The EV Disruption: It is no longer only about climate.
Making a profit from vehicle production can be quite a challenge as EVs disrupt the market.
Car makers were expecting to be pushed to a switch to zero emission vehicles and have been studying and making plans for years. At COP26, carmakers signed a pledge:
Together, we will work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission[footnote 2] globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets.COP26 declaration on accelerating the transition to 100% zero emission cars and vans.
While not necessarily this soon, car makers had planned for an eventual forced transition to zero emission vehicles. However, the transition to EVs happing now, is not what most planned for, and most are still adapting plans “on the fly” to adjust.
The plan was for a transition forced by legislation, not by consumer choice, which means the new cars could be expensive, and lack performance or desirability. In summary, they could be hydrogen cars.
Instead, what legacy brands are now facing, is that the transition is starting already, to EVs instead of hydrogen, and the big EV bands such as Tesla and BYD have a head start, and things are not as easy for legacy brands as they hoped.
If zero emission vehicles were being forced on buyers, then legacy cars would be in ever increased demand as the migration progressed, and there would be no risk of ending up with excess stock. Legacy models would continue to sell as long as permitted, because it was assumed people prefer these legacy cars. It would even be possible that consumer backlash could see the rules get pushed back. Surely laws would not move so fast as to threaten the highly important auto industry? Even in Japan and Germany?
The problem for the established industry is, electric cars have reached a point where people want electric cars. Now the desirable cars are the electric cars. This was not the plan. This means still producing legacy cars for a long as legislation allows, is, unexpectedly, no longer the clear path to maximum profit.
That the outright world car of the year award 2022 finalists are all electric cars, demonstrates the shift. It is now and anachronism that World car of the year awards still have a special category for ‘green car of the year‘, reflecting a time when a ‘green car’ winning outright was not thought possible. Green cars needed their own category as they were handicapped by being green. Yet now, in 2022, all three finalist for outright car of the year are all electric vehicles. Two of the last three years the winner have been electric, and now even all the contenders to win are electric. There are 6 awards categories in total, and only 6 of the 18 finalists are not EVs. Expect even less next year, and probably about time to make ‘world internal combustion engine car’ a special category. Even in the USA where EVs have been slower to take hold than in Europe or China, Motor Trend’s car of the year was the Lucid Air(electric) and truck of the year the Rivian R1T(also electric). The highest selling Porsche is the Taycan(their only fully electric model).
The climate push towards electric cars is still present, but it is not just one factor making the cars even more desirable, rather than something people suffer because it is the right thing. Overall electric cars are rapidly becoming the most desirable of all cars. At the current rate, no one will want anything but an electric car well before people are required to buy electric cars.
The result is a strange mix that is only part ‘green’ driving disruption, but also part a ‘new technology disruption’, and at a pace far faster than anticipated, and faster than many legacy automakers can deal with.
The problem is not that legacy automakers can’t make EVs, it is that is difficult for them to profitably make EVs.
The reasons why it is such a challenge to profitably make EVs are explored in a separate paper, with paper focus on progress.
This page tracks all 15 of the top 15 brands at the time the tracking began in 2022.
The webpaper “who makes a profit from EVs” includes most of the background needed to understand what is required to profitably make vehicles. Value, volume and scale greatly determine profitability And Pricing.not
German Companies (#2, #11, #13)
Overview – Germany.
German auto production employs around eight hundred thousand people — with a further 1.8 million jobs indirectly linked to the industry. But even these figures don’t convey quite how important it really is. Apart from the fact that brands like Volkswagen are known the world over, the sector drives industrial knowhow upon which the German economy’s strength relies.
The German economy, very key economy for the EU and Europe overall, is highly dependent on the automobile industry. As recognised in the article quoted above, as the industry goes electric, jobs will be lost even if German carmakers retain their market and market share.
The global car market has been shrinking since 2018. This is a key economic sector for Germany whose producers belong to the Top 15 carmakers worldwide. Yet they are running the risk of being outclassed and eventually replaced, given emerging actors in the USA and China.The Automotive Industry: The Achilles’ Heel of German Economy? (EU think tank)
These new competitors benefit from the growing digitization of the mobility sector, disruptive economic models and the obsolescence of vehicles with an internal combustion engine.
The reality is for German brands who represented around 20% of new car production in 2018 to retain their market share, the losses need to contained with other 80% of the market compressing to around 30% of the market. This means Germany needs significantly outperform legacy automakers from other countries in making the transition to maintain market share, and even if German companies do maintain market share, 2/3 of all jobs in the industry could be lost, and profits still decrease.
2022 November Update.
BMW appears to be in “go for it” strategy with some vehicles and at some times, and then at others doing all it can to resist EVs. Models such as the i4 and iX are reasonably competitively priced, but models such as the iX1 are still 1st-wave priced. BMW looks like losing most of its sales in China, and for BMW, remaining above 1 million cars per year past 2028 may be a challenge.
Overall, while the final year sales figures are not in, the result seems like it will be reasonable, although BMW is on track to lose most of its sales in China, which accounted for 1/3 or sales in 2021.
The most disconcerting update from BMW is Chairman (not CEO) Oliver Zipse going one record as still believing in a Hydrogen future.
“After the electric car, which has been going on for about 10 years and scaling up rapidly, the next trend will be hydrogen. When it’s more scalable, hydrogen will be the hippest thing to drive.”BMW Chairman Says Hydrogen Cars Will Be The Hippest Thing To Drive
The entire message appears targeted at trying to delay the EU target of all zero emission vehicles by 2035. The message is that Hydrogen will not be ready, and the EU should not go zero emissions without alternatives to EVs.
He went on to say that having only one powertrain – namely battery-powered EVs – available in Europe in 2035 would be a dangerous thing: “For the customers, for the industry, for employment, for the climate, from every angle you look at, that is a dangerous path to go to.”BMW Chairman Says Hydrogen Cars Will Be The Hippest Thing To Drive
The hydrogen strategy is explained in more detail in the videos of this BMWBlog page, with Hydrogen proposed as an alternative for people unable to charge an EV at home. It is fringe argument, as it requires access hydrogen refuelling, and no access to charging speeds competitive with hydrogen refuelling.
However, it is not instead of EVs, but rather seen as a niche others may not pursue. More positive is “BMW will also electrify lower-priced models“.
Overall, while BMW is introducing electric vehicles, it is also embracing e-fuels, insisting internal combustion itself is not banned, and trying to encourage every alternative.
This suggests desperately clutching at straws in the hope of finding niches for the future, or strategies do delay that future. This is not to say BWM will fail in this future, but it will likely be far less successful than the BMW of today.
2022 March: BMW launched both the hydrogen and electric vehicles very early. While hydrogen vehicles were only trials, the battery electric i3 and i8 EVs were both vehicles, with great potential that was never fully realised. This was in part because the market was not mentally ready when the vehicles were launched, and neither vehicle evolved at the pace to keep up with the EV industry as attitudes evolved. Both vehicles were ahead of the time, but by the time the marketplace was ready for their concepts, details of their execution were clearly in need of update. A well-executed up to date new version of the i3 with good range, would probably be a great seller in the next few years, or even today, but it does not look like happening.
BMW seems to have become convinced the market is not ready for EVs as ‘real’ or mainstream cars, and in the manner of a company still hoping for hydrogen, and a company that has not yet realised that EVs now are the market. BMW executives have, in 2021, done everything from plead that EVs will be bad for the industry(possibly true), to they will be bad for the environment (not true).
Despite all this, BMW still has some competitive electric vehicles. However with iX3 basically an X3 made in by a Chinese joint venture partner, the i4 again a modified internal combustion engine, and the IX built on a space inefficient “can be used for anything”, the question for me is how much money will they make on these cars, and how easily can they ramp up production. BMW ranks surprisingly highly on global plug in vehicle sales, but a lot of that is from plugin-hybrids, which are starting to lose market share.
Further 40% of BMW sales in 2021 came from their joint ventures in China, and although under new rules they have been allowed to lift their interest in the JV with Brilliance Automotive to 75%, it is the JV with Great Wall that produces most electric cars and is the path to the future. Further, neither JVC does anything for jobs in Germany.
- My 2021 prediction is the mixed signals are not looking good for BMW. Expect sales by 2030 to be 1/4 of the current level, which means, unless they start making batteries and electric motors, revenue would be at only 1/8 the current level. If they keep making cars rated as well as the i4 and iX, they beat expectations to only halve market share so 1/4 or revenue, but Tesla, NIO, and perhaps even XPeng seem to directly compete with BMW, and are all already stealing their market in China, and in the case of Tesla, in Germany particularly after the Berlin Gigafactory opens.
- Further out, a “merger” with Mercedes, NIO or another Chinese partner, or an alliance or something with a technology/smartphone company may be necessary to continue to compete in the mainstream.
- 2023 July 20 : BMW Was Reported to the Cops for Calling Itself ‘The World’s Most Sustainable Car Producer’
- 2023 March 7 : EU’s proposed 2035 combustion engine ban hits roadblock
- 2023 March 5 : Minority German Party Tries To Block EU Rule To Go 100% BEV By 2035
- 2022 October: BMW Chairman Says Hydrogen Cars Will Be The Hippest Thing To Drive
- 2022 May: Electric 3 series using BMW Neue classe by 2025.
- 2022 January: BMW working on new combustion engines
It’s worth noting that BMW’s electric models don’t seem to be getting much traction in China, with consumers’ attention drawn to models from local car companies including NIO, XPeng Motors and Li Auto.
The last time BMW’s electric vehicles attracted widespread attention was when a BMW i3 caught fire in its chassis during normal driving.
A former BMW dealership store manager said BMW’s NEVs are difficult to sell, and the sales targets set by the automaker each month are basically difficult to meet, according to a report by local media Jiemian on July 27.CNEVPost 2022 October.
2022 November update.
Mercedes appears to have the transition to EVs mapped out, and Mercedes has now committed to a plan that enables being an all-EV band by 2030.
Since each Mercedes vehicle model life of 7 years with a mid-life refresh, eliminating any exposure to needing to sell ICE beyond 2030 means the last ICE m Mercedes will be releasee by 2023.
The 2023 E-class will be the last new product designed on a platform for ICE vehicles and 2022 sales look to be running ahead of those for BMW. Of all top 15 legacy automotive brands, I think Mercedes is looking most solid.
It’s therefore suggested all future models after the new E-Class will sit on platforms designed for electric and petrol, diesel or hybrid propulsion – before Mercedes-Benz discontinues petrol and diesel engines in certain countries from 20302023 Mercedes-Benz E-Class the last model developed for petrol and diesel engines only – report
Mercedes plans to put only battery-electric new vehicles on the road by 2030 and will introduce only new electric platforms from 2025.Mercedes — Last ICE Platform 2023, Midsize EV Sedan 2024
Mercedes can still produce ICE vehicles beyond 2030 by extending the model runs of current ICE vehicles, with the E-Class ICEV as the last released ICE vehicle being best placed to continue.
Although growth in EV sales in H1 2022 vs H1 2021 was unimpressive, new product launches are paving the way to build growth, and the EQC in particular was never well placed to be competitive, being Mercedes first generation of EV and based on an ICVE platform.
If there are any future ICE vehicles, they will have to be created on EV platforms, which is the reverse to the way EVs began, but this is very likely a ‘backup-plan’, mostly to be prepared in the event the important USA market takes a political path of slowing progress away from fossil fuels.
The first models to go electric only will be the A-Class and B-Class which will not be renewed in 2025, with only EQ-A and EQ-B models to be produced in this segment, which is in a segment where the USA is not a significant market.
The reference for Mercedes Benz for 50 years has been the S-Class. And in the eyes of most of observers, Mercedes has already created an electric car in the EQS that not only already ahead of the S-Calls if many if not the majority of categories, but at the same time is less expensive than the S-Class. Notably though, from this comparison for ‘car of the year’ for 2022, it should noted that the range EQS range of 340 miles(547km) is less than the traditional S-Class with 442 miles, and much less than the eventual winner of the car of the year, the electric Lucid Air dream edition with a range of 520 miles (837km), proving that part of the way to win it to at least match internal combustion vehicles for range.
Still, this shows Mercedes is already capable of at similar price delivering cars high end cars to match the pinnacle of its, and thus will logically soon clearly surpass what has been able to previously achieve.
However at the lower price points, where status sometimes is less important, Mercedes vehicles far less cost competitive, and critically, less efficient.
However, with a 68 billion spending budget to spend on the project, and technology in development to deliver even more efficiency, Mercedes does have a logical niche going forward, perhaps just not a path to continue to be competitive with more mass market cars such as the A and B Classes.
- 2021: Mercedes has previously moved into higher volume markets with the A and B classes and may need to retreat from them. Like BMW, by 2030, the best they can hope for is 1/4 of current revenues.
VW: The Mass Market.
As the “value” brand of the German Brands, VW faces the biggest challenge transitioning high volume products from ICE to EV. Plus, as the market leader in China for around 20 years, the loss of volume in China being faced by all brands in the transition to EV will likely hit VW hard.
2023 October Can a tie up save VW?
Xpeng CEO said he visited Volkswagen’s German headquarters at the end of September, and the teams from both companies are moving full speed ahead with the development of their collaborative models like a startup team.Xpeng CEO says joint models with VW moving at full speed
2022 November: The post ‘Diess’ Era.
VW appears to be in an “on hold” strategy, with EV sales now showing now growth for the past 18 months. Data from ‘ev-volumes’ shows VW had zero growth in EVs from H1 2021 to h1 2022, being one of only 3 brands in the top 30 to have no growth in EVs in that period.
It feels like VW is now in a state of limbo:
- Flagship VW ‘Trinity’ EV Delayed to 2028, $2B Factory Possibly Canceled: Report
- VW Could Delay Trinity EV Until 2030 And Scrap €2 Billion German Factory
VW had an aggressive plan to introduce a new, more efficient, ‘Trinity’ EV platform that could result in more cost-effective future vehicles and planned to a new streamlined process EV factory to bring labour hours per car built closer to rival Tesla. But these were plan of former CEO Herbert Diess.
Diess was the catalyst behind Volkswagen’s $52BN shift to electric cars. However, the Volkswagen Supervisory Board, which represents key stakeholders in VW, was not too happy with Diess’s apparent all-or-nothing switch to electric vehicles. Volkswagen prefers a dual strategy, one that incorporates ICE-powered cars and electric cars.Volkswagen Sack CEO Herbert Diess During His Vacation Period
Herbert Diess was ousted as CEO, officially because of failing to manage software processes in VW, but many believe reasons not stated to blame publicly to blame, such as the aggressive transition to EVs was seen by unions, who have a management role at VW, as threatening to jobs, and by investors as threatening profits.
VW has also now lost its lead in the world’s biggest car market, China, to ‘new energy’ vehicle specialist BYD.
Whether or not being ‘too strong’ on EVs was the reason, the departure has coincided with a slowing in the VW EV strategy.
2022 March: Initial View.
Herbet Diess has taken steps to have the VW group in the best position of the all the German players, but as the highest volume German car makers, he does have the most difficult task. Further, the complex oversight structure where the unions have representation on selection of executives has added to the challenges. Being open about the need to reduce hours per car has lead to calls for VW to stay with internal combustion engines in order to retain current staffing levels. However with Germany already at 35% plug in vehicles, and headed to 50% during 2022, without a ban on EVs that is unlikely, abandoning the move to electric would just ensure the failure of the company. Still Herbert Diess was moved from full CEO to partial CEO to address the concerns on electrification. How well VW survives the transition hangs on how this power struggle ends.
The right moves are still partially happening, with a new factory to replace the more traditional legacy car manufacturing and produce cars with a target of 10 hours in place of 30 being approved, although not exactly as Diess would have chosen.
- VW to perform best of all legacy car makers if Herbert Diess remains through to end 2023.
- Longer Term, VW could merge with Tesla, as the Teslas target of 20 million cars by 2030 would be far easier with VWs brands and their loyalty, and very difficult if VW can retain close to current market share.
Tracking the announcements:
- 2023 March: Volkswagen Group expects 8 in 10 passenger cars to be EVs by 2030 after boosting sales target
- 2022 August: Even with a new CEO, Volkswagen is still determined to become the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles.
- 2022 May: VW CEO Expects Tight Battle To Overtake Tesla In EV Sales By 2025(video)
- 2022 March: https://cleantechnica.com/2022/03/20/porsche-ramps-up-its-electric-car-plans/
Japan (#1, 6, 7, 10, 13).
Things look far more problematic for Japan than for Germany. Firstly the brands do not have the same cache or history, secondly Toyota, the dominant player in Japan, is in a far worse position with EVs than VW, the dominant player in German. Japan is behind because its “leader” Toyota, had a plan that it would be hybrids until at some future date hydrogen became viable, and the industry and consumers would move only when they were pushed. It was only around December 2021 when Toyota leaders seem to reveal they have had an epiphany, and now realise, EVs, are going to take over because they are now able to out compete internal combustion cars.
But this is late, leaving Japan already behind competitors, and as the Japanese economy is just as reliant on the car industry as is Germany, Japan needs to do some serious planning to limit the damage.
The content originally created for this page, has now become its own separate paper: Toyota: Failure inevitable?
The title says it all. Without some form of intervention, the loss of sales volume will likely hit Toyota even harder than VW, as volume has been key to Toyotas’ strategy.
In summary, the webpaper on Toyota concludes that Toyota management does not see a path through the transition to EVs that Toyota can live with. Something unexpected can, and probably will happen, but that it unlikely to see the Toyota of 2010-2025 survive.
I have previously labelled Toyota the “anti-ev company“, and my first impression of their hydrogen car plans were that Toyota only was funding hydrogen cars to delay the move to electric cars. Looking back at the history, it is clear there was a time when battery technology was just not up to the task of enabling electric vehicles to provide a path to zero emission vehicles. However, Toyota, or at least their president Aiko Toyoda, became a victim of sunk cost bias and adopted any opportune argument to delay the adoption of electric vehicles.
Toyota replaced the ‘anti-EV’ CEO, and although there are there are still mixed signals from Toyota, there are some extremely positive signs as well. Not only did Toyota have the humility to tear-down a new Tesla Model Y, but it is also clear they learnt from the experience.
Honda / Sony.
Number 6 on the top 15 list, Honda could be in the best position of all Japanese car makers though its partnership with Sony, but that is not a group looking healthy. Honda, the most recent Japanese entrant in the car market of the Japanese in the top 15, has risen already above all but Toyota, but this year, for the third year in a row, sales are predicted to again fall by 10%.
“I’ve been in the engine development business for more than 30 years, so personally it’s a little threatening. But I have to separate my own feelings from what is best for the business,” said Toshihiro Mibe, CEO of Honda.Inside EVs March 2023: Honda To Invest Over $40 Billion In EVs In A Bid To Catch Up To Competitors
Up until the Sony partnership, it was clear Honda suffered the “EVs are city cars” syndrome, although, with the Honda e, they have tried to make a ‘city car’ or ‘urban car’ that is desirable.
It’s the Urban EV Concept that became a legend, the legend that became a prototype and the prototype that became the dinkiest, most desirable car since the Suzuki Jimny. It’s the Honda e, Honda’s first mass-market, pure-electric car (yes, Honda dabbled with the EV Plus in 1997, but only around 350 of those were ever built), and we want one.Top Gear: Honda e review
The problem is, this is hard likely to sustain them until 2025, when the Sony partnership is scheduled to bring their first “real car” EV to market. Sales are falling, and it may get worse. Honda also has an emissions problem in Europe, where it is has needed to purchase emissions credits from Tesla to stay afloat in the EU.
Worryingly, Honda is still looking to hydrogen:
Honda didn’t reveal much about this upcoming fuel cell-powered CR-V, but there is one intriguing detail. In addition to being able to fill with hydrogen, you’ll be able to plug in (like an EV) to charge an onboard battery that Honda says will provide enough range for “driving around town.” It sounds a little like a PHEV, but instead of a gasoline engine as a supplemental power source, the CR-V continues on hydrogen power once the battery pack is depleted.
As you’d expect, this hydrogen CR-V is based on the new generation of CR-V just released this year. We all want more details, but Honda says additional information will be available closer to the vehicle’s introduction in 2024.Honda announces a hydrogen-powered CR-V is coming in 2024
By 2025, Sony could be the senior partner. Prediction: Sony to control Honda.
- 2023 Sept 22: Honda JV becomes the first foreign partnership to launch a new EV brand in China
- 2022 November 5: Honda launches new EV model in China
- 2022 june 6: Sony and Honda’s EV venture to become independent company
- 2022 April 12 Plan to launch 30 EVs by 2030 and phase out internal combustion by 2040, but perhaps not hybrids.
- “By no means is this the end of hybrids and the replacement of all hybrids with EVs,” Mibe told the presentation. “We will develop our current hybrids and use them as a weapon in our business.”
- 2022 February 6: Honda to close ‘mother factory’ as it moves to all-electric future
- 2022 January 28: Production, Sales and Export Results in December, 2021
- 2022 January 28 : China EV sales to ‘make or break’ Honda in next 5 years: executive
- 2021 Oct 14: Honda to launch new EV brand in China next year
Whilst Toyota most find it hard to believe Toyota may fail, it seems almost impossible for Nissan to survive as a standalone company. The biggest problem is that a huge percentage of Nissan sales are in China (46% in 2021), and Nissan has no credibility any longer in China for the transition to EVs. China sales will collapse as the market transitions.
One of the significant contributors to Nissan’s recent challenges has been the rise of domestically produced electric vehicle (EV) models in China. Nissan’s transition to EVs has been relatively sluggish.2020 Sept 7, CNEVPost: Affected by EVs, Nissan China’s sales in August fell by more than 30%
Despite being still at number 7 of the top 15 in the car market in 2022 when this tracking began, Nissan does not appear healthy going forward. Despite their long history with the Leaf, their second EV, the Ariya, is taking a long time to arrive. Nissan are in the Renault /Nissan / Mitsubishi Alliance, and they do share platforms, but this “alliance” does not seem to have the full benefits of a “groups” like Stellantis, and Nissan sales are falling, and all three partners seem to be struggling, despite all three having early entrants in the EV marketplace.
Nissan does nave long range plans, including solid state batteries by 2028, but seems to have too much inertia to change to EVs fast enough now they have finally arrived.
The Ariya launching in 2022 is should gain sales, but is late to have a big impact, and the Leaf, despite at one time having a market to itself is now completely outdated.
It doesn’t make any sense for Nissan to still be selling the LEAF with a CHAdeMO plug. They really should have switched to the CCS plug with the refresh so that customers would have expanding charging opportunities for the life of the car instead of being left out in the cold.
But, the continued lack of liquid cooling (a major problem I’ve had with anything but around town driving in my LEAF) shows us that Nissan really didn’t mean for the LEAF to ever go on road trips.Still no CCS in 2023, the leaf is only viable as a city car.
Following in the footsteps of other automakers, such as Volvo, Volkswagen, GM or Mercedes, Nissan is announcing a plan to cut most funding for new internal combustion engines. The company will still develop the engines it already has, especially in order to comply with the stringent Euro 7 emissions regulations coming in 2025.InsideEVs Feb 2022: Nissan To End ICE Development Except For US Pickups And SUVs
- 2023 August: Affected by EVs, Nissan China’s sales in August fell by more than 30%.
- 2023 March: S&P cuts Nissan credit rating to junk status
I think Mazda is in big trouble. The MX-30 is another “EVs are city cars” syndrome car. With the range extender rotary engine, the MX-30 could become a far better car, but hard to see it as a platform of the future and achieving a PHEV in 2023 would not work miracles.
Looking ahead, Mazda plans to launch a second scalable platform called Skyactiv Scalable EV Architecture that will underpin several products “with various vehicle sizes and body types.” It’s too early for the firm to provide additional details because the cars built on it won’t arrive until 2025 at the earliest. Some will launch as late as 2030. By that point, Mazda predicts its full product portfolio will feature some degree of electrification, and that EVs will represent about 25% of its global sales. It will be interesting to watch which side of the graph the MX-5 Miata lands on.June, 2021Mazda announces 10 hybrids and three EVs built on the same platform
- 2023-Feb 2 – Rotary not the hope.
- 2022-Oct Mazda MX-30: This Electric Car is SO BAD it should be ILLEGAL!
- 2022 June 6: Mazda vows to make factories carbon neutral by 2035 while it continues to build ICE vehicles
No longer a member of the top 15, but still a brand of interest.
The Automobile divisions of Mitsubishi seem to have has been in a mess for some years now, despite a resurgence in around 2015. Looking at reviews, it would seem with the updates, the 2022 (2023 USA) version of the PHEV Outlander is still competitive in the market, as could be the case with the Eclipse Cross, but the range of competitive vehicles is small. From what I have seen, total vehicle annual sales halved since 180,000 in the year 2000, to less than 90,000 in the year 2020 in the US, but with a rebound to 102,00 in 2021. This is a small base for launching into EVs.
Globally, Mitsubishi sold 1.8 million vehicles back in 1999 as the 11th largest brand, before falling below 1 million per annum in 2005 and dropping out of the top 15.
- 2023 September 29: Mitsubishi pulling out of China amid tough competition – report
- 2023 July 16: Mitsubishi Suspends Chinese Operations Following Sharp Fall In Sales
- 2022 Aug 8: Mitsubishi CEO says Australia isn’t ready for EVs
Subaru is not in that top 15 global brands, and sales were only 750,000 in 2021, down from 884,000 in 2020, which was reported as 10% below 2019 due to Covid-19. The trend has been negative, and the Solterra clone of the Toyota BZ4x doesn’t really provide the new hope the brand needs. However, given growth this year and a reported strong cash position, Subaru could be a good target for acquisition, or for new funding to really tackle EVs prior to the ageing product line creating problems.
- 2023 March: The new CEO wants Subaru “to survive the age of electrification.”
- 2023 March Subaru takes a page from Toyota appointing new CEO to compete in the EV era
- 2023-January Subaru ditching plug-in hybrid development to focus on electric cars – report
Suzuki has seen its position sales fall from being 9th with 2.9 million in 2009 through to 12th despite keeping sales at just over three million until 2019, and according to Sukuki reports were 2,865,652 in 2021. Most Suzuki’s are now produced in India for the Indian market by Indian operation Maruti Suzuki, with the Japanese car operation now far less significant in numbers, if not value. It is also possible that Suzuki could focus more on motorcycles in future.
USA. (#4 and #8)
The two largest automobile makers in the world in terms of volume for much of the 20th century and until as recently as 2003 were GM and Ford, but both brands have seen a decline of over 1/3rd in terms of total sales per annum since then.
The picture from the 4th quarter of 2021 sets the scene for the immediate future at time of writing in early 2022.
GM (General Motors #4)
A gallant effort in EVs has been announced, but market share outside the USA collapsing first, things will get a lot worse before any possible recovery.
Low EV sales despite an EV history.
Sales data of the EV marketplace sometimes lists GM in 4th place in EVs sales globally, as with EV Volumes data, and other times lists SAIC at 4th place, and GM nowhere to be seen. This all depends on whether that statistics count joint venture vehicles in familiar brand GM numbers, or majority owner SAIC numbers. In any event, given the big seller is the world’s lowest priced ‘EV’, or technically largest selling quadracycle with a price of only US$5,000, the profits are not a large as the numbers might suggest.
Without counting sales of the Wuling Mini EV in China, produced by the 44% GM owned (was 34%) SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture, GM has produced only a very small number of EV as of end 2022, and with half of GMs overall sales and profits coming from China, the likely collapse of ICEV sales in China with new fuels standards applying from mid 2023, GM total sales and revenue from the second half of 2023 could see significant decline.
GM in the US has had two EVs: the potentially high-volume Bolt, and the low-volume Hummer EV. GM had almost zero EV sales in 2021, mostly due to the recall and problems with the Chevrolet Bolt arising from battery fires from faulty LG Chem batteries. As of late 2022, the Bolt and its SUV version have been back on the market and are now aggressively priced despite that reports indicate that GM has lost money on the Bolt since the outset.
Clearly, GM is following the ‘go for it’ strategy, and this extends beyond the Bolt.
GM to catch Telsa?
General Motors CEO Mary Barra is sticking to the goal of overtaking Tesla in US electric vehicle sales by the middle of this decade.
In a fresh interview with The Associated Press, the executive said she’s confident GM can unseat Tesla with higher-priced specialty vehicles and long-range EVs at prices that people can afford.
GM’s goal remains very ambitious seeing as the automaker sold just 25,000 electric vehicles in the US last year, less than one-tenth of the estimated 325,000 sold by Tesla. And this year’s figures don’t look better in the wake of the Bolt EV/EUV recall, with GM selling some 7,300 EVs in the second quarter in the US, including GMC Hummer EV pickups and BrightDrop commercial vans.
To beat Tesla in as little as two and a half years, GM will have to fight not only the US EV maker but also spiking inflation, rising interest rates, soaring material costs and a global shortage of computer chips.GM CEO Sticks With Goal Of Overtaking Tesla In US EV Sales By 2025
GM returns to the global stage?
Five years after unceremoniously selling off its money-losing European operations, General Motors is looking for a way back in, the automaker’s Chairman and CEO said Monday — but this time, officials think battery-electric vehicles will make the critical difference between profit and loss.GM Eyes Return to Europe as “An All-EV Player,” Says CEO Barra
GM was never a single ‘global’ car company or global brand, despite operating on the global stage. Instead, GM had satellite operations around the world with their own brands and models.
Barra in recent years ordered GM out of a number of other troubled markets, including South Africa, Australia, India and Russia. But none come close to the scale available in Europe, the world’s third-largest region on a sales basis.GM Eyes Return to Europe as “An All-EV Player,” Says CEO Barra
The question here is whether having bailed out of all the satellite operations with their own brands, GM can now return as a global company with global products.
Aggressive EV growth plan.
In a recent press release, General Motors outlined several of its short-term goals related to electrification. Undoubtedly, the firm is dedicated to launching EVs and soon aims to have multiple electric offerings in 70% of industry segments. By 2025, GM aims to generate $50 billion a year in EV revenue. The firm’s CEO, Marry Barra, stated the following:
“GM’s ability to grow EV sales is the payoff for many years of investment in R&D, design, engineering, manufacturing, our supply chain and a new EV customer experience that is designed to be the best in the industry.”
Barra also discussed how GM‘s “multi-brand, multi-segment, multi price point EV strategy” gives it “incredible leverage” to grow revenue and market share. Furthermore, Barra mentioned the positives of GM’s Ultium Platform and how it will continuously be improving.
The press release mentioned the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Equinox EV, and Blazer EV, the Cadillac LYRIQ, and the GMC Sierra EV as key models which will seriously boost sales. Meanwhile, other vehicles like the Cadillac Celestiq will serve as flagships for the brand but clearly won’t have a major commercial impact given the limited numbers they will be sold in.GM Targeting $50 Billion In EV Revenue By 2025
There are already hiccups on the aggressive growth plan.
“All of our 2023 launches are progressing well. However, due to a slightly slower launch of cell and pack production than we expected, our plan is now to produce 400,000 EVs in North America over the course of 2022, 2023, and the first half of 2024.”GM Pushes Back North America Production Plan Of 400,000 EVs To 2024
Batteries. GM Still has a partnership on batteries with LG Chem, the maker of almost all of the worlds problem EV batteries over the past few years. This is a potetnnial weak point in the plan.
The next question for achieving the necessary volumes, would be when and how good the update to the Bolt will be. The original Bolt was released in 2016. Although the BYD Atto 3 is slightly larger, better equipped, faster charging, lower-priced vehicle with a better battery on the international stage, the Bolt comes close to BYD despite being launched 6 years earlier. If an updated Bolt could even get closer to the Atto 3, GM could have a vehicle to not only challenge Tesla for sales in the USA, but also a potential global success. As long as the battery situation can be transformed.
The word ‘car’ was for a long time the name for a vehicle for transport a person, the family and/or friends, and their belongings, and ‘truck’ was a vehicle for commercial haulage of goods not owned by the driver. However, in modern USA, it has become fashionable to own cars that have characteristics of ‘trucks’, in order to able to haul a larger payload of so many personal belongings. It is like: “I have so much stuff that I need something like a commercial haulage vehicle to transport it all!”
Ford in the US has dropped selling any cars that are not considered “truck-like”, with one exception, the ford Mustang.
Ford currently has the F150 lightning and the Mustang Mach-e as the two EV offerings.
This section to be updated in the next update.
No McLaren or Ferrari here, as they are not volume brands, and Tata is not included at this time, on the basis it is not a global brand, but there is an argument for having it a ‘Tata’ + JLR’.
Jaguar/ Land Rover (India – UK)
Not part of the top 15, but these brands are still of interest.
Jaguar broke ground with iPace which on release won car of the year and was extremely impressive. Since then all the reports are of declining sales for iPace, but in reality, an even bigger decline for the brand overall. The iPace is marred by high price, slow peak DC charge speed and being inefficient, but is still quite an impressive car. However, the iPace show that one EV cannot save a brand, at least without addressing its shortcomings.
Jaguar I-PACE Sales Continue To Decline In Q1 2022 (but i-Pace share of Jaguar sales increases)
Renault. (No date for all EVs)
Although part of an alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi, Renault is an independent company. At least, for now. Firs the current plan as laid out in 2021:
Renault has taken the wraps off ‘Renaulution‘, its plan to “restore Groupe Renault’s competitiveness”, consolidate its product portfolio and boost profit worldwide.
Whereas Renault‘s existing product roadmap saw it chase volumes and outright sales, the new plan – created under new CEO Luca de Meo, who arrived from Seat in early 2020 – will see the group streamline its model range and development processes worldwide, in an effort to increase per-vehicle profits.
The plan has been split into three stages: Resurrection (up to 2023, focusing on increasing profit margin), Renovation (up to 2025, which will “see renewed and enriched line-ups”) and Revolution (2025 onwards, pivoting the business to new technology, forms of mobility, and energy sources).Renault Group unveils future plans: 2021
As of February 2023, ‘Renaulution‘ is still the plan and in late 2022 the company stated it was ahead of schedule, despite plans the milestones discussed now are further out than they were in 2021. There is still business unit “Horse” creating ICE and hybrid powertrains into the future and working with Geely.
“Renault with be the first brand in our portfolio to become electric in Europe in 2030, but it will also be the last to remain IC and hybrid, due to its international and global presence, especially in South America, in India, in South Korea, in North Africa and other countries where the electrification trajectory will be slower.”Luca De Meo: Capital Market Day 2022
A scary revelation of the very colonial attitude that assumes parts of the world will adopt “hand me down” technology, despite the lessons from how Africa did not adopt landlines as the rest of the world went mobile. The Ampere business unit sound good but does not have sufficient volume.
Overall, Renault is the only remaining French owned manufacturer and could enjoy state support, but it is hard to see Renault surviving as anything but a fringe manufacturer alone. The new structure does position the business for an endgame where some business units close down, and others are picked up in a takeover. Renault could become yet become another brand within Geely.
The question for Stellantis, is whether it will become the graveyard for dying brands, access to shared platforms and economies of scale can bring further scale to traditional manufacturing but may not translate well to newer technologies such as giga-casting.
Stellantis plans to invest at least $35.5 billion (30 billion euros) in vehicle electrification and new software/technologies through 2025
- 2022-April Will Chrysler survive to make the airflow?
- 2022-May 30 Fiat Set To Drop All Non-Electrified Models In The UK
- 2022 Jan 28: Chrysler EV only by 2028.
Hyundai / Kia
2022 November Update.
Of all the top legacy EV brands, Hyundai Kia’s growth of 86% from H1 2021 to h1 2002 was higher than any other company not from China, including Tesla who grew a ‘mere’ 43%.
Yet the company appears to be on a dual strategy of ‘go for it’ with some models, and ‘on hold’ with others.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60 have all received rave review and won international awards. The only strange thing is the Hyundai group has not ramped up production of any of these models to meet the demand.
Instead, there were steps such as opening the window on a very limited number of orders on a specific day of the month, at a specified time, until the very limited number of vehicles available are all allocated.
Ioniq 5 allocation limited to 400 units – 240 in 2021 with the rest in early 2022First Australian allocation of Hyundai Ioniq 5 sold out in two hours
240 sold in a touch over two hours
- 2023-02 How Kia’s SUV evolution has made the once budget brand a sales hit with the Sportage, Seltos, Stonic and more
- Hyundai & Kia Plan Electric Car Ramp In Korea
- Korean carmakers close factories in China as Q1 sales plummet 40%
- *2023 Aug 8 th : Linked story on decline of Nissan in China as predicted.
- 2023 Feb 28: Renault updated.
- 2022 Dec 02 : GM, VW and Hyundai all updated.
- 2022, July 11: added overview and list of government bans.
- Minor Revisions 2022, June 6
- 3rd Edition: 2022, March 20: 2022 Started on other brands
- 2nd Edition: 2022, March 10, added Japanese story including Toyota
- 1st Edition: 2022 March 3, general story, but German brands only.
- Ford to be updated
- Update history for rise of ICE and hydrogen history to reflect ‘killing of electric car’.
- Targets/predictions table to link to manufacturer event log data below.
- Toyota history to link to Toyota enigma page.