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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.


Struggling Chery calls in local help in Brazil - the week

17 Nov 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Our Man in Brazil, Fernando Calmon, reported this week on an interesting development that sees seasoned local importer, assembler and distributor CAOA Group join with Chery to manage Chery's factory in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The deal is valued at around US$60m for CAOA to acquire 50% of the Chinese brand's Brazilian operations including the Jacarei plant, in the Greater Sao Paulo area; importation and sales are included.


PSA reveals Opel-Vauxhall plans - the week

10 Nov 2017 | Graeme Roberts

The big question this week was what would PSA do with its newly acquired Opel/Vauxhall unit? Came 9 November, came the answer: a business plan that avoids plant closures and aims to put the company on a path to profitability by 2020.


Meet Ford's Robutt, view your truck from on high - the week

3 Nov 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Ever parked a truck? Me neither. But I have enormous respect for those who daily thread huge delivery trailers, hauled by prime movers bearing such names as Scania, DAF and Mercedes-Benz, through the chaos that is most European city roads and jammed motorways. And then line the business end up against a loading dock with the same sort of precision I can just about manage parking a small Kia at the supermarket. As with cars, numerous electronic aids now make truck driving a little easier (but no less skilled) and I was intrigued to see that 3D surround multi view camera systems for trucks are now on offer. Nissan Birdview scaled up, if you will.


Tokyo, financial results and reshuffles - THE WEEK

27 Oct 2017 | Dave Leggett

It has been another a busy week in the auto biz.


COMMENT - Why Mazda needs the Amati luxury brand

25 Oct 2017 | Glenn Brooks

It's almost 25 years since Mazda shelved Amati, its take on Acura, Infiniti and Lexus. Given that the plans for multiple models and a bespoke W12 engine were not backed up by a rock solid balance sheet, this was the right decision. Now, with its recent concepts effortlessly showing up so many cars from the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce which lack beauty, it's time for Mazda to think again.


Looking at Lexus - the week

20 Oct 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Our second feature in a series looking at future models of brands under the Toyota Motor Corporation umbrella was all about Lexus and went down a treat with readers.


COMMENT - Uncertain future ahead for Ellesmere Port

16 Oct 2017 | Dave Leggett

The news that the UK's Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant is dropping a shift, reducing output and its workforce, gives it a shot at improving its competitive position in the context of the Opel/Vauxhall European manufacturing footprint.


Daimler's Kallenius electrifies the week

13 Oct 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Our report on Ola Kallenius, Daimler's group research chief, outlining the major elements of the group's powertrain and electrification strategy drew an extraordinary number of your eyeballs this week.


EVs, EVs and more EVs - the week

6 Oct 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Our analysis of competition heating up in the global EV battery market was, unsurprisingly, the most popular item on just-auto this past week. Governments in Europe and Asia this year have announced ambitious medium- and long-term sales targets and quotas for zero-emission vehicles, as they look to move away from polluting, fossil-fuel burning vehicles. Electric vehicles (EVs) are seen as the main solution, at least for the next twenty years, and vehicle manufacturers worldwide have been busy adjusting their global production plans as they look to position themselves for the anticipated "electrification" revolution.


Will JLR acquire more brands? The week

29 Sep 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Another quiet post-Frankfurt news week? Nope, this is just-auto with our global reach, after all. Top read story came, more or less, from just up the road, though, as the question was asked: Could JLR acquire another brand? I was quite amused, and a little saddened, to see on various social media classic car pages, the optimism of those still mourning the death of MG Rover, the Nanjing Longbridge factory 'lift and shift' of equipment to China, the eventual takeover and launch of Roewe brand by SAIC, and the optimistic 'Would JLR bring back Rover?' discussions. Never say never, as I've learned after 50 years observation of the autobiz, but I'd think it unlikely. Baggage and not premium enough after years of dilution.


UPDATED - Ford's Bridgend engine plant; the anatomy of its decline

28 Sep 2017 | Calum MacRae

A confluence of factors, many of them rooted in history, are behind the expected decline in output at Ford’s Bridgend plant which will lead to the loss of 1,100 jobs over the next five years.


Ford shutdowns and a much awaited new Volvo - the week

22 Sep 2017 | Graeme Roberts

It's not unusual for things to go a bit quiet the week after the week of a major motor show's press days - Frankfurt's were the 12th and 13th and the public days continue. You knew that. Cue Geely's Volvo Cars, one of several notable absentees from the Messe, announcing its much-awaited XC40 SUV, first Volvo product on the new CMA architecture which will be shared with the new Lynk and Co brand and the Chinese parent's Geely, with little risk (that a showtime launch runs) of getting lost amongst all the buzz emanating from Germany last week. Not the first time the Swedes' PR has been a little bit clever, enjoying, as we used to say in the print days, "a lot of ink".


Frankfurt (mostly) - the week

15 Sep 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Of course, many eyes were either at or on the bi-annual Frankfurt show this week. Including ours.


New order: world in motion dances to China’s beat

15 Sep 2017 | Calum MacRae

It used to be the way that a trip to a major European motorshow was a good chance for the assembled press to have a good laugh at the latest attempts by the Chinese OEMs to infiltrate the European market. Who can forget the 2007 Frankfurt Show when China’s Shuanghuan Motor was represented on its stand by an SUV that looked more like a BMW X5 than the X5 did.


COMMENT - The car shows world order is changing

13 Sep 2017 | Chris Wright

Frankfurt, Paris, Geneva, Tokyo and Detroit – the big five, must-attend car shows. Not anymore, the world order has changed.


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.


What does the future hold for hydrogen vehicles?

1 Aug 2017 | Guest

The prospect of tighter air quality controls is pushing hydrogen fuel cell technology further into the spotlight and helping to drive investment in refuelling stations and other vital infrastructure. But is it too late for this mature area of tech innovation to increase its market share?


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.


Despite Brexit, business case strong for BMW's UK Mini investment - ANALYSIS

26 Jul 2017 | Dave Leggett

As BMW confirms that the electric Mini will be built at the Oxford plant in the UK, the decision inevitably raises Brexit questions amid continuing uncertainty over future trade arrangements between the UK and EU. However, it also shows that a strong business case for industrial investment in the UK can be decisive even while that uncertainty persists.


SUVs rule the roost - the week

21 Jul 2017 | Graeme Roberts

There's no sign yet of any let-up in the popularity of SUVs. Large, small, medium, compact, crossover, they just keep on a-coming. Case in point: in just the last week or so we've had the chance to look over one brand-new model and one substantial redesign.


Will GM regret the shrinking of Chevrolet?

18 Jul 2017 | Dave Leggett

GM has consolidated operations and withdrawn its Chevrolet brand from a number of markets as part of a strategy to focus activity where it turns a profit. There's a clear short-term benefit to the bottom line, but will it be regretted in the long-term as rivals are left to exploit new opportunities in emerging markets?


Tesla hits a bit of resistance - COMMENT

18 Jul 2017 | Glenn Brooks

The world's most famous make of electric cars is being assailed from many quarters. And this just as the Model 3, a car with the potential to stop the EV specialist losing vast amounts of money, is finally going into production.


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.


Last night a PR saved Volvo's life

6 Jul 2017 | Calum MacRae

Ever since Euro NCAP came into being, thus forcing all of its competitors to have five-star rated cars in an impact as a price of entry to the vehicle market, Volvo has been scratching around for a new USP.



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