Yet another bit of bleak data from Europe relating to new car sales. A popular school of thought holds that young people’s aversion to cars is largely rooted in economic factors. When everyone under 30 is broke, living at home and wallowing in student debt, the last thing on their mind is a car. But the hope is that once things turn around, it will be time for Generation Y to get motoring again. At least in North America. Over in Europe (or certain parts of it, at least) things are much more bleak.
The UK new car market was up a strong 14.8 percent in April.
UK’s SMMT says that April registrations stood at 163,357 units, and that registrations in the first four months of 2013 grew 8.9 percent to 768,555 units. However, even the SMMT warns not to read too much into this. (Read More…)
If anyone is hoping for a bottom in the European car market, then it’s nowhere to be seen. In the contrary, the decline appears to be accelerating. European passenger car registrations were down 10.2 percent in March, data published by the European manufacturers association ACEA show. That would be a decline for the 18th consecutive month. (Read More…)
The Renault Twin-Z concept, shown here, was unveiled at a Milanese furniture show (seriously) but is said to preview the next-generation Twingo. The five-door concept clearly takes its styling inspiration from the Volkswagen Up!, but there will be a crucial packaging difference – the Twingo will be rear-engined, since it shares a common chassis with the next-generation Smart car.
According to lore, it is impossible to close a factory in Europe. Not true. It’s just outrageously expensive. One company that found out is Ford. The carmaker allocated nearly $200,000 per hourly worker of its soon to be closed Genk plant in Belgium. (Read More…)
The European car market goes to where it has been going for a while: To the toilet. February sales in the EU were down 10.5 percent year-on-year. Sales in February were 9.5 percent lower than an already disappointing January. (Read More…)
It’s not just the UAW that is upset about free trade agreements. The Koreans are likewise. The offices of the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association were raided by investigators of the country’s Fair Trade Commission, the Financial Times reports. The agency alleges that BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Toyota Motor were involved in price collusion. (Read More…)
In what Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn described as a “historic” event, the automaker has come to an agreement with the three unions representing its French workers that will keep five Renault factories in France running until at least 2016 while using attrition and retirements to reduce their workforce by 7,500 employees.
Want a fuel-sipping, tree-hugging sedan with stunning good looks? Ford thinks they have the answer in the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Can jamming a gasoline/electric drivetrain behind Ford’s sexy grille continue the love affair the press has had with Ford’s world-car? More importantly, can thisFord hybrid live up to its EPA numbers? Let’s find out.
The Geneva Auto Salon is a small show in a small city of a small country. The show is big because it is an annual confab of automakers where shoulders are rubbed, mergers are planned, policies are set. The cars are mostly decoration. A top topic in Geneva was how to meet rigid EU emission limits. “There is a growing awareness that conventional hybrids and slow-selling battery cars simply won’t be enough,” Reuters reports from Geneva.(Read More…)