Ford and VW have decided to end their joint development of Level 4 autonomous vehicle (AV) robot axes through their joint venture, Argo.ai. This week, Pete Kelly, an analyst at LMC Automotive (a GlobalData company), shared his thoughts. The Argo.ai entity, in which each company owns just under 40%, will now be dissolved, with the two companies hiring some of the key engineers and developers to work directly for them in autonomous driving and ADAS technologies.
Hyundai recently opened the doors of the world’s first car-powered hotel, offering a glimpse into the future of sustainable vacations. Located in Essex (just east of London), the Hyundai Hotel recently released the design of its luxury cabin, restaurant and private cinema as the first guests were welcomed. The three-week pop-up was launched after the company received the results of a commissioned study showing that almost half of respondents (46%) in the UK said sustainability is more important to them now when booking vacations than five years ago. At the same time, the study also showed that an additional quarter prefer to choose holidays rather than traveling abroad to minimize their carbon footprint. It is hoped that this unique car-powered hotel experience will offer a first glimpse into the potential future of sustainable hotels. We spoke to Ashley Andrew, Managing Director of Hyundai Motor UK, to find out more about this concept.
Domestic sales of South Korea’s top five automakers combined rebounded nearly 13% to 120,026 units in October 2022 from 106,424 units a year earlier, according to preliminary wholesale data released by the companies individually. Last month, the domestic auto market was boosted by further easing of supply chain bottlenecks, as improved semiconductor sourcing allows local automakers to meet more customer backlogs. orders. Economic growth slowed in the third quarter due to weaker domestic demand and exports, as consumer confidence deteriorated further in October. The central bank has raised interest rates by 1% to 3% so far this year, with the last 50 basis point hike coming in October. Almost all domestic automakers reported stronger sales last month, with market leader Hyundai booking a 5% increase to 60,736 vehicles while sister company Kia’s sales rose 14% to 43,032 units.
Ecopro Bm Company, a major South Korean producer of materials for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, has agreed to build a plant in Canada with Ford and South Korean battery cell maker SK On, according to local reports. The three partners were expected to sign a final agreement by the end of the year for a total investment of KRW 1,000,000,000 ($700 million) in a battery cathode plant in Bécancour, Quebec province. Construction was to begin in the second half of 2023, with operations on the first of two production lines expected to begin a year later. The plant’s main customer would be BlueOval SK, the battery manufacturing joint venture between Ford and SK On that is building a number of battery plants in North America.
Nokian Tires has announced that it will build a new passenger car tire plant in Romania. The greenfield plant would be located in Oradea, in northwestern Romania, near the Hungarian border. Annual capacity would be 6 million tires with likely future expansion. The site would also house a storage and distribution warehouse. The total investment was estimated at around 650 million euros. Construction was expected to begin in early 2023 with the first tires produced in the second half of 2024. Commercial production was expected to begin in early 2025.
General Motors has named Jaclyn McQuaid president and general manager of GM Europe, where she will lead the implementation of GM’s new mobility startup business. McQuaid has extensive experience overseeing the development of GM’s vehicle programs, most recently serving as the global leadership position of Executive Chief Engineer for Full-Size Trucks where she helped the automaker achieve and maintain its leadership position. claimed in the full-size truck retail market share in the United States. She started her new role this week, based in Zurich, Switzerland.
Turkey inaugurated its first national car factory at an event attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had long dreamed of having a national car brand for the country. The event also marked the 99th anniversary of modern Turkey. The country’s first car, a battery-powered pre-production compact SUV, rolled off the production line at Turkey’s new Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG) car factory in Gemlik in the industrial city of Bursa on Saturday.
Mercedes-Benz became the latest Western company to withdraw from Russia, following the invasion of Ukraine in February. The automaker ceased manufacturing and exporting to the country in early March. The company said it would withdraw from Russia and sell the shares of its subsidiaries to a local investor. Separately, Ford confirmed earlier that it had finalized an agreement to exit its Russian joint venture with Sollers.
Have a nice week end.
Graeme Roberts, Associate Editor, Just Auto
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