The latest issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly e-magazine goes live on Monday, May 4. This month's edition looks at what European automakers plan to do to keep winning in China despite the normalization of the market's growth.
The days are over when China’s remarkable growth was like a tide that lifted all boats. A paradigm shift in the country’s economic model is ending the era of effortless double-digit volume gains and fat profit margins in the market for automakers. Such good times will not return, industry experts say. The change results from growing pains that are only to be expected in a maturing market, according to automakers. Slower percentage growth from a very high base still means large volume increases in absolute terms, they say. European automakers depend heavily on China -- some derive half their net profit from the world’s biggest market. Our cover story analyzes how China’s “new normal” will affect Europe’s car companies.
BMW brand’s sales and marketing boss, Ian Robertson, says a normalizing China means that the country’s car retail network will become similar to dealership businesses in Europe and the U.S., with the bulk of dealer profits earned from aftermarket and used-car sales.
Nissan Europe Chairman Paul Willcox has led the automaker to new highs in sales and market share in the region in his first full year back at the Japanese brand after a short stint at Volkswagen. Willcox explains why he expects an even better 2015 despite the Russian market collapse.
Renault is renewing its European lineup and a key to boosting profits is improving the brand’s pricing structure. The task is much easier now that the brand’s lineup features reliable, high-quality models, says product planning chief Bruno Ancelin in an interview.
PSA/Peugeot-Citroen CEO Carlos Tavares has a big task ahead to make a success of the automaker’s new DS brand as he seeks to turn around Europe’s second-largest automaker. So far, DS sales have been underwhelming, but Tavares calls the brand an “investment for the future.” Analysts remain skeptical.
Will buying a car become as easy as purchasing a book from Amazon? In a Hyundai-backed pilot program in the UK, a customer can buy a car online and have it delivered to his or her home. We examine how automakers are adjusting to Internet sales.
Electrically boosted turbocharging is set to become the latest way to cut fuel use while maintaining engine power. Audi will debut the technology in a mass-produced model starting next year. Ford and Honda are also looking at its use, while others such as BMW say existing turbocharging technology works just as well.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe and the Citroen Aircross concept were among star debuts at last month’s two important global auto shows: New York and Shanghai. We have coverage of both.
Europe’s largest segment by unit sales, subcompact models, is forecast to return to growth this year after falling to its lowest market share for 10 years in 2014. The segment was led last year by the Ford Fiesta. Our story examines the segment’s growth prospects.
The Latest Launches section highlights how the Renault Espace minivan has changed its boxy look for a sleek crossover-like design to boost sales in a declining segment, while Kia says its new Sorento large SUV is a “significant step forward for the brand” because of its upgraded materials, fit and finish.
Connected Car is a new section that highlights the major issues around connectivity. We look at one of the industry’s hottest topics: Will Apple and Google be allies or rivals to established automakers? Volkswagen and Renault-Nissan are positioning themselves as partners to the tech giants, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne calls Apple and Google disruptive interlopers. He says: “When you are one of the guys whose life is being disrupted, you are not necessarily looking forward to the event.”
Enjoy the issue!
Luca Ciferri, Editor