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Mercedes reduces fuel-engine lineup, prepares for e-vehicle revolution

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As Mercedes-Benz steadily launches electric vehicles, it has announced plans to reduce its fossil-fuel package and thin out its lineup in order to make car-buying experience less confusing.

Seven Mercedes models are reportedly on the cutting floor, including coupe and convertible variants of the S-Class, C-Class, E-Class, as well as the CLS coupe and a GT performance model.

Mercedes says the house cleaning should simplify the ordering process for dealers and customers, and streamline the supply chain.

It also expects this to reduce costs for dealers and be able to give customers what they want without waiting on an order that can be second-guessed.

 “Distinction is the mark of luxury, and a car specially ordered by a customer can carry more prestige, and a higher price,” says an Autocar report.

Auto analysts note that as a brand that prides itself on technical innovation, it is only natural that it will be in the first wave of premium electric cars.

But it is said to have been playing catch-up. For instance, BMW pipped it to it with Project i back in 2013, which sired the BMW i3 and i8.

But now Mercedes is hitting back with the EQC, its first fully electric production car and a rival to the Jaguar i-Pace and Audi E-Tron.

It is also following up with the EQA and EQB SUVs, EQS limo, EQV minivan and EQE exec saloon, all preparing to launch in the next 24 months, according to carmagazine.com.

Mercedes-Benz says the redesigned 2021 S-Class flagship sedan will lead the winnowing down by cutting the nine available packages into three “Lines” when it goes on sale this spring.

According to the firm, two models will be available at the launch, distinguished by engine size, as is the German way: A base S 500 4Matic uses a 429-hp 3.0-litre turbo-6 with a mild-hybrid system; an S 580 4Matic has a 469-hp twin-turbo V-8.

Both models come with the mild-hybrid system and all-wheel drive, as denoted by 4Matic. If history presages the future, then AMG models will follow.

Mercedes offers the 2020 S-Class in six models, including S 450, S 450 4Matic, S 560, S560 4Matic, S 560e, and AMG S 63.

This is one of the brand’s simpler lineups, and the sedan could also be had in one of two coupe versions.

The crossover SUV lineup that has proliferated in recent years has also grown more complicated, especially with the designation of “Coupe” to four-door SUVs.

According to the Mercedes-Benz consumer website, the brand sells nine crossover SUVs, six sedans and wagons, seven coupes, six convertibles and roadsters, and a hybrid.

Each of these vehicles is offered in at least four “models,” ranging from all-wheel-drive variants to AMG performance models.

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Limit your speed to 30km/h, FRSC tells all motorists

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FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week, the Federal Road Safety Corps has asked motorists to limit their speed to 30 kilometres per hour in urban or built-up areas for all categories of vehicles.
The global safety week will be celebrated between Monday May 17 and Sunday May 23, 2021.
The Bauchi Sector Commander, FRSC, Mr Yusuf Abdullahi, made the recommendation on Monday in a statement issued by the FRSC Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Rilwanu Suleimanu.
The corps said speeding was responsible for about 30 per cent of crashes in Nigeria.
Abdullahi explained that the corps would be using the 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week to carry out an advocacy programme where people would be educated on the issue.
He said, “The 6th UN Global Road Safety Week will focus on the issue of speed.
“The week advocates for safer streets motoring by making 30 km/h speed limits, the norm for cities worldwide in places where people mix with traffic.
“The week is concerned about policy commitments at national and local levels to deliver the 30 km/h speed limits in urban areas and to generate local support for such low speed measures in order to create safe, healthy traffic flow within Urban cities globally.
“As a lead agency in road safety management and administration in Nigeria, the FRSC is hosting the event and embarking on nationwide advocacy to replicate this global activity in selected Nigerian Cities.
“Pursuant to this, the Bauchi State command of the FRSC organises public education campaign programmes to inculcate the norm of 30km/hr speed limits among road users.”
He called on the general motoring public to always adhere to the maximum legal speed limit while in the city or in built up areas so as to prevent crashes, its attendant injuries as well as its fatalities.
Abdullahi, who further stressed the need to avoid speeding, considered among the critical traffic violations with high risk factor, said speeding would lead to increase in crash severity, resulting in more fatalities or injuries.
The sector commander explained that more damage would be caused to vehicles involved in speeding when they crashed, thereby increasing the likelihood of such vehicles not drivable thereafter.
“Speeding also leads to extra fuel consumption and frequent replacement of auto parts, among others,” he said.
The public advocacy programme would include media charts, roadshows, visits to hospitals, and advocacy visits to stakeholders, including policymakers and others.

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Hyundai working on new high-performance car

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Hyundai is planning a new version of the Ioniq 5 that will raise the performance of the electric model, according to a new report from the Korean automaker.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a Pony-styled electric hatchback that is already rear-drive as standard and offers 300 horsepower in top all-wheel drive guise.

That leaves plenty of performance for Hyundai N to unlock on the enthusiast side of the new E-GMP architecture underpinning the automaker’s new EVS, the report says.

Hyundai is also said to be working with hypercar maker Rimac to build a new top-of-range EV performance car, so it would not be much of a stretch to seek out some of that company’s assistance on the rest of its electric vehicles as well.

Chief Marketing Officer at Hyundai Motors, Thomas Schemera, confirmed the development, saying, “Everybody knows that our electric global modular platform (E-GMP) has a lot of potential and shows a lot of flexibility. One thing is for sure, eco-friendly models are on our priority list – at the top.

“We never stop thinking about extending our product portfolio and strategically, we are moving full speed ahead with eco-friendly offerings.

“We are moving ahead with our battery electric concept and our fuel-cell electric concepts.” So does that mean an Ioniq? “I guess it seems to be realistic,” he said.

Popular auto reviewer, Top Gear, thinks the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the Tesla rival many will want to own.

It says, “The automotive industry has been waiting for a legitimate and affordable Tesla Model 3/Y alternative for quite some time and with the Ioniq 5, it appears Hyundai has delivered just that.”

The Ioniq 5 is an all-new electric mid-size crossover and the first model to be branded under the new ‘Ioniq’ electric sub-brand.

According to carscoops.com, the new Hyundai Ioniq 5 rides on the dedicated Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), which blends the traditional skateboard design with an elongated wheelbase for attractively styled and practical EVs?

It also features both 400- and 800-volt charging, thanks to the new platform.

When plugged into a 350kW charger, the Ioniq 5 can recharge from 10 to 80 perbcent in just 18 minutes, with the carmaker claiming that five minutes of charging is enough to get 62 miles of range on the WLTP cycle.

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Scarcity of vital auto parts forces more automakers to shut down

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  • Ford suspends Mustang production May 3

Ford will be shutting down production of its Mustang on May 3-7 with a plan to resume assembling the pony car at a later date yet to be determined.

This is coming after many automobile manufacturers had announced the suspension of production of a number of models, especially the premium vehicles.

The reason for the production shutdowns is that there are not enough semiconductor chips to power all that flashy technology in new cars.

The outlook for the Mustang and other Ford models as well as other auto brands does not look exactly rosy.

Analysts say they have seen this problem for months now, with the GM having to cease production of different vehicles, notably the Chevy Camaro.

Fiat Chrysler (now part of Stellantis) has had to shut down the assembly lines for the Dodge Charger and Challenger as well as the Chrysler 300.

This problem has affected many other automakers such as Toyota, Nissan, Daimler and Porsche.

Industry analysts predict the chip shortages will limit the production of cars in the near term, but thankfully the problem will go away after a while.

In the meantime, this means you can expect to have a harder time finding and paying for certain new car models. It’s the simple economic rule of supply and demand.

Although with rough economic times, more people are holding onto older cars, so while supply is constrained, demand for some models is also lagging.

The shortages have caused automakers to drop some technological features from different models. For example, Stellantis announced it would be scrapping the digital speedometers on at least one Peugeot line.

Ford has been selling the F-150 without the fuel management module as a way to cut back on how many semiconductor chips it uses. Porsche is axing features like an 18-way-adjustable seat for the Macan SUV as a way to conserve its chip supply.

Another strategy to deal with the shortages has been for automakers to shut down production lines for vehicles with thinner profit margins. This means many cars, like the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, and Dodge Challenger, will see constrained supply.

Another example is Daimler shutting down its compact car plant in Germany where 18,500 workers are employed. Instead of pumping out more Mercedes-Benz C-Class vehicles, the company is looking to put what semiconductor chips it has into more expensive model lines so profits don’t take as big of a hit.

The creation of this problem is complex and there’s some contradicting information. Some say production shutdowns at semiconductor plants because of COVID-19 have fuelled the shortage. Others think it has been the overwhelming demand for computers, gaming consoles, smartphones, smart televisions, among others as people are spending most of their time trapped at home.

Another conjecture is that suppliers did not foresee automakers ramping up demand for chips so quickly after plant shutdowns and assembly line reductions last year. So they’re scrambling to ramp up production and that takes time.

This comes after demand for at least some new cars has almost exploded, something few saw coming so early, after all not many people were looking to buy vehicles because of the pandemic last year.

Whatever the cause, this shortage isn’t making the situation of rising car prices any better. Not only are some new vehicles selling for more as a result, demand for used vehicles continues to stay strong. Hopefully by this time next year this problem will be in the rearview mirror.

Sources: CNBC, New York Times, Automotive News Europe and Reuters

 

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