Volkswagen’s most fun car doesn’t have a very pleasing price tag, Mercedes-Benz is trying to chase profit margins to the limit, and another fatal crash in a Tesla Autopilot is under government investigation. All that and more in morning shift for Thursday, May 19, 2022.
First Speed: Gentle will cost you
The Volkswagen ID Buzz looks too charming to be expensive, but it is expensive. The automaker’s commercial vehicles division has announced pricing for its battery-powered electric van in Germany, and even the very expensive van. from Car News:
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has announced that prices for the ID Buzz electric truck will start at €54,430 ($57,220) in Germany for the Cargo version and €64,581 ($67,891) for the five-seater Pro version.
Orders will open Friday on Buzz, with a retro design that evokes the original VW Kombi (or Microbus) air-cooled rear engine, and the first vehicles will be delivered in the fall, Volkswagen said Wednesday in a press release.
Deliveries in the US are set to begin in early 2024, and the automaker says that with an environmental discount, the base price for shipping is €46,455 while the Pro is priced at €56,606 in Germany.
Other European countries, including France, offer similar incentives for electric cars.
The cargo version has panel sides, two or three front seats, and fewer standard features than the Pro model.
Among the Pro options are wheel sizes up to 21 inches, and various packages that add features for entertainment, comfort, driver assistance and entry/exit (illuminated door handles, electric tail gate and doors). Eleven colors are available.
Similar packages are available in the shipping version, but focus more on utility.
Of course, MSRP in one area doesn’t reflect MSRP in all, and Volkswagen is sure pricing the ID Buzz with government incentives for electric vehicles in mind. However, this is a huge part of the change for a small car that takes its inspiration from vehicles associated with accessible adventures.
Nor is it terribly far removed from the rumors that swirled earlier in the year about the appearance of ID Buzz Landing in the $60,000 stadium. ID Buzz won’t go on sale here until 2024. Our copy will be larger than those sold elsewhere, so it will be interesting to see if Volkswagen can bring the cost down in the country that made the Type 2 so iconic.
Second gear: Mercedes “cuts the tree from the bottom”
That’s what Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Källenius said the company should do to stimulate profit margins. These comments, along with reports from those close to the company, indicate that Class A and B days are numbered — globally. from financial times:
He added that the group would cut the number of so-called compact cars it offers from seven to four, and “redefine the entry point for the Mercedes-Benz brand”.
While Källenius refused to name the models to be phased out, people close to the company suggested that Mercedes would eventually lose its A- and B-Class ranges. The cheapest versions sell for €30,000.
Mercedes will instead focus on the performance-focused AMG brand, the off-road G-Class and the luxury Marque Maybach, all of which will offer electric models in the next few years, as well as the electric EQ range and the recently relaunched S-Class saloon.
Kallenius said more than 75 percent of the group’s investment will target the development of these models, as well as the E and C-Class ranges.
Such a move would be a reversal for Mercedes, which pioneered the smart car – one of the smallest cars on the market – before splitting the brand into a joint venture with China’s Geely in 2019.
The A-Class was already slated to leave the US after the current model year, which isn’t surprising given the American penchant for crossovers. But the bigger picture here is that Mercedes is ruling out compact sedans and hatchbacks at a time when those cars are becoming increasingly popular It is getting more and more difficult to produce At low cost and in a way that meets all of the strictest European emissions laws And Maintains profitability. The GL And GLB Crossovers are not mentioned in the Financial Times story, so it’s unclear if they will be left out in this upscale focus as well.
It must be said that Mercedes hasn’t exactly struggled to maximize profits on its products lately:
[The news] It also comes as the auto industry continues to post record profits, despite severe supply constraints, with strong consumer demand helping automakers get higher prices for the few models available.
This enabled Mercedes to post a 16.4 percent profit margin on car sales in the first quarter of the year, up from the 13 to 15 percent Kalinios targeted in the middle of the decade.
But the Mercedes chief said a margin of more than 16 per cent was not sustainable due to “higher variable costs” in the “switch” to electric. He has pledged to sell only electric cars by 2030 “where market conditions permit”.
I have vague memories of reading Automobile magazine and the like in my youth when the German luxury conglomerate started taking on cheaper and smaller cars. It seemed radical at the time. This optimism that these luxury brands are expanding to welcome younger, less affluent customers now seems very strange.
Third gear: NHTSA Probes California Tesla Crash
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated 34 accidents involving Tesla vehicles since 2016 to determine if the company’s “autopilot” driver-assistance technology played a role, and now the agency is looking into another accident — one that occurred last week in Newport Beach, which killed three . from Reuters:
The accident, which involved a 2022 Tesla Model S crashing into construction equipment in Newport Beach last week, is one of 35 accidents under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) involving Tesla vehicles where advanced driver assistance systems were in place. Like autopilot. Suspected of being used since 2016.
A total of 14 road fatalities have been reported in the Tesla investigation, including the last three.
NHTSA has confirmed the new investigation into the May 12 Tesla Model S crash that killed three in the car and injured three workers, when it crashed into construction equipment along the Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.
Newport Beach police on Wednesday declined to say whether a Tesla car was on autopilot at the time of the accident, saying it was still under investigation.
Last week, a Tesla Model 3 too Collided with the Great Columbus Convention Center in Ohio. Amazingly, no one was seriously injured. In that accident the driver was cited for lack of control; Likewise, for the recent California crash, it has not yet determined whether the Tesla vehicle in question was operating with active autopilot, or the more extensive one. FSD beta.
Fourth gear: The expedition and the navigator have been summoned
The manufacturer announced Thursday that nearly 40,000 2021 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles are under recall for an engine fire risk. This comes on the heels of reports of 16 fires, and is related to cars even when they are parked. In other words, Ford advises against parking these large SUVs in the garage or near structures for now. from Reuters:
2 US automaker said the recall, which covers about 2021 Ford Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators, has caused a fire in the engine compartment while the vehicle was parked or driven, even with the ignition turned off.
She added that there was one injury but no fire-related accidents, and that 14 out of the 16 damaged vehicles were owned by car rental companies.
A treatment was still being developed and Ford was working to establish the cause.
This year, Ford issued 30 recalls in the United States covering 3.5 million vehicles, the most of any auto manufacturer.
Since Ford hasn’t found a solution yet, the only thing owners can really do is park their Expedition or Navigator too far away from things, and keep their eyes and ears open for further guidance.
Fifth gear: The assembly wants the eyeballs
The World Rally Championship is the coolest form of motorsport that not many people know about, especially on our side of the Atlantic. After watching the stratospheric growth of Formula 1 caused by a Reinvestment in MarketingWRC wants to share his story around the world, too. not with another drive to survive Reproduction, though – thank God. Instead, one of the ways in which you will try to reach more people will include a dedicated channel, for each Motorsport.com:
Plans were announced at the 50th Anniversary Dinner for the WRC season on the eve of the Portugal Rally, where a group of champions from both past and present will gather at WRC to celebrate this important event.
WRC Promoter President Jona Seibel raised the idea while explaining the WRC’s goals for the future during the dinner.
Exact details of how the channel will operate are still unclear at this point, but more information is expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.
This latest development comes at a time when the tournament is focused on strengthening its position in new markets.
“In 2023 we will launch a 24/7 TV channel with all the championships, which is the next stage,” Siebel said.
“We want to reach new markets, we want to enter new markets and implement in new countries, so this is our plan to develop TV, so we are very confident.
“We have an ambitious agenda, so let’s do it.”
I have my doubts. launch a TV channel In the age of on-demand streaming it seems pretty strange, although the Motorsport.com article doesn’t go into detail about what platforms this initiative would take. Anyway, WRC needs to do something to expand, especially Dips his toes in new markets. In this modern age of wilderness travel romance and sheer madness, there is so much potential to take advantage of here – if the sport goes right.
Reverse: Willie T Rips
On this day 31 years ago, Willy T. Rips became the first black driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Motorsport Magazine Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Reps’ achievement by interviewing the driver last year, and the ups and downs he witnessed en route to making the grid. In his words:
“There has been media everywhere asking me these questions: Do you feel responsible for 50 million African Americans? Do you think you should succeed because 50 million African Americans are watching and praying? And if you don’t, there will probably be no American races. Another African for a hundred years? ‘All that kind of question!’
At least most of the time, Ribbs manages to stop the noise. Although he might now appreciate the meaning of what he had achieved for black people around the world, at the time he was simply focused on the playoffs.
“My number one responsibility was to myself, my team, the sponsors, and my family. Not to anyone else,” he asserts.
“At the end of the day, it’s all so focused there (in Indy) that you know, you don’t have to think about achievement, sports history, social progress.
“I was there to be in the victory circle if I could, and that’s all that matters. If it was for anything else, you’re not there for the right reason.”
Neutral: New additions to the garage
Attention: Target now carries Majorette – at least at my local store – and Majorette makes WRC diecasts. Also, Hot Wheels does the ’94 C-Class DTM with all the right sponsors. I say it every time, but these are childhood dreams come true.
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