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.


The autonomous car gets closer - the week

8 Sep 2017 | Graeme Roberts

'Twas the week before Frankfurt and nothing was stirring... Not quite, with quite a few absentees from the Messe this year, new model announcements (or plans for same) this week included the long-awaited redesigned Nissan Leaf, some blue-sky thinking from Jaguar and another step towards the fully autonomous car from Audi.


Getting a pizza the autonomous action - the week

1 Sep 2017 | Dave Leggett

The word autonomous seems to have cropped up even more than usual this week. It began on Monday when Ford and Domino's announced that they would trial pizza delivery vehicles without drivers. Interesting concept, of course, though I must admit that I would kind of miss the kids on mopeds and the small slice of human interaction that comes with the all-important delivery currently.


The summer of love's electric reboot - the week

25 Aug 2017 | Dave Leggett

Although it's August, there have been one or two interesting talking points in the news this week.


Electrics, Frankfurt, GM, FCA - the week

18 Aug 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Our scrutiny of future Jaguar SUVs and electric models drew a lot of looks this week as did news of electric Ford Transits developed with DHL Deutsche Post.


Future models, Toyota waistlines, diesel deals - the week

11 Aug 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Our 'future models' analysis is always popular and, this week, we put Land Rover and Range Rover SUVs for the 2020s - not that far away - under the microscope. We talked connected car user experience with Harman and I, having fired a heap of flak at Toyota stylists over their (cars') waistlines, was put thoroughly in my place by my own traitorous kids.


Lasagne, kids in cars, diesels, results, acquisition - the week

4 Aug 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Sometimes automakers tip-toe around a delicate subject so I was intrigued to see Nissan's North American unit say a spoiled tray of lasagna was the motivation behind its new Rear Door Alert system when, just the night before, NBC Nightly News had broadcast yet another clip, as many parts of the US experience a three digit Farenheit heat wave, showing law enforcement smashing their way into various cars to release overheated children (this also applies to pets). This website claims 729 children have died of heatstroke in vehicles in the US since 1998 so it's clearly a problem there (I can also envisage many other warm climate areas) and I have seen enough horror news clips from the US alone to applaud any effort to mitigate. The worst, which led to either manslaughter or murder charges, was a father 'forgetting' to drop off a baby at childcare and leaving the poor wee tot to die over eight hours in a sun-baked company car park. So, good on ya, Nissan engineers and mums, and may never again may your car be stunk out by an 'off' tray of cartoon cat Garfield's favourite pasta.


Eyeing Chevrolet SUVs and Ford Mustangs - the week

28 Jul 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Our analysis of current and future vehicle model lines has always been popular with both readers (and customers who subscribe to our auto industry search engine PLDB) and, this week, we published two looking at future Chevrolet SUVs and pickup trucks and the success of the latest (recently updated) Ford Mustang, helped by, finally, the availability of factory right hand drive.


Sprinter reigns supreme - the week

14 Jul 2017 | Graeme Roberts

News of Daimler's globally popular Sprinter van range topped the news popularity poll this week as you all lapped up news the all-electric version would be produced at the light commercial's lead plant Dusseldorf and a follow-up story batteries for the EV would be made at Unterturkheim. Sprinters are very popular here in England as increasing internet shopping leads to more and more home deliveries and it's worth noting the smaller Vito is popular for taxi and VIP transport as well as load-carrying.


Volvo's PR coup - the week

7 Jul 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Geely owned Volvo's apparently deliberately vague attempt to update the world on its 'electrification' plans attracted a lot of just-auto reader eyeballs this week as well as numerous newspaper and website headlines about the company going all-electric. Sure, eventually combustion engines will be phased out and battery powered electric motors in but it might be worth noting that 'mild hybrid' can be defined as a glorified alternator or stop-start system. Pioneers of proper hybrid tech - like Toyota - can rest a little easier - me-too Volvo (its PHEVs with diesel or petrol ICEs are good) is not re-inventing the wheel. We decided a little reality check might be in order and our QUBE product chief, Calum MacRae, ran his experienced analyst's eye over the claims to sort fact from fiction.


Will someone think of the 'roos - the week

30 Jun 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Something a bit out of the ordinary always draws the eyeballs so this yarn from Australia (and our own in-house Australian) proved popular this week. Apparently a little local difficulty with autonomous Volvos not being able to spot a kangaroo mid-jump.


JLR's big hire - the week

23 Jun 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Just what an embattled prime minister kicking off Brexit negotiations needed this week - one of the home team announcing it's going to need 5,000 more people here in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover company plans to hire 1,000 electronics and software engineers as well as 4,000 additional personnel, including in manufacturing, and it already employs 37,000.


VW Polo ready to bat off Fiat Brazil's Argo - the week

16 Jun 2017 | Graeme Roberts

News from the fascinating market that is Brazil drew the most eyeballs to just-auto this week as Our Man in Sao Paulo, Fernando Calmon, introduced us to Fiat's new Argo, ready for battle in the hot compact hatchback segment. Looks like a cracking wee car but, as Chris Wright, live from Berlin, reports today, Volkswagen is readying return fire in the form of the latest Polo, dripping with standard or available technology. It'll be interesting to see what VW Brazil does with that - Fernando will tell us in due course - but the days of last decade's designs being foisted on South America look, thankfully, to be over.


The week - May's roll of the dice fails

9 Jun 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Britain woke up this morning to news of yet another unexpected voting result - Prime Minister Theresa May's bid to increase her majority in parliament has failed and, to use the local vernacular, it's 'hung', requiring an uneasy alliance with Northern Ireland MPs to achieve any sort of majority. Naturally, we have a view.


The Week - Volvo's inter-continental solution

2 Jun 2017 | Dave Leggett

It has been a week in which the notion of our global interdependence and the benefits - or not - of approaches that reach across borders, have been challenged, again.


The week - retrenchment at Global Motors

19 May 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Signs are that GM, sometimes referred to as 'Global Motors', is having a strategic rethink and tactically withdrawing from markets where the chances of making a decent buck, and consequent return to investors, are slim. Only recently, The General finally threw in the European towel: after years of good effort but continuing losses, it announced in March - eve of the Geneva show, no less, it would sell the loss-making European Opel operations to PSA Group in an EUR2.2bn deal expected to close by the end of this year. This week, GM announced cuts to its international operations which it said would save it around US$100m a year.



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