From the Editor
By: Dave Leggett
just-auto editor Dave Leggett's overview of the auto industry, its companies, products and people.
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.
There are signs of a revival in the UK automotive supplier industry, but a sense of perspective is needed, says Dave Leggett.
As a car brand, Suzuki is not one of the big beasts of the auto industry. It's something of a niche player but is now planning to cement its position in key niches, says Dave Leggett.
Car sales in January were off to a good start and it was the seventeenth successive month of growth. It's good that the market is growing again, but risks to recovery remain and trading conditions will remain tough across the region, says Dave Leggett.
Apple is a very, very powerful brand. It is also a very, very big company with a market capitalisation of over $700bn ($740bn when I just checked - and that's the biggest valuation ever of any publicly listed company).
According to LMC Automotive, the global light vehicle market ended 2014 on a high note with a best ever seasonally adjusted annualised rate of sales (SAAR) of 92m units a year posted in December as dealers and OEMs across the world aimed to hit their volume targets.
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