Automotive News Europe Blogs

Fiat would find a safe haven in VW

Posted 4:59 am U.S. ET, July 29
blogs Guido Reinking is editor-in-chief of Automobilwoche, a sister publication of Automotive News Europe.
 
Some things sound so improbable that you think that they just might be true. Reports that Volkswagen may buy Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) come under this category. VW patriarch Ferdinand Piech has always been interested in buying Fiat's Alfa Romeo and Ferrari units, but the likelihood of VW acquiring the whole of FCA seems absurd. However, the idea has its appeal: It would allow VW to overcome its weaknes ...
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VW, Ford, Nissan eye China's entry-level market

Posted 4:35 am U.S. ET, July 28
blogs
Nissan's Venucia R30 is the lowest-priced subcompact that any global brand has sold in China. (Nissan)
YANG JIAN:  SHANGHAI -- For a long time, global automakers have been reluctant to sell inexpensive vehicles in China because they didn't want to reduce the healthy profit margins on their products. But the landscape is changing and now foreign automakers are jumping into China's entry-level market. Nissan's Chinese joint venture last week introduced a rebadged Nissan March. Marketed as the Venucia R30, the ...
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With its new minivan, BMW ditches rwd for practicality

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 20
blogs
To preserve its sporty image, BMW is targeting the 2-series Active Tourer minivan at outdoor enthusiasts.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER:  Even auto industry darling BMW has to obey the laws of physics: a rear-wheel-drive car that is compact yet roomy is a paradox. So for traditional fans of the luxury brand, the 2-series Active Tourer minivan is nothing less than a heresy on wheels -- the first modern-era BMW-badged car where power from a transversely mounted engine is applied to the front axle. The 2-series Active Tourer is perhap ...
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PSA may be better off without Thierry Peugeot

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 11
blogs
Thierry Peugeot, pictured on the large screen, was the Peugeot family strongman but has now lost his seat on the PSA board.
BRUCE GAIN:  PSA/Peugeot-Citroen’s future could be brighter following the departure of its influential former chairman Thierry Peugeot from the automaker’s supervisory board. Thierry’s departure signals the end of dissent among Peugeot family members over the automaker’s capital tie-up with China’s Dongfeng Motor, industry watchers say. Thierry publicly opposed the terms of Dong ...
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Gesture recognition makes dials, buttons obsolete

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 1
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Buttons and dials may become obsolete to control your car's radio, heater and navigation system. That’s because those functions can now be managed with the wave of the hand. Gesture-recognition technology could appear in a production car as early as next year, SoftKinetic Chief Marketing Officer Eric Krzeslo told me on the sidelines of the we.CONECT Car HMI Concepts & Systems conference ...
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Will global automakers drop Chinese partners?

Posted 7:32 am U.S. ET, June 30
blogs
Yang Jian is Managing Editor of Automotive News China
YANG JIAN:  Under China's regulations, foreign automakers may not own more than 50 percent of their joint ventures with Chinese partners. But that may change. Since President Xi Jinping took office early last year, he has repeatedly pledged to shore up China's economic growth by opening up the domestic market. Heeding the pledge, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said last year that the government wo ...
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BMW's iDrive earns high marks, but doesn't match Apple

Posted 7:37 am U.S. ET, June 27
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
BMW’s iDrive system ranked highest in Germany and Italy for user experience in a recent test, but the automaker and its peers have a long way to go to match Apple. The overall user experience score for automakers’ human-machine interface (HMI) systems was 4.3 out of a possible 6.0. By comparison, the iPhone scores well above 5.0, said Tim Bosenick, global head of user experience at G ...
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At PSA, Tavares echoes Renault's management template

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 24
blogs Bruce Gain is an Automotive News Europe correspondent in France.
 
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen CEO Carlos Tavares’s new global management structure for the struggling automaker is very much like the one he left behind at Renault when he was Carlos Ghosn's No. 2. Tavares has appointed six regional directors to help ensure that PSA is profitable in all its regions. When he presented his Back in the Race turnaround plan for PSA in April, Tavares questioned why the au ...
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Toyota exec ready to 'help' Nissan in Europe

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 23
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Toyota Europe CEO Didier Leroy says he’s ready to “help” Nissan achieve its stated goal of becoming the top-selling Japanese automaker in the region by 2016. Why? Because Leroy says he puts profit before volume. Leroy says he recently joked with some counterparts from Nissan about the automaker's desire to pass Toyota in Europe. He says he told them: “You want to be the No ...
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Walter de Silva: Italy's loss, VW's gain

Posted 6:37 am U.S. ET, June 13
blogs
Walter de Silva was awarded an honorary degree in design from Bologna University this month.
LUCA CIFERRI:  Walter de Silva is finally getting the recognition he deserves from his homeland. The Volkswagen Group styling czar this month was awarded an honorary degree in design from Bologna University. It comes 16 years after he, like so many Italians, he had to leave the country to achieve global success in his field. De Silva’s departure could have been prevented. In 1998 he was looking for a new ...
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Ford of Europe's quiet designer made a big impact

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 6
blogs
Martin Smith has left a major mark on Ford's designs. Smith, 64, retires as design director at Ford of Europe on July 1.
BRADFORD WERNLE:  The Sunday Times of London once referred to him as "Audi's Modest Mr. Smith."Indeed, Martin Smith, Ford's longtime European executive design director, is not a man of many words. The taciturn native of Sheffield, England, has always preferred to let his vehicle designs do the talking from his long career at Audi through stints at Porsche and Opel and the last 10 years at Ford of Europe. Ford annou ...
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Toyota Europe boss shares secrets to his success

Posted 1:22 am U.S. ET, June 4
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Toyota Europe CEO Didier Leroy says that to become a true leader you should not worry about making your boss happy. “Do what you believe is right for the company, not what you think will please your boss,” Leroy said during his keynote speech at the 2014 Automotive News Europe Rising Stars awards presentation last night. His other advice to the 14 future leaders of the global automot ...
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Zetsche sees speedy uptake of F1 tech in Mercedes cars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 30
blogs
Mercedes' racecars have won all six F1 events this year.
LUCA CIFERRI:  Dieter Zetsche foresees Mercedes models benefiting quicker than ever from the automaker’s participation in Formula One. F1’s switch to 1.6-liter V-6 turbocharged gasoline engines from 2.4-liter V-8 normally aspirated units has made the racecars more like high-end production cars. That means Mercedes is gaining invaluable experience under extreme conditions on how to get superior perf ...
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How PSA's DS division aims to sell French chic worldwide

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 29
blogs
The DS World in Paris showcases DS models in three separate yet relatively small showrooms on three floors.
BRUCE GAIN:  PSA/Peugeot-Citroen’s Paris dealership dedicated to the upscale DS brand is much like a high-end French restaurant: cozy, understated but chic. PSA plans to replicate the traits it offers at DS World in Paris in cities around the world where it believes there is unmet demand for French luxury goods. My visit to DS World in Paris, the only stand-alone DS outlet in Europe, gave me a first-ha ...
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Mini boss experiences love at first sight

Posted 5:43 am U.S. ET, May 26
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer's passion for the Superleggera Vision concept is the strongest that I have experienced during my 35 years covering the auto industry. One look at the car and it is easy to understand why. “It was love of at first sight,” Schwarzenbauer told me with some tears in his eyes, which he could not take off the stunning concept while we spoke. “With cars i ...
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Zetsche on EU: Relish the peace

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 23
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche says it is important not to lose sight of the many benefits of a united Europe. One he never takes for granted is peace. “I was born in 1953 after centuries of terrible wars within Europe. I have lived all my life in peace and constantly enjoy the privilege of crossing national frontiers without even realizing it, of being friends with people from Italy, from Fran ...
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Google self-driving cars master delicate dance of city driving

Posted 1:19 pm U.S. ET, May 14
blogs
Google's Christopher Urmson, pictured, and the engineers in charge of self-driving software took journalists on a 25-minute loop through the city streets of Mountain View. (Reuters)
GABE NELSON:  Sitting in one of Google’s self-driving vehicles feels just the same as it does with a person in control. As I sat in the backseat of one of Google’s modified Lexus RX 450h crossovers with test drivers in the front seats, I found myself absent-mindedly and comfortably gazing out the window because it felt just like a human was in control. On Tuesday, the technology giant pulled open ...
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Marchionne lets the secrets flow

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 13
blogs Jason Stein is Publisher and Editor of Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive News
 
Some called the concept audacious (eight brands, 14 speakers and 19 PowerPoint presentations -- in one day?). Others compared the 10-hour session to a "hostage situation." And most couldn't believe the detail -- "there are 87 pages in the Fiat brand presentation!" said one Twitter follower.As if Sergio Marchionne and his ubiquitous black sweater haven't done enough to shake up fashion, last week h ...
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Citroen's incoming CEO worked wonders in the UK

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 9
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
Citroen's new CEO, Linda Jackson, has proved herself in the UK by reducing image-harming discounts, boosting vehicle sales and creating a positive relationship with dealers. Jackson will try to continue the success when she, the first Brit and the first woman to lead Citroen, takes the controls of the French brand on June 1. After she became Citroen's UK and Ireland managing director for Citroen ...
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Ghosn aims for No. 3 spot for Renault-Nissan

Posted 7:17 am U.S. ET, May 8
blogs Bruce Gain is an Automotive News Europe correspondent in France.
 
After getting a new mandate as Renault CEO through to 2018, Carlos Ghosn has high ambitions for the automaker and its partner Nissan. He wants to catch industry leaders Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen. Ghosn, 60, was reappointed as CEO at Renault's annual meeting by a majority of 85 percent. His mid- to long-term objective is to "install Renault-Nissan as one of the top three global automak ...
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Marchionne asks for 3 more years of patience

Posted 8:22 am U.S. ET, May 7
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne’s new five-year plan for the automaker won’t start rewarding shareholders until 2017 at the earliest. Some wonder if there will ever be a payout. What we do know is that there will be no dividends for at least the next three years. Not while Fiat Chrysler makes massive investments to globalize Jeep and to relaunch Alfa Romeo. Those expen ...
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Sergio's open playbook

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 7
blogs Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive News.
 
DETROIT -- Fiat Chrysler executives did something highly unusual Tuesday: They revealed to analysts and media key pillars of the company’s product plans, financial goals and sales targets for the next five years. Most automakers keep their playbooks secret for as long as possible. They don’t tip their hands because they don’t want to give rivals time to devise strategies to dera ...
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Marchionne follows the money

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 6
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Why is Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne today presenting his latest business plan for the Italian automaker at Chrysler's U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, and not at Fiat's base in Turin? The answer: He's following the money. Auburn Hills is much closer to the world's financial capital, New York's Wall Street, than Turin. Marchionne plans to list the newly combined Fiat Chrysler Au ...
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Rising Stars ready to shine

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 5
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Fourteen of Europe's most talented young automotive executives have been chosen as Rising Stars by Automotive News Europe. The 2014 winners will honored in Brussels next month. From automakers to suppliers, manufacturing to human resources, finance to information technology, each Rising Star has spearheaded change and made progress up the career ladder. The 2014 Rising Stars are: Fabrizio Cur ...
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Bill Ford basks in harmonious transition

Posted 4:11 pm U.S. ET, May 1
blogs
Thursday was a victory lap of sorts for Mulally, Ford and Fields, who will succeed Mulally on July 1. (REUTERS)
BRADFORD WERNLE:  Thursday was a joyous day at Ford Motor's global headquarters. Chairman Bill Ford sat on the dais between the man who saved the family company -- outgoing CEO Alan Mulally -- and Mark Fields, the man charged with leading Ford into the future. There were smiles, hugs and standing ovations all around. Employees and journalists had just witnessed a rare thing indeed -- the apparently harmonious tran ...
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