Automotive News Europe blogs

Peugeot's decision to give 3008 and 5008 SUV styling pays off

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 19
blogs
Peugeot gave its latest 3008 an SUV makeover.
PETER SIGAL:  Peugeot's decision to replace its 3008 and 5008 minivans with more crossover-oriented versions has paid off handsomely. The two models easily outsold their predecessors in 2017, helping the brand's global sales to jump 10 percent to 2.12 million last year. The 3008 compact SUV was introduced in Europe late 2016. It has quickly become a key model for Peugeot, even outselling the 308 hatchback and ...
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BMW exec combines Silicon Valley innovation with corporate rigor

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 17
blogs
Seidel says BMW has always given him outside-the-box challenges. When colleagues call him "exotic" he replies, "This is what I trained for."
NICK GIBBS :  German automotive companies began to publicly admit last year they needed to foster a work culture closer in spirit to Silicon Valley's. Robert Bosch Chairman Volkmar Denner spoke of a “lack of audacity” within Germany and declared: “We must learn that failure is not shameful.” They might be rare, but disruptors do exist within German automotive companies. Markus Seidel, h ...
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Will Mercedes' G class get juiced?

Posted 9:35 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 14
blogs
Arnold Schwarzenegger, right, with Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche in Detroit on Sunday. (REUTERS)
AMY WILSON :  DETROIT -- Arnold Schwarzenegger put Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche on the spot Sunday night: Would the venerable Mercedes-Benz G class -- the hefty SUV that is certainly no sipper of gasoline -- ditch fossil fuels and eventually go electric? Zetsche answered by referencing the automaker's pledge last year that it would eventually electrify its entire lineup. "That clearly says, 'Stay tuned,'" Zetsc ...
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PSA develops possible Renault Twizy rival

Posted 4:55 am U.S. ET, Jan. 12
blogs
PSA's plug-in hybrid three-wheeled scooter can travel on public roads at speeds up to 130 kph.
PETER SIGAL:  PARIS -- As automakers have been reminding us over the past few years, mobility comes in many shapes and sizes. The simplest description of PSA's latest effort in the field of mobility services is that it's a plug-in hybrid three-wheeled scooter. The prototype "efficient light urban vehicle" -- it doesn't have a catchy name yet -- was developed with EU-LIVE, a consortium of research groups, suppl ...
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PSA should sell UK Vauxhall plant to Jaguar Land Rover

Posted 3:39 am U.S. ET, Jan. 11
blogs
JLR already has Halewood, a former Ford plant, just across the Mersey river from Ellesmere Port.
NICK GIBBS :  A second round of job cuts shows PSA is struggling with the viability of its newly acquired Ellesmere Port factory in the UK. There is an obvious solution: sell it to Jaguar Land Rover. The reason? PSA has excess capacity and JLR the opposite. The factory near Liverpool predominantly makes the Vauxhall//Opel Sport Tourer station wagon, but weak sales and the high cost of producing them compared ...
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Qoros' new owner plans to be China's Tesla

Posted 5:13 am U.S. ET, Jan. 5
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Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  In recent years, dozens of electric vehicle startups have emerged in China striving to become the Chinese Tesla. Who will prevail? Keep your eye on Baoneng Investment Group, a Chinese conglomerate that has acquired Qoros Automotive, a company that once had big plans to enter Europe. Baoneng has humble roots. Incorporated in Shenzhen in 1992, the privately held company started as a vegetable reta ...
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How Nissan, NASA will help you park in the future

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 3
blogs
Nissan's remote human operator would take action if one of the automaker's driverless cars encountered a problem.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Nissan has turned to NASA to help it with what could be a challenging task in the future: remotely parking an autonomous vehicle after the driver has exited the car. After Nissan Deputy General Manager for R&D Toshiro Muramatsu described the scenario to a group of journalists visiting the automaker’s technology center in Atsugi, Japan, I jokingly asked him why we would need rocket scien ...
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Supplier CEO who loves his front-row seat to industry's transformation

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 29 2017
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Yanfeng Automotive Interiors CEO Johannes Roters is energized by the megatrends that are changing the industry because he remembers a time when things were a bit stagnant. “For a long time, this industry was very consistent. A model came, then a new model came. Perhaps there were more safety features or other new extras,” Roters told me. "Now, we need e-cars, we need even more connect ...
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Nissan tackles tech overload in autonomous car

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 23 2017
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Nissan’s latest test car for autonomous driving combines 360-degree sensing with artificial intelligence. Nissan Deputy General Manager for R&D Toshiro Muramatsu said the car can handle 90 percent of the traffic challenges on the road. It does so with the help of nine radars, 12 cameras, six laser scanners and 12 sonar sensors. That’s 39 devices. “We will have to reduce that ...
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Conti exec learns when art tops science

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 22 2017
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Continental’s head of startups got some excellent advice after he was put in charge of the supplier’s new entrepreneurial unit. “The thing we do is more art than science,” Juergen Bilo remembers being told by Thomas Andrae, who is an advisory board member at co-pace GmbH, which is a separate company Bilo runs that Continental formed to help strengthen its ability to innova ...
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PSA got a bargain with Opel, former GM Europe boss says

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 19 2017
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Nick Gibbs is a UK correspondent for Automotive News Europe.
NICK GIBBS :  PSA Group got a "good deal" when it bought Opel/Vauxhall, says Nick Reilly, who was GM's troubleshooter before he retired in 2011. PSA CEO Carlos Tavares is demanding the return of half of the 1.3 billion euros it paid General Motors for GM's Opel business, Reuters reported last month. However Reilly, Opel's former chairman and a 36-year GM veteran, believes Opel was worth more than 1.3 billion e ...
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Rising Stars finish year with a flourish

Posted 1:36 am U.S. ET, Dec. 15 2017
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Three members of Automotive News Europe’s Rising Stars family are finishing the year on high notes. Agustin Martin, currently president of Toyota Spain and a Rising Star from 2015, has been picked to lead Toyota Europe's newly created mobility and connected car unit. He starts on Jan. 1. It seems Martin was destined for this job. When we spoke with him in 2015 he called the digital transfo ...
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How China plans to create a giant state-owned automaker

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 12 2017
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  In recent years, Beijing has forced the consolidation of state-owned industries such as steelmaking, railway equipment and coal mining. The idea was to force these inefficient companies to cut costs, develop new products and turn a profit. And now it's the auto industry’s turn. Last week, three state-owned automakers announced plans to share technology, powertrains, platforms and purchasin ...
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BYD bets big on buses in Europe, cars can't be far behind

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 10 2017
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
China's BYD has built up an impressive production network in Europe that has largely gone unnoticed in the passenger car world. That's because its new plant in Hungary, its planned plant in France and its joint venture operations in the UK all produce electric buses. Those buses, by the way, are already transporting passengers in cities such as Turin, London and Liverpool. The latest indication ...
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Schmidt's statement showed a broken man with misplaced faith in VW

Posted 3:49 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 7 2017
blogs
Oliver Schmidt: "I accept responsibility for the wrongs I committed."
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE :  DETROIT -- For a year, Oliver Schmidt's vacant, unsmiling, almost defiant stare has been the face of Volkswagen's $30 billion diesel emissions scandal. But that was not the face the 48-year-old German-born executive wore in a federal courtroom in Detroit on Wednesday. The stare from a Florida booking photo taken shortly after his surprise January arrest outside a restroom at Miami International ...
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Why an electric powertrain is all wrong for off-road vehicles

Posted 12:59 pm U.S. ET, Dec. 5 2017
blogs
The original Land Rover Defender.
RICHARD TRUETT :  Two of the world's toughest, most rugged all-terrain vehicles, the Jeep Wrangler and the next Land Rover Defender, are slated to get electrified powertrains. Big mistake. If there is one type of vehicle that could be excused from the mad rush to install an electric motor and battery pack, it's the real off-road vehicle whose drivers actually use them as intended. At the L.A. auto show last week ...
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VW Beetle could be reborn as electric car

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 5 2017
blogs
A vintage VW Beetle is displayed at a dealership in Nuremberg, Germany. (Bloomberg)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Volkswagen bosses are considering the future of the brand's iconic Beetle. Small, impractical two-doors coupes are losing favor with buyers, so the solution for the next Beetle may be an electric-only model. VW brand chief Herbert Diess has set himself the task of improve the marque's profitability to 6 percent by 2025, and the best way to do that is sell large, expensive, margin-rich models such ...
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Tesla shows why VW, Daimler should keep their heavy trucks businesses

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 24 2017
blogs
Tesla aims to disrupt the commercial truck market with an all-electric semi.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Volkswagen Group and Daimler are looking to simplify their businesses amid rapid changes in the industry and the obvious candidates to be auctioned off have always been their commercial vehicles operations. In the past, this would have made perfect sense, since standard components between passenger cars and heavy trucks are not shared. But, if ever there was a time when meaningful synergies coul ...
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BMW's cycle 'hyperloop' is a vision for fast, pollution-free city travel

Posted 5:14 am U.S. ET, Nov. 22 2017
blogs
BMW's covered cycleway could help cut pollution and congestion in crowded cities.
NICK GIBBS :  As China seeks to restrict the use of private cars in its congested and polluted megacities, BMW sees an elevated cycleway as a way to encourage commuters to travel around urban areas on two wheels. BMW has come up with a concept that it compares with the Hyperloop tunnel proposed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Rather than Hyperloop's high-speed trains, BMW's concept would create a network of covered el ...
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Bentley Bentayga's autonomous tech tops Audi's

Posted 9:46 am U.S. ET, Nov. 16 2017
blogs

NICK GIBBS :  Driving the Bentley Bentayga shows just how sophisticated self-driving technology has become. It also reveals how much further autonomous driving features have to go before automakers and lawmakers will confidently allow drivers to remove their hands from the wheel. The Bentayga SUV's self-driving features are not as advanced as the Level 3 Traffic Jam Pilot hands-free system on the new A8 sedan ...
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French tech company NAWA sees ultracapacitor battery breakthrough

Posted 5:53 am U.S. ET, Nov. 14 2017
blogs
Lamborghini's Terzo Millennio (third millennium) concept uses supercapacitors to deliver high peak power and regenerate kinetic energy.
NICK GIBBS :  Those looking for the next big thing in automotive battery technology would do well to follow the career of Ulrik Grape. The Norway-born executive has just been made CEO of French tech company NAWA Technologies, which wants to sell automakers ultracapacitor batteries. Given Grape's CV, the industry should be paying attention. Grape started out in the 1990s promoting lithium ion, first for use in ...
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Why Vauxhall is likely to survive despite a steep sales slump

Posted 4:56 am U.S. ET, Nov. 13 2017
blogs
Vauxhall has started selling the Crossland X, pictured, the first of two new SUVs based on PSA technology.
NICK GIBBS :  PSA Group's strategy to reduce non-profitable new-car sales is having a significant effect on the automaker's Vauxhall brand in the UK. Vauxhall's sales slide was illustrated most starkly in October, when the brand finished sixth after its registrations fell 35 percent in a market down 12 percent. In the first 10 months, Vauxhall sales are down 21 percent. For many years, Vauxhall has been the U ...
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Volvo's subscription plan could be a boon for dealers too

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 12 2017
blogs
Volvo says that buying an XC40 (shown) with the Care by Volvo subscription service will make having a car as easy and hassle free as having a phone.
LUCA CIFERRI :  Volvo seems to have found a new way to get its vehicles into the hands of customers that is digital, transparent and hassle free. It's also not likely to cause a dealer rebellion. The automaker's new Care by Volvo is described as a subscription service. The offer mirrors what mobile phone companies do to win customers in a highly competitive market. Some of the perks of Care by Volvo are a monthl ...
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Without PSA tech, Opel could have been killed by EU CO2 fines

Posted 6:08 am U.S. ET, Nov. 10 2017
blogs Luca Ciferri is associate publisher and editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
The European Union's target to reduce CO2 emissions from Europe's new-car fleet to a 95 gram per km average by 2020-2021 must be keeping car company executives awake because it will tough to achieve. But Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller probably can sleep a little easier. PSA Group will be providing Opel with enough turn-key electrification technology to enable Opel to reach its emissions reduction g ...
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Europe's automakers score a win with new CO2 targets

Posted 4:36 am U.S. ET, Nov. 9 2017
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Outwardly Europe's carmakers are complaining stridently about the EU Commission's proposed fleet emission targets through the next decade. Behind closed doors however it's a good bet that they are breaking out the champagne. They shouldn't, since it would be short sighted mistake to view this as a victory. As the EU Single Markets Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, the most vociferous practitioner ...
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