The UK is struggling to shake off winter snow but Jaguars winter-tested iPace got a boost this week

The UK is struggling to shake off winter snow but Jaguar's winter-tested iPace got a boost this week

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.

GKN shareholders had until 1pm today to cast ballots on the relative merits of Melrose's proposal versus that of GKN's management - which wanted to tie-up GKN Driveline with US-based supplier Dana. It was close - the Melrose bid won the support of of 52.43% of shareholders.

Earlier this week, UK business secretary [minister], Greg Clark, wrote to Melrose asking the company to give firm undertakings about GKN's future. In response, Melrose said it would keep GKN's British base and maintain levels of R&D spend. It also said that for a five year period, it would not break the company up and the business would continue trading on the London stock market. Given the broken promises (ask the residents of Keynsham how long their factory lasted) after a US giant took over UK chocolate maker Cadbury some years ago, I personally take any such claims with a grain of salt about the size of the iceberg that sank the Titanic but there you go - that's what's been said. We'll now see if Melrose keeps to its commitments.

Most read news story this week was about Lynk & Co planning to make cars at a Volvo Cars plant in Belgium on the same assembly line as the XC40. Chief Alain Visser, said: "Our vehicles share the innovative Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) with Volvo, therefore it makes absolute sense that we commence European production alongside a brand with the absolute trustmark and global recognition in safety, quality, design and international appeal. We could not wish for a better start in our home markets." Can't argue with that. Updates for the European Ford Mustang - finally offered with factory RHD in 2015 for we pedants that insist on driving on the left - also drew a fair number of eyeballs.

It wouldn't be a week without some just-auto future models analysis and Kia came under scrutiny here and here. Also, with new all-electrics continually coming out with longer and longer ranges, we asked: Will diminishing range anxiety lift EV sales? There have been some interesting developments in interior trim recently and BMW's Rolls-Royce weighed in this week with illuminated wood and a shooting star headliner. Pointless, maybe, but clever.

Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover brand Jaguar's 240-mile-range i-Pace got a huge boost this week, ahead of first deliveries this summer as it and ride-hail firm Waymo announced a long-term strategic partnership that will deliver up to 20,000 for Waymo's driverless (autonomous drive - AD) fleet. The two companies said they would develop the 'world's first premium self-driving electric vehicle for Waymo's driverless transportation service'. Ahead of the Noo Yoik show ('course we've been compiling our usual debut list), JLR also opened a new North American HQ in, love this name, Mahwah, New Jersey and hosed the usual pile of officials and celebrities to show off what looks like a rather nice facility.

Alibaba-owned Tmall has unveiled what it says is China's first 'auto vending machine', partnering with Ford for what is described as the first phase of a larger push to upgrade the test-drive experience for Chinese consumers. The giant vending machine is called a "Super Test-Drive Center" in Guangzhou and offers three-day test-drives to potential buyers researching their next purchase, allowing them to choose from more than 100 vehicles, including the Explorer SUV, Mustang, Edge and Everest models. Meanwhile, Our Man in Brazil reported on the latest effort to put PSA back in the black down there.

At the very least, have a good weekend or, if you're joining us, Happy Easter.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor,

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