Auto Notes - September 2017
All electric. Volvo recently announced it will start its efforts in 2019 to become an all-electric fleet by 2025. Beginning in 2019, every Volvo launched will have an electric motor, and between 2019 and 2021 the automaker will debut five all-electric vehicles, three from Volvo and two from Polestar, Volvo’s performance car division.
The five vehicles will be supplemented by a range of gasoline and diesel plug-in hybrid and mild-hybrid 48-volt options on all models.
“This is about the customer,” said Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo president and CEO. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”
Samuelsson said the announcement ends the solely combustion engine in Volvo vehicles. “Volvo Cars has stated it plans to have sold one million electrified cars by 2025. When we said it, we meant it.”
In the marketplace since 1927, Volvo was part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999 when the company was purchased by Ford Motor Co. Since 2010 it has been owned by Geely Holding of China. In 2016, Volvo sold more than 534,000 vehicles in 100 countries.
Finally, Tesla's Model 3. In late July, the first 30 Tesla Model 3 electrics were delivered to employees with expected retail deliveries of the long-range models equipped with the Premium package due in October. Tesla said about 100 Model 3s were produced in August, but by December it expects production levels to be 20,000 cars per month.
The long anticipated Model 3 has a base price of about $35,000, but most models will likely cost more than $50,000. Initial models will have a long-range battery (a $9,000 option) and a Premium Upgrades package ($5,000) that includes heated seats, premium audio system, fog lamps, folding/heated outside mirrors, and more.
In addition, an Enhanced Autopilot option ($5,000) bundles futuristic capabilities such as active cruise control, lane-assist, self-parking, and more. Down the road, Tesla said an add-on to Enhanced Autopilot adds “full self-driving capability” for $3,000.
Hundreds of thousands of consumers paid a $1,000 deposit on the Model 3 well more than a year ago.
Tesla said the driving range on the two-wheel-drive Model 3 will be 220 miles and 0-60 MPH can be reached in 5.6 seconds. An all-wheel-drive model is expected next spring.
Kia awards. Kia Motors has earned three J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) awards with its Niro, Soul, and Cadenza models. Kia is the only non-premium brand to win awards in three segments (in a three-way tie with two premium brands).
The Niro won in the Small SUV segment, the Soul in the Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle category, and the Cadenza in the Large Car segment. In a competitive category, the Niro crossover hybrid scored 51 points above the segment average, and the Cadenza surpassed competitors by 27 points. It was the fifth APEAL win for the Soul in its category.
100 years. Ford Motor Co. is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its pickup truck. The first Ford TT rolled off the assembly line on July 27, 1917. Just 209 Model TT trucks were sold that first year with a factory price of $600. Since 1977, Ford has sold more than 26 million F-Series pickups in the U.S.
Henry Ford’s vision of a vehicle with a cab and work-duty frame to haul cargo turned into a product that changed how commercial and retail customers transport goods and people over its 100 years. Ford has been the leader in that segment with a 40-year history as the best-selling truck in the U.S., and the best-selling vehicle for 35 consecutive years.
2017 sales. While vehicle sales for the first half of the year were often sluggish, it appears 2017 will likely end up with about 17 million sales in the U.S. Not the record-setting 17.6 million unit sales in 2016, but respectable.
Cars have generally dropped in sales so far this year, but crossovers and SUVs continue to be hot sellers for almost all brands. Moderate fuel prices may be one reason that segment continues to flourish.
FCA diesels. FCA US LLC announced July 28 that it has received a certificate of conformity from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a conditional executive order
from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) permitting the production and sale of FCA US model year 2017 light-duty Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles equipped with 3.0-L diesel engines.
“We appreciate the efforts of the EPA and CARB in working with us to achieve this milestone,” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA and FCA US.