The Week That Was
By: Graeme Roberts
Deputy/news editor Graeme Roberts' Friday wrap on the important automotive news from the week just ending.
There was an interesting development in the area of active safety and emerging advanced driver assistance technologies last week.
The news this week was a mixed bag with some positives and negatives.
Political instability and shaky industrial relations were among the issues that bubbled up on just-auto.com this week.
While the Next Problem seems to be South America, judging by the number of times it's mentioned in the results statements for the last quarter, there are signs that, after the pain, there's some gain in Europe, at last.
We are now in the midst of what I like to call slash-your-wrists or lose-the-will-to-live season and it can apply equally to whether you are issuing or writing up a sometimes seemingly interminable series of quarterly results.
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.
- COMMENT: 'Showing instruments' in West stand off?
- COMMENT: Foreign OEMs chose appeasement in China
- Briefing: Emerging markets in trouble (2)
- Briefing: Emerging markets in trouble (3)
- VEHICLE ANALYSIS: Citroën DS4
- SWEDEN: NEVS/Saab enters administration
- Volvo finally takes covers off redesigned XC90
- Volvo to skip all-aluminium for carbon fibre
- Kia to build new plant for American markets
- SWEDEN: Redesign moves XC90 up market in UK
- New Engines Aiming for 60% Thermal Efficiency Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Rising to the Post-HEV Challenge
- Jaguar Land Rover: Providing remarkable growth throughout the economic downturn
- Tesla: The Californian start-up that made head way on the automotive giants
- Global Charging Equipment for EV Market 2014-2018
- Global light vehicle OE exhaust & emissions aftertreatment systems - forecasts to 2029