It seems like the planning of D Day in reverse, maybe industrial revenge, as two major foreign auto makers, Hyundai Motor Group and VW Group have separately and recently made moves to put themselves in positions of unleashing a furious manufacturing flurry of electric cars across North America in as little as a few weeks. VW ends merger rumors to shore up its alliance with Ford Motor Company with a firm agreement to collaborate building commercial vehicles together, and to share electrical technology. Hyundai Motors meanwhile is ramping up its popular Kona electric with a 258 mile range to whip across America via the Pacific shores. As Hyundai cars go to driveways as early this winter, VW begins its wrath early next year to have their cars in driveways as early by the end of 2019:
- Hyundai is ramping up production of the BEV Kona to export to foreign markets.
- Hyundai Kona BEV production started in May this year.
- While Hyundai was selling 5,000 gas versions per month, BEV production started with 196 units in June, and 1,775 in July.
- About 1,000 stayed in the home market, about 1,100 went to Norway.
- Deliveries start as early as winter in a few weeks.
- Hyundai significant upped its production to 4,600 units per month which would make that 55,000/year opposed to what they planned would be 30,000/year.
- MSRP Norway was about $40,000 USD.
- VW Group CEO Herbert Diess ends merger rumors by signing an agreement with Ford collaborating on autonomous, BEV, and commercial vehicles.
- Commercial Divisions may unify but that’s as close to a merger both will ever get, he says.
- With the factories in Hanover and Emden converted to electric, VW will have the largest electric vehicle manufacturing network in the world.
- Emden will start building ID BUZZ van in 2022.
- Zwickau starts production of Neo next year in 2019 for import the following year. In late 2020 Zwickau will help Audi and Seat with BEVs for each.
- Chattanooga is “first choice” for VW electric car production.
What’s Going On Here Between Hyundai and VW:
While not collaborated bi-coastal, each maker has an effort coordinated on each shore by its master planners; plans to unleash a saturation of electric cars by foreign auto makers at such a furious pace, that neither the legacy makers or Tesla has the resources, supply chains, financing, production capacity, or preparedness as these makers do, to leave their mark on the North American electric car market. By the time one maker is finished by the end of next year 2019 setting up dealers and driveways with adequate supplies of Hyundai Konas from the Pacific shores, the other will just be ready to unleash their fury to saturate the other side of the market with Volkswagens starting in 2020 onto the shores of the Atlantic. And in VW’s case a little help from their factory in Chattanooga and from their new war pact partners at Ford who’ll both add the finishing touches.
Both cars both manufacturing giants are using are undercutting into either Tesla’s price point or their market, of producing a mainstream BEV product American families can more afford. In the case of the Hyundai Kona, its MSRP for the North American market will sit around the same price point as Tesla’s economy model Tesla targets at $35,000 for a sedan. Hyundai’s is an SUV. VW is going for the throat with a subtle marketing message by revealing an industrial plan that nobody can do economy better than VW can, they’re the king of all that: an electric hatchback utility BEV starting at $21,000 USD before incentives.
In their press conference last week after a board meeting, CEO Herbert Diess laid an BEV landscape in which he saw the economics of consumers having compelling reasons to go electric by 2020, and few reasons not to: “For those who drive less than 30,000 kilometers a year, electric will be their first choice,” he said. As far as using Chattanooga, Thomas Ulbrich, the VW brand's head of electric cars, told reporters in Zwickau, Germany, that talks are ongoing with a final decision expected in a few weeks.
So as Tesla ramps up to sell whatever economy version of Model 3 they can through the winter, those efforts will eventually be mitigated with what both Hyundai and most especially VW and Ford have planned for Tesla, in the coming next two years. This story is not finished. Torque News coverage of this industrial war between the auto makers at year six of the Electric Car Revolution continues.
All images taken from VW Group and Hyundai Motor Group Media or Pressroom with the exception of Hyundai Kona, by Al Castro
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