Automotive News Europe blogs

Shanghai show to measure progress of China's would-be Teslas

Posted 4:19 am U.S. ET, March 24
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  At least six startups funded by Chinese backers have hatched plans to develop high-performance electric vehicles. They all want to be the next Tesla, but most of them have yet to reveal a single vehicle. It's logical to wonder how much progress these companies have made. Well, the ideal place to check it out will be the Shanghai auto show, which opens on April 20. The auto show's organizers hav ...
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Why VW patriarch Piech's parting will be bitter

Posted 8:16 am U.S. ET, March 22
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Piech mocked his family for years. Now it seems they have had enough.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Ferdinand Piech's plan to burn all bridges to his life’s work and sell his indirect stake in Volkswagen Group shows a bitter man, family members believe. Piech's relatives believe he has become increasingly embittered since resigning from the Volkswagen Group board in April 2015, a source close to the Porsche and Piech families told me. The final trigger that opened the door for Piech to b ...
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Why city mayors may dictate which cars will rule the roads

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 18
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Paris wants diesel-powered vehicles removed from its streets by 2025 to help reduce air pollution. (Reuters)
LUCA CIFERRI :  PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares is scared that the mayors of the world's biggest cities -- especially those in Europe -- will have a powerful say in which powertrains will rule the road because they can dictate which types of vehicles will be allowed inside their metropolitan areas. "Do you expect me to be happy at 85 riding a bicycle in Paris on a cold, snowy day?" Tavares asked reporters on the si ...
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How Aston Martin could help make your life better

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 17
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Aston Martin's track-only Vulcan supercar is the first production model equipped with Nexcel's oil management technology.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Aston Martin is playing a key role in reducing CO2 and giving back a huge amount of lost time to car owners. How? By allowing its track-only Vulcan supercar to be the first production model equipped with a potentially game-changing oil management technology created by Castrol subsidiary Nexcel. The system reduces tailpipe CO2 emissions by allowing the engine to warm up faster. This is possible be ...
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Audi CEO's polished exterior shows cracks amid diesel scandal

Posted 5:53 am U.S. ET, March 17
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Stadler's role as Audi CEO is under fire. He is pictured at the company's annual news conference on Wednesday. (Reuters)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  There are few German top managers as practiced as Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. This week however the polished veneer began to wear away in the steady flow of questions related to his role in the lead up to Volkswagen Group's diesel-emissions scandal. Just three hours before Stadler was due to present his company's annual results at its headquarters in Bavaria, Germany, public prosecutors had raided o ...
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As VW exits crisis, the press spins next chapter like pirate radio

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 15
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VW CEO Matthias Mueller, center, and other company executives during the company's annual news conference in Wolfsburg on Tuesday. (REUTERS)
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE :  WOLFSBURG -- Earlier Tuesday, I joined several hundred other reporters from around the globe at Volkswagen Group's annual press conference, where we heard CEO Matthias Mueller speak about the company's future. And yet, when the event was over a few hours later and I was reading headlines from other media, it turns out I was wrong. Apparently I wasn't at a press conference at all. According to so ...
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Mitsubishi gets a lot more European

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 15
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Mitsubishi is becoming a lot more European as Chairman Carlos Ghosn continues to fill key positions at the Japanese automaker with trusted executives from Nissan and its budget brand, Datsun. Starting next month Frenchmen Vincent Cobee and Guillaume Cartier will join British national Trevor Mann on the senior management team at the automaker, which is still reeling from its mileage manipulation s ...
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Perseverance leads to perfect iPad pockets in new XC60

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 8
blogs
The two storage pockets seamlessly blend into the back seat area of the second-generation XC60, which Volvo debuted at the Geneva auto show this week.
:  Volvo's new XC60 debuts a storage space that is perfect for the iPad, which is ironic considering that the original idea for the clever solution pre-dates the popular Apple device by three years. Volvo's Christina Leinonen, who is a senior program director, envisioned two thin, wide pockets under the back seats of a Volvo model a decade ago, her boss, Magnus Olsson, who is vice president of ...
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For Italy's Giugiaros, a return to the Geneva spotlight

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 8
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Richard Johnson is print editor of Automotive News.
:  GENEVA -- For some reason, the lights always seem brighter at the Geneva auto show. So much luminosity poured down on the Volkswagen Arteon‎ from the Palexpo's high ceilings that you could hardly make out the contours of the car. You had to squint. Some people are perfect in this kind of spotlight. The real stars just seem to shine brighter. Like the Giugiaros. Indeed, it would not be ...
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Opel buy boosts PSA in German, UK markets

Posted 2:30 am U.S. ET, March 7
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Vauxhall is the No. 2 brand in the UK after Ford. (Reuters)
NICK GIBBS :  PSA Group's purchase of Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors immediately hands it a valuable prize it didn't have before. PSA now has a sizeable share of Europe's two biggest car markets of Germany and the UK. Buyers in the two markets don't buy cars from PSA's Peugeot and Citroen in any great volume. Last year in Germany, Europe's largest market, Peugeot was the 16th biggest brand and Citroen 18th. ...
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For engineering, the good and the bad of GM's move to unload Opel

Posted 2:55 am U.S. ET, March 7
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An Opel GT Concept 2016 on display ahead of the 2016 Geneva auto show. Without Opel, will GM forget why European cars are engineered so differently than vehicles designed for the United States and Asia? (BLOOMBERG)
RICHARD TRUETT :  The sale, if you can call it that, of General Motors’ Opel and Vauxhall brands to PSA Group will have wide-ranging effects on General Motors as an engineering organization. And some will be positive. GM and PSA agreed Monday on a deal that sees the French company pay GM 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) for Opel and Vauxhall, but GM has to sink 3 billion euros into Opel/Vauxhall’s pens ...
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Velar may signal new strategy at Land Rover

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 7
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At first glance the Velar (shown) seems to fill what Land Rover calls the “white space” between the compact Range Rover Evoque and the Sport. But it also could be the next Range Over Sport.
NICK GIBBS :  The Range Rover Velar runs dangerously close to the Range Rover Sport in Land Rover’s luxury lineup. Is this an error, or a clue as how the British brand will reposition the next Range Rover Sport and other models? At first glance the Velar seems to fill what Land Rover calls the “white space” between the compact Range Rover Evoque and the Sport. The Velar is built on the same m ...
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Why Ford stands by its 'One Ford' philosophy

Posted 6:33 am U.S. ET, March 7
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Ford's Joe Bakaj: "An example of a great global product is the Focus RS, which we now sell in the U.S."
RICHARD JOHNSON :  One argument for selling Opel to PSA is that General Motors' global engineering demands suddenly get a lot less complex. What's more, GM's Detroit bosses say there's far less overlap between Europe and the re‎st of the world these days. Well, Ford of Europe product development chief Joe Bakaj isn't commenting on GM's retreat from Europe, but he's adamant that Ford sees no reason to step away ...
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XC60 forced Volvo designer to 'break free'

Posted 5:00 am U.S. ET, March 7
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Volvo chief designer Thomas Ingenlath says the new XC60 "is such a big step when it comes to the improvement of a winning concept."
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Volvo chief designer Thomas Ingenlath knew that creating a successor for the Swedish brand’s best-selling XC60 would be challenging. He needed to preserve the features that convinced nearly 1 million people to buy the first-generation car while still pushing to reach a higher level. “At some point you just have to break free,” he told me at the pre-unveiling of the new XC60 in S ...
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Tavares wins favorable terms with Opel takeover

Posted 5:11 am U.S. ET, March 6
blogs Luca Ciferri is associate publisher and editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
PSA Group's agreement to buy General Motors' Opel/Vauxhall unit in a transaction valued at 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) at first glance seems to have cost the French automaker a bit more than pre-deal expectations of just below 2 billion euros, but this is just an optical illusion. When you dissect the numbers, it appears evident that PSA CEO Carlos Tavares actually won terms that are much be ...
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Renault's big gamble on Alpine

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 5
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Renault expects to sell 5,000 Alpine A110s in Europe in 2018 and forecasts the car's volume will dip to about 3,000 annually after that.
NICK GIBBS :  Renault picked a difficult time to launch the A110 two-seat coupe from its revived Alpine brand. Europe's sports car sales are in the doldrums. They fell 21 percent in January, which is the segment's largest percentage decline in seven years, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. In 2000, Europe's sports car sales topped 200,000. Last year that number slipped to 119,600, or 0.8 percent of the ...
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Opel comes to its senses on Crossland X

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 5
blogs
The Opel Crossland X is the first collaboration with PSA.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Opel/Vauxhall has come to its senses. The automaker planned to focus on the wrong product at the Geneva auto show -- its second-generation Insignia -- while leaving its all-new Crossland X small crossover behind. Thankfully, the company changed its mind. The Insignia family is important for the brand’s image, since the latest innovations are showcased in the flagship model line, but the mid ...
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McLaren aims to shake up carbon fiber output

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 4
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
McLaren Automotive's 650S replacement, which will debut this week at the Geneva auto show, is poised to benefit from the British automaker's aim to revolutionize the production of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, McLaren aims to completely automate the carbon fiber production process its uses to create the lightweight "tubs" around which it builds its supercars. To do so, McLaren will end its con ...
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BMW helps fill free time given by piloted cars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 2
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LUCA CIFERRI :  Autonomous driving was the hot topic at last month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and at the Detroit auto show. When will the first fully automated -- the so-called Level 4 cars -- be commercially available? Probably not until 2020 or 2021. Now is the time, however, to think about what motorists will do with the extra time they have when the car is handling the driving. BMW provided a p ...
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Once upon a time, Opel was GM's little engine that could

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 20
blogs
 
In 1919, General Motors President Billy Durant decided his rapidly growing company needed a foothold in Europe. He sent a team of lieutenants that included Walter Chrysler, Charles Kettering and Alfred P. Sloan to Paris to negotiate the acquisition of Citroen. The talks fell through, but a decade later, Sloan, who was then running GM, returned to Europe in pursuit of the German company Adam Opel. ...
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Will cockpits of tomorrow require one-stop suppliers?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 17
blogs
David Sedgwick is a staff correspondent for Automotive News.
:  Adient and Faurecia are locked in a race to produce complete cockpits for self-driving vehicles, and there is some irony in that. To reduce complexity, automakers will be tempted to let suppliers figure out how to integrate the necessary data displays, rotating seats, sliding consoles and related gadgetry. During the Detroit auto show last month, the two rivals -- which happen to be two of the wor ...
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How sour dealer relations wreaked havoc on Audi's China sales

Posted 3:48 am U.S. ET, Feb. 17
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  Audi cut itself a sorry figure in China's luxury car market last month. As Audi deliveries fell 35 percent in January, China's leading luxury brand was finally overtaken by rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It was an especially poor performance in a month when second-tier luxury brands such as Cadillac and Volvo enjoyed robust sales. Audi attributed the plunge to its dealers, but it has only itself ...
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GM-PSA deal would be a blow to best Opel management team in years

Posted 11:19 am U.S. ET, Feb. 14
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  General Motors' confirmation that it is discussing selling its European Opel/Vauxhall business to PSA Group is a tough blow for Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann and the division's 38,000 employees. When Neumann became Opel CEO in 2013 he seemed confident that he could end years of losses at the division. But GM has pushed back its break even target for Opel to 2018 after losing $257 million in Europe ...
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Renault starts to reflect its multifaceted boss

Posted 9:27 am U.S. ET, Feb. 10
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Under Ghosn's leadership Renault has grown the number of markets where it sells more than 100,000 units a year to 11 from eight in 2010.
LUCA CIFERRI :  Renault is starting to look and act a lot like its multifaceted, multinational boss, Carlos Ghosn. Gone are the days when Renault was a one-dimensional company that relied too much on France and rose or fell based on demand for its popular Scenic minivan. “There was a time when deducting French results and Scenic margins left almost no profit at Renault,” Ghosn said during the automak ...
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The Volvo numbers that stood out

Posted 6:29 am U.S. ET, Feb. 8
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Volvo's latest financial results were full of positive numbers but a couple really stood out. "Cash flow is maybe the most important slide in the presentation today," Chief Financial Officer Hans Oscarsson said during the company's results conference today. "We started off 2016 with 35 billion [Swedish crowns] including a working capital facility of 6 billion and now we are up to 49.3 billio ...
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