Cars meet fleas in Sin City
SINCE 2008, when the boss of General Motors gave a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (THOSE), an annual tech jamboree, Las Vegas offered a glimpse into the digital future of automotive manufacturing. This year, nearly 200 automakers registered for the event, which began on January 5. That day DGCurrent boss Mary Barra (pictured) addressed a mostly online crowd, avoiding Omicron Like other major automakers, DG did not show up in person. But the virtual of Mrs. Barra THOSE This outing showed how quickly cars evolve from chunks of metal filled with oil to devices stuffed with silicon.
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Mrs. Barra spoke DGthe transformation from “automobile manufacturer to innovative platform”, praised its advances in electric utility vehicles (VEs) and autonomous driving, and unveiled a battery-powered version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup. Rival companies rushed to appear even more innovative. Bmw demonstrated a system that changes the color of a car’s paintwork with the push of a button. Mercedes-Benz has gone so far as to claim that its Vision EQXX concept, with interior materials made from bamboo, cacti and mushrooms, and a battery-powered 1,000 km range, “reinvented the car”. Not to be outdone, the giants of consumer electronics have been strutting about the automobile. Sony, a Japanese, surprised many attendees by announcing a possible foray into car manufacturing (although he could simply use the experience to develop VE and autonomous driving technology for sale to others).
Other announcements were less flashy but more meaningful when it comes to the digitization of automotive manufacturing. Mobileye, the stand-alone arm of Intel, which supplies chips to many major auto companies, has announced expanded deals with Ford, Geely and Volkswagen. Qualcomm, another chipmaker, has signed new ones with Volvo, Honda and Renault.
The court between automakers and chipmakers will only intensify. The global chip shortage that has caused nearly 8 million units of global auto production to fall is fortunately easing, and annualized global auto production could return to pre-pandemic levels by the second half of 2022, according to Evercore. ISI, an investment bank. Still, car bosses are desperate to avoid a repeat. Many look with envy on Tesla, whose close relationships with semiconductor suppliers have taken its annual production for 2021 to a total of 930,000 vehicles. ■
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This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Motor Sin City”