The Week That Was

The Week That Was

By: Graeme Roberts

Deputy/news editor Graeme Roberts' Friday wrap on the important automotive news from the week just ending.

Tentative restarts and restops - the week

15 May 2020 | Graeme Roberts

Much better news of late. Automakers and component suppliers slowly resuming output with a huge emphasis on worker health and safety.

Will Nio be the new Tesla? - the week

7 May 2020 | Graeme Roberts

Might China's Nio rise from a series of faltering starts to really challenge Tesla? For a startup, April's sales results looked ok, as does the product. J'approve an electric SUV which can seat six or seven and run 330 miles or so before you need to start wondering where you left the power cord.

The new era of plant PPE and social distancing - the week

1 May 2020 | Graeme Roberts

We've been seeing a steady stream of announcements of production restarts, both components and vehicles, as virus infections start to taper off and manufacturers put in place a new era of post-COVID-19 personal protection and 'social distancing' for workers. But is it too soon? One union thinks so.

Restarting shuttered plants won't be easy - the week

24 Apr 2020 | Graeme Roberts

It's clear restarting auto production is not going to be as easy as unlocking the doors and switching on the lights and machinery.

Lockdowns continue but some restart light - the week

17 Apr 2020 | Graeme Roberts

Another three weeks of lockdown was last night confirmed for the UK which is said to be some two weeks behind hard hit Italy in the coronavirus pandemic. That country is now slowly loosening some restrictions (bookshops and children's clothing stores may reopen; lockdown otherwise continues into May). But there were glimmers of the start of a slow return to auto production in the news this week.

The end of the beginning? - the week

9 Apr 2020 | Graeme Roberts

Some optimistic signs in the coronavirus pandemic this week as the city of Wuhan, said to be the epicentre of the outbreak in China was largely released from lockdown and a couple of Scandinavian countries eased restrictions. Here in the UK, though, despite what promises to be a summer temperatures Easter weekend, there is no prospect of the lockdown being lifted, at least for another three weeks until enough data is in - have we peaked and would relaxation too soon lead to another surge in cases and an unpopular restoration of the lockdown?

China recovers as the rest of the world suffers - the week

3 Apr 2020 | Graeme Roberts

While the rest of the globe still deals with the humanitarian and economic fallout from COVID-19, a recovery of sorts is emerging in China. 

Virus doom continues with the odd glimmer of hope - the week

27 Mar 2020 | Graeme Roberts

One guess what was the main topic of the news/politicians/medics/countries/cruise ships/talking heads this week? Our running daily update, understandably, was most-read article of the week and is on course to be so for the next month/year/decade/century/all time, the way things are going.

Ford stops emerging markets production for 'weeks'

23 Mar 2020 | Graeme Roberts

Ford has temporarily suspended production in India, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam in response to the coronavirus.

The virus gets worse - the week

20 Mar 2020 | Graeme Roberts

There was a glimmer of hope in all the bad news this week - Wuhan, aka Coronavirus Central (thanks a lot) on Thursday reported no new cases, the first such report since the bug started to take hold last January. So, perhaps, this, or some of this, might be over for the rest of us in two, maybe three, months? Let's hope so. Or maybe not.

Virus, virus, virus - the week

13 Mar 2020 | Graeme Roberts

Our continually updated Future Models series has always been a smash hit with just-auto readers so, unsurprisingly, even in the midst of coronavirus fact, rumour, misinformation and lemming-like panic (got enough toilet paper, hand sanitiser, pasta and rice in for a siege yet?), our latest look at What Lies Ahead for a couple of brands from FCA, soon to merge with PSA, drew the most eyeballs this week.

Virus and EVs - the week

6 Mar 2020 | Graeme Roberts

Global light vehicle sales figures in January 2020 should make for alarming reading, we reckoned earlier this week. Mining our own in house data, supported the point.

Geneva is coronavirus toast - the week

28 Feb 2020 | Graeme Roberts

Not entirely unexpected but enough to rattle quite a few people's cages this morning - the Geneva show is off. Not postponed. Too big for that. Axed. Canned. Cancelled. News agency sources reported the announcement following the government in Bern's ban on gatherings of over 1,000 people while a hapless Palexpo 'spokesperson' declined to comment. Eventually came a press conference. Force majeure so forgeddabout suing Palexpo and good luck with nailing legal paper on the Swiss administration's front door.

Upbeat chats with Ford and Kia - the week

21 Feb 2020 | Graeme Roberts

We had an impressively upbeat interview with Ford Europe's British born boss this week, grilled by our automotive editor, Dave Leggett, on the sidelines of a first look (and ride, no driving) at the upcoming Mexican built Mustang Mach-E. Who'd be the head of the European arm of a Detroit based automaker? Stuart Rowley would. He's well on with a painful restructuring - bang goes the Bridgend engine plant in Wales, 12,500 jobs across Europe - but the huge losses are abating, even if the word 'profit' isn't yet in use, Brexit and EU CO2 quotas are well in hand and even the coronavirus doesn't appear to be fazing him unduly.

Coronavirus gets worse - the week

7 Feb 2020 | Graeme Roberts

The coronavirus, for which we can apparently thank a 'live' food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, clearly was on your minds this week, unsurprising as we have a large readership toiling daily in the automotive supply chain and component industry. Takeaway: it ain't good and it's going to get worse before it gets better as, despite a massive effort by health authorities - and drug companies - worldwide, it continues to spread.

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