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Automotive News Europe - 10th Anniversary
Monday, Feb. 20, 2006
ANE 10TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
1996 - 2005 Timeline in PDF format
Ten going on twenty
Minivans, mergers and powerful men characterized the last decade, in the words of Automotive News Europe’s founding editor Richard Johnson.
How it all began
It wasn’t long after I was appointed publisher of Automotive News in 1971 that I started to travel to Europe to learn more about the auto business there. At that time Volkswagen was a big player in the US, Mercedes-Benz was trying to figure out how to get a foothold in the market and BMW was wrestling with its distributor.
Peter Brown thanks the many auto industry leaders who helped us create Automotive News Europe – and who continue to help us grow
We knew there were Europeans: wonderful people with a cosmopolitan view of the world such as Jürgen Hubbert, Hermann Scholl and Noel Goutard. But was there really a Europe? Or rather, was there a European market? Even a couple of decades ago, national industries dominated the Continent.
1996 to 2005
Richard Johnson looks back at a decade dominated by minivans, mergers and powerful men
Ten years ago it was a vastly different European auto industry. It was a simpler time and a simpler business before the rush of mergers and acquisitions and before the Renault Scenic. When we launched Automotive News Europe in February 1996, the six full-line car producers operated more or less within the bounds of four product categories: supermini, lower medium, upper medium and full-sized.
Swept away by the story of the decade
Bradford Wernle reflects on DaimlerChrysler’s frenzied first day
The morning of Monday, November 16, 1998, I arrived for work at the Automotive News Europe offices in London’s Clerkenwell district dressed casually. There was no need to wear a coat and tie that day because I planned to spend the day writing stories.
The Lopez Affair
Diana T. Kurylko and James R. Crate recount the late-1990s clash between GM and VW over broken promises and several dozen cardboard boxes
The auto industry’s nastiest corporate fight in decades (and maybe ever) began unfolding a few years before the 1996 debut of Automotive News Europe and was not laid to rest – legally at least – until five years after our launch. But like mold on a cellar wall, the effects of the battle linger.
When late was perfect timing
Luca Ciferri witnessed Japan’s initial shock over the Nissan Revival Plan
It is impolite to be late, especially in Japan where being polite is a fundamental part of the culture. But my tardiness for a landmark event in Japanese auto-business history provided me with an unmatched reporting experience. It was October 18, 1999, and Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was going to announce his Nissan Revival Plan at the Royal Park Hotel in Tokyo.
A meal to remember
Wim Oude Weernink’s dinner included a hot tip about VW
Rumors were swirling in spring 1998 that Lamborghini was about to be taken over – most likely by a German automaker. But on the eve of the Turin auto show nobody – especially me – expected to learn that the Volkswagen group was about to capture the Italian sports car maker.
Dynasties, destinies and dreams
Jesse Snyder takes a comprehensive look at the landmark changes the European auto industry has undergone during the last 10 years
The last 10 years have been a remarkable time in automotive history, a period packed with more substantial change than most of the decades since Karl Benz’s self-propelled wagon first chugged down a street in Mannheim, Germany, in 1885.
ANE grades the East’s major players
VW, Suzuki and Dacia score high on our 10-year report card; Fiat and Ford have room for improvement
Volkswagen: A Reason: The carmaking group really would have problems without its extremely successful operations in central and eastern Europe. VW has raised Skoda production to more than 450,000 cars a year from about 125,000 in 1991, when it took its first stake in the Czech company.
An insider’s look at the East’s rapid growth
Skoda’s Vratislav Kulhanek recounts the region’s landmark changes and looks ahead to the next big events
Central Europe emerged from communism in 1989 with no world-class automakers and a fragmented, obsolete manufacturing base. Decades of xenophobia by Eastern Bloc governments and their long-standing policies of favoring weapons technology over consumer goods left the East’s auto industry generations behind western Europe.
Brains over brawn
Known mostly as a place to get labor-intensive jobs done cheap, the East wants to prove it can handle more r&d work
With its excellent research universities and large supply of science and engineering graduates, the East promises to become much more than a pool of low-cost workers for the auto industry, according to many executives. That will have far-reaching consequences for the industry, they agree.
What we can live without
Features added to cars during the last 10 years that we hate
In the 10 years since we first went to press, automotive technology has advanced with sometimes dizzying speed. Even volume-segment vehicles in Europe today incorporate technologies that 10 years ago either were still in development or were offered only as expensive options on premium sedans.
What we can't live without
The new or enhanced in-car technologies we love – or could grow to love
Infotainment systems have made the most visible advances in automotive technology over the past 10 years, bringing maps, real-time traffic conditions, satellite radio programs and even e-mail to in-cabin monitors.
Forster: People believe less in technology today
Carl-Peter Forster has survived some major highs and lows since 1996. Once considered the heir-apparent to then-BMW CEO Joachim Milberg, Forster was fired in March 2000 after he disagreed with Milberg over the way BMW’s sale of the Rover group was handled. Forster was back in the auto business about a year later as chairman of General Motors’ German subsidiary Opel.
Scheele: Ford’s European changes were the right thing to do
Whenever Ford Motor Co. found itself in trouble during the turbulent last 10 years, Nick Scheele, 62, took the toughest assignments, even when it meant personal sacrifice. As chairman of his beloved Jaguar from 1992-99, Scheele helped turn the quality of the British brand’s cars from a joke to a strength.
Scholl sees urgent need for lower cost parts
Hermann Scholl presided over a huge expansion of Robert Bosch during his years as the German supplier’s management board chairman. From 1993 to 2003, the company more than doubled its revenue to E36.4 billion and increased its work force by 50 percent to 232,000 employees worldwide.
Goutard: Beware of the Japanese, but don’t fear a shortage of oil
Noel Goutard’s mouth can get him into trouble. He thinks PSA/Peugeot-Citroen was wrong to start a joint-venture plant with Toyota to produce minicars in Kolin, Czech Republic, and he isn’t afraid to say so even if it causes some hard feelings.
A legion of young, capable executives are climbing their way toward the top, but only a few will reach the summit
Many of the executives who shaped the industry’s news and generated headlines in Automotive News Europe during our first 10 years will be off the stage when we celebrate our 20th birthday. They’ll be missed. The big challenge for the people who will replace them is keeping their companies competitive.
The 10 ugliest cars produced since 1996
1. Smart ForFour – You can disguise an ordinary Mitsubishi Colt with contrasting-color graphics and pretend it’s a grown-up version of the cutesy ForTwo. You can put a diaper and baby bonnet on a hairy weightlifter and pretend he’s an infant. You can’t make either one attractive.
Top 10 vehicle surprises of the decade
Cars that we never thought would make it big – but did
Mini - Skeptics said BMW’s reinvention of the Mini would be nothing but a fashion accessory that quickly would go out of fashion. BMW proved them wrong.
Fight for equality continues
Gains have been made, but women in the industry feel they still don’t fit in
We are more than midway through the first decade of the 21st century, but for women in the European auto industry the calendar seems to be stuck in the past. Progress has been made, but winners of the Automotive News Europe Woman of the Year award tell the newspaper that recruitment must improve and promotions must be given more fairly.
Who is your role model?
My mother for her determination and drive. And my grandmother for her mixture of toughness and tenderness and for her ability to cherish the little things in life.
These cars meant the difference between triumph and trouble for their companies in the last 10 years. Alfa Romeo 156: This major roll of the dice by parent Fiat Auto in 1997 saved the famed Alfa Romeo brand from terminal decline. The 156 became a desirable challenger to the 3 series.
Built to perfection
A head-up display, retractable hardtop and broad shoulders are some of the features introduced or enhanced since 1996. Automotive News Europe wants all of them on its dream car
Under the hood?Something powerful and efficient. We want a 2.7-liter, V-6 diesel engine from PSA that has more than 200hp and a particulate filter. It also has to have a seven-speed automatic transmission from ZF that drives all 4 wheels.
UK is OK – thanks to the Japanese
Despite plant and company closures the country remains a European automaking powerhouse
The UK’s auto industry has changed beyond recognition since Automotive News Europe made its debut.
UK has solidified its No. 2 sales spot
France slipped to third in the late 1990s
The UK has overtaken France in the past 10 years to become Europe’s second-largest market for new-car sales after Germany. For the past five years annual UK new-car sales have averaged more than 2.5 million units.
In the 10 years since Automotive News Europe was born, Mini’s wings got shorter, Fiat added a wreath and GM replaced a clamshell with a bowtie
Some carmakers now display their frontal symbols much more boldly than they did in 1996.
Did you know? Fun facts about some of Europe’s famous logos
After World War II Ferry Porsche, son of one of the grandest pioneers of European auto design, established in Stuttgart the company that would become one of the world’s greatest sporting marques. He took the city’s coat of arms as the company badge.
Chinese, US and Romanian brands have added their distinctive logos to the region’s roads since 1996
Well-known in eastern Europe, Renault’s Romanian subsidiary Dacia arrived in western Europe last year. With the launch of the Logan, Dacia’s low-cost car, the badge’s background was changed to blue.
Hyundai and Kia follow Toyota’s recipe for success
Korean carmakers are setting up plants, designing cars and improving their dealer networks in Europe
Hyundai and subsidiary Kia are copying Toyota’s successful growth plan for western Europe. In the past 10 years, Toyota has doubled its market share in western Europe to 5.4 percent. The first step in Toyota’s European strategy was to open an assembly plant in Burnaston, England, in 1992, says Tadashi Arashima, Toyota Europe’s marketing president.
A whole new world
The rise, fall and rebound of Europe’s carmakers in China
A US company, the now defunct American Motors Corp., was the first foreign automaker to set up a joint venture in China when it joined with Beijing Automotive in 1983 to produce Jeeps. But two European makers, Volkswagen and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, put China into the passenger-car business.
European suppliers have spent the past 10 years rushing into China, but those that lack high-tech solutions will find it hard to survive
Major European suppliers began following Volkswagen into China from the beginning, and virtually every Tier 1 company now manufactures here. Another wave of European migration of Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers is just beginning. Most companies say they aim to begin exporting as soon as possible.
Where legends meet
The European Automotive Hall of Fame has welcomed the industry’s greats since 2001
There is only one place in Europe where one can find Armand Peugeot, Vincenzo Lancia, Battista Pininfarina, Nicolaus Otto and Herbert Austin all in the same room: the European Automotive Hall of Fame. Located at the Palexpo exhibition center in Geneva, Switzerland, the hall of fame opened in 2001.
Drowning in bureaucracy
Automakers have invested billions since 1996 to meet EU rules that often conflict. Now Brussels and the industry aim to work closer together on new rules
Auto-industry executives often say that the market tells them what cars and trucks to build. That may have been wholly true in simpler times. But for a long time now, regulators also have been telling them what to build.
The challenges ahead
Unpredictable oil prices, more regulation and brutal competition loom for industry in next decade
Buckle up. We could be in for a heck of a ride over the next decade. The last 10 years were turbulent enough, what with takeovers and corporate failures alike changing the map of the auto industry. To say nothing of having to deal with surging oil prices, disappearing profit margins, expensive new regulations and an onslaught of tough new competition from Japan, Korea and China.
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