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+++ Americans buy millions of dollars of stuff made in China every day. So why not add the FORD Focus to the mix? To hear Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, talk about the plan to move the car’s production to a factory in Chongqing, it’s no big deal. “Consumers care a lot more about the quality and the value than they do about the sourcing location”, Hinrichs said. “iPhones are produced in China and people don’t really talk about it”. Maybe so, but the Apple product has been manufactured there from the start, while Ford has never before made any of its vehicles in China for American buyers. In fact, the gambit by Jim Hackett, Ford’s new chief executive officer, will make the Focus the biggest automotive export ever from that country to the U.S. It’s a risk because “this is a big shift with a vehicle name that has been associated with the U.S. market”, said Jeff Schuster, an analyst with LMC Automotive. “But if the vehicle meets the needs of the buyer, I think it’s less of an issue than it used to be”. One American who might be displeased: president Donald Trump. He excoriated Ford last year when the company said it would start making its second-best selling U.S. car in Mexico. During the campaign, Trump also blasted China as a currency manipulator and for what he complained were its unfair trade practices. For now, Trump’s secretary of commerce, Wilbur Ross, seemed to give Ford a pass, saying in a statement that its Chongqing plan “shows how flexible multinational companies are in terms of geography”. Ross added, though, that the administration expected the flexibility to go both ways. “I believe that as President Trump’s policies and reforms take hold, more companies will begin to locate their facilities in the U.S. as several German and Japanese automakers already have”, he said. Ford attempted to soft-pedal the shift to China by also announcing it would invest 900 million dollar in its Kentucky factory to build big SUVs. Hackett didn’t make a personal call to Trump, as his predecessor Mark Fields did when the company decided to scrap a Mexico small-car factory in January. Instead, Ford’s government affairs staff in Washington informed the administration of the China deal after it was announced Tuesday morning. Trump himself hasn’t commented on the matter. With “such a big nameplate coming from China”, there could still be presidential pushback on Hackett’s first major strategic decision, said Art Wheaton, Cornell University labor professor. Hinrichs said the company was aware of the risks. “China gets a lot of attention; we’ll see how this plays out”. One scenario Ford considered as it looked to China was Congress ultimately levying punitive tariffs on foreign-made imports. The conclusion was that it still made sense. By ending North American production of the Focus and importing it mostly from China, Ford anticipates it will save 1 billion dollar. “We believe this is a much better plan for our business globally”, Hinrichs said. “We think the significant capital savings outweigh any of the risks associated with any adjustments to the border”. Ford expects to begin building the Focus in Chongqing in the second half of 2019. General Motors has exported a few Cadillacs and Buicks from China, while Volvo (now Chinese-owned) has shipped some S60 and S90 sedans to America. None of that compares to the Focus, which had sales of 168,789 units in the U.S. last year. If Americans accept a Chinese-made Focus, Ford’s move could usher in a new era of Far East auto production, where labor can be cheaper than in Mexico. LMC Automotive sees auto exports from China to the U.S. more than doubling by 2020, and predicts Ford will also transfer production of the iconic Taurus, once America’s favorite car, there from Chicago. With Focus, the production shift will lower costs on a model that analysts figure doesn’t make money right now, with an assembly line in Wayne, Michigan, staffed by members of the United Auto Workers union. The UAW declined to comment on Ford’s announcement. Sales of small cars from all automakers have cratered since gasoline prices fell and Americans rediscovered their love of SUVs. Focus deliveries in the U.S. are down nearly 20 percent this year, despite generous discounts. That’s what drove Ford’s original decision to assemble the car in Mexico, before finding a cheaper solution in China. Not long ago, the quality of Chinese cars wasn’t considered ready for prime time. When the first one showed up the Detroit auto show in 2006, its dashboard looked like it was made from popsicle sticks. Now, Hinrichs said, “the quality is very good in our plants there. China is capable of producing at the same global level standards we have everywhere else”. And that could be all it takes. “Times have changed,” said David Whiston, an auto analyst with Morningstar in Chicago. “No American would consider buying a Chinese-built car 20 years ago. Now people just want their car to work”. +++

+++ HOLDEN has fallen to an “all-time low” in terms of brand appeal and several recent advertising campaigns have been too focused on younger demographics, the company’s executive director of marketing Mark Harland has confessed. Speaking at the Australian media launch of the Astra Sedan, Harland revealed that Holden has opted to change its marketing agency ahead of the closure of its local manufacturing operations on October 20. The Canadian-born 20-year General Motors veteran, who was appointed as marketing chief late last year, said the factory closure would have to mark a major shift in how the brand is taken to market. “We’re at an all-time low in terms of the brand”, Harland admitted. “There’s been years in a bygone era that people would just buy whatever Holden put their name on. We have world-class products, in the showroom and coming that are as good, if not better than any other competitor. But we have a brand that people are unsure of. People are wondering: ‘What is the Holden brand and where are we going in the future?’ ”. Harland further revealed that loyalty among existing owners was low, and most new-car buyers simply did not have an opinion of the local lion brand. “If I look at my brand momentum, our brand reputation scores, about 52 percent of the negative comments have to do with the closure”, he said. “I’ve got 62 to 65 percent of the population that is indifferent to Holden. It doesn’t mean they love us, it doesn’t mean they hate us, so that’s an opportunity. Our loyalty rate at Holden is not nearly where we need it to be. “I have got to get them (buyers) to believe in where Holden is going in the future, above and beyond the great products. They won’t get into those great products, until they believe that Holden stands for something that is intrinsically and uniquely Australian going forward. And we’ve got to tell that story”. Although Harland further admitted that Holden was “not doing very well with younger demographics” he was aware that recent advertising targeting younger buyers were seen by some as a rejection of the brand’s traditional buyer base. “I would say, without pointing out any individuals or any individual piece of work, then I would certainly say that we may have swung the pendulum too far (towards younger buyers) at times”, he said. “We’re not doing very well with females; younger or older females for that matter. We need to build the brand with younger demographics, with females, at the same time as what I like to tell my team is we’re putting our arms around and embracing our owner base, the people that have been with us forever. “Everyone said: ‘We got to move away. We can’t be just talking about V8 Commodores and the guys who drive V8 Commodores, and we’ve got to go all the way over here and just talk to 20-year-old females. I’d say at times we swung the pendulum too far. The thought is right, but the execution was wrong. We can’t completely walk away from the people that have been with us forever”. AJF Partnership has been Holden’s advertising agency for several years, but Harland confirmed that a tender had now been placed for a new agency. “We decided that after closure would be a good time to launch the next iteration of what we want the Holden brand to look and feel like”, he said. “We thought we would challenge some agencies and we’ve put that out there. We had 9 or 10 agencies, from smaller agencies in Australia and New Zealand to large, global agencies, really, really dig in and get excited about being part of the Holden turnaround and helping us transform the brand. That started late in May, and we’re now just going still through round one and we’re getting that down to a shortlist. The final selection of that agency will probably happen mid-to-late July”. The marketing chief also said that while the future advertising direction had not been set as yet, “I have a plan on where I want the brand to be. I have some metrics I owe to the senior leadership of GM over the next 3 or 4 years, through 2020 and beyond”, he said. “We want people to get up, take notice of Holden again, and have a conversation, and have fun, and not take ourselves so seriously. We don’t want to do it in a way that’s going to be really offensive to anyone, but we want to do it in a way that’s going to be bold and it’ll get noticed. This next iteration of the brand, and the communications will start post-factory closure, and the proof-point of that will really be the Equinox. That’s the first proof-point of the new brand campaign. Then it will all evolve obviously with the next-generation Commodore, and then, through the end of 2018, the proof-point after that will be the Acadia. So kind of go ‘bang, bang, bang’ and really start to get at this indifference that people have with Holden. Not having an opinion is not an option”. +++

+++ HYUNDAI will put the foot down on its high-performance N program, with the much anticipated i30 N set to launch in Europe as early as next month. Once the i30 N has hit the market, Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) executive vice-president and head of vehicle test and high-performance development Albert Biermann told journalists last week that 3 more variants will be launched in a little over a year. “The next one will come next year”, Biermann said at a preview drive of the i30 N at HMC’s proving ground at Namyang. “And even the number three comes out the next year or early the year after”. With the five-door i30 hatchback the first cab off the N rank, the next is confirmed as the forthcoming 5-door fastback version of the i30, while the reborn Veloster is also set to benefit from the N treatment. Camouflaged but apparently production-ready Velosters were being tested on a track next to the i30 N launch venue, and featured large centrally mounted exhausts, large rims and a reduced ride height. The identity of the third model is as yet unclear, but the other forthcoming versions of the i30 and even the smaller i20 are possibilities. Likewise, the i30 Wagon, which was revealed earlier this year, is also a candidate. Biermann denied that the forthcoming Genesis G70 sedan (Hyundai’s version of the twin-turbo V6 Kia Stinger GT) has undergone any form of N transformation. “No, the high-performance people are not involved so much in the Genesis”, he said. “The Genesis is not meant to be a sub-label for all sporty cars”. However, Biermann did confirm an interest in adding a smaller B-segment hatch like the brand’s i20 to the mix, to compete with the likes of Ford, Renault and Toyota. “Why would we limit ourselves to C-segment?” he asked. “Volkswagen Polo GTI, Ford Fiesta ST, the Clio, even Toyota is doing a hot version. There’s a good market out there”. Biermann, who has been with Hyundai for 2 years after a career at BMW’s high-performance M division, said that the N moniker needed to be nurtured, and it was crucial that the entire package of a car comes under scrutiny. “We are touching almost everything of the car to balance it to an i30 N car”, he said. “There’s almost no area where we are not doing something”. Hyundai stunned the Paris motor show with its potent RN30 concept that was based on the 5-door i30, and Biermann confirmed that that 380 hp 4-cylinder turbocharged engine has seen action outside of the concept car. “We have already cars with such an engine (RN30) in there, but there’s no plan to do it”, he said. “But we have already tested it. Last year, we tested a car with 380 hp. But there’s no plan right now to do it”. He explained that the N brand needed to work its way through the ranks and earn its stripes before branching out into the high-performance space. “We are not as established yet in the marketplace”, he said. “We’re just starting and just to go to the limit right away, I don’t think is a smart way. We want to grow from the bottom. I think that is the right way to go. And the C-segment is a good starting point. There are many guys out there in C-segment. We want to start on a good level that has substance and performance and that is fun to drive, but not go crazy. It has to be affordable”. A highlight of the i30 N is the use of off-the-shelf components for systems like its oversized brake set-up, and Biermann said that this philosophy would continue. “We’ve tried to save money as much as we can, but the performance is still the key element”, he said. “Whenever possible we try to use our own technology, and on the brake side, we don’t have any fancy brake stuff in there because we could find brakes in our own shelf which are good enough. We got it to a point where we were really happy”. While the N brand is a halo for Hyundai, Biermann confirmed that it was still required to pull its weight, which could potentially see the N moniker applied to styling kits and accessories. “It is brand-building, of course, but also we have to make money”, he said. “We have the N models, but there’s more to come from N than just the N models like I30 N. So we have to widen the scope of N products. The changes will still be substantial; it’s a different driving experience but not to the extent of an N model”. +++

+++ KIA has revealed the latest addition to its burgeoning SUV range in the form of the all-new Stonic: a new Nissan Juke-sized crossover which the Korean brand expects to become one of its best-selling models when it goes on sale before the end of the year. The small SUV market is booming and Kia is after a slice of the profits. European marketing director Arthur Mertens said: “This segment is the fastest growing in Europe. It was 1 million sales last year and will be 2 million by 2020. By then, 10 percent of all cars sold will be a B-SUV. Until now, Kia has had no strong presence here, and now we’re launching into a market that’s taking off. This is really important for us in Europe”. The Stonic is set to sit beneath the Sportage and Sorento in the range, and serve as a rival for the likes of the Juke and Renault Captur, as well as the new Hyundai Kona. In order to make the new Rio-inspired crossover stand out in this increasingly crowded marketplace, Kia promises this is its most customisable car to date. The styling lends itself to a 2-tone paint finish, and up to 20 combinations will be available, alongside 5 unique colours for the roof. In terms of design, contemporary Kia cues such as the ‘tiger-nose’ grille and strong, swept headlights define the Stonic’s face, but Kia has made an effort to distance the crossover from the Rio hatchback on which it’s based. Looking down the side of the car, sharp creases and kinks are found near the door sills, while the window line kinks upwards, too. Rugged-looking black plastic cladding runs in a ring around the bottom edge of the car and around the wheelarches, giving the crossover a tougher stance. Similarly, brushed metal skidplates are found front and rear. Kia has turned to past concept cars to influence the design: the ‘targa’ style roof loop at the C-pillar is plucked from the Provo coupé concept of 2013. In the cabin things take on a much more Rio-inspired bent. The dash is near identical, while the switchgear is carried directly over. Again, lots of customisable colour schemes are promised. A 7,0-inch infotainment touch screen will appear on some models, bundled with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Kia promises that space won’t be at a premium, with generous leg and headroom, plus class-leading shoulder room. In the back, a 2-step floor will allow owners to expand or shrink the 352-litre boot to suit their needs. Under the bonnet, the three petrol engines to be offered in the Stonic are all taken from the Rio. Kia’s new turbocharged 1.0-litre 3-cylinder T-GDI will be offered with 120 hp, while naturally aspirated 1.25-litre and 1.4-litre 4-cylinder options line up alongside it. All these engines come with 6-speed manual transmissions. A 7-speed automatic will be offered on the 1.0 T-GDI later. The diesel option is a 110 hp 1.6, to be replaced by a substantially updated engine during 2018. No fuel economy figures have been revealed, but the diesel will serve up the lowest emissions. All Stonics will be front-wheel drive only. Kia’s European COO Michael Cole confirmed that the firm has no plans to launch an electric version of the Stonic, or any further SUV models, although he said the latter could change if there was customer demand. That approach contrasts with sister firm Hyundai, which is developing a Kona EV for a 2018 launch, along with 2 new models for its SUV range. Cole said: “The Stonic will be a very strong volume seller for us, in our top3. We already have very good heritage of making crossovers and SUVs, and this follows the Sportage in launching into a very popular and fast-growing segment”. Intriguingly, Hyundai’s new compact crossover, the Kona, uses the i30 platform. The Stonic rides 43 mm higher than the Rio because the seats are mounted higher and it sits on 17-inch wheels. All the exterior panels are different apart from the front doors. Size-wise the Stonic sits in the middle of the pack, being fractionally longer than the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur, but shorter than the Peugeot 2008 and Fiat 500X. The boot holds 352 litres; good for the class, if not the best. The Stonic’s body is 51 percent high strength steel (the Hyundai Group has its own steel business) and the base model weighs a relatively fleet 1.069 kg, although the drag coefficient is an unremarkable 0.33. However, Kia sees the Stonic as more urban SUV than long-distance cruiser. That’s the reason for a driver’s hip point that’s a little lower than average among small crossovers, the Stonic set up for crisp, roll-limited handling that Kia describes as ‘solid’. Opting for a more dynamic set-up is part of a wider ambition to develop Kia as a sportier brand, as underlined by its development of the Stinger. Technology highlights will include heated front seats, automatic cruise control and keyless entry, alongside a raft of safety and assistance features. Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian recognition and forward collision alert appears, while things behind the car are monitored by a rear-cross traffic alert system. Blind spot detection, lane departure warning, high-beam assist and a driver attention alert will also be available. Inside, buyers can have extensive sections of the interior finished in metallic orange, bronze, grey or green. The emphasis on design is understandable, not only because Kia is developing a good reputation for styling, but also because its research indicates that design is highlighted by 43 percent of buyers as a reason to buy a B-segment SUV. Only 27 percent of buyers mention styling as a reason to purchase a conventional B-segment hatchback. All versions of the Stonic will come as standard with Kia’s 7-year/160,000 kilometer manufacturer warranty. +++

+++ RENAULT NISSAN is on track to dethrone Volkswagen and Toyota this year, says CEO Carlos Ghosn. With a boost from the Mitsubishi takeover, the alliance expects to finish 2017 with the largest global sales volume. Renault-Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn has boldly declared that the alliance is on track to become the largest global automaker by the end of the year. “We have been among the top3 carmakers since January in sales volume, and we expect to be in the top spot by midyear, although this was not our goal”, he said at a recent Renault shareholder meeting. The alliance has apparently received a significant boost from the Mitsubishi takeover. The trio delivered just 9.96 million vehicles last year, barely behind General Motors but a few hundred thousand units short of then-leader Volkswagen Group. A JATO analyst told the alliance is expected to maintain a stronger growth rate than current number2 Toyota and leader Volkswagen Group, but the company must close a significant gap of around 300,000 vehicles in the second half of the year. Renault-Nissan’s expected rise is said to be driven by its strong presence in the popular SUV segment. The trend is expected to continue, which could spell trouble for any automakers that have a higher mix of car models in their product portfolio. +++

+++ The Ford EcoSport was one of the early arrivals in the now-booming small SUV segment, and that may well be the reason it has struggled for relevance, according to the company’s local chief. Ford Australia president and CEO, Graeme Whickman, told that the booming small SUV segment is becoming even more important than it was in the past. “I think that’s quickly evolved, and so the question for us is: were we on the ground floor, or did we miss the elevator?” he posited. “And the question then is, how can we become a little bit more known, a little bit more relevant, because I think when people started switching to that segment, we weren’t the new kid on the block. We were one of the first there, with EcoSport. When we arrived I think the Opel Mokka was just launching at that time, we were in before the Mazda CX-3, Toyota definitely wasn’t there with the C-HR”,Whickman said. “So we were at the start of it, and I can remember, because it was when I first arrived into this country, in late 2013, and I don’t think people actually knew what the segment was, or what they were looking for, either. Suddenly you had Mazda coming along, and then Toyota, and I think it’s becoming more of the zeitgeist at the moment: people have more interest, their antennas are up, so that’s a challenge for us, but I think there’s an opportunity for us there”, he said, pointing to the fact the brand will be launching an updated version of the EcoSport later this year. +++

+++ TESLA could announce a Chinese factory this week. Tesla wants to establish a foothold in the world’s largest new car market. Tesla will announce plans to build a factory in China in the coming days, according to anonymous sources familiar with the deal. The California-based electric car maker has come to an agreement with the city of Shanghai. Tesla’s first car manufacturing facility outside of the United States will be located in the Lingang industrial park, which is south of the city center and strategically located next to one of the world’s biggest and busiest ports. It’s too early to tell which vehicles Tesla will build in China. Details are still being finalized, and company officials have opted not comment on the deal. Currently, Tesla’s Model X and Model S are exceptionally expensive in China because the government slaps a 25-percent tariff on all imported vehicles in order to prop up local manufacturers. Building cars locally will boost the brand’s sales by making both EVs (and the upcoming Model 3) more affordable, but the deal comes with strings attached. Notably, Tesla needs to set up a joint-venture with at least one local auto-maker before it can begin building cars in China. Which brand the company will pick is up in the air at this point. If the report is accurate and the deal goes through, we’ll learn more about Tesla’s next factory by the end of the week.

+++ UBER Technologies’ misfortunes may have created an opening for its underdog rival Lyft. In 2017, Uber has been plagued by an anti-immigration protest leading to a ‘delete uber’ campaign from consumers, reports of sexual harassment at the company levied by a former engineer, a lawsuit from Alphabet’s Google over self-driving car technology and a criminal investigation into Greyball, Uber’s software program that helped drivers evade government officials. During that time period, Lyft has been closing the gap with Uber in terms of app downloads. Now, with an investigation that called for a revamp of Uber’s culture and led to Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick stepping down shown to be harming Uber’s brand, the lead could narrow even more. Uber still has a lead over Lyft in terms of daily downloads in the U.S., according to app analytics firm App Annie, but Lyft has been closing the gap this year, with about a 70 percent difference between the 2 companies as of May. Lyft is concentrated in the U.S., so from January to May, 95 percent of its downloads on iOS and Google Play were in the U.S. In that same period, only 15 percent of Uber’s downloads were in the U.S. During January’s ‘delete uber’ protest, Lyft beat Uber in terms of downloads on iOS devices for the first time. Behind the download trends, American consumer favorability of Uber has hit a record low, according to Morning Consult Brand Intelligence, a brand survey firm. Using a national sample of close to 40,000 U.S. adults, the firm found that just 40 percent of the respondents had a favorable impression of Uber, the lowest that number has dropped since the survey began in 2016. Lyft is still the smaller player to Uber, with a valuation of 7.5 billion dollar compared with Uber’s 68 billion dollar. Lyft also has less of a footprint, with drivers in 350 U.S. cities, while Uber is in more than 70 countries and 460 cities. But Lyft has taken a route of partnering to expand its global footprint while also teaming up with auto manufacturers, including Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo, which is odds with Uber. The partnerships include a 25 million dollar investment from Jaguar Land Rover. “People are looking at Lyft with more favorable opinion”, said Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners. Meanwhile, Uber has been losing executives, including Kalanick, who is taking a leave of absence for an unspecified amount of time. Also, the company’s head of business, Emil Michael, stepped down. Uber fired Anthony Levandowski, former head of Uber’s self-driving car unit at the center of Alphabet’s lawsuit, in late May after the company said he had failed to cooperate with its investigation. Among these departures and earlier resignations, Uber is operating without a chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief marketing officer and head of engineering. Uber has divided up responsibilities for running the company among several of Kalanick’s direct reports. Amid Uber’s troubles, Lyft has largely stayed out of the spotlight, which Jeremy Robinson-Leon, principal at Group Gordon, a corporate and crisis PR firm, said may have helped its perception from consumers. “In some cases like this it’s better to simply let your competitor self-destruct”, Robinson-Leon said. But that self-destruction isn’t assured. While Uber has a wide breadth of issues, which he said may only be comparable to Chipotle Mexican Grill food borne illness scandal for their “unstoppable flow”, it could turn it around by taking “big corrective action”. He added however, that even though Uber said that it had chosen to adopt all the recommendations from the investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, including recommendations on addressing discrimination and harassment, it still has lingering issues that the report does not correct. Additionally, consumer sentiment does not always translate to corporate impact. Uber revealed some financial results through a leak, showing that its first-quarter revenue was 3.4 billion dollar, up 18 percent from the 4th-quarter and that it had pared its loss down to 708 million dollar, excluding employee stock compensation and other metrics. Though Rao sees this report as an “inflection point” for Uber, he feels that the company still has some to regain ground, as it has such a large world-wide footprint in terms of cities and drivers. The most important step, he said, is to find a chief operating officer to take control and implement the changes in the company’s culture. “They need to manage their next steps really well”, Rao said. “If there are any more incidents like this, that could prove to be fatal”. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN is looking to add some spice to its SUV line-up. The boss of Volkswagen, Herbert Diess, recently revealed that it wouldn’t be expanding its range of GTI performance models beyond its current stable of 3, which includes the Up GTI, Polo GTI and Golf GTI. “I think with the 3 we have now, we are set”, said Diess. “GTI for us is ‘the’ hot hatch: a sporty car, classless, with potential for everyday use and accessible for many. It should be this car: a hot hatch”. However, Diess didn’t rule out hot SUVs wearing a different designation besides GTI. “We have another sub-brand, R, which we are considering”, said Diess. Volkswagen has already toyed with the high-performance SUV concept. It launched the Tiguan 220 TSI earlier in 2017, equipping the 5-seater SUV with the same engine from the Golf GTI. If they opted to go down the path of a Tiguan R the most obvious choice would be to install the 310 hp turbo petrol engine found in the Golf R. Volkswagen’s sister brand Skoda is launching an RS version of its seven-seat Kodiaq SUV, which shares the same underpinnings as the upcoming Tiguan Allspace. Power for the Kodiaq RS is set to come from a twin-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel unit that produces 240 hp and 500 Nm. The Wolfsburg car maker is quickly growing its range of SUVs to meet demand worldwide with the introduction of the aforementioned Tiguan Allspace model set to launch in 2018 alongside a new full-size Touareg, along with a long-awaited representative in the baby SUV category; based on the T-Roc concept. Previously VW offered the Touareg R50, a performance version of the large SUV powered by a V10 twin-turbo diesel engine. Diess believes that SUVs are the brand’s biggest area for potential growth as the company becomes less European-centric and focuses on growing its worldwide SUV line-up. “It is well recognised that for a long time Volkswagen has been a little European-centric in its model mix. It’s one of the challenges it’s had, but that has been adjusted”, he said. “I think the positives we have is we have some strong pillar models and despite not having a city SUV, we’re continuing to evolve the business in a growth direction. So when that car comes it will be a significant plus”. The new SUVs will be built on the Volkswagen Group’s shared modular platforms which is used across multiple brands, including Audi which already offers several performance focused SUVs like the RS Q3, SQ7 and new SQ5 along with an earmarked new RS Q4 due on 2019. +++

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