When we last reported on France banning some Mercedes-Benz vehicles because the company refuses to use the now mandated R1234yf refrigerant, representatives from all 28 EU member states were scheduled to meet with the EU’s Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles to discuss the matter, particularly as it regards the sale of M-B vehicles in the 27 other EU countries besides France. That meeting has since taken place and according to a memo issued by the European Commission, those representatives have confirmed that all new vehicles sold throughout the EU must use R1234yf, and that any vehicles with the now banned R134a must be withdrawn from the market in all EU states. The dispute is over the fire safety of the new refrigerant. R134a was banned because it is considered a greenhouse gas. Read More >
In India for the relaunched Datsun brand’s first car, the Go, CEO of the Renault-Nissan alliance, Carlos Ghosn, announced that Renault and Nissan will jointly develop a platform for low cost and ultra low cost cars aimed at India and other emerging markets, which Ghosn believes will make up 60% of the global automotive market by 2016. To do that, the alliance will spend another $5 billion on investments in their Indian operations over the next five years. Renault-Nissan is committed to using India as its global hub for emerging markets, developing the cars there as well as assembling and exporting them. Read More >
Though Ford, VAG’s Seat brand, and Renault’s low-cost Dacia posted gains, overall car and light truck sales in June in Europe were down 6.3% compared to June of 2012, weighed down by declining sales at VW, Opel, Fiat and PSA. Only 1.18 million new vehicles were registered in the EU and EFTA, the lowest they’ve been in two decades.
Renault hopes to get going on its foray into China, and to sign a joint venture agreement with Dongfeng, Reuters says. “We are waiting for an official invitation from the Chinese industry ministry,” Reuters heard from an insider. Rumors of an impending JV kept Chinese media guessing and speculating for years. Read More >
We may have one of those really rare cases where Formula 1 racing leads to honest, provable new car sales. The UK boutique builder Caterham “is developing a crossover SUV and a subcompact car with Renault, Chairman Tony Fernandes” told Reuters. The cars should be launched “soon after the first sports cars due in 2016 under the Caterham and Renault Alpine brands,” the wire says. Read More >
Imagine (sorry) you are on your death-bed, surrounded by your friends and families, who are divided in two camps. One group bets big on how soon you will die. The other group calculates how much your body-parts will bring after you are cut up. Now you know how PSA poor Peugeot Citroen must feel. Read More >
France’s PSA has been all over the world with hat in hand, looking for a charitable donation that may keep the carmaker alive a little longer. Things are so dire that it is news when PSA does not ask a carmaker for a donation. That carmaker is Fiat, itself short of funds. Read More >
As we all know, the European car market is in bad shape. France, one of Europe’s volume markets, is especially hard hit. The month of May was no exception. The French market was down 10.3 percent. Red ink and nose blood was running just about everywhere. Everywhere except Fiat. Fiat, the Italian patient, looks amazingly alive in France. Their passenger vehicle sales were up a whopping 12.3 percent in May and 6 percent for the first five months. In a market that tanks, just staying afloat would be a big deal. Double digit is huge. It was, until the scrappy auto site 7pm-auto.fr started digging. They found that the growth was made by dealers buying their own cars. Read More >
We can’t help it that there is so much crummy news about GM, but here is something decidedly positive: GM “has no plans to make additional investments in its French partner PSA Peugeot Citroen SA which is subject to the depressed European automobile market,” Dow Jones Newswire says via NASDAQ. The wire heard it from Dan Akerson himself, so it must be true. Read More >
The sagging EU economy led to the worst car sales since 20 years (cause and effect could also be the other way round.) With so much riding on car sales, France’s La Lettre Auto K7 found a way to predict them with greater certainty: They simply ask car dealers how many orders they received. Most volume brands in Europe are built-to-order, and even in the worst economic climate, that takes a minimum of 4 weeks until the car is ready to be registered. That’s when usual statistics recognize the sale.
The UK, infamous for having lost most of its former automaking glory, and supplier of the short-lived “American Leyland” moniker for GM (“Government Motors” stuck) is roaring back. The island nation is set “to overtake France as Europe’s second largest automotive producer within the next five years if UK car sales and exports maintain current strong growth,” Reuters says.
Imagine the embarrassment in Paris! Read More >
Renault chief Carlos Ghosn is reaching out, forging foreign alliances with a heavy emphasis on emerging markets. “Faced with the slump in the European markets,” writes the French Figaro, Renault is “edging closer to Mitsubishi.” Nothing is official, and if you ask on the record, you get firm denials, such as the “this is not true,” told to Reuters by a Mitsubishi Motors spokesman. Behind the scenes, there are traces of heavy petting. Let’s look into them. Read More >