VW Promises A $25,000 Electric Car … By 2025

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Photo: Seat

That car above is Seat’s Mii Electric, which starts at £19,300, or around $26,700 in a straight conversion. Expect something cheaper than that. All that and more in The Morning Shift for March 22, 2021.

1st Gear: 2025 Is The Year, Says VW

We don’t know exactly when/if/how Tesla’s $25,000 model will come, but VW is saying it’ll be giving Europe something at that level come 2025, as Autocar reports:

Seat is set to lead the development and production of entry-level compact electric vehicles from Cupra, Skoda, Volkswagen and potentially Audi based on the Volkswagen Group’s new ‘MEB-Lite’ platform that’s due in 2025.

The new architecture, a modified version of the MEB platform used for models including the Cupra Born and Volkswagen ID 3, is key to the Volkswagen Group’s goal of producing affordable electric cars with a targeted starting price of €20,000 (£17,000).


Seat and CUPRA president Wayne Griffiths also gave a bit of a timeline for the rest of the VW Group’s rollout of actually-affordable EVs:

“The exact volume will depend on how many brands launch [entry-level vehicles] in the initial phase. Volkswagen, Skoda and possibly in the future Audi will be involved in the project, and there would be a second phase after that going towards 2030.”


As Renault has been demonstrating in Europe, cheap EVs are the new luxury EVs.

2nd Gear: GM Dealers Will Share Chevy Bolts

I am very charmed by this Automotive News story, which puts a lot of spin on GM trying to figure out how to deal with not giving all dealers Chevy Bolts. AN calls it Amazon-esque:

General Motors is considering a page out of Amazon’s playbook, with a plan to stock electric vehicles at regional hubs to ensure quick delivery to nearby dealerships.

Starting late this year, Chevrolet could test centralized inventory lots for some 2022 Bolts, with area dealers sharing a nearby pool of Bolts to pull from as needed.

Dealers would be able to receive the Bolts in a matter of days, as opposed to weeks if they were shipped from the factory. The experiment resembles Amazon’s model of using regional warehouses to provide next-day or, in some cases, same-day delivery.


I mean, if GM really can’t get Bolts out to as many dealers as it needs to, I guess this sounds like a fine plan. But why the scarcity?

3rd Gear: Another Thing To Obsess Over With Electric Cars: Profit Margins

Yes, the automotive industry can produce desirable, modern electric cars. but can it make money off of them? Certainly, they help stock price, but some companies seem to be having a hard time getting these cars in and of themselves turning a profit for the company.


The Financial Times lays out how Renault has been ahead of Audi in this regard:

The premium brand’s newest electric car, the Q4 E-tron, will have the same margins by 2023 or 2024 enjoyed by its combustion engine equivalent, the brand’s chief financial officer Arno Antlitz told the Financial Times.

“Scale is really important, and so we expect to see margin convergence in two to three years,” he said. “The price reflects the cost, and battery electric vehicles are just at the beginning.”

The premium carmaker is one of the few leading groups to make such a bold forecast on electric profits as most industry players warn of depressed margins from battery cars for several years.

However, some models are at parity. Renault chief executive Luca de Meo told the FT in January that the brand’s electric models such as the Zoe already make as much profits as their gasoline equivalents. 


Audi chased the Tesla model with premium, luxury models. Renault went base-market. Was Audi shooting too high?

4th Gear: Texas Freeze Nearly Shut Down Toyota’s UK Auto Plants Last Week

The freeze in Texas in early February is still hitting the automotive industry hard. Toyota nearly had to shut down its UK factories just this past week, and blames the freeze for it, as the Financial Times explains:

Toyota came within hours of shutting down its UK plants this week because of supply shortages as the US cold snap threatened global car production, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

The Japanese carmaker was in a “daily battle to avoid a shutdown” across its European network as contagion from its North American supply chain spread, one person said.


The latest disruption means carmakers are facing shortages of key parts such as seats, airbags and dashboards because of bottlenecks further down their supply chains.

The impact is likely to be felt for months, with many chemical facilities in Texas still offline.


5th Gear: Aston SUV Selling As Well As You’d Think

Aston Martin started deliveries on the DBX in November, the company tells Automotive News that it makes up about half of its sales at the moment:

Ed Moran, interim president of Aston Martin the Americas, the marque’s largest region by sales volume, said the automaker’s goal for 2021 is for the DBX to make up about half of its new sales.

“We’re averaging about 90 sales per month,” Moran told Automotive News. “We’re right on target from what our aspirations were within the region.”


I sort of wish we Americans weren’t this predictable, but show us a luxury SUV and we’ll buy it.

Reverse: Life Story Of My Middle School CD/Radio Alarm Clock Begins


Neutral: How Is Your Car?

I was seeing some oil leaking around my passenger side valve cover gasket, so I replaced it and now the leak is worse. Such is life.