Automotive News Europe blogs

Once upon a time, Opel was GM's little engine that could

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 20
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In 1919, General Motors President Billy Durant decided his rapidly growing company needed a foothold in Europe. He sent a team of lieutenants that included Walter Chrysler, Charles Kettering and Alfred P. Sloan to Paris to negotiate the acquisition of Citroen. The talks fell through, but a decade later, Sloan, who was then running GM, returned to Europe in pursuit of the German company Adam Opel. ...
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Will cockpits of tomorrow require one-stop suppliers?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 17
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David Sedgwick is a staff correspondent for Automotive News.
:  Adient and Faurecia are locked in a race to produce complete cockpits for self-driving vehicles, and there is some irony in that. To reduce complexity, automakers will be tempted to let suppliers figure out how to integrate the necessary data displays, rotating seats, sliding consoles and related gadgetry. During the Detroit auto show last month, the two rivals -- which happen to be two of the wor ...
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How sour dealer relations wreaked havoc on Audi's China sales

Posted 3:48 am U.S. ET, Feb. 17
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Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  Audi cut itself a sorry figure in China's luxury car market last month. As Audi deliveries fell 35 percent in January, China's leading luxury brand was finally overtaken by rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW. It was an especially poor performance in a month when second-tier luxury brands such as Cadillac and Volvo enjoyed robust sales. Audi attributed the plunge to its dealers, but it has only itself ...
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GM-PSA deal would be a blow to best Opel management team in years

Posted 11:19 am U.S. ET, Feb. 14
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Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  General Motors' confirmation that it is discussing selling its European Opel/Vauxhall business to PSA Group is a tough blow for Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann and the division's 38,000 employees. When Neumann became Opel CEO in 2013 he seemed confident that he could end years of losses at the division. But GM has pushed back its break even target for Opel to 2018 after losing $257 million in Europe ...
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Renault starts to reflect its multifaceted boss

Posted 9:27 am U.S. ET, Feb. 10
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Under Ghosn's leadership Renault has grown the number of markets where it sells more than 100,000 units a year to 11 from eight in 2010.
LUCA CIFERRI :  Renault is starting to look and act a lot like its multifaceted, multinational boss, Carlos Ghosn. Gone are the days when Renault was a one-dimensional company that relied too much on France and rose or fell based on demand for its popular Scenic minivan. “There was a time when deducting French results and Scenic margins left almost no profit at Renault,” Ghosn said during the automak ...
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The Volvo numbers that stood out

Posted 6:29 am U.S. ET, Feb. 8
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Volvo's latest financial results were full of positive numbers but a couple really stood out. "Cash flow is maybe the most important slide in the presentation today," Chief Financial Officer Hans Oscarsson said during the company's results conference today. "We started off 2016 with 35 billion [Swedish crowns] including a working capital facility of 6 billion and now we are up to 49.3 billio ...
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Daimler celebrations are muted as automaker conserves cash to fight off Uber, Google

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 3
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Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Record annual sales, revenue and profits, and Mercedes-Benz grabbing the global sales luxury crown from BMW – last year truly belonged to Daimler. Dieter Zetsche, who has often been a target of criticism during his 11-year term as CEO, even had his “I told you so” moment when he reminded reporters at the company's annual news conference on Thursday about how he achieved his 2020 ...
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German automakers worry about Trump's protectionist stance

Posted 8:53 am U.S. ET, Feb. 2
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Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Donald Trump has German automakers spooked. At the mention of the new U.S. president, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche noticeably stiffens and quickly changes the subject. During the company's annual news conference in Stuttgart on Thursday, Zetsche refused once, then twice and finally a third time to comment in any way about Trump's protectionist policies. In Bochum the day before, the annual CAR Symp ...
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Toyota still has global bragging rights over VW in one important area

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 2
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia Editor for Automotive News
 
Forget all the talk this week about Volkswagen ousting Toyota as the world’s biggest automaker. Rest assured, Toyota is still No. 1 in sales and VW a far, far distant second. And by Toyota and Volkswagen, in this case, I mean the Toyota and Volkswagen brands. The Japanese carmaker sold a whopping 8.5 million passenger and commercial vehicles emblazoned with the Toyota sombrero in calendar ...
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Citroen keeps faith in family vans

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Feb. 2
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The Citroen C4 Picasso, shown, is Europe's No. 2 compact minivan after the VW Touran.
BRUCE GAIN :  Family vans will continue to play a part in Citroen's lineup despite a shift in demand to SUV/crossovers, CEO Linda Jackson said. Citroen models will offer more of a family van feeling and less of an SUV experience than the new 3008 and 5008 from sister brand Peugeot, she said. "The minivan segment is declining slightly in Europe, to the benefit of SUVs," Jackson said. "But minivans will still p ...
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Why China's new EV policy could cause a rift with Germany

Posted 3:57 am U.S. ET, Jan. 31
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Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  Who has the clout to make China's government reconsider its environmental policies? As much as he might huff and puff over fair trade, it isn't Donald Trump, the China basher who became the 45th U.S. president last week. Instead it is Michael Clauss, Germany's ambassador to China and a vocal critic of China's EV policies. In recent months, Clauss has repeatedly criticized Beijing's plan to intro ...
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VW compliance chief's departure is chairman Poetsch's failure

Posted 8:25 am U.S. ET, Jan. 27
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Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt came to Volkswagen Group highly praised and equipped with excellent credentials when she was appointed the automaker's head of integrity and legal affairs in September 2016. She leaves at the end of this month following a failed power struggle. Hohmann-Dennhardt, a former constitutional court judge, was supposed to grant legitimacy to VW's efforts to reform i ...
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VW raises stakes in fight to dominate China SUV market

Posted 4:00 am U.S. ET, Jan. 23
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VW will launch the Skoda Kodiaq in China next month.
YANG JIAN :  In China, Volkswagen Group initially was slow to respond to consumers' strong appetite for crossovers and SUVs. For years its two mass-market brands, Volkswagen and Skoda, had only three Chinese crossovers -- the VW Tiguan and Touareg and the Skoda Yeti. But now the automaker is preparing to roll out a wave of crossovers and SUVs. By 2020, the Volkswagen brand will launch 10 new or redesigned c ...
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VW seeks 'flower-power' revival with greener Microbus

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 18
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Volkswagen's I.D. Buzz is a take on the classic VW Microbus of the '50s and '60s.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  It will take another five years but fans of the classic VW Bus can finally look forward to a return of the model, sources at Volkswagen confirm. VW brand chief Herbert Diess is a fan of the Bus-styled I.D. Buzz concept, in part because the predecessor is a feel-good throwback to the days when VW stood for flower power, not toxic pollutants. The original "T1" Microbus that began life in 1950, tec ...
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Did a leading VW exec perfect defeat device rather than stop it?

Posted 8:56 am U.S. ET, Jan. 13
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Former VW brand development chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser was the highest ranking executive indicted this week in the U.S. in connection with the automaker's diesel-emissions cheating scandal.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  While Volkswagen Group’s Richard Dorenkamp and Jens Hadler may have been the powertrain duo who first introduced the defeat device into the automaker’s 2.0 liter diesels nearly a decade ago, former VW brand development chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser appears to have perfected it, according to U.S. court documents. Roughly five years ago, VW detected that some of the cars equipped with the c ...
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Conti powertrain guru makes peace with 'different world'

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 13
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Continental powertrain chief Jose Avila says it has taken some time to make peace with the fast move the industry and the world are making toward cars that are powered by batteries and that can drive themselves. He told me that he, like many people, has needed to get used to the shift. “Some days do I feel a bit like a dinosaur? Yes, because I do like to drive my own vehicle. I do sometimes ...
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The beautiful lives of Bugatti, Bentley buyers

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 12
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Bugatti unveiled the Chiron coupe in at the 2016 Geneva auto show. Bugatti buyers typically own 64 cars.
LUCA CIFERRI :  Bentley and Bugatti buyers are rich, but there is a pretty significant wealth gap between the two, according to a man who has direct contact with both. Bentley owners are usually successful executives who own their own businesses. They fly business class, stay in the best rooms at five-star hotels and if they attend a soccer game they will watch it from their own suite at the stadium. On average, ...
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The most important vehicles at the Detroit auto show

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 11
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Volkswagen's I.D. Buzz is a take on the classic VW Microbus of the '50s and '60s.
RICHARD TRUETT :  The 2017 edition of the Detroit auto show won't go into the books for blockbuster introductions and eye-popping concepts. In fact, so many brands either didn't show up or didn't have formal press events (Porsche, Tesla, Fiat Chrysler, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mini and Mitsubishi among them) that you might wonder about the future of this annual event. That said, a few vehicles in the show are important ...
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In taking the wraps off super-fast EV, Faraday redefines car unveiling

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 10
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Faraday says the FF 91 will be the world's fastest electric car and it showed footage of the model outracing rivals. (Bloomberg)
:  Faraday Future has struggled to find enough funding to meet its big ambitions but the Chinese start up certainly has aggressive communication. In unveiling the FF 91, its first production model, Faraday not only showed footage of how the electric SUV can go from 0 to 60 mph (97 kph) on a race track faster than selected competitors, but it also gave a live demonstration. Faraday had on stage a wh ...
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Hyundai's self-driving Ioniq calmed my safety fears

Posted 5:57 am U.S. ET, Jan. 5
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Hyundai's self-driving Ioniq, shown, uses lidar technology fitted behind the front bumper rather than on the roof, retaining the car's sleek design.
LUCA CIFERRI :  I’m a big fan of autonomous driving and am eager to buy a fully self-driving car as soon as I can, but many others are skeptical. One reason is they want to be sure that the artificial intelligence in control of their vehicle knows exactly what’s happening on the road around the car. To overcome those fears Hyundai made available autonomous Ioniq models to visitors of this week’ ...
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London's new taxi blends tradition and tech

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Jan. 4
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London Taxi Company's next-generation Black Cab will be based on the TX5 concept (shown). The vehicle will have room for 6 passengers and be wired for Wi-Fi, but a former London mayor made sure the iconic vehicle's look would remain the same.
:  The fifth generation of London's iconic Black Cab that will debut later this year will have 21st century upgrades that make it greener, roomier and more connected, but its design will stay firmly planted in the 1950s. Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is now Britain's foreign secretary, made sure of that. "He was adamant. He wanted it to look just like a London taxi and asked us not to chan ...
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VW's switch to English as its company language is a key reform

Posted 5:55 am U.S. ET, Dec. 15 2016
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Some VW managers refer to the automaker's Wolfsburg home as "the navel of the world," only half-sarcastically.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  The first time I heard it spoken at a Volkswagen event was ironically in Hanover of all places – where the purest form of German is spoken. Andreas Renschler, head of the VW Group's newly created commercial vehicles holding, began addressing guests in a foreign language: English. This was strange because senior executives at VW, that most German of all companies, never hosted a big event at ...
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Land Rover sets sail on epic quest

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9 2016
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New America's Cup sailboats have less than 1 percent of their surface in the water and are powered by a big wing rather than by a mainsail. Like in car racing, success is based on aerodynamics, which is why Land Rover's engineering team is involved.
LUCA CIFERRI :  Land Rover is teaming up with the UK's most successful sailor and with a former McLaren Formula One team principal in a 110-million-pound (126 million euro) bid to win the world’s most prestigious sailing trophy: the America's Cup. The race, originally known as the 100 Pound Cup, was first held in 1851. The intention of the competition, a race around the Isle of Wight, was to show Queen Vict ...
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Volvo and Microsoft make the unreal real

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 8 2016
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Using Microsoft's HoloLens augmented-reality goggles allows Volvo engineers to see a component in 3-D detail. They can twist and turn the part and even go inside it to see how it is constructed (inset).
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Volvo, with a big assist from Microsoft, is creating physical objects that are not physical. Confused? So was I until I strapped a $5,000 computer on my head and entered into the world of augmented reality (AR). Volvo's initial step using Microsoft's HoloLens, the world's first fully untethered holographic computer, was at dealerships and auto shows to give customers a 3-D experience with its end ...
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Why Brexit could be bad news for self-driving cars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 7 2016
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Brexit and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's rise to power should be wake up calls to proponents of autonomous driving, said a top researcher from a London-based think tank that has analyzed the potential effects of self-driving cars on the European economy. "If I was a politician looking at the recent election results in the U.S. and UK, it would be clear that it is very important to reach out ...
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