Automotive News Europe Blogs

Nissan offers rare peek into battery making

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 12
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
A rare tour of Nissan's UK battery plant demonstrated how tricky it is to build the product. Nissan is very secretive about its commercially sensitive production processes. My visit this month was the first time Nissan let outsiders into the 420 million pounds (534 million euros) plant in Sunderland, northeast England, since it opened in 2013. Security was tight. No cell phones were allowed and ...
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Why loyalty leads to fewer dealership visits

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 11
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
A customer visited a dealership an average of six times in the UK before completing a purchase in 1994. That number dropped to 1.2 visits in 2012 and it’s still falling, a successful retailer says. “I think it is possible that at some point in the future we may go down to just 0.7 to 0.8 visits per dealership,” said Steve Penman, dealer principal at Elms Cambridge BMW in Cambour ...
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BMW's manufacturing arm also produces future leaders

Posted 6:44 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
BMW's manufacturing division not only builds great cars -- it also produces the company's future leaders. With the appointment of Harald Krueger as CEO to succeed Norbert Reithofer, BMW builds on its tradition of appointing manufacturing experts from within the company to the top job. BMW has also picked a relatively young executive who can steer the automaker for years to come. Krueger is 49 a ...
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VW's Diess takes pole position to replace Winterkorn

Posted 6:30 am U.S. ET, Dec. 9
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
 
Volkswagen’s announcement that it poached BMW development chief Herbert Diess to run its flagship VW brand puts the 56-year-old manager in pole position to succeed Martin Winterkorn as head of what could soon be the world’s largest automaker. Winterkorn’s contract runs until 2016, but VW unions want him to stay through the end of 2018. Whenever he steps down he is the most likel ...
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Prepare to embrace McLaren's anticipate-and-act tactics

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Dec. 8
blogs Lindsay Chappell is the Mid-South bureau chief in the U.S. for Automotive News.
 
People in the car business are so used to being lectured on how they are doing things wrong -- social media, customer service, what have you -- that it’s notable whenever an automotive company sets a new benchmark for the rest of the world. Zoom in for a closer look at the McLaren Racing pit crews doing their lightning-speed maintenance work the next time you’re watching a Formula 1 r ...
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France is hurting its domestic automakers with diesel policy shift

Posted 5:55 am U.S. ET, Dec. 5
blogs Bruce Gain is an Automotive News Europe correspondent in France.
 
For environmental and public health reasons France is ending a government policy that has long promoted the purchase of diesel cars, but the move will hurt domestic automakers Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen. Diesel models accounted for 71 percent of Peugeot brand sales through October, 68 percent for Citroen and 64 percent for Renault, according to industry analysts Inovev. The French carmakers ...
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FAW bribe scandal should be wake-up call for Beijing

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 28
blogs Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
 
Beijing renewed a rule this month that foreign automakers seeking to build vehicles in China must form joint ventures with local companies. But allegations of rampant bribery at China FAW Group Corp.'s joint venture with Volkswagen should provide an urgent wake-up call to the government to abandon the rule. The government had hoped state-owned automakers would learn from foreign partners how to ...
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Why Audi over-engineered its fuel cell

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 28
blogs
Audi says that without the plug-in hybrid system the A7 Sportback h-tron Quattro would be underpowered, offering the equivalent of just 136 hp.
LUCA CIFERRI:  Audi r&d boss Ulrich Hackenberg provided a concise answer when asked why the carmaker’s fuel cell also needs plug-in hybrid technology. “To make it a proper Audi,” Hackenberg told me last week at the Los Angeles auto show. Without the plug-in hybrid system the A7 Sportback h-tron Quattro would be underpowered, offering the equivalent of just 136 hp, and would disgrace the Q ...
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How to get the U.S. into diesels

Posted 8:07 am U.S. ET, Nov. 28
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
European automakers and suppliers have been trying for years to get U.S. drivers excited about diesels. Experience has proved that a test drive can be a deal-maker. At least that was what I witnessed when testing a 2014 BMW X4 diesel with my father when he visited Germany from the U.S. a month ago. He couldn’t believe how powerful, responsive and quiet the X4 was compared with his last die ...
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Michelin gains from homegrown distrust in China

Posted 6:22 am U.S. ET, Nov. 26
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
European and U.S. sales of cheap Chinese tires are growing fast, but a lack of trust from consumers in the world’s largest car market has given a big boost to Western suppliers such as Michelin in China. “What you don’t know, you don’t trust, especially in China with so many fakes,” Michelin’s director of car and van tires, Florent Menegaux, told me at the comp ...
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Volkswagen raises the stakes in China

Posted 9:22 am U.S. ET, Nov. 21
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
 
Volkswagen's investment plans for the next five years tell one story very clearly – the company is becoming ever more dependent on growth in China in its bid to overtake Toyota as the world’s No. 1 carmaker. For the first time in years, the planned increase in investment by VW's two Chinese joint ventures -- internally financed through their own cash flows -- is set to accelerate, eve ...
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U.S. driver data rules are not tough enough for Europe

Posted 4:56 am U.S. ET, Nov. 17
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Privacy protection guidelines agreed to last week in the U.S. won’t become a global template because they fall short of what is already required in Europe to keep driver data safe, a lawyer specializing on topic says. BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen agreed on Nov. 12 to industrywide principles to handle consumer data and safeguard cu ...
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How to humanize autonomous driving

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 11
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is Managing Editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Self-driving cars are coming, but few people will hand over control to the vehicle unless the computer can match the way they like to drive. The good news is that there is a surprisingly small level of variance in what most people consider acceptable for certain key situations, said connected driving expert Floris van de Klashorst of Nokia subsidiary HERE. He told the Telematic Munich conference ...
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Ford's Odell: Sharp, talented and respectful

Posted 7:17 am U.S. ET, Nov. 10
blogs James B. Treece is a News Editor at Automotive News.
 
As Jim Farley prepares to run Ford of Europe, staff in sales and marketing at the automaker’s headquarters in Dearborn are getting ready to greet current Europe boss Stephen Odell, who will replace Farley as global head of sales, service and marketing on Jan. 1. The change says a lot about Ford today. Farley is considered a marketing wunderkind. But I don’t think Odell is a step down ...
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Suzuki seeks BMW-like success -- on the seas

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 7
blogs
Suzuki handed out more brochures and gift bags prior to the Route du Rhum race in St. Malo, France, (shown) than it did at the Paris auto show last month.
BRUCE GAIN:  Suzuki is trying to emulate BMW’s and Volvo's success on the seas by associating its brand with one of the world’s most famous sailboat races. Suzuki hopes to boost its small presence in Europe with help from the Route du Rhum solo race across the Atlantic, which is estimated to reach more than 2 million potential customers in the region. That kind of exposure usually is something on ...
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New CO2 rules may benefit car design

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Nov. 6
blogs
The Renault Eolab concept has design changes to improve its fuel efficiency that may appear on future cars.
NICK GIBBS:  Proposed changes to how fuel economy and emissions are measured could mean the end of useful-but-ugly side mirrors and other design changes on cars. Steve Remondi, CEO of U.S.-based aerodynamic modeling software firm Exa, told me that EU and the U.S safety regulations have been adapted so that side mirrors can be replaced by cameras that feed the information to screens inside the car. At least o ...
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Dissecting Daimler's motorcycle deal

Posted 12:53 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 31
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
 
Why the sudden interest by German luxury carmakers in premium motorbike brands? Daimler unit Mercedes-AMG may be acquiring a minority stake in Italian motorcycle brand MV Agusta, but don’t confuse this with the purchase of Ducati by Volkswagen’s Audi unit. The Ducati deal was more about providing VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech with another high-end collector’s item. Case in p ...
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Is Ferrari worth 12 billion euros?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 31
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Ferrari is worth as much as 12 billion euros on the open market based on Chairman Sergio Marchionne’s most optimistic blue-sky estimate. The true value will be a hot topic for months. Fiat Chrysler started this debate on Wednesday when it said it would spin off its 90 percent stake in the supercar maker. The IPO is expected in June 2015. Right now any number is good number so there have be ...
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Ferrari will go public but remain private

Posted 3:40 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 29
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Soon it will be possible to own a stake in Ferrari, but even when it is publicly listed the Italian supercar maker probably will remain a family-owned carmaker. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to spin off 10 percent of its 90 percent stake in Ferrari by June 2015 via a listing in New York and perhaps a few other stock exchanges. The remaining 80 percent will be distributed at no cost to Fiat Chry ...
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China has room for PSA's upscale DS brand

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 25
blogs
PSA launched sales of its second China-built DS model, the DS 6WR crossover, last month.
BRUCE GAIN:  PSA/Peugeot-Citroen's upscale DS brand is on track to be successful in China because of consumer demand for French luxury goods -- but it is not a serious rival to the German premium brands. French luxury goods are hot items among a burgeoning middle and upper middle class of consumers in China and DS is well positioned to offer a French-accented driving experience thousands of miles away from ma ...
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Japanese automakers drive UK car industry's rebound

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 24
blogs Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News
 
Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Land Rover, Mini, MG. The pantheon of British automakers has a storied history, but it is not exactly populated with big-volume world-beaters. And its recent history has been darkened by years of decline in which many of these household brand names were bought and sold by overseas rivals betting they could engineer a turnaround. However, Britain's long beleaguered auto indus ...
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Why Daimler doesn't share investors' love affair with Tesla

Posted 9:14 am U.S. ET, Oct. 22
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
 
Are Tesla shares overvalued? If you ask Daimler, investors have gotten ahead of themselves with their exuberant love for Elon Musk’s California-based manufacturer of sporty electric cars. On Tuesday, Daimler decided to cash out on its 4 percent stake for the price of $780 million in cash (615 million euros). Not a bad haul considering the company paid almost $50 million for the stake in May ...
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Why Audi, BMW and Mercedes dominate China's luxury market

Posted 8:25 am U.S. ET, Oct. 17
blogs Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
 
In recent years a number of non-German global brands including Cadillac, Lexus and Infiniti have challenged the solid grip that Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz maintain on China's luxury car market. But until now, none of them has put any noticeable competitive pressure on the three leading brands, to say nothing about shaking their iron grasp on the market. Now comes PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, which is t ...
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Reithofer's vision made U.S. plant into a global giant

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 11
blogs
BMW's Spartanburg plant is set to become the automaker's biggest factory. (Luca Ciferri)
LUCA CIFERRI:  BMW’s U.S. factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has altered so much since I visited it nearly 20 years ago that the only way I recognized it was because of the company logo. The factory has changed from being a small plant building a niche roadster into the global production base for all BMW SUVs, apart from the German-built X1. By the end of 2016, Spartanburg will overtake the Dingolfi ...
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Carlos and Dieter show goes from strength to strength

Posted 5:34 am U.S. ET, Oct. 6
blogs Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
 
Dieter Zetsche and Carlos Ghosn believe they are no longer needed to ensure the long-term continuation of the industrial partnership between Daimler and the Renault-Nissan alliance. The two CEOs dispelled speculation that the partnership could crumble once they are not around to instill a sense of unity in their teams. Zetsche said the alliance was dependent on cooperation between the two execut ...
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Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

At Bay King Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram in Hamilton, Ontario, dealer Jamie Richter has put luxury-hotel touches in his new showroom. They include concierges who see to the needs of service customers. Mon., December 15
» Watch the Video