Electric vehicles outsold manual transmission vehicles in the third quarter, according to a study from J.D. Power. The reasons for the shift, writes Jake Lingeman, is that some automakers have stopped making inexpensive compacts that often feature manual transmissions and those cars that still have manuals are more niche.
Michael Peyton, CEO of Mini North American, says Minis could be sold at non-BMW dealerships in the US, and Kyle Hyatt writes that there are up and down sides for customers. A "customer could benefit from a better customer service experience from a more engaged dealership staff ... [but] service could be tricky, because it can take a while to adapt to a new brand's infrastructure," he writes.
A Marchex study found that many aftermarket auto service centers can improve the way they handle phone calls. "Competition in the industry is fierce, and prospective customers are quick to move on if they don't get what they want on their first try," Marchex writes in the study.
Byton, a China-based electric vehicle maker, plans to sell its M-Byte in the US in 2021 with advanced technology for customer experience, including opt-in facial recognition. For example, Byton Americas Managing Director Jose Guerrero says, "Let's say you stop to charge the car. If you were watching a movie last night at Netflix and you didn't finish it, the car now will be smart enough to finish your movie on Netflix while you're charging."
Virtual inventory, which is held in digital files that are then produced with additive manufacturing, can save manufacturers significant time and money and enable localized production, writes Lee-Bath Nelson. "[T]he company's expertise will be applied and enforced every time the part is 3D printed, so parts come out correctly and consistently," she writes.
Roughly 700 million connected cars will be on the road a decade from now, which means comprehensive changes will be needed in product and infrastructure design, writes automotive industry analyst Sarwant Singh. He examines what the growth of connected, autonomous, shared and electric vehicles will mean in terms of research and development processes and business models.
Ford has petitioned federal regulators to allow the car maker to test cellular vehicle-to-everything equipment in the 5.9 GHz frequencies currently reserved for dedicated short-range communications service. Car companies have lined up on opposite sides of which vehicle-to-vehicle technology the Federal Communications Commission should back.
Volkswagen will unveil the ID.Space Vizzion, an electric concept car, at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show this month. Its aerodynamics help it achieve a 300-mile range, which puts it in a class with Tesla, claims Volkswagen.
Self-driving car startup Nuro is developing an autonomous delivery vehicle that do not contain seats, steering wheels and rearview mirrors. The vehicle is part of a new class of autonomous transportation that federal safety officials will need to accommodate.