Automotive Intelligence Gathering
All the key industry news summarised and neatly organised
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Favourite stories of the past week…?
- Oranges And Lemons -- FCA has agreed to let Mahle’s diagnostic devices access vehicle computers so that third party repairers can service their cars. The reason they can’t do so already is down to FCA’s cyber security protocols that unfortunately lock out unauthorised repairers, so you need special codes and portals to prove you are a goodie and someone needs to pay for all that. BMW do something similar. Is it just a happy coincidence that third parties must buy their way in (an extra revenue stream compared with those before), or will carmakers find themselves under fire from competition regulators arguing they are making life too hard for third parties?
- If You’re Over Me -- Mazda is struggling to generate much interest in the very high tech Skyactiv-X engine. Rather than the hoped for 25% of sales, it is hovering nearer to 5%. The engine is Mazda’s bet that you can persuade customers that electric powertrain is over-hyped and on a well-to-wheel basis internal combustion is the best path. But it doesn’t seem to be working. Is this a sign for Mazda (and others) to bow to the inevitable and come up with powertrain strategies that are more clearly on a pathway to electrification?
- Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent -- JLR showed off the Project Vector concept car, saying the vehicle will be used in on-road trials during 2021. The car highlights a key problem for premium brands in an autonomous world: it may be that a bland pod is exactly what Uber et al will be calling out for; it must make sense for vehicle utilisation to be improved by using the same vehicles for local delivery. The problem is that neither of these things speak to either Jaguar or Land Rover’s brand values. If local delivery is a fantastic opportunity for JLR, why not jump in now (Mercedes manage to have the three pointed star on Sprinter and S-Class)? And if it doesn’t fit the brand image now, why will things be different in a few years’ time?
Volkswagen plan to make the MEB platform upgradeable so that used vehicle buyers can get a car with a specification and functionality that is better than when it came out of the factory gate
GM’s Corporate line seems to be growing inexorably -- how much longer investors will agree to hundreds of millions of dollars per quarter being spent without any substantive explanation?