Automotive News Europe Blogs
Marchionne's merger mania: Why now?
Posted 5:34 am U.S. ET, June 16
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
This Audi A7 concept covered almost 900km largely on autopilot from Palo Alto, California, to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.
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
| 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
Alfa Romeo returned to the U.S. market last November with the 4C.
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
The XR-PHEV II previewed the next-generation ASX, Mitsubishi's No. 2 seller in Europe.
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
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
| 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
| 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
| 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
| 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
Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
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
| 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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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 ...