Electrification, connectivity, autonomy, fast start-ups, global pandemic, Brexit, semiconductor shortage, changing consumption habits, new retail models, blocking the Suez Canal… The list of short and long term challenges facing the auto industry today is vast, sometimes bordering on a joke and for some potentially ruinous. Who is in trouble? Here are five that we rate as borderline.
Jaguar currently has a target with no visible plan. Its daring to go all-electric by 2025 suggests a final roll of the dice after selling fewer cars (102,494) last year than BMW sold the 3 Series in Europe (118,369). Of course, the fact that its leaders have revealed a goal suggests that a plan is being put in place. An EV platform share of some sort seems likely, potentially with a Chinese company, but the execution has to be brilliant if Jag is to thrive.
Alfa Romeo has probably never been scrutinized by such clinical leadership as that at the top of Stellantis. Its performance was disastrous last year: 35,718 new cars sold in Europe and 18,586 in the United States. Continued losses will not be tolerated and already ruthless decisions are made. For example, the £ 1 billion Giorgio platform behind the slowly selling Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV. A group shared platform will come, which will be an obvious saving, but is it enough to save Alfa Romeo?
Without the legacy or allure of Alfa Romeo but with the established advantages of being part of a successful group (first PSA and now Stellantis), the French DS still struggles to ensure global traction. Its new 9 sedan will add appeal in Asia, where sales have slumped, but a European sales total of just 43,686 last year indicates deeper problems.
Smart should be uniquely placed to thrive in a world focused on reducing emissions and congestion. Its owner, Daimler, concluded a 50:50 joint venture with Geely last year in an attempt to limit its exposure and start sales in China, but with its small electric SUV still a year old and its current cars largely unloved, successful – now nearly 30 years in the making – feels as far away as ever.
Lamborghini’s profits hit record highs last year as people spent more on fewer cars, while the Urus SUV has diversified its customer base, but rumors that the Volkswagen Group wants to sell it persist. Why? Is it because the levels of investment required to make the transition to the new world and the challenge posed by newcomers (like Rimac and Nio) are just too great?
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This notice was published: 2021-05-03 05:01:24