The French government's influence over PSA should remain limited despite Paris getting a spot on the automaker's top-level board. PSA provided the board seat in exchange for a 7 billion euro loan from the government to bail out its car-loans arm.
Despite numerous stumbles, Chinese-owned British brand MG Motor aims to match Kia's quick rise in Europe by also focusing on design. “In terms of product and competitiveness I'd say we're not very far away [from Kia] already,” MG vice director of design Martin Uhlarik said.
Automakers and suppliers are finding big opportunities in North Africa, where new-car sales are forecast to rise more than 40 percent by 2016 and where low labor costs make producing vehicles and components cheaper than in western Europe and even parts of eastern Europe.
Head-up displays are getting a fresh look as safety-alert devices. Suppliers such as Denso, Nippon Seiki, Continental and Delphi Automotive are developing head-up displays that project larger, brighter and more detailed images onto the windshield.