Volkswagen to give up cheap cars

Young people look in amazement at Volkswagen's high-market engine in the early 2000s.

Nearly 20 years after Volkswagen introduced the Phaeton to the “huh?” From the buying public, Volkswagen is again doubling down on premium models that offer higher profit margins than the cheap stuff. All that and more in morning shift On April 6, 2022.

Step one: It must be fun to be an Audi CEO right now

I’ll start this off with a long and a little boring aside. In 1965, Ford introduced a car called the LTD. This was a false car, which is an obvious hoax from the name – She was “limited” on what? How much can a ford build?

The car was a low-cost Ford sedan, but with all the features and finishes of a more expensive luxury model. You get the quality of something more expensive, without having to pay extra for brand recognition. It was a huge success and win for Ford executives.

The problem was that Ford actually sold a higher-priced luxury model based on the base Ford sedan: that was what Mercury was for, and beginning in 1965 with the LTD, it no longer had a reason to exist. as Corpside Classic He noted that LTD had sentenced Mercury to death.

This means that a lower-priced brand within a larger multi-brand car company can always make some gains in uplifting the market, but that doesn’t really make sense for the luxury brands already within the company’s portfolio.

All that said, Volkswagen doubled the premium, as financial times Reports:

Volkswagen, the “people’s car” pioneer that epitomizes the auto industry’s obsession with expansion, will lose dozens of combustion-engine models by the end of the decade and sell fewer cars overall to focus on producing more profitable, luxury cars.

“The main objective is not growth,” said Arno Antlitz, chief financial officer, reflecting the position taken by former Volkswagen executives.

“we [more focused] on quality and on margins, rather than size and market share.” He said that Volkswagen would reduce its gasoline and diesel car lineup – made up of at least 100 models across many brands – by 60 per cent in Europe over the next eight years.

Volkswagen’s new strategy is a sign of profound changes in the broader auto sector, which for decades has tried to increase profits by selling more cars each year, even if it requires a huge discount.

The Financial Times notes that Volkswagen is just following what other car companies are doing as part of a broader industry trend. It’s just that other car companies that make this axle don’t have the name “people’s car”. As low-cost Chinese cars continue to make their way into the domestic Volkswagen market in Europe, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another Volkswagen hub for affordability.

Second gear: Rivian says it delivered 1,227 vehicles this quarter

Rivian says it built 2,553 vehicles in the first quarter of this year and delivered 1,227 of them. If you add up last year’s numbers that add up to 3,568 rural people in total, per Reuters.

Rivian says it wants to make 25,000 cars a year, but is optimistic about that.

If you have a long and winding road waiting for your Rivian delivery, feel free to email us with your story on tips at jalopnik dot com.

Third gear: The US government needs 100,000 electric chargers and only has 1,100

A new government report takes a look at two things: how many electric cars the government says it wants to own, and how many chargers it has. It turns out that there is a huge gap between the two, like Reuters Reports:

The US government may need more than 100,000 charging stations to support widespread use of electric vehicles, a government watchdog said at a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its testimony that as of March, federal agencies own about 1,100 charging stations. President Joe Biden in December signed an executive order directing the US government to end purchases of gas-powered cars by 2035.

I’m sure it couldn’t be that hard to build, uh, 100,000 EV charging stations, right?

Fourth gear: Tesla and BMW plants in China continue to shutdown

It’s a bad time to build cars in China Reuters Reports indicate continued shutdowns at Tesla and BMW:

Tesla CorporationFactory shutdown spilled over.

And cases set a record in the city, which is now the epicenter of the worst outbreak of the virus in China Since the beginning of the epidemicThe closure was extended indefinitely. As the country sticks to a strict Covid-Zero containment rulebook, President Xi Jinping’s demand to limit the economic consequences is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve in the face of a highly transmissible omicron variant.

[…]

Meanwhile, production of BWM in the northern Chinese city of Shenyang has been halted for two weeks after the industrial center was closed last month in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The German automaker has halted production at both of its plants in Liaoning province since March 24, after the municipal government imposed stricter controls on residents from March 22, according to a Beijing spokesperson.

This is a reminder that when Tesla faced the prospect of a Covid lockdown in California in 2020, Elon Musk said “no” and Hundreds of people have fallen ill.

Fifth gear: Hey carmakers, you remembered LG’s fire-prone batteries, right?

Because NHTSA is asking about it, like Reuters Reports:

United State National Highway Safety Administration On Tuesday, it said it is opening a review to ensure that automakers have recalled all faulty batteries produced by LG Energy Solution.

The Automotive Safety Agency has indicated that Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, parent company of Chrysler, General Motors and Hyundai Motor Company have issued recalls since 2020 due to internal failures in high-voltage car batteries that pose a fire risk.

NHTSA said the equipment inquiry covers 138,324 vehicles and will reach out to LG “and other companies that may have purchased the same or similar equipment from LG, notify them of this defect in any vehicles they have manufactured, and to ensure that comprehensive safety recalls are made where appropriate.”

I’m happy and amazed at the same time that the NHTSA under Biden seems to be doing something already. This was not always the case with NHTSA.

Rear: First private communications satellite, Intelstat 1, makes orbit

From Encyclopedia Britannica:

On April 6, 1965, Intelsat’s first satellite, Early Bird (also called Intelsat 1), It was launched; Designedd built by RosenThe staff at Hughes Aircraft Company. Early Bird was the first operating commercial satellite to provide regular communications and broadcast Services between North America and Europe. Early Bird was followed by Intelsat 2B and 2D, which were launched in 1967 and cover The Pacific Ocean The region, the Intelsat 3 F-3, launched in 1969 and covers Indian Ocean Area. Intelsat satellites in geostationary orbit have provided almost global coverage, such as Arthur C Clark King conceivable 24 years ago. Nineteen days after placing the Intelsat 3 F-3 over the Indian Ocean, the first human on board was landed the moon On July 20, 1969, it was broadcast live on the Intelsat global network of satellites to more than 600 million satellites. the television viewers.

Neutral: How is your Volkswagen?

Mine is doing just fine, and may be back in the Finger Lakes soon.