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+++ The ALFA ROMEO Stelvio SUV will be revealed at the Los Angeles motor show in November, according to promotional material from the company. Alongside the ‘save the date’ notice of 15 and 16 November was a murky photo of the car’s silhouette that shows the same coupé-like roofline that previous spy shots of the car have revealed.

It was originally thought that the Stelvio would make its world debut at this month’s Paris motor show, but delays in Alfa Romeo’s next generation of cars may have pushed this back to the next major motor show. Like the Giulia, the Stelvio will be launched in range-topping Quadrifoglio guise, with the same powerful twin-turbocharged 2.9-litre V6 engine. ‘Quadrifoglio’ is the badge Alfa Romeo gives its performance-oriented models. More mass-market versions of the Stelvio will be revealed some time later, as has been done with the Giulia. The Stelvio will rival the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5, as well as a raft of new arrivals such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC, Porsche Macan and Jaguar F-Pace. Alfa is said to be using the Macan and F-Pace as dynamic benchmarks. The Quadrifoglio version will compete with the high-performance Mercedes-AMG GLC 63, Porsche Macan Turbo and long-rumoured BMW X3 M. With Jeep being parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ off-road specialist, Alfa Romeo bosses want their new SUV to chase the class leaders in terms of ride quality, handling and performance. The extra weight of the Stelvio compared with the Giulia means that performance may differ slightly, but Alfa Romeo is understood to be retuning the engine to increase torque, at the expense of a few horsepower. If the flagship Stelvio’s 0-100 km/h time matches that of the Giulia, it’ll be one the fastest-accelerating SUVs on the market, at 3.9 seconds. There’ll be an all-wheel-drive version as well as a rear-drive Stelvio, but the Quadrifoglio is expected to be the latter, with an automatic gearbox only. Engines are also expected to be shared with the Giulia, meaning that 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines will appear, in multiple states of tune. The Stelvio range is expected to kick off at just under 60,000 euro in The Netherlands, rising to about 115,000 euro for the hot Quadrifoglio version. +++

+++ BUGATTI isn’t considering any special edition Chirons in the immediate future according to an insider. In the 6 months since the Chiron was launched, over 200 of the allocated 500 units have been accounted for. Because of this, the French marque hasn’t yet felt the need to pull the trigger on special edition models to help entice on-the-fence buyers. While speaking to Autocar, a company insider said “One-off color schemes and other special editions proved very popular with the Veyron, but we are not at that stage yet. People are eager to buy this car and the volume of sales will keep the factory busy for a long time. We don’t need to look too far ahead”. Beyond its breathtaking performance, the Veyron will perhaps be best remembered by the dozens of special edition and one-off models Bugatti created to try and sell all 450 examples of the W16-powered hypercar. Remarkably, it took an entire decade for the Bugatti Veyron to sell out but for the Chiron, things have been much easier, even though its yet to be proven. On paper, its revised 8.0-liter quad-turbocharged W16 engine churns out an insane 1,500 hp. That should be enough to accelerate the car to 100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds and onto a top speed approaching 450 km/h. +++

+++DAIMLER plans to sell Mercedes-Benz branded all-electric battery cars in China, its China chief said on Wednesday, as the automaker capitalizes on government initiatives aimed at growing the market for new-energy vehicles (NEVs). Hubertus Troska said the government’s push, which involves tax breaks and other policy support, helped the number of NEVs sold last year surpass 300,000, making China the world’s biggest market for electric, gasoline-electric and other such vehicles. The majority of those vehicles were priced under 250,000 yuan ($37,515) and offered mainly by Chinese automakers, Troska said at an analyst and investor conference in Beijing. Given factors including the government push (which falls under a broader drive to cut oil dependence and air pollution) Daimler is “very confident NEVs will be an important factor of the Chinese market”, Troska said. “Mercedes-Benz is also going to play a role in China in NEVs”, he said, referring to the planned cars. He also said he sees demand over time shifting toward a “higher segment” of more expensive and capable all-electric battery cars and plug-in hybrids. Troska did not elaborate on the planned cars such as cost, pricing, models or launch dates. But investor relations head Björn Scheib said Daimler plans to show a concept electric car at the Paris Motor Show which opens to the public on Oct. 1. Daimler currently sells one all-electric battery model in China under its smart brand, and one under the Denza brand it operates with local partner BYD. Its China line-up also includes plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid versions of the Mercedes-Benz C-class, S-class and GLE. +++

+++ HYUNDAI has confirmed the all-new i30 will spawn a whole family of vehicles. At the presentation of the new five-door model in Frankfurt today, the brand’s design chief Peter Schreyer flashed a slide on the screen that revealed outline drawings for the other models in the range, but did not give any further details on them. At present, Hyundai has only confirmed a high-performance N version of the i30 is coming in 2017. This is set to be called RN30, according to recent trademark applications. Hyundai could also work be a low-riding crossover version that could sit below the Tucson in the brandrange. The other two are a Wagon version of the i30 and a swoopy four-door saloon/coupé, not too dissimilar in profile to the i40 saloon model. Hyundai wants to become the number one Asian brand in Europe by 2020, and the firm’s European marketing chief Jochen Sengpiehl said that an expanded i30 range was a key part of that strategy. +++

+++ Part of the implementation of the ‘Push to Pass’ plan, PSA (PEUGEOT, Citroen, DS) has inaugurated a new manufacturing facility in Chengdu, China, with their local partners, Dongfeng. Built in 2 years, this is DPCA’s (Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile) 4th one, after the 3 in Wuhan, Hubei province, and will take aim primarily at producing vehicles based on the PSA’s EMP2 platform for the Dongfeng Peugeot, Dongfeng Citroen and Dongfeng Fengshen brands. “This new plant will help us expand our vehicle range in the fast-growing SUV segment and meet the needs of our Chinese customers. It represents an important step in implementing our Push to Pass plan and achieving our objective to launch 20 new models in China by 2021 and sell over 1 million vehicles in the region by 2018”, said PSA’s Chairman of the Managing Board, Carlos Tavares, who attended the opening ceremony along with other PSA officials and local representatives. Using a flexible manufacturing system that allows for close cooperation with suppliers, the new Chengdu facility has an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles and will start putting together the new Peugeot 4008 (second generation 3008 in Europe), which is scheduled to go on sale locally in November. +++

+++ RENAULT expects diesel engines to disappear from most of its European cars, company sources told Reuters, after the French automaker reviewed the costs of meeting tighter emissions standards following the Volkswagen scandal. The sober reassessment was delivered at an internal meeting before the summer break. It shows how, a year after VW admitted engineering software to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests, the repercussions are forcing major European car makers to rewrite strategic plans that will shape their futures for years to come. Renault and domestic rival PSA, both heavily invested in diesel technology, initially scrambled to defend its future viability after the VW crisis erupted. But in the July meeting, Renault’s Chief Competitiveness Officer Thierry Bollore said the diesel investment outlook had dimmed significantly, according to 2 people who were present. “He said we were now wondering whether diesel would survive, and that he wouldn’t have voiced such doubts even at the start of this year”, said one of the people. “Tougher standards and testing methods will increase technology costs to the point where diesel is forced out of the market”, the source summarized Bollore as saying. A Renault spokesman declined to comment. Diesel engines, pricier but more efficient than gasoline, had already vanished from the smallest A segment vehicles like Renault’s Twingo well before VW’s so-called ‘dieselgate’, as their extra expense outstripped savings on fuel. By 2020, Renault now predicts that the toughening of Euro6 emissions rules will push diesel out of cars in the next B segment size category, including its Clio, as well as some C segment models such as the Mégane, the sources said. Models in those first 3 size categories accounted for most of the group’s 1.6 million European deliveries last year, and more than 60 percent were diesels. “Everybody is backtracking on diesel because after 2017-18 it becomes more and more expensive”, said Pavan Potluri, a power train analyst with consulting firm IHS Automotive. While the VW scandal centered on the German carmaker’s cheat software, it also focused public attention on an industry-wide disparity between nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions on the road and those recorded in regulatory tests. Mass-market diesels that meet legal NOx limits in approval tests commonly emit five times as much or more in everyday use. The gases contribute to acid rain and respiratory illnesses blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths globally each year. Starting in 2019, however, vehicle approvals will be based on emissions performance during real driving. This is forcing manufacturers to install costlier emissions treatment systems. The business case for diesel can only deteriorate further, industry leaders realize, as targets become stricter, while electric and hybrid car batteries get cheaper and more powerful. “Beyond 2025 there may be some manufacturers that completely drop diesel, because the cost of electrification will have come down significantly”, Potluri said. Diesel car sales will plummet to 9 percent of the European market in 2030 from 52 percent today, management consultant AlixPartners (regarded as an authority on the auto industry) predicted in June, with the decline accelerating after 2020. Renault and alliance partner Nissan assume the next wave of emissions rules, Euro7, could halve NOx output limits again to 40 milligrams per kilometer, senior powertrain engineer Alain Raposo told a technical conference this summer. Renault is not alone in predicting a bleak future for diesel, though its projections go further than the doubts expressed by other car makers about the technology. VW now wonders “whether it still makes sense to invest a lot of money in further developing diesel”, Chief Executive Matthias Müller said in June. The German carmaker’s final bill for the scandal will likely far exceed the $15 billion settlement agreed so far in U.S. fines and vehicle buy backs. Wolfsburg-based VW is the only carmaker to have admitted using illegal software cheats. Similar allegations have been leveled by German officials against Fiat Chrysler (FCA), and by South Korean authorities against Nissan vehicles equipped with Renault engines, and in both cases denied. Renault, however, has been forced to concede that its real-world NOx emissions are far worse than the industry average, and the carmaker remains under investigation by French consumer fraud authorities. That has deepened Renault’s engineering headache and tarnished the green image it cultivated with electric car launches and lower-than-average emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the dominant focus of regulators prior to dieselgate. In road tests on almost 100 vehicles, ordered by a French commission on diesel emissions, Renault and Nissan cars produced more than 8 times the regulatory NOx limit on average, with most of their Euro6 models closer to 10 times the limit. Renault engineering chief Gaspar Gascon Abellan told the commission that the NOx-cutting exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) in its top-selling diesel engines had been found to cause serious turbo clogging problems. Engineers had responded by programming the EGR to shut down outside a narrow range of air intake temperatures, 17-35 degrees Celsius (63-95 degrees Fahrenheit). While passing regulatory tests carried out near room temperature, the protocol sends NOx emissions sky-high on the road. Renault, Opel, Fiat and others have said such “defeat devices” are legal because they are designed to protect their engines rather than cheat tests. But the French commission said their technical justifications “remained to be proven”. Gascon Abellan agreed during hearings that Renault’s EGR restrictions “could be considered conservative” and would now be relaxed by software tweaks to existing models, with no significant engine changes. “I recognize that we could have done this earlier”, he said. In common with Ford, VW and Mercedes, Renault is scrambling to catch up with PSA by rolling out costlier selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to rein in NOx emissions in real-world driving. Bollore, the competitiveness chief, blamed “diesel consequences” in part for a 115 million euro research and development overspend that weakened first-half earnings. Renault’s electric car program and CO2 performance remain important assets in a world of ever-tightening emissions laws, Exane BNP Paribas analyst Stuart Pearson said. “But they’re going to have to address the diesel issue and add more SCR content than others”, Pearson said. “It might be one reason why Renault’s earnings could be handicapped relative to PSA over the next few years”. +++

+++ Auto supplier Robert Bosch concealed the use of VOLKSWAGEN’s secret “defeat device” software that it helped design and demanded in 2008 that the German automaker provide legal protection in its use, lawyers for American owners alleged in a court filing. The filing on Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco expands on claims plaintiffs lawyers made in August, when they alleged Bosch was a “knowing and active participant” in Volkswagen’s decade-long scheme to evade U.S. anti-pollution laws. Bosch lawyers said last month those claims were “wild and unfounded”. VW has admitted that it installed improper software that deactivated pollution controls on more than 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide and has agreed to spend as much as $16.5 billion in the United States to address emissions issues, including compensating owners of 475,000 2.0-liter diesel cars. The new filing offers the most detailed list of claims against Bosch. Lawyers are also seeking redress for owners from Bosch. The new court filing includes portions of the allegations that were initially redacted in August by the plaintiffs under court rules and says Bosch \”did not disclose its knowledge of the illegal defeat device in any … communications with U.S. regulators”. The filing said Bosch demanded in 2008 that Volkswagen indemnify it over the use of the software designed by the German auto supplier, citing a June 2008 email from Bosch to VW. The email demanded “Volkswagen indemnify Bosch for any legal exposure arising from work on the defeat device”, the lawsuit said. The lawyers said VW apparently refused to agree to Bosch’s request but said they are still investigating. A U.S. Bosch spokeswoman and Volkswagen did not respond to a request for comment late Tuesday. The filing also accuses Bosch Chief Executive Officer Volkmar Denner of knowing about the use of the defeat device. It alleges that in May 2014 Denner took part in a meeting with former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn that shows both “were aware of the illegal use of the defeat devices at least by May 2014”. Winterkorn resigned in September 2015. Bosch makes an engine control unit used by several top automakers including VW. It supplied software and components to VW but has said responsibility for how software is used to regulate exhaust emissions or fuel consumption lies with carmakers. Bosch has not been charged with any wrongdoing. German prosecutors said in December that they were investigating whether staff at the Stuttgart-based company were involved in the rigging of emissions tests by VW. Denner said in January he had ordered an internal investigation and was cooperating with authorities. In April, Bosch said it had set aside 650 million euros for potential legal costs, including for a continuing investigation into the company’s role in Volkswagen’s emissions scandal. In June, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates said the VW investigation is looking at “multiple companies and multiple individuals”. +++

+++ VOLVO has reportedly confirmed US launch plans for the S90’s long-wheelbase variant. The company’s US president, Lex Kerssemakers, earlier this year announced plans to bring the next-generation long-wheelbase S60 to the US, where “nobody says no to space”. An executive in China now suggests the same attitude is carrying over to the S90. Like the current long-wheelbase S60 Inscription, the stretched S90 will be built in its primary target market (China) and exported to the US, Europe and other regions, according to an Automotive News Europe report citing official comments from Volvo’s China sales chief, Yuan Xiaolin. The new XC90 and S90 are particularly important for Volvo’s growth plans, stepping up the Swedish marque’s rivalry with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and other luxury automakers. The stretched S90 is expected to be unveiled sometime later this year, however a launch window for the US remains unclear. +++

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