Christiaan Hetzner

Automotive News Europe Germany Correspondent
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Recent authored articles

German industry welcomes self-driving vehicles law

Germany's auto industry praised its government as the first worldwide to broadly legalize self-driving cars, while cautioning that this was just an initial, but crucial, step in rolling out the technology on roads across the...

Skoda gets key VW Group project following Audi-topping results

Skoda has been rewarded by parent VW Group with the high-profile assignment of developing of a budget car for emerging markets after the Czech unit delivered profit margins that topped those of luxury sister brand Audi.

VW plans performance version of Up minicar

Volkswagen brand plans to bolster the attractiveness of its Up minicar with a new GTi performance version while at the same time planning to update the electric version with a more powerful battery to boost its range.

VW fears costly hit if it publishes findings of emissions-rigging probe

Volkswagen Group rejected investor calls for it to publish the results of an external investigation into its diesel-emissions scandal, saying it would risk 'massive fines' if it did so.

How VW plans to achieve job cuts in Germany

VW hopes to finalize plans this year to reduce its German workforce by a net 14,000 workers by the end of the decade without using costly severance packages, as the brand seeks to save 3 billion euros in domestic labor costs...

VW sees China, scale as key to halting Tesla's advance

VW brand is confident that it can become the global No.

Mercedes revamps production to keep pace with record demand

Mercedes regained the global premium sales crown last year by outselling BMW, partly because its factories are all running at full capacity.

Why VW brand's plunging revenue is good news

One aspect of VW Group's first-quarter report is the plunge in revenue at its core brand.

BMW picks German plant for iNext production

BMW said it will begin production of its iNext flagship electric car in 2021 at its factory in Dingolfing, southern Germany. The iNext will be BMW's first vehicle capable of Level 3 autonomy.

Peugeot said to fire top German execs after sales promotion was too popular

PSA fired three of its top managers in Germany after a sales campaign led to thousands of Peugeot 208 cars being sold at more than 40 percent off their list price, according to a report.

Germany's auto industry welcomes prospect of Macron presidency in France

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.

Audi's A8 self-driving tech depends on regulatory changes

Audi's upcoming A8 flagship sedan is expected to be the first production car capable of Level 3 autonomous driving, but the feature will not be immediately available because governments must first pass new laws that provide...

Opel Grandland X set to take on VW Tiguan

Opel/Vauxhall unveiled the Grandland X, the automaker's latest model underpinned by a platform from its new parent, PSA Group.

Despite losing VW power battle, Piech's achievements are indisputable

Ferdinand Piech can look back at a lifetime of accomplishments that put Volkswagen Group on the path to becoming the world's largest automaker.

Porsche uses 'soft sell' approach to win sales

Porsche is expanding its global dealership network with a showroom format that abandons normal markers of corporate identity for a "soft sell" approach.

German automakers discuss publishing real-world fuel economy data

Germany's automakers are discussing whether to follow the lead of French rival PSA and publish a more realistic guide of cars' fuel consumption to boost consumer confidence.

Mercedes makes E-class coupe more practical

Mercedes is repositioning its E-class coupe to offer more room and more functionality, promoting the sporty two-door model as the only offering in its niche that comes with four full-size seats.

Porsche, Bentley synergies can help VW Group

As the costs of its diesel scandal continue to rise, Volkswagen Group will be helped by increased synergies between its Porsche and Bentley marques.

Kia gives Rio better tech to challenge European rivals

Kia has added driver assistance systems not typical in small cars as well as upgraded connectivity in its new Rio as it hopes offering such features at an affordable price will help the car be more successful in Europe's...

Opel confirms new SUVs will be built in Germany; will continue to build Buicks for U.S.

UPDATED: April 7 12:40 CET - clarifies Opel legal status

Two Opel plants in Germany have been promised new SUVs, securing their midterm future following PSA's acquisition of the automaker from GM. Opel also committed to produce Buick-branded vehicles for GM in its German factories.

Peugeot, Fiat and Nissan among brands skipping IAA

Peugeot, Fiat, Nissan and at least six other brands will skip the biennial Frankfurt auto show this autumn as automakers continue to shift their marketing spending into new areas.

BMW exec outlines challenges for company's first fully autonomous car

BMW aims to launch a self-driving car by 2021, but there are still many obstacles on the way to achieving Level 4 and Level 5 automation, which require little to no human intervention.

Porsche family postpones generation change as Piech keeps board seat

The Porsche and Piech families who control Volkswagen Group have temporarily shelved plans for a slow transfer of power to the fourth generation, but not scrapped them.

How Opel avoided a Saab-like demise and what its future might hold

Under GM's ownership, Opel avoided the fate of former sibling Saab, which vanished after the brand was starved of product.

Porsche family ready to bring in younger generation

Ferdinand Piech's seat on the board of VW Group's majority shareholder could be taken by his nephew, Josef Ahorner. The move would be a step toward the Porsche-Piech's clan younger generation moving into key roles.