Latest automotive comment

The best views and opinions in automotive industry publishing, all in one place, from just-auto's monthly columnists and in-house experts.

What's with this Brexit thing, Watson?

28 Oct 2016 | Dave Leggett

Brexit has been in the news again this week, its implications stretching far and wide, sometimes confounding expectations. On the plus side, the UK economy is performing relatively well according to the latest data. In the auto sector, there was also the welcome announcement from Nissan that it will invest in future new models at Sunderland.

COMMENT - Auto industry consolidation just ratcheted up

24 Oct 2016 | Dave Leggett

Industry consolidation is much talked about in automotive circles. Just the other day, I heard the prediction - one that I first heard in the 1990s - that the global auto industry will eventually collapse to around six big players. Don't hold your breath though. It is probably true to say though that the process of consolidation or restructuring at the industry level is a pretty slow one and takes a number of forms. It is coming, but it will take time. Maybe though, we're seeing signs of acceleration.

Eastern Europe labour worries surface this week

21 Oct 2016 | Graeme Roberts

I doubt things are at the Panic Button stage but, as automakers and suppliers continue to pile into 'low cost' eastern Europe - this announcement of expanded output from Toyota just today is just one example - a question of labour availability and/or retention is beginning to surface.

The post-Brexit vote update; we'd like your views - the week

14 Oct 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Brexit and its possible effects - good or bad - continues to be very much in the news here in Britain. This week, we heard from the SMMT's chief executive Mike Hawes on the trade association's view of some of the latest developments and the UK auto industry's concerns. We are also conducting a quick survey on the subject of Brexit, looking to get feedback on how business confidence is being impacted and any other views that people may wish to share. If you would like to participate, please do, by following this link - and we thank you for your time.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - Suppliers to the fore...

7 Oct 2016 | Dave Leggett

The big motor shows tend to be remembered for the cars on display and there’s nothing wrong with that.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - Chasing the minister across the show

30 Sep 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Occasionally there are coincidences that brighten the day.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - Mobileye v Tesla

23 Sep 2016 | Graeme Roberts

The spat between Tesla and Mobileye resurfaced again this week and was the most-read news item. Mobileye reiterated it had expressed safety concerns to Tesla regarding the use of autopilot hands-free and Tesla had confirmed that activation of autopilot would be "hands on". Despite this confirmation, autopilot was rolled out in late 2015 with a "hands-free" activation mode. Mobileye had made substantial efforts since then to take more control on how this project could be steered to a proper functional safety system, it said in a statement. Subsequently, after some to-and-fro the relationship between the two ended. That was just one of several automated driving articles we had this week.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - Ford sets out its stall

16 Sep 2016 | Graeme Roberts

A big event this week was Ford's Investor Day on Wednesday. I know when I'm beat so we called on our resident economist and just-auto chief Dave Leggett to do the preview followed by an interesting reports on profit forecast and exciting news of autonomous vehicle goals by 2021 which is only five years away. There's more to come, too.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - Platform tales

9 Sep 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Psst - want to know all about Lexus future models and platforms? We've got you covered. Our well-researched article this week takes a very comprehensive look and proved as popular with readers as our earlier examination of parent company Toyota's models. Well worth a read if you have not reached either yet.

COMMENT – Some short-term relief, but Brexit concerns remain

5 Sep 2016 | Dave Leggett

The subject of Brexit – the UK’s decision to leave the EU, following a referendum - is already proving somewhat tortuous for the UK government.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - A short one but lots happened

2 Sep 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Was Volkswagen's row with two of its suppliers for a week or so, though a relatively small dispute with minor component manufacturers, the giant automaker firing a warning shot across partsmakers' bows?

COMMENT - Opportunity ahead in autonomous, shared cars

31 Aug 2016 | Dave Leggett

Do you recall the vision of the future that was presented in the movie ‘Total Recall’?

THE WEEK THAT WAS - VW and GM back in the news

26 Aug 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Two of the world's largest automakers - Volkswagen and General Motors - have been in the news again this week, neither for entirely good reasons. Let's start with VW and its supplier row.

Volkswagen fires warning shot across supplier bows?

26 Aug 2016 | Simon Warburton

Volkswagen's major row with two of its suppliers for the past week or so concerned a relatively small dispute with component manufacturers, but was still deemed sufficiently serious to attract the attention of the Economics Ministry in Berlin.

COMMENT - VW must change its buyer behaviour

24 Aug 2016 | Guest

As VW Group wrestles with the cost and other implications of ‘dieselgate’, attention this week was drawn to a dispute between the company and two of its suppliers. If it is looking at its supplier base for cost savings, it will need to act carefully. Richard Gane considers the strategic implications for OEM-supplier relationships.  

Is Vauxhall car making in the UK doomed?

22 Aug 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Is Opel/Vauxhall's announcement of production cuts in Germany affecting UK-bound cars the General Motors Europe's unit's way of warning us the sole remaining GM car plant in England is at risk? Or is this simply, as a Vauxhall spokesman told just-auto, a prudent automaker looking ahead, foreseeing an inevitable sales decline and making a measured plant output adjustment in full cooperation with all affected parties? I'll go with the latter. For now.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - Wireless charging iPhone in Audi

19 Aug 2016 | Graeme Roberts

I was rather intrigued to see our story about Audi introducing a new wireless charging case for the popular iPhone 6/6S (iPhone 7 will be announced 7 September and go on sale 23 September, the techie media reckon) was the 'most-read' on just-auto this week.

THE WEEK – Connected and secure…

12 Aug 2016 | Dave Leggett

We live in an increasingly connected up society and the way things are going, we will not be escaping always-on personal connectivity when we get into our cars. We published a nice feature this week that considers some of the latest developments.

Welcome to the new just-auto

5 Aug 2016 | Dave Leggett

You will notice that there have been some changes to the look and feel of just-auto. We hope you like it. In an ever-changing world, it’s part of our ongoing mission to deliver the industry intelligence and essential news that you need, while improving our product and enhancing the experience for you, the reader.

The Week That Was - August replenishes batteries

5 Aug 2016 | Simon Warburton

August's dog days are well and truly on us up here in the Northern hemisphere and in the soporific heat of a British summer – well OK – it's warmish – industry tends to take a well-earned break and recharge the batteries ready for an autumn which will rapidly see the Paris Motor Show loom large.

The Week That Was - the new just-auto

29 Jul 2016 | Graeme Roberts

To state the obvious, just-auto now has a new look and has been expanded to include just-auto plus - a new membership option. This premium package gives access to Databank, a new data hub that comes complete with exclusive component forecast data, company profiles and extended news coverage. Editor Dave Leggett tells more here.

Recalls redux - the week that was

22 Jul 2016 | Graeme Roberts

The auto industry's current roster of infamous, recall-related scandals remained in the just-auto news this week as further revelations unfolded. Example: this article, confirming an aspect of the saga already well scrutinised by both regulators and media - air bag supplier Takata routinely manipulated results of inflator tests supplied to Honda. Just today, we learned US regulators, aka NHTSA, want GM to recall another 4.3m Takata inflator-equipped vehicles. To use an old media biz term, this story 'has legs' and it sure will run awhile yet.

Rise of the manufacturing ‘bots - Comment

19 Jul 2016 | Dave Leggett

Thoughts this week are with the clever technology that is gradually changing the world of manufacturing.

Mazda changes pickup truck alliance - the week

15 Jul 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Biggest story of this week, as far as you lot were concerned, the announcement Mazda is to end a long-standing alliance with Ford on 'medium' pickup trucks and hitch up with Isuzu instead.

Still more on Brexit - the week that was

8 Jul 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Although Britain's actual departure from the European Union is still at least two years off and the exit procedure won't be triggered till we have a new prime minister, 'Brexit' is still a key talking point and we've been on it.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - Brexit fallout and recovery

1 Jul 2016 | Graeme Roberts

As I very much expected, cooler heads started to bubble to the top after last week's shock 'Brexit' vote by over half of the citizenry of this United Kingdom to reign in excessive control of our country by unelected Europeans - minor details like capping immigration to sustainable levels, letting our judges make court rulings that can't be overruled in Brussels, fish what we want out of our own seas, that sort of thing. Despite the doomsayers, the sun still rose and set, the country continued to make components and cars and the 'summer' continued to be rubbish. Meanwhile, the FTSE recovered what it lost, if not the pound, Obama's threat to put us in the back of a queue for a US trade deal was largely quietly countermanded by officials with more sense and even certain EU voices were heard to utter that access to the single market (which the auto industry wants, of course) might even be possible with concessions on immigration and other matters that led to the majority Brexit vote.

And so Brexit begins - The Week That Was

24 Jun 2016 | Graeme Roberts

It would be fair to say that fear and trepidation abounds here in the UK this day as, after the polls were proved wrong (again), we learned in the early hours of Friday (24 June) just over half of those who turned out to vote yesterday opted to 'leave the EU' starting a process dubbed 'Brexit' that will take several years and has already taken the (voluntary) scalp of our prime minister. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth, hyperactive round the clock TV coverage, pundit soundbites galore and much social media hissy-fit throwing (most of the latter from the 'Remain' camp). So, let us soothe the fevered brow a little.

Volkswagen’s steady hand on the tiller - Comment

20 Jun 2016 | Dave Leggett

While we still do not know the full cost of the diesel emissions scandal to Volkswagen Group (it’s still early days in terms of totting up the full damage), the company has at least set out its long-term strategy.

THE WEEK THAT WAS - Our Man's in Russia this time

17 Jun 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Barely had our business/components/supply chain editor Simon Warburton, liberally fuelled by glutinous rice balls he helped make, touched back down in Blighty, after a week covering the 2016 Global Automotive Forum in Chongqing, China, and it was time for us to sling him back onto a plane, this one bound for the 'Detroit of Russia', St Petersburg.

THE WEEK - The phone will introduce you to your car, sir

10 Jun 2016 | Graeme Roberts

Like almost every other aspect of the autobiz, the retailing and service side is changing. Tesla has gone to war in the US to end the cosy manufacturer/dealer relationships and sell direct to the end user. Extensive consolidation into massive dealer groups has taken place worldwide (RIP most 'mom 'n' pop' shops) and almost all outlets these days - even in my small town - seem to be big, smart, glass and chrome edifices populated by sales staff toting tablets and electronics-savvy 'technicians' in place of the grease-stained 'mechanic' of yore. Handover of the new car has also changed - how about a virtual reality presentation?

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