No matter who makes what using what, there's always a boffin or two in a lab somewhere figuring out a new way of doing it. That was my thought on sighting a bit of news from Kia this week.

The Hyundai Motor affiliate claimed a world first by achieving UL Environment Validation for Bio-Based Organic Carbon Content for 10% of the new Soul EV's interior materials. The automaker said various bio-based materials have been used, such as bio degradable plastic, bio-foam and bio-fabric. Unlike previous plastic materials that are based from oils, bio-based materials are derived from biomass, which is a photosynthate. Such modern biochemical technologies have replaced the majority of the existing chemistry industry by offering an alternative through development of new bio-materials. The interior includes various new materials such as anti-bacterial substances and five newly developed eco-friendly materials, including cellulose-based plastic and thermoplastic elastomer fabric. And I thought it was all just 'plastic' and 'fabric'.

Meanwhile, the offshoring of things automotive from Japan continues apace - GS Yuasa, which anyone who has ever had anything to do with a Japanese motorcycle will have heard of, has established a car and motorcycle battery tech centre in Thailand. Given that motorcycles and almost all Japanese pickup truck models are made there, cars like the Nissan March/Micra are built and exported back to the mother ship, and many other Japanese models are made in Thailand for export to the ASEAN region, this makes sense.

Quarterly results continued to roll in - all are grouped here - with the biggies this week including GM, Toyota and Delphi.

We also had sales reports from a couple of big markets - a snowed in US and soggy and wet UK.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor,