Newsflash V


+++ BMW has confirmed that it won’t replace the 3 SERIES GRAN TURISMO , with the decision part of a major cost-cutting efficiency drive. The high hatchback version of its best-selling executive car was launched in 2013, and sold alongside the saloon and Touring variants of the 3 Series. A revised version was launched in 2016. BMW launched a new 3 Series saloon earlier this year, with a Touring version to follow, but BMW chairman Harold Krüger confirmed that “there won’t be a successor” to the current 3 Series GT in a statement accompanying an interim financial report. Designed to combine the looks of the saloon with the practicality of the Touring, the GT was longer and wider than both those variants, with greater interior space. BMW’s ever-expanding range of SUVs, offering a similar mix of extra space and a higher-driving position, was likely a factor in the decision not to replace the model. The move was one of a number of cost-cutting measures being undertaken by BMW that Krüger listed as part of his statement. The firm is making the moves to save more than €12 billion in costs. Other cost-saving measures include reducing up to half of BMW’s current drivetrain variants by 2021, enabled by the firm’s shift to 2 new flexible platforms, reducing complexity in vehicles and shortening the development process for new vehicles by up to a third. +++

+++ AUDI is working on a RS Q3. Revisions over the standard car will include a more purposeful body kit, a revised chassis setup and a more powerful engine. When it reaches the market in 2020, it will sit at the top of the conventional Q3 range and be eventually joined by the RS Q3 Sportback coupe-SUV. Under the bonnet, the SUV is expected to use the same turbocharged 2.5-litre 5-cylinder petrol engine as the RS3, producing 400 hp and 480 Nm. Performance is likely to be fed to all 4 wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, allowing an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h. Chassis revisions on the RS model are expected to stretch to a set of optional adaptive dampers, an updated traction control system, fresh dynamic drive modes, oversized disc brakes front & rear and larger alloy wheels. Inside, the RS Q3 will feature a pair of heavily bolstered RS-branded bucket seats, a multifunction sports steering wheel, LED ambient lighting and a range of RS badging. Like the standard Q3, Audi’s latest 9.2-inch infotainment system and 10.25-inch digital gauge cluster will also feature, offering smartphone connectivity and support for Google Maps. I expect the new RS Q3 will make its debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. +++ 

+++ The all-new BMW M135i will be launched at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, with a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive, marking the death of its predecessor’s straight-6 powered, rear-wheel-driven formula. As such, the new M135i will compete directly with the Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes-AMG A 35. The new M135i’s turbocharged 2.0-litre engine will produce 306 hp and 450Nm, giving it a 34 hp and 50 Nm performance deficit in comparison to the outgoing M140i model. However, thanks to a fresh 8-speed automatic transmission and a new 4-wheeldrive system, BMW promises improved acceleration. Chassis upgrades over the standard 1 Series will include  a wider track, improved steering response, a more rigid body shell (with a ‘boomerang’ rear strut), a torque-vectoring limited-slip differential and a revised stability control system, all of which BMW claims will benefit body control and ride quality. Styling updates over the standard car include more aggressive front and rear bumpers, wider side skirts, flared wheel arches, larger M-Sport alloy wheels and a huge twin-exit exhaust system protruding from a deeper rear diffuser. +++

+++ BMW boss Harald Krüger said there are no plans for the automaker to take a stake in rival DAIMLER as the 2 companies continue talks on how to deepen cooperation in the area of autonomous vehicles. BMW and Daimler are cooperating in the area of mobility services, joint procurement of components and development of autonomous vehicle technologies. Upon being asked whether the multi-billion euros alliance between the 2 German automakers could include taking a small stake in Daimler, Krüger said: “I can rule that out”. +++

+++ FERRARI reported a 14 % rise in first-quarter core earnings, driven by strong sales of its entry-level Portofino model and increased shipments in all regions. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization came in at €311 million. Net income surged 22 % to €180 million. Revenue improved 13 % to €940 million. Shipments rose 23 % to 2,610 vehicles. Shipments rose in all regions, with China up 79 % to 328 vehicles. Part of the increase stemmed from accelerated deliveries to China ahead of new emissions regulations, Ferrari said. Ferrari stuck to its full-year financial targets. For 2019, the automaker expects adjusted profit to rise around 10 % to €1.2 or €1.25 billion. It expects sales to increase more than 3 % to top €3.5 billion. Last year’s business plan set a target for adjusted profit in excess of €1.3 billion in 2020, but CEO Louis Camilleri said earlier this year he was “very bullish” and might raise the target, betting on new models and special editions at premium prices to lure customers. Asked about a possible upgrade, Camilleri told analysts he preferred to wait for second quarter results due to uncertainties including currencies, tariff disputes and Brexit. “We feel pretty confident we’ll approach the high end of our guidance range”, Camilleri said. “But obviously, given the strength of this quarter, we feel pretty good about the year”. Current targets look “extremely conservative”, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note. Ferrari is starting to ship its first 488 Pista Spider models this quarter, while the new Ferrari Monza limited series will be shipped starting from the 4th quarter. “Ferrari’s first quarter results confirm it’s sailing far away from current auto industry trends”, IG Markets analyst Vincenzo Longo said. Ferrari is “reaffirming itself once again as luxury brand with a clear value added”. Ferrari will unveil its first industrialized hybrid car at the end of this month. “Hybridization is the most important challenge Ferrari will have to face in the next period, a crossroads that could also include some risks”, Longo said. Camilleri, who took over last year from late boss Sergio Marchionne, said China was one of Ferrari’s great opportunities, though it would require some time. “I think with the advent of our hybrid models and of the Purosangue SUV, we will clearly be in a better position to exploit the opportunities that there are in China”, he said. +++ 

+++ Tesla, Lexus and Mitsubishi were among sales winners in GERMANY last month in an overall market down 1.1 %. Registrations were 310,715 for the month. Helped by its hot-selling new Model 3, Tesla sales leapt 443 % to 575 units. Other monthly winners were Lexus (up 52 %); Mitsubishi (up 38 %); Fiat (up 26 %) and Smart (up 25 %). It was also a good month for Volvo, whose registrations rose 21 %; Land Rover, which gained 18 %; BMW, which saw sales increase 17 % and Citroen, whose volume jumped 16 %. Among the monthly losers, Honda fell 29 %, while Mini was down 14 % and Audi 13 %. Registrations at market leader Volkswagen brand declined by 11 %, while sibling brands Seat and Skoda dropped 9 % and 1.3 % respectively. Opel’s sales fell 5.2 % and Ford was down 0.9 %. Among Asian brands, Kia fell 12 %, while Nissan was down 10 % and Toyota 0.2 %. Sales of diesel cars declined by 0.9 %, giving the powertrain a 33.5 % market share. Gasoline car sales dropped by 5.1 % for a 59.1 % share. Registrations of full-electric cars grew 50 % for a 1.5 % share. Hybrid sales rose 55 % for a 5.4 % share. Plug-in-hybrid registrations rose 14 % for a 1 % share. Sales to business fleets fell 1.3 % for a 61.3 % market share, while sales to private customers fell 0.6 % for a 38.6 % share. Through April, German sales were down 0.2 % to 1.19 million. +++ 

+++ HONDA forecasts a 6 % increase in operating profit for the current fiscal year due to cost reduction efforts and a restructuring of its production network in Europe. The automaker signaled that it was looking to reduce global production costs by 10 % by 2025 and scale back the number of model variations, underscoring the cost pressures facing traditional automakers as they compete against tech companies and ride-sharing. In February, Honda said it planned to shutter assembly plants in England and Turkey by 2021. Honda expects profit to rise to 770 billion yen ($7 billion) in the year to March 2020. Operating profit was 726 billion yen in the year ended March, versus an average estimate of 803 billion yen. Honda’s profit forecast is based on the assumption that the yen will trade around 110 to the U.S. dollar in the current financial year, compared with 111 yen in the year just ended. A stronger currency can dent profits repatriated from overseas. Honda will slash the number of model variations available in North America and other regions and overhaul its production base in a new push to improve efficiency as growing investments in next-generation technologies pressures the company’s bottom line. Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo said the company will also introduce a new vehicle platform next year and introduce its 2-motor hybrid system across the entire vehicle lineup. Honda will cut the number of model variations offered on global nameplates such as the Civic, the Accord, the Fit / Jazz and CR-V, to one-third their current number by 2025, Hachigo said. Regional nameplates will also be consolidated to streamline product development and production. Honda does not intend to reduce the number of nameplates, just the number of trim options, he said. Hachigo cited variations in control panel layouts and color combinations as one target. As part of the move, Honda will also simplify model allocation at assembly plants, including those in North America, Hachigo said, without giving specifics. But he said doing so will help Honda achieve 100 % capacity utilization worldwide by 2020, up from 90 % currently. “For our business in North America, while keeping pace with sales expansion, we enhanced our model lineup and established a flexible production system where our plants sometimes produce various models in duplication to accommodate changes in market demand”, Hachigo said. “However, as a result of the pursuit of high flexibility, an increase in the investment amount and a decline in production efficiency started to become an issue”, he said. Honda will also introduce a new vehicle architecture that will underpin vehicles globally. Dubbed the Honda Architecture, it will debut in a global model that Honda will launch next year. Hachigo did not offer details but said the goal is to commonize about 70 % of the components that are not seen by customers, such as the engine bay, passenger cabin and rear storage. The outer shell of vehicles on the new architecture will be differentiated. Honda also aims to reallocate development resources to churn out vehicles with next-generation technologies. By 2025, Honda wants to cut the number of man-hours devoted to development of mass-production vehicles by 30 % and repurpose that work for R&D. “In this way, we can continue creating new technologies”, Hachigo said. He also outlined plans to step up the company’s roll out of electrified vehicles. The Japanese carmaker wants to electrify two-thirds of its global lineup by 2030. And it wants to achieve 100 % electrification across its offerings in Europe by 2025. To get there, Hachigo said Honda will deploy its 2-motor i-MMD, or Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive, hybrid system across the entire lineup of Honda vehicles. The company has also developed a new, more compact i-MMD system for small vehicles. It will first appear in the redesigned Fit / Jazz that will be shown at this fall’s Tokyo Motor Show. By 2022, Honda wants to reduce the cost of the i-MMD system by 25 % compared to 2018 levels. The goal is to eventually achieve cost and profit parity with gasoline engines. +++

+++ Volkswagen has opened registrations for its ID.3 electric hatchback in Europe ahead of deliveries starting in mid-2020, and has said the entry-level version will cost less than €30,000 in Germany. The first production car to launch using the Volkswagen Group’s new MEB electric architecture, the Golf-sized ID.3 will initially arrive in a special First edition. Limited to 30,000 units. The ID 3 will be officially launched at this year’s Frankfurt motor show. Volkswagen has also confirmed the name of its first ID machine, which had the internal codename Neo during development. Volkswagen says the ID.3 title is because 3 is the firm’s internal nomenclature for the compact C-segment, and because the new model represents the third major chapter in its history, after the Beetle and Golf. The title also “signals the potential for expansion” into bigger and smaller models in the future. Volkswagen sales boss Jürgen Stackmann said that the start of ID pre-booking ushered in “the third major chapter of strategic importance in the history of our brand, following the Beetle and the Golf”. He added: “With the ID.3, we are making the electric car fit for mass mobility”. Stackmann said that the ID.3 represented a “major milestone” for Volkswagen, adding: “The world is currently in a process of transformation. Volkswagen is not only part of, but is also shaping, this transformation. We are pursuing a focused powertrain strategy. Volkswagen has opted consistently for the battery-electric drive system. This is currently the most efficient technology for reducing CO2 emissions and meeting the ambitious CO2 reduction targets. E-mobility will become our lead technology”. The ID range is understood to be planned to run from one to 10, with the numbers replacing the titles given to previously seen concepts: the ID Crozz SUV, Vizzion saloon, Buzz MPV and Roomzz luxury SUV. has also revealed the firm is working on an entry-level ‘people’s car’. The ID.3 will come with built-in fast-charging technology, allowing for a maximum speed of 100-125 kW DC charging. The firm says a 30-minute charge at 100 kW should provide 250 kilometres of range. Customers who pre-book an ID 3 will be able to order their cars after it is launched at this year’s Frankfurt motor show in September. Those orders will become binding in April 2020, with customers able to cancel and obtain a full refund until then. The First edition will be offered in a choice of 4 colours and 3 versions, all featuring large wheel rims. There will also be 3 trim levels: First, First Plus and First Max. The ID.3 is 4100 mm long, 1800 mm wide and 1530 mm high, making it 155 mm shorter, 9 mm wider and 77 mm higher than the Golf, although the electric powertrain means that it is set to offer substantially more interior space. Stackmann added: “From the outside, the ID.3 will be about as large as a Golf. In the interior, it will be as spacious as a medium-sized car like the Passat”. ID.3 production run will start at Volkswagen’s Zwickau factory near the end of this year. The firm is aiming to deliver more than 100,000 examples in 2020, with 110,000 on average per year afterwards. That is part of VW’s goal to sell more than 10 million electric vehicles in the next 10 years. +++ 

+++ The next generation Honda JAZZ will feature a hybrid powertrain, borrowing technology from the CR-V hybrid. Honda’s i-MMD hybrid system will be used in the new Jazz, albeit with a far smaller combustion engine than the CR-V, with capacity likely being capped at 1,500 cc. It’ll be mated to a CVT which houses an integrated electric motor, with power being fed to the front wheels only. Honda recently confirmed its plans to electrify its entire range by 2025, which will be spearheaded by the all-new, all-electric Honda e. Once the Jazz and the Honda e have reached production, the Japanese firm will expand the application of its i-MMD hybrid system to smaller segment cars. The new Jazz will share its underpinnings with the recently-refreshed HR-V and, like the current model, the only conventional engines offered will be small, efficient petrol units. Likely contenders include the 129 hp 1.0-litre turbo 3-cylinder from the Civic or the 130 hp 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated 4-cylinder from the HR-V. Like the current model, buyers should also be given the choice of either a manual or automatic gearbox. The Jazz’s interior will likely be a melting pot of switchgear and technology borrowed from elsewhere in Honda’s line-up, using the same seven-inch infotainment system as the Civic. Honda has seen great success with the CR-V Hybrid, which accounts for 60 % of the model’s sales. Following the launch of the hybrid Jazz in 2020, the next electrified model will be the Civic in 2021. +++ 

+++ Christian Meunier brings to JEEP vast global experience that he picked up from Ford, Land Rover, Nissan and Infiniti at a time when the SUV brand is expanding its footprint overseas. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles named Meunier, 51, as global head of Jeep. He had been chairman and global president of Infiniti since January. Mike Manley had been in charge of Jeep before replacing the late Sergio Marchionne as FCA’s CEO in July. Jeep is a titan in the U.S., but there’s plenty of room for growth in other markets. The brand’s lineup is expanding with the Gladiator pickup that’s in the early stages of its rollout, and it soon will be joined by the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer and another 3-row Jeep. Jeep also is getting ready to bring an electrified Wrangler to market. A 3-week layoff at FCA’s Toledo North Assembly Plant in Ohio is planned to prepare for the Wrangler plug-in hybrid launch in early 2020. Wes Lutz, who owns Extreme Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Jackson, Michigan, said Meunier’s global view could prove valuable. Several U.S. Jeep dealers said they did not know Meunier. “It’s an interesting choice, but it’s somebody who is aware of the entire world market”, Lutz said. “Chrysler has got the Jeep brand in the U.S. down pretty well. It’s well executed here. I think that the international experience is going to bode well for that position. As a corporation, we need to get that brand viable and selling well all over the world”. David Kelleher, who owns David Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, also said he believes Meunier’s broad perspective will be useful. “A man like that understands the nuances of each market, what the market will accept and what it will not”, Kelleher said. “I think we’ve seen here that certain cars just cannot influence the marketplace. It’s important to understand. “But Jeep models can be acceptable abroad, they just have to be the correct models with the correct expectations. Sounds like Christian’s experience puts FCA in a better position to understand that”. Meunier’s global roles have included division vice president of Infiniti global sales, marketing and operations; senior vice president of sales, marketing and operations for Nissan North America; chairman of Nissan Canada; and president of Nissan’s operations in Canada and Brazil. The Frenchman also has held sales and marketing positions at Ford, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz in Europe and the U.S. Lutz said he has faith in the hire because Manley is a good judge of character. “I like what Mike has done so far. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We can’t fumble the ball with Jeep”, Lutz said. “Jeep has got to be one of the most recognized brands on the planet. You’ve got to take care of it. I’m pretty excited that we’re moving forward with an expanded product line for Jeep. “That’s going to be a good move for Fiat Chrysler”. +++

+++ The balance of power in Europe’s ‘proper’ off-roader market is undergoing a seismic shift, with Jeep models outselling LAND ROVER for the first time last year. Traditionally Land Rover has ruled the roost in Europe while Jeep dominates in the US, but the 2018 figures are brutal for Land Rover. Last year it shifted just over 150,000 units across Europe after sales dipped 10 %, while Jeep demand shot up 56 % to leapfrog Land Rover with sales of 166,500. Until now Jeep has remained a marginal brand in Europe while its centre of gravity was fixed in the US, but that changed when Fiat took over parent company Chrysler in 2011. The newly created Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) designed models such as the Renegade specifically for Europe and shifted some manufacturing to an underused Fiat factory in Italy. European sales leapt. But any comparisons with Land Rover need to be qualified with a look at the British car maker’s positioning relative to Jeep. They both lean heavily on off-road heritage (the ‘currency of capability’ as Jeep calls it) but really they’re no longer competitors. Land Rover’s average price is more than double that of Jeep. Jeep’s success is largely down to the Renegade and the new Compass. Fewer than 20,000 of Jeep’s sales were taken by the big Grand Cherokee, the Wrangler and the barely registering Cherokee. Land Rover may have problems, but it sold 25,097 Range Rover Sports alone in Europe and slightly more of the almost-as-expensive Velar. Jeep is highly dependent on Italy, just as Land Rover is highly dependent on UK sales. Half of all European Jeeps were sold in Italy last year, while the UK took half of all Land Rover’s European sales. Jeep might lose out to Land Rover this year after the launch of the new Range Rover Evoque, traditionally the brand’s biggest seller. “The sustainability of Jeep’s growth depends on how fast the company brings more models”, said Felipe Munoz, global analyst for JATO. “The Compass will not be able to drive the growth by itself”. Jeep is planning big growth in areas where Land Rover plays, however. The new Wrangler has beaten the new Defender to market, and a long-promised large 7-seater Jeep arrives next year. Last year Jeep also announced a smaller ‘low’ 7-seater targeting the Discovery Sport. Electrification is a key area, too, with both brands working to comply with tough new CO2 targets. The go-anywhere brand identification starts to fall apart when you’re tied to a plug, however. Even so, Jeep is promising 4 pure EVs by 2022, but not for Europe. Both brands are pushing plug-in hybrids, with Jeep promising 8 for Europe by 2022, starting with the Renegade and Compass next year, while Land Rover is extending its PHEV reach to include the Evoque next year. The 2 famous off-road brands might have diverged in recent years, but electrification and the slow death of diesel have created challenges far tougher than those presented by the great outdoors. +++ 

+++ POLESTAR has confirmed it has established a new research and development centre in Coventry, West Midlands. The new facility, located in Ansty near to Geely’s design studio and LEVC’s headquarters, will allow the Volvo-linked performance brand to “increase its own R&D capabilities and further strengthens the brand’s ability to engineer its future electric performance vehicles”. Polestar says Coventry appeals as “one of the world’s most prominent automotive engineering environments”. Though there is far less large-scale car manufacturing around the city today than there was during the 20th century, Jaguar Land Rover’s global HQ is still located there and a number of automotive engineering and technology firms are well established. Polestar’s facility will initially employ around 60 engineers to support the development of the next generation of the brand’s all-electric models, beyond the already confirmed Polestar 3. That team will expand throughout 2019, supplementing an existing R&D team that’s based in Sweden. Hans Pehrson, Research and Development boss, says “Polestar’s role as a technology spearhead requires new and developing skills in low-volume, light-weight, multi-material performance car engineering, and the new UK operation will allow us to take the next steps towards our future cars”. +++ 

+++ SKODA ’s forthcoming range of electric vehicles will retain a front grille but be distinguished from internal combustion-engined models by a bold, full-width lighting strip, according to company boss Bernhard Maier. The design was previewed by the Vision iV crossover shown at the Geneva motor show in March and will be retained for the production version due next year. That car will be Skoda’s first model built on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric platform. Maier said the production design will feature a single LED light strip that links the headlights and splits the grille into upper and lower sections. “This is the new expressive crystalline design language”, said Maier. “Glass working has been a Czech specialism for centuries, so this is something that is authentic”. The lighting strip will be made of Plexiglass to save weight. Another changed styling feature of the Vision iV production car will be the adoption of a conventional grille. The concept featured a ‘phantom’ grille but, despite no longer being needed for engine cooling, the slatted grille will remain, with Maier citing feedback from customers who said they liked the design. The production Vision iV will also be sold with a choice of 3 battery packs and 2 motor configurations. This is in line with other VW Group electric cars being built on MEB, such as the forthcoming Volkswagen ID.3. Battery packs of 49, 60 and 82 kWh will be introduced over the vehicle’s life, with the biggest battery offering a 480 kilometre WLTP range. The model will launch with the 49 kWh battery and one other, but which has yet to be decided. As standard, the Vision iV will be rear-wheel drive with a single motor, but higher-spec models will be offered with a front-mounted motor providing all-wheel drive. Maier says the 2-motor version is “more agile” than the single-motor model. To keep costs down, the Vision iV won’t feature a reduction gearbox, which could increase top speed. “That’s why we limit it to 180 km/h. Not having a separate gearbox will be very good for the vehicle cost”, said Maier. Skoda will use the ‘iV’ monniker for all its (semi)electric vehicles in the future, including plug-in hybrid versions of the Superb, Kodiaq and Karoq. +++

+++ This week, it emerged that TESLA is seeking fresh funding as it tries to maintain momentum, having posted a loss during the first quarter of 2019 of $702 million and seen a reduction in car deliveries of almost a third compared with the final 3 months of 2018. For all the Model 3’s brilliance, Tesla remains a brand with amazing promise, instead of one that is truly delivering upon it. Nor is the company’s battle going to get any easier over the next 18 months, as the likes of the VW Group and Mercedes launch their own EV sub-brands, based on bespoke platforms and made in plants blessed with billions of euros of investment. Tesla boss Elon Musk has said that he welcomes new arrivals onto the EV scene, but he may be less conciliatory when they’re eating into his sales potential or installing their own charging networks on sites where he’d like to place Superchargers. Tesla has to try to cement its place as the electric car manufacturer, in the same way that Apple made people want ‘the iPhone’ for many years, even after countless rivals had brought out shiny black bricks of their own. Somehow, anyhow, Musk and his team need to ensure that even when Audi, Mercedes and BMW have harnessed their manufacturing nous and buying power to really start making electric vehicles in proper numbers, Teslas don’t become ‘just another EV’. And that could be their biggest challenge yet. +++

+++ In the UNITED KINGDOM , new-car registrations fell 4.1 % to 161,064 in April, dragged down by weak demand from consumers worried about the future of diesel vehicles and the consequences of Brexit. Sales to private motorists fell by 10 %, while fleet sales rose 2.9 %. Sales of diesel vehicles fell 9.4 %, giving the powertrain a 28.9 % market share, while gasoline was down 3 % to a 64.7 % share. Alternative-fueled vehicles, such as electrified vehicles, increased 13 % for a 6.4 % market share. However, plug-in hybrid sales were down 34 %, which demonstrated the consequences of removing purchase incentives for the technology before the market is ready. Top-selling brands had a mixed month. Sales at market leader Ford fell 10 %, while No.2-ranked Volkswagen gained 3.7 %. No.3 Audi saw volume drop 5.1 % ahead of rival Mercedes-Benz at No.4, whose sales dropped 0.9 %. BMW rounded out the top5 sellers with sales up 20 %. Among other brands, sales at Renault plunged 27 %, Nissan fell 15 %, Fiat was down 13 % and Vauxhall’s volume dropped 5.1 %. Land Rover and Jaguar had a good month with sales gains of 13 % and 8 % respectively. Through April, UK sales were down 2.7 % to 886,400. The Ford Fiesta remained the top-selling car in the UK in April, followed by the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai and Mercedes A-Class. +++ 

+++ VOLKSWAGEN is set to unveil the concept version of its entry-level electric ID “people’s car” at this year’s Frankfurt motor show. The firm will use the event to showcase the production version of the ID.3, its first bespoke electric car on its new MEB architecture. But the firm will also showcase a new ID concept there. Volkswagen confirmed the nomenclature for its ID range at the pre-booking launch of the ID.3, with sales boss Jurgen Stackmann noting that calling the first Golf-sized model the “3” allowed for the range to be expanded with both smaller and larger models. Speaking about the prospect of entry-level ID models, Stackmann said: “The commitment is that we start in the compact class, and the cars coming next are compact class cars. Frankfurt will be the reveal of the ID.3, and an idea of what’s coming next; and that’s clearly compact, because that’s what Volkswagen does”. With the Golf-sized model taking the ID.3 tag, the Polo-sized entry level car will be called the ID.1, leaving room for an ID.2 compact crossover. Stackmann noted that the larger ID models, based on the already seen Crozz, Buzz, Vizzion and Roomzz concepts, would be the next cars to reach production, but emphasised the firm’s commitment to making genuinely affordable electric cars. “In the long term we clearly need to scale down and be more aggressive on prices”, said Stackmann. “That will be a scale of industrialisation, and it will take some time until we bring it into classes”. +++

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