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.

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.

BMW and Daimler see common new mobility cause - COMMENT

4 Apr 2018 | Dave Leggett

We live in interesting times in the automotive business, for sure. Everyone is talking about driverless cars, connected cars, electric cars and the emergence of the 'sharing economy'. But we don't quite know how these things will actually play out, how much disruption is really ahead.

Spring ain't sprung yet - the week

29 Mar 2018 | Graeme Roberts

The end of March and Easter are both nigh (we have Friday and Monday off, by the way) but no one seems to have told our local weathergods - the UK Met Office has just issued a snow warning for my region for Monday. No wonder the daffs might be out but the tree blossom is struggling. As we head into the first long weekend, or, in UK-speak, bank holiday weekend, of 2018, our eyes have been on the Melrose v Dana battle playing out today for GKN's juicy automotive bits (think e-Axle, and how many vehicles it's under) and Melrose won.

Will diminishing range anxiety lift EV sales?

27 Mar 2018 | Guest

With a range of more than 400 miles, the new VW ID VIZZION concept just shown in Geneva has set tongues wagging. Could consumers be ready to leave ‘range anxiety’ behind and switch to all-electric motoring? Analyst Richard Gane offers some thoughts on unfolding e-mobility.

An electrifying experience - the week

23 Mar 2018 | Graeme Roberts

As an electric car nut, I'd been itching for a go at Nissan's redesigned 2018 Leaf. The UK unit couldn't fit us in to the pre-launch European media event in January so I had to wait for this week's UK launch in Scotland. It was worth it. The car has been thoroughly reworked, with much more mainstream styling and an upgraded interior and it also goes faster and further. There's some great new technology and it introduces e-Pedal which means you'll hardly ever use a brake pedal again in one of these.

Out 'n' about - the week

16 Mar 2018 | Graeme Roberts

It's been a busy week for the entire just-auto team with a Russian conference to attend, new product to catch up with, a key new automaker appointee to interview, plus our usual analysis.

Geneva, mostly - the week

9 Mar 2018 | Graeme Roberts

If I may borrow, and slightly adapt, a phrase from my usual US nightly newscast (obligingly screened live here in Olde England at 11.30pm): "breaking news as we go on air, today - Dana and GKN Driveline are to merge".

Sorento shows why Kia is outselling Nissan in Britain and Germany

7 Mar 2018 | Glenn Brooks

Has the Qashqai, which was once well supported by the Juke and Micra, lost its way? In February, Nissan UK saw brand deliveries crash by 54%, while rivals made gains. Kia was one of those, its monthly registrations being strong enough to surpass the long-time Asian number one brand in Britain. In Germany too, it's a similar story.

GENEVA SHOW - Changes are a'coming

7 Mar 2018 | Mike Vousden

The Geneva show has traditionally been seen as the European motoring industry's foremost new car showcase. While the 2018 event is similar to previous years – the rotating car platforms and strobe-lit press conferences remain – there's a growing sense that great changes are afoot. As Ken Ramirez, Nissan's head of sales and marketing observed – the kinds of questions being asked now simply didn't exist 10 years ago.

Geely nibbles at Daimler - the week

2 Mar 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Normally, someone buying a minor slice of someone else doesn't attract much interest but when it's Geely, owner or significant stakeholder of the Volvo Cars (and Polestar), Geely Auto, Lynk & Co, Proton, Lotus, the London EV Company (traditional 'black cab' maker) and Yuan Cheng New Energy Commercial Vehicle brands, well, you lot sit up and take notice.

Is Jaguar now an SUV oriented brand too?

27 Feb 2018 | Calum MacRae

This piece was initially prompted by the appearance of the new Volvo V60, to universal acclaim, which brought a wistful thought from me that it was a shame that Jaguar doesn’t have a wagon version of its XE as a competitor. From the initial pictures the V60 appears to be a fantastic looking car with all the usual virtues that Volvo-ness brings to the estate (wagon) genre. It looks unmistakably like its V90 sibling or as colleague Glenn Brooks put it in the office last week, "Honey, I’ve shrunk the V90."

Electric and driverless visions - THE WEEK

23 Feb 2018 | Dave Leggett

The future for vehicles is electric, but it's fair to say the roadmap to that inevitable end-point is far from fixed.

Investors beware, EVs are a slow train coming - COMMENT

19 Feb 2018 | Dave Leggett

Tesla is a fascinating company to watch. It's a start-up (not exactly new though), is still losing money, but is making cars that serve a segment of the market set for major growth - battery electric vehicles. There is much to admire about Elon Musk's vision and execution, but let's not get too carried away.

Tesla prospects, wannabe SUVs and stinky bugs - the week

16 Feb 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Tesla seems always to be in the headlines, notably recently for its biggest ever quarterly loss, US$657m ("not much if you say it quickly", as a friend of mine used to opine on such red ink), but we've delved a bit beyond the attention grabbing stuff, concluding the automaker should be pouring engineering resources into not only additional cars such as the much hyped Model 3 but also the replacement for the original hit Tesla, the Model S. As we note, "this company must be running flat out just to try to comply with what its CEO has already announced is planned. Launching all of these vehicles plus a facelift for the Model X before 2021 is going to be an especially tall order". There's lots more.

New models, tech and a power cut - the week

9 Feb 2018 | Graeme Roberts

As the organisers of the CES show in Las Vegas found out last month, there's nothing like a power cut to bring a swift, temporary end to the digital age, at least that plugged into the mains. We had our own local edition today so apologies for the few hours of site outage and related delays today. Wonder if a hydro-electric dam across the local canal is feasible for backup?

Oh no, it's FOMO!

8 Feb 2018 | Calum MacRae

I'm probably not alone in thinking that all OEMs are pretty much following the same strategic and tactical path at the moment. Nearly every major OEM has an ACES (autonomous, connected, electric and shared) strategy or, as Daimler's Britta Seeger put it during a presentation at January's Automotive News World Congress, a CASE strategy.

Financial market 'corrections' - should we worry? 

6 Feb 2018 | Dave Leggett

The last 24 hours have seen a wave of sell-offs on global stock markets. Is there cause for concern? Yes, but there is also a need for some perspective and there is no reason to believe that a global economic recession is imminent or inevitable. 

What was VW smoking? The week

2 Feb 2018 | Graeme Roberts

"Volkswagen's supervisory board has reportedly called for an immediate inquiry into who within VW ordered scientific tests in which monkeys were exposed to harmful diesel fumes as reports in Germany say that humans have also been subject to tailpipe emissions testing." Quote unquote. Hardly an original joke but 'what were they smoking?' comes to mind. 'Or were they breathing the same 'clean' diesel fumes?' As a certain UK tabloid columnist is fond of writing: "You couldn't make it up."

Ford delays financials announcement - the week

26 Jan 2018 | Graeme Roberts

A slightly unusual change of plan this week - Ford Q4 results, eagerly awaited as always, were held back until after US markets closed, rather than coming out before the first ding of the NYSE bell on Wednesday. Which meant it would be well into UK beer o'clock before we could get them to you.

The guardians of globalisation prepare to welcome Trump - Comment

26 Jan 2018 | Ben Cooper

At a press conference last week to launch the World Economic Forum's Global Risks Report 2018, the organisation's assembled panel of experts was asked whether the ideas of "a group of millionaires" on reforming capitalism would carry much weight with ordinary people. The question alluded to the launch at the WEF annual general meeting this week in Davos of a two-year global dialogue aimed at exploring how market capitalism can be reformed to allow more people to benefit from economic growth.

Eyes on Detroit - the week

19 Jan 2018 | Graeme Roberts

Our analysis of future Fiat and Abarth models was the most popular article on just-auto this week, followed closely by the Detroit revelation of Ford's long awaited, revived US market Ranger, now a mid-size pickup rather than its predecessor's 'small'. Ford has adapted the Australian-designed (so its local unit claims) model built mostly for other markets in Thailand and South Africa, rather than going it alone as it did for the last Ranger. Compare the latest Ranger with its ancestor, the late 1970s Courier, a rebadged Mazda B-series, and you can see how much these once-small trucks have grown over the generations.

From Vegas to Tatarstan - The Week

12 Jan 2018 | Simon Warburton

There's really only one place to start this week and it has to be in the Nevada desert where the annual tech-fest of the Consumer Electronics Show 2018 kicked off the year in a technological blitz which was high on AI.

Review of the automotive year, 2017 (part two)

22 Dec 2017 | Dave Leggett

Editor Dave Leggett offers a personal take and review of the year with a look at selected highlights. This instalment takes in the second half of 2017.

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