October the 6th 2018 seems like such a long time ago, doesn’t it? On that day I posted a small item about the end of the line for ICE engines.
Today automotive News posted an item headlined “VW says next generation of cars with combustion engines will be the last”. The next sentence is “Volkswagen Group expects the era of the combustion car to fade away after it rolls out its next-generation gasoline and diesel cars beginning in 2026.” Hey sister, that’s 8 years away. Bloomberg has much the same story, by the way.
In my October 6th article I wrote “A car launched in 2018 might be replaced in 2025 leaving a short product cycle to recoup investments. That makes the period around now the last point at which it will be worth bothering to engineer for ICE engines.” I did not expect that. It means that VW will be making ICE engines for a whole model cycle, the run out cycle, from 2026 to 2031, which in my view is about seven years too long. The bans on ICE engines will be coming in the early part of VW’s last ICE model cycle.
(Sidebar: In the same issue of ANE Kenneth Crains declares we should turn off subsidies for EVs. Get back in your cistern, Mr Crains.)
Bloomberg says this: “Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren’t CO2 neutral,” Michael Jost, strategy chief for Volkswagen’s namesake brand, said Tuesday at an industry conference near the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. “We’re gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum.”
On the same day, FCA have announced plans to retool the Mirafiori plant for EVs. Even FCA sees the writing on the wall. And if we go back a few days we can recall GM’s decision to close five factories so as to make fuel-hungry trucks and SUVs. The contrast to this is stark: “The rollout across VW’s stable of 12 automotive brands is forecast to comprise about 15 million vehicles, as the company earmarks $50 billion over the next five years to spend on its transformation to self-driving, electric cars.”
Daimler has said it will spend at least $11.7 billion to introduce 10 pure electric and 40 hybrid models, and that it intends to electrify its full range of vehicles, from mini-compact commuters to heavy-duty trucks.” Toyota has been working on EVs for two decades with ten million sales of such vehicles.
Lexus is majoring on hybrids. Ford is increasing its commitment to EV’s: “boosting its investment in electric vehicles to $11bn (£8bn) in the next five years, more than doubling a previous commitment.” It’s a pity they’ll be trying to make EV trucks instead of EV saloons but still, they are trying**.
The reason for all this scattergun EV data and VW’s engine announcement is to put into perspective GM’s doubling-down on trucks and SUVs and seeming lack of interest in life after the next decade. We discussed recently which car firms we’d close if we had the power.
GM looks like pursuing a path of making a lot of money now but not being at all well-placed to survive what will be a sudden and intense pressure to cease ICE production which we’ll probably be experiencing inside the next decade. My hypothetical question was which firms we’d close so as to save the rest. It looks very much like VAG is doing all it can to ensure its future while GM is sitting on the porch sipping a rye and soda while the tsunami comes rolling in.
**If I give a beggar ten cents and then another twenty cents, I suppose I am doubling my initial donation. It sounds good, doesn’t it?