Like any year in the auto industry, 2012 saw its fair share of company ups and downs, industrial comings and goings, and a fair old sprinkling of corporate drama. It was also a year of economic uncertainty hovering over automotive markets. We covered it all on just-auto. Editor Dave Leggett sifts through the lot and picks out a few highlights from the year just gone, month by month. Part one covers the first half of the year, part two the second. This is part two (July-December).
Down in Brazil, GM launches the Spin. It will also go to Indonesia. Interesting vehicle.
The Porsche-VW saga appears to finally have reached a conclusion.
And Dacia continues to edge into ‘mature’ markets with its low-cost offerings. The Duster also gets some pretty good reviews.
The phoney war on European overcapacity appears to be over as Psa announces that Aulnay is to be shuttered.
LMC gave us the low-down on some scary looking plant capacity utilisation rates.
France’s new prime minister isn’t very pleased with the news. He’ll commission a report (that will blame the company’s owners for past strategic errors that leave it with no choice) to get himself off the hook.
GM in Europe is having a rough time. Suddenly, someone is off. Looks political, whatever the spin put on it.
Some genuinely shocking and tragic news comes out of India. The rioting and violence is inexcusable, but it also seems that there is some pretty deep-rooted resentment among the contract workers at the Suzuki plant.
And a final post-script to an extraordinary tale of intrigue and mismanagement appears to take place in Paris when Renault‘s Patrick Pelata decides to move on. Decent and very capable guy, by all accounts. Storms sometimes strike unexpectedly and do all sorts of damage.
August is here. It’s a time for holidays and the London Olympics. This summer’s ‘English monsoon’ even held off for a few weeks.
This news bubbles up at the Traverse City event that takes place every August (one of these years, I’ll get over for it). This would be a big decision, so don’t expect Toyota to rush it. Lexus manufacturing in Mexico? I doubt it.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The model that time forgot. Interesting niche model down under.
Ford Brazil’s EcoSport Mk2 finally breaks cover.
Was there a ‘eureka moment’ when someone said: “Why don’t we remove the B-pillar and do coach doors?” “GM did coach on Meriva.” “Rear sliders it is.”
First images of the new Range Rover. Check out the weight saving.
Land Rover on a roll with the Evoque.
The Moscow Motor Show gives us something to write about and there’s a nice colour piece here.
The Fiat Panda plant in Italy continues to endure tough times as demand falters in Europe.
I liked this item mainly for the curious name of the quango. Extreme circus?
Ford rolls out a product extravaganza and a new company mantra in Amsterdam. That new Mondeo though, won’t be coming quite as soon as Ford says because there are plant (Genk) capacity and model-mix issues playing out behind the scenes…
Honda in Europe puts on a brave face as it embarks on market recovery, helped by new product and a compact diesel engine that will be produced in Swindon.
Problem. You have a great CEO. He has led the company through choppy waters and effectively channelled company-wide resources into a corporate strategy that has brought clear and positive results. The problem is, what happens when he goes? Ford eventually produces a roadmap that gives Mark Fields, as the front runner among internal candidates for the Big Job, a great opportunity.
The effects of this are still being felt and the diplomatic dispute between China and Japan remains far from being resolved.
It’s September, an even number year, and that means Paris Show (alternates with Frankfurt, which is odd numbered years). The Jaguar F-Type impresses.
Peugeot, meanwhile, opts to redesign the piano…
Patrick Pelata left Renault earlier in the year. He pops up in a new role in a very different – to Renault – company.
A report commissioned by the French government highlights the need for ‘inevitable’ job cuts at PSA Peugeot-Citroen and pointed to strategic errors in the past – especially maintaining independence at the cost of a strategic relationship with a partner. No surprises there. The politicians who said very loudly that they’d oppose Aulnay shutting may be able to gently ‘shift position’.
We held a seminar in Swindon and the tables are turned as some of my spoken words are reported.
Some perspective on Europe from LMC.
The month also brings more recall grief for Toyota.
And Honda also had a window regulator issue.
JLR‘s China strategy takes a big step forward.
And BMW confirmed that it will build a plant in Brazil.
European overcapacity crunches again as Ford confirms that Genk is to go. The clue was there with Mondeo delays tied to new tooling. Southampton (that was on borrowed time), maker of the ubiquitous Tranny (Transit) is axed also (Ford makes most Transits in Turkey these days, writing was on the wall). Ford also announces that it expects to lose $1.5bn in Europe in 2012, revised up from a previous estimate of $1bn. Scary biscuits.
Ford names Mark Fields as COO.
There’s a storm in the US at the end of October that dampens sales. But there will eventually be a fillip…
We learn that Mazda will make a Toyota model in Mexico.
And there’s an unlikely sounding collaboration: Renault and…wait for it…Caterham. Caterham, it seems, is advancing these days and has an ambitious management team.
We hosted another industry seminar – this time in Swindon.
At the LA Show, Chevrolet showed its Spark EV.
Get the geeks on it.
Nasty shipping incident in the North Sea.
For the Japanese in China, 2012’s problems haven’t easily blown over.
Aston Martin attracts some considerable investment from an investor group. It should provide funds for new product development and frees the management to talk widely when considering technology brought in. That’s the theory anyway. What next for failed bidder Mahindra?
Renault expanding with Dacia in Tangiers. Impressive facility, important to the Moroccan economy and for the R-N Alliance strategy. Labour intensive, low-cost. French government, though, might not like it while French carmakers rein themselves in at home. Just sayin’.
NedCar to BMW, deal done.
The Zoe is off and running to lead Renault’s EV charge.
Toyota has to take this on the chin.
This replaces something else, but is still good news for Sunderland.
Renault looks south for opportunities.
He can probably afford the legal bills. Don’t you just feel for those poor hedge-fund risk takers who lost out? It was a bit naughty though.
Coming together, for carmakers, is rarely easy.
Thanks for being with us in 2012. We wish you a happy and peaceful new year and look forward to seeing you with us again in 2013.