Slice Of Warburton
By: Simon Warburton
just-auto business editor Simon Warburton offers up a wide range of views in his distinctive style, informed by daily contact with the global auto industry
UK satirical magazine, Private Eye's cover this week has the strapline: "New poll shows Miliband ahead" and its ironic micky-take of just how wrong British forecasting services were will have been noted with some alarm across the English Channel in Brussels.
It's unclear whether or not Cherie Blair attended yesterday's (30 April) Renault AGM in Paris at which the French State formalised its extraordinary shareholding move , but maybe the wife of the former British Prime Minister would have raised a quizzical eyebrow following her somewhat bizarre elevation to the executive floor of the automaker.
It's not often Soviet rocket scientists are mentioned in an automotive context, but the subject came up recently on the sidelines of the Russian Automotive Forum in Moscow, where I was interviewing GAZ Group CEO, Vadim Sorokin.
You might be forgiven for thinking the Russian Federation was at the edge of an economic precipice at the moment, facing a potential avalanche of catastrophic bad news that even for this battle-hardened country is especially daunting.
Despite some small recovery in the oil price of late, adding a few pence, cents or centimes back onto a litre of fuel at the pumps, the crash in the price of the black stuff has been nothing short of spectacular during the last few months.
News of yet another calamitous plunge in Russia vehicle sales may come as no surprise to some, but the February drop of 38% in cars and LCVs is nonetheless one of the steepest yet recorded.
Four years ago a clearly frustrated Renault spokesman exclaimed: "Point final, point final" or 'end of story' to me down the line from Paris concerning the fantastical tale of the so-called spy scandal.
We have quite a conundrum sat here in the north west European outpost of the UK, looking at our Continental cousins undertake the twice-yearly dance involved in changing tyres as the seasons come and go.
So the saga of the Osaka is finally over - at least the seaborne element of it anyway - but perhaps now the real drama begins back at port in Southampton.
There's been an unexpected rush on car parks down on the South Coast of England as the leviathan Hoegh Osaka - all 51,000t of her - continues to be dragged around on anchors after desperately struggling against 100mph storms lashing the Solent.
With news salvers working on the 51,000t Hoegh Osaka carliner could tow the giant ship back into the Port of Southampton next week just-auto has a look at what we know so far - and what might happen.
It's taking an achingly long time, but is the European Commission (EC) finally waking up to the idea not everybody is falling over themselves to be subsumed into its gigantic superstate embrace?
China's astonishing growth rates of recent years is starting to ebb, but still represents a powerful performance that is the envy of most of the developed world. Simon Warburton talked to global component producer, Faurecia deputy general manager China Division, Jingcheng Li, about opportunities which challenges such as emissions control and lightweighting, present.
With all the hullabaloo surrounding the imminent nuclear talks deadline on 24 November - another one - between Iran and its suspicious Western negotiators - there is one implication of the Vienna talks that probably won't even receive an airing.
It's as if the Cold War never went away.
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