a few more glimpses of what has amounted to be a pretty special car life.

It was late March 1966, and my brother Tony was in his last year at the University of Notre Dame. He and a friend – Gary Kohs – and others had organized the third edition of a sports car show on campus for the first three days of April. This “Sports Car Spectacular” as it was called, turned out to be spectacular, indeed. 

Because of my dad’s heavy-duty contacts throughout the industry, this little car show was a very big deal. All the manufacturers weighed-in: Ford sent Jim Clark’s 1965 Indianapolis 500-winning Lotus-Ford and several hot production and racing cars from its “Total Performance” marketing era, including one of Fred Lorenzen's cars. Chrysler was represented, too, with a plethora of hot production Hemis and a full-on NASCAR stocker from Richard Petty. But that wasn’t all, because besides several of its current Styling concepts like the Corvette Mako Shark I and II and Monza GT and SS, what GM brought to the show was a shocker and is still talked about to this day.

I will get to that in a moment, but it’s worth talking about how we traveled down to South Bend from Birmingham, Michigan, the day before the show. A remarkable collection of cars was poised in my parent’s driveway for the trip down to the Notre Dame campus, because they were going to be added to the show once we got down there. There was a bright red 1965 289 Shelby Cobra and a 1965 Shelby GT350 Mustang (white with blue stripes) borrowed from Ford. And then there was a Nassau Blue 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray roadster with a removable top and white interior, complete with a 396 cu. in. V8, bulging hood and side pipes. 

This was no ordinary Corvette, however. This car was specially built for Ed Cole (one of GM’s legendary engineers who developed the small block V8, among a thousand other brilliant accomplishments) to give to his wife, Dolly. As I’ve said many times before, many of the legends of GM’s heyday were family friends we hung out with, it was just the way it was back in the day. Dolly was a memorable, fiery blonde from Texas with a razor-sharp wit who loved to drive her “Bluebird” as she called her special Corvette; and she didn’t mind letting my brother borrow it now and again. And this was one of those times.

Our Horsepower Convoy left at 4:00 a.m. with two additional chase cars (including a 396 Impala). As quiet as we meant to be, it was damn-near impossible as the Cobra, GT350 Mustang and Corvette woke the neighborhood and rumbled out into the darkness. Tony was in the “Bluebird” followed by the Cobra, and I was riding shotgun with my brother’s college roommate in the GT350. The ride was memorable in that it rained most of the time and the rawness of the GT350 - and the wonderful noise - made it even more interesting. And visibility was challenging, to put it mildly, as the wipers were a mere suggestion in the heavier bits of rain we encountered. It didn’t matter, it was a flat-out blast. I mean, how often do you get to be in a convoy of cars like that?

We had some dry road moments on the way to South Bend, where we were able to hammer the cars at will, but there were moments when we had to cool it, too, as the cops took great interest in our little convoy at times. But we made it just fine, with no tickets, which we rightly assessed was a notable achievement.

Not long after we arrived, a GM transporter showed up. Zora Arkus-Duntov had called Tony and said that he’d be sending “something special” down to the show, and he wasn’t kidding. After the back doors were opened and the ramps installed, out comes a silver metallic blue Corvette Grand Sport roadster. Not only were the Grand Sports not supposed to exist after one of GM’s annoying “no more racing” edicts, this roadster had clearly just been finished and refined down to the last detail. It was simply stunning to behold. The transporter driver fired it up and drove it into position on the show floor, and right then and there, that little “Sports Car Spectacular” became legendary. All for just a $.75 admission fee too.

(One other side note: there was a Griffith Ford on display at the show that had been painstakingly hand-painted in a Tartan Plaid. Remember, no “wraps” back then. We all agreed that whoever painted it went crazy soon after.)

The road trip back was memorable for another reason. As some of you out there may have experienced along the way, when you rode in a Cobra back then you could smell the burnt rubber from the soles of your tennis shoes because the floor got so blistering hot. That wasn't all. The Cobra developed a pinpoint fuel line leak under the car that would deposit wisps of fuel on the exhaust pipe about every 20 minutes, which would then flare up with a brief flash while we were driving. Needless to say, that wasn’t good, but we decided to press on and made it back okay.

What does it all mean? As I said, our individual and collective experiences with cars and being on the road are seared in our memories and are irreplaceable. Where we’ve been has everything to do with who we are. This nation was transformed with a wandering spirit that allowed us to roam for the sheer hell of it. And our culture was and is still defined by it. 

I’m afraid if we lose that piece of who we are, we will lose a large part of the soul of this nation. Our machines may change, but our need to wander never will. As for the title of this week’s column, it’s an homage to the memorable Eric Clapton/George Harrison composition “Badge,” as performed by Cream. 

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.

(Photo by Robert O. Craig)Editor-in-Chief's Note: This is Corvette Grand Sport 002 restored to as it appeared at the 'Sports Car Spectacular" at Notre Dame; part of the Jim Jaeger collection.

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- Automotive World

After well over one million-miles (1.6 million kilometers) of testing in daily customer operations, Daimler Truck and its U.S. Freightliner brand recently unveiled the all-electric eCascadia that will enter series production in 2022

The post Daimler Truck’s million-mile tested all-electric Freightliner eCascadia enters series production in North America appeared first on Automotive World.

- Automotive World

Allergies, asthma and air pollution affect hundreds of millions of people around the world in a negative way, according to data from the World Health Organisation and the World Allergy Organisation

The post Breathe cleaner air inside Volvo cars with cutting-edge air purification technology appeared first on Automotive World.

- Megan Lampinen

Supply chain disruptions, greater emphasis on sustainability and the push towards EVs means the case for plastics in lightweighting is gaining ground.By Cat Dow

The post Combining bioplastics and binder jetting could signal a lightweighting step change appeared first on Automotive World.

- Automotive World

CEO emphasizes the importance of India as a key growth market and strategic sourcing hub

The post CEO Tavares marks a new era for Stellantis in India appeared first on Automotive World.

- Megan Lampinen

Emotion-tracking technology could revolutionise the ROI from dealer site visits and motor show stands. By Rees Calder

The post Emotions in motion: customer tracking tech drives sales success appeared first on Automotive World.

- Mick Chan
Toyota Gazoo Racing hosts first-ever Vios Sprint Cup – part of Malaysia Championship Series, from May 21-22

The 2022 Toyota Gazoo Racing calendar in Malaysia is joined by the Vios Sprint Cup, the first-ever running of the event in the Malaysia Championship Series (MCS) that takes place this weekend on May 21-22, 2022 at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC). The Vios Sprint Cup will be held in […]

The post Toyota Gazoo Racing hosts first-ever Vios Sprint Cup – part of Malaysia Championship Series, from May 21-22 appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Mohd Farid Awaludin
VIDEO: Toyota GR Supra A90 vs. Nissan Z 2023 – yang mana kena tapau dalam perlumbaan drag 402 meter?

Toyota GR Supra A90, sejak diperkenalkan pada Januari 2019, ia sentiasa menjadi bahan troll peminat-peminat kereta seluruh dunia kerana ia diasaskan dari bukan sahaja kerangka badan malah menggunakan enjin, transmisi serta diproduksi oleh kilang yang sama dengan BMW Z4 G29. Namun ia berlawanan dengan situasi ketika Nissan Z 2023 didedahkan […]

The post VIDEO: Toyota GR Supra A90 vs. Nissan Z 2023 – yang mana kena <em>tapau</em> dalam perlumbaan drag 402 meter? appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Gerard Lye
Google Android Auto gets major update – new look, features, split-screen mode; better screen support

Three years after its last major overhaul, Google’s Android Auto is set to receive another significant redesign in the summer (from June) in the United States. First introduced in 2014, Android Auto has gone through multiple iterations and the company says it is now found in over 150 million cars […]

The post Google Android Auto gets major update – new look, features, split-screen mode; better screen support appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Izwaashura Sadali
Pemilik Ford Ranger/Raptor rasai latihan pemanduan mencabar, off-road ke Penang sambil nikmati durian

Pengedar rasmi Ford di Malaysia, Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC), menganjurkan program bagi mempromosikan “Gaya Hidup Ford Ranger” untuk pemilik trak pikap Ranger dan Raptor. Ia membolehkan para pemilik trak pikap berkenaan berpeluang menikmati latihan pemanduan secara mencabar termasuk pengalaman merentasi laluan off-road. Dengan memperkenalkan Ford Ranger Getaways yang merupakan […]

The post Pemilik Ford Ranger/Raptor rasai latihan pemanduan mencabar, off-road ke Penang sambil nikmati durian appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Jonathan Lee
2022 Nissan X-Trail detailed for Australia – 184 PS/245 Nm 2.5L NA, CVT, ProPilot; is it coming to Malaysia?

It’s taken a while for the latest Nissan X-Trail to reach global markets, having made its debut all the way back in June 2020 as the Rogue in the United States. Now, however, the fourth-generation SUV will make its way to Australia, with specifications being confirmed ahead of it going […]

The post 2022 Nissan X-Trail detailed for Australia – 184 PS/245 Nm 2.5L NA, CVT, ProPilot; is it coming to Malaysia? appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Paul Tan
Denza D9 EV debuts from RM254k – BYD-Mercedes-Benz JV’s electric people mover is menteri-worthy

This is the Denza D9, the latest model from Chinese car company Denza, a JV between BYD and Mercedes-Benz. It’s available as either a 4 seater or a 7 seater, with the former clearly aimed at the business (or political) traveller who prefer big vans as opposed to the usual […]

The post Denza D9 EV debuts from RM254k – BYD-Mercedes-Benz JV’s electric people mover is <em>menteri</em>-worthy appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Izwaashura Sadali
Dashcam perlu ada dalam kereta – Pensyarah USIM

Rakaman kamera papan pemuka atau dashcam kini semakin banyak dipertontonkan menerusi saluran media sosial, terutamanya video yang melibatkan insiden jalan raya yang banyak menarik perhatian ramai. Malahan video terbabit juga boleh dijadikan sebagai bukti untuk melindungi mangsa yang tidak bersalah serta ‘memerangkap’ pihak yang berniat jahat atau pun pelaku insiden […]

The post <em>Dashcam</em> perlu ada dalam kereta – Pensyarah USIM appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Danny Tan
Ford Ranger/Raptor Training Experience a hit with owners, Penang off-road durian adventure up next

Of late, Ford’s Malaysian distributor Sime Darby Auto ConneXion (SDAC) has been promoting the “Ford Ranger lifestyle” rather than the truck itself. These days, many people buy pick-up trucks for their activities and the image, so the “Living the Ranger Life” campaign makes plenty of sense. You do cool things […]

The post Ford Ranger/Raptor Training Experience a hit with owners, Penang off-road durian adventure up next appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Gerard Lye
2022 BMW 3 Series facelift debuts – G20 LCI gets new headlamps, grille; widescreen display for interior

Here it is, the new BMW 3 Series facelift. First previewed by the i3 in March this year, the seventh-generation G20 LCI (Life Cycle Impulse if you prefer BMW speak) receives a series of updates to ensure it remains competitive against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class as well as […]

The post 2022 BMW 3 Series facelift debuts – G20 LCI gets new headlamps, grille; widescreen display for interior appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Mick Chan
BMW XM – 650 hp/800 Nm hybrid V8 to debut end 2022 with 80 km EV range, 48-volt Active Roll Comfort

The BMW XM is approaching production readiness as the German manufacturer has put the electrified, high-performance SUV through its paces in its final testing phase, and BMW has supplied an image gallery of the XM clad in its development camouflage. Previewed by the Concept XM that was revealed last November, […]

The post BMW XM – 650 hp/800 Nm hybrid V8 to debut end 2022 with 80 km EV range, 48-volt Active Roll Comfort appeared first on Paul Tan's Automotive News.

- Patty Congdon

Standardizing facility asset data and health assessment processes are critical steps to building a strong foundation for sustainability. As we work to achieve net-zero targets and carbon footprint reductions, we must prioritize deferred maintenance, capital projects, and programs backlog, and we must address the asset health and condition foundation for these decisions. By taking simple, […]

The post To reduce the environmental impact of your facilities, standardize sustainability data appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Pavel Abdur-Rahman

Listen to a European thought leader’s perspective on the data economy: I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Vilmos Lorincz, Managing Director of Data and Digital Products for Lloyds Banking Group in the United Kingdom. Data is a fundamental currency in financial services, and so developing new approaches for banking protocols is critical to […]

The post Three mega-trends shaping the data economy appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Brian Sanders

Imagine a digital engineering workplace where thousands of people are building a single system. This system is used by two-thirds of the Fortune 100, 45 of the world’s top 50 banks, 8 of the top 10 insurers, 7 of the top 10 global retailers and 8 out of the top 10 telcos as a highly […]

The post IBM Engineering Workflow Management is the tool of choice for the IBM zHW platform development team appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Vijay Sankaran
Visual inspection for improved quality in manufacturing

The challenges of quality inspection in manufacturing Manufacturing operations strive to deliver the highest quality during every stage of the production or assembly process. Over half of these quality checks involve visual confirmation to ensure the parts are in the correct locations, have the right shape or color or texture, and are free from any […]

The post Visual inspection for improved quality in manufacturing appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Abdulah El Tarazi

Too many people in the payments industry today hold the misconception that the SWIFT network is only for cross-border payments. This was indeed the case in 1973, when 239 banks from 15 countries joined forces to create an efficient, automated, and secure payments network. At launch, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) was […]

The post How is SWIFT still relevant after five decades? appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Brian Sanders

Digital technology transformations have streamlined analog processes for decades, making complicated tasks easier, faster, more intuitive and even automatic. The modern car is the perfect expression of this idea. Cars produced in the last few decades are more than cars — they’re a bundle of digital processes with the ability to regulate fuel consumption, detect […]

The post Digital engineering is the answer when flawless, accountable production means life or death appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Pavel Abdur-Rahman

The data economy is booming. In 2021, IDC estimated the value of the data economy in the U.S. at USD 255 billion, and that of the European Union at USD 110 billion. In these and many other regions, growth in the data economy outpaces GDP. IBM has examined Canada’s particular potential for data leadership, with […]

The post How Canada is growing its data economy appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Ali Hamadi
How to win your SWIFT challenge

We are living in a cloud era, with new tools, programming languages, and technologies evolving at a much higher speed than even just 2 years ago. Workers need to refresh and resharpen skills on a regular basis. Financial institutions must embrace these changes and be prepared for the technological shifts and the innovative features needed […]

The post How to win your SWIFT challenge appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Krish Subramanian

As the adoption of cloud computing grows, enterprises see the cloud as the path to modernization. But there is quite a bit of confusion about the actual value of the cloud, leading to suboptimal modernization journeys. Most people see the cloud as a location for their computing needs. While cloud service providers (CSPs) are an […]

The post Don’t underestimate the cloud’s full value appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Jennifer C. Clemente

When Sophia Kianni visited her parents’ home country of Iran several years ago, she was alarmed by the heavy smog that obscured an otherwise starry night sky. She was even more concerned when her relatives admitted they knew almost nothing about climate change, because few climate resources were available in their native Farsi. In 2020, […]

The post Meet the young innovator whose global team translates climate reports appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- John David (J.D.) Penner

Cryptocurrencies, often depicted as an escape from fiat currency and legacy banking, have become a constant focus of bank and government activity. The most recent Executive Order from the U.S. President is just one example of governments carefully considering how to deal with cryptocurrencies. With all the news, it’s easy to lose sight of the […]

The post Why central banks dislike cryptocurrencies appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- Tess Laren

Not that long ago, asset-intensive organizations took a strictly “pen and paper” approach to maintenance checks and inspections of physical assets. Inspectors walked along an automobile assembly line, manually taking notes in an equipment maintenance log. Teams of engineers performed close-up inspections of bridges, hoisting workers high in the air or sending trained divers below […]

The post What asset-intensive industries can gain using Enterprise Asset Management appeared first on IBM Business Operations Blog.

- David Bailey, Professor of Business Economics, University of Birmingham
The flagging UK car industry is moving too slowly on battery production to compete on the global market
The road ahead needs electricity.
- Dimitry Anastakis, Professor and LR Wilson/RJ Currie Chair in Canadian Business History, University of Toronto
Canada must once again grab its share of the auto industry, despite U.S. protectionism
A look back at how Canada secured auto investment in the past shows how a peripheral economy gained a major auto sector — and how it might hold onto it even in the face of U.S. protectionism on EVs.
- Tom Stacey, Senior Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management, Anglia Ruskin University
China is on course to build the best cars in the world
China used to only make Soviet cars under licence. Now it’s taking on Tesla.
- Haryanto, Researcher, The Purnomo Yusgiantoro Center
Indonesia's car sales tax cut may harm the environment, requiring another policy to reduce emissions
Indonesia’s car sales tax cut could damage the environment as more cars on the streets will increase carbon emissions.
- Carol Handwerker, Professor of Materials Engineering, Purdue University
A global semiconductor shortage highlights a troubling trend: A small and shrinking number of the world's computer chips are made in the US
The high cost and long lead times for building computer chip factories makes it difficult for the U.S. to reverse the steady decline of its domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity.
- Tom Lyon, Dow Professor of Sustainable Science, Technology and Commerce; Professor of Business Economics; Public Policy Professor of Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan
Millennials drive for 8% fewer trips than older generations
Research shows that millennials don’t drive as much as previous generations, largely because of their beliefs.
- Paul Herriotts, Professor of Transport Design, Coventry University
Autonomous cars could revolutionise transport for disabled people – if we change the way we design
Driverless cars create an opportunity for more inclusive design – so why aren’t more companies using it?
- William Anderson, Director, Cross Border Institute, University of Windsor
Keep on trucking: Trucks must keep moving across Canada-U.S. border amid coronavirus
Canada and the United States have opted to keep its border open to commercial trucking during the coronavirus pandemic. The decision is important to the economies of both countries.
- Tom Stacey, Senior Lecturer in Operations and Supply Chain Management, Anglia Ruskin University
Volkswagen’s climate activist won’t be able to change the green credentials of the company any time soon
After ‘Dieselgate’, Volkswagen appears keen to rescue its public image. Now it’s looking to hire its own ‘Greta Thunberg’.
- David Richard Walwyn, Professor of Technology Management, University of Pretoria
Why South Africa should revert to greater protection for some of its industries
South Africa’s economic reforms of the 1990s were overdone, destroying some industries and thus impacting economic growth and job creation. A re-balancing of industrial policy is called for.
- Gavin Harper, Research Fellow, Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements & Critical Materials, University of Birmingham
Ford Bridgend closure: the UK's car industry could stage a revival by recycling rare earths
To become an attractive prospect for electric car manufacturers, the UK needs to sort out its supplies of rare earths – Brexit, or no Brexit.
- Jack Barkenbus, Visiting Scholar, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy & Environment, Vanderbilt University
The electric vehicle revolution will come from China, not the US
Chinese electric vehicle sales already amount to more than half of the world’s total – and car makers and battery manufacturers are working hard to grow even faster.
- David Keith, Assistant Professor of System Dynamics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Why reducing carbon emissions from cars and trucks will be so hard
Only a small share of the vehicles Americans buy are electric. Even if all of them were, it would take until 2040 to phase out the fossil fuels used to power personal travel and road-bound freight.
- Elham Mafi-Kreft, Clinical Associate Professor of Business Economics, Indiana University
How a 'hard' Brexit would harm US banks, carmakers and drug companies
American companies still face enormous uncertainty about how they’ll be doing business in the UK and EU in the coming years, particularly as the April 12 Brexit deadline draws closer.
- Jim Saker, Director of the Centre for Automotive Management, School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University
Honda closure: Brexit is tipping the UK's car industry over the edge
Globally, the car industry is struggling. But Brexit is pushing manufacturers out of the UK.
- François-Xavier de Vaujany, Professeur, PSL-Université Paris-Dauphine (DRM), Université Paris Dauphine – PSL
Carlos Ghosn, algorithms and ‘gilets jaunes’: becoming responsible
What do the Carlos Ghosn scandal, the rising power of algorithms and the “gilets jaunes” have in common? The need to extend the spatial and temporal definitions of responsibility.
- F. Todd Davidson, Research Associate, Energy Institute, University of Texas at Austin
Switching to electric vehicles could save the US billions, but timing is everything
Ensuring that everyone doesn’t charge their cars simultaneously will make a big difference.
- Steven High, Professor of History, Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS), Concordia University
GM closures: Oshawa needs more than 'thoughts and prayers'
General Motors has announced it’s closing plants in Canada and the U.S. Many of the towns have built cars for decades or longer. A plant closing shatters people’s sense of belonging and identity.
- André Boehman, Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Director, W.E. Lay Automotive Laboratory, University of Michigan
The government aims to boost ethanol without evidence that it saves money or helps the environment
Vehicles made before 2001 could suffer fuel system or engine damage if they’re run on E15.
- Arnaud Exbalin, Maître de conférence, histoire, Labex Tepsis – Mondes Américains (EHESS), Université Paris Nanterre – Université Paris Lumières
Car-free Paris? It was already a dream in 1790
The debate over the place of cars in cities may seem recent, but pamphlets published during the French Revolution show that the battle was raging before the first automobile even saw the light of day.
Automotive Insights – Canadian EV Information and Analysis Q1 2022
HighlightsIn Canada, trends in zero-emission vehicles (ZEV = BEV and PHEV) picked up in the first quarter of 2022A ZEV now accounts for one out of every twelve new vehicles registered in CanadaZEV's market share increased to 8.3% in Q1 2022, up from 5.0% in the previous quarter

National Enhanced Fuel Type Trend

When compared to Q1 2021, New vehicle registrations fell by 9.3% overall and the combined volume of xEV light vehicles (EV/PHEV/HEV/FCEV) increased by 20% in Q1 2022, xEVs now account for 13.8% of all new registrations, while traditional ICE vehicles account for 86.2%.

Further comparison of Q1 2022, BEVs and PHEVs saw volume gains (6,748 and 1,807), while HEV and FCEV each saw volume declines.

Inventory constraints, new BEV and PHEV entrants, and increased fuel prices have accelerated the uptake of BEV and PHEV vehicles in the Canadian market.

Download the full Canadian EV Insights report and sign up to receive future installments

May 2022 production forecast sees variations from region to region

The global auto industry continues to navigate a challenging supply chain environment as well as lingering COVID-19 impacts. While ongoing COVID lockdowns in areas of mainland China are having a material impact on production within the country and some surrounding markets, S&amp;P Global Mobility (formerly IHS Markit | Automotive) analysts are also seeing a measure of stability in other regions relative to some of the more meaningful downward revisions made in recent months.

To be sure, COVID conditions and the general state of the supply chain will remain dominant factors influencing production in the near-term, along with the macro implications of the ongoing Russia/Ukraine conflict, yet automakers and suppliers continue to adapt to the changing landscape.

The May 2022 light vehicle production forecast update from S&amp;P Global Mobility reflects noteworthy reductions for Greater China and Japan/Korea due to the aforementioned COVID lockdowns in China impacting production both directly and through supply chain interruptions. Conversely, it is important to note upward revisions for South Asia and Europe on somewhat improved conditions in those markets relative to prior expectations.

The Shift to Utility: Part I	 –  May 2022

Utility share reaches new high, despite increasing gas prices

The rise of the utility sector is no surprise. The trend started nearly a decade ago and ramped up as gas prices plummeted from 2014 to 2016 (Fig. 1). Even as gas prices began to increase, utility share continued to climb due to the introduction of smaller and more fuel-efficient utility nameplates.

Read more

Read our full US Automotive Advisory Insights from S&amp;P Global Mobility. Our May 2022 report on the US Market focuses on the increasing gas prices and how consumers are moving to utility vehicles.

Download full report

A Tale of Three Industries:  A review of registration and migration patterns in the US new vehicle industry

Attempting to understand the core, underlying drivers of the US new vehicle industry can be challenging, and for good reason. In the 2021 calendar year in the US, manufacturers marketed 420 models across 46 brands, 33 segments, 10 body styles and three geographic origins* - and this is before taking into consideration engine size, fuel type, and trim levels.

Yet, despite this complexity, by reviewing retail new vehicle registration data and migration patterns, S&amp;P Global Mobility has identified three dominant clusters, or cohorts, within the mainstream sector of the industry. These groupings are substantially larger in retail registration volume and their concentrated migration dynamics than any other clusters.

The purpose of this paper is to identify these three cohorts, describe their characteristics and discuss why it is important to be aware of them.

Download our Whitepaper

Authors:

Tom Libby, Associate Director, of Industry Analysis, Thomas.Libby@spglobal.comCecilia Simon, Consultant, Consulting Services, Cecilia.Simon@spglobal.com
Fuel For Thought - Pace of Change: Energy and mobility, climate and innovation

Automotive Monthly Newsletter and PodcastThis month's theme: Pace of Change: Energy &amp; mobility, climate and innovation

LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST

CERAWeek 2022Now in its 40th year, S&amp;P Global's CERAWeek is widely considered to be the most prestigious annual gathering of CEOs and ministers from global energy and utilities, as well as automotive, technology, manufacturing, policy, and financial communities. The theme of this year's conference was "Pace of Change: Energy, Climate, and Innovation."

The global energy and mobility industry is at a critical inflection point. Meeting ambitious emissions targets while also delivering energy and mobility for a growing world economy will require new thinking, innovation and a transformation of a system that supports the $90 trillion world economy.

Further complicating this picture are rising geopolitical tensions and nationalism, growing trade friction, supply chain bottlenecks, economic headwinds and the ongoing pandemic.

Energy &amp; mobility

The intrinsic linkage between energy and mobility becomes more obvious when viewed from the perspective of leading energy companies. At CERAWeek, several senior BP executives spoke about this linkage, and it was immediately clear that they have a lot of electrification plans going forward. Intriguingly, they made reference that this represented "non-fossil growth engines" for BP's business overall. In fact, the commitment is of such magnitude that BP is on track to allocate half of all its investments by 2025 into these non-fossil growth engines; the tide has really changed in the energy sector. Overall, the BP key investment focus is initially upon mainland China, the UK, the US and India; especially in the area of fast-charging and fleet activity (such as ride-hailing and fleet operators). However, BP has also earmarked electrification as a huge business opportunity, especially as they foresee 100 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030. According to BP, a lot of the away from home charging is done via fast chargers, hence their strategy is aggressively embracing this opportunity. BP also reminded CERAWeek attendees that they own 20,000 fuel stations today, which eventually could all become dedicated EV stations (especially as they remarked that EV fleets today are already competitive with ICE fleets in terms of total cost of ownership [TCO]). Forward looking, the BP view on biofuels is that it will have to play a part in this transition, especially for the marine and aviation sector in the future. While hydrogen is also seen as an opportunity, the company is aware that other sectors (such as cement and steel) need it as well; therefore, from a mobility perspective, perhaps it makes more sense to focus more on the long-haul trucking and industrial sectors for the time being. Finally, BP made indications that no matter what the future holds, markets such as India or mainland China will also still need natural gas for mobility purposes.

Shell also shared its perspective regarding the mobility transition, and interestingly Shell fully supports the EU's proposed ICE phase-out by 2035. This means that the company's strategy is also geared toward providing charging infrastructure. In fact, Shell now even has some dedicated fast-charging forecourts only - supplemented by a retail outlet to further boost revenue prospects. A brief reference was made to Shell's current number of charging stations (90,000), of which 80% appear to be based in Europe; Shell plans to have 2.5 million charging stations globally by 2030. However, at the same time there is also the realization that hydrogen also needs support, especially for the heavy-truck sector, and Shell will facilitate this as well (as already witnessed by their cooperation with Daimler Trucks).

The Renewable Energy Group (REG), now acquired by Chevron, made it clear that multiple clean solutions will be required to support future mobility, and the company sees good opportunities for renewable fuels and other low-carbon fuels - among which they would count bio-based diesel that is well suited for marine, rail, aviation and trucking sectors. Furthermore, REG claimed that the electrification inflection point is already here today, and that the industry is changing before our eyes. However, so far, the changes have been originating from US/CAN/EU, but now they also see huge interest from Japan where demand for lower carbon intensity fuel is high.

Switching to the perspective of a technology company, Schneider Electric claimed that it sees key future opportunities in the collective and individual mobility sector; however, it also recognizes that infrastructure owners will need to be approached for cooperation to enable electrified mobility. Ultimately, what the energy and mobility transitions require is smart, sustainable and efficient technology solutions; Schneider Electric sees huge opportunities in the "Energy-as-a-Service" concept (utilizing renewables, solar, etc.) involving chargers and microgrid combinations, which it sees first occurring in the public bus sector. Schneider Electric also shared its opinion that regulation, economics and customer satisfaction are no longer obstacles (especially for fleets); however, some challenges remain - among which charging is one of the major ones. Ideally, Schneider would like to see a global convergence of regulations; government incentive support in more markets around the world to enable this change to happen.

While Wallbox discussed the possibility of solving one of the biggest questions regarding the future of the transition to electric mobility: "What are we going to do when all these vehicles plug into the grid at the same time?" It argued that "today there already is more storage capacity in the electric cars on the road (around 13 times more) than the entire stationary storage business." Effectively, utilities should be seen as a key partner for domestic charging station providers to store renewable energy and for offsetting the impact on the grid of overnight charging, as well as a go to market and return on investment (ROI) for the bidirectional business model.

Moving on to the charging infrastructure perspective, ABB E-mobility told the CERAWeek audience that there is no longer a question about EVs as the demand is there; however, the sector still faces so-called growing pains. ABB E-mobility has already installed more than 65 megawatts of charging stations for fleets in the US market alone. Another charging infrastructure provider, Electrify America, revealed that it is working to install energy storage and grid support at all its DC fast-charging stations; 150 of their 800 stations are already using energy storage systems today. Although alternatives were also represented at CERAWeek, with wireless charging provider WiTricity stating that it wants "to get to the day when your grandkids ask you what do you mean you used to plug in the car"? Reinforcing the company's vision, WiTricity referred to consumer research indicating that once consumers are aware of wireless charging, their purchase intent for EVs significantly rises (up to 68%). Finally, Ample presented another alternative of battery swapping; with some consensus that indeed this business model is growing in popularity in Asia (especially with 2-wheelers), the main current light vehicle applications appear to remain in the fleet sector, and that future success could depend upon system or technology standardization efforts.

Climate

The CERAWeek audience at the plenary opening heard from US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry that, "The real climate measurement is NOT the 2050 net zero goals, but the real measurement should be what companies do in 2020-2030 and will that be enough by 2050?" Kerry also noted, "We have energy infrastructure challenges. Look at our non-existent national grid. We can drive a rover around Mars but can't send an electron from CA to NY." Further supporting this view, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated that the US Government is here to "extend a hand of partnership" to the oil, gas and automotive industry. "We need to have a full battery supply chain in the US [...] It's a matter of national and economic security." Granholm continued, "We are here to work with anyone and everyone who's serious about taking a leap toward the future [...] by diversifying energy to add clean fuels and technologies."

During the city mayor discussion, the speakers reminded the audience that cities are where emissions happen, be it via transportation, heating, entertainment or others. Hence the role of cities is becoming ever more important in the fight against climate change and the energy and mobility transition globally. It is in cities that we have seen much of the new mobility solutions roll out; however, owing to the online shopping boom, it is anticipated that more needs to be done here to help address this emission growth. Amazon noted that as a company they already made a 2030 climate pledge back in 2019, and this is reflected in the investment and order awarded to Rivian for 100,000 EV delivery trucks. Although Amazon did also indicate that fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) might be of interest as well (also as an energy carrier for wider Amazon energy requirements). One discussion participant stated, "80% of our global emissions come from the energy sector. We can address this via emissions reduction alone, but perhaps one should also consider consumption reduction? This would have a profound impact on climate change."

Several CERAWeek discussions appeared to recognize that the geographic impact due to climate change differs around the world, which could also mean that the proposed solutions will differ around the world. For some economies, that could include that some degree of fossil fuels (potentially e-fuels) might still make sense in the longer term.

Innovation

The climate challenge ahead is of such magnitude that some energy and mobility companies spoke of linear investments being required; this requires a high degree of planning and confidence into the future and means that we cannot invest in all alternatives. However, this implies that each company looks at its own sector, and this could slow down cooperation between sectors and/or competitors. Hence it is crucial to keep an open mind, as we need all solutions going forward.

Several of the panel discussions and keynotes also touched upon the subject of regulation, and how this could stifle true innovation. Great examples here have been Google Waymo as well as GM Cruise; as vehicle regulation is not up to date with current technology. At the event, Nuro stated that even though its autonomous electric robot delivery vehicle, which has no passenger interior or windows - just room for delivery cargo - had to feature a fake windshield with wipers as well as side view mirrors before it was allowed on the road for testing purposes. However, the company has since made progress via a close liaison with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) to qualify for exemptions.

Further innovation will continue to be required for some decades to come, among which is the issue of storage of renewable energy. An elegant solution could be a systems approach (or networked business model) where markets utilize the EVs as storage (when not in use), which could provide significantly larger capacity compared to just the local utility supply. However, it also raises the issue of whether this would happen in emerging markets versus developed markets; and would this potentially lead to a 2-tier system?

CERAWeek was used by Ford and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&amp;E), a large utility In California, to jointly announce a bi-directional charging partnership. Ford CEO Jim Farley discussed that the connections between electric companies and automakers are becoming more important to achieve a smooth rollout of EVs. According to Ford and PG&amp;E "We have to reinvent the grid… ensuring electrons are both clean &amp; resilient, reliable &amp; affordable, that is what grid reinvention is". The partnership will start with 500 systems that will allow F-150 lightning e-trucks to power homes. For now, it's a pilot but PG&amp;E sees it as a step toward using EVs as a source of power during peak hours in California (note that ~20% of US EVs are currently in PG&amp;E's territory). Ford's CEO added "We have to vertically integrate &amp; secure [battery] capacity, those that have access from raw materials to manufacturing will determine the winners &amp; losers. Supply chains become a strategic advantage". Furthermore, he added that the shift to cars becoming "digital products" (with advanced electronic architectures) is a bigger transformation than the move to zero emissions EVs on its own.

Further highlighting the strategic importance of the new EV supply chain was provided by the US Department of State's Kimberly Harrington who argued that "a typical EV requires 6 times the critical minerals than a conventional gasoline vehicle. This is what drives much of the State Dept's investment right now in this area."

The issue of supply chains and critical materials continued to take center stage when JB Straubel, Founder &amp; CEO of Redwood Materials, took to the stage: "We must look at the entire battery chain to address cost and emissions. If you only do recycling, you must export the recovered raw materials, usually to Asia, where battery components are made. Hence, Redwood Materials is building a fully integrated process in the US". Comments which were echoed by the Schlumberger CEO telling the CERAWeek audience that: "The security of supply is becoming critical for many countries". Similarly, the Lithium Americas CEO added that North American lithium production will have to urgently grow over the next 8 years to match current global output. Which he referred to as "unprecedented growth" that will be required. But it's not just all about the usual resources such a lithium, as other panel discussions highlighted that the road to the energy and mobility transition also depends upon copper and others. Listening to commodity miners/traders (like RioTinto and Trafigura) future supply deficits are looming as permitting, approvals and project investments lag global demand.

The CEO of Rivian Automotive, RJ Scaringe, provided further context from a leading EV start-up perspective, by sharing that the constraint for broad scale adoption of EVs is the upstream supply of batteries and raw materials. According to him the challenge ahead represents a "staggering amount of work and investment that is needed to scale this industry quickly"; and that "90% to 95% of the battery capacity supply chain the industry will need over the next 10 years has not been built yet".

Finally, there was also the realization that new skill sets will become necessary in the future to help accommodate this energy/mobility transition. This is something that Korn Ferry referred to as 'employment value proposition' as especially the OEMs and Tier-suppliers need to come to terms that a different workforce will be required in the future, and new skill sets (like software among others - as also referenced by the Ford CEO). But all is not lost for the 'old economy', as highlighted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which stated that the renewables sector could account for 38 million jobs by 2030. Their message was clear, be a part of the future of energy and mobility and let's work together to advance the transition.

Overheard at the conference:

Vehicle manufacturers are getting worried globally about the Chinese battery giant CATL, as they are getting too powerful and could pose a geopolitical risk to their supply chain. It was also suggested that even Chinese manufacturers have similar concerns, but more from a fair pricing point of view.Such is the anticipated anxiety (or angst) regarding sourcing sufficient raw materials and minerals (especially cobalt and nickel) that Volkswagen is considering setting-up its own dedicated supply chain in China via two local Chinese partners (Huayou Cobalt and Tsingshan Group).

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Global Auto Production Forecast Downgraded Further for 2022

While the March 2022 forecast update reflected the impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the April update addresses some additional challenges that have arisen, including a rather sluggish recovery in semiconductor supplies, the impact of further COVID lockdowns in China and the longer-term influence of high raw material prices that will put added pressure on new vehicle affordability.

"Currently the greatest risk to the outlook comes from the threat of further or prolonged lockdowns in mainland China and the contagion into already stressed global supply chains," said Mark Fulthorpe, Executive Director, Global Production Forecasting, S&amp;P Global Mobility.

The April 2022 forecast update reflects noteworthy reductions for several markets, with the most significant reductions focused on Europe and Greater China.

The following reflects the S&amp;P Global Mobility April 2022 Light Vehicle Production Forecast update:

The more noteworthy regional adjustments with the latest forecast update are detailed below:

Europe: The outlook for Europe light vehicle production was reduced by 498,000 units for 2022. With the April update, we see European production remaining challenged as the region continues to navigate the Russia/Ukraine impact as well as ongoing supply chain issues.Greater China: The outlook for Greater China light vehicle production was reduced by 396,000 units for 2022. Heavily hit by strict COVID containment measures, light vehicle production in March is estimated to have declined by 8% a year-over-year. In April, the Omicron variant has spread to Shanghai and forced local government officials to implement comprehensive lockdowns. As the influence of lockdowns expanded from vehicle production to parts production, component shortages are expected to interrupt auto production outside of Shanghai in the near-term, leading to further vehicle output impact in following months.North America: In spite of the backdrop of the Russia/Ukraine conflict and continued supply chain challenges, the outlook for North American light vehicle production in 2022 remains flat at 14.75 million units. Production in Q1-2022 came in a bit higher than forecast with 3.55 million units produced. However, production in Q2- 2022 was revised down on continued supply chain struggles and concerns surrounding additional logistics issues at border crossings between the US and Mexico in Texas that may exacerbate already strained conditions in the near-term.
How autonomous trucks will transform landscape of logistics industry

The logistics industry is going through profound changes with digitilisation and other technological advances that have the potential to decrease substantially the cost of transporting goods over land. Although autonomous passenger cars are receiving the most attention, autonomous technology is expected to have a greater impact on the global trucking and logistics industry. Autonomous trucks are gaining a great deal of traction in the transportation industries because of a growing shortage of drivers, improved efficiency, and increased safety.

A truck driver shortage is adding to global supply chain challenges, preventing the trucking sector from fulfilling the increased demand driven by a boom in e-commerce. In the US, according to an October 2021 estimate by the American Trucking Associations, the shortage of truck drivers was at an all-time high of 80,000. The shortfall might increase to more than 160,000 drivers by 2030, according to the industry body, due to an ageing workforce and an expected freight increase.Another huge challenge in the logistics industry is underutilisation and inefficient load procurement; hence, these trucks will enable autonomous loading and unloading of containers in yards and ports, resulting in increased efficiency. The low utilisation rates not only reduce the efficiency of operations and distribution for the rest of the supply chain, but also increase the number of trucks on the road, resulting in increased greenhouse gas emissions.One of the most promising aspects of autonomous truck technology is the potential to increase truck safety. Distracted drivers and impaired driving are considered the biggest causes of the increased number of fatalities, which autonomous trucking technology is expected to solve as the systems provide a 360-degree view of the surroundings, process more information, and react faster compared with a human driver.Technology companies have been conducting a variety of autonomous truck pilots and currently these programmes deploy trucks in limited areas where their movement is confined within defined geographies. These pilots are undertaken with the expectation of validating an AV system, starting with line-haul, on-highway applications on simple interstate scenarios and in fair weather conditions. Then, the aim is to expand the pilots to more-challenging driving conditions, aimed at increasing the adoption of automated features in trucks from Level 1 to fully autonomous capabilities (Level 5).As autonomous trucking becomes more popular, consumer perceptions of autonomous technology's safety will have an impact on acceptance and adoption, acting as an accelerator or a deterrent. A strategic plan to accelerate the development and adoption of commercial AVs includes four dimensions: a legal framework, new regulations, appropriate road infrastructure, and collaboration with manufacturers.

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China sets green hydrogen production target in national development plan

China has unveiled its long-awaited national blueprint to develop a clean hydrogen industry, setting out a near-term production target while pledging to increase the low-emission fuel's usage across various sectors.

With the world's largest GHG-emitting nation aiming for peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, some Chinese provincial governments—including Sichuan and Hebei—have already published hydrogen development plans for the 2021-2025 period.

On 23 March, China's top economic planner National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and energy regulator National Energy Administration (NEA) released a development plan to build a hydrogen supply chain in 2021-2035, laying out a series of policy guidelines at the national level for the first time.

"We are making it clear that we are going to create a system where we will have clean, low-carbon, and low-cost hydrogen production," said Wang Xiang, deputy director of the NDRC's high-end technology department, in a press briefing.

China is aiming to produce 100,000-200,000 metric tons (mt) of the so-called green hydrogen from renewables per year by 2025, which will help reduce CO2 emissions by 1-2 million mt/year, according to the plan. This would be far less than 1% of China's annual emissions of nearly 14 billion mt of GHGs.

Figures from the China Hydrogen Alliance, a Beijing-based trade group, suggest that the country currently produces around 33 million mt/year of hydrogen, nearly all of which is from coal regasification, gas reforming, or various industrial processes. The output is generally categorized as gray hydrogen.

"Our focus is to produce hydrogen from renewable energy and limit production from fossil fuels," Wang said. "We have the largest installed capacity of renewables, so we have great potential in raising our clean, low-carbon hydrogen supply."

S&amp;P Global Commodity Insights data shows 124 MW electrolyzers were commissioned to produce hydrogen in China at end-2021, though it's not known whether they are fully powered by renewable energy. Another 1 GW in electrolysis capacity is due to come online in 2022 and 2023.

China's installed renewable capacity reached 1.063 TW at the end of 2021 and will continue rapid expansion in the coming years, according to the government. Renewable projects generated 2,480 TWh of electricity in China last year, or 29.8% of the power mix. Beijing's goal is for non-fossil fuels' share to reach 39% by 2025.

"There are already enough projects in the pipeline to support the targeted level [of green hydrogen production]," said S&amp;P Global's Megan Jenkins, senior research analyst at ENR, adding that she however observes some demand uncertainty.

Who is to use hydrogen? Like some other countries, China views the road transportation sector as an initial demand source for green hydrogen. Last year, the central government it would provide subsidies for the value chains of automobiles powered by hydrogen fuel cells around Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong. Each of the metropolitan areas can receive up to ¥1.5 billion ($235 million) for fuel-cell vehicles and ¥200 million for hydrogen supply during a four-year demonstration period.

China is targeting to have 50,000 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles by 2025, according to the national hydrogen plan. S&amp;P Global's Platts Analytics estimated there were around 7,700 such vehicles last December.

But analysts believe Beijing needs to further refine the current subsidy scheme, which does not favor green hydrogen over gray hydrogen. Matching up green hydrogen production with the vehicle demand centers is also difficult, said Jenkins. "A lot of these green hydrogen projects are located in remote regions on giant renewable energy mega-bases."

In the national plan, the government said it will promote the buildout of logistics infrastructure, set quality and safety standards, and increase the number of refueling stations with a daily hydrogen dispensing capacity of more than 1,000 kg.

China also plans to promote the usage of green hydrogen in the power storage, utility, industrial, aviation, and maritime transportation sectors.

"We will actively explore how to apply fuel cells to vessels and aircrafts, and we will begin research and development of large airplanes that can be fueled by hydrogen," the plan said. "We will promote the low-carbon transition of ammonia and synthetic methanol production with hydrogen."

Stronger capacity China has more than 300 companies involved in the hydrogen supply chain, mainly in the coastal areas, according to the government. Looking forward, the government wants to enhance the industry's technological capabilities and reduce its electricity costs.

The country's manufacturing capacity for electrolyzers is expected to reach 1.5-2.5 GW this year, but Beijing believes Chinese firms have to enhance their ability in developing critical materials and innovate on fuel cells, with the proton exchange membrane fuel cells highlighted as an area of focus.

"Compared with more advanced standards abroad, China's hydrogen industry lacks the ability to innovate and has lackluster technical capabilities," the plan said. "We will enhance cooperation with countries and regions with better technologies.

"We will actively participate in establishing international standards for hydrogen with overseas partners and explore trade opportunities with Belt and Road countries," it added. China's central government will also develop more policy instruments to promote the industry and take a leading role in infrastructure planning for local governments, according to the plan. In an ideal scenario, the heavily industrialized provinces will initially use byproduct hydrogen, while the provinces with rich renewable resources start with some pilot green hydrogen projects.

"All local authorities need to take into consideration their supply capabilities, industry infrastructure, and make space when it comes to future development," Wang said.

China has yet to set any quantified targets for hydrogen development beyond 2025. But the country wants to have "a relatively comprehensive supply chain" by 2030 for the peak CO2 target and "a significant increase" of hydrogen's share in final energy consumption by 2035, according to the plan.

Posted 23 March 2022 by Max Tingyao Lin, Principal Journalist, Climate and Sustainability

Expansionary Policies Provide a Tailwind to Mainland Chinese Truck Market, but Challenges Remain

The pre-loaded consumption and supply chain disruptions have clouded the mainland Chinese medium- and heavy-duty truck (MHDT) market since last summer. With gradual easing of power shortages and recent injection of policy stimulus, production of MHDT saw narrowed contraction from November 2021 and will accelerate restoration in 2022. In our February forecast, we improved the mainland Chinese MHDT production for 2022 by 5% to 1.18 million units, still a decline of 19% compared with 2021.

Expanding fiscal spending adds to new demand

To counter mounting economic growth headwinds, fiscal measures have been shifted from de-risking to stimulative since the fourth quarter of last year. According to the 2022 government work report, the tax rebate and cut packages for households, small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as industries such as manufacturing, services, and transportation are extended from CNY1 trillion in 2021 to CNY2.5 trillion in 2022. In the transportation sector, preferential highway tolling and incentives for logistics will continue to be a part of the scheme, facilitating trucking recovery to the pre-pandemic norm. In addition, local governments' borrowing, the main source of infrastructure investment, could reach CNY4.14 trillion under loosened oversight and early issuance of special-purpose bonds. Coupled with CNY640 billion of central budget for major construction projects, these will allow a healthy growth of infrastructure investment in 2022. Concurrently, the real estate investment will be accelerated by the ongoing relaxation of restrictions on the housing market, reflected in consecutive reduction of mortgage rates and increase of city-level supports to shore up purchases. Construction truck demand is therefore expected to go up by 4-6% in 2022 from a 1% expansion in 2021, adding around 15,000 units to the February outlook.

Fine-tuned environmental policies accelerate replacements

The strict implementation of the "Dual Control" of energy consumption amount and intensity across energy-intensive industries in 2021 that has greatly aggravated power shortages and curbed industrial output is eased in 2022 to stabilize industrial growth. The goal of "Dual Control" policy, turned focus on reduction of carbon emission. Existing restrictions on annual energy expenditure of industrial enterprises will be removed, and some of them will be subsidized with green loans. Meanwhile, the decarbonization agenda for industries such as steel is adjusted to be less aggressive, with the deadline of peaking carbon emission being postponed by five years to 2030. In contrast, downstream regulations on diesel trucks become stringent. After forcing out around 1.3 million units CN1-3-level trucks in key regions by 2021, the State Council vows to basically phase out all below-CN4-level trucks across the nation by 2025. In particular, Shandong Province, which claims to have completed elimination of CN3-level trucks, will start to clean CN4-level trucks from this year. Moreover, for applications such as transport of bulk commodities, municipal construction, and sanitation, CN5-level trucks are ordered to be upgraded or electrified in some regions during 2022-25. Considering our previous assumptions on continued clearance of CN1-3-level trucks, the new policies are estimated to bring about 50,000 units more truck replacements to 2022.

High inventories and multimodal transport weigh on the baseline

Owing to OEMs' price-off promotions, the pre-buy activity in preparation for the CN6-a diesel emission rules were greatly magnified, resulting in an over-storage of CN5-level trucks across dealer channels in the first half of 2021. By December 2021, nationwide MHDT inventories are calculated at 275,000 units, still way higher than the typical rates of 150,000-170,000 units. Roughly one third of them are CN5-level trucks, despite a national closure of registrations on January 1, 2022. As expected, the high inventory pressure will deepen into the first quarter of this year, before full clearance of CN5-level new trucks (sold as used trucks) in the market. On the other hand, the transition of 440 million tons of road transport to railway and waterway transport have made share of road freight turnover among all transport modes to fall from 36% in 2018 to 32% in 2021. Such structure will be further optimized with projected acceleration in railway and waterway transport for bulk commodities and containers throughout 2025. Accordingly, long-term baseline demand for heavy trucks will be weakened by up to 30,000 units .

With de-stocking of CN5-level new trucks and policy stimulus taking effect, we predict MHDT production to pick up steam from the second quarter. However, recent outbreaks of Omicron variants and geopolitical tensions may raise risks in the market. By far, the pandemic lockdown has led to FAW's Changchun plant to suspend production for at least four days in March. In the meantime, industrial supply chain and logistics are facing increasing challenges from surging energy and commodity prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Although local OEMs could benefit from higher exports to Russia during the Western sanctions, the incremental production will be limited, given a gloomy outlook for the region in general.

Fuel For Thought - Can the dealer of today serve the EV customer of tomorrow?

Automotive Monthly Newsletter and PodcastThis month's theme: Can the dealer of today serve the EV customer of tomorrow?

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The jury is no longer out. Electric vehicles (EVs) are coming, and in large numbers. We have heard the message loud and clear. Nearly every major automaker in the United States has announced significant investment commitments to transition a substantial percentage of their product portfolio from internal combustion engines (ICEs) to EVs.

The number of available EV models in the US is expected to increase 10 times over, from 26 in 2021 to 276 in 2030The adoption of these offerings is also expected to be widespreadCalifornia's share of EV sales in the United States is projected to decline from 35% in 2021 to only 12% in 2030Tesla's share of EV sales will decline from 71% in 2021 to only 10% in 2030

To support this EV expansion, governments, companies, and EV consumers will be required to invest considerably to build out charging infrastructure, with the number of charging stations increasing from 850,000 in 2021 to nearly 12 million by 2030.

But what will this transition mean for the average US franchised dealer? What changes will be required to the traditional sales process? Will service revenue be at risk? What investments will be required? The pace of transition will differ dramatically across brands, but the challenges and opportunities will be similar. The brands and dealers that can create a simplified, customer-centric approach through this transition will create a key differentiator during this retail transformation.

The average franchise dealer will be tasked to sell, service, and manage relationships with a traditional ICE vehicle customer base, at the same time, trying to aggressively grow the EV business. Even with the dramatic growth expectations for EVs, the average dealer in 2030 will have a new vehicle sales mix of 70% of ICE vs. 30% EV. On the service side, more than 80% of vehicles in operation (VIO) will still be ICE vehicles. The prolonged dominance of ICE vehicles will translate to hesitation from dealers to shift their substantial resources to support EV growth. Sales manager compensation will continue to be dominated by selling the traditional ICE vehicle inventory. Service lanes and workshop processes will continue to be organized around ICE vehicle maintenance and repair requirements. The challenge will be to maintain these core business operations while also laying the groundwork for the transition to EVs and an evolving business model.

Dealers are being asked to make significant investments in charging infrastructure as they prepare for EV launches. OEMs are establishing the prescriptive requirements based on sales opportunity for each dealer. Although these investments are often quite large, they are straightforward and relatively easy to plan for. Specific EV training will be another key area of focus for OEMs and dealer investment. Dealers may try to identify key EV personnel as "experts" while increasing their general dealership knowledge. This task is challenging when the majority of daily business activity will continue to focus on traditional ICE customers. OEMs will prioritize EV training requirements coinciding with key vehicle launches, while also rolling out continuous learning opportunities. Dealers will need to recognize the long-term importance of these opportunities and prioritize the goal of developing EV expertise across nearly all dealership roles. The best performing dealers will look for immediate opportunities to apply this EV knowledge. Many consumers, even those not ready to purchase an EV, will have questions, providing an opportunity to establish EV credibility within the existing customer base. Understanding the reasons behind an EV purchase , proactively identifying those customers, and creating targeted marketing will accelerate the return on investment and establish a competitive edge in capturing EV growth.

The transition to EVs for traditional franchise dealers introduces a significant complexity risk. A distracted, disjointed business will struggle, but a focused, harmonized business will thrive. OEMs are aware of the risk. Ford recently announced its network strategy to distinguish ICE dealers, such as those offering the Ford Blue, from EV dealers, for example offering the Ford Model e, creating separate, unique dealer-operating standards for each. Ford dealers have clearly voiced some trepidation over this approach and there will likely be some hurdles in the execution. However, it is likely we will see more OEMs following Ford's lead as traditional automakers attempt to simplify the retail approach and compete more effectively with EV-only brands, namely Tesla. If successful, traditional automakers may find that fully leveraging their dealer networks will provide the competitive advantage they have been looking for to serve the EV customer of the future.

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Russia-Ukraine war places 2.6 million light vehicles in production at risk according to S&P Global Mobility

With Russia-Ukraine war comes more reminders of the fragility of the world's automotive supply chains. The March light vehicle production update from S&amp;P Global Mobility (formerly the automotive team at IHS Markit) is likely to downgrade its 2022 car production forecast by 2.6 million units (i.e., to 81.6 million). The downgrade decomposition of light vehicle production will broadly comprise just under 1 million units from lost demand in Russia and Ukraine; and the remainder split between 1) worsening semiconductor shortage issues, and 2) loss of Ukraine-sourced automotive wiring harnesses and other components respectively. In addition, the complete loss of Russian palladium is a tail risk with the potential to become automotive industry's biggest supply constraint.

Pent-up light vehicle demand reduced by roughly one third

Pre-Ukraine invasion on 24th Feb, the global automotive industry had already spent over a year under capacity constrained conditions, with (we estimate) pent up consumer demand up to 10 million units (or 12%) above this year's achievable light vehicle production. The sudden loss of economic confidence (via high oil and raw material prices, weak equity markets, and tightening interest rates) is dampening the demand of light vehicles and could now reduce that shortfall by roughly one third - though significant pent-up demand remains.

Automotive supply chain remains the constraining factor

While the macro concerns are significant, the automotive supply chain (and not underlying consumer demand) will continue to set the upper limit for light vehicle unit sales in the medium term. The key crunch points weighing on light vehicle production levels post invasion fall into two broad categories: Semiconductor materials supply (specifically via Ukrainian neon gas and Russian palladium), and electrical wiring harness sourcing.

Specialist material outages could curtail semiconductor shortage recovery

Semiconductor supply challenges are worsening on two fronts: First, via neon gas production disruptions. Ukraine's firms control around half of high purity neon gas supply to the semiconductor industry, where the element is used in lasers that etch patterns onto chips. Our channel checks suggest immediate risks are low thanks to semiconductor makers holding sufficient neon gas inventory, but visibility is poor. The second challenge is availability of palladium, used in semiconductor plating and finishing. In an additional negative twist, China COVID-19 cases at a 2 year high are triggering quarantines and plant closures in northeastern manufacturing hubs including Shenzhen and Changchun. All of the above raise the risk of losses from 'stranded' chips, i.e., semiconductors for which the 'right' car cannot be built due to other constraints.

Ukraine automotive wiring harnesses difficult to substitute

Our channel checks suggest Ukraine-built automotive wiring harnesses were likely destined for around 0.5 to 1 million vehicles before the Russia-Ukraine war took place. These automotive harnesses comprise complex and manually constructed assemblages of cable. Although some dual sourcing arrangements exist, for the most part switching will be difficult due to already-constrained harness capacity in and around Europe. Production relocations could take 3 to 10 months due to wait times on machinery and multi-month staff training times. Almost half (45%) of Ukraine-built automotive wiring harnesses are normally exported to Germany and Poland, placing German carmakers at high exposure. Our analysis suggests VW is most exposed (via Leoni, Sumitomo, and other suppliers), followed by BMW. On the plus side, once ramped up - lost production from automotive harness suppliers could be recovered quickly into late 2022 and beyond.

Palladium: Next 'black swan' candidate

While low probability as things stand, palladium has the potential to become the automotive industry's biggest supply constraint. Russia produces 40% of the world's mined palladium according to United States Geological Survey (USGS). Around two thirds of palladium use is in vehicles, where it is the active element in catalytic converters for exhaust aftertreatment. If Russian palladium supply were suddenly interrupted (due to a western boycott, or Russia stopping supply), production of all vehicles using such sourcing (including hybrids) could potentially stop. Although platinum is an alternative element, it is similarly expensive and also largely Russia-originated. Substitution of any kind is a regulatory minefield since design changes require regulatory re-homologation, which can take months. We do not currently incorporate major palladium disruptions in our light vehicle production forecast base case.

Industry Inventory Impact – March 2022

Inventory shortages are having a profound impact on the industry

After the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the current microchip shortage impact on vehicle production and inventory shortages have hampered sales for almost all brands.

Make loyalty decline was widespread

As consumers returned to market with limited choices, fewer were loyal to their brand. There is a strong positive correlation between days' supply and make loyalty (Fig. 1).

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Read our full US Automotive Advisory Insights from IHS Markit. Our March 2022 report on the US Market focuses on the profound impact inventory shortages are having on the automotive industry, including the widespread make loyalty decline.

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What motor sourcing says about a carmaker’s electrification ethos

What motor sourcing says about a carmaker's electrification ethos

Incumbent automakers are grappling with a big dilemma: How fast to electrify their production capacity? And in so doing, whether to prioritize flexibility of powertrain type (given uncertain EV demand) or absolute scale? Furthermore, how do we know which such strategies the various automakers favor?

Making own electric drives demands heavier up-front investment

Automakers' decisions on 1) whether to build dedicated electric product architectures; and 2) whether to manufacture their own battery cells (or indeed assemble packs) are already quite well scrutinized. However whether they make or buy their own electric drive units (and in what ratio) is another enlightening metric. It is a particularly interesting one due to the spread of approaches among the major players.

Established electric players prefer to make their own

Electric-only players tend to see electric drive units as vital to efficiency and thus a source of competitive advantage. The units comprise a high voltage inverter, the electric motor, and its transmission components. Tesla and Lucid designed and build 100% of their own and have been vocal about the benefits they achieve from limiting energy loss in the designs. Meanwhile many incumbent carmakers have started out sourcing drive units externally from Tier 1 suppliers like Bosch. In between there are a range of approaches. Hyundai (97%) and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (85%) are already overwhelmingly insourced, while Ford (2%) and Honda (21%) are as of today largely outsourcing.

Tide shifting toward insourcing

We forecast a steady shift toward electric drive insourcing in the coming decade driven in part by the US OEMs. However, there will be many situations where outsourcing continues to make sense. For example, Rivian has initially fully outsourced its electric drive which helped accelerate its first product launch, while subsequently developing its own. BorgWarner's recently announced acquisition of motor supplier Santroll shows Tier 1s still see significant volume growth in this space. Carmakers may never insource electric drives completely. As mature as the internal combustion engine is, that industry is 90% insourced, while 10% of engines are externally sourced.

Fuel for Thought: India’s Decarbonization Goals and The EV Conundrum

Automotive Monthly Newsletter and PodcastThis month's theme: India's Decarbonization Goals and the EV Conundrum

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Electric vehicles (EVs) have occupied a lot of media space of late and are widely regarded as the next big breakthrough technology in the automotive world. Although EVs are as old as motor vehicles themselves, they lost the race to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, running on liquid fuel, by the early 20th century. But with the rising threats of global warming and air pollution, EVs are back on the discussion tables of policymakers. ICE-powered conventional vehicles emit several pollutants, among which carbon dioxide (CO2) is considered the most concerning emissions from a climate change perspective.

India is the third-largest emitter of CO2 in the world, behind mainland China (almost four times of India) and the United States (two times of India), with its annual CO2 emission doubling in the last decade. Although India's contribution to the cumulative global CO2 emission, since the industrial revolution of the mid-19th century, is insignificant, its current position as an emerging economy and hence a big CO2 emitter comes under environmentalists' lenses. Ever since the formation of the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC), India's position has been to put its socio-economic development above the resultant CO2 emissions and refrain from putting itself in the same carbon-reduction target brackets as the developed nations. Nonetheless, India has been an active and important party in all global climate action summits and conferences, negotiating for emerging economies who came late to the 'development' party.

This stance remained consistent until 2014 when a new government came to power that had intentions of not only being a mere party in global climate action strategies but of taking a leadership position. Eventually, India ratified the Paris Agreement during the COP21 held in 2015 and pledged to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 33- 35% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels and committed to achieving a non-fossil share of cumulative power generation of 40% by 2030. India also announced to install 2.5-3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent carbon sink by 2030.

In 2013, under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP), it was envisioned to transform the mobility landscape in India and make EVs an important part of it. As a result, a new EV promotion scheme was drafted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). By the time it was rolled out in April 2015, it was named the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme and a new government was in power. The creation and expansion of the low-speed e-scooter segment aside, Phase 1 of FAME (April 2015 to March 2019) did not exactly produce the results as intended.

Considering India's Paris Agreement goals and COP21 commitments, the government redesigned Phase 2 of the FAME scheme—an outlay of INR10,000 crore (USD1.4 billion) over three years starting April 2019 and focusing on 2-wheelers (2W)/3-wheelers (3W)/bus segments that move about 85% of the people of India. Simultaneously, EVs were brought under the 5% bracket of GST to entice automakers into launching new EV offerings, and an additional income tax reduction clause was introduced as an additional incentive for prospective EV buyers. However, after two years of Phase II, about 2% of the total outlay for this phase got utilized. In this period, the sales figures tell a sorry tale—fewer than 10,000 electric passenger vehicles (PVs) and fewer than 300,000 electric 2Ws were sold.

In 2021, Primer Minister Narendra Modi announced at COP26 that India would achieve net-zero emissions by 2070. Road transport is expected to be a significant contributor to India's decarbonization plans. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), transportation sector is the third-largest CO2 emitter in India, following the energy sector (i.e., electricity and heat producers) and the industry sector. Road transport, estimated to account for about 270- 290 metric tons (Mt) CO2 emissions and 18% of India's total CO2 emissions in 2020, is the top contributor in the transportation sector carbon emissions and emits more than the energy-intensive industries such as steel (242 Mt CO2 in 2020) and cement (143 Mt CO2 in 2020) production. The business-as-usual development mode is expected to result in 1.2- 1.5 Gt CO2 emissions from the transportation sector in 2050, according to multiple research sources.

India's light-duty vehicle fleet has advanced to fuel consumption reduction from 6.9 L/100 km in 2005 to 5.7 L/100 km in 2019, contributed by higher diesel vehicle share and overall lighter vehicle weight. However, increased personal vehicle ownership and use is foreseen with the economic and pollution growth combined, and will inevitably result in more annual CO2 emissions in the short term. The transportation sector may have to lag the overall 33- 35% decarbonization goal from 2005 levels (i.e., 115 Mt CO2 sector level) by 2030, thus needing significant innovative technologies, strategic planning, and effective regulatory leverages to keep the sector aligned with the net-zero climate ambition. Acceleration in further vehicle efficiency improvement, fleet electrification, alternative fuels, along with mobility mode innovations will be the key solutions.

India has required fuel efficiency labeling for new vehicles since 2011 and regulated PV fuel efficiency since 2014. The current target is 4.77 L/100 km (113 g/km CO2 equivalent) for 2022 based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). The FAME II scheme has been extended through 2024 to promote EV production and charging infrastructure deployment.

Overall, considering the level of visibility on the policy front, carmakers' product development strategies, oil price, and consumer evolution, we expect the share of EVs to reach about 9% by 2030 in a base case scenario. But if policy support in terms of the special tax on manufacturing and sales and direct subsidy continues, with stricter CO2 regulations, the share of EVs could be higher ranging from 16% to as high as 21% by 2030.

Having said that, fiscal year (FY) 2021 (April 2020 to March 2021) had been a positive year as sales of electric PVs grew 110% owing to a low base; from about 2,850 units in FY 2020 to about 6,000 units in FY 2021 as reported by the Society of Electric Vehicle Manufacturers (SMEV) of India. And the electric PVs sales for the first half of the current FY 2022 have already crossed the FY 2021 annual sales. The main driver for this was the introduction of EV policies by several states of India led by Maharashtra, New Delhi, and Gujarat, which acted as an additional incentive over the FAME subsidies.

Interestingly, in the EV space, domestic carmakers have taken a lead as Tata Motors currently holds almost 60% of the market. IHS Markit's estimates show that Tata Motors will continue to maintain a leadership position even in the longer horizon. We do expect the current conventional vehicles market leaders such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, and other carmakers like Mahindra and Kia to introduce serious EV products into this space in the next four to five years.

Overall, considering the level of visibility on the policy front, carmakers' product development strategies, oil price, and consumer evolution, we expect the share of EVs in Light Vehicles (LVs) up to 3.5 tons of Gross Vehicular Weight to reach about 9.3% in 2030 (as shown in the figure). Within LVs, we expect the Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) category to achieve greater electrification of about 15% by 2030.

For the PV category, the share is expected to be about 8.3% in 2030 in a base case scenario. The B-segment SUV-bodystyle is expected to be the most popular segment for EV adoption. If policy support in terms of the special tax on manufacturing and sales and direct subsidy continues, with stricter CO2 regulations, the share of EVs could be higher ranging from 16% to as high as 21% by 2030.

Notes:

The data and chart used in the article are based on the Production-based Powertrain dataset. Currently in India, almost 100% of EV production is for domestic sales and hence production can be used as a reliable proxy for sales.EV in this article only represents pure Battery Electric Vehicles.

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Selling credits is a lucrative revenue stream for EV makers

Over the last decade, Tesla and other automotive manufacturers have successfully harnessed the opportunity to convert overperformance of existing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption regulatory standards to valuable revenue streams. Future opportunities to monetize overperformance to vehicle regulatory standards hinge both on emissions performance of the future vehicle fleet as well as the stringency of future standards. In late December 2021, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized tightening of the US greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for light-duty vehicles, representing a cumulative 28% increase in stringency over the 2023-26 model year period. These new standards in the United States, along with the July 2021 EU proposal for a 55% decrease in allowable passenger car CO2 emissions by 2030, have reshaped the outlook for regulatory credit trading over the next 5-10 years in these two markets. Meanwhile, mainland China is midway through its fifth phase of reducing allowable fuel consumption and the fifth year of mandatory growth in sales of so-called New Energy Vehicles (NEVs). The dynamic regulatory environments in these regions prompt a current look at where the credit market opportunities may be found.

This report examines the forecast of future standards and manufacturer compliance performance to identify where ongoing opportunities for revenue from regulatory credit trading will continue. The opportunities for existing manufacturers and EV-focused new entrants to generate revenue through credit trading or pooling vary by market because of their distinct regulatory standards.

Key implications

Mainland China emerges as the market with the most vibrant opportunity for regulatory credit trading in the next decade owing to the structure of its regulatory programs. The regulatory design and stringency create a relative balance between credit supply and demand, with a sustainable trading market in the foreseeable future. While the United States has been at the forefront of automotive regulatory credit trading, this market may have matured and is not expected to grow significantly.

In the United States, new GHG standards extend opportunities for GHG credit trading through at least model year 2026. New entrants may find some potential, although it will be limited by strong competition from some legacy manufacturers able to offer credits at a larger scale. Credit trading opportunities within the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program hinge upon the outcome of the Biden Administration's upcoming revised CAFE standards for model years 2024-26; assuming the more stringent option (requiring 10% per year increases in fuel efficiency) in the recent CAFE proposal, a viable credit trading environment would exist through at least model year 2026.In the European Union,pooling opportunities will be strongest in the next few years, with diminishing opportunity after 2025. Pooling agreements between manufacturers can allow new EV-focused market entrants to monetize their strong compliance position. However, with most manufacturers planning a significant shift toward electrified products, most of the pooling market is expected to be captured by legacy manufacturers. The market for pooling is destined to gradually disappear if the European Commission proposal for zero tailpipe emissions by 2035 is enacted, putting an end to any overcompliance that could be monetized.In mainland China, a dual credit system encompassing simultaneous required reductions of average fuel consumption and mandatory increasing sales of NEVs creates an active market for tradeable credits. Credits generated by exceeding the NEV sales mandate can be used to satisfy either of the dual program requirements, making these credits particularly valuable and stimulating surplus NEV sales beyond the minimum requirements. The government's transparency in publishing official credit transaction and pricing data confirm a vibrant and buoyant credit market with historically high transaction volumes and credit prices in recent years.

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Tesla Model S vs. Porsche Taycan: The Jury is Still Out

While all full size luxury sedans supposedly compete with each other, the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan face off against each other to a greater degree, given that they are the only two electric vehicles in this segment with historical data (the Mercedes-Benz EQS and Lucid Air just launched this past fall and therefore have little data with which to analyze their performances).

A review of the migration patterns of these two full size luxury electric vehicles, as well as their inventory levels and registration volumes, suggests there is substantial marketplace interaction between them.

As shown on the table below, there are three time periods within the past twenty two months when Taycan registrations jumped month over month and, simultaneously, Model S migrations to the Taycan also rose. In April 2020, Taycan registrations jumped 268% to 153, and at the same time the percent of Model S households that migrated to a Taycan rose from .2% to 3.3%, an increase of more than 1,000%.

The same type of dynamic occurred four months later in August 2020, when Taycan registrations climbed 38% month-over-month to 615, and Model S migration to Taycan simultaneously more than doubled (as a percent of total Model S migrations) to 11%.

The third and last of these events, which occurred in August 2021, was the most pronounced of the three. Taycan registrations climbed 44% to 1, 072, and Model S migrations to Taycan, as a percent of Total Model S migrations, more than doubled to 17.3%. This metric actually climbed in September to 21.4%, the highest monthly tally of Model S migrations to Taycan in this 22 month window.

During this third event, note that heightened migration from Model S to Taycan had a substantial impact on Model S fuel type/brand loyalty. In other words, during this series of events last August and September, the percent of Model S households acquiring another EV that returned to Tesla dropped to 22 month lows of 75% and 67.5%, respectively.

Lastly, it is important to bear in mind that these heighted movements from Model S to Taycan occurred at times when Model S registrations were substantially below monthly norms, suggesting limited supplies. With this in mind, it seems to be too early to determine which of these models has the greater appeal to retail consumers. Only when both models' inventories have climbed back to "normal" levels will we be able to see how the market dynamics net out between them.

Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act ensures equal access to auto repair data for independent repair shops

The battle over access to vehicle repair information has been playing out in the court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States over the last few years and has gained further momentum in the past year. The commonwealth has delayed implementing the proposed law, which would require motor vehicle owners and independent repairers to get expanded access to vehicle maintenance and repair data, until a final ruling from the US District Court judge for the District of Massachusetts, whose decision remains pending. The outcome of the case is expected to have wide-ranging implications for the aftermarket.

On a national level, the automotive Right to Repair movement in the US gained traction on 3 February, 2022 as US Representative Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act that ensures equal access to auto repair data for independent repair shops. If passed, the legislation would preserve consumer access to high-quality, affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that, as vehicles continue to become more technologically advanced, vehicle owners and independent repair shops have equal access to repair and maintenance tools and data as car companies and licensed dealerships.

For more information, go to AftermarketInsight to read our full interview with Auto Care Association's Aaron Lowe. In the interview with IHS Markit, Aaron talks about the current state of Right to Repair, in-vehicle data regulation at the international level, cost implications over accessing the data, and more.

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Authors: Nishant Parekh, Senior Research Analyst, Aftermarket Solutions, IHS MarkitTodd Campau, Associate Director, Aftermarket Solutions, Americas, IHS Markit

Automotive Insights - Canadian EV Information and Analysis Q4 2021

Highlights

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) trends in Canada remain strong and in 2021, 1 out 20 new vehicles registered in Canada was a ZEV.Share of ZEV climbed to 5.6% up from 3.8% in 2020.Total ZEV volume increased by 58% y/y, and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) have grown 51% y/y.Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) have grown nationally by 73% y/y.British Columbia leads the way with adoption of electrification, and ZEVs account for 13.0% of all new light vehicles for 2021 in the province.

National Enhanced Fuel Type Trend

The combined volume of light vehicles of all electrification types (including EV/PHEV/HEV/FCEV (xEV) grew 66% in 2021, when compared to 2020. Likewise, hybrid EV (HEV) increased 74% or +41,394 units, Fuel Cell EV (FCEV) increased 102 units, BEV 51% or 20,197 units and PHEV increased 73% or 12,000 units. The combined xEV penetration now stands at 11.8%, up from 7.6% in 2020. ICE vehicle share of Industry saw its largest decline, where ICE share now stands at 88.2% a 4.2 percentage point drop from 2020.

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Driver shortage in the South African Trucking Industry

South Africa had been in the midst of social unrest since the start of 2021, with protests peaking in July at the Gauteng province, which includes the city of Johannesburg. The continuous unrest in the country brought the threat to the supply chain in focus, as MHCV sales declined by more than 8% on a y-o-y basis, halting the good recovery progress made in the industry. But another less obvious threat looming in the country for a past few years, is the lack of qualified truck drivers. Aspects of South Africa's truck-driver problems are unique; others are part of the broader driver shortage visible elsewhere, even in some of the largest truck markets.

July's unrest depicted how a pause in the movement of vital goods can lead to devastating situations in the country. The fact that road freight is increasingly surpassing rail as the medium of choice highlights even more the need for a reliable and efficient truck logistics sector. According to latest data, South Africa has a shortage of approximately 3,000 truck drivers, with the shortage continuously growing since the past few years.

However, the more significant concern is that employees sometimes have to work longer hours than usual to counter such shortages, which creates dangerous on road situations and increases the likelihood of accidents. With these supply chain concerns, delays in transport of essential goods and higher chances of accidents, it is vital to look at the factors causing these driver shortages in the country.

So, what exactly is the reason for vacancies in the medium and heavy commercial-vehicle (MHCV) driving jobs in a country where unemployment rate peaked to an all-time high of 34.9% in 2021? The answer isn't a straightforward one, as a myriad of factors is in play resulting in these shortages. Firstly, lack of skill and experience is the biggest hinderance in finding drivers. Drivers handling heavy freight need a range of skills such as driving in wet conditions; economical driving; heavy goods vehicle braking; straight reverse and ally docking, to name a few. It takes between 3-5 years to be experienced enough making it very difficult for entrants to get hired in the first place. Consequently, employers have difficulty finding apt drivers to carry the freight.

A second reason is the emigration of the already small driver pool to foreign developed countries in the search of better wages and much better working conditions and lifestyles. The trucking industry's turnover and emigration rates are very high as job conditions are challenging. Longer working hours are not just a consequence but also a reason for the shortage as more and more experienced drivers quit in search of better pastures in foreign lands. All these challenges have created a vicious cycle of low-skilled drivers and higher turnover rates in the industry. The income disparity between drivers in Africa and other developed countries such as the United Kingdom &amp; the United States also attracts skilled drivers to emigrate and earn more in those foreign lands.

Lastly, unscrupulous players are sometimes alleged to dodge regulations related to safety or staffing costs, which may contribute to unsafe conditions and tensions in the labor environment. Such tensions recently culminated in acts of violence and protest in the country. The native drivers violently protested the increasing hiring of foreign nationals from poorer countries and blocked a major highway in the Eastern Cape—instances like these further increase the turnover rates for drivers willing for better working conditions.

All in all, factors such as lack of relevant experience in the market, emigration of skilled drivers for better wages &amp; working conditions and higher turnover rates due to an unsafe, rigorous, and sometimes a violent industry have created a shortage for the most important freight mode of transport in the country. On the positive side, the government, as well as private bodies, are taking steps to try and improve the situation. To solve the issue of lack of skills, a few private organizations have started training academies and courses in the country imparting drivers with the necessary skillset to be hired in the market. The government has also announced its plans on implementing stricter border access controls and will be introducing new regulations to prevent undocumented drivers from operating in the country. In October, authorities also deployed a task team to check credentials of drivers passing by Middelburg in the Eastern Cape. Hopefully, such prompt measures will help prevent further damage to the already struggling South African economy.

The South African truck sales market remained strong even in the face of social unrests and recurring level 3-4 restrictions in the country, recovering by more than 22% post the 2020 covid slump to reach the previous 22k levels. However, we believe it has the potential to develop more and a functional and peaceful driver pool will not only improve the efficiency of trucking companies but also create a healthy work environment for drivers &amp; operators alike, further growing the truck sales in the country.

Analog chips – poised to become the next big threat to automakers?
The capacity for analog chips is expected to grow, but it is unlikely to be sufficient to meet the increased demand for chips in cars; therefore, the supply may tighten again around the end of 2023.

The automotive semiconductor supply tightness will likely ease in 2022 and in the first half of 2023. However, there is a risk of pressure points building up again at the end of 2023 or early 2024. According to IHS Markit's analysis, new concerns are emerging over the supply of analog chips. After microcontrollers (MCU) in 2021, analog chips are likely to become the main constraint for vehicle production for the next three years.

The two major chip categories that have been most affected by shortages are MCUs and analog chips. Earlier in 2021, MCUs received all the attention. The proprietary nature of MCUs made it virtually impossible to have dual sources of MCUs for an electronic control unit (ECU) because of software and pinout differences at a minimum. MCUs are manufactured on process nodes typically above 40 nanometers (nm), with some of them now starting to be processed at 28 nm. As memory and system-on-chips (SoCs) have captured more of the semiconductor market share, investment has been concentrated more on the advanced nodes to support growth in those areas and less has been focused on mature process nodes.

There is an ongoing trend toward centralization of the electrical/electronic (E/E) architecture, and it would result in a smaller number of MCUs per vehicle. However, migrating to new architectures and smaller process nodes is not beneficial for all types of chips. For example, demand for analog chips will continue to increase independently of new E/E architectures since they are an essential part of many vehicle systems. Hundreds of analog chips are required per car. All the following require analog chips: power management of every ECU and SoC, signal conditioning for sensors, bus transceivers for every ECU, drivers for each electric motor (up to 100 in luxury cars), LED lamps, displays, radar transceivers, high-end audio systems, and radio frequency (RF) front ends.

Now that the supply of MCUs is in a better shape, analog chip supply is emerging as an issue. Analog chips typically use mature chip processes, e.g., 90 nm to 300 nm. There are technical and commercial reasons why these will continue to be produced at mature progress nodes and not at leading-edge process nodes. Unfortunately, the demand for analog chips is also increasing for mobile phones—for the RF front-end, the sensor processing, the high-end audio, and the contactless payment, to name a few. Considering the growth in vehicle segments and propulsion mix, the average number of analog chips per car is expected to increase by 26% in 2023 compared with 2021. This growth can be mainly attributed to the ongoing electrification trend.

There is a front-end capacity deficit for mature process nodes as most of the investment goes toward more advanced nodes. According to our analysis, out of the total capital expenditure announced in 2021 and 2022, 86% is directed at advanced technologies requiring just a few chips in the car, while only 12% is for the mature process, which is used to produce more than 90% of the chips in the car. With the increase in demand for analog chips, irrespective of the change in E/E architectures, this imbalance in announced capital expenditure could cause future bottlenecks for analog chips and other legacy nodes.

Short-term outlook for light vehicle production

The expected shortage in analog chip supply will have a negative impact on light vehicle production. However, in an optimistic scenario, a decline in demand for analog chips by other industries could result in an improved foundry capacity allocation for the automotive industry. Under this scenario, it is also assumed that the output of analog fabs will continue to increase at a similar pace in the first quarter of 2022 through the third quarter of 2022 before slowing down. In such a scenario, analog chip production capacity added per quarter will peak by the fourth quarter of 2023.

Steady demand for analog chips from other industries could stabilize the capacity allocation for the automotive industry. This is considered a conservative scenario. This scenario also anticipates the output of analog fabs to increase at a normal pace from early 2022. The amount of analog production capacity added per quarter will flatten by second-quarter 2023. In the median scenario, the estimated year-on-year increase in analog chip production will be 18% in 2022 and 13% in 2023.

To analyze the impact on car production, this capacity is converted into the maximum number of cars that could be built in 2022 and 2023. This shows a potential ceiling for car production of around 24 million units per quarter from the third quarter of 2022 onward and a decline in car production from the end of 2023 to early 2024. Predominantly, this can be attributed to the expected growth in the number of chips per vehicle in the next few years. In comparison with 2021, the average number of analog chips per car is going to be much higher in 2023. The available extra capacity is insufficient to meet the fast increase of analog chips in cars, driven by ongoing trends such as electrification and a higher number of infotainment and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) features.

The semiconductor chip capacity will grow, but hardly fast enough to meet the increased demand for analog chips in cars. After MCUs in 2021, analog chips are likely to become the main constraint for vehicle production in the next three years. The number of analog chips per car increases faster than MCUs irrespective of propulsion type, sales segment, and E/E architecture. These analog chips are also in high demand in many other industries such as the smartphone and consumer electronics industries.

Current capital expenditure and capacity trajectory show that situations might improve for the automotive industry in 2022 and early 2023. A supply tightness may be formed toward the end of 2023 or early 2024. This is dependent upon several parameters, such as capacity growth for mature nodes, the analog fab capacity allocation for the automotive industry, and demand for analog chips by other industries. In the coming years, considering the efforts by various players in the automotive ecosystem, there could be more investments for the expansion of analog capacity to lift the potential ceiling for car production. Automakers are working on establishing better visibility to the semiconductor supply chain by forming more direct relationships with foundries. This could result in improved capacity allocation for the automotive industry and improved vehicle production capacity in 2023 and beyond.

Authors: Jeremie Bouchaud - Director, Autonomy, E/E &amp; Semiconductor, IHS Markit Hrishikesh S - Research Analyst, Automotive, IHS Markit

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- Paul A. Eisenstein
2023 BMW 3 Series Gets Updated Exterior, More Tech, Mild Hybrid Drivetrain
With today’s debut of the 2023 3 Series, BMW intends to remain the “yardstick” by which all other compact sports sedans are measured. Can it bat the competition? Get some insights at TheDetroitBureau.com.
- Michael Strong
U.S. Traffic Fatalities 42K in 2021 — Highest Since 2005
Federal safety regulators say early estimates show U.S. traffic deaths last year jumped more than 10% compared with 2020, setting a new record in the process. The more than 42,000 fatalities is the highest since 2005. Get details at TheDetroitBureau.com.
- Paul A. Eisenstein
Ford Wants EVs to be Mandatory by 2035 — in Europe
Ford wants Europe to go all-electric, calling on EU regulators to ban the sale of new vehicles using internal combustion engines by 2035. Get details at TheDetroitBureau.com.
- Paul A. Eisenstein
First Drive: 2023 Genesis GV60
The EV crossover segment is getting crowded, but the new Genesis GV60 separates itself from the pack with
- Paul A. Eisenstein
Surging Sales: EVs Reach the Tipping Point
The number of new BEVs registered in the U.S. surged 60% during the first quarter of this year, according to data tracked by financial services firm Experian, while overall vehicle sales fell 18 percent. Find out more at TheDetroitBureau.com.
- Larry Printz
Cadillac’s Ready to Let the Music Play with New Lyriq
With order books opening for the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV on Thursday, the automaker released more details as it seeks to regain its lead in EVs. TheDetroitBureau.com has the details.
- tdb
Get the Latest about New Cars, EVs and More with the Headlight News Podcast
TheDetroitBureau.com’s podcast, Headlight News brings you the latest information about autos and mobility. You can find it on Spotify or wherever you download podcasts, including Apple Music.
- Mototechindia

The Honda Monkey is a funky looking entry-level 125cc bike offered by the brand. The new model continues to be powered by a single-cylinder, four-stroke engine with fuel injection. It comes with a compact design like the Honda Grom and looks very eccentric. It is packed with premium features like a digital LCD console, LED …

2022 Honda Monkey 125 Price in India, Specs, Top Speed, & Mileage Read More »

The post 2022 Honda Monkey 125 Price in India, Specs, Top Speed, & Mileage appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

The Royal Enfield Classic 350 Orange Ember Edition is the latest variant of this 350cc classic bike. It comes in an orange and black colour combination that looks very appealing. It is packed with a BS6 compliant single-cylinder engine that is mated to a 5-speed gearbox. Here you can find the Classic 350 orange ember …

2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Orange Ember Price, Specs, Images Read More »

The post 2022 Royal Enfield Classic 350 Orange Ember Price, Specs, Images appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

The YTX 125 is a commuter bike offered by Yamaha. It comes with a simple design and it is available in three colour options. The YTX is powered by a single-cylinder engine and it gets a 4-speed constant mesh gearbox. Here you can check the Yamaha YTX 125 price in India specs, mileage, top speed, …

2022 Yamaha YTX 125 Price in India, Specs, Mileage, & Top Speed Read More »

The post 2022 Yamaha YTX 125 Price in India, Specs, Mileage, & Top Speed appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

Yamaha offers some of the best adventure bikes in the world and the brand has a wide range of bikes in its lineup. Yamaha has adventure bikes of different engine sizes and specs in their portfolio. Here is the list of all the latest Yamaha adventures bikes that are currently available around the world. New …

Yamaha Adventure Bikes in India 2022 Read More »

The post Yamaha Adventure Bikes in India 2022 appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

The McLaren P1 is one of the best hypercars ever made in the 21st century. These exotic beasts are available in only limited numbers and are owned by only a few lucky people around the world. The design of this hypercar depicts substance as well as style. If you adore this beauty, here is everything …

McLaren P1 Price in India 2022, Specs, Top Speed, Features, Images Read More »

The post McLaren P1 Price in India 2022, Specs, Top Speed, Features, Images appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

TVS is planning to launch a new adventure bike in the Indian market. This upcoming bike will be the all-new TVS Adventure 310. It will be based on the same BS6 compliant single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine as its sports sibling the Apache RR310. It will come with a 6-speed transmission and it will boast features like …

2022 TVS Adventure 310 Bike Price in India, Specs, Mileage, Top Speed Read More »

The post 2022 TVS Adventure 310 Bike Price in India, Specs, Mileage, Top Speed appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

The Honda Vario 150 is a sporty looking scooter that comes with an aggressive and stylish design. This scooter draws its power out of a single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. It features a V-Matic automatic gearbox like its sibling the Honda ADV150. Below you can check the Vario 150 price in India, specs, mileage, top speed, and …

2022 Honda Vario 150 Price in India, Specs, Mileage, Top Speed Read More »

The post 2022 Honda Vario 150 Price in India, Specs, Mileage, Top Speed appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

Yamaha FZX 250 is an upcoming retro-styled motorcycle from Yamaha in India. This new retro-classic bike will be based on the FZ 250 and it is expected to launch in India soon. It will be powered by a single-cylinder, BS6 compliant engine that will be mated to a 5-speed gearbox. Below you can find the …

2022 Yamaha FZX 250 Price in India, Specs, Mileage, Top Speed, Images Read More »

The post 2022 Yamaha FZX 250 Price in India, Specs, Mileage, Top Speed, Images appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

The Benelli Motobi 200 is an entry-level cruiser bike offered by the Italian brand. It comes with a bobber bike type design that looks very appealing. Benelli is planning to launch this beautiful cruiser bike in the Indian market soon along with the Benelli TNT 200 streetfighter. It is powered by a single-cylinder four-stroke engine …

2022 Benelli Motobi 200 EVO Price in India, Specs, Top Speed, Mileage Read More »

The post 2022 Benelli Motobi 200 EVO Price in India, Specs, Top Speed, Mileage appeared first on Mototech India.

- Mototechindia

The Hero Karizma 300 is an upcoming sports bike from the Indian manufacturer. This upcoming new-gen Karizma will be the flagship bike offered by the brand. As per the media reports, the R&D has already started and it will be launched in India along with the Xpulse 300 soon. Here you can find the Karizma …

2022 Hero Karizma 300 Price in India, Specs, Mileage, Top Speed Read More »

The post 2022 Hero Karizma 300 Price in India, Specs, Mileage, Top Speed appeared first on Mototech India.

- RusAutoNews

  RusAutoNews.- As announced by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade, Avtovaz transferred its share of Renault to state ownership. Renault assets were received by the NAMI, the Moscow

- RusAutoNews

  RusAutoNews.- As reported by Kommersant, the Russian Government published the Decree No 855 which allows the carmakers producing new cars without ABS and EPS. The ERA-GLONASS emergency warning system

- RusAutoNews

  RusAutoNews.- Nissan’s suspended operations in Russia may not resume throughout fiscal 2022, the company’s CEO Makoto Uchida said, as reported by Finmarket. “We have suspended Russian operations due to

- RusAutoNews

RusAutoNews.- As announced by the AEB Automobile Manufacturers Committee, the Russian car market has decreased by 78.5%, or 119,258 units year-on-year in April 2022, to 32,706 vehicles. Within the January-April

- RusAutoNews

  RusAutoNews.- Kamaz has delivered the first garbage truck on the Kamaz Compass 43089-F5 chassis to the company’s official dealer. Compass is a new family of medium-duty vehicles that Kamaz

- RusAutoNews

  RBK.- The Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia has published a list of goods that can be imported into the country without the permission of the brand owner

- RusAutoNews

  RusAutoNews.- As reported at the company press release of Nokian Tyres, the EU sanction announced on April 8 has impacted the company’s business. The sanction prohibits the import of

- RusAutoNews

  AvtoNovostiDnya.- Chinese automaker Haval and South Koreans Kia and Hyundai will continue to produce cars in Russia, as told by the Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov informed

- RusAutoNews

  RusAutoNews.- As part of a long-term test in Moscow, the articulated electric bus Kamaz 6292 drove on the main route for the first time. The vehicle has been launched

- RusAutoNews

  RusAutoNews.- SKF Group has announced that it has decided to cease all business and operations in Russia. The intention is to divest the business in a controlled manner with

- Brian Lohnes
Rent-A-Racer Is BACK: Hertz Now Offering The Ford Mustang GT500H and GT-H To Renters In Select Cities

(By Tom Lohnes) – Are you tired of the standard old Chevy Malibu as a rental car? Do you also have ridiculous amounts of money to spend on a rental car for a few days? Well, Ford and Shelby American have teamed up to give you exactly that. Meet the 2023 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500H, and […]

The post Rent-A-Racer Is BACK: Hertz Now Offering The Ford Mustang GT500H and GT-H To Renters In Select Cities appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Brian Lohnes
2023 Nissan Z Pricing Announced: Aggressive Pricing Should Heat Up The Japanese Sports Car Battle!

(By Tom Lohnes) – So far in 2022, we have had a lot of cool car announcements. There has been the Toyota GR Corolla, the Mercedes-AMG SL, and even a manual transmission offered in the 2023 model-year Toyota Supra, to name a few. But, none of them really lived up to the hype that was the […]

The post 2023 Nissan Z Pricing Announced: Aggressive Pricing Should Heat Up The Japanese Sports Car Battle! appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Brian Lohnes

There is no such thing as a regional car brand in the year of 2022 but if there was, Subaru may be it. The company sells a wildly disproportionate number of their cars in the New England region but that’s obviously because they are known as reliable and the all wheel drive system they have […]

The post Quirk-Master: This Profile Of The Subaru XT Sports Coupe Is A Fun Look Back At A 1980s Oddball From Japan appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Chad Reynolds

Casey is back at it again! He’s got an ultra cheap 1965 Mustang from some dude that thought it was beyond repair. Sure it’s rough, but once you cut all the crap out of it you find that what is left will totally work if you chassis swap it and that’s exactly what Casey is […]

The post CUTTING UP A PERFECTLY GOOD CAR! MUSTANG HOT ROD BUILD GETS ITS DONOR CHASSIS! KUSTOM RAT ROD 65 FORD appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Brian Lohnes

This is awesome vintage video here. Super Vee: New Young Giant of Racing is a promotional film made by USAC and SCCA to help promote a series that was already exploding in popularity in the 1970s. When this film was made there were hundreds, upwards of 600 Super Vee racers in the country and the […]

The post Video – Super Vee: New Young Giant Of Racing – Awesome Look At 1970s Super Vee Racing! appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Brian Lohnes

Man, when a Mercedes runs 0-60 in 11-seconds and gets praise for it you know two things. Firstly, it’s a diesel. Secondly it’s from a galaxy far, far away called the 1980s. This video review of the 1987 Mercedes-Benz 300 TD is pretty awesome as it is an amazing perspective adjustment for anyone who sees […]

The post Big Baller Wagon Hauler: This 1987 Review Of The Mercedes-Benz 300 TD Is Pretty Cool – How Things Have Changed! appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Chad Reynolds

Here’s another potential project for someone out there looking for a cool 1968 El Camino. I have always wanted to own an El Camino, after growing up with a 1965 El Camino and then going to high school with the Lincoln and Leonard Zapien who both had bad ass El Caminos, I’ve always wanted one […]

The post New Wrecking Yard Inventory! Original El Camino – Complete Project! Factory Red, P/S, P/B, Factory AC! appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Chad Reynolds

In this episode of the COE build, the cab is now mounted up and that means brake lines, airlines, steering, and pedals are in order because this project is getting closer and closer to being a running and driving truck. A lot of work is happening in this episode, including a lot of work to […]

The post Bello’s Kustoms COE Project: Brakes, Airlines, Steering, Pedals, And More! appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Chad Reynolds

Here’s our second gallery of photos from last weekend’s C10 Nationals in Texas. We’ve got a bunch more to share throughout the week, and if you missed any so far there is a link below that will take you right to them. (Words and Photos by Chad Reynolds) The 2022 C10 Nationals at Texas Motor […]

The post C10 Nationals Photos From Texas: GM Trucks Of All Flavors, Right Here From The Lone Star State. appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Chad Reynolds

Which does boost better on a junkyard LS? Which does boost better on a bigger LS? Does the camshaft matter for one vs the other? The age-old blower vs turbo argument is about to get real angry right here thanks to our friend Richard Holdener! Check it out. Video Description: HAT MAKES BETTER BOOST ONA […]

The post LOW $ BLOWER VS LOW $ TURBO-DYNO PROVEN HP PER PSI! WHICH ONE DO YOU CHOOSE FOR YOUR BOOSTED LS? appeared first on BangShift.com.

- Tom Appel

This is an installment in a series of posts looking back on show cars that we feel deserved a little more attention than they got. If you have a suggestion for a Forgotten Concept topic, please shoot us a line or leave a comment below. Ford Mustang RSX First Shown: 1981 Chicago Auto Show Description: […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- The Daily Drive staff

2022 Chevrolet Equinox RS AWD Class: Compact Crossover SUV Miles driven: 219 Fuel used: 8.6 gallons Real-world fuel economy: 25.5 mpg Driving mix: 70% city, 30% highway EPA-estimated fuel economy: 25/30/27 (mpg city/highway/combined) Fuel type: Regular gas Base price: $31,700 (not including $1195 destination charge) Options on test vehicle: RS Leather Package ($1580), Iridescent Pearl Tricoat ($995), Infotainment Package ($895), Advanced Safety Package ($650) Price as […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- Damon Bell

It’s tough out there for traditional sporty/performance cars these days, especially for the true two-seater or 2+2 sports cars. The things just don’t sell like they used to American shoppers, and as a result, the automakers who are still sticking it out in this segment have had to get creative. Toyota partnered with BMW to […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- The Daily Drive staff

Whether you drive a car, need a car, or just occasionally bum a ride with friends, you’ve come to the right place. Join the editors of Consumer Guide Automotive as they break down everything that’s going on in the auto world. New-car reviews, shopping tips, driving green, electric cars, classic cars, and plenty of great […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- Tom Appel

The song “Driver’s Seat” would be British pop band Sniff ‘n’ the Tears biggest hit. Released in 1978, the tune would chart in several countries, and would provide period top-40-radio listeners with a needed reprieve from the disco music which then dominated the airwaves. I don’t remember Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, but I sort of […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- The Daily Drive staff

2022 Kia Carnival SX Class: Minivan Miles Driven: 202 Fuel Used: 11.3 gallons Real-world fuel economy: 17.8 mpg Driving mix: 70% city, 30% highway EPA-estimated fuel economy: 19/26/22 (mpg city/highway/combined) Fuel type: Regular gas Base price: $41,100 (not including $1175 destination charge) Options on test car: Ceramic Silver paint ($495) Price as tested: $42,770   Quick Hits The great: Excellent passenger room and comfort; satisfying acceleration The good: Distinctive […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- The Daily Drive staff

2022 Jeep Wagoneer Series II Class: Large SUV Miles driven: 160 Fuel used: 13.6 gallons Real-world fuel economy: 11.7 mpg Driving mix: 80% city, 20% highway EPA-estimated fuel economy: 15/20/17 (mpg city/highway/combined) Fuel type: Midgrade gas Base price: $71,845 (not including $2000 destination charge) Options on test vehicle: Diamond Black Crystal Pearl-Coat paint ($595), Convenience Group ($3295), Heavy Duty Trailer Tow Package ($795), Advanced All-Terrain Group ($2295), […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- Tom Appel

It’s no secret: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the related supply-chain issues, new-vehicle transaction prices have shot upward over the last couple years. Stories of jaw-dropping dealer markups—especially for popular vehicles—are now commonplace… so much so that some sort of markup on a new vehicle is more or less the rule, rather than the exception. […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- The Daily Drive staff

Whether you drive a car, need a car, or just occasionally bum a ride with friends, you’ve come to the right place. Join the editors of Consumer Guide Automotive as they break down everything that’s going on in the auto world. New-car reviews, shopping tips, driving green, electric cars, classic cars, and plenty of great […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks

- Jack Stewart

Note: The following story was excerpted from the February 2019 issue of  Collectible Automobile magazine The 1942 Oldsmobile brochure proclaimed that the cars were “Better Looking . . . Better Lasting . . . Better Built Than Any Oldsmobile In Forty-Four Years.” Playing off the “B” in “better” and 44 years, all 1942 Olds wore a […]

The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® - News, Opinion, Photos, and Videos on the Latest Cars and Trucks