+++ ASTON MARTIN introduced the Rapide E, its first production-bound electric car, at the 2019 Shanghai auto show. The company plans to release additional battery-powered models in the coming years, but it’s not giving up on the V12 engine. “It gets harder and harder to meet emissions, obviously, but I think we have the capability to keep V12 engines going within the business. We’ve just got to be very aware of the compliance and the emissions rules that will come out in the future”, affirmed Marek Reichman, Aston’s executive vice president and chief creative officer, in an interview. Aston Martin’s range of V12 engines includes the 5.2-liter, twin-turbocharged unit found in the DB11 and the 6.5-liter, naturally-aspirated engine that will power the upcoming Valkyrie. Reichman called the V12 “one of the hearts of who we are”. Keeping it alive will require keeping its emissions level below permissible levels, and that likely means going hybrid. In this regard, the Valkyrie points the way. Its V12 develops mighty 1,000 hp at 10,500 rpm on its own, and it works with a KERS-type hybrid system like the one found in Formula 1 cars. The car’s total output checks in at 1,160 hp and 900 Nm. The electric motor adds power and torque, but they also help offset the V12’s CO2 emissions. Reichman hinted particulate filters will help Aston Martin comply with looming emissions regulations, too. “It’s the science of burning fuel and extracting the particulates from the fuel that we’re not allowed to breathe in”, he explained. Ferrari and Lamborghini have both pledged to keep the V12 alive for as long as possible, though both concede they’ll need to insert it in a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain. BMW will keep its V12 (which powers the 7 Series) at least through 2023. Mercedes-AMG, on the other hand, is phasing out the V12 as it develops a powerful plug-in hybrid drivetrain to power its range-topping models. +++ 

+++ CITROEN has confirmed that it will unveil a new future-thinking concept car next month. Marking 100 years of the French firm’s existence, the as-yet-unnamed model will follow the Ami One, shown at last month’s Geneva motor show. While that previewed a low-cost, quadricycle-class city car, the new concept is expected to be full-sized. It will be unveiled in the coming weeks, just ahead of its public debut at an innovation event in Paris called VivaTech on 16 May. Few details have been released, but Citroën calls it a “100% electric and autonomous object featuring artificial intelligence”. It also claims the concept “symbolises ultra-comfort and offers a unique travelling experience on board”. Expect a more outlandish exterior look as a preview of the firm’s future too, with the promise of “exceptional styling’. Citroën also intends to use VivaTech to showcase PSA’s mobility brand, Free2Move, which explores transport solutions both inside and outside cities. The Ami One will also reappear as Citroën uses every opportunity it can to showcase a century of its innovation. +++

+++ FORD and Amazon have joined forces to create a universal cloud-based service for future connected and autonomous cars. The partnership between Ford and Amazon Web Services (AWS) will see the 2 companies work together to produce “innovative mobility services and differentiated customer experiences”. While details of specific applications related to the partnership are thin on the ground at present, such connected vehicles could talk to each other to warn or hazardous road conditions, similar to the system recently announced by Volvo. The deal will see Amazon Web Services run technology developed by Autonomic, a Ford-owned subsidiary that operates the world’s leading Transportation Mobility Cloud (TMC), which aims to connect “vehicles, mass transit, pedestrians, city infrastructure and service providers”. Ford has sunk millions of dollars into innovative modes of transport in the past, though some (such as the recently closed Chariot ride-hailing bus service) have proven less successful than others. Nonetheless, a collaboration of 2 of the world’s largest companies gives a strong indication that carmakers are focused on planning for future transport systems that go beyond traditional concepts of individual car ownership and driving; a trend evidenced by Volkswagen’s launch of the MOIA mobility brand in 2016. +++

+++ Ever heard of GENESIS ? If you haven’t already, you soon will. The luxury brand of Hyundai has dabbled in Europe with top-end Hyundais, but it’s set to launch a major assault on Europe to take on, deep breath, BMW, Audi and Mercedes. So how can Genesis get it right where others, most notably Infiniti (which announced it’s giving up on Europe just a few weeks ago), have failed miserably? My star of the 2019 New York Motor Show was the Genesis Mint concept. Its designer, former Bentley boy Sangyup Lee, told me he wanted to prove that luxury could come in the smallest of packages. And boy, was he right. I caught up with Genesis boss Manfred Fitzgerald in New York, where he revealed that his brand could arrive in Europe sooner than many think. I asked whether we’d see it next year. “You’re not too far off”, he replied. “It won’t take 3 years”. It won’t include dealers, either; Genesis will sell direct online and through luxurious ‘brand centres’. Fitzgerald’s brand is already making waves in the US, so why Europe? “To be a relevant global brand you have to go into the lion’s den, which means Europe”, he explained. We’ll see an all-new large saloon and SUV later this year, with another SUV shortly after and EVs coming, too. Then there’s the Mint concept. “It could be turned around in 3 to 4 years’ time”, said Fitzgerald. He promises Genesis will be “audacious, progressive and distinctly Korean” yet, crucially, it will understand European needs. “There are certain Korean attributes I want people to understand and experience: a sense of humility and harmony, bringing things into balance. If people can experience that at every corner, I think that will deliver an alternative to what we have today”, he added. With Fitzgerald and his global team, backed by Korean drive, desire and resources, I reckon Genesis will succeed where so many others have failed. +++ 

+++ Former Nissan Chairman Carlos GHOSN was set to walk out of a Japanese jail for a second time since his arrest last year on financial misconduct charges, after posting $4.5 million bail and agreeing to curbs on contacting his wife. A Tokyo court set a new condition for bail that Ghosn cannot meet or otherwise communicate with his wife Carole without prior permission, according to his defense lawyer. Carole was questioned following Ghosn’s re-arrest earlier this month on aggravated breach of trust charges. Prosecutors have appealed the bail decision, but if it is rejected, the once-feted executive will be free to leave the detention center where he has been in custody since April 4 to prepare for his criminal trial expected later this year. Along with restricted access to his wife, Ghosn’s movements and communications will be closely monitored and restricted to prevent his fleeing the country and tampering with evidence, the Tokyo District court said. Ghosn has been charged with enriching himself at a cost of $5 million to Nissan, temporarily transferring personal financial losses to his employer’s books and understating his salary during his time at the helm of Japan’s No. 2 automaker. He has denied all charges against him. The court said in a statement that it had approved a bail request from Ghosn’s defense team and set bail at 500 million yen ($4.5 million), roughly half his previous bail of 1 billion yen. Its decision marks the second time Ghosn has made bail and is the latest turn in a scandal which has rocked the global auto industry and exposed tensions in the automaking partnership between Nissan and Renault. He was initially released last month, but then re-arrested earlier this month on the new charges, returning to the Tokyo detention center where he had previously spent 108 days following his first arrest in November. Ghosn has said he is the victim of a boardroom coup, accusing former Nissan colleagues of “backstabbing”, describing them as selfish rivals bent on derailing a closer alliance between the Japanese automaker and Renault, its top shareholder. When he was last released, the former executive traded in his usual tailored suit and chauffeured sedan for a disguise of workman’s uniform, glasses and a mask to slip past reporters before being whisked away in a modest compact van. +++ 

+++ Volkswagen’s new GOLF is on track to go on sale in Europe starting at the end of February following delays caused by the hatchback’s advanced digital features including over the air software updates. The Golf “lies within the target corridor when it comes to eliminating bugs”, VW brand chief Jürgen Stackmann said on the sidelines of the auto show here last week. Stackmann said the launch of the Golf was scheduled for the 9th calendar week of next year, which begins on February 24. It will launch first in Germany, with other European markets following soon after. In part due to its new online functionality, the 8th generation Golf has been beset by software glitches. “We’ve never hid the fact that software, an area of extreme importance for products in the future, is a serious challenge for us”, Stackmann said. “We have our homework ahead of us, and the teams are under heavy pressure”. Pressed about the exact cause of the software glitches, Stackmann said a lot of the problems faced by engineers were because of the new Golf’s ability to update its software over the air. This also makes it potentially vulnerable to hackers. Previously the only way someone could gain access to key functions of a car was directly tapping into the controller network. “Due to their online connectivity there is a lot more software especially in the area of security, which is a real challenge since the car is no longer a closed ecosystem”, Stackmann said. Already now there are 10 times more lines of code in the latest Golf than in a smartphone, but it is not just the complexity in the vehicle that causes problems. “A customer might get angry if their smartphone doesn’t work, but you do a debug the next day. A car is different: if something goes wrong it can become critical, so the security requirements are far higher”, Stackmann said. Another complication is whether over the air software updates affect a vehicle’s homologation, Stackmann said. “You’re adding content to a vehicle afterwards, and this is an area where we are working together with the type approval agencies to define these processes. It is new for them as well”, he said. VW originally planned to debut the Golf at the Frankfurt auto show in September. Instead the automaker will focus in Frankfurt on the public premier of the Golf-sized ID.3, the first model of its new ID family of full-electric cars. Only 10,000 units of the new Golf VIII would be produced this year at VW’s home plant of Wolfsburg in Germany instead of the planned 80,000, an assertion Volkswagen confirmed. The Golf is Europe’s top-selling passenger vehicle. The car’s European sales fell 10 % to 415,782 last year. +++

+++ The new HYUNDAI Sonata wears a considerably more daring design than any of its predecessors. The South Korean company will continue to push the design envelope in the coming years, according to one of its top officials. “Stay tuned because this is only the beginning; the whole world will freak out over the next-generation Tucson”, said SangYup Lee, Hyundai’s global design director, in an interview. Lee stopped short of shedding insight into the direction his team is taking the Tucson in. Hyundai has previously indicated it wants to avoid the so-called Russian doll approach to styling, which leads to a line-up of cars that look exactly the same, so odds are the SUV won’t simply look like a taller variant of the Sonata. He’s not afraid of splitting opinion, however. “The personality, it doesn’t have to be loved by everybody. It has a personality, you like it, you hate it”, he said, referring to the grille of the Venue Hyundai introduced during the 2019 New York auto show. He will inject personality (which Hyundai’s previous models have often lacked) into upcoming designs. Hyundai hasn’t revealed when it will unveil the new Tucson. +++ 

+++ LOTUS will launch an all-new sports car in 2020, its first new model for 12 years. It will also be the firm’s first vehicle to feature an electrified powertrain ahead of the all-electric Type 130 hypercar, which was confirmed at the 2019 Shanghai Motor Show. Since the Evora was launched in 2008, Lotus’s model portfolio has been littered with special-edition versions of the Elise and Exige. The fresh sports car, which doesn’t have a name yet, will be based on an all-new platform rather than the firm’s trusted extruded-aluminium chassis. “We’re busy now investing in a pretty aggressive business plan that will deliver an all-new sports car next year”, Lotus boss Phil Popham told. “It’ll be shown towards the end of next year and go on sale some time after that. We are investing in new platforms as well. We’re all about producing cars for the driver”, he added. “Our first new car is an electric hypercar. Our next car is going to be an all-new sports car. Popham indicated that while the Type 130 may be revealed ahead of the sports car, it may not actually go on sale until after it. And he acknowledged that the sports car would have a combustion engine, although it will be electrified in some way. “All-electric cars are part of our future”, he said. “The next new car, which is coming quite quickly, won’t be all electric unlike the hypercar, which will. Beyond that, whatever cars we have will include BEV (pure-electric) derivatives. It’s not the only propulsion system we’re working on, but BEV will be part of it”. He also suggested that Lotus could switch engine suppliers; perhaps utilising other powerplants from within Geely’s rapidly expanding line-up of brands. But he insisted that chassis and platforms would still be bespoke, or at least have significant Lotus input during development to ensure their suitability. “Our engines at the moment come from Toyota”, Popham said, “but we will have access to powertrains that exist within the group today and powertrains under development. But we’re not restricted to that. We’re very free to collaborate with and source from other manufacturers. “What we won’t do, however, is just stick a badge on a group product. We can get access to platforms, engineering expertise and resource. But if we are to produce a car in a new segment, it’s got to be true to the DNA of Lotus. We’ve got to be involved right from the start of the engineering of any new platform”. The Type 130 nomenclature points to other models already sitting in the firm’s timeline because it leaves 4 ‘Types’ empty after the last Lotus to use the naming pattern, the ill-fated Type 125 Exos track day car. Lotus has long been linked to an SUV project and when asked if such a vehicle could feature in product plans, Popham refused to rule out the possibility. “I wouldn’t discount anything”, he said. “We’re a premium brand, not a volume brand, with premium products, premium price, and a premium offering. But as for the segments we can go into, I wouldn’t discount anything from sedans, GTs and crossovers to SUVs. The key is that you’ve got to be able to produce a car that’s true to the DNA, that is for drivers. That means different things in different segments, of course but nevertheless, it’s got to be a Lotus, it’s got to appeal and it’s got to make us money. If it can’t do those three things then we won’t go into the segment”. +++ 

+++ The next-generation MERCEDES-BENZ C-Class saloon has been caught on camera again, this time in the hands of Merc engineers putting the brand’s next BMW 3 Series rival through perfomance and handling assesments. While the brand has pushed hard into the SUV market in recent times with a glut of new models (the most recent the all-new GLB) the new C-Class will join a growing saloon presence in the Merc line-up when it arrives. In the past few months we’ve seen a new saloon version of the A-Class emerge, alongside an all-new CLA. The overall shape will be a fairly subtle design evolution from the current C-Class. The brand’s recent trend is towards cleaner overall shapes, so we can expect fewer character lines and creases across the car’s flanks. Both the window line and tailgate are set to take a similar form in order to maintain family ties with the outgoing model. A lower, more prominent grille will sit between headlights that are likely to move to full LED tech, and will take on a slimmer shape than those of the existing W205. Under the skin, the new C-Class is set to ride on an updated version of the current car’s Modular Rear-wheel drive Architecture (MRA) system. Despite the name, there will be four-wheel drive variants, which could see the next hot AMG model distribute its power to all four wheels. It’ll still be powered by a 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo engine, but the extra traction off the line should improve the 0-100 km/h time. Sitting below that model should be the AMG 53: an Audi S4 rival powered by a straight-6 petrol with 48-volt mild hybrid assistance. That’ll be one of several versions of the new C-Class with varying levels of electrical propulsion. Expect a mild hybrid set-up to assist some of the more modestly-powered 4 and 6-cylinder petrol and diesel units, and a plug-in option with a 50 kilometres battery-powered range. A fully-electric saloon won’t sit within the C-Class line-up, but as a standalone model in the EQ family of models. While the outside will stay largely similar to its predecessor, the cabin will be set for a complete redesign. The new look will be focused around a new infotainment system as, like the latest A-Class and GLE, the C-Class will feature the latest twin-screen MBUX infotainment setup. This will bring features like customisable digital dials, conversational voice controls through the ‘Hey Mercedes’ interface, and augmented navigation directions. The next-generation C-Class will have an early 2020 debut. Key to the changes is a reworked platform, new hybrid drivetrains, a revised chassis and a much more advanced 48V electric architecture. Insiders suggest it will offer new autonomous driving functions, including hands-off driving at speeds of up to 130 km/h. The new C-Class has also undergone extensive aerodynamic development. Officials suggest it has a Cd of just 0.25, representing best in class for aerodynamic efficiency. It will be close in size to its predecessor but adopt a slightly longer wheelbase. The model will get new aluminium structural elements to boost rigidity, though sources say it won’t be much lighter. +++ 

+++ PEUGEOT maker PSA Group reported a 1.1 % decline in first-quarter revenue, as a sales decline outside Europe and currency challenges outweighed pricing improvements. The French carmaker’s shares fell after it said revenue dropped to €17.98 billion euros in the January-March quarter from €18.2 billion a year earlier. PSA “remains fully focused” on its medium-term performance plan while pursuing the integration of the Opel-Vauxhall business acquired from General Motors in 2017, Chief Financial Officer Philippe de Rovira said. While the Opel deal has bolstered PSA’s European position, overseas sales have suffered from a sustained collapse at its Chinese joint ventures and have been compounded by the carmaker’s withdrawal from Iran last year. Revenue at the core automotive division fell 1.8 % to 14.16 billion euros, as vehicle sales by Opel to its former parent tailed off. Exchange-rate setbacks also weighed on revenue to overcome a 3.6 % boost from improved pricing and mix, which reflects a sales shift to plusher models. Those metrics, driven by PSA’s performance in Europe, bode well for its future earnings, some analysts said. “Investors might be willing to look through the weak headline figure, given how key mix is for profitability”, Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said. Global sales volumes fell 15.7 % to 886,400 vehicles in the quarter. Excluding Iran, deliveries fell 6.1 %, weighed down by a 30 % decline in Latin America. The company said it now expects the Latin American auto market to shrink 2 % in 2019. PSA saw the European market as being stable, while it saw China falling by 3 % and Russia growing 5 %. PSA plans to discontinue Opel’s Adam, Karl and Cascada models to help meet tightening carbon dioxide emissions regulations, added De Rovira. +++ 

+++ PORSCHE is understood to be developing 2-door coupé and cabrio versions of the Panamera designed to rival the BMW 8 Series and Aston Martin Vantage for a planned unveiling next year. The cars are designed to offer enhanced practicality and space over the 911 but still be considered as 2+2s rather than outright 4-seaters. Asked about the possibility of such cars, Porsche design boss Michael Mauer, who designed the original Panamera, said: “As a designer there are no limits to what I can conceive. I believe it is the design department’s role to sketch and consider every model it can for the future so that we are ready should anyone wish to pursue a project. But if you are asking me to confirm if such projects are on the way then you are going to be disappointed. It is not my role to consider such things”. The cars are already well advanced and speculate that they will sit on shortened versions of the Panamera’s MSB platform. There is also a suggestion the cars will not carry the Panamera name, to fit a sportier, less practical end of the market. But powertrain options are expected to be taken from the Panamera range and include a plug-in hybrid option, given the need to reduce overall fleet emissions and the fact that more than half of European Panamera buyers opt for that set-up at present. +++

+++ RENAULT SAMSUNG MOTORS boss Dominique Signora has promised continued investment as the Busan-based automaker serves as a key research and development center for its French parent. In a meeting with Busan Mayor Oh Keo-don, Signora asked for cooperation in resolving the labor dispute ongoing at the carmaker’s factory. The union and management must sign an agreement on wages soon so the carmaker can begin producing the SM3 and the XM3 for export to Europe, Signora said. Exports account for 65 % of production at the Busan plant, the automaker’s only factory. The local automaker has played an important role in the development of the D-segment passenger car models, such as the SM6 and the QM6. The Busan plant is a core asset for the automaker to remain competitive in the country, Signora said. The Busan mayor said the city will cooperate with Renault Samsung Motors to put an end to the labor dispute. The meeting between the 2 follows the automaker’s recent announcement that it will temporarily halt operations at the Busan plant from April 29 to May 3. The automaker’s union has gone on 58 strikes for a total of 234 hours since last October. The dispute has continued well past the March 8 deadline set for the conclusion of negotiations. The union has called for the company to follow the minimum wage law, claiming that the required rate is not being paid. It also demanded management improve working conditions, and has said that mismanagement led to difficulties and mass layoffs. The company argues that cost increases could harm its competitiveness. Workers also asked for the right to participate in the human resources decision-making process. Signora said that the automaker will not accept the union’s demand regarding personnel decisions. Management, which wants to maintain the automaker’s output level by securing deals for export to the parent company, will outsource manufacturing and relocate workers, if needed. Unionized workers have strongly opposed the idea. With the operating rate for the Busan factory 20 % below normal, Renault Samsung Motors has lost about 265.6 billion won ($234.2 million) as a result of the strikes, while 13.000 fewer vehicles have been produced. To assure customers concerned about the quality of vehicles made during the drawn-out dispute, Signora said during the meeting that the automaker is providing a 7-year or 140,000-kilometer warranty program for those who purchase the SM6 and QM6 models. +++

+++ TESLA boss Elon Musk has admitted that making money from selling electric cars is tough. But in the past few years Tesla has made millions by getting rival car firms to pay it for a surprisingly valuable commodity: nothing. In the US, several states require car firms to produce a certain number of zero-emission cars, or face fines. But firms can buy EV ‘credits’ from other car makers, and because Tesla only makes electric cars, it has a huge number of those credits. In one financial quarter last year it made more than $190 million (more than two-thirds of its profit in that quarter) selling such credits to rivals. Tesla has now found a way to turn nothing into profit with its European arm, through a new deal with the FCA Group, which owns Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jeep and Maserati. In this case, the ‘nothing’ FCA is paying “hundreds of millions” of euros to access is the 0 g/km of CO2 emitted by Tesla’s EVs. By 2021, the EU will require the average CO2 emissions of a manufacturer’s new car fleet to be 95 g/km or under (adjusted for each firm based on average fleet weight and some credits earned), down from the previous 130 g/km fleet-average target. The penalties for failing to hit those targets are fines of €95 per vehicle per g/km over the 95 g/km limit. FCA and Tesla have agreed to group their European fleets together in a ‘pool’, which the EU counts as a single entity when determining the average emissions of their new car fleet. FCA is in effect buying the right to use Tesla’s EVs to reduce its average CO2 emissions. According to industry analysts Jato Dynamics, FCA sold 961,000 units in the EU last year, with a fleet average of 125.3 g/km. Assuming no change in those figures, FCA’s 2021 target will be 89.8 g/km, meaning the firm faces a potential fine of more than € 3 billion. Tesla only sold 29,000 units in the EU last year, but because cars that emit under 50 g/km are rewarded with extra ‘super credits’, it’s enough to reduce the combined FCA/Tesla fleet average to 121.6 g/km. While their 2021 target would rise to 91.6 g/km (because of a higher average fleet weight), the potential penalty is reduced to €2.4 billion; a saving of € 600 million. Felipe Munoz, an automotive industry analyst at Jato, notes that a lot depends on how much FCA is paying Tesla, and he adds that the 2018 figures don’t account for “the big impact” the Model 3 is having on Tesla’s position in Europe. “As it sells more cars, it will have a bigger impact in any pool”, he says. By 2021 the Tesla deal is likely to save FCA even more money. FCA has also begun an electrification programme, with Jeep and Alfa Romeo plug-in hybrids and an electric Fiat 500 due next year. This deal will help to bridge the gap until those models are selling. Munoz notes that FCA isn’t the only one facing massive EU CO2 emissions fines, saying many “are not prepared” for the 2021 targets. Jato cites both the PSA and Volkswagen Groups as being particularly at risk of massive fines. Meanwhile, Toyota and Mazda have also agreed to pool their fleets, as have PSA’s brands. He adds: “By the time EVs become a real alternative to the internal combustion engine, it might be too late for the car makers, and many of them will have to look for solutions such as the FCA-Tesla pool”. Munoz does note that while the deal works for FCA now, “they are at the end feeding a competitor, making it stronger and more threatening”. +++ 

+++ VOLKSWAGEN will reveal a freshly re-engineered e-Up with additional electric range at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Sales and marketing boss Jurgen Stackmann explained the significance of the show for the Volkswagen brand, and in particular, the company’s electric ambitions. “Everything comes together, everything we have worked on for almost 3 years: new brand design, a very fresh approach to our style”. Volkswagen will introduce the production version of the Golf sized ID.3 at the Frankfurt show, while Stackmann also promised we’ll get to see a “hint” of the car to follow it: the finished version of the ID.Crozz cross-over. However, when asked about sub-C segment electric vehicles, the Volkswagen executive explained that the brand’s immediate plan is to bring the e-Up back into the fold. “The market below will be captured by a fabulous e-Up with an extended range that will be shown to you at Frankfurt as well”, said Stackmann. Volkswagen plans to produce a Polo sized electric supermini using the MEB platform, possibly priced from around €23,000, but battery costs mean it is unlikely to surface as a production model until 2023 at the earliest. As such the updated e-Up will have to occupy a sizable hole in Volkswagen’s electric line-up, so  a decent upgrade over the 160 kilometre range of the old e-Up could be on the cards. Rising costs and new emissions legislation could force VW into axing the regular Up and offer it as an electric vehicle only. A longer-range version of the e-Up supports this. The future of the Up has been hanging in the balance for some time, but at the Geneva Motor Show back in March Stackmann revealed that new regulations will make it impossible to justify a business case for a new, conventionally powered city car. “We are working to give a second life to the e-Up: it has big role to play in the 3 to 4 years”, Stackmann told. “In the long term the big question mark is if the legal system is pursuing and implementing the legal regulations they have just confirmed there is not a single business case for the cars the size of the Up; its just not possible”. The Up is built alongside its sister vehicles, the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, which will also get electric variants in the near future. But the project is said to have fallen short of VW’s own internal profit targets. Given the increased cost the project would pass on to SEAT and Skoda with VW’s withdrawal it’s unlikely that a successor to the Mii and Citigo will be developed, although that remains unconfirmed. Stackmann added: “The cars are too small to carry high technology and a normal combustion engine is just impossible to reach the required CO2 levels. So in theory you’d have to sell an electric car to compensate for the problem of a conventional Up where the margin is already thin. We are focusing on the e-Up going forwards”. However, the e-Up will not become part of VW’s new ID. range of electric vehicles, Stackman told. As the car is not able to switch to the new MEB platform it will sit as VW’s entry point to EV ownership. +++

+++ VOLVO ’s quarterly profit fell by 19.3 %, the company said, blaming pricing pressure and higher tariffs arising from the trade war between the United States and China. Volvo’s fortunes have been revived since it was bought by China’s Geely in 2010 but have come under renewed threat with the car sector facing one of its most challenging periods due to trade conflicts, hefty bills to develop electric and driverless cars, and an overall downturn in the industry. The company, which aims to produce premium cars to rival Mercedes-Benz and BMW, has rejigged its global production plans in an effort to blunt the impact of increased tariffs. Volvo, which last year iced plans for a listing due to the auto downturn and trade wars, said operating profit fell by 19.3 % to 2.92 billion Swedish crowns ($309.80 million) over the first 3 months of the year. Operating margin fell to 4.6 % from 6.4 % a year ago and Volvo repeated an earlier warning that it expected market conditions to put continued pressure on margins over the rest of the year. “Compared with last year, profitability was affected by higher tariffs and increased price pressure in many markets”, CEO Håkan Samuelsson said in a statement. Last month, Geely Auto, China’s highest profile car maker globally and the namesake brand of Volvo’s parent, forecast flat sales in 2019 due to uncertainty about demand in China, the world’s biggest auto market. +++

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