Honda predicts a production increase, Porsche sets a new Nürburgring record, Fisker seems to be doing alright. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Honda’s Production Outlook Seems Quite Positive
Automotive News reports that rather than recession doom and gloom, Honda’s focusing on actually making cars to deliver. It’s a promising announcement that could represent a turning point for an automotive industry embattled with supply chain shortages.
Many uncertainties still loom over the auto sector, Honda Chief Financial Officer Kohei Takeuchi said.
Takeuchi said higher inflation and interest rates will “eventually have an impact on the economy.” Honda has 48,300 vehicles in the U.S. market, and its first move will be filling orders. “Rather than taking immediate measures with a recession in mind, we have to focus on delivering our vehicles to customers,” Takeuchi said.
Honda said production is already rebounding, with the resumption of activity in Shanghai. And it predicts it can make up for a lackluster fiscal first quarter in the rest of the fiscal year.
It kept its earlier outlook steady for sales of 4.2 million vehicles in the current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2023. That represents a 3.1 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
I like Honda’s approach, focusing on the biggest challenge at hand rather than economic trends. While I’m sure that more price hikes aren’t out of the question if component prices keep rising, it’s good to know that Honda plans on maintaining a steady flow of Civics, Accords, and CR-Vs onto the streets. For anyone who’s been waiting for news that the new car shortage could start easing, Honda’s focus offers hope that news of relief will come soon.
Toyota Sticks To Its Production Expectations
It seems that Honda isn’t the only automaker feeling bullish about ramping up production. Despite lingering supply chain issues, Reuters reports that Toyota hasn’t cut expected production numbers for 2022.
Toyota Motor Corp said on Wednesday it would hold to its plan to produce 9.7 million vehicles globally this fiscal year, even as it announced another stoppage related to the spread of COVID-19.
That stoppage involves three lines at Toyota’s Motomachi plant in Japan going idle for several days in September. The Motomachi plant produces a wide variety of vehicles from performance cars like the Lexus LC 500 and Toyota GR Yaris, to EVs, to minivans. As such, your guess is as good as mine on what particular lines Toyota plans on idling. Still, the Japanese automaker remains hopeful that production can increase as the year goes on.
Toyota says it expects to produce about 850,000 vehicles globally in September and would seek to raise production through November, depending on supplies of parts and personnel.
It feels like the key here is “depending on supplies of parts and personnel.” It’s hard to predict what the next parts shortage will be and who might get sick, so I’m not entirely confident in Toyota’s production predictions. A lot of pieces must fall into place reasonably well for this planned production ramp-up to work. I guess we’ll know in January if everything goes smoothly or if production estimates are optimistic.
Porsche Sets New EV Nürburgring Record
It was inevitable, right? While Tesla’s notarized Model S Plaid Nordschleife lap time of 7:35.579 is quite impressive, it felt like only a matter of time before Porsche attempted to reclaim the EV Nordschleife lap record. Sure enough, the engineers at Porsche weren’t about to be bested by Silicon Valley, so they fiddled about with a Taycan Turbo S fitted with PDCC so it could set a blistering time of 7:33.350. For the record, that’s quicker than the BMW M3 Touring, the Audi RS3, and the 991 Porsche 911 Carrera S.
Porsche claims that apart from a roll cage and some lightweight seats, the lap record Taycan Turbo S was identical to a production-spec car down to vehicle weight. So what exactly is in this performance kit that helped Porsche beat Tesla’s time? Let’s turn to Porsche’s press release to find out.
The performance kit includes 21-inch RS-Spyder-design wheels with road-approved, Pirelli P Zero Corsa sports tyres that are now available for the Taycan. Their tyre compound is similar to that of racing tyres. Another element of the performance kit is a software update to the Porsche 4D Chassis Control so that it works in harmony with the sports tyres. The system analyses and synchronises all the chassis systems of the Taycan in real time. “In the past, only thoroughbred super sports cars got into the 7:33 range,” says Kern. “With the new performance kit I was able to push even harder, and the car was even more precise and agile to boot.”
That’s it? Tires and a software update? Color me impressed. No extra power, brakes, or cooling necessary, Porsche just mounted some stickier tires, retuned the chassis electronics, and gave it hell. Unfortunately, the performance kit isn’t available in America just yet. German Porsche customers can buy it through Porsche’s Tequipment accessory division, but there’s no word yet on availability in other markets. Fingers crossed that the sticky P Zero Corsa rubber and software update see wider availability soon.
Fisker Seems To Be Doing Alright
It’s been a really tough year for EV startups. Electric Last Mile Solutions went bankrupt, Canoo announced liquidity concerns, and markets have been fairly cold to SPACs. However, Automotive News Europe reports that Fisker still seems to be enjoying some success.
Fisker has taken 4,000 reservations for the Pear electric compact car, which is scheduled for production in 2024, company founder Henrik Fisker said.
The car will feature an innovative wraparound windshield that the company previewed in a new teaser picture of the Pear.
The Pear’s starting price will be less than $30,000, Fisker has promised.
Well, that’s certainly ambitious. Seeing 4,000 reservations is great, but 2024 is still two years away so things could very much change. Besides, Fisker still has to launch its Ocean crossover, made by Magna. While the Ocean certainly made a statement at the 2021 Los Angeles auto show, its launch timeline this year seems quite tight. Still, the Automotive News Europe report sheds some encouraging light on the crossover.
Fisker said Magna had built 55 prototypes ahead production of the car in November.
Fisker has 56,000 reservations for the car, and 5,000 pre-orders, for which customers paid non-refundable deposits, Fisker said.
While 5,000 pre-orders doesn’t sound terribly encouraging at first, it’s worth noting that Fisker only plans to make 5,000 launch editions of the Ocean, and that the aforementioned non-refundable deposits are $5,000 per car. Given Magna’s established reputation for building vehicles, I’m cautiously optimistic about this iteration of Fisker.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Thursday, which means that the weekend is just around the corner. While I’m off to our car show in Los Angeles this Saturday, I’d love to know what everyone’s automotive plans are for the weekend. Whether a bit of bodywork or simply a drive to get gelato, how will you indulge in cars?
Lead photo credit: Honda