Volvo and Polestar are ready for battle and I’m here for it

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GM secured new supply of cobalt to help it make electric cars, Honda says it’s spending billions more on electric vehicles, Mercedes continues to grow. All that and more in morning shift On April 13, 2022.

First gear: the rivalry between Volvo and Polestar just got more interesting

Volvo and Polestar are friends on paper, because Polestar used to be part of Volvo and share an owner in my Geely. But the two have been going in different directions for a while Now, with Polestar Make electric vehicles as an independent brand Volvo makes electric vehicles like Volvo. However, Polestar isn’t much of a threat, given its small size, although I wondered how their relationship might develop recently after the departure of Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson earlier this year, only to continue the Polestar presidency. The new CEO of Volvo He has a slightly different personality than Samuelssonthe establishment of a potential hot competition.

from Car News:

Volvo’s Polestar continues to show that it’s not afraid to step out of its father’s shadow.

The latest example came this week when the two Sweden-based Geely-owned automakers issued duel press releases to announce that they would begin upgrading the infotainment systems in their new cars this month via over-the-air (OTA) updates to the latest. A copy of the Android Automotive OS, Android 11.

The company said that Polestar started offering OTA updates in December 2020, and has since performed 10 significant system upgrades.

Volvo started after the Polestar, in late January 2021, by which time its friendly rival had already rolled out two big upgrades.

Volvo is now hitting eight major upgrades in total, leaving two behind the Polestar.

Well, not only Samuelsson but Volvo CEO Thomas Ingenlath as well.

Other ways Polestar separates itself from Volvo is by introducing an 11-inch infotainment screen for Volvo’s 9-inch display and by including unique apps such as the Polestar video player.

The audacity to be different from Volvo comes from the top – something that Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath has made clear for years.

A major sign of that came in late 2020 when Polestar announced that it would convert the all-electric GT concept from the Precept into a production model, which we now know as the Polestar 5.

“With the Polestar principle, no one will ever ask me, ‘Will you always stay close to Volvo? ‘” Ingenlath told Automotive News Europe at the time. “It’s very clear that this is a car that will not be part of the Volvo brand.”

This is all very polite, and I’m sure it always will be. Unfortunately for Volvo, Polestar also has the advantage of being the underdog.

Second gear: Honda’s latest rocket in electric racing

Honda He said late Monday It will spend about $64 billion on developing electric vehicles over the next ten years. It also says it wants to make 30 new electric vehicles by 2030. This partly coincides with Honda’s efforts to make affordable electric vehicles with General Motors, announced last week. This represents a continuation of the trend of automakers declaring that they will spend tens of billions on electric vehicles, Just like Ford and General Motors did last year, apparently to indicate that they’re all pretty serious about this one, although the proof, of course, will be in the candy. (I know the actual term is “proof of candy in eating”, thanks though.)

from Reuters:

Its goals include producing about two million electric cars annually by 2030, aiming to capture a share of the fast-growing market for electric cars, led by Tesla Inc, while Japanese automakers risk falling behind European and American competitors.

“In terms of resource investments over the next 10 years, we will invest about 8 trillion yen in research and development expenditures,” Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe said, referring to the equivalent of $64 billion.

Honda said it wants to build a production line dedicated to electric vehicles in North America, where it will also buy Ultium batteries from General Motors.

It is also considering setting up a separate joint venture company to produce batteries there, apart from its partnership with General Motors.

[…]

“This puts them in good company with a lot of other manufacturers who have made big announcements about batteries…Eventually the world will leave internal combustion engines behind,” said Christopher Richter, an analyst at CLSA.

“Given their size, I’m glad they’re collaborating with GM.”

The bulk of the 8 trillion yen investment has been allocated to electricity and software technologies. That includes about 43 billion yen on a solid-state battery pilot production line, scheduled to start in the spring of 2024.

Tesla will probably start to worry a little bit about all the EV developments that automakers are planning, because it won’t be too long now before the Model 3 and Model Y look like old hat, given that Tesla pretends not to care about updating cars for new models or generations. . Tesla has outpaced its weight in large part due to scant competition, in other words. We’re about to find out what happens when he’s there.

Third gear: GM and Cobalt

The shortage of semiconductors has increasingly convinced automakers that they need to lock their supply chains further into the future than they have been in the past, not just with semiconductors but basically with everything. In this vein, General Motors announced Tuesday that it has been holding back some cobalt for batteries for several years to come. Its agreement is with a Swiss mining company called Glencore.

from Detroit Free Press:

Glencore, which is headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, will supply cobalt to General Motors from its operation in Maureen Moraine in Australia. Cobalt is an important mineral used in the production of electric car batteries. It gives batteries energy, density and longevity.

GM will use cobalt processor from Australia in the cathodes of its Ultium battery.

GM’s ability to secure cobalt helps ensure that it can produce the battery cells needed to deliver on its promise to bring 30 new electric vehicles to market by 2025. It also helps GM move closer to its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2040.

“General Motors and our suppliers are building an electric vehicle ecosystem focused on providing critical raw materials in a safe and sustainable way,” said Jeff Morrison, GM Vice President, Global Procurement and Supply Chain. “Most importantly, given the critical role of electric vehicles in reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation sector, this agreement is in line with our approach to responsible sourcing and supply chain management.”

GM’s Ultium battery platform currently powers the 2022 GMC Hummer EV pickup and 2023 Cadillac Lyriq SUV, which are now in production. It will also support future vehicles such as the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV, Equinox EV, Blazer EV, and more.

Get ready to read more about cobalt in the age of electric vehicles.

Fourth gear: Mercedes has big plans for India

The Indian car market is probably the coolest in the world, with a plethora of cheap small cars, and an almost complete lack of any kind of luxury class. Mercedes is trying to change that, according to Reuterspartly because Indian demographics are also changing.

Martin Schwenk, CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, said the growing numbers of “millionaires” in India include young entrepreneurs or high-income professionals who value luxury and automotive technology.

“The base is gradually expanding and beyond our traditional customers,” Schwenk told Reuters in a recent interview in the western industrial city of Pune, home to Mercedes’ India’s headquarters and manufacturing plant.

“Going forward, we will see higher growth rates in the luxury segment than we see in the mass market,” he said, adding that the average age of buyers has also fallen to under 40, compared to more than 45.

[…]

Huron India Wealth Report 2021 shows that India’s startup craze and stock market boom are creating a new breed of super-rich shoppers on luxury brands such as Rolex, Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

The report said the number of Indian households with a net worth of at least $1 million grew by 11% in 2021 to 458,000, and is expected to increase by 30% over the next five years.

India is largely a small, low-cost car market, with luxury models accounting for just over 1% of total annual sales of around 3 million.

Either way, it doesn’t look like things will change drastically anytime soon, in terms of cheap small cars. Tesla still doesn’t exist either, Although plans. Like I said, it’s probably the coolest auto market in the world.

Fifth gear: Nada

The National Automobile Dealers Association held its annual Las Vegas show last month, and it’s something Vegas is designed for: A group of sweaty middle-aged people are in the mood to complain about their jobs, even if times are better than ever. New York times Was there to capture some of the event:

For one thing, with limited supplies and high prices, customers are getting angry at merchants.

“If I now have 15 to 20 cars in stock per dealership,” he said [Bruce Bendell, a founder of the Major World and City World chains, with eight dealerships in the Bronx and Queens]”I usually have 200 to 300. Nowadays when a truck comes in with eight cars, when it hits the cement pavement, I’m lucky I’m left with one.”

His stores even turned to brokers. “I’m paying $2000 over the sticker price, as a Bronx dealer,” he said. Then the car is sold 30 seconds later. So we pay more than listing just to get stock, yet customers blame merchants for the high prices.”

Traders are very expert at portraying themselves as young.

[Jim Appleton, a lawyer and president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, a lobbying group] He explores the growing influence of Wall Street and private equity firms behind many of the traders’ problems.

“I go back as a dealer’s advocate. I’m a Wall Street watcher who hates these guys.” Wall Street hates the Main Street millionaire, the auto dealer. In New Jersey, the industry is worth $36 billion a year – 500 Roofs, Main Street Company. Profits are directly due to Main Street causes and Main Street economic development, and Wall Street and Silicon Valley investors say: What a shame. You know, we have to have a piece of this business. Why don’t we have a part of this business? “

Traders are also experts on anxiety, almost always unnecessarily.

Profits from electricity are waiting to be mined, said Buddy Dearman, Memphis managing partner of the selling practice at Dixon Hughes Goodman, an international accounting firm. “I have read where 60 percent of customers plan to take their electric vehicles to their dealership for repair. I think there is a huge opportunity in the service space for electric vehicles”

Today, Mr. Derman said, merchants get only 30 percent of the service market. “People take their cars to the Pep Boys, they go to the AutoZone,” he said. “And I don’t know that they would do it to the same extent with electric vehicles if the merchants were prepared for that, I think they could benefit.”

Interestingly, few people like to take their car to the dealership for service. I wonder why this. It certainly has nothing to do with decades of miserable and expensive selling service. It’s, however, the kind of thing that you get, because people who buy luxury cars really like their dealers. Ask anyone Porsche or Land Rover.

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