The latest issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly magazine goes live on Monday. The new edition looks at why slowing sales and tightening emissions regulations could mean trouble for SUVs and crossovers.
In the last decade, SUVs and crossovers have gone from niche vehicles with less than 10 percent of the European market to nearly 40 percent of all new-car sales today. Buyers love them for their image, the sense of security they give and their high seating position. Automakers have profited handsomely from healthy profit margins compared with equivalent non-SUV models. While the party may not be over, sales in some key segments have declined. One reason is that they generate higher CO2 emissions than non-SUVs, which has subjected the models to negative backlash. Our cover story looks at the future for SUVs and crossovers.
Europewide electric vehicle charger operator Ionity added a new partner in September as Hyundai-Kia joined the joint venture set up by Ford Motor, BMW Group, Daimler and Volkswagen Group in 2017. At that time, the goal was to install a network of 400 fast EV chargers across Europe by the end of 2020. The company is led by Michael Hajesch, who spoke with us about what comes next for the fast-growing company.
Since LEVC’s successful introduction of the plug-in hybrid TX Taxi in 2017, the UK-based unit of Zhejiang Geely Holding has struggled with costs. As a result, the money-losing producer of the iconic London black cab brought in longtime Audi executive Joerg Hofmann as its new CEO in February. Hofmann’s first job was to stabilize the company. Now he is leading a product push that he told us will make the Chinese-owned brand profitable within two years.
The European auto industry is littered with underutilized factories that weigh heavily on many automakers’ income statements. This is especially concerning when battery-powered cars, which are easier to manufacture than conventional models, are added to the productivity equation. “The timing of the production capacity switch toward battery-electric vehicles is a delicate process both operationally and commercially,” said Justin Cox, director of global production for market forecaster LMC Automotive. This balancing act will be particularly challenging at Volkswagen Group. We explain why.
Porsche knows that to supplant Tesla at the top of the premium EV sedan segment the Taycan needs to be speedy whether it’s hooked to a charging station or on the track. That is why the Taycan can reach 80percent of battery capacity in less than 23 minutes and it has the fastest time for electrically powered four-door models at the Nürburgring. Find out what else the Taycan has to offer in our Latest Launches section.
Peugeot has moved the new 208 upmarket in an effort to leapfrog competitors from Renault, Volkswagen and Ford in the small hatchback segment. The 208 is one of the first PSA Group models on the CMP platform, which helps lower emissions because it is 30 kg lighter than the previous PF1 platform and has better floorplan aerodynamics. Find out what else makes the Peugeot 208 stand out from its rivals.
BMW is counting on the sixth generation of its 3-series station wagon to continue to be a heavyweight for the model range in two of Europe’s top five markets. The 3-series Touring accounts for just a quarter of the midsize model range’s global sales, which are dominated by the sedan. However, the wagon represents 75 percent of the car line’s volume in Italy and 66 percent in Germany.
Faurecia CEO Patrick Koller has led the supplier of seating, interiors and clean mobility through a period of growth -- most notably adding Japanese electronics company Clarion this year -- and collaborations, including those with Michelin, Microsoft and ZF Friedrichshafen. He talked with us about how Faurecia is staying ahead of the technology curve.
BorgWarner has developed solutions for nearly all aspects of electrified drivetrains, including a broad portfolio of products for 48-volt hybrids. Frederic Lissalde, a 19-year veteran of the supplier, shares how this powerful propulsion portfolio will help BorgWarner adapt to the changing demands in the powertrain market.
When Robert Bosch makes the single-largest investment in its history, then it’s time to have a closer look at the business in question – especially when it doesn’t need to make a profit. We explain why Bosch is pouring 1 billion euros into a new semiconductor plant in Germany in our Final Word.
Enjoy the issue!
Associate Publisher and Editor