From the Editor
By: Dave Leggett
just-auto editor Dave Leggett's overview of the auto industry, its companies, products and people.
In the end it was a narrow result, but the UK’s voters have voted to leave the European Union. What are the implications for the automotive sector?
Vehicle manufacturer purchasing managers have described the challenges facing the UK supply chain and frustrations they face in dealing with suppliers.
Western Europe’s car market is continuing to recover, helped by a positive replacement cycle and returning consumer confidence built on an improving economy. While sales still remain below pre-recession levels they are heading rapidly in the right direction.
Back in the 1980s when Nissan started to assemble the Bluebird (Ford Sierra fighter) model in the UK, there was much head scratching over the true status of the car.
PSA Groupe, as PSA Peugeot-Citroen now likes to be known, has turned itself around since the dark days of 2012 when it made an annual loss of EUR5bn. This, let us remind ourselves, was a volume player that was seen as spread thinly with sales across two poorly differentiated brands while also overly reliant on the depressed European car market where it also possessed excessive and costly manufacturing capacity.
Relations between vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers is a subject area that has always provoked debate. For all the talk of the benefits of collaborative activity, the need for investment in shared and emerging technologies, 'best cost' rather than lowest cost, one reality is that OEMs look for ‘productivity gains’ from their suppliers in the relentless quest for lower cost and better competitiveness. An annual survey of suppliers in North America charts the state of current relations, viewed from the supplier standpoint.
Automotive eyes turn to the Beijing Auto Show this week.
Delphi’s Chief Technology Officer, Jeff Owens, has told just-auto that the automotive battle for the Millennials is being played out in the user experience in the car cockpit.
Tesla unveiled its Model 3 last week and it’s already clear that the model is going to be of great significance to both Tesla Motors and the future of the burgeoning electric vehicle segment.
If new car customers opt to rent cars on-demand rather than own them, the car industry potentially faces a major problem. Sharing the asset – the vehicle that sits around doing nothing most of the time - means that fewer vehicles are needed and the smaller vehicle parc translates to a smaller annual market.
Upscale interior materials provider Alcantara is enjoying rapid growth of turnover as it reports higher demand for its artificially created ‘suede effect’ material from premium automakers.
Russia’s severe economic crisis may be bad news for car companies selling there, but Datsun – Nissan’s value brand for emerging markets – sees an export opportunity arising from the weak Russian currency.
Victor Muller, the man behind ultra-premium sports car maker Spyker who later went on to attempt to unsuccessfully revive the Saab brand after it was sold off by GM, has been in Geneva at the Motor Show launching a new post-administration Spyker model. just-auto caught up with him just ahead of the unveil.
PSA premium brand DS is planning hybrid and electric performance models in the future, according to DS brand CEO Yves Bonnefont, speaking to just-auto at the Geneva Motor Show.
General Motors Europe boss has told just-auto that the company is off to a strong sales start as it looks to hit breakeven in 2016. In a wide-ranging interview in Geneva, he also said that Opel is looking to address its weakness in SUVs, is concerned about the UK’s currency movements and believes that Opel should focus on efficiency gains for combustion engines - rather than go for hybrids - in meeting tighter CO2 emission rules.
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