Auto industry news: March 2013

31 March

1 in 2 European cyclists killed in a collision collide with a car, says Volvo.

Is Zytec considering a 2014 F1 engine entry? I do hope so.

The Detroit 3 aren’t impressed by Japan PM Shinzo Abe’s weakening of the Yen: a £5700 advantage per car, they reckon.

Alan Mulally’s had a pay cut. Only $21m this year.

The Audi A3 saloon is coming to the UK: excellent news. E30/E36 reinvented? Audi UK reckons it’ll sell 4k a year, compared to 30k A3 hatch.

Volkswagen has sold more than 800,000 diesel cars in the US to date.

Volkswagen Group made £25.5bn before tax  in 2012. That’s £5.7bn up on 2011. Sales revenue was up 20.9% to £167bn. The VW Group commands 12.8 per cent of the global new car market.

VW Group boss Martin Winterkron has had a pay cut. He will only be paid €14m for 2012. That’s 20 per cent less than 2011. And in the future, board members will only get bonuses if profits reach at least €5bn. Note above how much VW Group made last year…

Daimler stock has risen 2 per cent in the seven years under Dieter Zetsche’s control. BMW’s stock has doubled in that time.

SEAT sales have grown in the UK every year since 2008. They’re 33 per cent higher now than they were six years ago. 2012 sales of 38798 were a record and earned its highest market share of 1.9 per cent.

The Kia pro_cee’d will take 10 per cent of UK sales – that’s 1500-2000 cars. Even so, it should “consolidate the cee’d as the UK’s fifth best-selling family hatchback”.

Kia retains 1 in 4 customers. One of its targets is to improve upon that.

16 March

MAZDA has a 1% EU market share on 150k sales. It wants a medium-term boost to 200k. It plans to double Mazda6 sales to 40k and expects 50k CX-5 sales. The latter has been supply-constrained but the firm believes this has been solved.

Last year, the MAZDA CX-5 was the best-selling SUV in Japan. Production has been increased from 160k units to 240k.

GEELY is to invest £100m in Manganese Bronze Holdings – to develop a new ‘global taxi project’  and make it profitable ‘within a year’. 1502 LTI black cabs were sold in the UK in 2011, compared to 1653 in 2010. 200 were recently sold to Saudi Arabia and another 200 to Australia.

DIESEL accounts for 80% of fuel consumption in France.

RENAULT won’t be developing an executive model on a Mercedes platform. Benz offered the current E-Class platform: it’s superb, but apparently not good enough for Renault.

Base model CORVETTE on the way for 2015? Sounds good…

Are auto headlights exempt from certain legislation when they don’t have a cover? See the ALFA 4C headlights…

MERCEDES is planning a G-Class-inspired city car called City-G, based on the future JC1 joint compact first generation shared platform being developed with the Renautl Nissan Alliance.

A third French union has approved RENAULT’S plans to cut its workforce by 17% (7500 people) by 2016. It has the support of unions representing 64% of workers: French law says it needs the support of 30% of unions representing members for a deal to be valid.

The MERCEDES CLA 180 BlueEfficiency Edition is the world’s most aerodynamic production car with a Cd of just 0.22. The firm’s also just opened a new sind tunnel at its Sindelfingen R&D centre – with a 19m long floor capable of simulating 165mph speeds.

MERCEDES is a top 10 Consumer Superbrand: the list is topped by Rolex, Apple and Microsoft.

3 March

60g/km by 2025 is entirely possible, reckons RICARDO – with 24% EV, 24% hybrid and 52% conventional IC. 70g/km will require only 7% EV.

VOLKSWAGEN AG made €21.9bn after tax in 2012. That’s 41% up on 2011. Its operating profit was €11.5bn. 9.3m vehicles were delivered (+12.2%) and total revenue topped €190bn (it was €159bn in 2011).

VW AG shares fell 7.1% on news of its 2012 results. Markets had expected profit of €14bn for 2013: instead, VW said it hoped to active the same €11.5bn profit as last year. The European market crisis is to blame.

It costs €46.75 an hour to employ a CAR WORKER in Germany, and €11.85 an hour in the Czech Republic.

80% of IC engines will be downsized motors by 2020, reckons TOROTRAK.

EVs are selling faster now than the hybrids such as the Toyota Prius did at the same point 36 months after launch.

SEAT is dropping the Exeo. The old-shape Audi A4-derived vehicle was introduced in April 2009. A Leon ST arrives this year and SEAT believes the launch of the cheaper Toledo effectively replaces the saloon.

Can’t afford a VW XL1? Possibly buy an Up hybrid instead…

AUDI, with 123k sales last year, has a 6% UK market share. More than many volume brands (and way up on 1.8%/40k sales in 1999). It’s now targeting 140k this year, 20% of them A3 and A3 Sportback.

The EUROPEAN compact SUV sector grew 18% between 2008-2012. It will account for 1.2m sales in 2013.

TOYOTA wants 100k sales and 9% of the compact SUV sector in 2013. If sales of the new RAV4 really take off, it may build it in Europe. Remarkably, it’s already built at four plants – Canada for North America, China and two plants in Japan (where British cars come from).

TOYOTA aims to build 75% of the cars it sells in Europe, um, IN Europe. At the moment, it’s 66%.

Why has FIAT launched the 500L? Brand retention: 60% of Fiat 500 owners move on to something bigger – and the Bravo wasn’t cutting it. The 500L will keep families in the Fiat family.

VAUXHALL may roll out onboard 4G wifi in 2015, giving in-car internet without routing through a smartphone. Most GM US cars will get it by the middle of next year.