FCA’s audacious proposal for a merger with Renault has certainly got everyone talking. There’s plenty to talk about in terms of where the advantages of the bigger combination would be and how the companies would be impacted (not just FCA and Renault, but also Renault’s alliance partners). It’s a big merger and relatively complex, so there would be plenty to work through before agreement could be struck. After that, it’s the small matter of good execution (not something to be taken lightly; see DaimlerChrysler‘s unhappy unravelling). I feel the story will run for a while yet. Remember Fiat-Opel (and Magna getting involved) ten years ago? It never made it over the line. Keep an eye on PSA also. If anything, a big proposal like this gives impetus and creates pressure for others to get more active on the M&A front.

FCA proposes merger with Renault

Our FCA-Renault merger coverage

Donald Trump has raised fears in the auto industry over trade tensions, again. This time though, we’re back to Mexico and a policy pronouncement that neatly ties in the president’s economic nationalism with immigration concerns. A kind of two-for-one deal that is sure to grab plenty of headlines.  

US plans new 5%+ tariffs on all Mexican imports

A couple of tech innovations have caught my eye. A steering wheel with thermal feedback? Hmm. I just hope it can’t get too hot if someone messes with the settings.

Jaguar Land Rover develops ‘sensory steering wheel’

And Volvo Cars has a neat solution for designers.

Volvo Cars develops mixed-reality application for NPD

We’ve just had EU elections here in the UK, which served as a reminder that Brexit hasn’t gone away and we are still in the EU. I would guess some UK industry executives have exhausted their vocabularies to find new adjectives to express their frustration with the drawn out process and ongoing uncertainties, UK political disarray. From what I can gather, we’re on a path – replete with ongoing political uncertainties, not least the selection of a new prime minister – to the autumn when some seriously rapid progress will need to be made in a quite frighteningly short period of time if a no-deal Brexit is to be avoided. Besides the emergence of a credible UK government political position, relevant legislation has to be enacted also. It will be very tight. Or there’s another extension…

UK car output plummets in April on Brexit shutdowns

Venucia. That’s a brand name that conjures up images of sun-drenched terraces, turquoise canals, gondolas, classic baroque architecture and pizza washed down with a cool Boretti beer. The name is derived from that of the Roman goddess of beauty, Venus. But no, it’s not Italian though, it’s Chinese.

Venucia looks to future models for a sales turnaround

In case it passed you by, the next BMW 1 Series will be front-wheel drive. Yes, confirmation – if needed – that the world has, indeed, gone quite mad and absolutely nothing can be taken for granted.

Frankfurt IAA world debuts – BMW 1 Series goes front-wheel drive

Have a nice weekend.

Dave Leggett

Editor, just-auto