Automotive News Europe blogs

Mercedes takes another swing at EV van niche

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 22
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Mercedes-Benz will jump back into the battery-powered delivery van niche in 2018 after failing with the Vito E-Cell. Mercedes’ re-entry shows that pressure is rising to reduce harmful emissions in Europe’s congested cities. The German automaker is confident that it will be more successful the second time around. "The future of urban deliveries will be electric. We at Mercedes-Benz Va ...
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For VW, it's not the crime, it's the coverup

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 22
blogs Larry P. Vellequette is a reporter at Automotive News.
 
I am not in the business of weighing sins, but I have noticed -- over the last year as the VW diesel emissions scandal has unfolded -- that all automotive sins are not created equal. Now I think I know why. Consider for a moment what are arguably the three largest automotive scandals in recent years: General Motors’ faulty ignition switches, Takata’s explosive airbag inflators and Vo ...
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The car as a social evil: Author has hope for driverless future

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 21
blogs
 
Is the automobile a social problem? In author and Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes' view, the car is worse than that -- it's a health and economic problem as well. In his new book, Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation, Humes says Americans are uniquely dependent upon the automobile."Americans prefer to move door to door. They want to close one door and fin ...
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Nissan's ProPilot system lightens the load of driving

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 20
blogs

HANS GREIMEL :  OKOHAMA, Japan -- The robotic tugging beneath my light grip on the steering wheel was at once both slightly unnerving and reassuring. Unnerving because of the erratic and constant wheel adjustments. Reassuring because it was proof that the computer brain of this "self-driving" car was duly at the helm. Such was my first test drive of Nissan's new semi-autonomous driving technology in the real worl ...
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Why Tesla is a different story

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 16
blogs
One of Tesla's strengths is that it owns and operates its dealers, including this one in Berlin. (Reuters)
LUCA CIFERRI :  Would Dieter Zetsche still be at the helm of Daimler if the company had only recorded one profitable quarter at a net income level in the last six years? Would Carlos Tavares be still viewed as a turnaround master if PSA Group needed an extra quarter or two to achieve his profit margin targets? Would Carlos Ghosn face little criticism if the Renault-Nissan alliance missed its vehicle delivery targ ...
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Why GM won't sell 'breakthrough' EV in the UK

Posted 7:34 am U.S. ET, Sept. 14
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
General Motors decided not to sell the Ampera-e, its first full EV, in the UK because the automaker was burned by the sales failure of the Ampera plug-in hybrid. "It's a more cautious approach," a spokesman for GM’s Opel brand told me. "If you don’t want to lose too much money, we prefer not to make right-hand-drive yet. The decision was partly financial." The Ampera, a sister model ...
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Opel's Ampera bombed, but thankfully for its successor no one noticed

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 13
blogs
The Ampera-e, shown, has a similar name to the ill-fated Ampera plug-in.
:  One of the eco-friendly highlights premiering at the Paris auto show will be the Ampera-e, Opel’s second foray into electrified powertrains. Yet the brand’s marketing chief, Tina Mueller, revealed in a German magazine interview that the model came close to getting a different name. When Opel was deciding on a name for the General Motors' brand's first full electric car, Mueller oppose ...
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Renault movie fishes for new Scenic buyers

Posted 8:57 am U.S. ET, Sept. 8
blogs
From left to right: Alessandro Borghi (youngman actor), Aurora Ruffino (mermaid actress), the new Scenic, Gabriele Mainetti (director), Nicola Guaglianone (screenplay)
LUCA CIFERRI :  To give a modern take on its latest Scenic model, Renault recruited an Italian movie maker to make a film that plays on how many different ways a minivan can be used. The Scenic has been credited with launching Europe's compact minivan segment 20 years ago, so saying something fresh about the model to a new generation of buyers was a tough challenge. The French automaker's Italian unit decided t ...
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A year later, VW's diesel cheat proves costly

Posted 5:52 am U.S. ET, Sept. 2
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  A year ago Volkswagen Group confessed in private to U.S. authorities that it had rigged diesel engines to fool emissions tests. Two weeks later, VW's cheat was made public. The time in between cost some investors dearly. On Sept. 3 last year VW confessed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that nearly half a million clean diesels it sold in the country over the course of several years wer ...
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Summer of success for ANE's Rising Stars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 30
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
It has been a summer of success for executives identified by as Rising Stars by Automotive News Europe. Past winners Olivier Rabiller, Thomas Mueller and Bernard Bradley have made big career moves within the last six weeks. Rabiller has been named president and CEO of Honeywell's Transportation Systems division, which means he becomes arguably the most important executive in the industry's turboc ...
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Delphi, Mobileye deal may hasten decline of car brands

Posted 7:58 am U.S. ET, Aug. 29
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Can automakers design a satisfying brand experience for a fully autonomous vehicle? How can competitors better differentiate themselves from one another when getting into a car could be like boarding a train in the future? As long as you know how long it takes to travel somewhere in driverless mode, would you still care about horsepower, torque or other performance metrics – after all how m ...
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Ghosn's life-changing post-Christmas offer

Posted 5:37 am U.S. ET, Aug. 22
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Carlos Ghosn's powers of persuasion are very hard to resist, Nissan Brazil's current boss learned on Dec. 26. 2011. Francois Dossa remembers the exact day of the meeting because it changed his life, he told me during an interview in Rio de Janeiro last week. Ghosn, who is CEO of Nissan and alliance partner, was in Brazil to visit his mother during the holidays. While in town he asked Dossa to co ...
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Automakers face uncertainty over key Chinese government policies

Posted 6:24 am U.S. ET, Aug. 19
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  Auto executives in China are worried these days. They are not concerned about consumer demand, which has remained strong -- in the first seven months of the year, light-vehicle sales advanced 11 percent to top 12.6 million cars and light trucks. What has executives nervous is the uncertainty surrounding key industry policies set by the Chinese government. One such policy is the tax incentive for ...
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Confessions of a diesel junkie

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Aug. 3
blogs
My addiction to diesels began in 1980 with an Opel Rekord 2.0 D (left). It had just 58.5 hp, barely reached 130kph and used 10 liters of diesel per 100km. The most recent diesel I have tested is the Renault Talisman (right), which delivers 160hp – from a smaller engine – has a top speed of 215kph and burns a third less fuel.
:  My plan to someday drive off into the sunset in a diesel-powered car at the conclusion of my career as a motoring journalist may no longer be realistic. Why? Because by 2030 diesels are forecast to account for just 9 percent of new-car sales in Europe, according to a recent study by AlixPartners, compared with about 50 percent today. The cause of the massive shift is the expectation that automake ...
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PSA bravely reveals industry's dirty secret

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 7
blogs
PSA recently had 30 Citroen, DS and Peugeot models undergo real world driving test to determine the true fuel consumption of those models.
LUCA CIFERRI :  Give credit to PSA Group for being bold enough to reveal in great detail something none of its rivals would publicly admit: That the CO2 numbers on the cars sold in Europe are bogus. How bad? On average the emission produced during real world driving are more than 40 percent worse than promised. That was the result of tests PSA did on 30 Citroen, DS and Peugeot models together with non-government ...
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How to push self-driving tech to the limits without the risks

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 6
blogs
The 3xD Simulator is equipped with 8 high-resolution projectors that can throw images around the 360-degree screen to try and trick a car's autonomous driving sensors.
NICK GIBBS :  Last week Tesla revealed it was being investigated following a fatal accident in which the firm’s so-called Autopilot system failed to spot a truck pulling across a highway in bright sunshine. CEO Elon Musk called the circumstances of the crash “extremely rare.” But how do you test for extremely rare scenarios? One answer is to use computer simulation. The day before Musk&rsquo ...
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Volvo defies gravity

Posted 8:33 am U.S. ET, July 5
blogs
The 8-year-old XC60 was Volvo's global best-seller last year. It accounted for more than 30% of the Swedish brand's record-breaking 2015 sales.
LUCA CIFERRI :  When Automotive News Europe began its by-segment analysis 15 years ago we decided to divide the world into volume and premium brands. The problem was that five automakers fit neither category so internally we deemed them as near premium. Those automakers were Volvo, Saab, Rover, Alfa Romeo and Lancia. All five had an average transaction price that exceeded the volume brands but that gap didn't mat ...
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BMW CEO scores first big win with Intel, Mobileye deal

Posted 10:40 am U.S. ET, July 2
blogs
BMW CEO Krueger has made the boldest promise of any automotive brand about self-driving cars thus far.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Harald Krueger hasn’t had the easiest of starts as BMW CEO. When he inherited the post, the company had enjoyed 10 hugely successful years following the Strategy Number One plan created by his predecessor, Norbert Reithofer. Krueger arrived right as BMW and the overall industry found itself at a crossroads. First, the tremendous growth in sales and profits in China has disappeared so much s ...
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Why Europe's car buyer categories need a shake-up

Posted 4:49 am U.S. ET, July 1
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
What do Young Climbers, Beauty Enthusiasts, Connoisseurs of Cool and the Bobo Family have in common? No, they aren’t the names of new rock bands, they are the purposely provocative categories that Johnson Controls Automotive Seating has given to today’s car buyers in Europe. Why? Because it argues that the segment classifications aren’t telling the full story. Johnson Controls i ...
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Nissan struggles to make sense of Sunderland shocker

Posted 5:42 am U.S. ET, June 28
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
Nissan's team in the UK is “shell-shocked” by the politically and economically explosive decision by the country’s voters to leave the EU, a person close to the company told me. That could be one reason why the Japanese firm is the only major manufacturer building cars in the UK that has yet to comment on the effect of the so-called Brexit. The shock is understandable. Sunderla ...
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Goodbye to the Europe I knew

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 27
blogs

BRADFORD WERNLE :  I am deeply shocked and disappointed by the decision of British voters to leave the European Union. I had the privilege of living in London for six years, covering the auto industry for our sibling publication Automotive News Europe. To live in a city that seemed the center of the civilized world was thrilling for a guy from a small Indiana town.I had to pinch myself that I was getting paid to vis ...
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Recapping Toyota's traumatic loss at Le Mans

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 23
blogs
Toyota was about end its 0-for-18 streak at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend, but a technical problem cost it the race in the last lap.
LUCA CIFERRI :  Motorsports can be cruel. Toyota was reminded of this when it lost the 24 Hours of Le Mans to Porsche during the final lap of the world’s most famous endurance race. I was with Toyota’s executive team members when their near elation was transformed into complete deflation last weekend. After 23 hours and 53 minutes of racing, Toyota had built a lead of about 80 seconds on the closest ...
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VW's long day as shareholders quiz management

Posted 6:40 am U.S. ET, June 22
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  When Volkswagen's 56th annual meeting began today, there were long lines outside the Hanover trade fair grounds as 3,000 shareholders waited patiently to be ushered through the dozen metal detectors dotting the entrance. "They say it will be a long day," one of the numerous security guards said to his colleague as they watched investors stream through the gates on their way to the adjacent Hall 3 ...
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Probe overshadows VW's annual meeting

Posted 7:01 am U.S. ET, June 21
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  When shareholders gather in Hanover on Wednesday for what is sure to be a turbulent annual meeting, one of the executives they see on the podium is the official target of an investigation into criminal misconduct. The charge levied by Germany's securities regulator is effectively lying to investors by omission about the existence of the U.S. probe into its diesel emissions – or “manip ...
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How Ford's European arm became a money maker again

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 10
blogs
Ford of Europe President Jim Farley has overseen a dramatic turnaround.
LUCA CIFERRI :  When Ford of Europe President Jim Farley told Automotive News Europe in January that he wanted the U.S. automaker to achieve an operating margin of 6 percent to 8 percent in the region within the next five years I was skeptical. At best, European volume automakers reach a 4 percent operating margin – globally – and that is only during years when market conditions are favorable. That i ...
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