BMW and Mercedes are battling, and so are Ram, Chevy, and Ford. VinFast, meanwhile, is in a category of its own. All that and more in The Morning Shift for January 6, 2022.
BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Acura, Lexus, Volvo, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Tesla, Cadillac, Lincoln, Genesis — who am I forgetting? Sorry, I am forgetting Chrysler, Infiniti, Jaguar, and Maserati — are eternally locked in a battle for the luxury car market, though BMW and Mercedes enjoy a special rivalry, because they are both German, and probably the most venerable, though Porsche and Cadillac would quibble with that. Porsche and Cadillac are different things though, really.
That’s because BMW and Mercedes are defining archetypes, in the same way that Chevy and Ford are. If one prefers one over the other, that says something. “Cool” people, for example, will often claim that E30s are just the bee’s knees, while other supposedly “cool” people will say that R107 Mercedes SLs can’t be improved upon. They are both right. Then there are the weirdos who say that their biggest aspiration in life is to own an Audi.
Anyway. BMW said this week that it beat Mercedes in global sales for the first time since 2015.
“Proudly claiming number one position in the global premium automotive segment for the BMW brand in 2021,” BMW’s head of sales Pieter Nota wrote in a post on LinkedIn Monday, crediting the win to the company’s product lineup and operational performance.
BMW didn’t yet detail full-year sales numbers, but deliveries have been tracking ahead of the Daimler AG brand for much of this year. The Munich-based automaker has been less affected by the global shortage of semiconductors that has snarled production lines globally.
BMW will report its full-year sales numbers on Jan. 12, according to a spokeswoman. The automaker delivered 1.7 million BMW-branded vehicles through the first nine months of the year, it said previously, exceeding Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz by more than 112,000 vehicles.
I hope some beers were had in Munich, not that they need any special reason.
In other rivalry news, Ram outsold Chevy’s Silverado both in the third quarter and for the full-year in 2021, according to Automotive News. This was down to the chip shortage, it sounds like.
Stellantis’ U.S. sales fell 18 percent in the fourth quarter as the automaker contended with the global microchip shortage and an ongoing pandemic, while 2021 deliveries dipped 2 percent.
But in the all-important and profitable U.S. pickup segment, Ram scored key wins over the rival Chevrolet Silverado. Ram delivered 134,616 pickups in the fourth quarter compared with 112,508 Silverado sales. For the year, Ram delivered 569,388 pickups compared with 519,774 Silverado deliveries. Ford’s F-Series still won the segment with 191,173 deliveries in the quarter and 726,004 for the year.
GM partisans will say that GM sold more trucks than both Ford and Ram, when you count both Silverado and GMC Sierra. This is an argument that I wish everyone would stop talking about because who cares.
The Ford F-150 Lightning is a thing and GM also announced yesterday that the Chevy Silverado EV will be a thing. Yet, it is kind of funny to have any kind of EV expectations of a Stellantis brand, at least outside of Europe. A person who buys a Ram is probably more likely to prefer rolling coal.
From the Freep:
Where is the electric Ram pickup?
With the coming arrival of electric pickups from rivals Ford and General Motors in the F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV, it’s a natural question, one that Tavares took on during a “virtual fireside chat” with Morgan Stanley analysts Wednesday.
Tavares’ message was essentially that, yes, the electric Ram pickup is coming and being a follower in this case isn’t necessarily such a bad thing.
“It’s in the making and it’s now being, I would say, adjusted every month to improve our specs and our capabilities, taking into consideration what our competitors are doing,” Tavares said, stating that 2021 was a record year for Ram and “that’s not old stuff.”
“It’s a fact that we are coming slightly after (the competition), but it’s also a fact that we have the opportunity to adjust the competitiveness and the appeal of our own trucks to what they are doing, which is a competitive game, which is a fantastic situation for the consumer because the real winner of this competition is the consumer,” Tavares said.
Tavares offered that what he’s seen of the truck so far is “extremely exciting,” but then that’s coming from a car addict, he said.
Carlos Tavares also thinks that his biggest fault is that he cares too much.
The Vietnamese automaker made the announcement at CES, an announcement that feels a little precious, because VinFast hasn’t been around very long. (Not that CES hasn’t played host to many a fast-and-loose startup car company.) Still, I like the cut of VinFast’s jib, and it claims it’s coming to America. VinFast is entirely more interesting than Tesla, for example.
From the Financial Times:
VinFast, a unit of Vingroup, announced the transition at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Le Thi Thu Thuy, VinFast’s global chief executive, said the company, which plans to begin delivering cars in the US and Europe this year, aims “to be one of the leading electric vehicle manufacturing brands in the world”.
The international push is a high-profile effort for Vingroup, which was founded by Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam’s richest man. It is also a bold bet for the country, which has built its fast-growing economy on manufacturing for foreign companies but has few internationally known branded products of its own.
“This bold move makes VinFast one of the world’s first automotive companies to completely switch to pure electric, affirming its position as a leader in the global EV revolution,” the carmaker said.
VinFast said it was planning to launch its all-electric line-up in five segments, ranging from subcompacts to sport utility vehicles. On Thursday, it announced pricing ranging between $41,000-$61,000 in the US and €36,133-€53,413 in Europe, not including taxes.
That is still too much money for a car, but I will take whatever Tesla competitors that come down the pike.
I don’t think I knew this lawsuit existed, though Reuters says it is over for now in any event. Nikola claimed that Tesla infringed on its patents related to the design of electric semi trucks.
Electric-vehicle maker Nikola Corp is dropping its patent lawsuit against Tesla Inc over the design of Tesla’s Semi trucks, according to a filing late Tuesday in San Francisco federal court.
The filing did not explain why the companies agreed to end the case. Nikola, Tesla, and their attorneys didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The complaint said Tesla’s truck infringed Nikola patents covering its truck’s wrap windshield, mid-entry door, overall design, and other features.
Tesla countered that, among other things, Nikola’s design patents were invalid because they were similar to an earlier truck design that it had “intentionally concealed” from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Tuesday’s voluntary dismissal was without prejudice, which means the claims and counterclaims could be refiled.
The vibe here is that Spider-Man meme.
I got the Fit back from the shop, which replaced the spark plugs, among many other things, and now it is peppy again. Who knew that replacing 13-year-old spark plugs would make a difference, etc.