Intake: The new Honda/Sony joint venture electric car company will be known as Afeela, because “At the heart of this mobility experience is the word feel,” says Sony Honda Mobility boss Yashuhide Mizuno. Announcing the new brand at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Mizuno also unveiled its first vehicle, which, going against the grain, is more sedan than SUV. Mizuno confirmed that the car would be available to order in 2025, with deliveries beginning in 2026, but few details were forthcoming. Honda is bringing its safety and driver assistance to the party, while Sony takes care of entertainment and interactive features, such as a media bar above the front bumper which displays information to people outside the vehicle. Sony is working with Epic Games to utilize its Unreal Engine graphics for the car’s displays, while 45 cameras and sensors will be deployed to feed the car’s safety systems. The promotional video above shows a kind of Lucid-lite vehicle with a spartan but spacious interior dominated by infotainment screens and a yoke-style steering wheel, suggesting it will have a steer-by-wire system. The exterior also reveals a prominent front-facing monitoring system, presumably LIDAR to drive the car’s autonomous capabilities.
Exhaust: This is a recipe for strong collaboration, even if the name is a little weak. A Playstation and powerful audio entertainment system for passengers and, hopefully, a dash of driving joy from Honda could well prove a winner in the EV market where new brands are popping up every day. — Nik Berg
Stellantis to build Archer Aviation’s electric air taxi
Intake: Stellantis has announced that it will build startup Archer Aviation’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) taxi, according to Reuters. The Midnight aircraft can carry four passengers and a pilot over a range of 100 miles and will be manufactured in Covington, Georgia from 2024 and beyond. Initial production targets are to produce 2300 aircraft annually, said Stellantis and Archer in a joint statement. Stellantis will also provide up to $150 million in equity capital for Archer to draw from at its discretion over the next two years, provided certain business milestones are reached. The automaker will also increase its stake in Archer through stock purchases in the open market, although Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said the company would only maintain a minority holding in Archer rather than going for a majority takeover.
Exhaust: As startups flock to the air taxi space, automakers in search of expanded mobility portfolios are proving to be attractive investment partners. Hyundai Motor Group has partnered with aerospace supplier Honeywell International to develop avionics systems for its own air taxi group, and in November, Airbus inked a deal with French carmaker Renault to develop new battery and hybrid tech that the two hope can be used for cars and planes. — Nathan Petroelje
Nearly 16 percent of new car buyers have a record $1000 monthly payment
Intake: Data from the website Edmunds.com says that more consumers than ever are ending up with monthly car payments in excess of $1000 a month, thanks to high prices and high interest rates. A whopping 15.7 percent of consumers who financed a new vehicle in the fourth quarter of 2022 committed to a monthly payment of $1,000 or more—the highest it’s ever been—compared to 10.5 percent in Q4 2021 and 6.7 percent in Q4 2020.” A startling 5.4 percent of consumers who financed a used vehicle in Q4 2022 committed to a $1,000+ monthly payment—also a record high—compared to 3.9 percent in Q4 2021 and 1.5 percent in Q4 2020.
Exhaust:We’re thinking that being a repo person might not be a bad career choice in the next couple of years. — Steven Cole Smith
GM back on top in 2022 sales race
Intake: It was a tough year for everybody, but data compiled by Automotive News and TrueCar show it wasn’t as bad for GM as others. Bolstered by a strong December, GM sales were up 2.5 percent for the year, while last year’s leader, Toyota North America, was down 9.6 percent. Taking a major hit due mostly to the lack of computer chips was Honda, down 32.9 percent. Stellantis was down 12,9 percent, Nissan 24.5 percent. Within GM, Buick took the biggest hit, down 42.4 percent, while Cadillac was up 13.9 percent, and Chevrolet up 5.7 percent. Ford, which just released its figures today, was down 2.2 percent.
Exhaust:2022 will go down as one of the strangest years in car sales. Prices were up; incentives dropped by 71 percent because dealers were selling everything on the lot without them. TrueCar says the average transaction price for Q4 was $45,239, compared to $38,397 one year ago. — SCS
Barrett-Jackson to auction off first 2024 Ford Mustang GT
Intake: The first 2024 Ford Mustang GT, VIN number 001, will be auctioned off for a diabetes charity at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale later this month. The car will be available at no reserve. It’ll be lot number 3004, and it should go under the gavel at about 7:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, January 28.
Exhaust:The entire sale price of this vehicle will benefit the charity JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Nice way to get a collectible and help out a good cause. — SCS
You know what would make me “feel” better? A new car I can see out of. A pillars are so thick now that cross traffic can be impossible to track. The 2003 Malibu has become the go to shopping vehicle because backing up is not a guessing game.
I”m in complete agreement.
“I Feel ya” is giving me that Edsel feeling. Or maybe “No Va”. I hope they do a little more market research.
I don’t know about all that damn Sony infotainment or the yoke. But the car looks quite good, with styling that’s simple and elegant. The video sure was boring.
Reading about $1000.00 a month car payments made me laugh and cry. The suggestion about a career in repo
is a great idea. If you are considering buying a car now, don’t do it unless you have an absolute need. Like what
you own went to Car Heaven and there is no choice. I think it was the 70s, when interest rates on conditional sales contracts went through the ceiling and the customer walked away from the market. So walk away. Banks
Afeela funny about this toaster on wheels. A media bar on the front? Is this car going to have rolling ads or a billboard on it? No thank you Honda / Sony. The only thing that might be good is the Sony Audio would hopefully be better than the crap Honda currently puts in it’s cars.
Afeela that it will be like SONYs Xperia on wheels with 2 years software support. After that please buy a new flagship. 😅
Afeela like a fool. Afeela like an invalid who can’t open his own car door. Afeela like Toyota is the only car company left that I can still take seriously.
I expect within a few years cars will repo themselves, right out of your locked garage. With all the communication electronics they have they can open the garage door, and they certainly could self drive a few miles to a storage lot.
Another car brand…? I feel ya pain…an absolutely comic name, they should speak to some of us (Americans, the target market) before they badge. But, I like the outside message display, I can verbally flip-off other drivers in NYC. Comical, this all is.