While drawing more customers to HiCar, Huawei has also made rapid progress in engaging domestic carmakers to develop intelligent full-electric vehicles.
Jianghuai Automobile Co. this week disclosed it will collaborate with Huawei to develop sensors and intelligent cockpits for next-generation EVs.
JAC is the fourth customer Huawei has signed up among major domestic auto manufacturers seeking to develop smart EVs.
Last month, GAC Motor Co., a major state-owned automaker, disclosed that it plans to invest 800 million yuan ($123 million) to develop an intelligent electric utility vehicle with Huawei. The vehicle is scheduled to be mass-produced starting in late 2023. It will be equipped with Huawei’s computing and communication technology and offer Level 4 autonomy, GAC said.
At the Shanghai auto show in April this year, BAIC Motor Co. launched an updated electric utility vehicle featuring L3 autonomous driving technology developed by Huawei. The vehicle is set to go on sale in China in the fourth quarter.
Huawei is also assisting Changan Automobile Co. in developing an intelligent electric crossover with the goal of competing with the Tesla Model Y and the Volkswagen ID.6 in China. The crossover is expected to be displayed at the Guangzhou auto show in November.
But not every domestic carmaker is equally enthusiastic about hiring Huawei to develop smart EVs.
At SAIC Motor Corp.’s annual shareholder meeting in late June, Chen Hong, chairman of the largest state-owned automaker in China, made clear the company sees autonomous driving technology as the “soul” of its future intelligent EVs.
For that reason, SAIC wants to keep the technology under its full control and won’t use a powerful technology company such as Huawei as a total solution provider for self-driving vehicle development projects, Chen noted.
Huawei has probably sensed such reluctance while seeking to expand its customer base. To diversify revenue sources within the auto sector, the company has also tapped its extensive sales network of electronic products to market vehicles for customers.
In April, Huawei’s stores in major Chinese cities started to serve as showrooms for the SF5, a range-extended electric crossover developed by a small domestic light-vehicle maker, Sokon. The vehicle is equipped with Huawei’s HiCar system.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecom equipment supplier and major smartphone maker, has been expelled from the U.S. market, but also barred from accessing U.S. technologies including Google’s Android operating system, since 2019.
That has dealt a heavy blow to the company’s smartphone business, which used to be its largest revenue source. As a result, Huawei’s revenue plunged 29 percent from a year earlier to 320 billion yuan in the first half of 2021, according to the company’s latest financial report.
To make up for the loss of revenue from the U.S. sanctions, Huawei probably has no way out but to accelerate its foray in the domestic auto industry.
DETROIT – The semiconductor shortage that has hampered the auto industry, created vehicle shortages and higher prices isn’t likely to end any time soon.
Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has cut its global production 40%.
According to Mark Fulthorpe, with IHS Markit Production Forecasting, the manufacturing of the semiconductors had stalled, but now the testing and shipping of the chips is the current issue,.
“We’re seeing a spill over in Malaysia production at the moment, where we’re seeing COVID cases returning that is disrupting another part of the supply chain,” Fulthorpe said.
Malaysia shut down for two months and manufacturers only went back to work this week.
“COVID-19 was 2020′s problem and semiconductors were 2021′s problem,” Fulthorpe said. “I think the recent evidence proves the two are intrinsically linked.”
Domestic automakers have adjusted staffing production.
GM will close the Orion Assembly Plant. The Lansing Grand River SUV plant was supposed to open before Labor Day, now it won’t. The Cadillac production that has been down since May will not return until mid-September.
Related: Train derailment destroys hundreds of Ford F-150s, vans, report says
Ford will take down production at its Kansas City F-150 plant. Its Dearborn Assembly is running and helping with tight supplies.
The shortage of chips and vehicles is expected to last into the second quarter of 2022. Fulthorpe said the industry won’t recover until the pandemic ends.
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Volkswagen and Toyota have become the latest carmakers to warn about production cuts because of the global computer chip shortage.
German car manufacturer Volkswagen said a semiconductor supply crunch could force it to slow production lines during the autumn, adding to cuts that have been in place since February. Japanese firm Toyota also reported that it would slash output by 40% in September.
Carmakers have struggled after a recovery in demand stretched supply chains earlier this year, with Covid-19 outbreaks across Asia hitting chip production and operations at commercial ports.
“We currently expect supply of chips in the third quarter to be very volatile and tight,” said Volkswagen, the second largest carmaker behind Toyota.
“We can’t rule out further changes to production,” the company told Reuters.
The Wolfsburg-based carmaker said it expected the situation would improve by the end of the year, and aimed to make up for production shortfalls in the second half as far as possible.
New car prices have begun to rise in response to the limited supplies of cars, but the most noticeable impact has been on the secondhand car market, where prices have jumped by 14% year on year in the UK and more than 40% in the US.
Toyota said it intended to reduce global production for September by 40% compared with its previous plan, according to the Nikkei business daily. This pushed its shares down by 4.4% on Thursday.
Shares in European carmakers and suppliers were also broadly weaker, with BMW, Daimler, Renault, Volkswagen and Stellantis – the maker of Peugeot and Fiat cars – all down by more than 2%.
The latest production woes follow news that German chipmaker Infineon, the top automotive supplier, was forced to suspend production at one of its plants in Malaysia in June, due to a coronavirus outbreak.
Reinhard Ploss, the Infineon chief executive, said earlier this month that the automotive industry faced “acute supply limitations across the entire value chain” and it would take until well into 2022 for supply and demand to be brought back into balance.
Analysts at ING said some Taiwanese semiconductor companies unaffected by the Delta variant of Covid-19 were pushing production beyond the usual 100% to satisfy demand.
Ford said on Wednesday it would halt output for a week on production lines that build its bestselling F-150 pickup trucks because of the shortage. The shutdown will begin on Monday.
Earlier this month, General Motors suspended production for a week at three North American truck plants, while Nissan halted it for two weeks at a Tennessee plant because of a Covid-19 outbreak at a chip plant in Malaysia.
Phone and computer makers have also reported semiconductor shortages. Apple executives said that while the impact was less severe than feared in the third quarter, it would get worse in the current quarter, and could hit iPhone production.
As an auto enthusiast who is completely awed by this feature, if the other automotive giants are as surprised as I am, I can honestly state that Audi has taken a giant leap in the technology that will take years for the others to catch up on. With this concept, Audi redefines the automotive industry while establishing itself as a true leader in this space.
Audi has just dropped a level 4 autonomous car concept that goes beyond the realms of what we are used to seeing – even by conceptual design standards. Audi propels into the future of autonomous driving with the Skysphere, an electric convertible that morphs from a luxurious grand tourer to a beastly sports car at the push of a button. This concept is designed by Gael Buzyn and his team to bring an unparalleled driving experience to the streets. The highlight of this concept is its transforming design, featuring an expandable wheelbase that transforms a two-seater convertible into a four-wheeler sportscar, giving you the best of both worlds.
The shape-shifting character of this car is akin to the caterpillar’s morphism to a butterfly. There are actuators behind the front axle that move the car’s front section back and forth to give it 10-inches of shape-shifting advantage. In addition, the steering wheel and pedal shifters retract under the dashboard panel for added luxury while being highlighted by the touchscreen interface panning across the dashboard in the long-wheelbase GT mode. This helps transform the car from a stable GT model to the power-oriented aggressive Sport mode.
1937 Horch Type 853 Sport Cabriolet
Skysphere draws much of its inspiration from the proportions of the legendary classic – 1937 Horch 853 convertible. Audi calls this mind-boggling creation a “reverence without retro.” The Skysphere is a nostalgic nod to the glorious grand touring era but with the infusion of a very modern element. According to Audi, the footprint between the legendary Horch 853 convertible and the Audi Skysphere cars is pretty similar – 5.23 meters in length versus 5.19 and a width of 1.85 versus 2.00 meters, respectively. The concept also gives a nod to the Art-Deco-inspiration with its metallic accents.
The battery pack of the Skysphere is located behind the cabin in a 40:60 front-to-rear weight distribution configuration. The front and rear double-wishbone suspensions help with the overall stability, and the steer-by-wire system comes with a variable-ratio setup for switching between the two modes. According to Audi, the convertible will be capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds – courtesy of the rear-mounted 624 horsepower (465 kilowatts) electric motor. In addition, it will have a practically achievable range of 310 mph thanks to the 80-kilowatt-hour battery positioned behind the seats.
I can’t help but draw a parallel between this flamboyant electric car with the transformers (Bumblebee might just become a reality) with all the transformations it is making, both on the exterior and interiors. There is no compromise between the two driving configurations –
Employees are seen working on the final assembly of ASML’s TWINSCAN NXE:3400B semiconductor lithography tool with its panels removed, in Veldhoven, Netherlands, in this picture taken April 4, 2019. Bart van Overbeeke Fotografie/ASML/Handout via REUTERS
July 23 (Reuters) – The semiconductor shortage that has gripped the world could last well into 2022 and hit smartphone production next, foreshadowing deficient supply for a range of appliances and industrial equipment, industry executives and an economist said.
The automotive sector has suffered the most this year but supply to the sector could improve relatively soon, with China taking up some production demand that Taiwan could not meet, ING Greater China chief economist Iris Pang told Reuters Global Markets Forum this week.
Taiwanese semiconductor companies have boosted production in China as blackouts and ongoing COVID-19 social distancing measures disrupted factory output and port operations in Taiwan, she said.
“China gained 5% on the chip shortage in terms of GDP – Taiwan semiconductor companies have planned well and built large factories in mainland China,” Pang said, predicting that smartphone makers will be the next segment to face disruptions.
“Taiwanese semiconductor companies are tailoring making chips for autos, so the chip shortage should be solved for autos in a few weeks, but other electronics’ chip shortage problem persists,” Pang said, adding that could delay shipments of some new model smartphones.
Companies across industries globally have warned of an ongoing struggle to source chips.
ASML (ASML.AS), one of the world’s biggest suppliers to semiconductor makers, hiked its sales outlook this week on strong orders as chip giants such as TSMC (2330.TW) and Intel (INTC.O) raced to boost output.
The broader supply crunch could last until the second quarter of 2022, said Adam Khan, founder of AKHAN Semiconductor, although he noted this timeline was “aspirational.”
Andrew Feldman, CEO of chip startup Cerebras Systems, echoed that view, saying vendors were quoting lead times as long as 32 weeks for new chips and components.
ING’s Pang said even crypto miners are seeking ways to recycle “used” chips, which implies the shortage wasn’t going away.
Higher demand for chips, fuelled by one-off purchases to meet work-from-home needs and continuous demand for smartphones and other electronics, is expected to spur investment and growth in the sector.
The chips industry could grow between 21% to 25% in 2021, with “electronics having its best showing since 2010,” said Dan Hutcheson, CEO of chips-focused VLSI Research.
So far this year, the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index (.SOX) has outpaced the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) with gains of over 16% versus 13%.
(These interviews were conducted in the Reuters Global Markets Forum chat room on Refinitiv Messenger. Join GMF: https://refini.tv/33uoFoQ)
Reporting by Aaron Saldanha and Lisa Mattackal in Bengaluru; Editing by Divya Chowdhury and Ana Nicolaci da Costa
The Automotive Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Ceremony is returning Thursday after being postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19.
“We are excited to be among the first major in-person automotive events in 2021,” said Automotive Hall of Fame President Sarah Cook. “We have introduced new awards in 2020 including the Mobility Innovator Award. … This year’s class of awardees and inductees is the most diverse in terms of geographical region, race, gender and industry.”
TV host and personality Jay Leno will be recognized at the ceremony, but will not be receiving his recognition in person, Cook said. Leno was set to be awarded during the previously postponed Automotive Hall of Fame ceremony.
Leno will be recognized as a member of the Automotive Hall of Fame 2020/2021 Class for his CNBC series, “Jay Leno’s Garage,” where he shared his passion for automotive vehicles.
“Induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame is reserved for noteworthy individuals whose efforts have created, shaped and changed the automotive and mobility market,” according to a news release. “It is considered the single greatest honor an individual can receive in the automotive industry.”
Other inductees include the first Black automaker Fredrick Patterson, Black motor racing pioneer Charles Wiggins, Hyundai Motor — South Korea’s largest automaker — chairman Mong-Koo Chung, former chairman and president of Genuine Parts Corporation Thomas Gallagher and the first female automotive designer Helene Rother.
This year will also be the first time the ceremony is hosted outside, on the Detroit River. It will be held at The Icon, at 200 Walker St., Detroit, and will follow COVID-19 protocols outlined by state officials, according to the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Contact Nour Rahal: email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nrahal1.
The auto industry’s push into electric vehicles has gained traction this year with sales of these models growing at a faster clip than the broader U.S. car business.
While still a sliver of the overall market, sales of plug-in vehicles more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared with last year, when the pandemic sapped sales. That far outpaced the 29% rise for total vehicle sales, according to research firm Wards Intelligence.
The biggest factor driving the gains was
continued dominance in electrics. Tesla’s U.S. sales rose 78% through June this year, according to an estimate from research firm Motor Intelligence. The increase was helped by Tesla’s Model Y crossover SUV, which has quickly become the company’s top seller since being introduced last year. Tesla is scheduled to report second-quarter financial results Monday.
Other new offerings from traditional auto makers, such as
Ford Motor Co.
’s Mustang Mach-E SUV and
ID.4, also helped push sales of plug-in electric vehicles to over 3% of the total U.S. market in May and June, the highest ever recorded, according to industry data.
Auto companies collectively are spending $330 billion over the next five years to bring more plug-in models to showrooms, according to consulting firm AlixPartners LLP.
Now, the big question looming over the car business is whether consumers are ready to buy them.
Longer driving ranges and a wider variety of body styles and price points are helping garner interest in plug-in cars from more car shoppers, dealers and analysts say. But hurdles remain, including higher sticker prices and a deficit of places to charge them.
Auto executives in recent months have said they believe consumer interest in the technology is rising and should help speed the transition.
In the U.S. market—which lags behind Europe and China in electric-vehicle adoption—executives also are encouraged by the Biden administration’s plans to support plug-in cars through charging-station investment and consumer incentives.
chief executive of global auto maker
NV, said the pace at which drivers make the switch to electrics will depend on regulations and consumer awareness.
“The more the public opinion becomes sensitive to the global-warming issue and how to fix it, the more we can expect a very strong acceleration,” Mr. Tavares said to journalists this week.
Stellantis, which owns Jeep, Ram and other auto brands, recently joined other global auto makers in outlining big investment plans for electric cars and battery plants.
General Motors Co.
, Ford and
each have said they are earmarking tens of billions of dollars on the transition during this decade.
said it is preparing to sell only electrics by 2030 but would respond to market demands.
“The EV shift is picking up speed, especially in the luxury segment,”
In an industry first, by integrating the data, products, services and technology across its portfolio, the Group will connect car maker, financiers, dealer and consumer in the most efficient way possible. An essential component is connecting finance data, the core thread of new and used vehicle sales. Seamlessly integrating this will unlock the barriers to offering a complete ‘omnichannel’ customer experience – blending physical showrooms and the virtual world – from first sale, through aftersales and re-sale.
The commercial gains on offer are vast. Based on the 77 million new cars sold globally in 2020, with a value of $2.5 trillion**, a 1% shift in ecommerce sales would equate to $25 billion in revenue. And that’s without factoring in the potential of global used car sales – the forecast for Europe in 2025 alone is €357 billion*.
The Automotive Transformation Group is also looking to help its customers to improve their profitability. By leveraging its products and services to cut transaction times and reduce sales process costs, the industry could generate an additional £2.2 billion per year in global profitability based on an extra £142 per new vehicle sale.***
The new Group already handles one transaction every 3.5 minutes ($4.25 billion annually) and has an unrivalled experience and operational scale in the industry. The company serves more than 20 car manufacturers in over 10,000 locations across 96 countries.
Commenting on the launch of the Automotive Transformation Group, Chairman David Riemenschneider said: “The digitalisation of the sales process is advancing at an unrelenting pace. The Automotive market, which is one of the largest in the world, has lagged other sectors in terms of the speed of transition to online sales, but that is changing rapidly. Until now, the cost and complexity of integrating each element of an online and offline experience into a brand consistent omnichannel one, has prevented it being delivered at scale. The Automotive Transformation Group aims to change that. By joining up the dots we will enable car manufacturers, financiers and retailers to unlock the huge potential and efficiencies in today’s sales process and overall value chain. And now is the time to act.”
CEO Christian Erlandson added, “Since we announced the merger between Autofutura and GForces, we have been engaged in strategic discussions with some of the biggest players in the industry. This demonstrates just how dynamic the automotive industry is and how fast it is shifting towards digitalisation. We offer something truly unique. By connecting vehicles and consumers, serving the right offer, at the right time, to the right customer and then facilitating the seamless transition from one vehicle to another, we are streamlining the customer journey, right from the first transaction. We believe the companies which we support will not just have happier, longer standing customers, they will also be even more successful as a result of the substantial efficiencies they have achieved.”
*, **Car sales and forecast data (Frost & Sullivan, May 2021)
***Calculations based on Automotive Transformation Group proprietary UK
Widespread inflation has led to the highest raw material cost per U.S. vehicle since 2011, a new Bank of America (BAC) Global Research report found.
The report examines the recent bout of US inflation and examines its consequences for the automotive industry.
One key takeaway from the report is that the cost of raw materials has risen sharply since mid-2020. “In the past year, the raw material cost in an average U.S. vehicle has been steadily rising, increasing ~87% from a low point of approximately $2,200/unit in Apr ’20 to now roughly $4,125/unit in May ’21,” the report found. “During this raw material cost inflation, average transaction prices seem to have stalled, although [they] still remain elevated at record high levels.”
The compressing spread between rising raw material prices and stagnating average transaction prices is expected to increase pressure on automakers and suppliers’ respective financial bottom lines.
The average vehicle is composed of 39% steel and 11% aluminum. The increase in raw materials cost has been concentrated heavily in high steel prices; the Bank of America report estimated that the average cost per pound for steel used in automotive manufacturing has increased 106% year over year as of last month. This is “relatively alarming,” according to the report, given the high makeup of steel in the average vehicle.
Suppliers and original equipment managers (OEMs) are expected to bear the brunt of rising material costs, with the latter facing even greater exposure to indirect costs from the former.
Rising inflation costs, plus pre-existing damage to supply chains caused by the pandemic present problems for both groups. “The automotive value chain is already facing significant headwinds from supply chain disruptions and production stoppages,” the report noted, “which continue to pressure margins in addition to rising raw material costs.”
The costs of raw materials have risen so greatly that they now make up a significantly larger percentage of the price of a vehicle. “The cost of raw materials in an average vehicle as a % of the average transaction price (ATP) in the U.S. reached historical lows around 6% (5.9% in April ’20) at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by historically low raw material costs and all-time high average transaction prices,” the report found. “However, this cost ratio has since increased, now reaching ~11%, as commodity prices have bounced materially off of lows and ATPs have remained near peak levels.”
By the end of spring, raw material costs had approached post-2000 historical levels, while average transaction prices remained essentially unchanged, posing “significant headwind for companies at the front end of the value chain,” according to the report.
The Vermont State Police released this photo of the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV that caught fire on July 1, 2021 in the driveway of state Rep. Timothy Briglin, a Democrat.
Vermont State Police
A Chevrolet electric vehicle owned by a Vermont state lawmaker who has backed the industry recently caught fire while charging in the politician’s driveway, according to Vermont State Police.
The vehicle, a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV, is part of a recall of nearly 69,000 of the electric vehicles globally due to fire risks that was announced in November by General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
State Rep. Timothy Briglin, a Democrat, told authorities the EV had been serviced for the recall in recent weeks, Vermont State Police Det. Sgt. Matthew Hill said Wednesday. That could mean the repair was not done correctly; it’s not a solution for the fires; or there’s another problem with the vehicle.
GM said in a statement sent to CNBC on Wednesday that company officials are “in touch with authorities to understand the specific circumstances.” They also have “reached out to the customer and are actively investigating the incident.” A spokesman for the Detroit automaker declined to comment further on the fire until the company has access to the vehicle and its investigation is complete.
Hill said he had not been contacted yet by GM regarding the incident, which he said occurred while the vehicle was plugged in to charge.
The fire is the most recent to highlight an ongoing concern of automakers and vehicle safety watchdogs as companies release an influx of new electric vehicles in the coming years. Automakers have continually touted the environmental benefits of EVs, however, the lithium-ion batteries that power the vehicles can be dangerous and result in significant chemical fires if something goes wrong.
The Biden administration has been a proponent of EVs, including the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The vehicle was featured in a video last week touting President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, expanding U.S. charging stations and converting the government’s vehicle fleet to EVs.
Briglin — who is chair of the state House Committee on Energy and Technology and has supported EVs, including co-sponsoring a bill relating to electric and plug-in hybrid EV incentives — did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Officials with the NHTSA and local fire department also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The fire was reported at about 9 a.m. Thursday at Briglin’s house in Thetford, Vermont, according to a release from Vermont State Police and public records. No injuries were reported.
GM recalled the vehicles in November over electrical fires it said were caused by