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August 14, 2015

THE WEEK THAT WAS: Jaguar Land Rover goes large

The big news this week was that Jaguar Land Rover announced a plan to build a 300,000-unit capacity plant in Slovakia. We knew that a plant in Central/Eastern Europe was under consideration as part of the Tata-owned premium firm's fairly ambitious growth plans.

The big news this week was that Jaguar Land Rover announced a plan to build a 300,000-unit capacity plant in Slovakia. We knew that a plant in Central/Eastern Europe was under consideration as part of the Tata-owned premium firm’s fairly ambitious growth plans. M’colleague Calum MacRae took a look at some plant-model mix assumptions and neatly put the announcement in context. He also suggested what model might be built in Slovakia to start with. You read it here first folks.

Elsewhere, you may have seen reports of that huge explosion at the port of Tianjin in China. Amongst the pictures of immense devastation were burnt out lines of cars. We followed up on that with Renault, among others.

Something else that got a lot of clicks this week was an item detailing a number of key Volkswagen suppliers by product area. It’s not often that you see something like that and it certainly is an interesting list.

On the electric drive front, a couple of items caught my eye. Audi said it is planning a new battery for a pure EV SUV that will have a range of 500 kilometres. Wow. And in China, Johnson Controls said it is planning a new factory for batteries for start-stop vehicles. And capacity for that will be 6m a year. That’s going some.

We also learned this week that some formerly cosy supplier-OEM relations in Japan are being shaken up somewhat. And, with an eye on important future trends encompassing the spirit of collaboration, Audi is joining Ko-HAF and Ford is tapping gamers for future mobility solutions. It’s interesting how companies choose to work collaboratively in some areas and on their own for competitive gain in others. I get the feeling the competitive landscape in automotive is more fluid and dynamic now than it has ever been.

On the markets front, the news in Europe is better than it has been for a while, even if Russia still looks rather grim.

There was a quirky tech element in our Pebble Beach coverage. Water injection? Always nice to see what’s going on at the top end. And our latest Frankfurt debuts list is here.

How’s Honda doing with recovering in Europe? Glenn Brooks takes a look at Honda’s market position and the major strategic questions it faces.

Finally, I am not really a sound system expert, but I enjoyed the slightly bombastic description of a new system being fitted to Skoda cars: “the new Škoda Superb has been transformed into a concert hall on wheels”. That made me smile and at least they avoided the oft-used ‘state of the art’ cliché.

Looks like the rain might be finally easing off here. Ready the sunglasses and Pimms.

Have a good weekend.

Dave Leggett

Editor

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