+++ CITROEN boss Linda Jackson is set to be replaced by a former Nissan and Mitsubishi executive in a shakeup of the French brand’s leadership. Jackson, the first English woman and third woman in history to run a major car maker, will be moved to another role within the PSA Group. What this will be is yet to be disclosed, however. Jackson’s replacement is said to be Vincent Cobee, a French national who held previous roles at Nissan and was Mitsubishi’s head of production until April, when a management reshuffle at the Renault -Nissan – Mitsubishi alliance took place in the wake of former CEO Carlos Ghosn’s arrest. It is said that Cobee’s main responsibility will be improving Citroen’s sales outside of its home market. The brand’s European market share was at 4.5 % when Jackson took the helm in 2014, and has hovered around the same point since then. Cobee has previously worked at Nissan, where he was in charge of global business for Datsun, Nissan’s rebooted emerging market brand. He will be tasked with improving Citroen’s sales outside of France, PSA sources said. +++ 

+++ There was a sad and unnecessary tone of  “I told you so” within some areas of the automotive industry when news broke that DYSON had pulled the plug on its plans for an electric car. It’s hugely sad for those involved, but it does reveal, yet again, how hard it is to make the car business work. I remember former General Motors boss Dan Akerson talking about a rumoured Apple car back in 2015 and saying: “They’d better think carefully if they want to get into the hard-core manufacturing. We take steel, raw steel, and turn it into a car. They have no idea what they’re getting into if they get into that”. A bit blunt, but clearly (as the demise of some big names over the years has proven) running a car business is tough. And starting one from scratch? Even tougher. My hope is that the Dyson news doesn’t put off entrepreneurs and companies from entering the car market, especially in this new era of autonomous, connected, electrified and shared vehicles. Thankfully, we’re not short of new brands promising great things. We’ll see Lynk & Co (with the backing of Volvo and Geely) in the next couple of years, while Pininfarina is taking on the supercar elite under the wing of the giant Mahindra group. Rivian has support from Ford and Amazon, while Byton has significant Chinese backing. Going it alone is not the best option. Unless you’re Tesla. This week’s news about Dyson also highlights the incredible job Tesla has done over its relatively short lifetime with little involvement from (but a lot of watching by) established automotive players. Sure, there are plenty of people who question the firm’s sustainability and whether it will ever make money; Bob Lutz, another former GM boss, said only a year ago that Tesla was “heading to the graveyard”. But the firm is still here, making award-winning cars and shaking up the market like nothing else. Let it be an inspiration to more start-ups. +++ 

+++ South Korea’s LG Chem, one of the leading battery makers, expects global sales of ELECTRIC VEHICLES to grow more than 5-fold from 2018 levels to account for about 15 % of global vehicle sales in 2024. LG Chem, which counts General Motors and Volkswagen among its customers, also forecast battery costs, which account for about one third of EV prices and serve as one of the biggest hurdles for the wider adoption of EVs, would fall to $100 per kilowatt hour in 2025 on average from $200 in 2015. Speaking at a conference in Seoul, LG Chem’s battery chief Kim Jong-hyun said tighter regulations in Europe and China, especially from next year, and the rise of autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing services would serve as “catalysts for the explosive growth” of EVs. He also expected automakers to roll out more affordable electric car models, fueling growth of the market which has so far been driven by government subsidies. He said LG Chem expected sales of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles would grow from 2.4 million last year to 13.2 million in 2024, which would account for 15 % of total vehicle sales that year. Last year, 2.4 million electric vehicles were sold, according to LG Chem. That represented less than 3 % of total global vehicle sales. +++ 

+++ After a month on the picket line, GENERAL MOTORS and the workers unions have reached a tentative agreement to end a crippling strike which has reportedly cost the automaker over €1.8 billion. However, the strike won’t come to an immediate end as there is a final agreement. Little is known about the proposed agreement, but the union claims to have “achieved major wins for its members”. It now has to be approved by the national council and then voted on by union members. A decision on whether or not to continue to strike will be made tomorrow and it’s possible the strike could continue until the proposed agreement is approved by union members. However, that seems unlikely as the union is recommending to accept the proposed agreement. +++ 

+++ HONDA will present the next generation Jazz at the Tokyo auto show later this month. The 4th generation drops the angular look of the current model for rounder lines and a more traditional shape. Spy images had already revealed a stubby nose and more vertical rear hatch in place of the sloping lines in the outgoing model. Honda said the new Jazz would be offered in Europe only with a hybrid powertrain. The automaker promises “strong and effortless driving performance and impressive fuel economy”. Honda said earlier this year that it plans to electrify 100 % of its auto sales in Europe by 2025. When the redesigned Jazz is presented in Tokyo on Oct. 23, the automaker will also release an updated version of its “Electric Vision” plan for Europe at an event in Amsterdam, the company said. +++ 

+++ KIA will make significant changes to its large car line-up, with the Optima due to be axed imminently. The Stinger will also soon be reduced to one engine as part of model year updates. Although the Optima, which has been available only in Sportswagon form for some time, is still live on the firm’s configurator, a spokesperson told that it would be winding down sales of the car and relying on existing dealer stock to fulfil any further orders. The next-generation Optima, due to be unveiled next year, won’t be coming to Europe. Kia cites the investment required to ensure engines meet strict European emissions standards as not justifiable for a car that achieves such small sales numbers. Kia registered just over 14,000 Optimas across Europe in 2018, less than 10 % of the number of Passats that Volkswagen shifted that year. Changes are afoot for the Stinger range, too. Kia has confirmed that plans to reduce it down to 1 engine will be brought in for 2020 model year revisions, due to be announced in the coming weeks. The turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol and diesel variants will be dropped, with only the flagship turbocharged 3.3-litre V6 of the GT S remaining. It’s reported that executives have been disappointed by the Stinger’s sales impact globally since it was introduced last year. Just 3.820 examples of the D-segment 5-door liftback were registered across Europe in 2018. A number of mainstream car makers have been rethinking their D-segment saloon, estate and MPV line-ups as SUVs increasingly poach sales from those bodystyles. Ford, for example, is believed to be replacing the Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy with a single crossover-style estate model in the coming years. Ford is currently selling less than half the number of Mondeos it sold in 2009 and barely a fifth of the number it sold in 2002. +++ 

+++ MERCEDES-AMG will send a clear message that it is adapting to modern demands with the upcoming third-generation C 63 by forgoing its long-standing V8 power in favour of an advanced 4-cylinder hybrid drivetrain that develops more than 500 hp. The new C 63 will be the first in a number of new AMG models earmarked to receive an electrified version of Mercedes’ new turbocharged 2.0-litre M139 engine when it goes on sale in early 2022. The 4-wheeldrive rival to the Audi RS4 and BMW M3 is already undergoing intensive development at AMG’s Affalterbach engineering headquarters. The potent 4-cylinder engine kicks out a maximum of 421 hp and 500 Nm in non-electrified form in the new A 45 and its related siblings. The unit has already been engineered for longitudinal mounting as well as mild-hybrid electric boosting. It’s destined to be used in not only the next C 63 but also, in a less heavily tuned form, in a follow-up to today’s turbocharged 3.0-litre V6-powered C 43. The new C 63 will be offered in saloon, coupé and convertible bodystyles, with the next C 43 likely to be sold in those 3 guises as well as an estate version. Other AMG models set to run the new electrified driveline include successor models to today’s GLC 43 and GLC 63 SUVs, the GLC 43 Coupé and the GLC 63 Coupé. The M139 engine will adopt a 48 Volt integrated starter motor similar to that already used by the turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line 6-cylinder M256 unit, which powers the CLS 53 4Matic+ and other recent new AMG models. In the CLS 53 4Matic+, the gearbox-mounted starter motor provides an additional 23 hp and 270 Nm of electric boosting. In the next C 63, however, it is set to be tuned to provide significantly more power in combination with a similar torque loading. The new EQ Boost hybrid drivetrain is also planned to run in combination with Mercedes’ 9-speed torque-converter MCT Speedshift gearbox. Nothing is official at this early stage, but Affalterbach insiders with knowledge of AMG’s new model plans suggest the new 4-cylinder hybrid drivetrain will match the existing second-generation C63 4Matic’s V8 engine in outright power at a maximum 510 hp. This is despite a 50% reduction in swept capacity and cylinder count. With the benefit of electric boosting, it has also been conceived to deliver up to 750 Nm of torque; a 50 Nm increase on today’s C 63 S 4Matic. Details remain scarce, although the new driveline is thought to adopt a lithium ion battery of higher capacity than the 0.9 kWh unit used by the CLS 53 4Matic+. It is also expected to use a more advanced energy recuperation system that harvests kinetic energy at each wheel. One of the most significant advantages in the adoption of the new electrified driveline is a reduction in weight over the front axle of the new C 63 4Matic. At 160.5 kg, the M139 4-cylinder unit weighs 48,5 kg less than the M177 V8 engine used by today’s C 63 4Matic. Even with the addition of the hybrid architecture, including a disc-shaped electric motor and power electronics, the overall weight of the new powerplant is claimed to undercut that of today’s unit. Additionally, the new powerplant’s weight is concentrated lower, which aids efforts to bring about a lower centre of gravity for the new model, theoretically improving its agility and body control. Further development plans for the next C 63 4Matic include a new 4-wheeldrive system to provide a fully variable apportioning of power front to rear. This will allow AMG to engineer the new model with rear-wheeldrive properties in certain driving modes, much as with the larger E 63 sibling. AMG boss Tobias Moers told earlier this year that all next-generation AMG models will adopt this system, moving away from pure reardriven models due to customer demand for all-wheel drive. The decision to provide the C 63 4Matic with 4-cylinder power was apparently driven by Mercedes-Benz as part of rapidly escalating efforts to reduce fleet CO2 emissions while harnessing the engineering lessons pursued during the development of the Mercedes-AMG One hypercar. +++ 

+++ The PSA Group has bolstered its marketing expertise as company executives continue to plot the re-entry of PEUGEOT into the North American market. Lisa Mark will become North America chief marketing officer and vice president, the company said. She is expected to lead all aspects of Peugeot’s go-to-market strategy as the company returns to the continent for the first time in nearly 3 decades. “We see Peugeot as more than just a car brand. It embodies a new chapter in our parent’s global vision of creating unique customer-first mobility”, said Larry Dominique, the boss of PSA North America. “Her extensive brand building background will serve as a valuable platform for better understanding of the new challenges and opportunities facing us in the automotive space”. Mark brings a range of experience from beyond the automotive sector. Most recently, she had led enterprise brand strategy at Voya Financial. Prior to that role, she held senior marketing positions at Disney, Mizuno and Fox Sports. PSA said in February that it intended to bring Peugeot back to North America. Tentative plans call for sales to begin by 2026, though specific models aren’t yet known. PSA Group’s presence has already been felt in the United States. The company’s Free2Move car-sharing brand has ongoing operations in Washington and Arlington. +++ 

+++ RENAULT executives are commited to minicars. They have also outlined the next phase of the cooporation with Daimler. Ali Kassai was named executive vice president, product planning and programs at Renault on April 1. He is also a member of the group’s executive committee. Before that, he oversaw development of the Clio, Captur and Twingo programs at Renault, and he also led the group’s collaborative projects with Daimler. Kassai says Renault won’t skip midsize and large minivans nore sedans: “The challenge is to continue to satisfy the customer, keeping in mind trade-offs between the size of the car and the functionality and roominess inside. A few years ago, functionality was driving the whole car purchase, but now buyers are willing to make trade-offs. If you think about the Captur, for example, it is a something of a successor to the Modus. Modus customers were very happy, and the price was low. That’s good for customers but not so good for our profits. What we tried to do with the Captur was keep the function but add more style and design. It’s about emotions, and the car industry is partly about rationality, and partly about emotions”. About the future of the declining minicar segment, Kassai says: “We have seen some competitors leave the segment in Europe, but there’s still a real customer need for cars this size. Although you don’t have the scale effect of a global car, we will stay in that segment and fight for market share because Renault was one of the first to historically develop that market”. According to Kassai, it is a little bit early to say if Renault will continue to collaborate with Daimler on a minicar once the current Twingo and Smart ForFour reach the end of their life cycles: “We are thinking about the next generation, but it’s not done yet”. About the overall status of the Daimler collaboration, Kassai says: “The collaboration between Smart and the Twingo is very successful. We have achieved high quality and good feedback from the market. On the engine side, diesel, which was a big, big chunk of that cooperation, is going down. But the new 1.3-liter gasoline engine we have together is surpassing all our volume forecasts. On the vehicle side, we announced in August that we will develop the new Renault Kangoo and Mercedes-Benz Citan small vans together. This is an increasing segment with a lot of combinations. It’s a huge program from a development point of view. There will be electric versions, so we have several drivetrain technologies, and there will be different sizes. Altogether, it’s becoming a very big project”. Renault will soon launch new electric vehicles on a dedicated EV platform developed with Nissan. When asked if that will mean parallel internal combustion and electric vehicles, but on different vehicle architectures, Kassai says: “We look at it pragmatically. The issue with having only EV derivatives of internal combustion platforms is that there will be trade-offs. But if the customer accepts them, then it’s wise to do derivatives from an industrial point of view”. +++ 

+++ TESLA is added to a government list of approved automotive manufacturers, China’s industry ministry said, as it granted the electric-vehicle maker a certificate it needs to start production in the country. This means “the green light is fully given to Tesla for production in China”, said Yale Zhang, head of the Shanghai-based consultancy Automotive Foresight. Tesla can start production any time, he said The $2 billion factory it is building in the eastern Chinese city of Shanghai is its first car manufacturing site overseas. Tesla plans to start production at its China factory this month. It is unclear when it will meet year-end production targets because of uncertainties around orders, labor and suppliers. Tesla intends to produce at least 1,000 Model 3s a week from the Shanghai factory by the end of this year, as it tries to boost sales in the world’s biggest auto market and avoid higher import tariffs imposed on U.S. cars. The factory, China’s first fully foreign-owned car plant, also reflects Beijing’s broader shift to open up its car market. Shanghai authorities have offered Tesla assistance to speed up construction, and China excluded Tesla models from a 10 car purchase tax on Aug. 30. +++ 

+++ Elon Musk has confirmed a more powerful version of the TESLA MODEL S will enter production in summer 2020. It’ll be fitted with the firm’s recently developed Plaid powertrain and an aggressive cosmetic overhaul, which promise to make the aging EV competitive with the new Porsche Taycan. Musk also says it’ll be “priced less than its competitors”. The American EV manufacturer recently released a series of Twitter and Instagram posts which claimed a Model S Plaid development mule had lapped the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 20 seconds. Official lap times are yet to be released, but this preliminary time makes the Tesla more than 20 seconds faster than the Porsche Taycan. Tesla’s Model S Plaid test mule is fitted with the brand’s more potent three-motor powertrain, wider wheels and tyres, flared wheel arches, a new boot spoiler, an enormous rear diffuser and a host of chassis revisions. Following further development, Tesla says the mule could post a 7 minute, 5 second lap time. Tesla’s Plaid powertrain will also eventually be available on the Model X and the Tesla Roadster, although Musk confirmed it won’t be offered on the Model 3 or Model Y. I expect the system will comprise 2 electric motors for the rear axle and a single motor for the front. The current range-topping Tesla Model S Ludicrous Performance drivetrain offers 615 hp and 931 Nm of torque; a figure which the “Plaid” system will drastically improve. It’s possible that the powertrain will be able to out-gun the figures offered by the new Porsche Taycan Turbo S’s system, which produces 760 hp and 1.050 Nm of torque. The American brand’s Model S Plaid development mule recently set a new lap record for four-door vehicles at the Laguna Seca race track, with a claimed time of 1:36.555 minutes, making it a second quicker than the previous record-holder, the Jaguar XE SV Project 8. Tesla’s new-found interest in the famed circuit is likely in reaction to the Porsche Taycan’s recent record-breaking lap, where the Taycan unofficially claimed the title of the world’s “fastest four-door, all-electric sports car”. However, Musk also stated in a Tweet that the Model S tasked with setting the lap will sport 7 seats, giving it an opportunity to beat the lower bar set by the current 7-seat record holder: the Skoda Kodiaq RS. +++  

+++ Lawyers for the 85,000 motorists bringing a class action in the United Kingdom against VOLKSWAGEN for its role in Dieselgate have questioned whether the technical fix introduced in 2016 can be classified as a second defeat device, in a pre-trial hearing last week. Slater and Gordon, who are leading a consortium of lawyers against VW, represented by Freshfields, raised the point as the Dieselgate trial heads towards an important 2-week hearing at the High Court in December, 4 years after the class action was first raised. That trial will be critical to deciding in UK law whether VW fitted a defeat device to the EA189 diesel engine, which powers 1.2 million affected VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda models; the first stage of a legal process that could ultimately finish with VW paying out tens of millions of pounds in compensation to owners in 2022. “We have asked VW lots of questions to clarify exactly what the technical fix is doing”, says Gareth Pope, head of group litigation at Slater and Gordon. For its part, VW’s lawyers say the technical fix was completed to standards set by Germany’s automotive technical agency, the KBA, equivalent to the UK’s VCA, and re-engineered the EA189 diesel to the emissions standards it should have had under EU5 regulations. Slater and Gordon is questioning why the technical fix is operating over an ambient temperature range or ‘thermal window’ of 15 deg C to 33 deg C, and below 1.000 meter altitude, suggesting that re-engineered EA189 engines will emit higher levels of pollutants in real-world use outside these conditions. “This information has long been in the public domain and has received media coverage since at least April 2016”, VW told in a statement. VW rejects any suggestion that a ‘thermal window’ can be classified as a defeat device. And given that the EA189 has been re-engineered to the EU5 standard that allows a ‘thermal window’, it seems unlikely that the fix is a second defeat device. However, this detail is significant because it forms part of Slater and Gordon’s case, which must cross 3 hurdles of proof to be successful, the first being to prove in UK law ‘deceit’: that VW deceived buyers by selling cars with defeat devices. VW recently settled a class action out of court in Australia affecting around 100,000 cars with damages. Although the Australian court case has no legal bearing in the UK, it suggests VW will find it difficult to win the defeat device legal action in December, but also that damages ultimately will be limited. +++ 

+++ VOLVO will axe petrol and hybrid models and become an electric only car brand in the near future, the company’s boss has revealed. The Swedish firm’s current aim is to have fully electric vehicles account for 50 % of its global sales by 2025, launching a new electric model every 12 months up to that date. Volvo’s chief executive, Håkan Sammuelson, has told that beyond 2025 it is a matter of “when” not “if” the company ditches internal combustion engines and hybrids all together and becomes a purely electric car company (plug-in hybrids included). “Really the one who decides will be the customers”, Sammuelson told. “We have shown our strategy to electrify, not by doing one car, we did it the expensive way of adopting a new platform so all future cars will be either electric or hybrid: it is up to the customer. “The higher the percentage of all electric sales, the faster we will shut down the others. If only 5 % are buying cars with combustion, it probably doesn’t pay to keep that, so let’s see what the customers prefer long term”. The new XC40 Recharge is the firm’s first fully electric model and will be followed by four additional EVs by 2025. Volvo’s electric vehicle strategy centres around the firm’s sustainability ethos but Sammuelson also confident healthy profits are to be made in that area, particularly for a brand that sells premium products. “If you stay with outdated technology that is not a smart way to improve your profits”, Sammuelson added. “What happens is then your margins disappear and you close down. If you introduce new technology, in the beginning it will probably lower margins. That has happened in the past. But after a number of years you introduce new technology because you believe it will improve your profits”. Volvo aims to be climate neutral by 2040 and to get there it will slash its life cycle carbon footprint by 40 % to 31.8 tons of CO2 per car by 2025 from 53 tons in 2018, the company said. Crucial to achieving the goals is a lineup of full-electric cars led by the XC40 P8 AWD Recharge. Volvo’s first battery-driven model is also the automaker’s first car to carry the word Recharge in its name. The name will be attached to all Volvos that have either a full-electric or a plug-in hybrid powertrain. “Instead of making symbolic, long-term pledges we asked: What can we do now? We will start by presenting the full-electric XC40 P8 AWD Recharge. Another full-electric car will follow every year so that by 2025 every model in our lineup will be available as a battery-electric vehicle”, Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson told. “That means within the next 5 years a Volvo car will have a total carbon footprint including everything (supply chain, logistics, usage) that is 40 % lower than a Volvo we build today”. Starting with the XC40 P8 AWD Recharge, Volvo will disclose the average life cycle carbon footprint for each new model it offers. The data will be available in the second half of 2020 after the compact SUV goes into production. The intensified focus on sustainability is part of Volvo’s effort to honor the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To stay in line with that target Volvo has committed to doing the following by 2025. Increase full-electric car sales to half its global volume from 0 % now while mild and plug-in hybrids will account for the other half of its worldwide sales, up from less than 20 % now. These steps are expected to account for the majority of the targeted reduction, halving CO2 per car to 15.6 tons by 2025 from from 31.3 tons last year. Cut CO2 emissions related to the global supply chain by 25 % to 14.4 tons per car from 19.2 tons last year. This will be achieved by increasing sourcing of sustainable materials in future cars, for instance the use of recycled plastics will rise to 25 % by the deadline from about 5 % now. Volvo will also require that its direct suppliers use renewable energy in their production. Reduce carbon emissions generated by the company’s overall operations, including manufacturing and logistics by 25 % to 1.8 tons per car from 2.5 tons last year. Volvo has already made progress in this area as 80 % of the electricity used at its plants globally comes from renewable energy. In addition, Volvo’s engine plant in Skovde, Sweden, became carbon neutral in January 2018. To continue making gains in this part of the business Volvo will also look to reduce emissions at its retailers. Volvo plans to help cover the high cost of reducing its carbon footprint by carving out its engine unit and combining it with the powertrain arm of parent Geely. This will allow Volvo to invest more in the development of full-electric drivetrains. “That’s one way that we can afford the investments we are making to become climate neutral, by prioritizing”, Samuelsson said. “We have to keep the investment into R&D at around 5 % or 6 % of revenue”. Volvo’s climate neutral target year is a decade ahead of the European Union, which wants to become the first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050, but 20 years behind supplier giant Robert Bosch, which plans to eliminate all net new carbon emissions at its 400-plus global sites starting next year. To do this Bosch will buy more green electricity in the near term and compensate for unavoidable CO2 emissions with carbon offsets. Roughly 75 % of all industry CO2 emissions are generated during a car’s operation over its lifetime, but 18 % still comes from the supply chain, according to investor research and autos specialist at Carbon Disclosure Project. “As sales of battery-powered vehicles displace their combustion engine rivals, that share will steadily become more important over time”, CDP senior analyst Luke Fletcher said. Another reason Volvo, Bosch and other companies are taking steps to cut their carbon emissions is because lenders and asset managers are being warned to take action to reduce their portfolio exposure to high-carbon clients. They are doing this because they are worried about significant effects on the economy from climate change. “Investors are now realizing that climate risks aren’t at some distant point in the future but are affecting us now”, said Georg Kell, who advises Volkswagen as head of its independent sustainability council. The former founding director of the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative, the UN Global Compact, argues that financial markets have woken up to the hidden costs inherent in the fossil fuel economy. “They want to know whether companies are fit for the future and whether they have a plan to deal with the constraints of a low-carbon world”, Kell said. Fletcher’s CDP estimates $4 trillion worth of assets are at risk from climate change by 2030. Samuelsson adds: “We are doing this because we think it’s right and we think it will make Volvo better”. +++

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