Automotive News Europe blogs

Volvo exec says risk factor for XC60 exceeds XC90

Posted 5:09 am U.S. ET, April 27
blogs
Production of the new XC60 started Wednesday at Volvo's plant in Torslanda, Sweden. The first customer-bound car, shown, was a white T5 Inscription variant with all-wheel drive. It rolled off the assembly line just before noon.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Volvo's r&d boss says the new XC60 is even more of a high-risk model than the second-generation XC90. “The last years of its life cycle the XC90 wasn't really up to the competition of the other premium brands,” Henrik Green, who replaced Peter Mertens as r&d chief at the Swedish brand five months ago, told a small group of journalists this week at the company's headquarters in ...
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Germany's auto industry welcomes prospect of Macron presidency in France

Posted 8:34 am U.S. ET, April 24
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Macron greets supporters after securing a place in the final round of voting for the presidency. (Reuters)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Sunday's election outcome in France, in which a moderate Europhile investment banker won the first round of the presidential vote, was met with relief by German's auto industry. The victory by Emmanuel Macron over leading far-right populist Marine Le Pen – widely expected to be confirmed in two-weeks' time in the run-off – is seen as a victory for the euro, free trade and open borders ...
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China lands Chevy Volt in a Buick wrapper

Posted 8:14 am U.S. ET, April 20
blogs

JAY RAMEY:  Buick rolled out its version of the Chevrolet Volt for the Chinese market this week, with the upscale hybrid dubbed Velite 5 in the Middle Kingdom. Buick offers far more models in China than it does in the U.S., and analysts predicted a Buick version of the Volt would be offered there before the second-generation model even debuted. Just like the Volt, the Buick Velite 5 will be powered by two el ...
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Tavares' tall task for PSA and Opel: brand management

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 7
blogs Luca Ciferri is associate publisher and editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
The buzz at last month's Geneva auto show was what would PSA CEO Carlos Tavares do to streamline his enlarged stable of brands, given that Citroen, Peugeot and new addition Opel/Vauxhall all compete in Europe's saturated volume car market. If that's not challenging enough, Tavares' near-premium DS brand has a long way to go to get on the same shopping list as a BMW, Audi or Jaguar. Tavares said h ...
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After record high, UK's 'treasure island' status is set to end

Posted 4:32 am U.S. ET, April 6
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
After March new-car registrations hit an all-time high in the UK, analysts predict an end to the market's long run as a "treasure island" for profits. For the past five years, sales have boomed in Europe's No. 2 market after Germany, helped by easy credit that encouraged to automakers to import surplus production from continental Europe. As many of those sales were premium models and better-equip ...
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Volvo CEO keeps his hiring promise

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 5
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson wants to make the Swedish automaker “younger, more diverse and more international,” he told me in an interview earlier this year. He achieved all three with the hiring of Martina Buchhauser. When Buchhauser officially joins Volvo later this year the 50-year-old German will be the third woman and the sixth non-Swede on Volvo’s executive management ...
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Piech's problem: his 'small-minded' family

Posted 5:29 am U.S. ET, April 4
blogs
Piech is walking away from his life's work at VW.
:  Ferdinand Piech's decision to sell his stake in his family's holding company that owns a majority stake in Volkswagen Group ends a lifetime spent in almost constant conflict with relatives he saw little use for. Piech will sell the bulk of his 14.7 percent ordinary shares in Porsche SE, which controls 52.2 percent of VW Group's voting stock. He will leave Porsche SE's board when the transaction f ...
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Will the quality ghosts of British Leyland haunt Tesla?

Posted 11:28 am U.S. ET, April 4
blogs
A Tesla Model 3 outside the company's Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, in July 2016. (BLOOMBERG)
RICHARD TRUETT :  Elon Musk, born in June 1971, may know little about the defunct UK automaker British Leyland. But he may very well learn -- painfully -- some of the lessons that eventually killed what was once the General Motors of Britain. In the summer of 1968, a massive merger of British Motor Holdings and Leyland Motor Corp. created the world’s sixth-largest automaker. British Leyland consisted of Jagu ...
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Tavares has the tools to make PSA-Opel a success

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 4
blogs
CEO Carlos Tavares has restored PSA Group to profitability and pushed it beyond its traditional European focus to global markets. Can he do the same for Opel? (REUTERS)
PETER SIGAL:  PSA Group’s pending acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall has all the makings of a prime-time television drama. Just two years after rescuing his company from near-bankruptcy, CEO Carlos Tavares has staked his legacy on the purchase of a German rival that has consistently lost hundreds of millions of euros a year. What’s more, the sale vaults Tavares past his former mentor at Renault, Carlos G ...
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Volvo dealers get crash course on conquests

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 31
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Volvo’s head of Europe says that his dealers have had to get used to something new: knowing how to cash in on conquest sales. “Two to three years ago we didn't have any conquest sales. Now it's a factor that we have to work on,” Anders Gustafsson told me. “We have to educate our dealers on which cars and which trim lines to take as a trade.” For years, Volvo's lineu ...
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How China dealer association resolved Audi's dealer crisis

Posted 3:59 am U.S. ET, March 31
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
:  China's industry associations are a sleepy lot. Created to advise government agencies, they often act more like bureaucrats than as advocates for members. But the China Automobile Dealers Association has busted the mold. This month, the group successfully mediated a dispute between Audi and its dealers that threatened to blow up into all-out war. The standoff started four months ago. Audi is anx ...
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Lithium next German power play?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 28
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen came together to acquire Nokia's HERE high-definition mapping unit in 2015, and they combined efforts when deciding to build an ultrafast charging network for electric vehicles in Europe. So will the German companies join forces to secure a sufficient supply of lithium, a crucial raw material for battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids? BMW, for one, seems willi ...
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Shanghai show to measure progress of China's would-be Teslas

Posted 4:19 am U.S. ET, March 24
blogs
Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
YANG JIAN :  At least six startups funded by Chinese backers have hatched plans to develop high-performance electric vehicles. They all want to be the next Tesla, but most of them have yet to reveal a single vehicle. It's logical to wonder how much progress these companies have made. Well, the ideal place to check it out will be the Shanghai auto show, which opens on April 20. The auto show's organizers hav ...
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Why VW patriarch Piech's parting will be bitter

Posted 8:16 am U.S. ET, March 22
blogs
Piech mocked his family for years. Now it seems they have had enough.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Ferdinand Piech's plan to burn all bridges to his life’s work and sell his indirect stake in Volkswagen Group shows a bitter man, family members believe. Piech's relatives believe he has become increasingly embittered since resigning from the Volkswagen Group board in April 2015, a source close to the Porsche and Piech families told me. The final trigger that opened the door for Piech to b ...
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Why city mayors may dictate which cars will rule the roads

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 18
blogs
Paris wants diesel-powered vehicles removed from its streets by 2025 to help reduce air pollution. (Reuters)
LUCA CIFERRI :  PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares is scared that the mayors of the world's biggest cities -- especially those in Europe -- will have a powerful say in which powertrains will rule the road because they can dictate which types of vehicles will be allowed inside their metropolitan areas. "Do you expect me to be happy at 85 riding a bicycle in Paris on a cold, snowy day?" Tavares asked reporters on the si ...
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How Aston Martin could help make your life better

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 17
blogs
Aston Martin's track-only Vulcan supercar is the first production model equipped with Nexcel's oil management technology.
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  Aston Martin is playing a key role in reducing CO2 and giving back a huge amount of lost time to car owners. How? By allowing its track-only Vulcan supercar to be the first production model equipped with a potentially game-changing oil management technology created by Castrol subsidiary Nexcel. The system reduces tailpipe CO2 emissions by allowing the engine to warm up faster. This is possible be ...
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Audi CEO's polished exterior shows cracks amid diesel scandal

Posted 5:53 am U.S. ET, March 17
blogs
Stadler's role as Audi CEO is under fire. He is pictured at the company's annual news conference on Wednesday. (Reuters)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  There are few German top managers as practiced as Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. This week however the polished veneer began to wear away in the steady flow of questions related to his role in the lead up to Volkswagen Group's diesel-emissions scandal. Just three hours before Stadler was due to present his company's annual results at its headquarters in Bavaria, Germany, public prosecutors had raided o ...
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As VW exits crisis, the press spins next chapter like pirate radio

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 15
blogs
VW CEO Matthias Mueller, center, and other company executives during the company's annual news conference in Wolfsburg on Tuesday. (REUTERS)
LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE :  WOLFSBURG -- Earlier Tuesday, I joined several hundred other reporters from around the globe at Volkswagen Group's annual press conference, where we heard CEO Matthias Mueller speak about the company's future. And yet, when the event was over a few hours later and I was reading headlines from other media, it turns out I was wrong. Apparently I wasn't at a press conference at all. According to so ...
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Mitsubishi gets a lot more European

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 15
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Mitsubishi is becoming a lot more European as Chairman Carlos Ghosn continues to fill key positions at the Japanese automaker with trusted executives from Nissan and its budget brand, Datsun. Starting next month Frenchmen Vincent Cobee and Guillaume Cartier will join British national Trevor Mann on the senior management team at the automaker, which is still reeling from its mileage manipulation s ...
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Perseverance leads to perfect iPad pockets in new XC60

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 8
blogs
The two storage pockets seamlessly blend into the back seat area of the second-generation XC60, which Volvo debuted at the Geneva auto show this week.
:  Volvo's new XC60 debuts a storage space that is perfect for the iPad, which is ironic considering that the original idea for the clever solution pre-dates the popular Apple device by three years. Volvo's Christina Leinonen, who is a senior program director, envisioned two thin, wide pockets under the back seats of a Volvo model a decade ago, her boss, Magnus Olsson, who is vice president of ...
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For Italy's Giugiaros, a return to the Geneva spotlight

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 8
blogs
Richard Johnson is print editor of Automotive News.
:  GENEVA -- For some reason, the lights always seem brighter at the Geneva auto show. So much luminosity poured down on the Volkswagen Arteon‎ from the Palexpo's high ceilings that you could hardly make out the contours of the car. You had to squint. Some people are perfect in this kind of spotlight. The real stars just seem to shine brighter. Like the Giugiaros. Indeed, it would not be ...
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Opel buy boosts PSA in German, UK markets

Posted 2:30 am U.S. ET, March 7
blogs
Vauxhall is the No. 2 brand in the UK after Ford. (Reuters)
NICK GIBBS :  PSA Group's purchase of Opel/Vauxhall from General Motors immediately hands it a valuable prize it didn't have before. PSA now has a sizeable share of Europe's two biggest car markets of Germany and the UK. Buyers in the two markets don't buy cars from PSA's Peugeot and Citroen in any great volume. Last year in Germany, Europe's largest market, Peugeot was the 16th biggest brand and Citroen 18th. ...
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For engineering, the good and the bad of GM's move to unload Opel

Posted 2:55 am U.S. ET, March 7
blogs
An Opel GT Concept 2016 on display ahead of the 2016 Geneva auto show. Without Opel, will GM forget why European cars are engineered so differently than vehicles designed for the United States and Asia? (BLOOMBERG)
RICHARD TRUETT :  The sale, if you can call it that, of General Motors’ Opel and Vauxhall brands to PSA Group will have wide-ranging effects on General Motors as an engineering organization. And some will be positive. GM and PSA agreed Monday on a deal that sees the French company pay GM 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion) for Opel and Vauxhall, but GM has to sink 3 billion euros into Opel/Vauxhall’s pens ...
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Velar may signal new strategy at Land Rover

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 7
blogs
At first glance the Velar (shown) seems to fill what Land Rover calls the “white space” between the compact Range Rover Evoque and the Sport. But it also could be the next Range Over Sport.
NICK GIBBS :  The Range Rover Velar runs dangerously close to the Range Rover Sport in Land Rover’s luxury lineup. Is this an error, or a clue as how the British brand will reposition the next Range Rover Sport and other models? At first glance the Velar seems to fill what Land Rover calls the “white space” between the compact Range Rover Evoque and the Sport. The Velar is built on the same m ...
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Why Ford stands by its 'One Ford' philosophy

Posted 6:33 am U.S. ET, March 7
blogs
Ford's Joe Bakaj: "An example of a great global product is the Focus RS, which we now sell in the U.S."
RICHARD JOHNSON :  One argument for selling Opel to PSA is that General Motors' global engineering demands suddenly get a lot less complex. What's more, GM's Detroit bosses say there's far less overlap between Europe and the re‎st of the world these days. Well, Ford of Europe product development chief Joe Bakaj isn't commenting on GM's retreat from Europe, but he's adamant that Ford sees no reason to step away ...
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