Automotive News Europe blogs

Why Porsche's CFO calls Germany's digital infrastructure a 'catastrophe'

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 19
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Porsche fears that Germany's slow roll out of fifth-generation mobile phone technology could threaten the domestic auto industry's competitiveness and profitability in the next decade. In an attempt to offset a drop in car sales and revenues resulting from a shift to full-electric, self-driving vehicles, the sports-car maker is investing heavily to develop new digital business models that rely on ...
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Daimler loses complicated, costly refrigerant battle

Posted 3:00 pm U.S. ET, Oct. 19
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Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Daimler’s profit warning, its second this year, brought back an old issue many might have forgotten: its brief but fascinating crusade against a refrigerant five years ago. Part of the reason for reducing its earnings guidance was related to this complicated case. Due to the EU’s Mobile Air Conditioning Directive that took effect in early 2013, automakers were forbidden to use R134a r ...
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Could Jaguar become an EV-only brand?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 17
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The Jaguar I-Pace on display at the 2018 New York auto show in March (BLOOMBERG)
JAY RAMEY :  Could Jaguar become an EV-only brand? That's the strategy under consideration by company leadership, according to Autocar, one in which the British luxury marque would phase out its conventional vehicles over the next five to seven years, replacing them with battery-electric vehicles. Such a move may seem drastic at first, but it contemplates a different luxury car universe five years f ...
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German automakers' opposition to CO2 goal may backfire

Posted 4:03 am U.S. ET, Oct. 11
blogs
Christiaan Hetzner is Automotive News Europe's Germany correspondent.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  The usually reserved Ola Kallenius was practically bubbling over with optimism in Paris. "These are the best of times," were the words Daimler's incoming CEO used to describe the shift towards electric, autonomous, shared and connected cars. "It is of course a big challenge to transition a whole industry and a whole infrastructure from being solely combustion-based to going into heavy electrifica ...
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Daimler should consider Porsche exec as next finance chief

Posted 8:29 am U.S. ET, Oct. 9
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Lutz Meschke.
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Daimler was left reeling with the news that Bodo Uebber, finance chief since December 2004, abruptly decided to quit. After failing to be named Dieter Zetsche's successor two weeks ago, Uebber told Chairman Manfred Bischoff that he would let his contract run out in December 2019. But the company potentially has a perfect solution close at hand. Bischoff should consider crossing the street in Stu ...
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How women are tackling the industry's glass ceiling

Posted 7:28 am U.S. ET, Oct. 5
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Jackson says women have a part to play in the industry's transformation. She is pictured with French President Emmanuel Macron and PSA CEO Carlos Tavares at the Paris show. (Reuters)
PETER SIGAL:  To say that the automotive industry is male-dominated is an understatement. According to various studies, women make up about 15 percent of total employment — and at the executive level, that figure is even lower. That gender imbalance was the topic of an event at the Paris auto show that brought together women from different parts of the industry to offer testimony and inspiration. Speaker ...
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Why China is by far the world's largest market for full-electric cars

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Oct. 5
blogs
More than 90 full-electric vehicles are available in China, where EV sales could top 1 million this year.
LUCA CIFERRI :  The formula for boosting vehicle electrification is not complicated: Combine hefty purchasing subsidies with a vast recharging network and sales will take off almost immediately. China did this, not only to clean the air in some of the most polluted cities in the world but also to accelerate development of a domestic auto industry that was lagging Western competitors in terms of internal combustio ...
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Why Russia's Rolls rival fails to impress

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 28
blogs
The Aurus Senat has an impressive spec sheet but its interior quality lags mid-range premium cars.
NICK GIBBS :  There was a comic and telling moment at the launch of Russia's new Aurus brand for upscale cars at the Moscow auto show in August. Having been introduced on stage as someone who "played a significant role" in the development of Russia's new flagship automaker, industry and trade minister Denis Manturov chided the company's CEO to push forward the development of the SUV, one of a family of four car ...
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Riding in ZF's 'flying billboard'

Posted 9:11 am U.S. ET, Sept. 25
blogs
The NT flies like a cross between a helicopter and a ship. (Zeppelin)
:  HANOVER, Germany -- ZF Friedrichshafen is one of the most technologically minded global automotive suppliers. Best known for transmissions and driveline products, ZF is also a leader in cutting-edge braking systems thanks to its recent acquisition of TRW, and it is about to invest 12 billion euros in electrification and autonomous drive. But the company still has a link to its past through an affi ...
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Rising Star starts new adventure

Posted 5:50 am U.S. ET, Sept. 21
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Former Mazda Europe executive and 2017 Rising Star Christian Ohm is starting a new adventure this month. After nearly 12 years in a wide array of brand management and marketing roles with the Japanese automaker, Ohm has joined Nordic-based marketing consultancy Avaus. He will be the company’s CEO and general manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The switch to a startup following m ...
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Why Aston Martin's CEO expects automaker to be more profitable than Ferrari

Posted 4:40 am U.S. ET, Sept. 10
blogs
The DB11 is part of Aston Martin's 7x7x7 strategy.
NICK GIBBS :  As Aston Martin plan to list shares in London, the automaker's CEO Andy Palmer believes the company will be more profitable than Ferrari. Ferrari has consistently been the world's most profitable car company in recent years, with an EBIT margin of 24 percent in the first half. Aston Martin meanwhile has only just emerged from a long period of unprofitability. Berenberg, a bank, described Aston's ...
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Volvo has autonomous vehicle safety covered like a blanket

Posted 3:51 am U.S. ET, Sept. 7
blogs Douglas A. Bolduc is managing editor at Automotive News Europe.
 
Leave it to Volvo to already be working on a patent for a solution that will keep passengers safe even as they sleep in their self-driving cars. Volvo injury prevention specialist Lotta Jakobsson, who is one of the preeminent engineers in the field of passenger protection, has created the first generation of a blanket with integrated straps that will be prominent in what she calls the “hard ...
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Tesla readies a surprise in Europe

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 4
blogs
Tesla's next-generation Roadster was first shown in November 2017, promising a range of 998 km (620 miles).
JAY RAMEY :  Tesla is expected to reveal a new vehicle at the Grand Basel auto show this week in Basel, Switzerland, according to an invitation sent to Tesla owners. The trip contest invitation shows a close-up view of a pillar, believed to be of the next-generation Roadster that Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed last year in prototype form. Billed as "a surprise," Tesla's event set for Wednesday may be the d ...
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Moving out of Sergio's shadow

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, Sept. 4
blogs
A second-quarter slump could force FCA CEO Mike Manley (right, in a 2011 photo) to reset the financial goals of his predecessor, Sergio Marchionne (left). (Bloomberg)
ANDREA MALAN :  Mike Manley took over as CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from Sergio Marchionne on July 21. Marchionne, the architect of the Fiat-Chrysler merger, passed away unexpectedly four days later. That same emotional day, Manley had to present FCA’s disappointing second-quarter financial results. He also had to lower the guidance on operating profits for 2018 and net cash at year-end. In the secon ...
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ZF invests in future engineers with a U.S. robot competition

Posted 1:08 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 28
blogs
ZF -- which has hundreds of openings for engineers -- is sponsoring at least 21 teams around the U.S. and is donating $330,000 to help FIRST teams buy the mechanical parts to build robots.
RICHARD TRUETT :  The tens of billions of dollars being spent to develop self-driving vehicles has exacerbated a frustrating problem in the auto industry: the shortage of engineers. Startups and established companies need engineers for their automated driving projects. But there aren't enough to fill all the openings. Some companies, such as ZF Group, the giant German supplier best known for transmissions, are tak ...
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Why domestic automakers will not dominate China's luxury EV market

Posted 7:26 am U.S. ET, Aug. 24
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NIO is currently China's only domestic luxury EV brand. The marque's ES8 SUV is pictured. (NIO)
YANG JIAN :  Figuring that young domestic automakers can never beat global giants with traditional gasoline-engine technology, Beijing has bet on electric vehicles, which it believes provide domestic companies an opportunity to leapfrog rivals. Will the government’s wishes come true? Probably not. The future landscape of China’s EV market will more likely than not mirror the current vehicle marke ...
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Tavares' success at PSA is a 'powerful incentive' for Renault to catch up

Posted 3:42 am U.S. ET, July 30
blogs Peter Sigal is a France-based correspondent with Automotive News Europe.
 
France's two automakers, PSA Group and Renault, have seen their fortunes wax and wane over the years, but under CEO Carlos Tavares, PSA has become the envy of the industry — and the favorite of the stock market. Renault, meanwhile, has produced steady growth but hasn’t captured the imagination of investors. The battle is hard-fought, with both companies competing in the same mainstrea ...
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Tavares may find it hard to maintain Opel's astonishing progress

Posted 10:00 am U.S. ET, July 24
blogs Peter Sigal is a France-based correspondent with Automotive News Europe.
 
Opel’s astonishing recovery since PSA Group bought the ailing automaker just lst year from General Motors has left analysts swooning. Opel/Vauxhall made 502 million euros ($587 million) of profit during the first six months compared with a loss a year earlier, PSA said on Tuesday. Opel's return to the black wasn’t supposed to happen until 2020. Opel’s margin was 5 percent, a res ...
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Nissan Leaf provides some twists on road to EV future

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 20
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Recharging the Nissan Leaf at home using a standard plug. (Douglas A. Bolduc)
DOUGLAS A. BOLDUC :  A week spent testing Nissan’s new Leaf was frustrating logistically but encouraging overall. The adventure started on Monday when the driver who dropped off the car in my southern German town handed over the Leaf with a remaining range of 20 km. Gulp! He had come from Cologne, which is about 600 km away. He did his best to factor in recharging stops so I wasn’t upset. I also wasn&rs ...
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How I became a diesel believer again

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 14
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A pedestrian pushes a baby stroller past stencil graffiti during a protest by Greenpeace in Hamburg, which is now restricting diesels from parts of the city to help improve air quality. (Bloomberg)
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  Like many proponents of the diesel, my faith in the fuel-efficient technology was undermined by revelations that the industry systematically abused regulatory loopholes governing harmful nitrogen oxide emissions. Current sales figures suggest I am not alone. The diesel appears to be in terminal decline. Yet the supplier most linked to the industry’s deceit, Robert Bosch, which is alleged to ...
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Why Ford execs are lobbying for the Focus sedan

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 13
blogs
Despite pride over design, Ford foresees slim demand for Focus sedan
NICK GIBBS :  The pride that two key Ford executives have in the Focus sedan is so strong that they petitioned journalists to persuade Ford country heads in Europe to include it their lineups. They were only half-joking. “We put a lot of effort into designing the sedan,” Ford of Europe design chief Amko Leenarts said at the launch of the Focus range in Europe. He and Helmut Reder, the car’s ...
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Goodwood turns up the heat on traditional auto shows

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 11
blogs
Visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed will get to see and hear the new Aston Martin DBS Superleggera in action this week.
NICK GIBBS :  On the face of it, the Goodwood Festival of Speed is a small specialist show held in a rural corner of southern England. In reality, this motorsport-themed event is attracting global manufacturers by offering far more than traditional auto shows such as Paris or Geneva can ever do. This year Aston Martin, McLaren, Ford and Tesla are among the brands staging public global or European debuts of new ...
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New refuge for abandoned minivan fans?

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 10
blogs
The Berlingo offers many of the same driving assistance features as Citroen's new-generation cars.
ANDREA MALAN :  Loyal minivan buyers who aren't willing to join the shift to SUVs appear to have found refuge in one of Europe's least glamorous segments: compact cargo vans. There are positive signs that boxy, multipurpose models such as the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner, which are a staple product with tradespeople and delivery services, are benefiting from the slow death of the minivan, once one of Eur ...
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Opel's labor boss is ready for a fight

Posted 12:14 pm U.S. ET, July 5
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Opel labor boss Wolfgang Schaefer-Klug: "We plan to defend ourselves with all measures at our disposal."
CHRISTIAAN HETZNER :  PSA's honeymoon with the work force at its German subsidiary Opel appears to be over, and the timing couldn’t be worse. Just as PSA, which took control of Opel roughly a year ago, aims this week to put its signature on a new labor deal that would eliminate 3,700 German jobs in exchange for guarantees until 2023, news reports surfaced that management plans to sell large chunks of the carmake ...
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Why PSA is OK that its new compact vans are so alike

Posted 12:01 am U.S. ET, July 3
blogs
Like its two siblings, the Peugeot Partner (shown) has an indicator that lights up when 80 percent and 100 percent of the payload is reached.
PETER SIGAL:  PSA Group is about to introduce a new compact commercial van for its Peugeot, Citroen and Opel/Vauxhall brands. The vans will be made in the same factories in Spain and Portugal and have the same dimensions. They have many of the same features and options. How to keep them straight in buyers’ minds? The differences are subtle, and in many cases are a matter of wording. The Peugeot Partner, ...
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