Automotive News Europe Blogs

GM's rising faith in Opel

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 11
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
General Motors Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens expects that the U.S. automaker’s long-struggling European arm will break even in 2016, achieving a goal that has eluded the unit for more than a decade. GM has already made big changes in Europe including closing a factory in Bochum, Germany.  "Now we've got the right cost structure," Stevens said on Feb. 3 when announcing the autom ...
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Ford can boost Europe profits by adding upscale Vignale SUVs

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 11
blogs
The Ford Edge could be a candidate for the Vignale trimline.
NICK GIBBS:  Ford of Europe isn't saying which models will next get its upscale Vignale trimline but the brand's two largest SUVs are the top candidates. Ford said in a Feb. 3 announcement that it will expand its Vignale variants to at least five by 2017 as part of its plans to improve profitably at its European operations. Currently Ford sells the Mondeo midsize model with a Vignale trim and will soon add a ...
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Jeep joins Nissan, Honda and others getting big benefit from European production

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 10
blogs
A robot fits a windshield on a Jeep Renegade at the Melfi plant in Italy.
NICK GIBBS:  The core factors that determine where automakers locate their next factory or their next product include the strength of the local supplier base, labor costs and logistics. But car companies also need to look at the effect the decision will have on local sales, which in many cases soar. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' decision to build the Jeep Renegade in Italy is paying off. Italy is the subcompact ...
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Ford faces tough decision on B-Max

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 9
blogs
B-Max sales were down 15% in Europe last year. Even more troubling is that the entire small minivan segment fell 11%.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC:  When Ford of Europe President Jim Farley says that the automaker must be even more selective on the segments where it competes, it makes me think that the B-Max’s days are numbered, which means changes loom at the under-utilized plant in Romania where the small minivan is built. B-Max sales were down 15 percent to 45,717 units in Europe last year. Even more troubling is that the entire smal ...
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'Autopia' future promoted by Google and Apple will hurt traditional carmakers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 8
blogs
Driver-less pods like this from Google may change the way people view individual mobility, which has potential to shake up the automotive industry.
LUCA CIFERRI:  Are battery-powered electric vehicles a viable business case not only for the automakers that will sell them but also for the people who will buy them? Is autonomous driving science fiction or a reality that is closer than we expect? Will these changes result in a new form of on-demand individual mobility that forces automakers to restructure their sales and production operations and causes custom ...
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Automotive News Europe celebrates 20 years; watch this space for future trends

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 5
blogs Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
In an industry reshaping at the speed of light, Automotive News Europe brings you reliable, relevant and unbiased coverage of the auto business. Now we have a special news item of our own: this year ANE is 20. Automotive News Europe’s first issue was published on February 5, 1996 with this scoop as its main story: “Mercedes plans ultra-luxury car to fight Rolls.” The story heral ...
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How GM's 'shampoo princess' is restoring Opel's image

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 4
blogs
Mueller ignored her father and joined Opel to help turn around a brand "rich in tradition."
:  With Opel posting rising car sales last year and set to break even this year after years of heavy losses, the full story of how General Motors' European division managed to reverse its fortunes would not be complete without mentioning the pivotal role played by one executive: marketing chief Tina Mueller. Opel had become in Germany something akin to Morris in the UK or Oldsmobile in the U.S. &nda ...
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Nissan claims win in Europe, but Toyota had more sales

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 29
blogs
The Pulsar is helping to boost Nissan's sales in Europe.
:  Nissan claims it achieved its goal of becoming the No. 1 Asian automaker in Europe by outselling Toyota last year. The problem is that Nissan says it sold 715,623 vehicles in Europe last year, which is well below the 810,085 vehicles Toyota says it sold in Europe. So which automaker won? It depends on the definition of Europe. The winner was Toyota if we look at "core" Europe - the 28 EU member ...
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How GM zoomed past VW in China

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 25
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China
YANG JIAN:  The Volkswagen Group was China's largest automaker in 2013 and 2014, but last year, General Motors regained top billing. Volkswagen's China sales dropped 3.4 percent to 3.55 million vehicles, while GM's rose 5.2 percent to 3.61 million. How did VW lose bragging rights as China's No. 1 automaker? Unlike GM, Volkswagen didn't trust its China executives. The German automotive giant's brain trust did ...
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ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama

Posted 3:21 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 21
blogs
President Obama met with Johnson during his tour of the Detroit auto show on Wednesday. (Reuters)
BRYAN JOHNSON:  The most commonly asked question I’ve received in the past 24 hours is: “Were you nervous?” But I can honestly tell you that my 10-minute one-on-one conversation with The President of the United States, while being the pinnacle of my communications career, was remarkably comfortable. Wednesday afternoon I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explain to President Barack Oba ...
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What Nissan learned from Mercedes for Infiniti Q30 production

Posted 6:06 am U.S. ET, Jan. 20
blogs
Workers examine an Infiniti Q30 during production in Sunderland.
:  Nissan had to make some costly adaptations to build the Infiniti Q30 and QX30 compact models at its factory in Sunderland, England. The huge plant, which has a 500,000-unit annual capacity, is modern and flexible, but adding production of the Q30 hatchback and the upcoming QX30 crossover was a challenge. For a start, the two Infiniti cars are the first premium models to be built at the plant, as ...
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Aston Martin asks suppliers for cost cuts

Posted 9:31 am U.S. ET, Jan. 14
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
Aston Martin is trimming supplier costs as part of a cultural change as the UK sports car maker seeks to become consistently profitable. Suppliers are being asked to reduce costs by 10 percent annually, said Aston’s chief financial officer, Mark Wilson. Although Aston is a niche manufacturer, the company aims to adopt the best of large-scale automaker practices, he told me during a visit t ...
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VW CEO Mueller's pride sets him up for a fall

Posted 5:49 am U.S. ET, Jan. 13
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER:  The air of self-confidence that convinced the Volkswagen Group's supervisory board that company veteran Matthias Mueller had what it takes to lead the 12-brand automotive giant is coming back to haunt him. This week Mueller embarked on his first trip to the U.S., the epicenter of its diesel crisis, since he was appointed VW Group CEO in September. He badly needed to score points at the Detroit au ...
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Ghosn on why Renault-Nissan really needs 2 CEOs

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 11
blogs
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, at a news conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 4. (REUTERS)
HANS GREIMEL:  DETROIT -- Globetrotting Carlos Ghosn, the time-zone traveling dual CEO of France’s Renault and Japan’s Nissan Motor Co., is no stranger to the misery of jet lag -- splitting his time between Europe and Asia -- and everywhere in between. But what time trip really sets his head spinning? “The worst jet lag is Tokyo-New York or Tokyo-Detroit,” Ghosn said of the two Eastern ...
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Get ready for the unexpected in 2016

Posted 12:15 am U.S. ET, Jan. 4
blogs Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
If we have learned anything about the automotive industry in the past few years, it is to expect the unexpected. At the start of last year no one could have predicted that Volkswagen Group would spend the final months of 2015 fighting to regain its credibility after cheating on emissions tests. What will be the big surprises of 2016? Here are few crazy things that just might happen. Piech resumes ...
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Toyota's tech takes the wheel

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 18 2015
blogs
Toyota is testing its autonomous driving technology on Japan's demanding Shuto Expressway, which is narrow, curvy and busy.
LUCA CIFERRI:  Toyota wants its autonomous cars to work with their drivers like “close friends who share a common purpose, sometimes watching over each other and sometimes helping each other out,” said Seigo Kuzumaki, the company’s chief safety technology officer. That is why Toyota calls its autonomous driving project Mobility Teammate. The system that I got to see in action on Tokyo’s ...
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VW Microbus returning with electric powertrain?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 16 2015
blogs
VW's Microbus concept made its debut at the 2011 Geneva auto show.
JAY RAMEY:  The Volkswagen Microbus will return as an electric vehicle, debuting at the CES tech extravaganza before heading into production, Autocar reports. Volkswagen has teased various versions of the Microbus, or Kombi as it is known in its home market, dating back to the start of the century but has never pulled the trigger on a production version despite very favorable reactions to the concepts at aut ...
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Land Rover fans' eyes are on Gerry McGovern as the next Defender takes shape

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 16 2015
blogs
Gerry McGovern with a Defender concept.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Redesigning an iconic vehicle is a job that’ll add plenty of gray hairs to a veteran designer’s head -- if there is any hair left.But that’s what Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s design director and chief creative officer, is facing with his current project: the next Land Rover Defender, the boxy, four-wheel-drive vehicle that has clinged to its same basic shape and remained in ...
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ZF TRW's new center airbag protects against bumping heads

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 4 2015
blogs
The center airbag helps to prevent front-seat occupants from smashing into each other during side crashes.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC:  Editor's note: A number of vehicles already offer center airbags. ZF TRW’s new center airbag is one of those products you see and instantly think, “Yeah, that makes sense.” It keeps the driver and front-seat occupant from smashing into each other when the car is hit from the side, helping to reduce trauma to the heads, shoulders and torso areas of the people up front. Dirk Schu ...
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German industry's reaction to VW scandal is another scandal

Posted 4:29 am U.S. ET, Dec. 3 2015
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER:  One day historians will examine what factors coalesced to spawn the the German auto industry's biggest corporate scandal. When they do, they might want to look at a bizarre news conference held on Tuesday by the German auto industry’s chief lobbyist, VDA President Matthias Wissmann, as a behavioral microcosm of lack of accountability that culminated in Volkswagen’s emissions scandal. ...
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VW's surreal fix turns Dieselgate drama into a comedy

Posted 9:54 am U.S. ET, Nov. 26 2015
blogs
VW says this diagram shows what is needed to fix an emissions problem in its 1.6-liter diesels.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER:  Two months into its Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen says it finally has found a silver-bullet solution. In receiving the blessing of the KBA, Germany's type approval authority, to clean up hazardous emissions from the 1.6-liter diesel, VW has now resolved the hardest aspect of its massive recall as that specific engine required technical modifications. Not only does the proposed new component bri ...
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Volvo Concept 26 imagines the interior of fully autonomous cars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 26 2015
blogs
Volvo's Concept 26 presents an all-new patented seat design that transforms depending on one of the three modes that the driver of an autonomous car can choose: Drive, Create or Relax.
JAY RAMEY:  Volvo's concept car at the Los Angeles auto show isn't a concept car at all, but rather an interface that imagines how car interiors will change after we welcome our autonomous overlords. Dubbed Concept 26, named for the average number of minutes in a daily commute to work, the concept addresses how drivers in the not-so-distant future will choose to spend their time during their commutes. &ldqu ...
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Haunting memories of another Paris attack

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 23 2015
blogs
Richard Johnson is Automotive News' Print Editor and former Editor at Automotive News Europe.
RICHARD JOHNSON:  A few weeks after I arrived in Frankfurt in the autumn of 1986 to become Automotive News' Europe reporter, the city of Paris was rocked by an act of terrorism. On Nov. 17, radical leftists shot and killed Renault President Georges Besse outside his home in the 14th arrondissement.There had been a wave of terrorism in Europe, much like today. Just a week before the assassination, a bomb set off by ...
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Citroen will stay 'quirky' after Cactus

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 17 2015
blogs
Citroen says future production models will take many designs cues from the Aircross concept.
BRUCE GAIN:  Quirky designs will continue to play a key role in Citroen’s reinvention as a brand following the launch of the unconventional Citroen C4 Cactus, Mathieu Bellamy, Citroen’s director of strategy, said. "Beginning in 2016, you will see new car launches every year that will also be very different from competing models--and definitely very quirky," Bellamy said in an interview. Future Ci ...
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Why Tesla leads larger auto players in big data

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 13 2015
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Tesla could give established automakers lessons on how to maximize big data. "They are already more advanced. They are already an OEM 2.0," says Matthias Bentenrieder, who is a partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman. He says that Tesla has a better understanding than its competitors of how to use big data to do things such as enhance its relationship with customers, monitor the performance of its ve ...
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