BMW of North America's CEO, Jim O'Donnell, says one way to meet the new federal standard for corporate average fuel economy is with a smaller, front-drive car, which BMW is developing. Meanwhile, Mercedes plans to import small fwd vehicles based on Daimler AG's new A/B platform.
Jaguar is pursuing a plan to move upmarket under its new owner, India's Tata Motors. The first vehicle launched under Tata was the redesigned XJ, which is more luxurious and expensive than its predecessor and is aimed squarely at the Mercedes S class and BMW 7 series. Tata says it will expand the Jaguar range with a smaller car and roadster. Both will be positioned as premium cars.
Volvo was sold by Ford Motor Co. to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group this month. Within hours after the purchase, Geely founder and CEO Li Shufu said he has big dreams for Volvo.
"We want to make more high-level cars that compete with the S class of Mercedes-Benz and the 7 series of BMW," Li said. "We need products to compete in that segment."
And speaking of big, the redesigned Saab 9-5 is longer than both the Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-class sedans.
Automotive News will continue its report on the future product plans of European carmakers in the Sept. 20 issue, with news about Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini.