By on February 8, 2021

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille logo

Over the weekend, Hyundai Motor Group addressed rumors that Kia had been in negotiations to build an electric vehicle for Apple. While the scuttlebutt seems to have been true, talks were indeed underway, the automaker confessed that they had ended without an agreement.

It’s known that Apple has been hunting for potential partners after its EV program was placed into an extended stasis and was hoping to gain access to a skateboard-type platform. Hyundai’s E-GMP architecture certainly qualifies, too. But it’s just one of many entities entering the field as most manufacturers strive to build their own.

(Read More…)

By on February 3, 2021

kia logo emblem

While partnering with other industries is essential for the automotive sector, the last few years has shown most nameplates cozying up with the dominant tech firms at a breakneck pace. Just this week, we learned that Ford will be equipping future models with the Android operating system (courtesy of Google) and it wasn’t long before that we were discussing BMW’s arrangement to integrate its business with Amazon Could Services. Even Taiwan’s Foxconn has shown itself willing to get involved with China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group — which owns Volvo Cars, Geely Automotive, Lynk & Co, Proton, Lotus Cars, London Electric Vehicle Company, and more.

Now, rumors are swirling that Apple is about to make a gigantic investment into Kia Motors after Korean outlet Dong-a Ilbo (The East Asia Daily) reported that the duo had plans to manufacturer vehicles at the automaker’s American facility in Georgia. The paper stated that tech giant was readying an estimated 4 trillion won ($3.6 billion USD) investment in exchange for Kia building 100,000 electric vehicles per year. However, the mere suggestion has already made Kia money by boosting its share price by over 15 percent on Tuesday.  (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2020

Seen by some as a moral imperative, electrification is swiftly changing the dynamics of the automotive industry. While automakers spend billions of dollars developing EVs and securing the necessary partners, many are becoming dependent on a handful of companies in Asia for the all-important battery cells needed to power the damn things. It’s gotten so serious that the U.S. government has taken an interest following a December 2019 report from the Institute for Defense Analyses that claimed battery manufacturers had taken on an “outsized importance” in the automotive sector.

It also said the United States would be at a distinct disadvantage if there are supply shortages  which is something that has already happened and is presumed to worsen as more electric vehicles flood into the market over the next few years. The automotive industry is pushing hard into electrification as governments around the world attempt to plot out an elaborate plan to supplant the internal combustion vehicle with EVs. But there are concerns that this has stacked the deck for a small number of suppliers from China, South Korea, and Japan.

(Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

Maybe a Civic-based Chevrolet Cruze revival isn’t an insane idea after all. On Thursday morning, General Motors and Honda announced the signing of a non-binding memorandum of understanding to pave the way for a North American alliance.

Platform and powertrain sharing in several segments would be part of this strategic tie-up, the automakers claim, leading one to wonder what the future holds for the increasingly cosy longtime rivals.  (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2020

With practically every automaker on the planet attempting to make the electric vehicle segment work for them as well as Tesla has, they’re stepping all over each other to gain access to the components necessary to build them.

Everything from securing the raw materials for high-density cells to improving relationships with established battery suppliers will be essential for maximizing market share and embarrassing industry rivals like the little bitches they (hopefully) are. This has been especially true of German brands, who are trying to roll with increasingly demanding emission rules in Europe and China while likewise hoping to improve all-electric range and lower EV production costs.

Daimler, which already has supply deals with SK Innovation, LG Chem and Farasis, is seeking to bolster its partnership with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) to address some of the challenges listed above. Mercedes-Benz wants to launch its EQS luxury electric sedan using CATL cells in 2021 — ideally with at least 435 miles of range per charge. While Daimler uses Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) metrics that typically average lower when assessed by the U.S. regulators, the proposed target remains enviable. (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2020

Bavaria-based BMW says it aims to cut roughly 6,000 positions from its lineup on account of coronavirus complications. Times are tough and the manufacturer needs to tighten its belt, just like many of its peers.

The alley-oop that precedes the slam dunking of these jobs into the wastebasket will be tempting retirement packages for those of a certain age. But BMW also said it is interested in offering younger people financial assistance for full-time higher education with a guarantee of a job when they’re done — offering some amount of hope.  (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2020

Autonomous vehicle technology might not be a sexy topic for many some, but human-driven vehicles certainly are. One day we’ll gaze at steering wheels in a sterile museum with a mixture of animalistic hunger and soul-crushing depression.

Sure, Ford’s tie-up with Volkswagen includes self-driving technology (sourced from another tie-up, this one with Argo AI), but that’s only part of the agreement. Late last week, the two automakers moved forward on other projects that might be of interest to you. (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2020

U.S. self-driving startup Argo AI has completed a deal with Volkswagen AG on self-driving vehicle technology, fulfilling VW’s wishes for a secure and affordable source of gee-whiz gadgetry for future mobility solutions.

The deal, valued at $2.6 billion, will see VW fork over a cool billion while folding its Autonomous Intelligent Driving team into Argo AI’s operations. The automaker’s alliance partner, Ford, pledged $1 billion (over five years) to the startup in 2017, before last year’s tie-up with the German automaker. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2020

Canoo

Developing a new vehicle platform in-house is an expensive affair, making the cost of producing an electric vehicle from the ground up a heavy weight to place on an automaker’s balance sheet. Margins for such vehicles are currently slim, if not nonexistent. No wonder everyone’s trying to free up cash.

And yet, because the world has decided EVs are the future, automakers can’t be without them. Ford recently partnered with Michigan startup Rivian to source a platform for an upcoming Lincoln crossover, and now Hyundai has followed suit.

Hyundai and Canoo. Best buddies. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2020

Anybody with more than a casual interest in the automotive industry will tell you the relationship between Nissan and Renault is falling apart. Even the alliance’s founder, executive-on-the-run Carlos Ghosn, says it’s on the cusp of going under. But existing employees have tried to be a little more optimistic, acknowledging that the business partnership has become strained while making suggestions to correct its course.

One plan involves pushing more collaborative projects, which is one of the main reasons for forming an industrial alliance. Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has already said both sides are committed to making the partnership succeed, citing joint projects as a primary focus. Alliance engineers will meet in Japan at the end of January to discuss new development programs — and attempt to revive a few that fell by the wayside.  (Read More…)

By on January 17, 2020

fca

Ram Rebels and Power Wagons are a tough fit for China’s cramped, heavily taxed new vehicle market, but “new energy” vehicles (electric cars) are not. With this in mind, Fiat Chrysler is aiming to put EVs in the hands of Chinese consumers through a potential joint venture.

Clearly seeing an avenue for growth — and a way to compensate for falling Jeep sales while challenging industry heavyweights like Volkswagen, GM, and Ford  — FCA has entered talks with Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn, the automaker announced Friday. (Read More…)

By on December 2, 2019

Nissan’s new chief executive, Makoto Uchida, believes now is the time to reassess its corporate partnership with Renault. In case this is the first automotive-related article you’ve read this year, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is sickly. Bizarre financial scandals involving the group’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn (and others), internal power struggles, serious money troubles — the situation is rife with headaches. But Uchida says the only way to cope is to publicly recognize the elephant in the room and see what can be done.

“The alliance is critical to reach our goals,” Uchida said at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama on Monday. “We need to look at what worked within the alliance, and what didn’t, and decide how to go forward.” (Read More…)

By on September 25, 2019

In this case, the locale is India — birthplace of the EcoSport and a developing, massively populous market with the potential to make automakers a ton of cash. And yet Ford’s efforts to seize a slice of this pie hasn’t born the fruit the Blue Oval initially hoped. Meanwhile, Ford is in the midst of a major global streamlining effort.

What to do?

Partner up. In this case, with a major Indian automaker — Mahindra & Mahindra, builder of SUVs and ATVs, including the adorable, Jeep-like Roxor. (Read More…)

By on August 28, 2019

2019 Toyota Avalon badge

Not in the least shy when it comes to forging new partnerships, Toyota announced a long-simmering alliance with Suzuki on Wednesday. Now, before certain internet denizens begin counting down the days until a new Jimny appears in their driveway, this alliance won’t bring much in the way of new product to North America. Europe and other overseas markets, however, can expect a range of new offerings.

Like so many other automaker pair-ups, this yet-to-be-approved deal would see the two automakers focus primarily on technology sharing and autonomous vehicle development. As Toyota loves hybrids, Suzuki stands to benefit in the same way Subaru did. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2019

With BMW and Daimler already getting cosy via their autonomous vehicle partnership, the duo plans on bringing self-driving (SAE Level 4) tech to the masses by 2024. While other automakers have promised more advanced autonomy on a shorter timeline, the reality of the situation is that true self-driving capabilities are proving difficult and expensive to produce. By partnering up, the Germans believe they can continue their quest while sharing the financial burden of development.

The more the merrier, apparently. According to Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche, Audi will be the next guest to arrive at the party. Daimler and BMW’s previous release stipulated that the pair would focus on the joint development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways, and automated parking — with the goal of seeing those technologies adapted for passenger vehicles by 2024.  (Read More…)

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