Saturday, 3 December 2016

China slaps 10% tax on Ferrari, Bentley cars to curb luxury

Cars such as Ferrari GTC4Lusso will get a big price hike in China.

BEIJING — China is introducing a 10 percent tax on cars such as Ferrari GTC4Lusso, Bentley Bentayga and Aston Martin DB9 in a bid to combat conspicuous consumption and promote more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Buyers of autos costing 1.3 million yuan ($189,000) or more will be hit with the tax starting today, according to the Ministry of Finance. The levy on “super luxury” vehicles is meant to “guide reasonable consumption,” lower emissions and save energy, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The tax is China’s latest move to tone down spending by the country’s growing ranks of wealthy consumers. While the additional cost will be a limited deterrent for people willing and able to spend vast sums on a car, it’s another drag on these vehicles just as they were showing signs of recovery amid President Xi Jinping’s calls for thriftiness. It also comes as the government considers extending a tax cut on smaller cars due to expire this month.

“The tax increase is a display of the government’s attitude of advocating frugality,” said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the Passenger Car Association. “The increase in taxes on luxury cars may help make the extension of the small-car tax cut more likely given it is in line with the government policy of promoting cars with better fuel economy.”

Carmakers played down the impact, saying the tax hike would only impact a small number of models, while executives said wealthy Chinese buyers were unlikely to be put off by a relatively marginal price hike on already expensive cars.

Manufacturers of ultra-luxury vehicles have been shifting their lineups in recent years to appeal more to Chinese buyers, who generally prefer large autos over sports cars. Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin are both planning their first SUVs, following Bentley’s lead with the Bentayga, which starts at 3.98 million yuan in China.

Lamborghini, which counts China as its second-biggest market, sold more than 2,000 vehicles through June this year, a record tally for the carmaker. The Italian supercar maker also is planning to begin sales of the Urus SUV next year.

Limited impact

Analysts and carmakers said the higher tax rate would likely have only a limited impact on mainstream luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW that dominate China’s premium car market segment.

“The majority of our business will not be impacted. But because this was just announced yesterday, we are still evaluating to see what impact we might see on our business,” a Beijing-based BMW spokesman said. He added that only “a small portion” of the cars BMW sells in China were priced above 1.3 million yuan.

Audi said that cars above 1.3 million yuan made up less than one percent of its deliveries in China. “Emotion and status are significant drivers for the upper premium segment. The effect on deliveries should be limited as the new tax rate concerns all manufacturers,” the carmaker said.

Mercedes-Benz did not respond to requests for comment.

Aston Martin “constantly adjusts to specific conditions in the markets in which we do business, and will do so for this taxation change in China,” a spokesman said. A spokesman at McLaren Automotive declined to comment beyond saying the carmaker was aware the Chinese government had been considering the move.

Reuters contributed to this report

Original article: http://europe.autonews.com/article/20161201/ANE/161209998/china-slaps-10-tax-on-supercars-to-curb-luxury

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Porsche CEO expects annual sales of 20,000 for brand’s first EV

The 600-hp Mission E, shown, has faster acceleration than the 911.
FRANKFURT — Porsche expects its Mission E electric car to account for about 10 percent of its vehicle sales after the car is launched in 2019.

“We have calculated a quantity in the order of about 20,000 for the Mission E,” CEO Oliver Blume told Automobilwoche, an affiliate of Automotive News.

The number is about a quarter of the volume achieved by the Macan SUV, the brand’s top-selling model, which accounts about 40 percent of all Porsche sales. Last year Porsche’s global vehicle sales rose 19 percent to 225,121 sports cars and SUVs.

Porsche unveiled the 600-hp Mission E concept at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show. The four-door car accelerates from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in under 3.5 seconds, beating the 911’s 4.2 seconds to reach that speed. Porsche has said the Mission E will have a range of more than 500 km (310 miles).

The company is spending about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to introduce the EV, which will be built in its Zuffenhausen plant in Stuttgart, Germany. Porsche’s labor boss Uwe Huck has said that Porsche needs to sell at least 10,000 Mission Es a year to make a profit.

The Mission E is a part of parent Volkswagen Group’s plan to move beyond its emissions-cheating crisis by launching 30 pure EVs across its brands by 2025 with sales of 2 million to 3 million EVs by then, accounting for 20 percent to 25 percent of its sales.

Automobilwoche and Reuters contributed to this report

Original article: http://www.autonews.com/article/20161202/COPY01/312029952/porsche-ceo-expects-annual-sales-of-20000-for-brands-first-ev

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Autonomous Cars to Drive Chip Sector Consolidation Says NXP

FCA’s big cars extended to 2020

CEO Sergio Marchionne praised the Giorgio platform, which could be used for the Challenger, above, in 2021.
Fiat Chrysler will refresh and stick with its stable of large cars until at least 2020, two sources told Automotive News.

The Dodge Challenger coupe and Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans won’t be redesigned onto the automaker’s new Giorgio platform until the 2021 model year, when FCA is likely to discontinue production of one of the large sedans, according to one internal FCA source and one at an FCA supplier.

Information from those sources confirms vague details released in a contract highlighter sent to union members that explained the company’s new four-year labor contract with the Canadian auto workers union Unifor.

The agreement, ratified by Unifor members last month, calls for FCA to invest $325 million Canadian ($242 million U.S.) in the Brampton, Ontario, plant to rebuild its antiquated paint shop. Construction is to begin in the summer of 2017, according to the contract highlighter from union President Jerry Dias.

The Giorgio platform underpins the new Alfa Romeo Giulia, which is due to go on sale in North America by the end of the year.

On the company’s third-quarter conference call with analysts late last month, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said he was “encouraged by the versatility of the architecture that was planned at the time in which the Giulia was launched. I think it’s proved out to be all and more than we expected, and I think its utilization across a wide range of applications within the group is probably the most beneficial thing we’ve done from a technical development here in a long time.”

The Giorgio platform would be stretched and likely widened for use by Dodge in North America for a next-generation Charger and Challenger. It is also rigid enough to allow FCA to potentially return to the convertible market for the first time since it canceled the Chrysler 200 Convertible in 2014.

At the most recent FCA dealer’s show in Las Vegas in August 2015, FCA showed a potential future convertible Dodge that it called the Barracuda — a name borrowed from Plymouth’s muscle car past.

Until the switchover to the Giorgio platform, FCA plans to freshen the Charger, Challenger and 300 for the 2018 model year. The three large rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive cars were last updated for the 2015 model year, but Dodge has wrung further sales out of its two offerings with a continued emphasis on specialty trim levels.

For example, for the 2017 model year, Dodge is returning its T/A name to the Challenger for the first time in 46 years, offering three new subtrims that tack new performance parts and appearance upgrades onto the R/T trim lineup.

However, when FCA begins manufacturing the Giorgio-based Dodge cars, it could mean the end of the line for the Chrysler 300 sedan.

Since taking over Chrysler after its 2009 bankruptcy, FCA’s executive leadership has consistently eliminated the badge-engineered twinned vehicles that were so common under former owner Daimler AG. Most recently, that has played out with the Jeep Compass, which will replace both the current model Compass and Jeep Patriot when it goes on sale in North America early next year.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20161107/OEM01/311079961/fcas-big-cars-extended-to-2020

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History of Audi Motor Company

The corporation that fabricates the automobiles sold by Audi Oakland and supplementary Audi automobile dealerships perhaps can be dated to August Horch, who was the person whose corporation shaped the initial Horch automobile in 1901 in Zwickau situated in Germany. He was the person who was responsible to fabricate the company.

Horch: the pioneer of Audi motor company:

Horch was compelled to move out of the corporation in 1909 by means of his partners but he developed a fresh corporation in Zwickau and sustained to advertise automobiles with the Horch brand name. On the other hand, he was prosecuted by his previous associates for trademark violation and was compelled to cease from making use of his personal name for his fresh auto industrialized trade, which was the precursor of the Audi Corporation at the present situation that creates the automobiles sold by automobile dealerships such as Audi Oakland.

Re-establishment and growth history of Audi automobile company:

Horch along with his family decided to entitle the corporation Audi, the Latin remark for the German expression “Horch.” The corporation fused in the company of DKW, Wanderer and Horch in the year 1932 which led to the founding of the Auto Union. It was at some point in this phase that the 4 interconnected rings were initially utilized by the corporation, but barely for the Auto Union cars meant for the racing purpose. Every ring symbolizes the 4 companies which combined.

Partners and companions that established and fabricated Audi motor company:

Auto Union was completely under the authority of Daimler-Benz in the year 1959 and Volkswagen paid for the industrial unit situated in Ingolstadt, Germany and also the trade name of the Auto Union in the year 1964. Auto Union combined in the company of NSU in the year 1969 to turn out Audi NSU Auto Union AG. On the other hand, the companionship was cut down into Audi AG as soon as the NSU and Auto Union brands mislaid a little of their advertise petition in the year 1985.

Sales history of Audi:

Audi sales turn down near the beginning of the 1990s for the 80 series of Audi when little fundamental manufacturing problems were exposed. A “Sixty Minutes” statement in the U.S. exposed that the Audi auto picked up the pace even when the footbrake bar was pressed. It was afterward revealed that the accelerator and footbrake bars were positioned too narrowly which led to the driver puzzling them. Thus this drawback was identified and later removed and the present scenario is completely different.

Record sales statistics were recorded in twenty one out of the fifty foremost sales advertises in the year 2004.

Read more: https://techfeatured.com/automotive/11479/history-of-audi-motor-company

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THE AUTOMOTIVE HOLY TRINITY HAVE RETURNED IN THE GRAND TOUR

The rise of new automotive companies

The Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse, France, is an amazing place. It has the largest collection of automobiles on display, thanks to the Swiss brothers Hans and Fritz Schlumpf and their obsession with cars. The money they needed for their collecting came from their business; the brothers owned a spinning mill for woolen products. Funnily enough, the German translation of “Schlumpf” is smurf. If anyone remembers the Smurfs, they would call it smurftastic.

Because of their excessive collection — and also because of the shift in textile production toward Asia in the 1970s — the brothers’ business eventually became insolvent, so they left France and returned to Switzerland. By that time, their collection of automobiles was so valuable that the French government placed a historical protection order on the collection to save it from destruction, break-up or export, and, in 1978 it was deemed a French Historic Monument by the Council of State.

Some years ago I had the privilege of visiting this place, which is now the largest car museum in the world. Indeed, it is a time capsule for the glory days of the automobile. When you walk through the museum’s enormous halls, filled with hundreds of classic cars, you see that most of them are from a time when “startups” (yes, I think you could attribute today’s term to those past entrepreneurs) built cars from scratch, creating brands and fighting for their own piece of the new mobility market. Horses were no longer a state-of-the-art form of transportation, thus horse riding ultimately became a luxury hobby, as we now know it.

The first auto boom was fueled by the invention of new technologies and the industrial revolution, which gave startups at that time the chance to engineer and build the first automobiles with a limited amount of funding. For example, in the 1920s, the main construction method was body-on-frame, which allowed a much more modular construction and the combination of parts from different suppliers. Then the unibody designs came and introduced highly integrated cars with more expensive set-up and development costs — but with positive cost effects on a large scale. With EV we now see the return of concepts with body-on-frame, like the BMW i3 with a rigid frame housing the drivetrain and battery.

These fine startups produced motor vehicles in a time when the entry barrier was not yet defined by the combustion engine — a market that was ultimately dominated for more than 40 years by the likes of GM, Ford, Mercedes, Toyota, BMW, VW and others. This left a huge gap between the big guys and the smaller players, such as McLaren, Bugatti, Lotus and others.

Certainly there were startups like DeLorean, Fisker and Artega, but developing a combustion engine car, manufacturing, marketing and selling it, not to mention maintaining a dealer value chain, was (some say still is) a game dominated by size and pure financial power. Successfully creating a new startup in the car category was no easy task. Every venture receiving less than an estimated $100 million investment would fail, sooner or later. Especially for investors, this category was largely viewed as untouchable, due to the extensive risk involved and a low success rate.

We are seeing a large number of new startups aiming to create new cars, commercial vehicles and other methods of transportation.

That all changed with one guy and a roadshow in Taiwan in 2004. He was trying to secure funding there, and in various other places, for his first model: the Roadster. Most components of the prototype car at that time were sourced and developed on this island of 23 million people, which is famous for supplying more than 80 percent of the world’s PC and Notebook manufacturers, delivering nearly all chips for the iPhones and other consumer electronic devices, as well as being known for its own manufacturing powerhouses, including Foxconn, Pegatron and Wistron.

At the time of Tesla’s launch in 2006, the company’s engines were manufactured at the Tesla facility in Taiwan. Elon Musk understood from the very beginning that the IT and automotive worlds would intersect. He secured the initial funding and started to think big — not listening to the advice from many so-called experts. Tesla raised more than $180 million by 2009, to deliver 147 cars.

Several years, and billions in investments later, the world sees that Tesla was able to do what other companies never dared — attack the traditional heavyweight car industry. Because of computer power, a new level of momentum and the state of evolution, we are now entering another chapter in the “Innovator’s Dilemma” This theory, purported by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, describes when new technologies cause great firms to fail. And more importantly, competitive products have been created that premium companies like Audi, BMW, Toyota and Mercedes now take very seriously.

The huge financial and technology barriers have been broken down. The venture capital world is delighted by the opportunities and has begun to attack this category. Over the last five years the M&A transactions in this space have grown in excess of $220 billion.

Entry barriers based on highly sophisticated production, such as the combustion engine, will be phased out. Electric components are becoming more mainstream. For instance, e-drivetrains are outsourced nowadays to ODMs, such as Magna, and will eventually go to the Foxconns of this world.

But more importantly, Tesla’s unique advantages in machine learning, and its lack of exposure to legacy systems (internal combustion tech, unconnected cars) give it the chance to tap into larger and faster-growing markets ahead of its competitors. The move from the traditional model without connectivity and computers will change to one of owned autonomy, shared mobility and, eventually, to Autopia-on-demand autonomous mobility.

Don’t be surprised if there are Red Bull-branded cars driving around in the near future.

Even the most innovative mobility concepts eventually require a vehicle. In comparison to today’s vehicles, they might have a different form factor, or be made from different material, be powered differently and controlled in another way. But someone has to develop, manufacture, sell, maintain and guarantee the vehicle. Existing automakers still have those competencies and the ability to adapt over time, if some parameters can change, as described. They have the knowledge and the processes to turn a profit while still producing such a complex, long-lasting, safety focused product, and they know how to scale it. In addition to this, they have an existing brand, reputation and customer loyalty that will last for a certain time.

The premier brands will, for a certain period, have an advantage. And so do the fast and cash-laden newcomers. We also will most likely see brands and companies focusing on certain mobility niches. Many future developments will be based on still-open questions, such as how new vehicles will be used, how urban and rural area mobility will be separated, how fast e-vehicles and autonomous technology will take the lead and be accepted or how regulations will accelerate or slow down certain development.

Consumers still look for some branding values in the automotive environment. Companies such as Porsche, as well as other premium brands, benefit from this, and therefore won’t likely be as affected as other mass-market brands. New and existing brands will be used for cars, as in the past Fender for the VW Beetle, Paul Smith for Mini, Gucci with the Fiat 500 and numerous others. Don’t be surprised if there are Red Bull-branded cars driving around in the near future.

Also, even if automotive mobility becomes smarter and cheaper, brands will play their part. Even easyJet, Virgin and Ryanair, a few low-cost carriers in the aviation industry, are brands with positioning. In aviation, the service providers (airlines) are the popular brands chosen by travelers, not the makers of the vehicles (airplanes). This might be an imaginable parallel between the automotive and aviation industries.

Remember the list of car companies exhibited at the Cité de l’Automobile? Startups that have come and gone, leaving museum pieces as their legacy. In the same vein, clearly not all of the current automobile companies mentioned herein will still be around in the next few years — but some of them will certainly become dominant fixtures in our everyday mobility.

There are so many new brands and innovations entering today’s huge $6.4 trillion (McKinsey) market of mobility that are not only creating cars, but also developing completely new ways of approaching mobility, which will result in fewer fatalities, safer roads and many more improvements.

Some time down the road a museum like the Schlumpf brothers’ will most likely consist of brands that we all know of today. I am looking forward to seeing a collector gathering together all these new vehicles (the ultimate mobile devices) and creating this museum. It will be interesting for our kids and grandchildren — and not simply because it’s associated with Smurfs. History always repeats itself.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/30/the-rise-of-new-automotive-companies/

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