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


3D metallic printing gains traction - the week

14 Sep 2018 | Graeme Roberts

I'm not usually one for blowing me own hooter but this week's most-read item on just-auto was last week's week, if you get my drift, mostly musing on the former GM Europe brands Opel and Vauxhall, now in the steady hands of PSA. Worth a read - especially the underlying articles - if you missed it.


PSA makes the first big Opel move - the week

7 Sep 2018 | Graeme Roberts

"We don't plan any job losses." How often have you heard that as Company A gobbles up Company B and nervous workers await the almost inevitable axe or, at best, substantial changes to their conditions (and sometimes locations) of employment?


Taking care of the workers - the week

31 Aug 2018 | Dave Leggett

Just occasionally, it's the unexpected light shone into less headline grabbing aspects of company operations that can really impress. As was the case this week when we learnt about the medical services provision for the workers at SEAT's Martorell plant. I do not know the ins and outs of this provision in Spain or the history, but in these hard pressed times for health provision generally, it's good to see something like that in place. Good for the workers and the company.


Ford's Brexit frustration - the week

24 Aug 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Ford reportedly telling British politicians it would take "whatever action is needed" to protect its business over Brexit was the most-read story on just-auto this week, as the UK government, six months from the off, finally decided to issue some position papers to various industries outlining what is most likely to happen following an increasingly-likely 'no deal' departure from the EU.


Wolfsburg gets a lift - the week

17 Aug 2018 | Dave Leggett

There was some good news for Wolfsburg this week when Volkswagen Group said it planned to lift annual output at  the plant to 1m units a year by 2020.


Building another Lexus in the US - the week

10 Aug 2018 | Graeme Roberts

News Toyota's longest-standing 'transplant' facility in Georgetown, Kentucky, had started production of a new Lexus was the top story on just-auto this week.


Potential disruption in the EV market - the week

3 Aug 2018 | Graeme Roberts

'Could this 'breakthrough' in energy storage disrupt the EV market?' was the most-read story on just-auto this week and little wonder.


A sad changing of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles guard - the week

27 Jul 2018 | Graeme Roberts

A sad changing of the guard - vale Sergio Marchionne - was the most popular story here on just-auto this week. In what could be seen as a prescient move, we had only recently published Ray Hutton's insightful look at the likely future of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles after CEO Sergio Marchionne 'leaves' and this column last week was titled Life after Sergio - the week - I certainly did not mean that as literally as it turned out.


Leadership succession and the Renault-Nissan Alliance - COMMENT

26 Jul 2018 | Dave Leggett

The Renault-Nissan Alliance (Mitsubishi Motors was added in 2016) has been quite a success story. In an industry driven by the manufacturing economics of scale, companies coming together have shown mixed results.


Life after Sergio - the week

20 Jul 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Ray Hutton's insightful look at the likely future of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles after CEO Sergio Marchionne 'leaves' (it's complicated, as you shall see) was one of the most-read articles on just-auto.com this week and, if you haven't already pulled up a coffee and paused from the work of the day for a look, I recommend you do.


COMMENT - Reflections on Marchionne's achievements

18 Jul 2018 | Ray Hutton

In less than six months’ time, Sergio Marchionne’s 14-year reign over the Fiat car business will come to an end. [Please note this article was written prior to Sergio Marchionne's death and also prior to June 21 when his health seriously deteriorated and he was replaced as FCA's CEO - ed]


Future model analysis always goes down a treat - the week

13 Jul 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Geely's Volvo Cars has attracted a lot of coverage and attention recently - future electrification plan, acclaimed new models, new assembly plant in the US, etc - so it's no surprise our analysis of its future model plans attracted the largest number of eyeballs on just-auto this week. Not unrelated, our new model debut lists for motor shows and other launch event venues always go down a treat and we covered both the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Monterey.


Autobiz frets over Trump's tariffs - the week

6 Jul 2018 | Graeme Roberts

If there is one thing the autobiz - from suppliers to OEMs - likes, it's a bit of certainty. Helps with the planning. As this (very hot in the UK and US) week draws to a close, there's very little certainty as to what US president Trump's tariff war is going to achieve or how trade between the UK and Europe will pan out post-Brexit.


COMMENT - Be ready for no-deal Brexit scenarios

4 Jul 2018 | Dave Leggett

In the global scheme of things, Brexit may look like something of a local issue for Europe.


So what will BMW do, post-Brexit? - the week

29 Jun 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Brexit was in the news - as usual - this week and this comment piece by our in-house analyst Calum Macrae (he runs our QUBE and PLDB databases BTW) attracted a lot of eyeballs, suggesting sub-contracted complete vehicle assembly is enjoying something of a renaissance - not quite in the number of firms carrying out odd jobs but in the number and variety of models being built.


Brexit - that’ll be the Daewoo 

25 Jun 2018 | Calum MacRae

The automotive industry used to be awash with sub-contract manufacturers. Some will argue it still is - lots of Japanese vehicle assembly is carried out by affiliates for example, while kit operations in far flung countries are often managed by sub-contractors. However, they could also be categorised more as joint ventures with the OEM holding a minority share.


Not a very good Monday for one - the week

22 Jun 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Not a good week for Audi CEO Rupert Stadler whose plans for this week were interrupted somewhat in the early hours of Monday with a knock on his Ingolstadt door followed swiftly by arrest. With top ranking VW Group executives seemingly untouchable since the diesel emissions cheating scandal broke almost three years ago, Stadler's arrest was a bit of a surprise.


Ford eyes transmission plant sale or closure - the week

15 Jun 2018 | Graeme Roberts

It was not, to put it mildly, the best week for autoworkers, at least this side of the pond. A sharpened American axe appeared over the automatic transmissions factory in Bordeaux, France, (see, they make more than fine wine there). Should the automaker not secure a buyer for its Ford Aquitaine Industries (FAI) site at Blanquefort in south west France, the factory will close, although no forced redundancies would be implemented before September 2019. Not good news.


COMMENT - OEMs explore bundled services and cars on subscription

12 Jun 2018 | Dave Leggett

There is more than one way to skin a cat. As proverbs go I feel it's a slightly brutal one. Maybe 'more than one way to prepare a meal using eggs' is kinder to cats, if a little less catchy. Anyway, you get the drift. That old maxim springs to mind when looking at some of the latest schemes automakers are devising to get you behind the wheel of their vehicles and paying for the privilege.


Is Infiniti toast in Europe? The week

8 Jun 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Is Nissan about to pull Infiniti out of Europe? It's a good question, asked, reflectively and of the automaker, this week by our new and future products editor Glenn Brooks. As he said: "December will be Infiniti Europe's 10th birthday - will there be much to celebrate? As sales plunge at a dizzying rate across Europe and new model launches are pushed back, the question has to be asked: is Nissan planning to pull the plug on its luxury brand in the world's toughest market?"


BMW's induction course - the week

1 Jun 2018 | Dave Leggett

You don't have far to look to see some fabulous innovation in the automotive industry. For example, BMW's wireless charging pad is coming  soon and it may well be attractive to many.


Volvo first to WLTP - the week

25 May 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Volvo Cars' claim it was the first car manufacturer in the UK to homologate its entire model range under the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) was the most-read story on just-auto this week. Timely, as we have been scrutinising WLTP in two special, analysis articles: What does the WLTP mean for the automotive industry? and WLTP prompts responses from carmakers.


England to Ford's rescue again - the week

18 May 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Once again, good old Blighty has helped out Ford's F-150 series across the pond. You're welcome. Few weeks ago, we learned the new three litre diesel V6 engine for the top selling North American pickup truck line comes from England. The engine is a variant of the three-litre turbodiesel sold in Jaguar and Land Rover models and is built at the Dagenham Engine plant just east of London. This week, we've been helping out with bits. Magnesium castings, to be precise.


Magnesium flares in Ford's face - the week

11 May 2018 | Graeme Roberts

A seemingly minor incident (though not for those involved directly) made more public this week shows the fragility of the global supply chain should just one link fail.


Will any senior VW execs ever serve time over dieselgate? The week

4 May 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Will any top level Volkswagen executives ever go to prison, as happened to a couple of sacrificial lambs thrown early on to US prosecutors? It's a question which comes to mind following the unexpected revelation last night that the US Justice Department has filed criminal charges against former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, accusing him of conspiring to cover up diesel emissions cheating. Filing charges is one thing - getting the good Herr Winterkorn across the Atlantic to a US court room is the tricky bit.


Will diesel finally get a break? The week

27 Apr 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Thanks largely to Volkswagen, diesel's had a bad rap the last couple of years. When you add in sway-in-the-currently-fashionable-breeze politicians, such as the UK government which has laid out only vague details of its next tax-the-diesels assault, it's little wonder potential buyers are adopting a wait-and-see approach and sales are down.


They're changing the guard at Avtovaz - the week

20 Apr 2018 | Graeme Roberts

News Avtovaz had named Yves Caracatzanis CEO, replacing Nicolas Maure from 1 June this year, rated highly with just-auto readers this week.


VW's Mueller gets the axe - the week

13 Apr 2018 | Graeme Roberts

An extraordinary week that culminated last night with the expected news that Volkswagen was restructuring the group and tossing out the long-serving chairman and CEO Matthias Mueller, a company 'lifer' who was handed the task of steering the company through the diesel crisis and setting it on a new path.


COMMENT - VW CEO can't hold back desire for faster change

11 Apr 2018 | Dave Leggett

On the face of it, Volkswagen Group CEO and chairman Matthias Mueller ought to be in a strong position.


PSA makes a UK van decision - the week

6 Apr 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Great news this week for the Vauxhall vans operation at Luton here in England this week. Despite Brexit, new Opel/Vauxhall owner PSA is to raise manufacturing capacity and add the production of Peugeot- and Citroen-badged panel vans at the factory. The plant, which started building Vauxhall badged Isuzu and Suzuki designed LCVs, more recently has been a JV with the Renault-Nissan alliance and built models for four brands but the technical agreement with Renault for the current Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro panel van - based on the Renault Trafic - will end and production will shift to right-hand drive versions of Peugeot and Citroen panel vans plus future Vivaro models on a PSA platform. Nice to hear, too, the decision was a major vote of confidence in a UK plant and reflected its core competitive strengths. Not to mention giving PSA a handy LCV plant inside a hefty UK market whose future trading relationship with the EU is still not clear.



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