Automotive News Europe blogs

Labor gain and strain loom from EV shift

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 24
blogs
It takes 50% more time to make a hybrid powertrain compared with a conventional engine while EVs take 40% less time. (Source: AlixPartners)
ANDREA MALAN:  When a staunch EV skeptic such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne becomes a believer in electrification it leaves little doubt that battery-powered cars will play a significant role in the industry's future sooner rather than later. "Electrification is here," Marchionne told analysts in late July. He said the switch to 48-volt mild hybrids, full hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and batte ...
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Why Volvo picked XC40 to launch VIP service

Posted 5:30 am U.S. ET, Sept. 21
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson knew long ago that he wanted to do something special with the XC40, which is the first expansion of the Swedish automaker’s portfolio since the arrival of the XC60 in 2008. “His vision was clear,” Volvo marketing expert Thomas Andersson told me when discussing Samuelsson's vision. “You enjoy the vehicle. We will take care of the rest.” To ...
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Volvo designer achieves rare feat with XC40

Posted 7:30 am U.S. ET, Sept. 21
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Kettle says his XC40 drawing succeeded because he didn't create a scaled-down version of Volvo's bigger SUVs.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  With the XC40 Volvo achieved a rare feat because the SUV's look is the same as the day it was first drawn. “We were convinced we had something in our hands with this car,” Volvo Chief Design Officer Thomas Ingenlath said of the day four years ago he saw that early image of the car. “We took it from a tiny sketch to this,” he added at a press event ahead of the compact SUV ...
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Zetsche strikes a humble tone for German automakers

Posted 3:00 am U.S. ET, Sept. 19
blogs Peter Sigal is a France-based correspondent with Automotive News Europe.
 
FRANKFURT -- These have not been the happiest of times for the German auto industry. Fallout from the VW Group emissions scandal continues to weigh on consumer confidence, and has placed executives in the uncomfortable position of defendants. Antitrust regulators are investigating accusations that automakers secretly discussed parts, suppliers and standards and even Chancellor Angela Merkel, a s ...
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How Ghosn will push alliance to 14 million sales

Posted 8:49 am U.S. ET, Sept. 15
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Ghosn said that most of the alliance's growth will come from emerging economies. (Reuters)
PETER SIGAL:  PARIS -- Carlos Ghosn has always been careful to say that the success of the Renault-Nissan alliance should be measured in synergies among the partners, not sales growth. Even so, Ghosn said last Friday that the alliance that he chairs, which now includes Mitsubishi, would be selling 14 million vehicles annually by 2022, a 33 percent increase over this year. The alliance was the world's No. 1 aut ...
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Ex-BMW design wunderkind Bangle resurfaces and riffs on 'banality'

Posted 1:01 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 13
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Chris Bangle at a presentation of the lalest BMW 7 Series in Moscow's Red Square in July 2008. (BMW)
RICHARD JOHNSON :  FRANKFURT -- Chris Bangle is back! Back at the Frankfurt auto show. Back in the car business. Back in the groove. The famed former BMW boy wonder who talks really, really fast, but perhaps not as fast as he thinks, pointedly avoided automotive clients at Chris Bangle Associates, the consultancy he formed in 2009 after 17 years as BMW Group's chief of design. Operating in a small town in Italy, ...
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What's really juicing the latest 'armada' of EVs?

Posted 5:49 pm U.S. ET, Sept. 12
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BMW's Z4 electric concept at the Frankfurt auto show on Tuesday. (BLOOMBERG)
RICHARD JOHNSON :  FRANKFURT -- After the electric parade that was the 2009 Frankfurt auto show (where the term "electrification" became a household word, believe it or not ) the EV dream flickered and appeared to die. With its legion of battery electric and plug-in hybrid concepts, this show eight years ago was a sign of things not to come. So what happened around mid-2016 that got automakers around the world rec ...
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Daimler reveals the dark secret behind EVs

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 12
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Daimler has revealed the dark secret that explains exactly why the German auto industry has been so loath to embrace electric cars until now, years after Elon Musk founded Tesla and Carlos Ghosn pushed electrification at Nissan and Renault. The German automaker on Monday acknowledged that a roll out of EVs, even those with its iconic three-pointed star on the hood, will cannibalize sales from the ...
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Carlos and Dieter show takes a break

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 11
blogs
Zetsche, left, and Ghosn will not have a joint press conference to discuss their alliance with reporters this year.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  The "Carlos and Dieter Show" will not take place this year at the Frankfurt auto show, which could be a sign of trouble. Hearing Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche update the progress of their strategic alliance has been a highlight of Europe's big autumn car show since 2011. Whether the show took place in Paris or Frankfurt, you could count on Ghosn and Zetsche's new ...
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Fast-changing Frankfurt

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
How things have changed. At the 2015 Frankfurt auto show, Martin Winterkorn was the unchallenged CEO of Volkswagen Group and General Motors was boldly predicting that its chronic money-loser Opel was on the verge of finally being profitable. Neither Winterkorn nor GM will be in the Frankfurt spotlight this year. Today, Winterkorn’s name only comes up in relation to ongoing litigation relat ...
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Why Jaguar won't show the I-Pace at Frankfurt

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 9
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The Jaguar I-Pace concept.
NICK GIBBS :  Jaguar Land Rover said on Thursday that it will offer electrified variants of all its new models starting 2020. Curiously, the company is not following up the announcement by unveiling the production version of Jaguar's first battery-powered vehicle, the I-Pace crossover, at the Frankfurt auto show. The car's absence looks like a missed opportunity. Jaguar will be the first of the premium Europe ...
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Zetsche first CEO to fulfill oft-broken F1 promise

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs
The Mercedes Project One road car will have the same engine that Mercedes uses in its F1 racer.
LUCA CIFERRI :  Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche is the first CEO I know to fulfill his promise to transfer his company’s Formula One technology to a road-ready vehicle. It’s taken 60 years to see this happen, but the Mercedes-AMG Project One supercar, which will debut at the Frankfurt auto show, appears to be the closest thing to a F1 racecar that money can buy. Racing business insiders tell me the produ ...
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First impressions of Audi's self-driving system

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 9
blogs
Audi says its new A8 is the first production car with Level 3 autonomy.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  The Level 3 autonomous driving technology in the new Audi A8, which will be on display at the upcoming Frankfurt auto show, has some interesting highlights. That was my takeaway after getting an in-depth look at how Traffic Jam Pilot works. First of all, it only functions on two-lane highways separated from oncoming traffic by some physical barrier. When the car’s brain, the zFAS motherboar ...
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Future drivers may own just a steering wheel, Jaguar foresees

Posted 9:35 am U.S. ET, Sept. 7
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The Future-Type electric concept has three seats that allow passengers to face each other.
NICK GIBBS :  Jaguar thinks future drivers may not own a car. Instead they will have a personal steering wheel that they attach to a self-driving vehicle from a car-sharing pool. Jaguar unveiled the steering wheel on Thursday in London in its Future-Type concept, which looks forward to 2040 when the automaker predicts cars will be ordered on demand rather than owned. The voice-activated, connected - and detac ...
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Why Volvo thinks you're a great driver, but still wants to help

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 6
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Volvo estimates that a person has a one in 54 million chance of causing an car accident. "People make few mistakes while driving, relatively speaking," said Mikael Ljung Aust, who is Volvo's expert in crash avoidance. "Therefore, it's hard to educate people to perform better." Volvo, however, says a recent assessment of data from drivers who allowed cameras to monitor them while on the road show ...
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Why it makes sense for Great Wall to buy Jeep

Posted 3:16 am U.S. ET, Aug. 25
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Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  Wang Fengying, president of Great Wall Motor Co. told Automotive News last week that Great Wall wants to buy Jeep and was "connecting with FCA" to begin negotiations. Fiat Chrysler subsequently denied that it had been contacted, but the Italian-American automaker should not give Wang the cold shoulder. A deal would make perfect sense not only for Great Wall, but also Fiat Chrysler. For Great Wal ...
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Tesla pulls up short in Germany test run

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 22
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Proponents of battery-powered electric cars talk about range anxiety as if it is some conspiracy to marginalize the technology. Recently, however, one of Germany's strongest EV proponents decided to ditch his Tesla Model S for this very reason, according to information obtained via Germany's Freedom of Information Act. Earlier this year, Johannes Remmel, a member of the eco-friendly Green Party a ...
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A peek inside's VW's secret fortress

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 10
blogs
A VW researcher uses virtual reality to test the handover of control of a self-driving car in Chinese traffic.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  It takes about a half hour driving north from Wolfsburg along a lonely stretch of route A300 to reach Ehra-Lessien, Germany. It's a speck on the map. There's nothing around for miles. Well, almost nothing. After passing through a dense forest, a clearing opens to reveal Volkswagen's secretive proving grounds. Signs at the front gate tells visitors "radio transmissions are monitored" and warns abo ...
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German diesel summit must succeed in restoring confidence in fuel

Posted 5:25 am U.S. ET, Aug. 1
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Germany correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  What Volkswagen Group's emissions fraud failed to achieve, Stuttgart Mayor Fritz Kuhn may accomplish: turn Germans against their diesel cars. Kuhn’s plan to ban most cars powered by diesel engines from entering the city – the cradle of Germany's auto industry – has grabbed headlines in Germany and paved the way for other cities to do likewise. Stuttgart’s municipal author ...
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German industry fears image blow over cartel probe

Posted 4:16 am U.S. ET, July 25
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Germany correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
:  Germany's auto industry fears its image will suffer another severe blow after EU antitrust authorities said they would investigate claims that BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group operated a cartel for parts such as emissions treatment systems and convertible roofs. The industry already is suffering damage to its reputation because of VW Group's emissions-cheating scandal. News of the cartel prompte ...
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Audi copies Silicon Valley risk-taking culture with self-driving A8

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 24
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Stadler speaks to 2,000 media representatives and 'influencers' at the A8 unveil in Barcelona.
NICK GIBBS :  Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been studying Silicon Valley’s risk-taking culture and with the brand’s new A8 self-driving flagship sedan, he is putting into practice what he has learned. At the 2015 Frankfurt auto show, Stadler admiringly described the difference in business culture between companies in Silicon Valley and Europe. “In Europe everything is forbidden until it is allo ...
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How the iPhone has changed our industry

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 14
blogs

KRISHNAN M. ANANTHARAMAN :  We were happy to let the tech press gush over the 10th anniversary of the iPhone last month. Like doting parents, they continue to regard each milestone in the iPhone's brief life as a cause for celebration, apparently ignorant of the engineering miracles required to design and build a modern motor vehicle. Nonetheless, on this occasion at least, we ought to acknowledge the profound influence the ...
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Bentley Bentayga plug-in taps VW Group parts bin

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 13
blogs
A Bentley Bentayga on display in March at the Geneva auto show (BLOOMBERG)
JAY RAMEY:  After the debut of the diesel Bentayga, packing a triple-charged 4.0-liter V-8 engine generating 429 hp, there was really only one unexplored powertrain option for Bentley's luxury tank: a hybrid. A plug-in hybrid Bentayga is indeed in the works, and prototypes have been spotted testing in the UK, Auto Express reports. Yes, ultimately this means the Bentayga will be able to take advantage of diam ...
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Dissecting Europe's automotive numbers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 12
blogs Luca Ciferri is associate publisher and editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Luxembourg has the youngest car parc in Europe while Poland has the oldest. Germany has the highest number of people directly employed in vehicle manufacturing in Europe but Spain has the highest output per worker. Turkey is the largest vehicle exporter to the EU in term of units, but Japan accounts for the highest import value of cars to the region. Europe's diesel penetration is down, but electr ...
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Renault design boss knows which line matters most

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 11
blogs
Laurens van den Acker, pictured with the current Clio subcompact. He says the success of the car gave him "a bit of breathing room.”
PETER SIGAL:  PARIS -- When discussing automotive design, the word “line” gets used often. We talk about a vehicle’s beltline, roofline and the sightlines from the driver’s seat. Attractive cars have “nice lines.” Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker has his own take on the word. “There’s an expression, ‘The most beautiful line is the line of a risin ...
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