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New logos and just about nothing else noteworthy. Please enjoy our auto industry and mobility briefing for 4th January to 10th January 2021. A PDF version can be found here.

Before you read the detail, what were my favourite stories of the past week…?

  • New Look — both GM and Kia announced new logos. GM’s has a weird nod to the past; where the whole GM was underlined before, only M is underlined now. Additionally, even though GM is clearly an acronym of a name, the logo is now in lower case. Kia’s is written in an edgy logo that makes it hard to read. What’s next? Ford’s blue oval becomes a rhombus?
  • Apparently Nothin’ — No, I’m serious. Practically everything written in the review this week is just about sales volumes. There is so little real news that Mercedes were able to make headlines with a massive screen that isn’t even a massive screen (although it is three screens glued into one large border so it looks as though it could be a single piece). Will next week be more interesting?

News is arranged by company and topic. Stories that apply to more than one company or topic are duplicated.

Find our archive here.


News about the major automakers

Daimler (history)

  • Announced that the EQS (A forthcoming all-electric version of the S-Class) will boast a gigantic screen that stretches from the instrument cluster to the edge of the passenger door. Except it isn’t a single screen, it is a large piece of glass which has several different screens embedded in a way that makes it look like they could be one. (Daimler)
  • Delivered 735,605 Mercedes-Benz cars and vans in Q4 2020, down (1.3)% on a year-over-year basis, all explained by lower car sales. In the full year Mercedes sold 2,528,349 vehicles, just over (10)% down on 2019. The company also confirmed that it has met its targets for European fleet CO2. (Daimler)

FCA (history)

  • Sold 1,999,388 vehicles in the US and Canada in 2020, down (18)% year-over-year. (FCA)
  • Unveiled the next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. (FCA)
  • Despite its short shelf life as a company, S&P raised its credit rating for FCA. (FCA)

Ford (history)

  • Sold 542,749 vehicles in the USA during Q4, down (10)% versus 2019. In the full year, Ford’s sales of 2.044 million fell (16)%. (Ford)

Geely (includes Volvo) (history)

  • Volvo sold 661,713 cars in full year 2020, down (6)% on prior year. (Volvo)
  • Volvo reckons that electric cars will account for over 60% of the output at its Ghent, Belgium, plant by 2022. (Volvo)
  • Geely plans to have 5,000 battery swap stations across China by 2025. (China Daily)

General Motors (history)

  • GM’s US deliveries of 771,323 units rose 4.8% on a year-over-year basis (in Q4 2019 GM was affected by the UAW strike). In the full year, GM’s sales of 2,547,339 vehicles dropped (12)%. (GM)
  • Sold 954,325 vehicles in China during Q4, a 14% increase over the prior year. In the full year, sales of 2.9 million units fell (6)% versus 2019. (GM)
  • Unveiled a new logo. It is still a box with the letter GM written inside, but now they are lower case and only the M is underlined, which GM thinks makes it look a little bit like a plug. (GM)

Hyundai / Kia (history)

  • Hyundai is targeting sales of 4.2 million in 2021. (Hyundai)
  • Hyundai sold 4.426 million vehicles in 2020, down (15)% versus prior year. (Hyundai)
  • Not to be outdone by GM, Kia unveiled a new logo. Kia says it reflects symmetry. It looks a bit like “KV”. (KV)
  • Said in a press release that it was working with Apple on an electric car, then issued a series of revisions, in the final  of which Hyundai simply acknowledged that it was working with potential partners. (BBC)

PSA (history)

  • Opel’s boss warned the German workforce that progress on job cuts had been insufficient and that he wanted to reduce the company’s pension burden. (Manager Magazin)

Renault (history)


  • Created a CTO position to help it makes sense of emerging technologies. (Subaru)

VW Group (history)

  • CEO Diess believes that traditional automotive players, including VW, have failed to convince customers that they can survive in a new “competitive environment” and cautioned that there are some people in the company who haven’t faced up to the looming threat. (Bloomberg)
  • Bentley sold 11,206 cars in 2020, slightly up on 2019. (Bentley)


  • Nio unveiled the ET7 saloon. When equipped with a 150 kWh battery, the car boasts a 1,000km range, according to the outdated NEDC standard. (Nio)
  • Rivian is reportedly looking to raise several billion dollars in an investment round that could see the firm valued at $25 billion. (Bloomberg)
  • Lucid is rumoured to be considering a factory in Saudi Arabia. (Green Car Reports)

News about other companies and trends

Economic / Political News

  • US light vehicle industry in December of 16.3 million units fell about (3)% versus prior year. In the full year, sales fell about (8)%. (Wards)
  • UK Passenger car sales in December of 132,682 units fell (11)% versus prior year. Full year sales of 1.63 million cars fell (29)% from 2019 levels. (SMMT)
  • German passenger car sales in December of 311,394 vehicles rose 10% on a year-over-year basis. In the full year, 2.92 million customers snapped up a new motor, (19)% down on 2019. (KBA)
  • Spanish sales of 105,841 passenger vehicles in December were almost identical to a year earlier. Overall 2020 sales of 851,211 units fell (32)% from 2019. (ANFAC)
  • Italian passenger car sales of 119,454 units in December fell (15)% on a year-over-year basis. Full year sales of 1.38 million cars fell (28)% from 2019. (UNRAE)
  • French passenger car sales of 186,323 units fell (12)% compared to prior year. Full year 2020 sales of 1.65 million cars fell (26)% versus 2019. (CCFA)


  • MacLean-Fogg acquired smaller concern Master Automatic. (MacLean-Fogg)
  • Michelin announced a turnaround plan for its French operations that will see 2,300 job losses (split about equally between offices and factories). (Michelin)
  • Sensor company Tactile Mobility raised $10 million from investors including Nexteer. (FINSMES)
  • Hesai Photonics is hoping to list in Shanghai. (Caixin)


Ride-Hailing, Car Sharing & Rental (history)

Driverless / Autonomy (history)

  • Nodar says it has developed a sensor with a range of 1,000m (although it prefers to talk about how accurate the measurement is when an object is 150m away). (Nodar)
  • Autonomous vehicle developer Oxbotica raised $47 million from investors including BP. (TechCrunch)
  • Infra-red sensor company FLIR is being acquired by Teledyne. (FLIR)
  • Waymo said it would only refer to self-driving cars as autonomous in future, suggesting a frustration that others (e.g. Tesla) has hijacked the term. (Waymo)

Electrification (history)


  • CNH is reportedly still trying to see truck making arm Iveco. (Deal Street Asia)


Find our archive here.