The Week That Was
By: Graeme Roberts
Deputy/news editor Graeme Roberts' Friday wrap on the important automotive news from the week just ending.
We started the week with a bit of a surprise - famous Italian tyremaker was nabbed by a Chinese chemical company with big plans for its tyre making unit. Mama mia!
Two major automakers respectively wielded the axe this week. General Motors all but shut down its Russian production and dumped Opel there while FCA admitted, finally, that pretending Lancias were Chryslers was a Silly Idea, and that actual Chrysler Chryslers no longer sell well in the UK, and all but axed the lot.
Post-Geneva, there was no shortage of auto industry happenings this week.
So, did anything interesting happen this week? I seem to recall the odd vague mention of a motor show Somewhere in Europe. Geneva? That's it. We had a full team on the ground while Muggins here managed the mother ship back in Blightly. Which, after hearing reports of the wifi standard at the show, suited me just fine.
A highlight for the Z-list 'trade site' peasant this week was - courtesy of right place, right time - to sup down at the A-listers' table on the international first drive event for Volvo's superb new XC90.
ACEA's monthly reports on European car sales are always interesting and this week we decided to drill down a bit and see if there was anything interesting in the January data - and that for 2014 - worth keeping an eye on during the rest of 2015. There was.
Analysis-r-us so let's start there this week, shall we?
'Car sales in Europe off to a strong start' is not a headline we've been accustomed to writing much in the last few years but we did, finally, manage it today.
We must all be ghouls at heart - the most-read story on just-auto this week: what got bent on the Heogh Osaka, the ship that recently enjoyed an unscheduled port of call on a Southampton sandbank.
Just back from what was my first ever Honda launch event to bring you news of the 2015 CR-V update for Europe, majoring, of course on a new diesel engine and ZF's new(ish) nine-speed automatic.
The Detroit show - in balmy -17C temperatures, I hear - dominated proceedings this week with those that went describing it as the most optimistic in a long time. Some nice new product appeared, not least the long-awaited Honda/Acura NSX and Ford GT.
One way or another, this first full working week after the festive break has been an eventful one.
As someone said to me this week: "The older you get, the faster the years go by." He's not wrong. Where DID 2014 go? The year may be winding down to the Christmas break but things have still been busy in the autobiz.
Back from two weeks' 'staycation', the words that stood out as I returned to the news desk last Monday were 'Takata' and 'Honda'. And, as the latest developments in this long-running saga occurred throughout the week, I started to think of two more words: 'Ford' and 'Firestone'. Remember all that back at the beginning of this decade? If not, this 2005 story from our archives neatly summarises it.
One thing that has always got everyone in the automotive business talking is safety. It's an interesting one. Cars have become much safer in recent decades, of course.
- THE WEEK THAT WAS: Chinese scoop up Pirelli
- ANALYSIS: VW Group - success and succession
- Briefing: developments in powertrain batteries
- VEHICLE ANALYSIS: A new Volkswagen for the fleets
- COMMENT: Russia - it is rocket science
- Volvo Cars to build US factory
- New York show debuts: Porsche Boxster Spyder added
- Mahindra throws in the Brazil towel
- GM management outlines reasons for Russia rethink
- Car sharing won't replace car ownership - BMW