The Friday Five:The F-150 Lightning Connects with EV First-Timers, Tesla Passes Mercedes-Benz in Luxury Race, and Hyundai Takes Off with Flying Taxis Edition

Beverly Braga | Nov 12, 2021

This week, we covered the highlights from the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Overall, customer satisfaction with the new-car sales experience remains steady, but with vehicles in short supply and high demand, buyers are more willing to shop where the inventory is. Check out the news release for the full details.

In other news, Ford teased the new Bronco Raptor, and the redesigned Toyota Tundra isn’t a gas guzzler after all. We also posted reviews on the Rivian R1T electric truck and Volkswagen Golf GTI. In our Shopping Guides section, we have an explainer on Volkswagen Car-Net as well as highlight the 2022 model-year updates for AudiDodgeHyundaiKiaLand Rover, and Rivian.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

First-Time EV Buyers Make Up Nearly 80% of Ford F-150 Lightning Reservations

Ford F-150 Lightning Strike Anywhere AR 3D Experience

The highly anticipated battery-electric version of the Ford F-150 has already amassed more than 160,000 hand-raisers. Most impressive, though, is that 79 percent of reservation holders for the all-new F-150 Lightning are first-time electric vehicle (EV) buyers and 56 percent are new to the Ford brand. This could be the bellwether that consumers are ready to embrace an EV future—they just want vehicles that act and look like their gas-powered ones.

To help consumers familiarize themselves with the EV truck prior to deliveries next year, Ford has partnered with Google to launch an augmented reality (AR) experience. “F-150 Lightning: Strike Anywhere” provides critical info on features, functions, and capabilities like towing and range. Customers can download the app as well as access the AR experience via Ford.com and various social media platforms.

Tesla Now Ranks Third in Luxury Car Market

Electric vehicles are no longer a niche segment and Tesla, while still dominant, is no longer the only option. So, it’s no secret that the former upstart has been losing market share to newcomers like the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4. However, Tesla has gained growth elsewhere.

Recent data released by Experian shows that through the third quarter of 2021, new-car registrations place Tesla comfortably behind Lexus and BMW. Who was pushed out of the luxury market’s top three? Mercedes-Benz. Tesla’s registration tally was roughly 17,000 more than Benz but lags behind Bimmer by more than 28,000. But don’t count Stuttgart out as the Mercedes-Benz EQ lineup is just now hitting the market.

Six Major Automakers Pledge to Be ICE Free by 2035

During the United Nations’ 26th Conference of Parties (COP26), which wraps up today in Glasgow, countries, corporations, and notable individuals discussed the current environmental landscape and how to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. As part of the climate talks, six major automakers and 30 national governments pledged to discontinue sales of new gas and diesel vehicles in “leading markets” by 2035 and to phase them out globally by 2040.

The signees included Ford, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and China’s BYD. Hardly shocking as these automakers long ago announced their future lineups would be EV-only. Notably absent, however, were Nissan-Renault, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Governments for the largest car markets—China, Japan, and the United States—also signed.

Although not legally binding, the COP26 pledge brings into question who is (and isn’t) truly dedicated to reversing climate change and increasing environmental protections.

New Plan: Dodge to Unveil Quarterly Product Announcements - Find the best Dodge deals!

In May, Stellantis announced that its 14 brands had 10 years to shape up or ship out, followed by a summertime announcement of electrification plans and EV timelines. Even all-HEMI-no-hybrid Dodge is finally debuting a plug-in hybrid.

But Dodge wants to make it clear that performance is still a priority with the reveal of “Never Lift.” This two-year business plan includes new product announcements every quarter, a 25-car giveaway, appointing a “Brotherhood of Muscle” ambassador, certifying performance-focused dealerships as Power Brokers, and bringing back the Direct Connection brand of performance parts. Whew.

If this is the launch of the Never Lift campaign, we can only wonder if Dodge will have anything left to say in three months.

Hyundai Announces Flying Taxi Division; Takeoffs Begin in 2028 - Find the best Hyundai deals!

Hyundai just might be the head geek of the automotive industry. Already deep into the world of robotics thanks to its purchase of robotic dog-maker Boston Dynamics and building Transformer-like vehicles (New Horizons Studio), the South Korean automaker is creating yet another sci-fi-friendly division: flying taxis.

Previously the Urban Air Mobility Division, the new standalone business will go by the moniker Supernal and focus on EV takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. This emerging segment of flying aircraft has been gaining traction, with startups developing everything from single-person jetpacks to multi-occupant aircraft. Hyundai expects Supernal’s first commercial flight to take off in 2028.

The automakers are the sources of information for this article. It was accurate on November 12, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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