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.

Osram takeover and Linux Auto expands - the week

12 Jul 2019 | Graeme Roberts

News Osram's board was supporting an offer for the supplier from a bidding consortium of Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group was the most-read item on just-auto this past week.

The SEAT brand's time has come - Comment

11 Jul 2019 | Ray Hutton

Ray Hutton says Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary has finally defied the doubters to become one of the Europe’s fastest-growing car brands. But SEAT's history illustrates that it wasn't easy...

ZF makes another sale - the week

5 Jul 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Ignoring my little obsession with electric Nissans and ice cream (and the more serious loss of 12,000 European Ford jobs), news of another big ZF automatic transmissions sale (to FCA Group) was the most popular story on this week. Build it right and they will come.

Jobs saved, jobs going, plus ice-cream - the week

28 Jun 2019 | Graeme Roberts

A Peugeot interior review drew the largest number of just-auto reader eyeballs this week. The 3008's been out a while (revealed in 2016) but the interior nonetheless remains very stylish with lots of interesting details and good materials and finish.

Don't call our range extender a PHEV - the week

21 Jun 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Another note to self this week: don't automatically assume a range extender is also a PHEV - certainly the maker of a clever van spin-off of London's latest taxi didn't want it called that. With British cities increasingly bringing in clean air zones, this new van can do 80 miles on 'lecky alone but, if it's anything like the taxi on which it's based, it'll be expensive.

New Pugs and partnerships - the week

14 Jun 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Ignoring the high count for this column last week, the top-read story on just-auto this week was our look at future Peugeot models. Thanks to the 208, 3008 and 2008 (in that order) Peugeot is holding on to a strong third position in its largest regional market behind Renault and Volkswagen. A new version of its best seller, revealed three months ago but not yet available, has strong looks and has generated a large bank of orders. In contrast to that good fortune in Europe, the picture in China is much darker, however. Well worth a look.

Renault jilts FCA, Ford axes another Europe plant - the week

7 Jun 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Well, it seemed like a good idea. Barely had we deep-dived a potential merger between FCA and Renault before Mother French State called off the engagement, even before the ring had been bought. Shades of GM Europe-Fiat, maybe.

FCA and Renault mega merger could be huge success for both

5 Jun 2019 | GlobalData

In late May Fiat-Chrysler proposed a merger with Renault suggesting a 50/50 split ownership package between Renault and Fiat-Chrysler shareholders.

Big is better? - the week

31 May 2019 | Dave Leggett

FCA's audacious proposal for a merger with Renault has certainly got everyone talking.

Mazda's superb new 3 and Ford job cuts - the week

24 May 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Blowing me own trumpet again - parp - my look at Mazda's excellent new 3 topped the analysis eyeball-attracting chart at just-auto this week. I have always held Mazda products in high regard (even owned one in a previous life) and this new 'un reinforced the belief while the pioneering compression ignition petrol engine - albeit with a little spark plug assistance therein - is still to come. Sadly, bad news also draws eyeballs and Ford's 7,000 white collar jobs axe topped the news chart. Read through the details and the reasons make sense but it's still hard for those affected.

Relief as Trump holds fire on auto tariffs - COMMENT

21 May 2019 | editorial team

News earlier this month that US President Donald Trump had decided to delay imposing tariffs on vehicles and automotive components for six months came as a massive relief to automakers around the world, from South Korea and Japan to Germany.

Volvo's new 'American car' - the week

17 May 2019 | Graeme Roberts

My look at Volvo's new US-born 'citizen', the S60 saloon/sedan, drew the most just-auto reader eyeballs this week, and rightly so as it's another highly competent contender in the medium/large premium sector, yet another use of the automaker's versatile SPA 'large car' platform and a very interesting illustration of an automaker's global manufacturing footprint, model selection and plant location strategy.

Is Tata Motors putting JLR on the block? - the week

10 May 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Is Tata Motors mulling putting Jaguar Land Rover up for sale and would PSA buy it to expand both its global manufacturing footprint and into the premium arena? That was the question being asked this week as rumours swirled around the UK-based automaker.

US sales surprise - the week

3 May 2019 | Graeme Roberts

US sales for April surprised a lot of industry watchers this week as volume and SAAR came in below analysts' expectations. Volume dipped again in April, down 2.3% year on year to about 1.33m cars and light trucks. After four months, deliveries were 3% behind the January-April period in 2018. The seasonally adjusted annualised rate (SAAR) slumped to 16.41m units and both total volume and SAAR were well below the predictions.

Future looks bright for Rivian EV company after Ford invests $500m

1 May 2019 | Chris Bertenshaw

In a savvy move, Rivian and Ford have joined forces to share resources on EV platforms and architecture. For some time Ford has been creating multiple partnerships with firms that are ahead on EV technology such as Volkswagen and Magma, but this latest deal makes considerable sense for Ford.

Not just Ford which can Go Further - the week

26 Apr 2019 | Graeme Roberts

News of a 200 mile range electric DS drew a lot of reader interest this week. When PSA Group adds a fully electric variant to its new DS 3 Crossback range later this year, the car will come with a claimed range on full battery charge of 200 miles (on the WLTP drive cycle, 267 miles on NEDC). The car (the variant will be called E-Tense) will be equipped with a 50kWh lithium-ion battery and a system for recovering energy during deceleration and braking.

Auto shows and dieselgate again - the week

18 Apr 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Two motor shows this week - Shanghai and New York. News, auto show-related, kicked off the week with some improvement on the Chinese sales front as the rate of decline showed signs of slowing in March.

Will Brexit ever happen? - the week

12 Apr 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Another week, another kick-the-Brexit-can-down-the-road move by the apparently paralysed UK government as a humiliated Remainer prime minister shuttled to various European capitals and Brussels before a small-hours announcement that, er, nothing had been achieved apart from yet another extension. You can imagine how the automakers who brought forward summer plant shutdowns or stockpiled a few parts just-in-case just-in-time was interrupted temporarily must have been feeling.

Toyota’s free hybrid patent licenses - an existential moment

8 Apr 2019 | John Voelcker

Ask any random person to name a carmaker offering hybrids, and you’ll surely get back the name Toyota. The hugely profitable carmaker pioneered hybrid-electric powertrain in its 1997 Prius.

Dodging fake news - the week

5 Apr 2019 | Graeme Roberts

April Fools Day is always guaranteed to give imaginative PR minds a little exercise so 'ware 'fake news' of anything automotive on the first of the month. I by no means trawled the entire web for gags but we did receive some excellent spoofs with my favourite being Toyota Australia's 'PieAce' van-based 'convertible. Nice work on Photoshop.

M&A, restructuring, plants - the week

29 Mar 2019 | Graeme Roberts

M&A, 'restructuring' and plant news dominated a busy week which is (TGIF) drawing to a welcome close. May as well start with Ford.

COMMENT - Daimler-Geely deal on Smart brand good for both

28 Mar 2019 | Dave Leggett

Daimler has struck a deal with Geely for a 50:50 joint venture based in China to develop and operate the Smart brand globally as an all-electric carmaker.

Ford starts to restructure Europe - the week

22 Mar 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Ford has begun its European business restructure announced in January and the fact that the axe is hanging over 5,000 jobs was our most-read story this week.

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit - the week

15 Mar 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Our review of Subaru's outgoing fourth generation Forester - did it really start the fad for crossovers at launch back in 1997? - and a look at the brand's electrified future was the most-read analysis article this week. But Brexit topped the news.

Geneva of course - the week

8 Mar 2019 | Graeme Roberts

The annual Geneva motor show - long an industry and visitor favourite for its compact size and being on 'neutral' Swiss territory - dominated this week. As usual, we compiled a vast list of world debuts from soup to nuts, er, Abarth to Zenvo. Electrification, natch, was a big theme with both concept and production cars on show.

Here comes Geneva again - the week

1 Mar 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Another year passes and Geneva is upon us. As usual, we have a lengthy list of expected global debuts, updated daily, with our productmeister Glenn Brooks continuing to keep score through the press days.

The CASE is building - the week

22 Feb 2019 | Dave Leggett

It's been another week with plenty going on in the auto biz related to the big megatrends, neatly summed up by the CASE acronym (connected, autonomous, shared and electric). Re-arrange that to ACES if you prefer.

COMMENT - Swindon closure underlines Honda's failure in Europe

19 Feb 2019 | Dave Leggett

There's plenty of commentary around on the decision by Honda to shut its UK manufacturing facilities at Swindon. Some say it's all about Brexit and the ongoing uncertainties that brings, while others claim Brexit has absolutely nothing to do with it. The reality is a little more complex.

Toyota-ing on a sunny Spanish isle - the week

15 Feb 2019 | Graeme Roberts

Highlight of my week was undoubtedly another trip - after several years - to one of my favourite business and leisure spots, the Spanish island of Majorca (aka Mallorca) to which I've been many times both for holidays and new car launches. This time around it was the much improved Toyota Corolla, the model formerly known in Europe as the Auris.

Fiat, weather, results and jobs - the week

8 Feb 2019 | Graeme Roberts

A gimlet eye on Fiat attracted interest this week. "Such has been its shrinkage at home, Italy is no longer the number one market for the Fiat brand. A 20% slide to 323,342 vehicles sold to Italian buyers in 2018 compares to a 13.2% gain in Brazil to 325,726. Is FCA concerned? Not at all.

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