just-auto.com

The week - some engines go walkies, good results and a Toyota tech fest

By Graeme Roberts | 10 February 2017

These arent they but it gives you an idea of how engines, such as those that have gone missing from JLRs Solihull plant, are packed for transport

These aren't they but it gives you an idea of how engines, such as those that have gone missing from JLR's Solihull plant, are packed for transport

The most-read story on just-auto this week is an embarrassing one for the automaker concerned - the theft of an unspecified number of engines from Tata Motors' Land Rover plant in Solihull, an event that was kept quiet about for several days until that pesky media got on the case. JLR did not value the engines but reports here in the UK suggested they could be worth in the region of GBP3m (US$3.7m) following their removal from the Damson site in Solihull near Birmingham at some point late at night between 31 January and 1 February. An articulated truck is believed to have entered the site twice, each time hooking up to trailers carrying the engines and then leaving again through the gate. Understandably, the automaker and the constabulary are tight-lipped but you'd have to think 'inside job' for the peeps to know what to nab, and where from, and, reportedly, be able to show the right paperwork - twice - to get in and out. I would not want to be in charge of Solihull security right now.

So let's move on to better news for our local luxury vehicle maker: F-Pace and redesigned XF (danged if I can tell the new one from the old at a glance, let alone from the XE) have helped Jaguar to a healthy 76% sales boost in January, a great start to the Noo Year. Planned collaboration between Suzuki and Toyota has been making progress and Toyota itself announced a better fiscal full year forecast despite currency-depressed profits in the first nine months. Geely's Volvo Car's big operating profit rise surely must have pleased its foreign masters and Renault also put out a good set of numbers having wrestled Russia into better shape than a year ago.

Consolidation and M&A continued in the supplier biz as Lear nabbed Grupo Antolin's seat ops and Renault bought out a company to further its LCV ambitions.

Finally, this week I got to drive some actual cars for once - Kia's impressive new Rio supermini, with some great new petrol and diesel engines, to start and the techfest that is Toyota's latest Prius plug-in hybrid. Heat pump, gas injection a/c, battery warmer, generator that turns into a second electric motor, it's an impressive gadget. This is the one called Prius Prime in the US but Toyota Europe is having none of that. I concur. PHV says on the tin exactly what this is, so why name it after a product of an online shopping website or a choice cut of beef?

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com