Automotive News Europe Blogs

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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Citroen C4 Cactus's love-it-or-hate-it styling is a winner

Posted 3:49 am U.S. ET, April 10
blogs
The C4 Cactus's “Airbumps” on the sides and bumpers help the car stand out in a segment dominated by lookalike hatchbacks.
BRUCE GAIN:  The success of the C4 Cactus in winning the 2015 World Car Design of the Year contest has vindicated Citroen’s decision to launch the unconventionally styled crossover. The C4 Cactus’s love-it-or-hate-it design surprised many when it went on sale in Europe last September. Its bold front-end and so-called rubber “Airbumps” on the sides and bumpers to protect the bodywork fr ...
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How PSA's Tavares keeps his desk clean

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, April 6
blogs Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
PSA/Peugeot Citroen's Carlos Tavares has topped past and present CEOs Lee Iacocca, Jacques Nasser and Sergio Marchionne in an interesting category: He has the cleanest desk of any automaker CEO I have interviewed in the last 36 years. While Iacocca’s, Nasser’s and Marchionne’s desks were not cluttered, Tavares’ was nearly empty when we met last month. When I asked him why ...
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While others stand up, Italy stands aside

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 30
blogs Luca Ciferri is editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Formula One tire supplier Pirelli will have a Chinese owner. Ferrari styling house Pininfarina could be acquired by an Indian motorcycle manufacturer. The icon of Italian motorbikes, Ducati, is already in German hands, as well as Lamborghini and the most renowned Italian design house of modern times, Italdesign Giugiaro. Fiat -- now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles -- next month will have its first annua ...
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With Volvo's help, Geely goes upscale

Posted 4:31 am U.S. ET, March 27
blogs Yang Jian is managing editor of Automotive News China.
 
SHANGHAI -- Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. launched sales last week of its new flagship car, the GC9 midsize sedan. This is not the first time that Geely Chairman Li Shufu has tried to build a premium product. During the Shanghai auto show in 2009, Geely unveiled a limousine that looked like a poor man's Rolls-Royce. At the same event, Geely launched the Emgrand brand to attract business custo ...
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Fiat Chrysler may find perfect partner is from Asia

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 23
blogs Larry P. Vellequette covers Fiat Chrysler for Automotive News
 
Sergio Marchionne wants a dance partner for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The financial media keep trying to fix him up with Volkswagen Group, despite his refusal to be courted by this particular German fraulein and his repeated attempts to douse the rumors. As a casual observer, with my back to the dance hall wall, I think Marchionne has his eye on a potential mate in Asia. To me, there are three au ...
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Porsche boss Mueller, 62, says he's young enough to be VW Group CEO

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 20
blogs
Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller: "I stand ready to take over any assignment.” (Reuters)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER:  Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller says he’s young and fit enough to be a candidate to succeed Martin Winterkorn as head of the Volkswagen Group. During the Porsche’s annual earnings press conference in Stuttgart on Friday, the newest member of the VW Group’s top management board effectively announced his desire for the job, dismissing a report that he had no interest because he is in ...
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China and cutting CO2 tough tasks for incoming BMW CEO Krueger

Posted 7:15 am U.S. ET, March 19
blogs Luca Ciferri is Editor of Automotive News Europe.
 
Incoming BMW CEO Harald Krueger’s biggest challenges will be China and CO2 emissions, the automaker’s current chief, Norbert Reithofer, said. BMW’s high profits in China are at risk as the market’s fast growth adjusts to normal industry levels, said Reithofer, who steps down as BMW CEO on May 15. Double-digit growth in car sales in China will not last. In future sales wil ...
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Why Land Rover leads among China's second-tier luxury brands

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 13
blogs
Last year, more than 34,000 Evoques were sold in China, one-third of the model's global sales.
YANG JIAN:  For two years in a row, Land Rover has remained China's fourth-largest luxury brand. It's hard for the British marque to challenge the three German brands -- Audi, BMW and Mercedes -- that collectively own more than 70 percent of China's premium car market. But over the next few years, Land Rover seems likely to strengthen its position as the leader among China's second-tier luxury brands. Land ...
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How Michelin may give Europe's SUV craze even more traction

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, March 13
blogs Nick Gibbs is UK Correspondent at Automotive News Europe.
 
Michelin has developed a tire that could give even more traction to Europe’s SUV craze. Right now, most customers assume that their new SUVs come standard with all-season tires. That is not the case. “We are going to address that,” Chief Operating Officer Florent Menegaux told me last week at the Geneva auto show. The French company’s answer to the problem is a tire that ...
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