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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.


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.


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.


COMMENT - Lotus and a new beginning. Again?

28 Jun 2017 | Ian Adcock

The deal is done. DRB-Hicom Berhad has signed an agreement for China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) to take a 49.9% equity stake in Malaysian carmaker Proton Holdings Berhad (Proton). DRB also sold its stake in Lotus to ZGH (with a minority held by Etika Automotive). Ian Adcock considers the future for Lotus.


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.


Velar redefines Range Rover luxury - COMMENT

23 Jun 2017 | Guest

Tata-owned premium car maker Jaguar Land Rover is adding, this year, another model to the Range Rover sub-brand's range - the Velar. Hilton Holloway, editor of '5054'  magazine, reflects on the thinking behind the latest Range Rover luxury car and the values of the brand.


Air quality debate needs to move on from diesel cars - JLR

22 Jun 2017 | Dave Leggett

The debate on air quality in cities has become unhelpfully fixated on diesel cars that are a small part of the overall problem, according to Jeremy Hicks, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover UK.


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.


What does the UK election result mean?

9 Jun 2017 | Dave Leggett

The result of the UK general election raises a number of questions for UK economic prospects and the position of the UK's automotive sector. Dave Leggett offers some thoughts.


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 - it's tough at the top, Mr Fields?

26 May 2017 | Graeme Roberts

There had been enough rumours in automotive and financial circles over the last few weeks (and months) to suggest Change was coming at Ford - to wit the Monday ousting of CEO Mark Fields (billed in the press release as 'retirement') after less than three years in the top job, with a well-seasoned (but mostly not in autos) executive, Jim Hackett, replacing the long-Ford-serving Fields who had been praised, for example, for his work heading Mazda on the way to the top job in Dearborn and the moves towards 'mobility' once there.


Ford opts for presentational change

23 May 2017 | Dave Leggett

The more I look at it, the harder I am finding it to understand the rationale for change at the top of Ford Motor Company. I am concluding, at this point, that it is perhaps more rooted in presentation than substance.


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.


Detroit has investors on its mind - COMMENT

18 May 2017 | Dave Leggett

The automotive business, like others, is subject to economic cycles. It is now ten years since the global economic slowdown - the 'credit crunch' of 2007 - that eventually brought us a much more serious banking crisis in late 2008 and the a pretty severe global recession in 2009.


The week - the time saving autonomous car

12 May 2017 | Graeme Roberts

If a self-driving car could give you back an hour each day, how would you use it?


The week - 48V on the rise?

5 May 2017 | Graeme Roberts

Quarterly results, first or fiscal, continued to trickle in this week with Autoliv (which recently announced an interesting joint venture called Zenuity with Volvo Cars) beating its forecasts. This supplier recently announced some new business with Daimler's Mercedes for the S-Class update. Volkswagen, despite ongoing diesel crisis costs, also pulled off a spectacular Q1 result.


UK-EU Brexit discord to be expected - COMMENT

2 May 2017 | Dave Leggett

The UK's exit from the European Union (so-called 'Brexit') is going to be a drawn out and complex business.


The week - Results season is upon us, again

28 Apr 2017 | Graeme Roberts

That came around again quickly - results season again is upon as, depending on whether automakers and parts suppliers work on calendar year or, commonly in Japan, India and, coincidentally, in our very own parent company Aroq's head office, fiscal year, first quarter or fourth quarter/full year financials spill out all over.


Tomorrow's winners prepare for change today - COMMENT

25 Apr 2017 | Dave Leggett

How much disruption will the auto industry experience over the next ten years or so? It's a question that many are asking as attempts to sketch out the future of mobility - or, more accurately, urban mobility - gather pace.



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