The latest issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly magazine goes live on Monday. The new edition explores why nearly every major automaker in Europe is involved in car-sharing to some degree, despite the uncertain economics of the sector.
Making money on car-sharing, however, isn’t the goal right now for automakers, experts said. Instead, they are using the services to learn about customer habits and best practices as they prepare to fight for a share of the robotaxi market. We look at this fast-changing sector in our cover story.
Thomas Sedran was the brains behind Volkswagen Group’s Together 2025 midterm road map. He put the plan together after being appointed head of group strategy in November 2015. His aim was to plot VW Group’s course toward an electrified future after the automaker’s diesel-cheating scandal. Now Sedran is CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, putting him in an ideal position to realize the goals he mapped out.
Yves Caracatzanis took over one of the toughest jobs in the auto industry in June when he was picked to lead Russia’s AvtoVAZ, the money-losing, Renault-owned parent company of the Lada brand. He outlines his plans for Russia’s No. 1 brand.
Europe’s biggest auto show of the year takes place next month in Paris. Audi will use the event to provide a closer look at a key model in its lineup, the e-tron full-electric car. Mercedes-Benz will also display the model that will lead its electrification push, the EQC. Meanwhile, French brands Citroen and DS Automobiles will reveal models that they expect will give their brands a boost. For a look at those models and more turn to our Paris auto show preview.
Vietnam’s first domestic automaker is leveraging Italian design along with German and Austrian engineering and manufacturing expertise for its first two production vehicles. After an extremely short time to market, VinFast debuts a Pininfarina-designed SUV and sedan this month at the Paris auto show. These vehicles will arrive roughly 16 months after the company decided to enter the auto business. VinFast – part of Vietnam’s largest conglomerate, Vingroup – is investing more than $3.5 billion to start its automotive operations. We provide more details.
Europe’s premium compact SUV segment is experiencing a breakthrough sales year as new models lure customers into the sector. New launches by Volvo, Jaguar and BMW have helped to increase European sales to the point that they will surpass half a million this year for the first time. The rapid pace of growth is forecast to push sales past 700,000 by 2021, meaning the segment will have more than doubled from 2016’s figure of just below 350,000. The segment was created by the BMW X1 almost 10 years ago, but a large number of models are threatening the X1. We tell you which models are on the rise.
The executives who are this year’s Eurostars have stood out from their rivals by exceeding expectations. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi CEO Carlos Ghosn turned his alliance into the world’s largest automaker, passing Volkswagen Group in global sales. Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier led the Czech automaker to a 2017 profit margin that even exceeded Audi, its sister brand and VW Group’s traditional earnings powerhouse. Toyota Europe boss Johan van Zyl has the Japanese automaker on the fast track because of strong demand for models such as the C-HR crossover and Yaris small car. Lamborghini CEO Stefano Domenicali spearheaded the launch of the supercar maker’s first SUV, the Urus, which has the company on track to set a new all-time sales high in 2018. We introduce you to all of the 2018 Eurostars.
Along with the all-new Audi e-tron, our Latest Launches section highlights another full-electric car that has the potential to stir the European market. The Hyundai Kona Electric is off to a fast start in Europe with 7,000 orders just in Norway. The battery-powered small SUV is the first full-electric model that the automaker has introduced where demand is exceeding production. We provide in-depth detail about the Kona Electric.
German software giant SAP plans to become an even bigger player in the fledging connected car sector. SAP is working in two areas. The first is capturing data from fleets of 100 to 1,000 cars to provide insights a fleet manager can use to make business decisions. The second is allowing drivers to pay for parking or fuel without ever getting out of the car. SAP Chief Expert Connected Vehicles tells us more in an interview.
French megasupplier Faurecia had a successful first half and expects to maintain its momentum for the full year. CEO Patrick Koller is confident because of the strength of Faurecia’s China business and because it is benefiting from the rapid rise of SUV sales in Europe and around the world. Koller also told Automotive News Europe why he thinks Faurecia has the resilience to cope with disruptions caused by potential trade wars between the world’s largest nations.
The launch of Russia’s new Aurus brand for upscale cars at the recent Moscow auto show revealed how close the government is to the development of the ambitious brand, which aspires to challenge Bentley and Rolls-Royce not only in Russia but in Europe and the rest of the world. The aim of Aurus is to promote Russia’s automotive excellence, but as we explore in our Final Word, the Senat limousine has a long way to go to battle the best in the world.
Enjoy the issue!
Luca Ciferri, Associated Publisher and Editor