Autoline This Week is the first stop for auto executives, insiders and consumers looking for the latest automotive news. Each week John McElroy, one of the deans of the Detroit automotive press corp, brings his expertise and analysis to the issues and interviews driving the automotive world. He mode…
You cannot believe how many laws regulate the auto industry. So many that it's almost impossible to keep track of. But two legal eagles, Kevin McDonald from VW Credit and Karl Hochkammer from Honigman LLP, have compiled a very complete catalog of laws and they explain what they're about in plain English that anyone can understand. They've managed to take a boring topic and make it very interesting.
You've heard of the chip shortage that crippled automotive production. But you probably haven't heard about the critical shortage of headlamp engineers. And you also probably didn't know that thanks to consolidation in the industry, there aren't many headlamp manufacturers left, either. All automakers are struggling with this problem, but that's especially true for the EV startups. They can't get the lamps they need. Klaus Matauschek from Forvia HELLA, Wolfgang Huhn from Driving Vision News and Michael Pickholz from MagWerks Vision, talk about how the industry got into this mess.
Lordstown Motors changed its business plan. Instead of building electric trucks, it's going to have Foxconn build them for it—in the plant that Lordstown used to own. It raised the money it needs to launch its truck by selling the plant to Lordstown. That truck, called the Endurance, will start production in Q3, 2022. But Lordstown is already working on other commercial models that will use a skateboard chassis. Edward T. Hightower, the President of Lordstown Motors, explains the new direction the company is going in.
Automotive suppliers have strong opinions about the automakers they sell parts and services to. Some automakers have great relations with their suppliers, others not so much. Plante Moran, the consulting company, does an annual supplier survey that captures what suppliers are saying. Dave Andrea and Mark Barrott from Plante Moran go through their latest findings.
Powered roads, where EVs pick up electric power from the road as they drive, is a dream that goes back decades. But now a convergence of technologies could turn it into reality. Prefabricated road sections with embedded sensors and inductive charging are the game changing technologies. By collecting data that can be monetized and by selling electricity, private industry wants to build these roads—at no cost to taxpayers. Tim Sylvester from Integrated Roadways, Jeremy McCool from HEVO and Michele Mueller from the Michigan Department of Transportation, talk about the latest developments.
Every year the SAE Foundation chooses a recipient for its Leadership Award. This year it chose GM President Mark Reuss. At the awards banquet, Reuss sat down with Autoline to talk about his career, GM's transition to electric vehicles, and the challenges that lie ahead for the automotive industry.
Five years ago, foreign automakers saw China as an unending source of growth and profits. Not anymore. Today, companies like Volkswagen and General Motors are seeing sharp drops in sales and profits. And Chinese automakers are emerging as world class competitors. So, are foreign automakers in trouble in China? Michael Dunne, CEO of ZoZo Go and Tu Le, the head of Sino Auto Insights, provide their insight and analysis.
In addition to the terrible loss of lives, the tragic lines of refugees and brutal war crimes, Russia's invasion of Ukraine is upending the auto industry. Automakers and suppliers felt the impact immediately, and the long term implications could take years to resolve. Joe McCabe, the CEO of AutoForecast Solutions, and Justin Cox, the director of Global Production at LMC Automotive, go through the details of what we're likely to see.
It takes a certain type of person to be an entrepreneur. But even those people need to know their strengths and weaknesses and how to avoid common pitfalls. Three start-up experts discuss what sets entrepreneurs apart from everyone else: Khanjan Desai, CEO and Co-Founder, Alchemy; Adrien Cote, Executive Director, Velocity; and Helge Seetzen, CEO, TandemLaunch.
Gill Pratt, Toyota's Chief Scientist, says we're going to hear a lot more about the company's move into electric cars. Up to now Toyota's public statements have focused on hybrids and fuel cells. But it's been quietly developing EVs behind the scenes. And now it's ready to talk about them. Gill Pratt lays out Toyota's strategy on solid state batteries, recycling, EV platforms, EV manufacturing and more.
Batteries for electric cars are extremely expensive. But Tal Sholklapper, the CEO of Voltaiq, a battery design consultancy, says that cost is coming down fast, and will soon reach $50-60 per kilowatt-hour. That's about half of what it is now, and that would give EVs cost parity with piston powered cars and trucks. He also talks about battery recycling, a potential raw material shortage and other topics. Chad Kirchner from EVPulse.com also joins the discussion.
Despite the perception that auto shows are losing their appeal, Foresight Research says the public is just as interested in auto shows as it ever was. Moreover, people are hungry to learn more about electric vehicles and auto shows are the perfect place to learn more about them–especially when that includes ride-and-drives. Auto shows are an effective way to reach consumers without the sales pressure they'll run into at a dealership.
Multimatic, PEM Motion and Ettractive are three Canadian companies with expertise in turning ideas into reality. Here's their advice on what startups need to keep in mind, from the typical kinds of problems they'll run into, to how to meet the standards set by the automotive industry.
General Motors is jumping into online retailing with both feet. It's launching a web portal called CarBravo to sell used cars, including non-GM brands and models. Dan Ahearn, the senior manager in charge of CarBravo, explains why they'll happily sell you a car that was made by a different automaker.
They used to call it the Rust Belt. But Midwest states like Michigan are actually at the leading edge of a revolution in new mobility. Smokestack factories are giving way to modern manufacturing facilities and R and D centers. Garlin Gilchrist, the lieutenant governor of Michigan, gives a detailed account of the initiatives going on in the state.
The public is hyper aware that a wave of electric cars is about to hit the market. But the public doesn't know a lot about the public EV charging infrastructure. And in many cases what it knows is flat out wrong. Mark LaNeve, the president of Charge Enterprises, and Sarah Nielsen, the executive director of Transportation, Renewables and Storage from Consumers Energy, set the record straight.
CES is renowned for being a mecca for tech companies. Even so, for 2022 it's attracting a record amount of automotive exhibitors and speakers. One out of three attendees will be coming from automotive and mobility companies. Gary Shapiro, the CEO of the Consumer Technology Association which runs CES, talks about why automotive companies are so devoted to the show and why they want to be there. Also joining the discussion are Pete Bigelow from Automotive News and Sam Abuelsamid from Guidehouse Insights.
There is a critical shortage of automotive technicians in the US. Car dealerships, body shops and automotive repair facilities can't find the people they need. But a high school and community college in North Carolina have figured out how to get students excited about working on cars. In fact, they have a waiting list of students who want to enroll. Roy Jennings and Dustin Ford from the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, as well as Erik Mortensen from Watauga High School, explain why the program is so successful.
The auto industry is learning how to slash the time it takes to develop new cars and components with a technology called Digital Twins. By simulating a product or a process, automakers and suppliers can perfect the design before it's actually used in the real world. Digital Twins are revolutionizing the product development process. Prith Banerjee from Ansys and Ashish Naik from NI discuss the impact it's having.
Automakers are heavily investing in EVs. The Biden Administration wants 50% of all new cars to be electric by 2030. Yet, the US depends on China for 80% of the raw materials needed to make EVs. It's a matter of national security. How should the US respond? John Bozzella, president and CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, argues that what's needed is a comprehensive national industrial strategy.
The Ford Motor Company has laid out an ambitious plan to transform the company by the end of this decade. It has to transition to electric, autonomous and connected vehicles. And to get there it has to change the way the company operates. Lisa Drake, the chief operating officer for North America, talks about the changes the company will make, and the role that women can play in this transformation.
Cybersecurity is a threat that no automaker or supplier can handle on its own. So the auto industry formed an Auto ISAC: an information sharing and assessment center. Members of the Auto ISAC share info on how they've been attacked and how they responded. Three cyber experts provide an up to date report on the latest issues the Auto ISAC is dealing with.
Automotive safety technology can prevent accidents and save lives. But it can also be maddeningly annoying. All those beeps, buzzes and warning chimes. So researchers are carefully collecting data on how humans drive, and using artificial intelligence to make those safety systems less intrusive and more effective.
China's automotive industry used to rely on foreign automakers and suppliers to develop cars and technology. Not anymore. China set a goal to become self-sufficient by 2025. Not only is it on track to achieve that goal, it's leading the world when it comes to electric and connected cars. Tu Le of Sino Automotive Insights shares his views on where it's all going.
The auto industry knows the future is with electric vehicles. But it's also facing a slew of new legal issues that EVs bring with them. Battery fires are pitting automakers against suppliers. Electric utilities face legal challenges from companies that operate charging stations. And consumers are demanding protection from any of these problems. Autoline This Week tackles the legal issues that have not got the attention they deserve.
Power Play is a new book about the history of Tesla. Its author, Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins, interviewed hundreds of people both inside and outside of the company, to get the inside story of what actually happened and what is happening today.
Magna makes all the major components that go into cars. It even assembles cars for various automakers, something that no other Tier 1 supplier can do. The company is one of the largest automotive suppliers in the world, it's growing rapidly, and CEO Swamy Kotagiri lays out how his vision of how it can grow even more.
The Automotive Hall of Fame has already Inducted some of the most famous names in the history of the industry. Now it's reaching out to induct minorities who may not be well known but who achieved impressive accomplishments for their day.
Alfonso Albaisa is the Senior VP of Design at Nissan. He talks about how he had his team design the new Nissan Z sports car, incorporating new technology yet retaining the classic lines of its predecessors.
Mark Rosekind is a former NHTSA administrator. Now he's with autonomous vehicle startup Zoox, which was recently bought by Amazon. Zoox has a clever design for a vehicle that is going to be safer than anything that's ever been on the road.
The auto industry is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint. And while everyone is aware of the big push to electric cars, there are other efforts underway. One of those includes making automotive components from biomaterials. These are materials made from plants and vegetation, not from petroleum. And they've reached a level of sophistication and development where they are lighter, cheaper and offer better performance.
China cornered the global market for the critical metals and minerals needed to make EV motors and batteries. Now the Biden Administration wants to develop a US supply chain. Is that even possible? And if so, how long will it take? Three experts in mining and processing talk about the challenges that lie ahead.
Over the next three years there will be a flood of electric vehicles hitting the market. Can the electrical grid handle the load? How about on hot summer nights when people are running their air conditioning? And will transformers at the neighborhood level be able to take it?
Autonomous vehicles are not years away from going into commercial operation. They’re already on the road today providing rides to the public. May Mobility and Beep are two of the pioneers in this technology. They’re growing their operations and see a bright future ahead.
The auto industry got clobbered by a shortage of chips. It could also face a shortage of critical materials needed to make batteries and motors for electric cars. The industry needs long term planning to avoid future shortages, and may need the federal government involved to make it happen.
At some point the pandemic will end and people will be able to go back to the office. But many will opt to keep on working from home. The auto industry is trying to figure out how it can accommodate both. In the meantime, it’s learning new processes and etiquette for how people work together online.
Automotive suppliers who make parts for piston engines know their future is threatened by electric cars. They have three choices. 1. jump on the EV bandwagon. 2. ride the piston engine into the sunset. 3. try to make parts for both. So which is the right strategy?
Connected car technology can dramatically improve vehicle efficiency and safety at the same time it slashes emissions. Better still, it costs a fraction of any other way to do this. Some cars already have the technology, and it’s only a matter of time before they all do.
A year ago the future of the Canadian auto industry looked doubtful. But then GM, Ford and Stellantis announced billions of dollars in investments to make electric cars there. Moreover, Canada has all the raw materials needed to make EV batteries and electric motors, as well as a green electric grid to manufacture them. All this transformed the outlook for the Canadian auto industry from bleak to bright.
Automakers must meet government mandates for Zero Emission Vehicles. They’re investing billions of dollars to develop battery electric cars. Yet last year EV sales came to only 1.6% of all vehicles sold. This show explores the challenges and opportunities to selling more electric vehicles.
Automakers around the world are struggling with a shortage of computer chips that is bringing their assembly lines to a grinding halt. How did the industry get caught with this shortage, how is it trying to cope, and how will the problem get resolved? Our panel of experts explains what’s going on, and what needs to happen.
Car dealers are creative and adaptive. They adjusted to lockdowns and social distancing caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and learned how to maintain sales with much lower levels of inventory. Auto analyst and retail expert Maryann Keller explains that they’re also going to outlast EV startups who try to sell direct to consumers.
The auto industry is transforming itself to make electric vehicles. But EVs need 30% fewer labor hours to manufacture and could eliminate tens of thousands of jobs. The UAW is keenly aware of this and is preparing for an all-electric future. Jeff Dokho, the director of the Research Department at the UAW, lays out the union’s plans to prepare for it.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars are not going mainstream anytime soon. But they make a lot of sense in other parts of the transportation sector, such as with semi-trucks, trains and ships. Wall Street is also waking up to the possibilities and investors are sniffing out investment opportunities. Bryan Pivovar, a Senior Research Fellow at the National Renewable Energy Lab, talks about the progress being made in hydrogen production and fuel cell development.
When the auto industry shut down last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic it lost a lot of production. Even now, car dealers are running on bare-bone levels of inventory. But Chevrolet is using new digital tools to let customers peer into its pipeline and discover the delivery date for the exact vehicle they want. It’s also engaging customers online with experts who can answer their questions, including technical ones about electric cars. Steve Hill, the head of Chevrolet, talks about how they’re using these digital tools to boost market share.
Ford and Nissan are going through the largest new product launches in the history of their respective companies. Mark LaNeve is the Head of Sales for Ford, and Allyson Witherspoon is the Chief Marketing Officer for Nissan U.S. They talk about the importance of bringing all of these new products to market and new ways they’re going to make the world aware of them.
Automakers are going through a historic transition on multiple fronts. They have to develop a lineup of electric cars. They have to learn all about mobility services and data monetization. And they have to learn how to deal with a changing retail infrastructure. This show is all about what the industry will look like at the end of the decade.
To develop connected and autonomous cars and provide smart mobility doesn’t require a lot of natural resources. It requires a lot of brain power. The right kind of brain power, organized and working in the proper direction. These trends play to Canada’s strengths, as we discuss in today’s show.
Today’s cars are the safest they’ve ever been, but they could be even safer. Part of the problem is the cost of new safety technology, part of it is because new regulations take too long to put in place. David Harkey, the president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, talks about ways to cut the cost of safety technology and how to get it to the market faster.
Toyota used the COVID-19 pandemic to learn what it was not doing well, what it is doing well and how it can do better coming out of this. Jack Hollis, Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations at Toyota, takes us through the company’s strategy.