The Week That Was
By: Graeme Roberts
Deputy/news editor Graeme Roberts' Friday wrap on the important automotive news from the week just ending.
Toyota's GB's 50th birthday announcement it would launch the Mirai this September attracted a lot of interest on just-auto this week, as well it might.
Starter for 10 - what new car headed for launch at Frankfurt next September is a vehicle the chief designer swore he'd never do?
Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover looks like it is slowly building up to a global manufacturing footprint that, at least a little, mirrors the spread achieved by its brands' one-time owner, British Leyland.
This week it was, for once, my turn to stay back and mind the shop while colleagues scurried hither and yon to bring you news and interviews from a number of events here in Olde Engerland and Europe, all the while enduring 35C 'heatwaves', rail delays due to the 'wrong kind of heat', missed plane connections and the usual summer chaos.
Our most-read story on just-auto this week was also an exclusive - all about a game changing car configurator technology that will revolutionise the car buying experience at the point where new car buyers are considering and specifying cars that they will potentially purchase. Audi is the first customer for the new technology that is now being rolled out across its dealers globally.
Time for Alfa or Sergio to go? That was the title of a Comment piece by our US sales analyst Bill Cawthon which attracted plenty of looks on just-auto this week. Cawthon has decades of association with and analysis of the Chrysler part of Fiat Chrysler and a read is recommended.
It would appear our new Research Snapshots have gone down a treat with our readers, judging by the popularity of our review of door innovations this week.
Big News this week was the incredible confirmation - from NHTSA - of a 5.1m recall of Honda/Acura cars with airbags with Takata inflators. It had been flagged up earlier by the automaker but then came the report that neither supplier or US regulator are quite sure of the safety of up to 3m replacement parts.
As those - all three of you - who honour me with your occasional presence on my self-curated 'just-auto' Facebook page may have guessed, when I'm not helping to cover the current cutting edge state of the autobiz, I like to wallow in a rose-tinted backview of the 1960s when British, Australian and Canadian cars dominated my import-restricted former colony, V8s were an attainable aspiration (one could put one in one's Cortina if one so wished), petrol was cheap (diesel for trucks only) and the Holy Grail for a Kiwi Kar Nut was the annual Earls Court show in London.
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.
A short week for us due to the first (of two) bank holidays has ended in a surprise majority win for the Conservatives overnight (along with the virtual elimination of Labour from parliamentary seats in Scotland) and we look forward to one party rather than (compromised) coalition rule for the UK. I doubt the autobiz has any problem with that.
The big news of the week[end] was the failure of Volkswagen supervisory board chairman Ferdinand Piëch to unseat CEO Martin Winterkorn, as we reported here and here.
We put Tata Motors' Land Rover's Range Rover Evoque under the microscope this past week, asking how long the model, just mid-life facelifted, can continue to be the automaker's golden goose.
Dunno 'bout you but 2015 seems to be flying by waaaay too fast - where did yet another week go?
- THE WEEK THAT WAS: Toyota's FCV cometh
- ANALYSIS: Making sense of China's sales volatility
- Q&A: Kia MD sees 100,000 sales in UK
- Kia UK MD on how to raise brand pricing
- VA: Minnow Mitsubishi not short on L200 claims
- JCI confirms auto exit as supplier eddies swirl
- Mitsubishi ending US production
- FCA to recall 1,060,531 Ram trucks
- Fiat Chrysler cops record penalty from NHTSA
- FRANKFURT DEBUTS LIST: Ferrari 488 Spider added
- Global vehicle lightweighting - technology, trends and the future
- Global light vehicle engine technologies market- forecasts to 2030
- Global light vehicle OE tyres market- forecasts to 2030
- Global light vehicle OE wheels market- forecasts to 2030
- Global light vehicle steering market- forecasts to 2030