+++ The head of ALFA ROMEO ’s Australian division says the brand’s next-generation range of models will be more comparable to Maseratis than Alfas of yesteryear. During an interview with Car Advice, Steve Zanlunghi said that the brand’s new Giorgio platform based models, starting with the Giulia, will be dramatically different to anything Alfa Romeo has previously built. “These Alfas that are coming out now on the Giorgio platform are like nothing you’ve ever seen”, he said. “They are more comparable towards Maserati type brands, so we are going to look to come out with premium products that are priced at a premium level, in line with the competition”. Zanlunghi is confident that the Giulia and upcoming Stelvio SUV are the perfect vehicles to launch the next wave of Alfa Romeo models and believes that their delayed releases allowed the car maker to ensure they were perfect. “Before you can call yourself cool, you have to have something that you can put out there that will do the speaking for you and I believe that the product that we have in the pipeline for Alfa Romeo and the reason it was initially delayed was so that we could get it absolutely spot on”. +++

+++ BMW has revealed that early next decade, it will launch a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, reports BMW Blog. During a speech at the Aachen Colloquium Automobile and Engine Technology, member of the board of management at BMW AG, Development, Klaus Fröhlich said that the company will initially produce hydrogen models in limited numbers before launching additional models when infrastructure improves. “BMW will enter the fuel cell market early in the next decade, starting with very small production runs”, he said. “However, until 2025 at least costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration. By the time the fundamentals are in place, the BMW Group will also have marketable products ready that are attractive to customers”. Last year, the car maker revealed its i8 and 5-Series GT hydrogen prototypes as a precursor to the brand’s first production-spec hydrogen vehicle. The technology is being developed alongside Toyota but at this stage, it isn’t known if BMW intends on making its first hydrogen model a totally bespoke car or instead, a variation of an existing model. +++

+++ HONDA is expanding capacity for the new generation of its CR-V, shifting production to the United States from Mexico in a move that will intensify competition in one of the U.S. auto industry’s hottest segments. Honda executives unveiled the re-engineered 2017 CR-V Wednesday at Detroit’s Eastern Market. They said the company plans to expand overall output of the vehicles in North America by building CR-Vs at factories in Alliston, Ontario, East Liberty, Ohio and for the first time at a plant in Greensburg, Indiana. The Indiana factory will take CR-V production from a factory in Mexico, company executives said. The Greensburg plant is capable of producing about 250,000 vehicles a year, and will continue to build Civic compact cars alongside CR-Vs, Honda said. With the added production, “it’s possible next year CR-V could be our best selling vehicle”, said Jeff Conrad, general manager of the Honda Division. The new CR-V goes on sale in the United States late this year. Honda’s manufacturing strategy reflects broader challenges for auto makers as U.S. consumers turn toward sport utility vehicles such as the CR-V and away from sedans such as the Civic. Building the Civic and CR-V side by side allows Honda to more easily adjust to market shifts. Factories that Detroit automakers have dedicated solely to smaller cars have suffered temporary layoffs as demand for those models has slumped. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has begun laying off workers at 2 U.S. car plants which it plans to retool to build pick-ups and SUVs. Meanwhile, U.S. sales of SUVs such as the CR-V, the Nissan X-Trail/Rogue, Ford Kuga/Escape, Toyota RAV4 and other models are growing. In September, the CR-V was the fourth best-selling vehicle in the United States, trailing the three best-selling large pickups from General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler. Conrad said boosting CR-V output will intensify competition in the crowded compact SUV segment, as rivals are making similar moves. The new CR-V will offer more interior space than the outgoing model, new safety features and a physical volume knob for the radio. That responds to complaints about digital volume controls. “We build a better mousetrap, we win,” Conrad said. +++

+++ Combined monthly sales of BMW and MINI in Europe totalled 121,583 in September, up 12.1% compared with the same month last year. The region’s two largest markets both achieved significant sales increases: registrations of new BMW and Mini vehicles increased by 13.2% in Germany (28,891) and by 12.0% in the UK (45,714); this strong growth trend was also reflected in most markets in the region. Year-to-date sales in Europe are up 10.4% with a total of 806,917 vehicles delivered. Sales of BMW and Mini vehicles in Asia also achieved considerable sales growth in September with a total of 71,237 (+16.5%) vehicles delivered to customers. In Mainland China, a total of 49,204 BMW and Mini vehicles were delivered to customers (+19.6%); double-digit growth was also achieved in Japan, where sales totalled 8,531 (+12.7%). In the first three quarters of the year, a total of 548,014 BMW and Mini vehicles were sold in Asia, an increase of 9.2% compared with the same period last year. Sales of BMW and Mini in the Americas decreased 2.7% in September compared with the same month last year, with a total of 38,258 vehicles delivered to customers in the region. Monthly sales in the USA totalled 29,413, a decrease of 5.2% compared with the same month last year. Meanwhile the strong upward sales increase in Mexico continued, with a total of 3,223 BMW and Mini vehicles delivered to customers, an increase of 18.1%. Year-to-date sales of BMW and Mini vehicles in the Americas total 337,079, down 6.5% compared with the same period last year. +++

+++ POLAND has attracted a major investment in its automotive industry from the United States and it is also in talks with Toyota on a potential new project in Poland, Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday. “We have a decision on another, big investment, American one, in the automotive sector”, Morawiecki said without providing more details. He was speaking at news conference on Daimler’s plans to build a 500 million euro engine plant in south-west Poland, which was announced in May. The plant will make engines for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Markus Schaefer, board member for production for Mercedes-Benz Cars, who was also speaking at the news conference, said that the plant in Jawor, around 70 kilometres west of Wroclaw, would hire 500 people. At a separate event on Thursday, Morawiecki was asked whether Toyota also had plans to invest in Poland. “Talks are being held”, he said. +++

+++ TESLA said on Wednesday it will provide strategic and product plans for a combined company of the electric automaker and SolarCity ahead of a Nov. 17 merger vote by shareholders of both companies. “Over the next few weeks, Tesla will share important updates regarding our strategic plan for the combined company including an Oct. 28 unveiling of a solar roof product”, Tesla said in a company blog post on Wednesday. The companies said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, also on Wednesday, that each SolarCity share will receive 0.11 Tesla shares upon completion of the proposed merger, unchanged from previous SEC filings. On June 21, when Tesla’s plans to purchase SolarCity were announced, the notional value of a SolarCity share, based on 0.11 Tesla shares, was $24.16. Tesla shares fell nearly $23 the following day, but have since recovered and at midday on Wednesday were at $201.70 per share. The value of a SolarCity share would be $22.18 based on Tesla’s share price at midday on Wednesday. Tesla expects to issue about 11,080,333 shares of the company’s common stock to SolarCity shareholders if the merger is approved, representing a stake of about 6.9 percent in Tesla. The new SEC filling also shows that the Tesla board determined that shareholders as of Sept. 23 would be eligible to vote on the merger proposals. The same filing says the Tesla shareholder meeting will be held on company property in Fremont, California and the SolarCity meeting at a hotel in Foster City, California. On Sunday, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company would not need to raise capital in the fourth quarter and likely not in the first quarter of 2017 to fund the launch of its Model 3 electric car and other products. In a subsequent SEC filing by Tesla, the company said the amount and timing of funds that Tesla may raise was undetermined. Musk controls 21.7 percent of SolarCity stock, Wednesday’s filing shows. Tesla reports third quarter financial results on Oct. 26. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN says that it wants to become the leader in electric vehicles as the firm bounces back from dieselgate. At the recent Paris Auto Show, the German brand offered the world a glimpse at its I.D. electric concept, set to hit the roads in 2020 and in the coming years, is expected to release numerous other Electric Vehicle concepts. While recently speaking with Motor Trend, Volkswagen’s head of e-mobility, Christian Senger, said that with previous concerns about electric cars now solved, it hopes to be the first automaker to build over 1 million Electric Vehicles. “We want to be the leader in e-mobility…we want to be the first one to produce more than a million electric cars, and for this we need to have really convincing solutions. The I.D. is in our minds the right answer as an auto manufacturer because it solves some core issues of the electric cars today. Battery cost is making significant improvements. The charging grid will improve along with its necessary energy density. Range is solved: there’s no range anxiety anymore. Vehicle cost point is down. We will be able to serve this new customer demand, going away from driven by regulations into customers are demanding electric cars”, he said. Underpinning the firm’s future range of electric models will be the MEB platform. Senger says it is scalable enough to support A to D segment vehicles. +++

Reageren is niet mogelijk.