Aptiv, the auto parts maker announced its stake reduction in the autonomous vehicle joint venture, Motional after incurring millions in losses.
The decarbonisation trend will result in strong market growth for power semiconductors, in particular those based on wide bandgap materials. As a leader in Power Systems, Infineon Technologies AG is now taking a further, decisive step to shape this market.
Ford CEO Jim Farley said that price cuts in the electric vehicle market (EV) were “a worrying trend” after the U.S. automaker dropped prices for its Mustang Mach-E in response to a series of reductions by rival Tesla.
Tesla is pursuing a battery project on its home turf that may involve China-based battery giant CATL, according to Bloomberg. The news came on the eve of the US Treasury Department announcing guidance for battery sourcing requirements and is expected to receive some political pushback.
Not all is smooth with Ford’s plan to build a battery plant that operates with technology and support CATL. China will scrutinise Ford Motor Company’s latest deal with the battery giant to ensure the CATL’s core technology is not shared with the U.S. automaker.
Ford Motor Co (F.N) on said it will import lower-cost lithium iron batteries for its North American electric pickup trucks and SUVs from Chinese battery champion CATL (300750.SZ), as it works on a broader alliance with CATL and an array of separate deals to secure battery and battery materials into the next decade.
At Ford’s Advanced Manufacturing Center, Javier is tasked with operating the 3D printers completely on his own. He is always on time, very precise in his movements, and he works most of the day – taking only a short break to charge up. This innovative robot on wheels from supplier KUKA, called Javier by Ford’s additive manufacturing operators, is integral to the company’s development of an industry-first process to operate 3D Carbon printers with an autonomous mobile robot rather than a fixed, stationary unit.
“To continue investing … we needed to show a path for a reasonable return on investment,” Ford India head Anurag Mehrotra told reporters last week. “Unfortunately, we are not able to do that,” Anurag concludes.
Ford India Private Limited announced on 9 September 2021, their intent to shut down their two manufacturing plants located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, and Sanand, Gujarat. Their decision to move out of the Indian market comes with a heavy heart. After sinking $2.5 billion in India since entry and burning another $2 billion over the past decade alone, Ford decided not to invest more.
Ford Motors’ venture into India was not easy, especially being one of the first multinational automobile companies entering into the Indian market and their journey was neither smooth with tough competition from companies such as Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. Surprisingly, they were not the only global automobile corporations that have found it difficult to sustain India’s automobile market which is the fourth largest in the world based upon production statistics of 2017. In fact, Ford’s American rival General Motors (GM) and the American motorcycle company Harley-Davidson are also on the list of global companies that have ceased manufacturing in India.
Factors Contributing To Ford India’s Closure
Some of the key factors were:
- Failure to adapt to the Indian Consumers’ Portfolio
Indian consumers prefer small, cheap, fuel-efficient cars that could bump over uneven roads without needing expensive repairs. In India, 95% of cars are priced below $20,000.”The struggle for many global brands has always been meeting India’s price point because they brought global products that were developed for mature markets at a high-cost structure,” commented analyst Ammar Master at LMC Automotive.
An automobile industry expert from India who prefers annonymity, pointed out that Ford did not fully customize its car platforms. India is a right-hand drive market whereas in the US it is left-hand drive. The expert adds, “Some of the Ford India’s car models, the owner-driver, had to get down, go around the vehicle, open the left side door to unlock the boot, certainly a tedious affair,” the expert explained.
- Difficult Market for Global Brands
Some of Ford’s missteps can be traced to when it drove into India in the mid-1990s. While Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd cashed in on launching new models at different price points, Ford and General Motors failed to do so as they didn’t have a small car in their global portfolio. Ford mentioned that it had considered bringing more models to India but determined it could not do so profitably.
In addition, an automobile industry expert from India pointed out that Ford did not fully customize its car platforms. India is a right-hand drive market whereas in the US it is a left-hand drive. As such, “Some of the Ford India’s car models, the owner-driver, had to get down, go around the vehicle, open the left side door to unlock the boot, certainly a tedious affair,” the expert explained.
Hence, as a whole, “U.S. manufacturers with large truck DNAs struggled to create a good and profitable small vehicle. Nobody got the product quite right and losses piled up,” said Ravi Bhati, President of JATO Dynamics Ltd.
While India’s auto market has been described as tough to crack, Hyundai subsidiary Kia Motors and China’s MG Motor are among the exceptions, having made significant inroads over the last couple of years.
- Demand Has Been Muted
Auto sales have registered a combined annual growth rate of just 1.5 per cent in India over the past five years, upsetting the plans of MNCs who have heavily invested in the Indian markets. In conjunction with the Indian market’s downturn, the automobile industry demand for combustion vehicles, in general, is declining due to the transition towards an all-electric future.
“The industry has been witnessing comparatively slower growth in the last 18 months… There have been a lot of statements about the importance of the automobile industry, but in terms of concrete action, which would reverse the decline, I haven’t seen any action on the ground. I don’t think the car industry would revive either with ICEs, or with the CNG, biofuels or EVs unless we address the question of affordability of cars for the consumers,” Maruti Suzuki chairman R C Bhargava had said.
Therefore, a combination of factors snowballed over 25 years with the pandemic last year, exacerbating the economic losses to a point of no return.
Ford considered several options in India, including partnerships, platform sharing and contract manufacturing with other carmakers before deciding to shut down factories in India.
What Is Next?
- For Ford India Employees
“The company has to export about 30,000 cars by the end of this year. So, the management has cajoled the workers to restart production while holding talks relating to the plant closure,” another worker told IANS preferring anonymity.
According to Ford India, about 4,000 employees are expected to be affected by its decision. The union officials are also studying the settlement packages offered by other companies and to avoid other pitfalls so that they can secure a good compensation package if they are not able to protect their jobs.
2. For India and automobile industry competitors
The retreat by Ford is a further blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make-in-India program, which encourages companies to manufacture locally. Tesla Inc. has urged Modi’s administration to allow it to import cars more cheaply before it commits to setting up a factory in the country.
According to Vahishta Unwalla, Lead Analyst-Industry Research Team, Care Ratings Ltd, companies in the utility vehicle space like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors India Pvt Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd shall benefit by the exit of Ford India. She adds that since Ford India is not a major player in any car segment, its absence will not result in any substantial windfall for other players.
More updates on Ford can be found https://corporate.ford.com/
References of Content:
 What the exit of Ford Motor Company from India tells us by MG Arun, India Today
 Ford Motor Company bails on India, will shut car factories there by Ragini Saxena and Keith Naughton (Bloomberg)
 Ford motor to cease local production in india shut down both plants report by Pranav Mukul
 What went wrong with Ford in India and who will benefit from its exit? by IANS, Chennai
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With 2021 coming to a close and some countries slowly easing restrictions within their country, the post-pandemic world has certainly been enlightened to how mobility affects us significantly.
By Ashwini Balan, Eastern Trade Media
Mobility can be labelled as an umbrella term that encapsulates a wide range of functions either as enabling mobility or in itself mobility. Especially in our digital world, the possibility is simply limitless from our standard automobiles to digital solutions and urban air mobility. With the global vision of an all-electric future, the organisers of IAA Mobility 2021, have brought together a phenomenal trade show that has been a trending topic among trade leaders, international corporations and fans of the latest automotive innovations.
400,000 participants from 95 countries – 744 exhibitors and 936 speakers from 32 countries – 67 percent of visitors under the age of 40 – international media reach of 137 billion – survey shows very positive exhibitor and visitor response. All these statistics makes it further evident that the premiere of IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich, from the 7th to 12th September, was a roaring success and is now the largest mobility event in the world.
“We took a courageous step and were rewarded by the visitors,” said Hildegard Müller, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), which organized the first IAA Mobility this year jointly with Messe München.
“What will move us next?” is the motto of this year’s show with three key pillars being mobility of the future, commitment to constant change, and a platform for all those shaping the future. Among the massive list of exhibits, some were well-known OEMs such as Renault, Hyundai, Ford, BMW, MINI, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Huawei, Microsoft, IBM, Bosch, Magna, Schaeffler, Continental, Michelin, and the bicycle brands Canyon, Specialized, Riese & Müller, Rose, Kettler and many more.
I have narrowed some interesting products and innovations that might be of interest to you.
Products: 176 listed
- Teleoperation – Bridging technology for Autonomous Driving (AD) from Deutsche Telekom AG
- Curated Routes with In-Car Voice Guidance from Road.Travel
- Automated valet parking from Robert Bosch GmbH
- XPENG X2: 5th Generation Flying Car from XPeng European Holding B.V.
- Huawei AR-HUD from Huawei Technologies
Innovations: 340 listed
- Smart locks from ABUS
- ID.5 GTX Camouflage from Volkswagen AG
- BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY
- Drive-by-Wire System Space Drive by Schaeffler Technologies
- Zero Vibration Generator (ZVG) – powered by aFuel® by OBRIST Powertrain GmbH
“We are now evaluating the event and will further develop our strategy so that we can welcome an even broader spectrum of exhibitors at the next IAA MOBILITY, and to continue the dialog on the future of mobility.,” Hildegard Müller said.
Regardless of the event format in Munich, the IAA Mobility will continue operating its website www.iaa.de, making it a worldwide digital platform for the transformation of mobility on the path to climate neutrality, for innovations around cars, bikes, scooters, car and ride sharing, digitization and urban development.
References of the content:
1. Original Article Source: Press Release, IAA Mobility 2021 Website
2. The best photos of the IAA MOBILITY 2021 are available here
3. The film about the IAA MOBILTY 2021 is available here
4. The public-domain photo. and film material is available here
5. The complete list of exhibitors is available here
6. The complete list of partners is available here
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Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all solid-state batteries for electric vehicles has announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.
The investment positions Solid Power to produce full-scale automotive batteries, increase associated material output and expand in-house production capabilities for future vehicle integration. The BMW Group and Ford aim to utilise Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy all solid-state battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.
“BMW and Ford now share leading positions in the race for all solid-state battery-powered electric vehicles,” said Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power. “Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialisation efforts.”
Solid Power has demonstrated its ability to produce and scale next-generation all solid-state batteries that are designed to power longer range, lower cost and safer electric vehicles using existing lithium-ion battery manufacturing infrastructure.
Solid Power’s leadership in all solid-state battery development and manufacturing has been confirmed with the delivery of hundreds of production line-produced battery cells that were validated by Ford and the BMW Group late last year, formalising Solid Power’s commercialisation plans with its two long-standing automotive partners.
“Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that’s why we’re investing directly,” said Ted Miller, Ford’s manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. “By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we’ll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes.”
“Being a leader in advanced battery technology is of the utmost importance for BMW. The development of all solid-state batteries is one of the most promising and important steps towards more efficient, sustainable, and safer electric vehicles. We now have taken our next step on this path with Solid Power,” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG, Development.
Solid Power is currently producing 20 ampere hour (Ah) multi-layer all solid-state batteries on the company’s continuous roll-to-roll production line, which exclusively utilises industry standard lithium-ion production processes and equipment.
Both Ford and the BMW Group will receive full-scale 100 Ah cells for automotive qualification testing and vehicle integration beginning in 2022. Solid Power’s all solid-state platform technology allows for the production of unique cell designs expected to meet performance requirements for each automotive partner. Solid Power’s truly all-solid cell designs achieve higher energy densities, are safer and are expected to cost less than today’s best-performing lithium-ion battery cells.
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