Automotive News Europe blogs

Rising Star starts new adventure

Posted 5:50 am U.S. ET, Sept. 21
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Former Mazda Europe executive and 2017 Rising Star Christian Ohm is starting a new adventure this month. After nearly 12 years in a wide array of brand management and marketing roles with the Japanese automaker, Ohm has joined Nordic-based marketing consultancy Avaus. He will be the company’s CEO and general manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The switch to a startup following m ...
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Why Aston Martin's CEO expects automaker to be more profitable than Ferrari

Posted 4:40 am U.S. ET, Sept. 10
blogs
The DB11 is part of Aston Martin's 7x7x7 strategy.
NICK GIBBS :  As Aston Martin plan to list shares in London, the automaker's CEO Andy Palmer believes the company will be more profitable than Ferrari. Ferrari has consistently been the world's most profitable car company in recent years, with an EBIT margin of 24 percent in the first half. Aston Martin meanwhile has only just emerged from a long period of unprofitability. Berenberg, a bank, described Aston's ...
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Volvo has autonomous vehicle safety covered like a blanket

Posted 3:51 am U.S. ET, Sept. 7
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Leave it to Volvo to already be working on a patent for a solution that will keep passengers safe even as they sleep in their self-driving cars. Volvo injury prevention specialist Lotta Jakobsson, who is one of the preeminent engineers in the field of passenger protection, has created the first generation of a blanket with integrated straps that will be prominent in what she calls the “hard ...
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Tesla readies a surprise in Europe

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 4
blogs
Tesla's next-generation Roadster was first shown in November 2017, promising a range of 998 km (620 miles).
JAY RAMEY :  Tesla is expected to reveal a new vehicle at the Grand Basel auto show this week in Basel, Switzerland, according to an invitation sent to Tesla owners. The trip contest invitation shows a close-up view of a pillar, believed to be of the next-generation Roadster that Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed last year in prototype form. Billed as "a surprise," Tesla's event set for Wednesday may be the d ...
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Moving out of Sergio's shadow

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 4
blogs
A second-quarter slump could force FCA CEO Mike Manley (right, in a 2011 photo) to reset the financial goals of his predecessor, Sergio Marchionne (left). (Bloomberg)
ANDREA MALAN :  Mike Manley took over as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from Sergio Marchionne on July 21. Marchionne, the architect of the Fiat-Chrysler merger, passed away unexpectedly four days later. That same emotional day, Manley had to present FCA’s disappointing second-quarter financial results. He also had to lower the guidance on operating profits for 2018 and net cash at year-end. In the secon ...
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ZF invests in future engineers with a U.S. robot competition

Posted 1:08 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 28
blogs
ZF -- which has hundreds of openings for engineers -- is sponsoring at least 21 teams around the U.S. and is donating $330,000 to help FIRST teams buy the mechanical parts to build robots.
RICHARD TRUETT :  The tens of billions of dollars being spent to develop self-driving vehicles has exacerbated a frustrating problem in the auto industry: the shortage of engineers. Startups and established companies need engineers for their automated driving projects. But there aren't enough to fill all the openings. Some companies, such as ZF Group, the giant German supplier best known for transmissions, are tak ...
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Why domestic automakers will not dominate China's luxury EV market

Posted 7:26 am U.S. ET, Aug. 24
blogs
NIO is currently China's only domestic luxury EV brand. The marque's ES8 SUV is pictured. (NIO)
YANG JIAN :  Figuring that young domestic automakers can never beat global giants with traditional gasoline-engine technology, Beijing has bet on electric vehicles, which it believes provide domestic companies an opportunity to leapfrog rivals. Will the government’s wishes come true? Probably not. The future landscape of China’s EV market will more likely than not mirror the current vehicle marke ...
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Tavares' success at PSA is a 'powerful incentive' for Renault to catch up

Posted 3:42 am U.S. ET, July 30
blogs Peter Sigal is a France-based correspondent with Automotive News Europe.
 
France's two automakers, PSA Group and Renault, have seen their fortunes wax and wane over the years, but under CEO Carlos Tavares, PSA has become the envy of the industry — and the favorite of the stock market. Renault, meanwhile, has produced steady growth but hasn’t captured the imagination of investors. The battle is hard-fought, with both companies competing in the same mainstrea ...
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Tavares may find it hard to maintain Opel's astonishing progress

Posted 10:00 am U.S. ET, July 24
blogs Peter Sigal is a France-based correspondent with Automotive News Europe.
 
Opel’s astonishing recovery since PSA Group bought the ailing automaker just lst year from General Motors has left analysts swooning. Opel/Vauxhall made 502 million euros ($587 million) of profit during the first six months compared with a loss a year earlier, PSA said on Tuesday. Opel's return to the black wasn’t supposed to happen until 2020. Opel’s margin was 5 percent, a res ...
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Nissan Leaf provides some twists on road to EV future

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 20
blogs
Recharging the Nissan Leaf at home using a standard plug. (Douglas A. Bolduc)
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  A week spent testing Nissan’s new Leaf was frustrating logistically but encouraging overall. The adventure started on Monday when the driver who dropped off the car in my southern German town handed over the Leaf with a remaining range of 20 km. Gulp! He had come from Cologne, which is about 600 km away. He did his best to factor in recharging stops so I wasn’t upset. I also wasn&rs ...
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How I became a diesel believer again

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 14
blogs
A pedestrian pushes a baby stroller past stencil graffiti during a protest by Greenpeace in Hamburg, which is now restricting diesels from parts of the city to help improve air quality. (Bloomberg)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Like many proponents of the diesel, my faith in the fuel-efficient technology was undermined by revelations that the industry systematically abused regulatory loopholes governing harmful nitrogen oxide emissions. Current sales figures suggest I am not alone. The diesel appears to be in terminal decline. Yet the supplier most linked to the industry’s deceit, Robert Bosch, which is alleged to ...
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Why Ford execs are lobbying for the Focus sedan

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 13
blogs
Despite pride over design, Ford foresees slim demand for Focus sedan
NICK GIBBS :  The pride that two key Ford executives have in the Focus sedan is so strong that they petitioned journalists to persuade Ford country heads in Europe to include it their lineups. They were only half-joking. “We put a lot of effort into designing the sedan,” Ford of Europe design chief Amko Leenarts said at the launch of the Focus range in Europe. He and Helmut Reder, the car’s ...
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Goodwood turns up the heat on traditional auto shows

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 11
blogs
Visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed will get to see and hear the new Aston Martin DBS Superleggera in action this week.
NICK GIBBS :  On the face of it, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is a small specialist show held in a rural corner of southern England. In reality, this motorsport-themed event is attracting global manufacturers by offering far more than traditional auto shows such as Paris or Geneva can ever do. This year Aston Martin, McLaren, Ford and Tesla are among the brands staging public global or European debuts of new ...
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New refuge for abandoned minivan fans?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 10
blogs
The Berlingo offers many of the same driving assistance features as Citroen's new-generation cars.
ANDREA MALAN :  Loyal minivan buyers who aren't willing to join the shift to SUVs appear to have found refuge in one of Europe's least glamorous segments: compact cargo vans. There are positive signs that boxy, multipurpose models such as the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner, which are a staple product with tradespeople and delivery services, are benefiting from the slow death of the minivan, once one of Eur ...
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Opel's labor boss is ready for a fight

Posted 12:14 pm U.S. ET, July 5
blogs
Opel labor boss Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug: "We plan to defend ourselves with all measures at our disposal."
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  PSA's honeymoon with the work force at its German subsidiary Opel appears to be over, and the timing couldn’t be worse. Just as PSA, which took control of Opel roughly a year ago, aims this week to put its signature on a new labor deal that would eliminate 3,700 German jobs in exchange for guarantees until 2023, news reports surfaced that management plans to sell large chunks of the carmake ...
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Why PSA is OK that its new compact vans are so alike

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 3
blogs
Like its two siblings, the Peugeot Partner (shown) has an indicator that lights up when 80 percent and 100 percent of the payload is reached.
PETER SIGAL:  PSA Group is about to introduce a new compact commercial van for its Peugeot, Citroen and Opel/Vauxhall brands. The vans will be made in the same factories in Spain and Portugal and have the same dimensions. They have many of the same features and options. How to keep them straight in buyers’ minds? The differences are subtle, and in many cases are a matter of wording. The Peugeot Partner, ...
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VW could benefit most in U.S. from Ford alliance

Posted 7:59 am U.S. ET, June 25
blogs
Nick Gibbs is a UK correspondent for Automotive News Europe.
NICK GIBBS :  Volkswagen Group and Ford have said they are exploring a development and production alliance for commercial vehicles, and possibly other projects. Where would it make sense for the two auto giants to join forces? Ford doesn't break out commercial vehicle sales but claims to be the world's biggest van manufacturer thanks to its Transit range. The company also has a stranglehold on the U.S. pickup ...
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VW board was weak and indecisive over Audi CEO crisis

Posted 5:30 am U.S. ET, June 20
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
:  Corporate governance is relatively straightforward when you boil it down to the essentials: safeguard the company’s future, protect its reputation and at all times abide by the law. When crisis strikes, a board must spring into action and take charge to quickly restore confidence. So when Audi's Rupert Stadler made history as the first German chief executive to be arrested, denied bail and ...
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Stadler's words return to haunt him

Posted 9:23 am U.S. ET, June 18
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Audi CEO Rupert Stadler could not have been more prophetic when he said last month: "The diesel crisis is not yet over for us." Seven days after being named a suspect in an ongoing investigation for the first time, he was taken into custody on Monday by Munich prosecutors and ordered by a judge to remain behind bars until his trial for fraud and false testimony on the suspicion he could destroy e ...
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70 years later, appreciating the genius of Ferry Porsche

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 15
blogs
The Porsche 356 pictured in a 1952 review by the U.S. magazine "Mechanix Illustrated."
RICHARD JOHNSON :  Even the well-versed in automotive history sometimes fail to grasp that Porsche, the sports car manufacturer, was not the handiwork of VW Beetle creator Ferdinand Porsche but rather his son, Ferry. The son, who died in 1998, was quiet and unassuming (at least on the one occasion I met him) and brilliant and unwavering. He is perhaps the least appreciated of the industry's all-time stalwarts. Sev ...
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Why VW should share its skateboard and change the world

Posted 3:34 pm U.S. ET, June 13
blogs
VW will launch its first three I.D. electric models starting in 2020. Shown, from left, are the I.D. Buzz minivan, I.D. hatchback and I.D. Crozz crossover.
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE :  Herbert Diess, Volkswagen Group's new CEO, has a lot on his plate -- especially for a guy who's new in the job and has been at VW for less than three years. But with that caveat, I'd like to suggest to Professor Doctor Diess a potential industry-altering -- maybe world-altering -- strategy that, if implemented, might go a long way toward restoring Volkswagen's good name in the wake of sweeping di ...
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Land Rover sets course for Defender to come home

Posted 11:42 am U.S. ET, June 12
blogs
A door on a Land Rover Defender is inspected on the line at Jaguar Land Rover's assembly plant in Solihull, UK, in Nov. 2015. (BLOOMBERG)
RICHARD TRUETT :  The stars are starting to align for the upcoming Land Rover Defender. Absent from Monday's news about Jaguar Land Rover transferring production of the Discovery to the company's new plant in Slovakia early next year is any mention of the Defender. Land Rover has not said where it will build the next-generation Defender or if the body will be made of aluminum, like the original 1948-2016 model. B ...
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Volvo's Polestar commits to guiding light feature

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 9
blogs
The Polestar 1's panoramic roof has the company's guiding light logo projected onto the glass.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath says that the new Volvo-controlled brand will extend a unique design feature found in its debut model to at least the next two cars in its lineup. “We definitely think that we will able to do so,” Ingenlath told me when asked about giving the Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 the star-shaped logo that is projected onto the Polestar 1’s panoramic glass roof. ...
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The Elkann style: Sustainability … at Ferrari speed

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 8
blogs
Lapo Elkann with KC Crain, Automotive News Europe Group Publisher.
ANDREA MALAN :  Lapo Elkann, scion of the Agnelli family and still part owner of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari, showed at the Automotive News Europe Congress on Wednesday that he has not lost his knack for provocation. “Let’s be sincere. Everybody now speaks about sustainability because it’s good for marketing,” Elkann told Automotive News Europe Group Publisher KC Crain. As evid ...
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Why BMW's new 3 series needs to up its game

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 6
blogs
A spy shot of the next-generation BMW 3-series sedan.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  BMW's new 3 series needs to restore the model's appeal to driving enthusiasts after the current model strayed from its sporty roots. The seventh-generation of BMW's brand shaper is expected to debut at the Paris auto show on Oct. 2 ahead of its market launch in Europe and the U.S. early next year with China following later. Internally referred to as G20, it will be based on BMW's flexible, lightw ...
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