This just in: The Argentine automotive industry is confronting a downturn in production volumes, primarily due to persistent economic challenges that began in the latter half of 2023. The Argentine automotive sector has suffered a three-month consecutive decline in production volumes over the first quarter of 2024. The forecast for the South American country for the full year 2024 currently estimates a 5.5% year-on-year decline in Light Vehicle (LV) production, with the likelihood of a further decline if these issues persist. Our new analysis aims to dissect the multifaceted impact of these economic issues on LV production volumes, provide a brief background on the economic difficulties, and share recent updates on the situation. The economic issue that has been threatening Argentina since the second half of 2023 is rooted in the country’s difficulty in obtaining dollars to pay off debts to suppliers. This shortage of currency has led to instability in securing the parts necessary for LV production, causing a ripple effect across the automotive sector. The challenges in securing secondary sources of materials have exacerbated the situation, leaving automakers in a precarious position.

New management Corsa

For decades, the domination of the Fiesta (first launched in 1976 from Ford’s brand new Spanish plant in Valencia) as the UK’s favourite vehicle was rarely challenged. The decision to axe the model, Ford then concentrating on the Puma and LCVs, changed everything. Both moves have proved successful yet other OEMs – specifically – Stellantis, quickly exploited the exit of Ford. The Vauxhall Corsa (which started life in 1982 [as the Nova] made in GM Opel’s new Spanish plant in Zaragoza) had in fact been beating the Fiesta on and off in terms of monthly sales for a few years before production ended in July 2023. Fresh product is always an advantage whatever the vehicle class, and what had been a rapidly created new model by Groupe PSA after it bought Opel Vauxhall greatly helped. Why pay licensing fees to GM when an off the shelf platform from the Peugeot 208 could be leveraged?

Diesel steady

April’s diesel share of Western Europe’s car market remains around 15%, according to figures released by GlobalData. With all data now available, March diesel share is confirmed at 15.1% of new car sales in the region with April coming in at the same figure and unlikely to change much, with just three of the smaller markets’ figures unknown at the time of writing.

Tavares and Leapmotor

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Managing a global OEM with many brands is a complex business, even more so with the Leapmotor JV. CEO Carlos Tavares is no stranger to the top-level politics that comes with running a big multi-national corporation. His career includes a stint as COO at Renault working under then Renault-Nissan chief architect Carlos Ghosn. That must have been quite an education in itself, but he has worked in a variety of management roles around the world. After Renault, he took the CEO reins at Peugeot-Citroen and managed the company’s expansion to include Fiat Group (including Jeep and Chrysler) and Opel/Vauxhall. That left Stellantis with a large stable of volume brands competing in markets across the world. There’s nothing new about brands competing and also being part of the same parent company. The brands come with their own sales organisations while less obvious scale economies can be exploited behind the scenes – in manufacturing, R&D or technical areas such as engine families, for example. The trick is to get the cost advantages from all that additional scale in the journey to wholesale, without diluting brand values or eroding customer loyalty at the retail and aftermarket end of the value chain.

‘Lecky pickups

With the global shift towards electrification, electric light-duty pickups will enter more markets. Electric Pickup trucks (BEV Pickups) are slowly gaining popularity in the United States, the largest market for this type of vehicle. Major manufacturers like Ford, GM, and Tesla have introduced full-sized electric Pickups designed specifically for the American market. However, in other parts of the world, such as Thailand and Australia, light-duty Pickups like the Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max, and Ford Ranger are more commonly used. These smaller Pickups serve various purposes, including load carrying, mining operations support, towing, off-roading, and everyday transportation. Currently, most light-duty Pickups worldwide are powered by diesel engines, offering a good balance between power and fuel efficiency. However, with the global shift towards electrification, it is certain that electric light-duty Pickups will enter more markets in the near future. Chinese automakers have already started selling BEV Pickups and exporting them to Europe and Australia. Japanese OEMs like Toyota and Isuzu are also planning to launch their own BEV Pickups in the coming years. Additionally, BYD and Kia are expected to join this segment with newly developed models featuring xEV powertrains later this year.

Process what?

BMW Group is focused on driving innovation and efficiency through all company operations. Process mining – with the help of Celonis – can help. Expanding the partnership further, Celonis – a market leader in process mining – and BMW Group has announced that they have significantly expanded their strategic agreement. BMW has been working with Celonis since 2016, already optimising more than 80 processes with technology provided by Celonis. BMW utilises this technology in purchasing, development, finance, and production.

The V8 lives!

Lamborghini said this week the upcoming 634 – code name for the Huracan successor which will join its High Performance Electrified Vehicle (HPEV) model line – would have a twin turbo V8 engine, combined with a hybrid system incorporating three electric motors and the eight speed, dual clutch gearbox recently launched in the Revuelto, optimised for the new model with maximum output of around 900CV. The automaker said the new engine was a completely new, blank sheet in house design, “with the objective of delivering performance and driving emotion that surpass those of the current Huracan range”. “The twin turbo V8 combines the high linearity of progression that made the V10 famous with the high power and specific torque of a new generation turbocharged engine.” Drool.

US good news

Total new vehicle sales in the US for May 2024, including retail and non-retail transactions, are projected to reach 1,446,800 units, a 2.9% increase from May 2023 on a selling day adjusted basis, according to a joint forecast from J.D. Power and GlobalData. May 2024 has 26 selling days, one more than May 2023. Comparing the same sales volume without adjusting for the number of selling days translates to an increase of 7% from a year ago. The seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) for total new-vehicle sales is expected to be 16.1 million units, up 0.5 million units from May 2023.

US parts plant

South Korean automotive components manufacturer Mobase Electronics plans to build a manufacturing base in the US following a major supply deal signed with Hyundai Motor Group (HMG). Kosdaq listed, Incheon based Mobase manufactures a wide range of electronic systems and components, sensors and switches at plants in South Korea and overseas including China, India, Europe and Mexico. Its major automotive customers include Hyundai, Kia, Fuso, Stellantis, Renault Samsung, GM Korea, VinFast, Mahindra, Ford, Vinfast and Chinese automakers including SAIC, GAC, BAIC and Changan.

Another Kia e-SUV

Kia has revealed full details of the EV3, a compact SUV and its latest full electric model. The model “sets new standards never before seen in the compact EV SUV sector”, the automaker claimed. “By significantly exceeding customers’ expectations, the EV3 will broaden the appeal and elevate the perception of EV SUVs.” Kia claimed a WLTP driving range of “up to” 600km (370 miles) and said, with fast charging capability, “the EV3 addresses common concerns about electric vehicles”.

Chips on fire

Chip maker NVIDIA reported record quarterly revenue of US$26bn in the first quarter of fiscal year 2025, up 18% from Q4 and 262% from a year ago. Net profit was $14.88bn, up from $2bn a year ago. The rises were due to an explosion in corporate appetite for artificial intelligence. “The next industrial revolution has begun – companies and countries are partnering with Nvidia … to produce a new commodity: artificial intelligence,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. The chip maker, whose fortunes were now interpreted as a bellwether for the AI transformation under way, also reported earnings per share up 21 % quarter on quarter and 629% year on year to $5.98.


Renault and Volkswagen have reportedly ended their talks on a potential collaboration for a low-cost electric car without agreement. Renault CEO Luca de Meo told Reuters the plan for the two companies to develop an affordable electric car together – likely based on the Twingo – was now a “a lost opportunity, but there may be others”. The plan had been to work together on a model with a low enough price point to compete with cheap BEV models from Chinese OEMs such as BYD. In China, BYD is selling electric cars under$10k. European OEMs are struggling to get their models under €20k.

BMW Simr investment

BMW i Ventures, the independent venture capital arm of the BMW Group, has announced an investment in Simr, a cloud simulation company which gives engineers a single platform for using any compute resources with any simulation tool. The BMW unit said Simr’s newly launched Simulation Operations Automation (SimOps) platform had the potential to “revolutionise how engineers design, verify, and test products by automating sophisticated simulations in the cloud”. Simr secured $20m in Series A funding led by Uncorrelated Ventures, with investments also from BMW i Ventures and Earlybird Venture Capital. The funding would drive further expansion into North America and Europe while also growing the company’s engineering and product innovation teams.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, Just Auto