Automotive News Europe Blogs

Why autonomous cars should drive the way we do

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 24
blogs
Krishnan M. Anantharaman is a news editor at Automotive News.
KRISHNAN M. ANANTHARAMAN:  Imagine for a moment the comfort of having your car driven for you by a finely tuned, meticulously programmed computer, while you relax in the passenger seat, reading a novel, doing the crossword puzzle or taking in the scenery without a care. Now imagine that instead of a computer, it's a New York cabbie driving. Or your grandfather. Or your teenage daughter. Or my teenage daughter.The car is sti ...
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Why the Chinese market rout is hitting global auto brands

Posted 5:04 am U.S. ET, Aug. 21
blogs Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
 
The Chinese economy, albeit slowing, still grew 7 percent in the second quarter. But passenger vehicle sales in the country started declining in June and have shown no signs of immediate recovery -- July deliveries dropped 6.6 percent year on year. What has caused the new-car market to severely underperform China's economy? It is the sharp fall in domestic stock prices and indexes, as indicated ...
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Why Jaguar Land Rover picked 'Detroit East'

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 17
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Jesse Snyder is opinion page editor at Automotive News, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe>/i>.
JESSE SNYDER:  Jaguar Land Rover's selection of Nitra, Slovakia, for its next assembly plant dashed hopes in the U.S., Mexico and Poland. Was Slovakia's pick just another low-wage choice? Hardly. Sure, Slovak wages are lower than those in the U.S. or Mexico, maybe even Poland. But focusing on that misses a bigger point. The auto industry is on the cusp of global manufacturing parity. If you invest a billion-plus
...
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Turin auto show reboot provides hope

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 14
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BMW, Toyota and Audi were among the automakers that praised Turin's Parco Valentino auto show, which attracted 350,000 visitors over four days.
LUCA CIFERRI:  Many European cities have lost their auto shows in recent years. The big exhibitions once held in places such as Turin, London and Madrid are now part of history. Others such as the Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bologna and Brussels shows have downsized because they cannot compete with Europe’s Big Three – Frankfurt, Paris and Geneva. Automakers have focused their money and marketing on thes ...
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Skoda is poised to profit from protecting dogs in cars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 12
blogs
Skoda says its dog safety belt combines practicality and safety.
OLIVE KEOGH:  Skoda is one of the first automakers to offer a range of safety accessories to attract dog-loving motorists to the brand. The move could become a worthwhile moneymaker for Skoda if European countries and insurance companies start making it mandatory for dogs to be restrained when traveling in vehicles. Currently, the laws regulating dogs riding in cars differ from country to country, but the gen ...
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VW's Seat brand puts brakes on sportiness to lure family buyers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 12
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Adding a wagon version of the Leon helped to boost Seat's appeal to families.
NICK GIBBS:  Volkswagen Group’s Spain-based Seat brand is no longer the “Spanish Alfa Romeo” after moving away from its sporty image, CEO Juergen Stackmann said. “I’m glad we are far beyond Alfa in terms of volume and market relevance,” Stackmann told reporters at a press event in London Seat was part of VW’s Audi division along with Lamborghini from 2002 to 2007 and ...
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Germany's EV drive gets a supermarket's help

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 10
blogs
Customers at 50 Aldi stores in Germany can now charge their EVs for free. (Aldi Sued)
DAVID JOLLEY:  Despite a government vow to have 1 million electric cars on Germany’s roads by 2020, Europe’s biggest car market has been painfully slow to offer any significant incentives to push sales in the segment. But now one popular discount supermarket chain, Aldi, has introduced something that could be a major step in helping to popularize EV take-up in Germany: free charging. Aldi and energ ...
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Interiors sector will get smaller, but not too small

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 9
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Grupo Antolin’s planned purchase of most of Magna International’s interiors operations and Johnson Controls Inc.’s possible sale of its seating business are just the beginning of the upheaval in the automotive interiors world. The sector, however, will remain competitive, said an expert with vast experience in mergers and acquisitions. “I don’t see an end to the curr ...
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Alfa's last chance?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 8
blogs
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is the brand's first new volume model since 2010.
LUCA CIFERRI:  Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes that his 5 billion-euro bet on Alfa Romeo will result in eight new models that boost global sales to 400,000 vehicles by 2018 and bring an end to more than a decade of financial losses at the 105-year-old brand. If I were Marchionne, I would be very worried about not achieving those three ambitious goals – and I’m not alone. Let’s start ...
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Did Piech's prodding revive Alfa?

Posted 4:56 am U.S. ET, July 7
blogs
Jason Stein is the publisher and editor of Automotive News.
JASON STEIN:  So now that the Alfa Romeo plan is more fully hatched and the strategy is clear -- horsepower and hair-raising versions come first, and mainstream models follow -- here's a nagging question: Do we have Ferdinand Piech to thank for all of this? Are the fingerprints of the former Volkswagen supervisory board chairman all over the Alfa bet? Vielleicht, as the Germans say. Maybe. This fall will mar ...
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Why Ford stumbled with the EcoSport

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 3
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The revised Ford EcoSport no longer has a rear-mounted spare tire.
NICK GIBBS:  Ford stumbled with the EcoSport and was forced to make rapid changes to address poor sales. So what went wrong? The simple answer is that Ford didn't get the design right. In response, the revised EcoSport no longer has a rear-mounted spare tire and Ford has made styling, comfort and equipment changes to the interior just a year after the small SUV went on sale. Ford took immediate action because ...
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German carmakers are right: Grexit can save Europe

Posted 3:39 am U.S. ET, July 3
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
There is a big misconception that Germany's export-reliant carmakers favor another Greek bailout at any cost since a deal would serve their own narrow interests. It is wrong to believe they want to prevent a so-called Grexit by keeping Athens on permanent life-support as a way to maintain the appearance of a stable eurozone economy, perpetuate demand for German goods, and ensure the euro remains ...
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Swedish royalty and the XC90

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 3
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Volvo supplied 35 XC90s for last month's Swedish royal wedding.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC:  The Volvo XC90 has become synonymous with the royal family of the company’s homeland. Sweden’s royal court used 35 new-generation XC90s as courtesy cars to transport VIPs attending last month’s wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist. In addition, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden has added the premium SUV to his fleet, a Volvo source confirmed to Automotive News Eu ...
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Citroen CEO sees positive changes for women in auto industry

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 2
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Citroen CEO Linda Jackson thinks China's car business is less macho than in other countries because its history isn't rooted in the male-driven world of racing.
NICK GIBBS:  One year into her role as Citroen CEO Linda Jackson says she hasn't encountered any prejudice as a woman working a man's world. In fact, she says it's an advantage. “Being a women you can ask questions that men don't ask because they're supposed to know all these things,” she told me during a recent interview at the recent Automotive News Europe Congress. One surprise to her has been ...
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Renault Espace's Tesla-like touchscreen could be a winner

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 25
blogs
The Espace's touchscreen corresponds with the driver's view of the road, ensuring information is displayed clearly.
BRUCE GAIN:  Renault’s large, vertically mounted touchscreen on its new Espace large minivan seems like a smart move as connectivity increasingly becomes a key selling point for new vehicles. The Espace’s 8.7-inch touchscreen for controlling infotainment and driving aids has a similar layout to the signature 17-inch display on the Tesla Model S sedan. The Espace touchscreen’s portrait mode, ...
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VW pays the price for failing to respond to evolving customer needs in China

Posted 5:00 am U.S. ET, June 19
blogs Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
 
After outperforming the market for almost a decade, Volkswagen, the top-selling brand in China, has begun to lose market share. Through May, the brand's sales dipped 3.7 percent to 1.16 million vehicles. In that same period, industry sales of light vehicles in China rose 5 percent. Why has VW started to lose ground? China's soft economy is one reason. Economic growth slowed to 7 percent in the f ...
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Marchionne's merger mania: Why now?

Posted 5:34 am U.S. ET, June 16
blogs

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and related companies, has a number of honorifics and titles on his resume. But there is one important task that doesn't get talked about that much: Sherpa. I refer to Marchionne's desperate quest to find a merger partner for FCA. He is shouldering the load for the billionaire Agnelli family that employs him. Actually, Marchionne reminds me mo ...
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Life or death decisions

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 12
blogs
This Audi A7 concept covered almost 900km largely on autopilot from Palo Alto, California, to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
LUCA CIFERRI:  In the near future I could be writing this column from the driver’s seat of my car while the vehicle steers itself along the highway. This highlights just one of the possibilities that self-driving and increasingly connected cars open up to people like me who are fascinated by any new technology. Audi’s sales and marketing chief, Luca de Meo, one of the brightest auto executives I hav ...
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The incredible power of praise

Posted 1:55 am U.S. ET, June 10
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
The industry's up-and-coming executives require something their old-school bosses are often reluctant to give: praise. This deficiency can be the difference in losing or keeping a game-changing team member, said Gabi Whitefield, who along with being global public relations director at Land Rover is a member of the Automotive News Europe Rising Stars Club. Whitfield was asked to speak last night d ...
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The steep road ahead for Alfa in the U.S.

Posted 8:17 am U.S. ET, June 8
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Alfa Romeo returned to the U.S. market last November with the 4C.
RICHARD TRUETT:  A 44-year-old Alfa Romeo Montreal sports coupe that sold new for $6,000 brought $176,000 at a classic car auction in Arizona. Some older Alfas are commanding auction prices more than 10 times higher than just five years ago. There is no doubt that Alfa Romeo fans -- the Alfisti -- are passionate. But there is enough doubt that there are enough of them to bring the brand back to life after a 20-ye ...
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Mitsubishi should focus on SUVs to boost Europe sales

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 4
blogs
The XR-PHEV II previewed the next-generation ASX, Mitsubishi's No. 2 seller in Europe.
NICK GIBBS:  Mitsubishi should become an SUV-only brand in Europe positioned below Land Rover to boost its profitability and sales volume, the brand’s UK boss believes. The Japanese automaker’s European volume is already tilted toward SUVs after the company axed its slow-selling Lancer compact car in some European markets including the UK. This left the Mirage/Space Star hatchback as the brand&rsq ...
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VW says the Golf will be first car to offer gesture controls

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 3
blogs

JAY RAMEY:  The updated Volkswagen Golf, due in 2016, will add gesture controls to its "Star Trek"-style touch screens, AutoExpress reports. VW presented the new in-car technology in the Golf R Touch concept last week at CES Asia in Shanghai. It previews the production version of interior tech that the face-lifted Golf will receive when it goes on sale in late 2016. The driver and passengers will ...
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Honda works smart to fill UK plant

Posted 4:52 am U.S. ET, May 20
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
Honda has reduced the problem of drastic undercapacity at its factory in Swindon, England, by inviting suppliers to utilize the empty space. Honda has been building cars in Swindon since 1992, and in 2001 it responded to rising demand for its models by building a second plant to lift capacity by 100,000 units to 250,000 cars. But the Japanese automaker was hit hard by the European economic slump ...
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Piech casts shadow over Porsche's annual meeting

Posted 9:43 am U.S. ET, May 13
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
Ferdinand Piech did it again. The 78-year old patriarch upstaged his younger cousin Wolfgang Porsche and former protege Martin Winterkorn by missing the annual meeting of the family holding company that holds a majority stake in Volkswagen Group. Wolfgang Porsche had to field questions that almost solely dealt with his missing relative at the Porsche SE shareholders meeting on Wednesday after Pie ...
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BMW's days of easy money in China are over

Posted 6:30 am U.S. ET, May 8
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News EuropeGermany correspondent.
 
Investors alarmed by a substantial drop in profits from BMW's Chinese joint venture with Brilliance received few reassurances that this will change anytime soon, as BMW executives braced the market for a profit-eroding performance in China weighed down by rising investment costs and an aging product lineup. BMW's earnings from its joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive look to have nearly ...
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