Automotive News Europe Blogs

Citroen CEO sees positive changes for women in auto industry

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 2
blogs
Citroen CEO Linda Jackson thinks China's car business is less macho than in other countries because its history isn't rooted in the male-driven world of racing.
NICK GIBBS:  One year into her role as Citroen CEO Linda Jackson says she hasn't encountered any prejudice as a woman working a man's world. In fact, she says it's an advantage. “Being a women you can ask questions that men don't ask because they're supposed to know all these things,” she told me during a recent interview at the recent Automotive News Europe Congress. One surprise to her has been ...
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Renault Espace's Tesla-like touchscreen could be a winner

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 25
blogs
The Espace's touchscreen corresponds with the driver's view of the road, ensuring information is displayed clearly.
BRUCE GAIN:  Renault’s large, vertically mounted touchscreen on its new Espace large minivan seems like a smart move as connectivity increasingly becomes a key selling point for new vehicles. The Espace’s 8.7-inch touchscreen for controlling infotainment and driving aids has a similar layout to the signature 17-inch display on the Tesla Model S sedan. The Espace touchscreen’s portrait mode, ...
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VW pays the price for failing to respond to evolving customer needs in China

Posted 5:00 am U.S. ET, June 19
blogs Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
 
After outperforming the market for almost a decade, Volkswagen, the top-selling brand in China, has begun to lose market share. Through May, the brand's sales dipped 3.7 percent to 1.16 million vehicles. In that same period, industry sales of light vehicles in China rose 5 percent. Why has VW started to lose ground? China's soft economy is one reason. Economic growth slowed to 7 percent in the f ...
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Marchionne's merger mania: Why now?

Posted 5:34 am U.S. ET, June 16
blogs

LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE:  Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and related companies, has a number of honorifics and titles on his resume. But there is one important task that doesn't get talked about that much: Sherpa. I refer to Marchionne's desperate quest to find a merger partner for FCA. He is shouldering the load for the billionaire Agnelli family that employs him. Actually, Marchionne reminds me mo ...
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Life or death decisions

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 12
blogs
This Audi A7 concept covered almost 900km largely on autopilot from Palo Alto, California, to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
LUCA CIFERRI:  In the near future I could be writing this column from the driver’s seat of my car while the vehicle steers itself along the highway. This highlights just one of the possibilities that self-driving and increasingly connected cars open up to people like me who are fascinated by any new technology. Audi’s sales and marketing chief, Luca de Meo, one of the brightest auto executives I hav ...
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The incredible power of praise

Posted 1:55 am U.S. ET, June 10
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
The industry's up-and-coming executives require something their old-school bosses are often reluctant to give: praise. This deficiency can be the difference in losing or keeping a game-changing team member, said Gabi Whitefield, who along with being global public relations director at Land Rover is a member of the Automotive News Europe Rising Stars Club. Whitfield was asked to speak last night d ...
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The steep road ahead for Alfa in the U.S.

Posted 8:17 am U.S. ET, June 8
blogs
Alfa Romeo returned to the U.S. market last November with the 4C.
RICHARD TRUETT:  A 44-year-old Alfa Romeo Montreal sports coupe that sold new for $6,000 brought $176,000 at a classic car auction in Arizona. Some older Alfas are commanding auction prices more than 10 times higher than just five years ago. There is no doubt that Alfa Romeo fans -- the Alfisti -- are passionate. But there is enough doubt that there are enough of them to bring the brand back to life after a 20-ye ...
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Mitsubishi should focus on SUVs to boost Europe sales

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 4
blogs
The XR-PHEV II previewed the next-generation ASX, Mitsubishi's No. 2 seller in Europe.
NICK GIBBS:  Mitsubishi should become an SUV-only brand in Europe positioned below Land Rover to boost its profitability and sales volume, the brand’s UK boss believes. The Japanese automaker’s European volume is already tilted toward SUVs after the company axed its slow-selling Lancer compact car in some European markets including the UK. This left the Mirage/Space Star hatchback as the brand&rsq ...
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VW says the Golf will be first car to offer gesture controls

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, June 3
blogs

JAY RAMEY:  The updated Volkswagen Golf, due in 2016, will add gesture controls to its "Star Trek"-style touch screens, AutoExpress reports. VW presented the new in-car technology in the Golf R Touch concept last week at CES Asia in Shanghai. It previews the production version of interior tech that the face-lifted Golf will receive when it goes on sale in late 2016. The driver and passengers will ...
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Honda works smart to fill UK plant

Posted 4:52 am U.S. ET, May 20
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
Honda has reduced the problem of drastic undercapacity at its factory in Swindon, England, by inviting suppliers to utilize the empty space. Honda has been building cars in Swindon since 1992, and in 2001 it responded to rising demand for its models by building a second plant to lift capacity by 100,000 units to 250,000 cars. But the Japanese automaker was hit hard by the European economic slump ...
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Piech casts shadow over Porsche's annual meeting

Posted 9:43 am U.S. ET, May 13
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
Ferdinand Piech did it again. The 78-year old patriarch upstaged his younger cousin Wolfgang Porsche and former protege Martin Winterkorn by missing the annual meeting of the family holding company that holds a majority stake in Volkswagen Group. Wolfgang Porsche had to field questions that almost solely dealt with his missing relative at the Porsche SE shareholders meeting on Wednesday after Pie ...
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BMW's days of easy money in China are over

Posted 6:30 am U.S. ET, May 8
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News EuropeGermany correspondent.
 
Investors alarmed by a substantial drop in profits from BMW's Chinese joint venture with Brilliance received few reassurances that this will change anytime soon, as BMW executives braced the market for a profit-eroding performance in China weighed down by rising investment costs and an aging product lineup. BMW's earnings from its joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive look to have nearly ...
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Why VW tops rivals Toyota and GM in workforce size

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 7
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
Volkswagen Group, Toyota and General Motors each sell about 10 million vehicles annually around the world, yet VW has more global employees than Toyota and GM combined. Clearly, the weak profitability at its VW brand stems from its low productivity. Yet because of the powerful role unions play at Volkswagen, that surplus of workers is unlikely to change anytime soon. Not only are wide-ranging la ...
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Marchionne is so right and so wrong about consolidation

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 6
blogs
Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
RICHARD TRUETT:  Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne is absolutely right in his call for industry consolidation. But he is absolutely wrong about what needs consolidating. In a call with analysts last week to discuss Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ first quarter earnings, Marchionne went rogue and launched into a discussion further pressing his case for automaker megamergers. Car companies, he believes, must ...
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Piech's absence dominates VW annual meeting

Posted 6:43 am U.S. ET, May 5
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
 
Ferdinand Piech was absent from Volkswagen Group's annual meeting today after he quit as chairman last month, but he may cause VW's leadership more headaches than ever before. Since May 4 was Star Wars Day, permit a small comparison. In the popular science fiction movie Obi-Wan Kenobi warned his protege, Darth Vader, before their fateful light saber duel on the Death Star, "strike me down and I s ...
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Good news for Europe's late arrivers in China

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 4
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
Late-arriving European brands in China such as Renault, Fiat and Jaguar will find it tougher to get established amid the market’s slowdown. There is, however, reason for them to be optimistic because Chinese customers have very little brand loyalty. Boston Consulting Group studied the purchasing habits of 2,400 car owners and found that three-quarters are planning to switch brands when they ...
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Mercedes G class latest victim in China's clone wars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, May 1
blogs
How affordable will this G-class copy be once it goes on sale in China? (NEWSPRESS)
JAY RAMEY:  Last week at the Shanghai auto show, Land Rover was coming to terms with selling the Range Rover Evoque alongside its half-priced Chinese clone, the Land Wind X7. Not to be outdone, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding unveiled its own version of a western SUV, opting for the classic Mercedes-Benz G class. The relationship between Daimler, Mercedes' parent, and BAIC differs from that be ...
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Why Marchionne needs a powerful 'mother-in-law'

Posted 5:59 am U.S. ET, April 30
blogs Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne’s latest call for industry consolidation looks like a husband seeking his mother-in-law’s help to solve a problem with his wife. The last time we saw this tactic employed Renault-Nissan CEO Carlo Ghosn was in the husband role, activist investor Kirk Kerkorian was the mother-in-law and the goal was to get Renault-Nissan and General Motors ...
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German automakers' bonus from weak euro may be hit by U.S. Fed shift

Posted 8:54 am U.S. ET, April 30
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
One thing all German carmakers and suppliers have reported so far this week has been their expectations that currency effects could add hundreds of millions of euros to their bottom line. Daimler doubled its February estimate for foreign exchange tailwinds on Tuesday. The company now expects to add 1 billion euros to its 2015 results. Half of the profit growth coming from Volkswagen’s China ...
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Daimler mimics BMW with conservative profit outlook

Posted 6:17 am U.S. ET, April 29
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
Daimler seems to have taken a lead from BMW in keeping its 2015 profit outlook conservative to avoid any risk whatsoever of potentially giving the financial markets an unpleasant surprise later in the year. The automaker reported Tuesday that quarterly EBIT increased 41 percent to 2.93 billion euros ($3.19 billion) with results from its cars, trucks, vans units and even its China joint venture al ...
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Why Piech's departure is bad for the industry

Posted 5:16 am U.S. ET, April 26
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe Germany correspondent.
 
Of all the backdrops befitting a historic event for Germany’s auto industry, the least likely would have to be an insignificant airport in the city of Brunswick, a tiny satellite that orbits the massive VW factory in nearby Wolfsburg.On Saturday, however, it served as the meeting place where Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech, outnumbered five to one during a meeting of the board’s mo ...
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Seeing through Mini's digital goggles

Posted 4:30 am U.S. ET, April 23
blogs
Mini's goggles are a wearable head-up display that show digitalized information on the lenses. The information makes it easier for the driver to follow navigation directions -- either inside the car, or outside while walking.
LUCA CIFERRI:  I cannot imagine my life without a smartphone or a tablet but I am not convinced yet I need to add augmented reality eyewear to my driving experience. I tested a set of digital goggles that BMW’s Mini brand unveiled at the Shanghai auto show this week. The aviator-style eyewear is BMW’s interpretation of computerized headsets such as Google Glass Simply stated, the goggles are a wea ...
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Piech's career battles will be his legacy

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 20
blogs Richard Johnson is print editor for Automotive News
 
Ferdinand Piech started out his career with a pretty serious rivalry -- tangling with cousin Ferdinand "Butzi" Porsche, designer of the 911. Now it appears he'll bow out in more or less the same fashion. At war. It's just his style. In fact, it will be his legacy. The dueling cousins went at it so hard that in 1971, a frustrated Ferry Porsche, Butzi's father, cast all family members out of the spo ...
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Super-sized Shanghai more survivable than Frankfurt

Posted 5:22 am U.S. ET, April 20
blogs Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
The Shanghai auto show’s new home is bigger than the fairgrounds used for the Frankfurt show, but it is less brutal on the body. The recently opened National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai calls itself with world’s largest exhibition complex with 400,000 square meters of covered space. The Messe Frankfurt, home to the biennial Frankfurt show, has 355,678 square meters o ...
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Fiat meeting goes from legendary to ordinary

Posted 11:52 am U.S. ET, April 16
blogs Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Fiat needed less than 2 hours to complete its first shareholder meeting in Amsterdam on Thursday, which was attended by just 17 people. It's previous gatherings near Turin would draw hundreds -- including a who's who of the Italian auto industry -- and take up to 12 hours to complete because of all the drama. Those meetings were legendary. Thursday’s meeting was ordinary. I remember more t ...
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