EU Postpones Vote on Combustion-Engine Ban, Germany Asks for Favors
The European Union is reportedly finding itself in a difficult position ahead of prospective bans on vehicles utilizing internal combustion engines. Germany has threatened to block the agreement, pulling what can only be described as the classic switcheroo in exchange for favorable conditions.
German manufacturers are attempting to market synthetic fuels as a viable and environmentally sound alternative to standard gasoline or diesel. Regulators influenced by the automotive sector are now pressing for the EU to make special exceptions for so-called “electrofuels” before the combustion ban can be finalized – with Italy likewise suggesting it would reject the emission rules everyone agreed to last year.
EU Bans the Sales of New ICE Vehicles Starting in 2035
The European Union has taken earlier and more drastic steps to stem the tide of climate change than many other parts of the world. Fuel economy and emissions standards are stricter there, and yesterday, the EU announced the passage of its most restrictive gas vehicle policies yet. The updated law bans selling new internal combustion vehicles starting in 2035.
2021 Land Rover Defender Corroded
2021 Land Rover Defender owners, are you unhappy with your SUV’s finish? Heritage Customs will give you corroded parts with real rust.
Torsus Praetorian 4X4 Off-Road Bus Updated
Torsus’ Praetorian, heavy-duty, off-road 4X4 buses, has announced a number of technical advances. These rugged off-road buses are made to cross some of the most inhospitable terrains on earth.
2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 63S: Ready to Rock
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLC 63 S SUV is the only V8, biturbo-powered, compact SUV. According to Mercedes, it’ll do 0–60 mph in 3.6 seconds, which makes for a quick dash to the mini-mart.
Biden to Slash U.S. Fossil Fuel Emissions 52 Percent by 2030
Today President Joe Biden committed to cutting U.S. fossil fuel emissions up to 52 percent by 2030. His statement came during a virtual climate change summit with 40 world leaders.
2021 Mercedes-Benz EQB – Electricity Flows
Mercedes-Benz’s 2021 EQB is its third all-electric launch this year, along with the EQA 250 and EQS. The EQB will be produced for the local market in Beijing. The rest of the world will get their EQBs from Kecskemét, Hungary. The EQB will be the first pure EV made in Hungary.
Watt EV Coupe – Will It Make It to Production or Not?
The Watt Electric Vehicle Company (WEVC) has unveiled the EV Coupe, a classic shape inspired by the 1955 Porsche 356A. WEVC is not connected with Porsche AG. WEVC does not imply that any of their products are a product of Porsche AG, nor are the Porsche or 356 names used or associated with WEVC products. So why would we think WEVC is on a slippery slope?
BMW X6 by AC Schnitzer – Is It Worth the Effort?
German tuning specialist AC Schnitzer has heralded the introduction of their version the BMW X6 Sports Activity Coupe (SAV), itself neither a coupe nor a proper sporting vehicle.
Hyundai Releases Bayon Euro Crossover
Don’t get too excited. Hyundai’s Bayon is at present a European-only crossover SUV that the brand announced today. All-new in the B-segment, Bayon is named after Bayonne, a sought-after vacation destination in the south of France.
The growing popularity of SUVs in Europe was the reason for Hyundai’s introduction, and the forward-motion stance of the Bayon is in keeping with the design characteristics of the segment. Bayon is the seventh new or enhanced model Hyundai has released in the past year.
GM Hypes Norway's EV Leadership
Actor Will Farrell describes Norway’s EV leadership in one of the more amusing Super Bowl commercials, and how General Motors is looking to change all that here at home.
A Difference in Color or Colour?
Car color preferences differ by nation or regions of the world, as we found in comparing our previous post on Axalta’s study, and BASF’s Color Report 2020, issued in the UK.
Volkswagen Experiences Dej Vu in the European Court of Justice
Volkswagen had another day in court, and it wasn’t a good outcome for the company this time, either. The European Court of Justice ruled that the software VW used to override emissions tests was illegal under European law.
Are EV Batteries an Environmental Hot Mess?
Are EV batteries an environmental hazard? The European Commission (EC) is proposing stricter regulations on EV battery sustainability. A 2006 Battery Directive dealt with safe recycling and disposal of Pb-acid and Ni-Cd batteries when Li-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids were still in their infancy. These new rules will supposedly improve Li-ion batteries by reducing their carbon footprint, hazardous material use, and increasing responsibly-sourced material usage.
Rare Rides: Behold the 1969 Marcos GT, a Story of Continual Collapse
Struggling for decades, Marcos Engineering produced very few examples of its flagship GT model. This excellent condition restored example recently made its way up onto the eBay auction block, which presents a good opportunity to take a look at this stylish British sports car.
Evidence Exhibit #127 In the Case of Market V. Small Cars: Volkswagen Considering Pulling the Up City Car From Europe
The global auto industry is not a place in which small car production is as straightforward as it was a decade or two ago.
Brought closer to home, Americans are buying roughly 30-percent fewer subcompact cars now than they were just three years ago. With next to no fuel economy advantages; limited payment upside; and less refinement, power, and space, why would a car buyer choose a subcompact over a compact sibling? Most buyers don’t. In the United States, compact car sales are five times stronger than subcompact sales. August’s top three compacts (Civic, Corolla, Cruze) outsold their subcompact brethren (Fit, Yaris, Sonic) by more than seven-to-one.
Many automakers don’t even bother selling their smallest cars in North America. Mazda’s latest 2 never saw U.S. import. FCA has left the compact market, having long since left the subcompact sector to rivals. Subaru doesn’t dive below the Impreza platform. And Volkswagen stops at the Golf, leaving the subcompact Polo for more small-car-friendly countries.
But how keen on small cars are those other countries? In some instances, not keen enough. Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess tells Autocar, “Selling small cars is not easy.” And he’s clearly not just talking about F-150-loving America. “It’s a very European problem,” says Diess. As a result, the Volkswagen Up city car, a Lupo successor, may pull out of Europe in favor of emerging markets only.
Rare Rides: The 1983 DeLorean DMC-12 - a Gold-plated Opportunity?
The DeLorean DMC-12 is forever linked to the classic film Back to the Future, where the stainless steel wonder was converted into a conveyance for the purposes of time travel. But the silver screen was not the only place the DMC-12 underwent a transformation. A certain credit card company had a PR stunt in mind that saw the DeLorean plated with 24-carat gold.
Our Rare Ride today is what happens when a private owner attempts the same thing.
Rare Rides: The Special 1988 Alpina B7S Turbo Coupe in Tartan Plaid
The glorious green Alpina coupe before your eyes nets three firsts for the Rare Rides series. It’s the first coupe coated in any shade of green paint, the first BMW, and indeed the first German vehicle in the series (I don’t count last week’s Rolls-Royce as German, though you might).
Time for some eye candy.
The Koda Kodiaq Would Likely Cost $24,995 In The United States
You want a Škoda Kodiaq. Your neighbor wants a Škoda Kodiaq. I want a Škoda Kodiaq. Naturally, we all want Škoda Kodiaqs, because the grass is always greener on the other side.
But what if the Kodiaq wasn’t only available on the other side of the Atlantic? What if persistent talk of a potential North American Škoda return resulted in a Kodiaq on sale at a dealer near you? How inexpensive would the Kodiaq need to be in order for your persistent desire for unobtanium turn in to a real purchasing decision?
Škoda would likely charge in the neighborhood of USD $24,995 if the Kodiaq, set to go on sale across the pond in April 2017, made its way to the United States.
Ford Cutting European Fiesta Output On Weak Demand
As one of Europe’s most popular vehicles, the Ford Fiesta’s sales is an interesting datapoint when it comes to looking at the strength of the overall European car market. So it’s interesting that despite a supposed rebound of Europe’s new car market, Ford is cutting Fiesta output at its plant in Cologne, Germany.
EU Fuel Economy, Emissions Testing Facing Major Overhaul
The wildly optimistic fuel economy figures touted by auto makers in Europe could be in for a major revamp, as the EU looks to change the way these tests are conducted.
The Culture Of Cars: Real Or Imagined?
I’ve been on the road for the last few weeks and one of the places I was able to visit was the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport located just outside of Washington DC. Unlike the National Air and Space Museum located on the national mall close to the capitol building, the Udvar-Hazy Center is an enormous facility and although I have visited other aircraft museums that have had larger collections on display, I think it is safe to say that the Smithsonian’s collection is second to none. The aircraft on display span the history of flight and include both military and civilian examples. More importantly, at least for the sake of this discussion, they come from every corner of the globe and as they sit there, lined up beside one another, it’s easy to compare the craftsmanship of one nation’s products against the next.
EU Secretly Planning To Add Police-Controlled Kill Switch To All Cars By 2020
The British Newspaper The Telegraph is reporting that, if senior European law enforcement officials have their way, all cars entering the European market may soon be fitted with a remote shutdown device that would allow police officers to electronically deactivate any vehicle at the touch of a button.
Chevrolet Brand Dead In Europe
After talk of increasing the seperation between Chevrolet and Opel, GM has announced that it will axe the Chevrolet brand in Europe, despite previously aiming to make Chevrolet its low-cost brand, while signing a nine-year, $584 million deal to have the brand sponsor Manchester United football club.
How European Fuel Economy Testing Will Kill The Naturally Aspirated Engine
While Americans are still asking whether it’s even wise to buy small turbocharged engines instead of larger naturally aspirated ones, we in Europe are slowly losing our ability to even choose a car without a turbocharged engine. Volkswagen has recently announced that it is going turbo only – but in our market, the transition is nearly complete. Except for base engines in Polo supermini and Up! city car, basically everything else has a turbo slapped on it – and it looks much the same with other VAG brands. Others are following closely – Ford eliminated most of its naturally aspirated engines, except for the base 1.6 in Focus and small engines in Fiesta. Renault is coming with new tiny turbo plants to replace small four cylinder NA motors – and is even introducing them to its low-cost brand Dacia. PSA, Fiat, Opel and others are heading this direction as well.
But, why is that? Is it that Europeans are more forward thinking, more interested in economy an environment than polar bear killing ‘murricans with their massive V6s and V8s? Is it the European driving style and road network, requiring smaller and lighter cars?
Aston Martin Cygnet Sent To The Tower Of London
Maserati SUV May Be Imported From Turin
Remember all that hype about how a Detroit-area Jeep plant would be building the Maserati Levante SUV, for export back to Italy? Yeah, me either.
BMW Shifts Units From Europe To U.S.
Europe’s auto market implosion has led BMW to shift units earmarked for the continent over to the United States and China, where demand remains strong.
Europe, Half Year Review: Bad News For French, Italians, Ford, And GM
Europe’s new car market continues on its downward spiral with sales down 2.8 percent in June. Half year sales are down 6.8 percent across the EU, data released today by the European Automobiles Manufacturers’ Association ACEA show today. Some countries and automakers do much better, some much worse.
Decades After Bringing Workers To France, Jobs Go Back To Africa While France's Promise Disappears
The establishment of a new manufacturing base in North Africa has fascinated me for the past couple months – though few others seem to really care. The leader in this movement has been Renault, which is setting up plants in Morocco and Algeria to build their popular, low-cost Dacia vehicles in factories where employees earn a fraction of what a French assembly line worker would make.
PSA doesn’t have a low-cost brand of it’s own, so jobs haven’t gone across the Strait of Gibraltar – yet. But the closing of the Aulnay plant, where a massive contingent of North African immigrants (now French citizens) work, is a compelling snapshot of the socioeconomic and racial dynamics of France that happens to intersect with the auto industry.
The Shocking Truth About Start-Stop Systems
TTAC has long seen stop-start systems (which turn off the engine at idle) as one of the many common-sense technologies that will continue to improve internal combustion engine efficiency at a relatively low cost. Outside of these digital pages, though, the systems have taken longer to gain awareness in the United States, resulting in the lagging adoption rate pictured in the chart above. Up to this point, we’ve assumed that this can largely be blamed on the EPA test’s unwillingness to acknowledge the urban-driving advantages of stop-start systems, pointing to Mazda’s protests on the matter as evidence that government intransigence was keeping the technology out of the market. But recently Mazda has announced that all of its vehicles will get stop-start as standard by 2015, and Ford has said that it will begin offering the technology on “some” four-cylinder models for the North American 2012 model-year… and the rest of Detroit isn’t far behind. So what’s the deal? The EPA hasn’t changed its test… why are stop-start systems finally starting to trickle over?
Thanks to new research obtained by TTAC from the cleantech investment fund Pacific Crest, we now have a better understanding of stop-start technology, and why we’re actually glad it’s taking so long for the systems to get here.
Hyundai Rapidly Ascending In Europe As Japanese Struggle: I30 Top Import In Germany
In the eighties, the European auto makers were quaking in their boots at the prospect of a “Japanische Welle” (Japanese wave). Having seen the huge damage the Japanese brands inflicted on Detroit during the seventies and early eighties, they braced themselves for a similar onslaught. It never quite happened. Now they’re wondering if the Koreans are going to succeed where the Japanese fell short. There are plenty of indications to suggest they will. In Germany, probably the most auto-chauvinistic of all the European countries, the Golf-class Hyundai i30 (above) is currently the number one selling import car, not counting VW’s captive import brand Skoda. Toyota and Honda’s European market share is down, and Hyundai’s is up, and growing quickly. Is the Hyundai Welle unstoppable?
Cammy Cruises The Continent. Part 2
August. Whole Europe goes on vacation. TTAC’s insular correspondent Cammy Corrigan often mentioned that she would want to write the story of her first trip to The Continent. Last time we left her somewhere on the mountainous road between Nice, France and Ventimiglia, Italy. Let’s catch up with her …
As we were leaving France, my spirits started to lift. Even though I was waving goodbye to the beautiful beach, I saw the silver lining. I’d been to France many times before and was sick of it. I was sick of a country I didn’t like to begin with. But Italy was different. I’d never been to Italy. The closest I’d been to Italy was a Spaghetti Carbonara I had once. I didn’t know what to expect.
My father, if you remember, was driving. And he knew EXACTLY what to expect. You see, driving in the UK is quite a sedate affair. You may get the odd person who’ll stick 2 fingers up at you, but on the whole, it’s quite a stress-free experience. Italy, on the other hand, was its polar opposite.
Traffic lights were just seen as pretty street lamps, road signs were seen as “suggestions” and the most used part of the car was the horn. You see a friend in the street? Honk your horn. Someone cuts you up? Honk your horn. Police stop you? You scream at him and honk your horn. Football team won? You drive up and down the streets honking, you guessed it, your horn. Want to insult an Italian man? Give him the hand signal for two horns, indicating that his wife is sleeping around. If you want to completely disable an Italian car, simply disconnect the horn.
This should give you an idea of how noisy the streets of Italy were.
If the noise didn’t drive you (no pun intended) mad, then the driving would. And the only way to survive on these manic roads was to drive just as mad. And so, for the Italian leg of our trip, my father disappeared and the spirit of Ayrton Senna arrived.
Cammy Cruises The Continent. Part 1
August. Every year, one of the largest barbarian migrations is taking place: Whole Europe goes on vacation. Off to warmer climes. Off to other countries. Or off to The Continent, as they say in Great Britain. TTAC’s insular correspondent Cammy Corrigan often mentioned that she would want to write the story of her first trip to The Continent. What better time than this?
“What’s going on?”
“We’re going on holiday!”
“France! Go pack your things! Quickly! We’re leaving in half an hour!”
This didn’t bode well. I hated France. I hated the food, the people, countryside, just everything. It’s not so bad now. Now, I just hate the food. And I’m still not too keen on the people, but it’s a start. In case you were wondering, that was my father. He woke me up to tell me we were going to spend two weeks in France.
Killing Me Softly: The Slow Death Of Opel
Opels head shop steward Klaus Franz is mightily mad at Opel’s CEO Nick Reilly. Reilly told the London Times that the Ampera, Opel’s counterpart to the Volt, may be built in the Ellesmere Port plant in the UK:“The chances are quite good that the Ampera will come to Ellesmere Port as it is close in production terms to the Astra and will share many components,” Reilly said. In the meantime, Berlin cues Roberta Flack’s “Killing me softly” as a prelude for Opel’s funeral.
The Skoda Conundrum
When the automotive historians look back at GM they will point to many factors as to why they fell. Some might point to the Unions, some may point to their lack of reliable products, others may even point to their shoddy dealer service. But one factor which undeniably led to GM’s bankruptcy is lack of brand management. If anyone questions the harm poor brand management can do, then, may I point you in the direction of the Cadillac Cimarron? Muddled brands leave people confused and wondering why should I stay loyal to this brand? Your brand is your stamp of a promise to your customer. Safe cars? Volvo or Renault. Reliability? Toyota or Honda. Driving dynamics? BMW. Now I raise this point, because people said that this problem was endemic to GM only. It was a GM-centric problem. But is it, really? Was it really a GM-only problem? Or did GM suffer from “big company” syndrome? Well it seem there’s evidence that poor brand management isn’t just for American auto companies.
Der Spiegel reports that Volkswagen CEO, Martin Winterkorn, is utterly fuming at Skoda. What could the reason be? Profits? Well, they are down, but we’ll come to that later. No, the main reason why Herr Winterkorn is seething at Skoda is because Skoda is doing well. So, well, in fact, that their cars are now creating problems for VW cars, their main brand.
Deutsche Auto Elektrifizierung: Gotta Pay To Play
A couple of weeks ago, TTAC reported how Dieter Zetsche was re-elected as CEO of Daimler for another 3 years. In that article we mentioned the many challenges that face him. Mainly, how to make Daimler sustainably profitable. Size matters in the auto business. An unattached Daimler has a hard time achieving the economies of scale someone like say Audi or Lexus can. So unless Daimler fancies being taken over (and we all know Daimler likes to be on top in any tie-up) it’ll have to form partnerships and joint ventures to get those cost savings Daimler needs. The big arranged wedding between BMW and Daimler isn’t going anywhere. Instead, Daimler announced that it had formed a partnership with Renault to produce the new generation Smart car. Then, Daimler announced it had formed a partnership with BYD to develop an electric car for the Chinese market. Now Daimler is trying to form a new partnership to achieve massive cost savings: A partnership with the tax payer.
Betrayed By Its Own Auditors, Opel Turns Into European Tar Baby
Opel’s Nick Reilly is casting worried glances towards Berlin and Brussels. What he hears from there makes him double his Maalox dosage. Or pop some local Rennies, if the heartburn meds are in short supply at the Apotheke in Rüsselsheim. Which they undoubtedly are. Nobody wants to help Reilly. Berlin doesn’t want to. Brussels doesn’t want to. Even Opel’s own auditors are no help. This tale would be better told by Kafka. He’s dead. I’ll try.