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Honda walks away from ICE; Renault takes it slow; and EV start-ups shredding management. Please enjoy our auto industry and mobility briefing for 19th April to 25th April 2021. A PDF version can be found here.

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

BMW (history)

  • Released initial Q1 2021 financial results because they are better than expected, Group EBIT is €3.8 billion, of which automotive EBIT is €2.2 billion. (BMW)
  • Says it is on track to meet EU CO2 targets for 2025 and 2030 because more than 50% of sales will be all-electric by 2030 (previously the commitment was for more than 50% to be BEV and PHEV combined). BMW appears more bullish on the prospects for solid state batteries than VW. Whereas VW intends to use them in niche applications and believes that they will be too expensive for the mainstream (for at least a generation or two), BMW thinks that the technology will be a “game changer”. (BMW)
  • Claimed the world premiere of the BMW iX in Shanghai, despite having revealed the model in November 2020. It turned out that BMW meant this was the first time people could see the vehicle in the flesh. (BMW)

Daimler (history)

  • Released full financial results for Q1 2021. Revenue of €41 billion rose 10% on a year-over-year basis whilst adjusted EBIT of €4.97 billion was almost seven times higher than prior year. Daimler upped its full year guidance and now expects the vans and cars division to have an adjusted return on sales of 10% – 12%. (Daimler)
  • Extended the contract of the CEO of the truck division to 2025. The CFO’s new deal runs to 2027. (Daimler)
  • Says there are more than 20,000 orders for the EQA. (Daimler)
  • Credit losses at Daimler’s captive finance arm are falling, after rises in the last couple of years, and now sit at around 2018 levels. (Daimler)
  • When asked about margin parity between ICE and BEV, Daimler’s CFO said that parity had not yet been reached but since the firm had achieved a 14% margin in Q1 2021 with a 10% electric vehicle mix, he was comfortable that electric vehicle sales could grow without “too strong margin dilution” and that margin parity would be before the end of the decade. (Seeking Alpha)


  • Ferrari have recruited an editor from BBC’s TopGear to produce in-house content. (Ferrari)
  • Released photographs of an unnamed variant of the 812 SuperFast (long rumoured to be the GTO). Ferrari (hyperbolically) suggests the car’s performance is so extreme that it can’t have a conventional rear windscreen and the company has fitted an aluminium panel instead. (Ferrari)

Ford (history)

  • Using 3D printing to create a keepsake for launch customers of the Mustang Mach E. They will each get a wireframe sculpture of the car’s emblem, dyed to match the colour of their car. (Ford)
  • Unveiled the Lincoln Zephyr Reflection, previewing a China-only large car. (Ford)

Geely (includes Volvo) (history)

  • Volvo reckons it can save 1 billion SEK per year (about $120 million) by recycling more and saving energy. (Volvo)
  • Geely unveiled the Xingyue L SUV at Shanghai. (Geely)
  • Geely and Baidu’s electric car joint venture will reportedly invest almost $8 billion in new products over the next five years. (Reuters)

General Motors (history)

  • The Cadillac brand will only launch all-electric products from now on. (Electrek)
  • GM’s Cruise self-driving unit says that 1% of the fleet will be dedicated to social causes. (GM)

Honda (history)

  • Says that by 2040, the company will sell only all-electric or fuel cell vehicles, with a target of 80% of global sales being from these vehicle types by 2035. (Honda)

Hyundai / Kia (history)

  • Hyundai reported Q1 2021 revenue of 27.4 trillion KRW (about $24.7 billion), up 8.2% on a year-over-year basis. Operating profit was 1.66 trillion KRW (about $1.4 billion), up 92% year-over-year. (Hyundai)
  • Kia reported Q1 2021 revenue of 16.6 trillion KRW (about $14.9 billion), up 14% versus prior year. Operating profit of 1.1 trillion KRW (about $1 billion) rose 142% year-over-year. (Kia)
  • Says that solid state batteries will be production ready in 2027. The company recognises that it has more to do to stimulate demand in emerging markets. (Hyundai)
  • Invested in Ottopia, a company that can drive vehicles through remote control. (TechCrunch)

Renault (history)

  • Reported Q1 2021 revenue of €10 billion, down (1)% versus prior year. Group sales of 665,038 vehicles rose 1%. In Europe, 23% of Renault’s mix was electric (including PHEV and HEV), although at a group level, including Lada and Dacia, there was a quarter over quarter drop. (Renault)
  • Has a new mission statement “our spirit of innovation takes mobility further to bring people closer”. (Renault)
  • Renault and Dacia cars will have their top speed restricted to 180 kmh (112 mph) from 2022 onwards. (Les Echos)

Stellantis (formed via the merger of PSA and FCA)

  • Fitting Peugeot 308 cars with analogue dials, rather than digital displays, to reduce the impact of semiconductor shortages. (Reuters)

Tesla (history)

  • Chinese regulators called on Tesla (again) to improve quality after a public complaint at the Shanghai show. (Reuters)

Toyota (history)

  • Wants to be carbon neutral by 2050. (Toyota)
  • Toyota will launch a series of all-electric vehicles branded “Beyond Zero”, with seven on sale by 2025. (Toyota)
  • Invested in hydrogen transport company Universal Hydrogen. (Toyota)
  • Revealed a minor refresh to the Lexus ES. (Lexus)

VW Group (history)

  • Unveiled the Audi A6 e-tron concept, an all-electric saloon. (Audi)
  • VW’s research says that North American customers are more open to electric vehicles with 60% ready to consider the technology and 80% believing that there are environmental benefits. Oddly, despite long-standing concerns over range anxiety, VW finds that customer driving 100 miles or less per week are less interesting in all-electric cars than those driving more than 200 miles per week. (VW)
  • Appointed the head of the VW workers council to head of HR for the Traton truck division. (VW) His replacement will be his deputy. (Manager Magazin)
  • Porsche’s CEO wants the brand to have its own battery cell factory, arguing that his cars will need a different type of cell to the majority of the group’s vehicles. (Handelsblatt)


  • The marketing team at Great Wall might want to brush up on industry slang. Their new vehicles are based on a technology named “L.E.M.O.N.”. (Great Wall)
  • Rimac is investing €200 million in a new headquarters. (Rimac)
  • Canoo announced that its executive chairman would assume the responsibilities of CEO. (Canoo)
    • Significance: Alongside Nikola, Canoo now becomes the second SPAC-funded EV company to boot out its incumbent management.

News about other companies and trends

Economic / Political News

  • The UK department of transport has decided that “myth-busting” is needed to convince customers that they should switch to electric cars ahead of a planned 2030 ban on new sales. Reflecting the improved confidence in electric vehicles, although over 80% of consumers worry they are too expensive, under 60% have reliability concerns. (AA)


  • Veoneer is developing a passive safety (airbag) adjustment system based on camera monitoring of occupants using equipment from emotion3D so that the system can take more parameters than weight into account. (Veoneer)
  • Michelin says that it is working with Carbios, a company that creates specialist enzymes which can break down unwanted plastics, and that together they have created fibres suitable for tyres. (Michelin)
  • Autoliv reported Q1 2021 revenue of $2.2 billion and operating income of $237 million. (Autoliv)
  • Continental reported Q1 2021 revenue of €10.3 billion and an adjusted EBIT margin of 8.1%. (Continental)
  • Schaeffler reported better than expected Q1 2021 revenue of €3.6 billion and EBIT margin go 11.3%. (Schaeffler)
  • Nidec announced Q1 2021 revenue of 433 billion JPY (about $4 billion) and PBT of 43.6 billion JPY (about $400 million). (Nidec)
  • Magna wants to be carbon neutral by 2030. (Magna)
  • Bosch criticised the EU’s approach to CO2 reduction, saying that it needed to do more on synthetic fuels and hydrogen to achieve carbon neutrality. (TechCrunch)


  • Dealer software companies Autofutura and GForces agreed to merge. (Autofutura)
  • German used car website Driverama says it will cost €400 million to launch its business across Europe. (Faconauto)

Driverless / Autonomy (history)

  • Autonomous software specialist Black Sesame is reportedly seeking $231 million in funding ahead of an IPO, with Xiaomi said to be interested. (Deal Street Asia)
  • GM’s Cruise self-driving unit says that 1% of the fleet will be dedicated to social causes. (GM)

Electrification (history)

  • BMW appears more bullish on the prospects for solid state batteries than VW. Whereas VW intends to use them in niche applications and believes that they will be too expensive for the mainstream (for at least a generation or two), BMW thinks that the technology will be a “game changer”. (BMW)
  • Daimler’s CFO said that ICE to BEV margin parity had not yet been reached yet, but he expects it will be before the end of the decade. (Seeking Alpha)


  • Truckmaker Volvo reported Q1 2021 sales of 94 billion SEK (about $11.2 billion) and adjusted operating income of 11.8 billion SEK (about $1.4 billion). (Volvo) Volvo is taking a majority stake in Designwerk Technologies, a company that develops batteries and electric powertrain for heavy vehicles. (Volvo)
  • Electric scooter rental firm Dott raised $85 million. (TechCrunch)
  • French driving school firm Ornikar, which helps drivers through the process of learning to drive, but also getting started on the road once they pass their test (e.g setting up insurance) raised €100 million. (TechCrunch)


Find our archive here.