B-Max production at a Ford-Sollers joint venture plant. Ford is taking control of the JV and may inject funding if necessary to achieve its market goals

B-Max production at a Ford-Sollers joint venture plant. Ford is taking control of the JV and may inject funding if necessary to achieve its market goals

Dunno 'bout you but 2015 seems to be flying by waaaay too fast - where did yet another week go?

Again it was a busy week. We all know how much a challenge Russia has become for automakers with sales tanking as a result of factors not of said automakers' making. Ford's solution is to take control of its joint venture with Sollers, possibly injecting more cash, and seems likely to change some of the JV's strategies to pursue its fair share of what sales are still left to be had in 2015 and beyond. New products will surely help - such as the redesigned Mondeo the JV just put into production and, judging from Ford of Europe's latest product launch, there is plenty more where that came from already in the pipeline. Daimler, too, is mulling future Russia strategy but has nixed any ideas for a local plant, at least for now.

This week, just-auto visited Honda Europe's UK manufacturing plant in Swindon - a proper soup-to-nuts factory that casts its own engine blocks and heads (more from me on that next week), presses panels, paints in a hermetically-sealed shop and runs, for now, three quite different model lines down one final assembly line. We already told you about the Big Changes Ahead - the plan to make all five door Civic hatchbacks for sale worldwide at the revamped Swindon 'hub' but intriguing new details of the underpinnings of that next generation range have now sneaked out as well. Honda has slipped a lot worldwide in recent years, not least because Head Office cut R&D spending in the wake of the 2007 global financial crisis, and the European operation has struggled to make enough sales to keep Swindon efficient. But the move to give it potentially much higher volume, boosting efficiency and, finally, bring much-needed new product to market (a second revamp for the current Civic hatch line with two nice new sporty versions; updated CR-V; the redesigned Jazz and reintroduced HR-V plus a redesigned NSX 'halo' supercar line) all look like a plan to me.

Seen a new MG on the road recently? Me neither, but SAIC is still busily final assembling (from SKD packs) the just-revamped 6 and new(ish) 3 in what's left of the old (back in the news this week) MG Rover Longbridge plant (once colloquially known locally as 'The Austin') just up the road from here near Birmingham. Regular contributor Ray Hutton put the automaker under his microscope this week and reached an interesting conclusion. See if you agree.

Crunching numbers-r-us and Glenn Brooks this week discovered some interesting statistics for Mazda and Nissan in the German March sales data. Mazda Europe is based in Germany, just outside of Frankfurt, and the country has long been one of the automaker's happiest hunting grounds in Europe so I can't say I'm too surprised - the sales success reflects a small but strong range of recently refreshed or brand new, top-notch product with the CX-3 small SUV (one of its key targets: Nissan Juke) not far away now.

This just in, GB has also crunched the numbers for Jaguar Land Rover's highly successful Evoque line, with a side dish of future JLR product plans included for good measure. Well worth a read.

M&As and SOPs are regularly in the news and we had a notable one of each this week - Grupo Antolin buying (most of) Magna's interior business (with a side mention of rival JCI inking an interiors deal with a component subsidiary of MG owner SAIC) and the Jaguar XE starting down the line at the new 'plant within a plant' built specially for it on Land Rover territory in Solihull (sadly, again, our invitation appeared to have been lost in the post...)

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com