General Motors said this week that it expected its global profits to take a $2 billion hit in 2021 as a result of the global semiconductor shortage that has forced carmakers all over the world to cut production as they wait for crucial parts. It didn’t have to be this way, though: Toyota says it is sitting on a four-month stockpile of the chips and will not have to immediately cut production in response to the chip shortages. Another round goes to the preppers.
This Week in Sheetmetal
Audi is expanding the e-tron lineup to include a 522-hp electric sedan, the e-tron GT. It will share a platform with Porsche’s Taycan and Audi says it’ll have 238 miles of range. Even better, there’s an RS variant with 637 horsepower and a claimed 3.1-second zero-to-60 mph time in the offing.
Mercedes-Benz gave us a look at a lightly-camouflaged prototype of the 2022 C-class and confirmed that the the V-6 and V-8 variants that have populated the top of the C-class lineup in recent years will be replaced by four-cylinder engines with varying degrees of hybrid assist. But fear not: Mercedes promises the AMG C63, the halo of the C-class brand, will still have at least 500 horsepower.
Jeep traditionally uses the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, to reveal outrageous off-road capable concepts and restomods. This year the position of honor will go to something we’re pretty sure will eventually find its way onto dealer lots: a Wrangler EV concept. Details are light so far, but we spot one electric motor and at least three battery modules in the drawings Jeep has released. Stay tuned to find out how far into the backcountry you can go before you need to start looking for a plug.
Toyota has been lagging behind its competitors in the EV game for years, a result of the company’s focus on hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles. But now that a commitment to transition to electric vehicles is de rigueur, Toyota is jumping on board with a promise to release two electric vehicles and a plug-in hybrid in 2022.
Kia is accelerating its previously-announced EV plans. The company promised this week to deliver 11 electric vehicles by 2026, roughly a month after saying it wouldn’t achieve that goal until 2027. No official word on why the goalposts moved so soon, but could it be to distract us from the fact that the Hyundai-Kia-Apple partnership that seemed so plausible last week is no more?
Tesla announced that it would soon start accepting Bitcoin as payment for its cars, and that it has bought up $1.5 billion worth of the cryptocurrency. Individual car dealerships have been accepting Bitcoin as payment for years. But the announcement that Tesla had sunk around eight percent of its cash reserves into Bitcoin caused the currency’s price to jump by 10 percent to a record high on Monday. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi dismissed this investment strategy as risky and speculative but said his company would be open to accepting Bitcoin as payment, too. Let’s just hope Elon doesn’t forget his Bitcoin password.
There’s a good chance that you watched last week’s Super Bowl, but a less good chance that you’ve seen the delightfully Scandinavian YouTube responses to GM’s EV ad. The original ad starred Will Ferrell and pitted the United States against Norway in a battle for EV supremacy. But as the Norwegians have communicated in a series of videos of their own, they’re just happy to have another ally in the fight against carbon emissions.
Speaking of the fight against carbon emissions: the New York Times reports that thefts of catalytic converters are skyrocketing around the country thanks to the tightening emissions standards that have made the metals contained in the converters more valuable.
And a white paper of the week from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The paper finds that though women are at higher risk of injury in certain types of car crashes than men are, the discrepancy is related to differences in the types of vehicles women are more likely to drive and the types of crashes they’re more likely to be involved in, and not to physiological differences that make women more prone to injury.
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