Despite hardcore motorsport enthusiasts collectively proclaiming the 911 as Porsche’s greatest model of all time, it’s presently being outsold by the all-electric Taycan sedan. As a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, Porsche was already poised to electrify its entire lineup in anticipation of government restrictions on gasoline-powered models. But consumer interest in high-end EVs may be accelerating the process.
The 21st century has been particularly kind to the Hyundai Motor Company, though this was hardly a matter of chance. Originally known in the West for providing bargain automobiles that were surprisingly competent, it wasn’t long before the South Korean brand was giving Japanese mainstays stiff competition. By the early 2000s, Hyundai was working hard to differentiate itself from the recently acquired Kia and opted to make its products more luxurious and saw massive gains in the U.S. market that have more-or-less continued until today.
In 2010, Nissan launched the first globally-marketed electric vehicle in history. Known as the Leaf, the model offered a paltry 73 miles between charges when it was introduced. But deserves loads of credit for being a useful, friendly runabout that avoided many of the strange design choices other manufacturers leveraged to set their EVs apart. Reviewers frequently praised the Nissan Leaf as a great second car for running errands, noting that it was both comfortable and had enough space to swallow up most items you’d want to snag on a trip into town.
Word on the street is that General Motors will be discontinuing its existing full-size vans to make way for electrified alternatives. While the gut reaction may be to recoil in disgust at the very premise that Euro vans would dare usurp the rightful place of one of the most venerable working vehicles in North America, it might be worth remembering that the Ford Transit has managed to supplant the Econoline/E-Series rather effectively.
Despite starting 2022 announcing a plan to normalize output, Toyota has had trouble living up to its promise. While most automakers were figuring out how to make more money off diminished production, the Japanese brand was plotting assembly schedules that would restore assembly rates to levels that would have been considered normal prior to 2020. But the rest of the market hasn’t managed to match Toyota’s optimism and the automaker has had to scale back its global production plan yet again — citing the usual supply chain constraints stemming from COVID restrictions and worldwide deficit of semiconductors.
Meanwhile, Ford Motor Co. looks to be abandoning its vehicle assembly plant in Saarlouis, Germany. The facility produces the Focus for Europe and may be in danger of closing if the automaker elects to sell it. While the site was in the running to produce Ford’s next-gen electric vehicles, those products have since been slated for assembly in Valencia, Spain.
Last week, news broke that Ferrari was plotting a third assembly line in Maranello dedicated entirely to EV production. But this turned out to be little more than a preamble for the obligatory announcement that the company would eventually transition toward building electric vehicles.
On Thursday, the Italian automaker told investors that all-electric and hybrid models will make up 80 percent of its global sales volume by 2030. This is to be done via a slew of new products it hopes to launch between now and 2026. Though the first Ferrari to run exclusively on battery power isn’t scheduled to arrive until 2025. According to the manufacturer, it’s plotting to launch 15 new vehicles as part of the overarching strategy. While some of those will undoubtedly be duplicates boasting open-air cockpits and slightly different powertrains, it has still got to be some kind of record for the brand.
Ferrari is rumored to be preparing a third assembly line in Maranello, Italy, dedicated for electric vehicles. The automaker has already purchased land near the facility and is presumed to make an official announcement on June 16th when it’s scheduled to present its four-year business plan.
As usual, this comes from a major media outlet that cited unnamed sources from within the industry. Though, considering the luxury sports car manufacturer’s confirmation that it would begin producing hybrid and all-electric automobiles, it’s more than plausible. Ferrari’s first battery electric vehicles are scheduled to arrive in 2025 and it still needs somewhere to build them.
On Wednesday, Buick formally committed itself toward an “all-electric portfolio” by 2030 — saying that it would be embarking on a brand transformation that would fundamentally change the company forever. This includes an entirely new horizontally oriented badge that doesn’t stray too far from Buick’s traditional tri-shield design.
“The Buick brand is committed to an all-electric future by the end of this decade,” stated Duncan Aldred, global vice president, Buick and GMC. “Buick’s new logo, use of the Electra naming series and a new design look for our future products will transform the brand.”
Following reports that the Hyundai Sonata may not be long for this world, there have been rumbling that the fate of the Kia Stinger and K5 sedan may also be in jeopardy.
The reasoning is obvious. After years of crossovers seeing an increased share of the global market, automakers have been dumping sedans so they can sell products that come with higher margins. A sizable percentage of the population has also been sold on the theory that higher-riding vehicles are automatically safer than their road-hugging counterparts. While that is endlessly debatable between models, there are aspects of crossovers that make real sense for the modern era. Storage capacity is typically better than what you’d find on a similarly sized sedan and the lengthened suspension travel can help the vehicle absorb the impact of pothole-laden streets that seem to be cropping up everywhere.
Stellantis has been discussing the prospect of reviving the Lancia brand for months, hinting that the returning Delta would even be part of the deal. While technically still active, the historic Italian company has devolved into a swath of rebadged Chrysler products and now produces the Ypsilon (based on the Fiat 500) as its singular offering in Europe.
However, some die-hard fans of the nameplate took umbrage with the matter after it was revealed that the Delta would be an all-electric vehicle in October of 2021. As time went on, the manufacturer vowed that the model would be a worthy successor to performance models like the HF Integrale. But continued insisting upon electrification being an essential component of Lancia’s revival and has formally introduced its overarching plan for the marque.
Mercedes-Benz has said it will cut back its entry-level offers to better prioritize premium vehicles with loftier margins. While this strategy has become relatively uncommon throughout the industry, even among some mainstream brands, Mercedes has historically been synonymous with high-end luxury cars. One wonders why it bothered chasing volume to begin with, especially since it doesn’t seem to have panned out for the company.
While executives had previously hinted at its revised strategy in interviews, Mercedes officially unveiled its plan to investors on Thursday. The German brand will focus investments on top-of-the-heap models like the S-Class at the expense of entry-level products that have failed to garner juicy profits.
Honda has begun teasing out the electric Prologue in earnest, with its latest offering being a sketch of what appears to be a lifted Civic. Though what we’re actually seeing is the brand’s newest “adventure-ready” SUV tapping into the same inoffensive design language that now graces the ever-popular sedan.
The styling is neutral, perhaps even a little dull. But it’s unlikely to put anybody in a bad mood and is still rounded off in all the places one would expect from an EV. The Prologue looks as though it could come from Lucid, just with a dash of rugged design from Rivian and underpinned by Honda’s current design language. There’s little to gripe about, though there’s also not much to ogle.
Volkswagen Group is reportedly considering reviving the Scout name for North America. Following the merger of trucking subsidiary Traton and Navistar in 2020, VW found itself in possession of the farm-focused International Harvester. While the brand technically hasn’t existed since 1985, the German company effectively owns its intellectual property — including the Scout name — and is keen to leverage some of its nostalgia for an alleged sub-brand specializing in sport utility vehicles.
Nissan has coyly been suggesting that it might someday furnish electrified performance models ever since it released Nismo-badged examples of the humble Leaf for the Japanese market. This was followed by the 2020 Leaf Nismo RC, which served as an experiment to see what would happen if you added a bunch of electric motors in a bid to make the model genuinely fast on a race track.
With the automaker set to deliver 15 new EVs by 2030, there’s been some speculation about how many will boast sporting aspirations. But it looks as though a few might know that Nissan has confirmed its developing Nismo-branded performance electrics for the global market.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has officially started production at the company’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan and will apparently be getting some company at the Blue Oval City campus in Tennessee. On Tuesday, CEO Jim Farley said that the upcoming plant had been selected to produce a new model during a press event covering the official launch of the all-electric F-Series.
“It’s another truck,” he explained. “This is not our only truck. We said very clearly we want to be the leader in electric pickup trucks.”