|Bid||47.59 x 124500|
|Ask||47.60 x 73800|
|Day's Range||47.40 - 47.92|
|52 Week Range||40.31 - 60.00|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.15|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||12.65|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||3.25 (6.86%)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- America’s automakers hit rock bottom with the public when their executives went to Washington in 2008 to beg for a bailout — in corporate jets.Now it’s the German car industry’s turn to suffer an image crisis and, as with General Motors Co. and Chrysler a decade ago, it couldn’t be happening at a less auspicious moment. Amid trade wars and plunging China sales, the number of cars rolling off Germany’s production lines has dropped by 12% this year and exports by 14%. European auto sales fell 3% in the first eight months of 2019.(1) With demand expected to remain weak for a couple of years, the German parts supplier Continental AG isn’t ruling out cuts to working hours and jobs.It’s a bad time to be having a public relations crisis too, but that is what’s happening in the country that invented the internal combustion engine. This month’s Frankfurt Motor Show was meant to give Germany’s mighty auto industry a platform to show off its expensive plans to build more electric vehicles.Instead, many international carmakers chose to stay away (some to save money) and Karl-Thomas Neumann, the ex-boss of Opel/Vauxhall, declared the event a “huge fail.” Compounding the misery, Daimler AG’s Mercedes, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG were upstaged by climate protesters who accused them of not doing enough to end their addiction to diesel and gasoline engines.Things had already got off to an ugly start. On the eve of the show four pedestrians were struck and killed by a sport utility vehicle in Berlin, prompting a fierce debate about the “social utility” of these gas-guzzling, tank-like cars. Featuring a picture of a Porsche SUV on its cover this week, Der Spiegel magazine declared a “new object of hate.” I’ve written before about the industry’s dependence on very profitable SUVs and the risk of a backlash.Meanwhile, the organization that one might usually expect to defend the German car giants — the VDA lobby group — was preoccupied with the abrupt resignation of its president, Bernhard Mattes. This fueled speculation that the industry was unhappy about its loss of political influence and increasing stigmatization.The German car industry provides more than 800,000 jobs in the country and it accounts for a big chunk of its manufacturing production and exports. Past governments fought hard to protect their industry crown jewel from troublesome regulations. That’s no longer always the case.First, the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal made it unwise for politicians to go easy on companies that put profits above public health. And second, Germans have become alarmed by climate change and the industry’s role in that. The average emissions of new vehicles sold(3) climbed for the second year in a row last year, in part because of SUV sales. That’s one reason why Germany is set to miss its 2020 carbon pollution reduction targets. Passenger cars account for about 11% of its greenhouse gas emissions.(2)Stringent European Union emission targets, and massive fines for non-compliance, have been put in place already. A German federal government led by the Greens (not unimaginable given the party’s poll surge) would be tougher still. After the deadly accident in Berlin, there were calls to ban SUVs from cities.The average age of a new car buyer in Germany has climbed to 53, suggesting that the industry may be looking at a difficult future. Yet claims that Germans have fallen out of love with the automobile feel overblown. They still bought about 3.4 million new vehicles last year, pretty decent by historic standards. About 95% of them had a combustion engine. More than one-quarter were SUVs. Nor does the government have any desire to kill its golden goose. Earlier this year officials rejected attempts by campaigners to mandate a speed limit on the autobahn.With this contradiction between the public’s anxiety about climate change and its fondness for big vehicles, it’s not surprising that the government and carmakers are struggling to keep everyone happy. Riding a bike and car-sharing have become a genuine alternative in cities such as Berlin. But for those who still feel they need a car, electric vehicles tend to be more expensive and their driving range can be limited (for now, at least). The climate package the German government is due to announce on Friday will doubtless try to address this by including more incentives for electric vehicles and infrastructure.As the industry wrestles with such epochal challenges, it helps that Germany’s automakers have all recently appointed new bosses. They’re far from united, however, on how aggressively to abandon the combustion engine. Volkswagen is going “all-in” on battery cars (it’s targeting 40% of electric sales by 2030), while BMW is more cautious. The latter thinks hydrogen fuel-cells might have a future, though VW isn’t a fan.Yet even VW plans to use the profit from selling large SUVs such as its three-row “Atlas” to fund investments in green alternatives.At last week’s show in Frankfurt, electric vehicles like the Porsche Taycan and Volkswagen ID3 sat alongside gas-guzzling monsters like the BMW X6 and Mercedes AMG GLE Coupe. With the climate crisis intensifying, the industry’s split personality is getting more incongruous and indefensible by the day.(1) It's not all bad - the German market has actually expanded slightly so far this year.(2) In terms of grams of CO2 per km(3) See hereTo contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg Opinion’s editorials: David Shipley at email@example.com, .Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Daimler Trucks & Buses unit of Daimler AG (DDAIF) will buy lithium-ion battery technology for its Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner and Fuso commercial electric trucks from Chinese supplier Contemporary ...
The German government is set to present a new climate-change policy on Friday that will likely include a carbon-pricing initiative to cap the use of fossil fuels in Europe's largest economy, where the Greens party is enjoying a surge in support. The plan - the world's largest experiment so far in capping carbon emissions from buildings and transportation - would require fossil fuel suppliers to buy certificates to trade, pushing up their costs, three sources familiar with the plan said.
A climate change protester was bundled away by security staff on Thursday after he tried to rush across a stage where German Chancellor Angela Merkel was inspecting a new electric vehicle at Frankfurt's IAA car show. The exhibition, a staple of the global automotive calendar, has been the target of protests by environmentalist groups like Greenpeace and Sand in the Works because of the contribution Germany's vast car industry makes to climate change. A man in a T-shirt bearing Greenpeace's logo and the slogan "Climate Killer" was tackled to the floor by security guards as he attempted to cross the stage where Merkel stood listening to BMW chief Oliver Zipse present a new car.
(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to help offset the higher costs of cleaner vehicles by putting a price on carbon-dioxide emissions, potentially offering a lift to Germany’s vital auto industry as it grapples with the high-risk transition away from the combustion engine.Germany and its automakers are facing a “Herculean task,” Merkel said Thursday at a ceremony opening the Frankfurt car show to the public. While short on specifics, the German leader backed efforts to encourage consumers to buy more environmentally friendly products such as battery-powered cars fueled by renewable power.“We want to direct the behavior of people in a certain direction,” she said. “The pricing of CO2 is the right way to make clear that all innovations should follow the goal of emitting less CO2. If we do this in a long-term and accountable way, there will be the incentives to move innovation in the right direction.”Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG are facing tough times. Pollution concerns -- intensified by VW’s 2015 diesel-cheating scandal -- have tarnished the industry’s image and triggered massive investment in electric vehicles. Those costs had already started squeezing earnings when almost a decade of uninterrupted industry growth led by China came to a halt. The consequence is Germany’s car production slumping to the lowest level since at least 2010.The looming end of the combustion-engine era and the dramatically-increasing importance of digital technologies in cars, pose an unprecedented threat to the industry’s traditional business model. A slew of profit warnings from manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler to parts makers like Continental AG provided fresh evidence that times have become rough.Merkel spoke after John Krafcik, the chief executive officer of Waymo. The Alphabet Inc. unit is widely regarded as the global leader in self-driving technology and represents a risk to the country’s car brands, which are largely focused on motoring thrills. Krafcik offered a cooperative tone, even though German manufacturers are wary of allowing the Google parent access to sensitive customer data.“It’s not about competing with car companies. It’s to enable, not disrupt companies in the automotive space,” said Krafcik. “Developing self-driving technology takes a lot of time. There are no shortcuts. We can’t do this on our own.”Germany is teetering on the brink of recession, and the auto industry is pivotal to the economy’s health. Carmakers such as Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW as well as parts suppliers like Robert Bosch GmbH and Continental employ about 830,000 people in the country and support everything from machine makers to advertising agencies and cleaning services.Germany’s auto industry is trying to respond. Electric cars, such as the flashy Porsche Taycan and more affordable VW ID.3, dominated media presentations this week at the Frankfurt trade fair and more models are in the pipeline.Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius backed Merkel’s CO2 pricing plan, saying at panel discussion in Frankfurt that there are costs related to fossil-fuels and it would make sense for a global plan to help fight climate change.For the auto industry, any signs of support would be welcome. Demand for electric cars has been sluggish, and Merkel had to surrender her goal to have 1 million electric cars on German roads by 2020. Sales of hybrid and electric cars in the country last year totaled a mere 55,000 vehicles, or 1.6% of the market.In addition to boosting efficient technologies, the country needs to accelerate the roll-out of charging stations to ease consumer concerns, she said.“If one believes that climate protection is a task for mankind, and I believe it is, then we must pay this price because otherwise we will have to pay a totally different price,” Merkel said.(Adds comment from Daimler CEO in 10th paragraph)To contact the reporters on this story: Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.org;Arne Delfs in Berlin at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris Reiter, Raymond ColittFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- President Donald Trump seems to be setting the stage for renewed talks with Iran over its nuclear program, raising the prospect of easing U.S. sanctions in exchange for a meeting with the Iranian president. Unless he reconsiders his goals for these negotiations, he’s going to make a serious mistake.After abrogating the nuclear deal that his predecessor signed with Iran in 2015, Trump has stated his basic conditions for a new one: “no nuclear weapons, no ballistic missiles and a longer period of time.” That last phrase is the problem. It refers to the “sunset provisions” included in the previous agreement that defined exactly when some of its key terms would expire, thus allowing Iran to resume enriching uranium to high levels.Almost as soon as the deal was signed, critics warned that these provisions would only defer Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons until 2030, when they were set to expire. President Barack Obama’s administration contended that, even if Iran were so inclined, it would take a year — what nuclear scientists call “breakout time” — to make a bomb. This, the Obama team thought, would be time enough for the world to pressure leaders in Tehran to desist.That timeline was hopelessly optimistic, as events have since shown. It has taken Iran mere weeks this summer to blow past the agreed-to limits on its stockpile of enriched uranium. It is now threatening to deploy more advanced centrifuges, greatly shrinking the time required to reach weapons-grade.Nor is there any doubt that Iran wants nuclear weapons. Abundant in oil and gas, it has no other rational reason for a nuclear program. A previous covert effort to make such weapons ended only when the regime was caught red-handed operating a secret uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy-water facility in Arak.Perhaps the biggest drawback of the sunset provisions was that they were shortsighted. By the time they kicked in, Iran would’ve had 15 years to collect hundreds of billions of dollars in oil revenue, build up its military strength, and boost its support for proxies like Hezbollah. The regime would be in a far stronger position to resist international sanctions, and a future American president would find it far harder to rally support, at home or abroad, for a punitive military operation.Iran would also be more deeply integrated into the world economy, greatly raising the cost to all nations of trying to rein it in. It’s hard to imagine Europe — by then used to selling Iran billions of dollars’ worth of Airbus passenger jets, Mirage fighters and Mercedes sedans — going along with any renewed sanctions, let alone a military campaign.It was for these reasons that Rex Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state, characterized the 2015 deal as “kicking the can down the road again for someone in the future to have to deal with.” Kicking it a little further, as Trump now proposes, would not make the deal stronger; it would give Iran still more time to build up a war chest and yet more leeway to make a breakout for nuclear weapons.In contrast, Iran right now is the weakest it has been in decades, and manifestly wilting under Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Rather than push for an extended sunset, Trump should hold out for a complete termination of Iran’s nuclear activities and an end to its other threatening behavior — such as its ballistic-missile program and its support for terrorist groups across the Middle East — in exchange for readmission into the world economy.This chance may never come again.\--Editors: Bobby Ghosh, Timothy Lavin.To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg Opinion’s editorials: David Shipley at email@example.com, .Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- It only took a decade for traditional automakers to take electric cars seriously and offer more than a smattering of test-the-water models.Now comes the hard part: Getting consumers to buy them.At Frankfurt’s 2019 car show, Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess laid it on thick, calling on governments to give up coal-fired power as he unveiled the electric ID.3 car-for-the-masses. At the Mercedes-Benz stand, where the Daimler AG brand was showing the prototype of an electric S-Class sibling, real beech trees framed massive screens displaying schools of digital fish.The message to environmentally conscious consumers: we’re with you. But a marketing blitz alone won’t wash away the deep uncertainties facing electric cars -- obstacles little changed since carmakers’ initial forays with models like the Nissan Leaf and BMW AG i3. Customers don’t like paying up for new technology they’re unsure about, and they’re worried they won’t reliably get to where they want to go.“The next big thing is not going to be about the cars, because they will come,” Carlos Tavares, president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association and CEO of Groupe PSA, said Wednesday. “The next big thing is about affordable mobility. The next big thing is about how we make this work for the biggest number of people.”So far, electric cars have only proliferated in countries with significant sweeteners. Once they go, sales of battery models crater. Demand in China, the world’s biggest electric car market, fell 16% in August -- its second straight decline -- after the government scaled back subsidies. Carmakers can reduce prices, but then only cut into profitability that in most cases has been nonexistent.Consumers are similarly sensitive elsewhere. Demand in Denmark collapsed when the government phased out tax breaks in 2016.“We’ve been talking about EVs for years, but this year the real production cars showed up,” Max Warburton, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in a note. “Should we be celebrating these cars, given the poor margins that most will have?”Across Europe, sales of new plug-in hybrids and fully-electric cars last year made up 2% of total registrations. That’s a tiny market to tussle over for the likes of VW’s ID.3, with a price point below 30,000 euros ($33,009), Tesla Inc.’s Model 3 and Mercedes’s gleaming lineup of plug-ins. Yet carmakers have little choice but to boost their offering to keep pace with regulation, or face fines.Consumer demand “can’t be mandated,” Daimler CEO Ola Kallenius said at the show. Mercedes-Benz is adding at least 10 purely battery-powered cars through 2022 at a cost of more than 10 billion euros, starting with last year’s EQC SUV, so the carmaker’s lineup can to meet stricter emission limits.A lot of factors are moving in the right direction. The ID.3’s price point and basic range of 330 kilometers (205 miles) sets the car apart from previous efforts that needed meticulous pre-planning for longer trips. At the top end, there’s now the $185,000 Porsche Taycan Turbo S, and a mid-range that’s rapidly filling out from SUVs like the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron.Patchy charging infrastructure is improving too. Ionity, a consortium of Daimler, VW, Ford Motor Co., BMW and now Hyundai Motor Co., is on track to finish building a network of 400 European fast-charging stations by next year to make long-distance travel easier.Lean YearsFor carmakers, this will mean some lean years -- at least to 2025 when battery prices are expected to come down -- during which lucrative conventional SUVs must subsidize poor returns from their electric cousins. VW will need “patience” until the ID.3 brings significant profit “joy,” Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said.To bridge the gap, the industry is lobbying hard for governments to step up incentives to get to the oft-cited tipping point where driving without a combustion engine becomes normal. In Germany, home to VW, Mercedes and BMW as well as world-leading suppliers like Continental AG, the government sits down next week to discuss broad climate measures. Carmakers are hoping for a bigger slice of subsidies than they got so far.The ACEA on Wednesday called on national governments to boost charging points in Europe to 2.8 million by 2030, a 20-fold increase from 2018.“We need strong support, because if we don’t do it,” simply offering electric cars won’t be enough for sales to take off, PSA’s Tavares said.\--With assistance from Richard Weiss.To contact the reporters on this story: Oliver Sachgau in Munich at firstname.lastname@example.org;Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org, Elisabeth BehrmannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Chinese suppliers and manufacturers have stepped up their presence at the Frankfurt auto show, capitalising on a strong position in electric technologies forced on European carmakers by regulators seeking to curb pollution. Europe's automakers face multibillion-euro investments to develop electric and autonomous cars, forcing them to rely on Chinese companies for key technologies such as lithium ion battery cell production, an area where Asian suppliers dominate.
Daimler has struck a deal to buy lithium ion battery cells from Farasis Energy, a Chinese-American supplier that is building a factory in east Germany to help Mercedes-Benz ramp up electric vehicle production, it said on Tuesday. Farasis is constructing the plant in Bitterfeld-Wolfen in Germany's Saxony-Anhalt region, Markus Schaefer, Daimler's board member responsible for research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development, said at the Frankfurt car show. "It will be a multiple gigawatt facility and it will supply cells for our battery plants in Kamenz, Bruehl and Sindelfingen," Schaefer said, adding that the energy needed to produce the battery cells will come from renewable sources.
(Bloomberg) -- Mercedes-Benz gave car buyers a glimpse of the top-end of its electric model plans, showing off a sleek silver battery-powered concept version to complement the flagship S-Class sedan.So far luxury cruisers have remained a mainstay for traditional combustion-era heroes, with only plug-in hybrids available for the likes of BMW 7-Series or the recently revamped Audi A8.Mercedes-maker Daimler AG’s plans for at least 10 purely battery-powered cars through 2022 will give the manufacturer the right lineup to meet stricter European emissions rules, Chief Executive Officer Ola Kallenius told reporters in Frankfurt. However, meeting the targets was a “substantial challenge” because consumer demand “can’t be mandated.”The world’s bestselling luxury-car maker introduced the EQC electric sport utility vehicle last year, its first model to challenge U.S. electric-car market leader Tesla Inc. It followed up with a battery-powered version of the V-Class minivan this year and has shown a prototype EQA compact.The S-Class, favored by wealthy managers and politicians the world over, has for decades delivered premium profits to Mercedes. The future for stellar returns on powerful and heavy sedans is darkening with the need to cut fleet emissions, with heavy fines looming in Europe.Mercedes didn’t say when the car will be on sale, but outlined a real-world driving range of 700 kilometers (435 miles), and a battery that can charge to 80% in less than 20 minutes. The car also offers highly-automated driving on highways.The interior features traditional and new materials, like white microfiber made from plastic bottles combined with maple. The roof material is a textile created with recycled ocean waste.Daimler was one of the first manufacturers to warn of the growing headwinds triggered by the U.S.-Chinese trade spat. Homegrown problems have also beset the world’s biggest luxury carmaker, like production hiccups of the popular GLE SUV alongside growing regulatory scrutiny over its diesel emissions that have torpedoed the company’s earnings forecasts.(Updates with CEO comment in third paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org, Elisabeth Behrmann, Andrew BlackmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Daimler is hiring computer programmers to create games that encourage electric and hybrid vehicle owners to drive more efficiently, the company's research chief Markus Schaefer said on Tuesday. Mercedes vehicles have enough graphics processing power from their use of stereo cameras to also power sophisticated graphics, he said at the Frankfurt autoshow. "We have lots of employees from the gaming industry working on user interfaces," Schaefer said.
Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are showcasing curvaceous, high-end electric sports cars at the Frankfurt auto show as part of an industry effort to counter Tesla, avert billions in European pollution fines and defuse complaints from climate activists. Germany's premium automakers are now marketing electric cars as their flagship models, a strategy which Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW hope will lure customers away from gas-guzzling SUVs that could soon land them with hefty fines under new EU emissions rules. “We have moved on from treating the electric car mainly as an engineering challenge.
Daimler Trucks is testing high-automation trucks on public roads in Virginia, following through on a pledge to make Level 4 automation a reality this year. The subsidiary of Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler AG accelerated its testing efforts through the purchase of 13-year-old software provider Torc Robotics in March. Daimler plans to commercially produce heavy-duty trucks that can drive themselves in most situations within the decade.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Germany is at a crossroads, and nowhere will that be more evident than at the Frankfurt auto show this week.Despite sleek new electric models like the Porsche Taycan, the traditional showcase of German automotive excellence risks becoming a platform for protest rather than preening, drawing attention to a generation of young consumers more likely to demonstrate against the car’s role in global warming than shop for a new VW, BMW or Mercedes-Benz.Autos have made Germany into a global manufacturing powerhouse, but pollution concerns -- intensified by Volkswagen AG’s 2015 diesel-cheating scandal -- have sullied the reputation of a product that once embodied individual freedom. More recently, trade woes and slowing economies have hit demand. The consequence is Germany’s car production slumping to the lowest level since at least 2010.“Investors have been fearful about the industry’s prospects for a number of years, and the list of things to worry about doesn’t seem to be getting shorter,” said Max Warburton, a London-based analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein. “There is a general sense that things are about to get worse.”The end of the combustion-engine era and car buyers more interested in data connectivity than horsepower threaten Germany’s spot at the top of the automotive pecking order. Signs of trouble abound. In addition to numerous profit warnings this year, Mercedes maker Daimler AG delayed a plan to expand capacity at a Hungarian factory, parts giant Continental AG has started talks to cut jobs, and automotive supplier Eisenmann filed for insolvency.The car’s fragile standing was evident in the reaction to a deadly accident in Berlin on Friday evening when a Porsche SUV crashed into a group of pedestrians. Stephan von Dassel, the mayor of the district where the incident took place, said on Twitter that “such tank-like vehicles” should be banned in the city.Germany is teetering on the brink of recession, and the auto industry is pivotal to the economy’s health. Carmakers such as Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW AG as well as parts suppliers like Robert Bosch GmbH and Continental employ about 830,000 people in the country and support everything from machine makers to advertising agencies and cleaning services. With factories from Portugal to Poland, the importance of the sector radiates across Europe as well.With emissions regulations set to tighten starting next year, concerns are mounting that companies across the country’s industrial landscape are ill-equipped to deal with the technology transition resulting from climate change and increasing levels of digitalization. IG Metall organized a demonstration in June, with more than 50,000 people rallying in Berlin, to draw attention to the risk of widespread layoffs from what Germany’s biggest industrial union calls “the transformation.”“Far too many companies stick their heads in the sand and rest on their laurels,” IG Metall Chairman Joerg Hofmann said. “If companies continue to act so defensively, they’re playing roulette with the futures of their workers.”The concern is that the future of Germany’s car towns could look something like Ruesselsheim. The home of the Opel brand, which once rivaled VW as the German leader, has faded along with the carmaker’s performance. After years of losses, it was sold in 2017 by General Motors Co. to France’s PSA Group, which is slashing the Opel’s 20,000-strong German workforce by nearly a fifth.“Everybody in Ruesselsheim is worried,” said Servet Ibrahimoglu, owner of a kebab restaurant down the street from Opel’s factory, adding that his business has dropped by a third. “Before at lunchtime, this place was full. Now there’s no one.”The auto industry’s efforts to adapt to the risks will be on display in Frankfurt, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for models like the VW ID.3. The battery-powered hatchback is the auto giant’s first effort in an aggressive push into electric cars, which will make its debut at the Germany’s premier auto exhibition.Under bright lights and blaring music, the show is a throwback to the auto industry’s glory days, but it’s fading as public interest in old-school car show wanes. Toyota, Volvo and Ferrari are among the 30 brands skipping the show. For those still there, the displays will predominantly feature traditional gas guzzlers and other cash cows. Land Rover will unveil a resurrected version of the Defender, the British brand’s iconic offroader.“Instead of presenting new mobility concepts for the future, we’ll see lots of SUVs on stands that have become few and far between,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the University of Duisburg-Essen’s Center for Automotive Research. “The recession in the global auto business is forcing savings cuts for car manufacturers and suppliers, along with a rapid loss of attractiveness of the classic ‘analog’ car shows.”Make or BreakWhere German brands once tried to outdo one another with outlandish displays like indoor tracks and multistory exhibition spaces, the main drama may take place outside Frankfurt’s sprawling fairgrounds. Greenpeace and Germany’s BUND have called for a mass march on the site on Saturday, joined by groups of cyclists setting off from around Frankfurt to underscore their call for the end of the combustion engine. Organizers are expecting at least 10,000 people. “We’re in the middle of a climate crisis,” said Marion Thiemann, transport-policy expert at Greenpeace. “The biggest problem is the automobile industry.”Despite doubts from environmentalists, automakers have gotten the message that they’re facing a make-or-break moment. The industry is spending billions of euros to develop cleaner vehicles and counter the emergence of ride-sharing services like Uber Technologies Inc., which has a market value equivalent to Daimler, the inventor of the automobile.“I’m absolutely convinced that carmakers will adapt to the situation,” BMW’s labor head Manfred Schoch said during a testy panel discussion with activists in Berlin last week. “Those that don’t will go out of business.”(Adds comment from activist in third-to-last paragraph)\--With assistance from Kristie Pladson, Andrew Blackman and William Wilkes.To contact the reporters on this story: Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at email@example.com;Carolynn Look in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.org;Elisabeth Behrmann in Munich at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org, Christoph Rauwald, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Ionity, the European electric vehicle charging joint venture of Volkswagen, BMW , Daimler and Ford, said on Monday that South Korea's Hyundai Motor had joined as a shareholder. Ionity aims to install 400 high-speed charging stations across Europe by the end of next year in a bid to combat concerns about the range of electric vehicles, which is still considered a key factor limiting demand.
German startup Volocopter said it plans to form a partnership with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group that will bring its air taxis to China and that it has raised 50 million euros ($55.13 million) in fresh funding from the Chinese company and others. Volocopter, which says it is building the world's first manned, electric and vertical takeoff air taxis, said in a statement on Monday that the other investors in the new funding round include German luxury car maker Daimler , which it had previously raised money from. Geely's chairman Li Shufu said in the statement that the investment reflected how the Chinese company is transitioning to become a mobility technology group, investing in and developing a wide range of next-generation technologies.
Geely will take a minority stake in German flying taxi start-up Volocopter, the latest investment from the Chinese carmaker in Europe’s largest economy after it controversially bought into Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler last year. In addition to the funding, Geely aims to work with Volocopter to launch air taxis in Chinese cities, adding to the company’s growing transportation arsenal. As well as owning a host of carmakers including Volvo Cars, sports car brand Lotus and black-taxi maker LEVC, Geely is developing supersonic trains alongside the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Industry.
More than 1m electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles are expected to be sold across Europe next year as carmakers ramp up output to avoid crippling fines under new emissions rules. The figure, predicted by environmental campaign group Transport & Environment, is four times higher than sales last year, and comes on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show, the last major industry gathering before the new rules come into force in January. Under the rules, carmakers must lower the average CO2 output of their fleet to 95g of CO2 per km, or risk fines.
For the 2019 model year, the BMW X5 is all new, and that is a very good thing. '2 Dudes in a Car' takes the new X5 for a spin.
(Bloomberg) -- At the Frankfurt Auto Show this month, Lamborghini will unveil a V12 hybrid supercar called the Siån.The Bologna, Italy-based brand will make 63 of them, all already spoken for.Lamborghini had hinted at its importance publicly in recent months and described in past detail how such special projects form an integral part of the business. Though unconfirmed, early reports set the price of the car around $3 million—an astronomical though increasingly common amount. “The Reventon prompted the big discussion about the dimensions of this segment,” Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborgini’s chief engineer, told Bloomberg Pursuits during an interview in his office at company headquarters, noting that Lamborghini “started” the segment with its Lamborghini Reventon in 2007. “We were the first to do it like this. As we scouted more and more during that time, we started to see how, in this market, you can stretch in terms of price and in terms of demand. The Reventon coupe was $3 million; the [Reventon] roadster was $3.2 million; the Centenario was $2 million. So in this segment, we know there is a marvelous market.”The mid-engine V12, all-wheel-drive Reventon famously hit 220mph on a test in Dubai, an astounding figure for a production car at that time. Only 20 were made, plus one marked for the Lamborghini museum. Should it happen, the new hybrid will join a burgeoning field of extremely limited-edition hybrid and electric supercars from such luxury powerhouses as Aston Martin, Ferrari, Koenigsegg, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz, and Pininfarina. They have been flaunted recently in dazzling hues on golf courses and during private parties at seaside villas, heralded on Instagram fanboy accounts and Rodeo Drive parades orchestrated for YouTube.Where it used to be that a company would have only one ever, or at most, one per year, now it seems they’re whipping them up as fast as possible. In the past year, Aston Martin alone has debuted and promised supercars in spades: the super-lightweight 1,160-horsepower Valkyrie and the 986 hp Valhalla hybrids, plus a Vanquish Vision concept and Valkyrie AMR Pro concept, not to mention the electric offerings from its Lagonda department. They follow the precedent from the One-77 and Vulcan supercars that came in the years before. It’s quite a different mood for what used to be a staid, small automaker tucked into the verdant hills of England’s Cotswolds region.Many supercars, such as the $2.72 million Mercedes-AMG Project One limited-to-275 hybrid supercar based on Mercedes’s Formula 1 car, are sold as concepts, or very rough prototypes, and require six- or seven-figure deposits years in advance to ensure delivery. Others are sold with even less—a few sketches, a rendering, a foam-filled shell at an auto show. That’s if you can even get on the list to buy one. The official party line for most, like the Lambo, is that they have sold out before they’re even seen.Some collectors are starting to find the rigmarole rather tedious.“We need an awakening and cleansing soon to get everyone back into reality,” says Dan Kang, the well-known car collector based in Southern California, who owns a McLaren Senna, a Guntherwerks Porsche 911, and Lamborghini Centenario in similar carbon fiber livery, among other supercars. “It’s not even the new companies, but the current heritage brands as well, who feel they can demand the new price points without much substance. They need to support what they have already sold—not what [car] they can shovel up next.”When manufacturers are unveiling cars that can’t be driven for years to come, and the very people able to afford them are over the hype anyway, it raises the question: Have we reached peak supercar?Supermodels in Car World Modern supercars, and their higher-end cousins, hypercars—both relative terms defined largely by whom you ask—are latecomers to the thread of automotive history. First, there were the rockets of their time, such as the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows of the 1930s and 300SL Gullwings of the 1950s. In the 1960s, the Ferrari 250 GTOs dominated countless races and reached automotive immortality as the ultimate auction house blue-chip buys. But the supercar as we know it really came into its own in the late 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, when hedonism reigned supreme. Such early examples as the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari F40 set major precedents for design and performance. They were like space ships, compared the mundane and affordable metal boxes of the day. Everyone has a favorite; just ask the guys down at the weekend coffee klatch about the Vector, the Ferrari Enzo, or the Porsche Carrera GT. You’ll get a reaction.They were duly expensive. A Countach sold for $72,000 at the time, or the equivalent of $375,000 today; the F40 cost $400,000, or the equivalent of $884,000 today.Supercars tend to age well if you have the patience, luck, and financing to get your hands on one: On Aug. 16 in Monterey, Calif., a 1994 McLaren F1 sold for $19.8 million, obliterating the previous high-price paid for a McLaren: $13.75 million in 2015. (Its original MSRP was around $1 million.) You won’t be surprised to learn that the man who designed that car, Gordon Murray, is now designing a round of 100 new supercars tentatively called the T50 and priced near $3 million.The role of the supercar used to be to act as the halo for the brand, to attract media attention and consumer hype to a marque. Even if only a few people could afford to actually buy the exciting, sexy car, they’d know about the brand because of it and then buy something more affordable. Automakers figured that if you loved, or at least knew about, the Acura NSX that Formula 1 champion Aryton Senna helped develop, you’d be more likely to buy an Accord. It seems a stretch—but the basic awareness of a brand is half the battle, marketers say. And an NSX is a lot more likely to grab headlines than an Accord is.Supercars also carried the advanced driving technologies consumers could expect to see seep into the rest of the product lineup in succeeding years. The SF90 Stradale that Ferrari debuted in May is the first plug-in hybrid in Ferrari’s history, with a 679-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 paired to the brand’s first-ever hybrid motor. Its gasoline engine and trio of electric motors combined make it the most powerful Ferrari ever, totaling 968 horsepower.In fact, the SF90 is the latest in an onslaught of supercars that has taken a slightly different tone.Supercars are increasingly electric, rather than powered by the galloping V12 and W16 engines of old. The Aston Martin Valkyrie, Koenigsegg Jesko, Lotus Evija, Mercedes-Benz Project One, and Pininfarina Battista, among others, all use electric motors to help boost them to ever-higher (at least in theory) feats of speed and strength. They all have yet to hit the market in production form.They’re coming from all sides of the market, too: such big, old heritage brands as Lamborghini and Ferrari, of course, but also from namesake novelty brands such as Gordon Murray Automotive and just-minted startups dotting the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, Korea, Japan and China. These boutiques tend to have obscure names and opaque origins, blending the lines among automotive companies, tech companies, and software startups. Witness the British Dendrobium D1 and Ariel P40, the Chinese XING Mobility Miss E, the Croatian Rimac Concept_One, and the Japanese Aspark Owl. They come and go in the automotive consciousness, many making a splash at a car show with a foam mold or rendering, trotting that same car around for a year or two, then quietly merging with a larger auto or tech company, or shutting down altogether.Rather than loss-leaders for the brand, they’re now a big part of the business model—or the business model.“Basically, [the deposits to the supercar startups are] seed money to get operations up and running—applied to the cost of the car,” says Kevin Tynan, senior automotive analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “Think of it as venture capital, with the return being a supercar instead of a percentage.”In November, Lamborghini announced the one-off Lamborghini SC18 Alston, created for a single customer at a multimillion-dollar cost. It was a strategy that took cues from the Lamborghini Reventon: When it debuted, its almost immediate sell-out success of all 20 models to Middle Eastern sheiks and Russian billionaires proved to Lamborghini brass that the market could handle the extravagant price and exclusivity of vehicles heretofore considered too wild for it to bear. This paved the way for the $4.5 million Veneno and the aforementioned, 759-horsepower Centenario, rare-as-plutonium supercars that came several years later.Reggiani characterized the one-offs as a not-insignificant part of Lamborghini’s bottom line, though he declined to give a percentage.Elsewhere, Ferrari, which announced a Special Projects Division 10 years ago, has built one-off cars such as the Superamerica 45 and the P540 Superfast Aperta. Aston Martin has quietly made such one-offs as the CC100 and Valkyrie hybrid; McLaren made the 1,035-hp hybrid Speedtail.“The sky is the limit,” Bugatti chief Stephan Winkelmann said this summer at the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance. The company had just unveiled the La Voiture Noir car purchased by Ferdinand Piëch, the notorious Volksagen boss who died Aug 25. The car cost nearly $19 million, after taxes and fees.Fantasy WorldProponents, and corporate press materials, rave about the shocking designs and extensive technologies of these extreme supercars, but their proliferation has simultaneously spurred the customary cadre of critics. Those skeptics—or, maybe, prophets—point to a whole lot of empty promises from the automakers and question their connection to reality, whether now or later.There’s no question that in the future the world is going to have to change. Consumers will have to find sustainable transportation, says Jim Glickenhaus, who makes road-legal hypercars and supercars of his own. But he notes that his wife’s Tesla S is already much faster than she could ever drive it on public roads, both legally and logistically.“Where are you going to drive a 2,000-horsepower electric supercar? You’ll run out of road,” he says. “I already get a headache in the Tesla! And now we’re getting 2,000-horsepower hyper-electric cars? Seriously. Why you would ever need a 2000-horsepower electric hypercar? I just don’t understand. You’re never going to drive a hypercar to pick up groceries.”Not that any of the people who currently own the few electric hypercars that have actually come to market ever go grocery shopping; the idea is that there is a finite and very small market for that type of car at all, and we are near reaching the saturation point. Call it hypercar fatigue, contagious only among those who have been buying the hypercars in the first place.Many of the new supercars are not legal to bring into the United States under normal permitting, anyway. They’re legal only to “show and display,” not to drive on public roads, because they don’t meet federal safety and emissions regulations. The Ferrari Icona Series Monza SP1 and SP2 cars, for instance, are legal for track use only.Not that it matters. Follow Kang on Instagram or Mattress King collector Michael Fux for any length of time, and you’ll see they drive their more-practical Porsches and Rolls-Royces more than the hypercars they hoard. (Fux recently pulled up to Manhattan's Cipriani restaurant in his white Rolls, for instance, rather than his green Senna.) Peruse the auction catalogues of any major sale, browse through the feed of wealthy Youtube go-getters, or ask the young scions of Saudi families: They’re all bragging about how few miles their supercar has on the odometer, not about the great drive they took up the coast, say. The popular thing for younger, newer collectors seems to be not driving your car, instead of driving it—a drastic change from the longstanding tradition of the best, most hallowed cars earning their stripes by taking epic drives, winning adventure races, and parading through Paris.“This whole modern supercar-hypercar market is destined to collapse under its own weight and implode on itself,” says Winston Goodfellow, an automotive author and analyst who judged the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last month. “After all, if the things aren’t being utilized for their original purpose, there are only so many suckers and cult members out there who will agree that this weird Kool Aid actually tastes good and makes sense to drink.”There are other cracks in the proverbial armor. Mercedes-AMG has yet to deliver any of the Project One cars it promised nearly three years ago. (Deliveries are set for 2021, according to a Mercedes spokesman.) So does Ariel, with the P40 it announced in 2017; Aspark, with the undelivered Owls it announced in 2018; and XING, with the Miss R it announced in 2017. Dendrobium, which announced the D1 last year and has said it would be ready by 2022, is already pointing to Brexit as a reason why it may not be able to deliver on its promises.“So many investors have said to us that they’re keen but need some resolution one way or another,” Dendrobium boss Nigel Gordon-Stewart told Top Gear. Indeed. Read through the fine lines of press releases about the new supercars and you’ll see phrases like “working toward being fully funded” and “working to develop a technology partner,” verbal cues that the company is far from anywhere near being able to make production cars. Faraday Future unveiled an electric hypercar concept called the FFZERO1 in 2016 without even having a factory—or the money to build one. It has yet to produce any cars.Then there’s the fact that the values of the first supercars are slumping. The McLaren F1 that sold in Monterey set a record—but failed to match even the low end of its estimated value before the sale. At the Gooding & Co. auctions in Arizona earlier this year, a 1990 Countach failed to reach even its low value estimate of $275,000; so did a Ferrari Testarossa listed for $250,000-$300,000 that sold for (just) $221,200. The automakers themselves remain notoriously cagey about exactly how supercar sales have been faring. Many blast instant- or near-immediate sell-out numbers in press releases, while other—when asked privately and perhaps more transparently—say that roughly half sold very early, and the rest are expected to sell in the coming weeks. Bugatti, one of the more forthcoming of the lot, has said that this applies to its Centodieci. It famously had to sell only one of the La Voiture Noire cars, anyway the one that went to Piech. It’s telling, if anecdotal, that public sentiment may be shifting. Locals near one of the biggest annual supercar gatherings in the world—on Cannery Row in Monterey during car week—even succeeded in getting it canceled this year amid complaints of noise and general disruption. Please don’t “hoon” around in your Lamborghini, one Instagram user requested. It was a blow to the automotive “influencers” who are the prime targets for the hypercars—to their egos, at least. After all, if you can’t show off your supercar on social media, is it even really yours, bro?“The pendulum has already started to swing. It’s just that people don’t notice it because all these manufacturers are flooding the market with new product and obfuscating the view,” says Goodfellow. “When you have companies selling things that can’t even be driven on the street—and no one thinks this is weird—there is real distortion.” (Corrects history of Ferrari V8 engines in the 16th paragraph. The SF90 Stradale is not the first time Ferrari has used a V8. )To contact the author of this story: Hannah Elliott in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Rovzar at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.