Automotive News Underground 2/24/2023

Estimated read time 3 min read

Here are the car news stories you might have missed this week.

Another week of interesting car news has come to pass, including automakers playing games with vehicle inventories again, another restaurant chain is trying to lure in EV owners, Stellantis records a big win, and more.

So. Many. Screens.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the interior of the upcoming E-Class generation, and one thing that really jumps out is there are screens running the full width of the dash. Not only is the instrument cluster a screen, there’s the infotainment screen in the middle and another screen for the front passenger for watching shows over streaming. Other onboard technologies have been revealed, including Active Ambient Lighting with Sound Visualization where the light strips in the cabin pulse with the music’s beat.  Apps like Angry Birds and TikTok are also available for the car. Thus, the march towards making cars smartphones on wheels continues.

BMW flexes its American muscles.

For 9 years in a row, BMW says it’s the leader in automotive exports by value, per data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Surprised? Considering all the BMW crossovers (the company calls them SAVs for some reason) and many other models are made right here and shipped all over the world, you really shouldn’t be. Just from the BMW plant in South Carolina $9.6 billion worth of vehicles were exported in 2022.

Read more details issued by BMW here.

Stellantis is cleaning up.

Automotive numbers geeks are freaking out after Stellantis issued its Full Year 2022 Results you can see for yourself here. One of the most shocking disclosures was that the automaker boasted a 16.4% pre-tax margin, almost doubling what some competitors like Ford were able to post. It even managed to beat out Mercedes-Benz, showing that the automaker is a serious contender.

GM is controlling truck inventories.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that automakers heavily manage vehicle inventories at dealerships, a practice which has been in place for decades. However, with automakers enjoying a lopsided relationship with car shoppers during the pandemic hysteria it seems some still want to keep supplies low. A report indicates GM is doing just that by shutting down its Fort Wayne, Indiana truck plant for two weeks. Usually, plant shutdowns are used for retooling or more recently to deal with supply shortages. Will this practice of shutting down to keep inventories “optimal” become common?

Check out the report here.

Subway tries to lure EV owners.

If you live in certain parts of the country you’re probably wondering what the big deal is about electric cars since you rarely see any. However, in other areas getting an EV is a huge status symbol, which helps explain why businesses in those areas are scrambling to offer public vehicle chargers. The latest example is Subway, the restaurant chain which has suffered a huge public image problem thanks in part to its old spokesman, Jared. In a press release, the company says it’s offering “charging oasis parks” at certain locations, no doubt where EV ownership rates are high. But will electric car owners want to park and eat a Subway sandwich?

Learn more here.

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