GM thinks it can save $2,000 on every car with smarter distribution

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Chevrolet Bolt sits on the grounds of the Chevrolet dealership

Photo: justin sullivan (Getty Images)

General Motors wants to eliminate inefficiencies in its distribution methods with software, Volkswagen faces a revamped strategy around its next wave of electric cars after the era of ID, and Japan is probably about to tax electric vehicles. All that and more in this Friday edition of The morning shift for november 18, 2022.

1st Gear: lighter, faster, cheaper

General Motors is rolling out new inventory management software and setting up regional electric vehicle distribution centers to get in-demand vehicles to customers faster, the company announced at its Investor Day Thursday. These initiatives should also help the automaker save about $2,000 on each car, Automotive News reported. Here’s loosely how, according to GM President Mark Reuss:

Reuss said the strategy leverages GM’s U.S. franchise dealer network for competitive advantage, including startups that sell electric vehicles directly to consumers.

Under the regional fulfillment approach, dealerships will continue to receive EVs for test drives and immediate delivery, but GM will hold additional EVs in regional hubs. GM said the approach reduces floor plan costs and the likelihood of unpopular vehicles moving into dealership lots.

“We will use cloud data and machine learning to continuously analyze the order pipeline and available dealer and factory inventory to find the best fulfillment option,” Reuss said Thursday. “We know how it works because we know what vehicles are running in certain parts of the country and at certain dealerships.”

The result for customers is, theoretically, a smoother shopping experience, with the ability to make a purchase online. The new digital sales platform is currently live for the Lockaccording to Detroit Free Pressand is expected to expand alongside the Cadillac Lyriq in 2023.

So far, GM operates three regional distribution centers specifically for electric vehicles. Two of them are located in California, and one in the sAt the South-East. Vehicle delivery times could be reduced to just four days, the company claims. GM chief financial officer Paul Jacobson also said the $2,000 distribution savings will somehow be passed on to the consumer, helping GM stay price competitive with other automakers. It’s a cool idea, but in this market, I’ll believe it when I see it.

2nd Gear: The loss of Trinity could save golf

Yesterday we learned that Volkswagen is rethinking how and when it will build a factory just for its future Trinity-based electric vehicles. That could delay the launch of the so-called Tier 4 semi-autonomous cars, but on the other hand, the company could just repurpose its Wolfsburg plant to pump out a new electric Golf or Tiguan in the meantime.

The problem is that the software behind Trinity’s entire effort might not be ready in time for these models to hit the market in 2026, as VW had planned. Courtesy Automotive Newswhich quotes a German trade publication Handelsblatt:

Volkswagen could launch a new all-electric version of its Golf compact sedan or Tiguan crossover to keep its EV offerings fresh after its flagship Trinity electric project was delayed until 2030.

The electric Golf or Tiguan would use an updated MEB electric platform and be built at the automaker’s Wolfsburg plant where combustion engine variants of the cars are built, German business daily Handelsblatt said, citing sources. of the company.

The new electric vehicle could go on sale before 2026, according to the newspaper. This would ensure that the Wolfsburg plant can continue to be used at full capacity as European customers increasingly switch to electric vehicles from petrol or diesel cars.

In this revised timeline, we may not see VW’s next-generation electric vehicles until the end of the decade. Project Trinity aims for much better range than the brand’s current stable of EVs, with two-way charging and an 800-volt architecture – both things based on Hyundai’s E-GMP ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 can already provide. If the delay prolongs the life of the Golf – which looked bleak after the current Mk 8 – I’m all for it.

3rd Gear: …the Polo, on the other hand

Euro-7 emissions rules are killing small internal combustion cars in Europe, and the Polo could be next to have the axe, Coach reports on Friday:

CEO Thomas Schäfer said the company’s engineers are currently evaluating the regulations and a decision is expected in the coming weeks on whether or not they will continue.

“We had a very good plan, where we thought EU7 was an insurmountable obstacle [and therefore would be scrapped] it will accelerate electrification,” Schäfer said at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

“We have planned small electric cars that would come in 2025 between Volkswagen, Skoda and Cupra that would be built in Spain. And that basically replaces the combustion engine in small vehicles like the Polo because the cars are getting so expensive [with EU7]there’s no point in continuing.

“Then two [or] three weeks ago, we learned that the UE7 was coming and that it would be at a reasonable level. And we thought, okay, let’s go, this might help us transition a bit [by keeping models like the Polo on sale]it doesn’t change the plans, but it helps financially because you can make the transition a little easier and reinvest everywhere at the same time.

“But last week another message came through [confirming stricter EU7 guidelines will be implemented] and we are back to square one. It’s even worse…

According to Schäfer, Euro-7 will increase the price of a car like the Polo by 3,000 to 5,000 euros. He said VW engineers needed an additional two weeks to determine if it could be a cost-effective solution for the Polo. But the Euro-7s the threat to smaller gas-powered cars is not newand so it’s likely that if Volkswagen had a way to save the Polo, we’d probably already know.

4th gear: JLR is in full recruitment period

A few days after losing its CEO, it seems for struggling to manage the shortage of semiconductorsJaguar Land Rover is looking for technology employees globally, primarily in the UK. Reuters:

The automaker, which aims to become an ‘electric-first’ company from 2025, on Friday announced a jobs portal for displaced tech workers to fill 800 positions covering self-driving, electrification, learning automation and data science.

The company said it believed workers leaving big tech groups like Amazon were the most likely to have the skills needed to take on new roles in Britain, Ireland, the United States, India, China and Hungary.

The hiring drive comes after thousands of layoffs in recent weeks at US tech companies such as Twitter, Meta and Amazon, some of which have offices in London and Dublin, Ireland.

“Our digital transformation journey is well underway, but being able to recruit highly skilled digital workers is an important next step,” Chief Information Officer Anthony Battle said in a statement.

Silicon Valley and its global counterparts are doing a remarkable job of driving out all of their most skilled employees to support directionless billionaire vanity projectsso it seems like a deft move.

5th gear: Japanese electric vehicles are ready to be taxed

Electric vehicles are not taxed as heavily as gasoline cars in Japan. As drivers switch to electric vehicles, the government thinks it is losing revenue. You can guess what will happen next. By Nikkei Asia:

Japanese policymakers will consider changing a flat local tax on electric vehicles to avoid a potential drop in revenue as drivers ditch the more heavily taxed gasoline-powered cars.

Local automobile taxes have a class component based on engine size that goes up to 110,000 yen ($789) per year, but is set at 25,000 yen for electric vehicles and battery-powered vehicles. combustible. This makes electric vehicles the lowest taxed cars except for mini cars.

The only question is How? ‘Or’ What to tax them. Power? Battery size? There are so many quantifiable!

One possible change would be to tax electric vehicles based on engine power. Some European countries are taking this approach, said officials from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which oversees local taxes.

The ministry considers that now is the time to start discussing a change, as the ownership of electric vehicles is still relatively low. Electric vehicles represent only 1% to 2% of new car sales in Japan, less than in the United States or Europe.

The ministry will ask ruling party lawmakers to consider proposals to be included in the government’s tax plan for the financial year 2023, which will be decided in December.

On the plus side for Japanese consumers, any tax changes will supposedly take years to implement, and in Japan they actually use these taxes to maintain their roads and infrastructure in good condition. What a concept.

Back: Time zones, presented by Union Pacific

Courtesy History.com:

At noon exactly that day [in 1883], US and Canadian railroads are beginning to use four continental time zones to end the confusion of dealing with thousands of local times. This bold move was emblematic of the power shared by the railway companies.

Neutral: Have you ever woken up thinking of a song?

“Hero” is many thingsbut I dare you to hit the play button and not sing along.

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