The Week That Was
By: Graeme Roberts
Deputy/news editor Graeme Roberts' Friday wrap on the important automotive news from the week just ending.
Memo to self - be a little less facetious. Put 'off on a desert safari' in my Skype status to explain my absence and was greeted on return with 'how was your vacation?' from several who had apparently envisaged Sheikh Roberts wafting gently across the Sahara on a camel. Nope, I was in the Mojave, being (willingly) baked alive by Kia.
The boffins at Jaguar Land Rover revealed this week that they have come up with something akin to an on-board assistant built into your car.
General Motors started this week by continuing to honour CEO Mary Barra's oft-repeated promise - which is essentially to make good any car not good - so back to US dealers will go another 400,000-odd locally (and even Australian)-made cars for fixes various.
We've been hearing from several key auto industry chiefs this week.
Being more or less permanently welded to the just-auto newsdesk, I don't get out much though, after this week's experience of overcrowded trains, airports and Dutch motorways, that's probably not a bad idea. But I was briefly cut free again, this time to go try Toyota's new tiddler.
I have been indulging my fetish for electrified vehicles this week, heading for sunny Barcelona to see what happens when the powertrain and various other bits of Nissan's Leaf, a personal favourite, are stuffed into the NV200 van.
There are 15 vacant desks at General Motors in the US today - the latest development in the debacle that saw a faulty ignition switch design cleared for production and installation in around 2.6m cars.
In a bit of a change from my usual weekly epistle, may I first draw your attention to some articles from Our (occasional) Man in Russia, Simon Warburton, fresh back from (deep breath) the St Petersburg International Economic Forum 2014. We've bundled up his articles, including the odd travelogue blog, here in one handy all-inclusive take-home pack. Well worth a read.
Johnson Controls' announcement of a global joint venture with a Chinese interiors supplier attracted much interest from just-auto readers this week as you'd expect. Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huayu Automotive Systems, the component group of Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, Chinese JV partners of General Motors and Volkswagen, so this is a partnership of two real auto industry biggies.
News of VW's first EV for the US drew plenty of interest from just-auto readers this week. For good measure, the automaker also took full control of truckmaker Scania. Plus Japanese automakers enjoyed good ratings in a survey of OEMs' relationships with suppliers.
I guess the biggest news of the week would have to be newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobile's announcement - mostly to investors - of plans for world domination. Which only took, oh, about 12 hours. And, perhaps due to main target audience, it didn't apparently occur to anyone in either company's media department to knock out a quick summary of What We Hope. So we did.
Readers of just-auto could be forgiven for thinking we'd become PRs for Ford on Thursday due to the number of times the blue oval automaker got a mention. Just one of those coincidences that happen from time to time in the news biz.
Are post financial crash economies finally on the up? Financial results (first quarter for many; full fiscal year for Japan and India) have started rolling in and the ink is mainly black.
PSA's Carlos Tavares wasted little time getting his feet under the CEO's table before announcing he was getting the pruning knife out to hack away at the fiendishly complicated global Citroen and Peugeot product lines, all in pursuit of a 2% operating margin by 2018 with a longer-term target of 5%.
There's a tale told that Leonard Lord, head of British Motor Corporation (the merged Austin and Morris post-war), eyed Isetta bubble cars and their ilk - result of the 1956 Suez Oil Crisis and general postwar austerity - and ordered Alec Issigonis to design something to get 'em (stronger words were used) off the roads.
- Kia K900 knocks on big brands' door
- Daimler - Q2 results insight
- THE WEEK THAT WAS: Results season again
- Global light vehicle market developments
- VEHICLE ANALYSIS: 2015MY Mitsubishi L200 Barbarian
- Jaguar Land Rover buys British classic cars hoard
- New alloy developed for new Jag
- JLR China cuts prices amid anti-trust probe
- Union puzzled no buyer for Unipart Automotive
- Warwick University chosen as APC hub