Automotive News Europe blogs

Lotus can thrive under Geely

Posted 5:47 am U.S. ET, May 24
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
The decision by China's Geely to take a majority stake in Lotus Cars is great news for the unprofitable British sports-car maker. Geely is already making positive noises about revitalizing the underfunded company, saying in a statement that it "aimed to unleash the full potential of Lotus Cars and bring it into a new phase of development by expanding and accelerating the rolling out of new produc ...
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How Renault plans to keep the Captur ahead of rivals

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 19
blogs
The Captur gets a tweaked radiator grille to bring it more into line with the brand's crossover family. Also added are a chrome strip and skid plates.
PETER SIGAL:  In his play about the English king, Henry IV, Shakespeare had the troubled monarch say: "Uneasy lies a head that wears the crown." I was reminded of that Shakespeare quote (Henry IV, Part 2) on a recent test drive of Renault’s updated Captur in Denmark by a sign for Helsingor, the Danish seaport better known as Elsinore, where Hamlet brooded in his castle. Introduced in 2013, the Captur ha ...
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After attracting top suppliers, Macedonia eyes bigger prize

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 10
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Macedonia has spent the last decade establishing itself as open for business to global automotive suppliers because of its availability of skilled, low-cost labor, proximity to key European markets and its willingness to provide generous tax incentives. It has also made reforms that have improved its place in the World Bank’s annual ease of doing business ranking to 10th out of 190 economies ...
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Why VW brand's plunging revenue is good news

Posted 7:14 am U.S. ET, May 3
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  One aspect of Volkswagen Group's first-quarter report that jumps out the most is the plunge in revenue at its core VW brand: its top line collapsed by 24 percent versus the previous year to 19 billion euros, a level not seen since 2010. What's odd is that VW brand's vehicle deliveries to retail customers shrank only 1.3 percent during the quarter, while earnings jumped to an impressive 869 millio ...
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VW has no compelling reason to sell Ducati

Posted 4:33 am U.S. ET, May 2
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
:  Despite being a motorcycle fan with a penchant for Italian brands, I never believed for a second there was any industrial logic behind Volkswagen’s 747-million-euro acquisition of Ducati. BMW can attest that the few synergies that exist come largely from adapting four-wheel technology such as antilock brakes for two-wheel applications. Motorbikes are simply a different animal. Freed of burd ...
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China's bigger families are good news for minivan sales

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 28
blogs
Geely's MPV Concept is a sleek people mover rather than a boxy minivan.
LUCA CIFERRI :  China's scrapping of its one-child per family policy has created an unexpected increase in minivan sales. In Europe and the U.S., minivans have been in freefall for years as customers switch to SUVs and crossovers. Those bodystyles are also growing in popularity in China, but sales of large minivans are also surging with volume up 27 percent to 1.63 million last year, according to IHS Markit "It ...
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Volvo exec says risk factor for XC60 exceeds XC90

Posted 5:09 am U.S. ET, April 27
blogs
Production of the new XC60 started Wednesday at Volvo's plant in Torslanda, Sweden. The first customer-bound car, shown, was a white T5 Inscription variant with all-wheel drive. It rolled off the assembly line just before noon.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Volvo's r&d boss says the new XC60 is even more of a high-risk model than the second-generation XC90. “The last years of its life cycle the XC90 wasn't really up to the competition of the other premium brands,” Henrik Green, who replaced Peter Mertens as r&d chief at the Swedish brand five months ago, told a small group of journalists this week at the company's headquarters in ...
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Germany's auto industry welcomes prospect of Macron presidency in France

Posted 8:34 am U.S. ET, April 24
blogs
Macron greets supporters after securing a place in the final round of voting for the presidency. (Reuters)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Sunday's election outcome in France, in which a moderate Europhile investment banker won the first round of the presidential vote, was met with relief by German's auto industry. The victory by Emmanuel Macron over leading far-right populist Marine Le Pen – widely expected to be confirmed in two-weeks' time in the run-off – is seen as a victory for the euro, free trade and open borders ...
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China lands Chevy Volt in a Buick wrapper

Posted 8:14 am U.S. ET, April 20
blogs

JAY RAMEY:  Buick rolled out its version of the Chevrolet Volt for the Chinese market this week, with the upscale hybrid dubbed Velite 5 in the Middle Kingdom. Buick offers far more models in China than it does in the U.S., and analysts predicted a Buick version of the Volt would be offered there before the second-generation model even debuted. Just like the Volt, the Buick Velite 5 will be powered by two el ...
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Tavares' tall task for PSA and Opel: brand management

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 7
blogs Luca Ciferri is associate publisher and editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
The buzz at last month's Geneva auto show was what would PSA CEO Carlos Tavares do to streamline his enlarged stable of brands, given that Citroen, Peugeot and new addition Opel/Vauxhall all compete in Europe's saturated volume car market. If that's not challenging enough, Tavares' near-premium DS brand has a long way to go to get on the same shopping list as a BMW, Audi or Jaguar. Tavares said h ...
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After record high, UK's 'treasure island' status is set to end

Posted 4:32 am U.S. ET, April 6
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
After March new-car registrations hit an all-time high in the UK, analysts predict an end to the market's long run as a "treasure island" for profits. For the past five years, sales have boomed in Europe's No. 2 market after Germany, helped by easy credit that encouraged to automakers to import surplus production from continental Europe. As many of those sales were premium models and better-equip ...
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Volvo CEO keeps his hiring promise

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 5
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson wants to make the Swedish automaker “younger, more diverse and more international,” he told me in an interview earlier this year. He achieved all three with the hiring of Martina Buchhauser. When Buchhauser officially joins Volvo later this year the 50-year-old German will be the third woman and the sixth non-Swede on Volvo’s executive management ...
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Piech's problem: his 'small-minded' family

Posted 5:29 am U.S. ET, April 4
blogs
Piech is walking away from his life's work at VW.
:  Ferdinand Piech's decision to sell his stake in his family's holding company that owns a majority stake in Volkswagen Group ends a lifetime spent in almost constant conflict with relatives he saw little use for. Piech will sell the bulk of his 14.7 percent ordinary shares in Porsche SE, which controls 52.2 percent of VW Group's voting stock. He will leave Porsche SE's board when the transaction f ...
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Will the quality ghosts of British Leyland haunt Tesla?

Posted 11:28 am U.S. ET, April 4
blogs
A Tesla Model 3 outside the company's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, in July 2016. (BLOOMBERG)
RICHARD TRUETT :  Elon Musk, born in June 1971, may know little about the defunct UK automaker British Leyland. But he may very well learn -- painfully -- some of the lessons that eventually killed what was once the General Motors of Britain. In the summer of 1968, a massive merger of British Motor Holdings and Leyland Motor Corp. created the world’s sixth-largest automaker. British Leyland consisted of Jagu ...
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Tavares has the tools to make PSA-Opel a success

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 4
blogs
CEO Carlos Tavares has restored PSA Group to profitability and pushed it beyond its traditional European focus to global markets. Can he do the same for Opel? (REUTERS)
PETER SIGAL:  PSA Group’s pending acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall has all the makings of a prime-time television drama. Just two years after rescuing his company from near-bankruptcy, CEO Carlos Tavares has staked his legacy on the purchase of a German rival that has consistently lost hundreds of millions of euros a year. What’s more, the sale vaults Tavares past his former mentor at Renault, Carlos G ...
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Volvo dealers get crash course on conquests

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 31
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Volvo’s head of Europe says that his dealers have had to get used to something new: knowing how to cash in on conquest sales. “Two to three years ago we didn't have any conquest sales. Now it's a factor that we have to work on,” Anders Gustafsson told me. “We have to educate our dealers on which cars and which trim lines to take as a trade.” For years, Volvo's lineu ...
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How China dealer association resolved Audi's dealer crisis

Posted 3:59 am U.S. ET, March 31
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
:  China's industry associations are a sleepy lot. Created to advise government agencies, they often act more like bureaucrats than as advocates for members. But the China Automobile Dealers Association has busted the mold. This month, the group successfully mediated a dispute between Audi and its dealers that threatened to blow up into all-out war. The standoff started four months ago. Audi is anx ...
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Lithium next German power play?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 28
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen came together to acquire Nokia's HERE high-definition mapping unit in 2015, and they combined efforts when deciding to build an ultrafast charging network for electric vehicles in Europe. So will the German companies join forces to secure a sufficient supply of lithium, a crucial raw material for battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids? BMW, for one, seems willi ...
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Shanghai show to measure progress of China's would-be Teslas

Posted 4:19 am U.S. ET, March 24
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  At least six startups funded by Chinese backers have hatched plans to develop high-performance electric vehicles. They all want to be the next Tesla, but most of them have yet to reveal a single vehicle. It's logical to wonder how much progress these companies have made. Well, the ideal place to check it out will be the Shanghai auto show, which opens on April 20. The auto show's organizers hav ...
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Why VW patriarch Piech's parting will be bitter

Posted 8:16 am U.S. ET, March 22
blogs
Piech mocked his family for years. Now it seems they have had enough.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Ferdinand Piech's plan to burn all bridges to his life’s work and sell his indirect stake in Volkswagen Group shows a bitter man, family members believe. Piech's relatives believe he has become increasingly embittered since resigning from the Volkswagen Group board in April 2015, a source close to the Porsche and Piech families told me. The final trigger that opened the door for Piech to b ...
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Why city mayors may dictate which cars will rule the roads

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 18
blogs
Paris wants diesel-powered vehicles removed from its streets by 2025 to help reduce air pollution. (Reuters)
LUCA CIFERRI :  PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares is scared that the mayors of the world's biggest cities -- especially those in Europe -- will have a powerful say in which powertrains will rule the road because they can dictate which types of vehicles will be allowed inside their metropolitan areas. "Do you expect me to be happy at 85 riding a bicycle in Paris on a cold, snowy day?" Tavares asked reporters on the si ...
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How Aston Martin could help make your life better

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 17
blogs
Aston Martin's track-only Vulcan supercar is the first production model equipped with Nexcel's oil management technology.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Aston Martin is playing a key role in reducing CO2 and giving back a huge amount of lost time to car owners. How? By allowing its track-only Vulcan supercar to be the first production model equipped with a potentially game-changing oil management technology created by Castrol subsidiary Nexcel. The system reduces tailpipe CO2 emissions by allowing the engine to warm up faster. This is possible be ...
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Audi CEO's polished exterior shows cracks amid diesel scandal

Posted 5:53 am U.S. ET, March 17
blogs
Stadler's role as Audi CEO is under fire. He is pictured at the company's annual news conference on Wednesday. (Reuters)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  There are few German top managers as practiced as Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. This week however the polished veneer began to wear away in the steady flow of questions related to his role in the lead up to Volkswagen Group's diesel-emissions scandal. Just three hours before Stadler was due to present his company's annual results at its headquarters in Bavaria, Germany, public prosecutors had raided o ...
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As VW exits crisis, the press spins next chapter like pirate radio

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 15
blogs
VW CEO Matthias Mueller, center, and other company executives during the company's annual news conference in Wolfsburg on Tuesday. (REUTERS)
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE :  WOLFSBURG -- Earlier Tuesday, I joined several hundred other reporters from around the globe at Volkswagen Group's annual press conference, where we heard CEO Matthias Mueller speak about the company's future. And yet, when the event was over a few hours later and I was reading headlines from other media, it turns out I was wrong. Apparently I wasn't at a press conference at all. According to so ...
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Mitsubishi gets a lot more European

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 15
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Mitsubishi is becoming a lot more European as Chairman Carlos Ghosn continues to fill key positions at the Japanese automaker with trusted executives from Nissan and its budget brand, Datsun. Starting next month Frenchmen Vincent Cobee and Guillaume Cartier will join British national Trevor Mann on the senior management team at the automaker, which is still reeling from its mileage manipulation s ...
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