The Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus compacts are being squeezed as premium competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz A class and SUVs from all brands steal market share from the volume players in Europe’s third-largest segment. We analyze what VW and Ford are doing to keep their customers from moving upmarket or down market for their next compact vehicle.
Our Latest Launches section looks at the changes Audi has made to its second-generation Q5 midsize SUV to give it the driving dynamics of a Porsche Macan and the ride comfort of a Mercedes-Benz GLC; how BMW has made its 5 series lighter, more economical and fully connected and what Smart did to improve its trio of full-electric cars, which includes the only battery-powered cabriolet on the market.
Cars are rapidly being transformed into connectivity centers constantly linked to the outside world. This has created some big challenges for key players. Those that get things right, however, should be rewarded as the $14 billion connected car services sector is forecast to grow by more than 30 percent a year until 2020.
Schaeffler, together with Continental, has created a 48-volt hybrid prototype that can reduce CO2 emissions in a compact car to less than 85 grams per kilometer. Schaeffler Chief Technology Officer Peter Gutzmer explained in an interview why he believes that 48-volt hybrids have the potential to become dominant players in Europe -- at the expense of diesel.
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. We look at why its designer’s desire for a more innovative look was tamed down and find out where else the distinctive cab will be showing up in the future.
Enjoy the issue!
Luca Ciferri, Editor