From the Editor
By: Dave Leggett
just-auto editor Dave Leggett's overview of the auto industry, its companies, products and people.
China's economy is obviously causing concern right now. It has been such an engine of growth for the world economy that investors get spooked by signs that the slowdown is turning into a 'hard landing' or that Beijing is losing its (to be fair, considerably deft) touch with managing China's sprawling macroeconomy.
Apple is a very, very powerful brand. It is also a very, very big publicly listed company with a market capitalisation approaching $700bn (the biggest valuation of any company in the world). What Apple has done with its exquisitely designed personal devices is amazing.
The big news this week was that Jaguar Land Rover announced a plan to build a 300,000-unit capacity plant in Slovakia. We knew that a plant in Central/Eastern Europe was under consideration as part of the Tata-owned premium firm's fairly ambitious growth plans.
With two recently revised models launching on the European market, Toyota is upbeat over prospects for the plant that makes them at Burnaston, in the UK. Dave Leggett caught up with Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK Deputy Managing Director Tony Walker for an update on UK manufacturing operations.
The news on Greece's debt crisis (which is also Europe's currency crisis with potential economic spillover) appears positive this morning.
Toyota has added a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine to its revised Auris model. The company says the new four-cylinder direct injection unit delivers performance similar to that of a 1.6-litre engine but with lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer has told an industry conference that the company is targeting a growing class of luxury consumers in emerging markets and that he believes it can reinvent itself as a sustainable luxury brand.
Europe's economy faces a number of risks, but there are signs the Greek crisis is now nearing a crunch point. Already low economic growth could be adversely effected, something that could endanger Europe's car market recovery, says Dave Leggett
Impetus Automotive works with OEMs to improve performance and grow business within retail dealerships. Their focus is developing aftersales strategies and improving margins in an area of automotive business that is increasingly important to delivering profitability around the world. Dave Leggett caught up with Impetus' sales and marketing director, Ashley Fernihough, to discuss automotive parts sales and associated issues across the world.
There is some very clever technology already being fitted to cars that can assist the driver, improve the driving experience and improve safety.
I was at the SMMT's annual test day yesterday. At this agreeable event, vehicle manufacturers make cars available for journalists to drive at a proving ground, so it's an opportunity to get an update on latest product and meet up with people - either arranged or because you happen to bump into them.
We heard this week that Toyota and Mazda are interested in working together in the future. Toyota is obviously the bigger player, but Mazda has some interesting plus points, not least its Skyactiv powertrain technology that improves ICE efficiency.
Ford says it is targeting small fleet buyers with its premium feel Vignale sub-brand for Europe which will debut with the Mondeo Vignale.
Ferdinand Piech's forced exit from his role as chairman of Volkswagen Group's Supervisory Board appears to have resulted from yet another bout of political infighting instigated by himself.
Toyota has had its fair share of problems to contend with in recent years. However, there are now signs that the company is raising its global game to compete with rivals, says Dave Leggett.
- COMMENT: Volvo's US sales surge as China reverses
- COMMENT: Ford F-Series production soars
- China's economic turbulence worries auto industry
- Baking Kias at 45C
- THE WEEK THAT WAS: Trouble in Tianjin
- UPDATED IAA debuts list: Audi SQ5 TDI plus added
- Land Rover develops 'see-through trailer' concept
- Jaguar Land Rover scraps Saudi plant plan
- Nissan allocates redesigned Juke to Sunderland
- Brazil Four losing sales faster than industry rate
- Ford Motor Company (F) - Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review
- General Motors Company (GM) - Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review
- Global light vehicle engine technologies market- forecasts to 2030
- Global light vehicle safety systems market- forecasts to 2030
- Global heavy trucks market