|9 Mar, 2017
and unknown in Geneva
Nothing could be stranger than this spaceship-style electric supercar.
Techrules is a new Chinese automotive R&D startup that nobody
knows, while Ren means "people" in chinese. I guess it chose the name
because the car can be configured to seat either 1, 2 or 3 - the latter
in the mold of McLaren F1.
The car is designed by GFG Style, the new company founded by Gorgietto
Giugiaro and his son Fabrizio, no wonder it looks so beautiful. Its
cockpit is accessed by flipping up the glass roof like jetfighter
canopies. Rollover bars are situated just behind the headrests to
protect the occupants.
The specifications are incredible: 6 electric motors, 2 of them driving
the front axle and 4 driving the rear wheels. Total output is an
astonishing 1305 hp, accompanied with a maxmum torque of 1725 lbft.
0-60 mph is quoted at 2.5 seconds while top speed is 199 mph.
Surprisingly, the lithium polymer battery has only 32kWh of juice, so
it needs a gas turbine range extender. The latter offers only 109 hp,
but it should be smaller and lighter than internal combustion engines.
The whole car weighs 1700 kg despite carbon-fiber body and chassis and
carbon-ceramic brakes. Frankly, I don't take these specifications
seriously, because these days there are too many Chinese startups
employing Western consultants to build fancy prototypes just to catch
investments. Whether they could be realized is another matter.
Techrules said it will start delivering the car next year, and it is
receiving deposit now. Price is unspecified, but should ends with a big
capital M. Considering the prototype's state of finish, I think you had
better not to take risk, even if you are the fans of Giugiaro.
Fittipaldi EF7 GTR
If you want to take risks, put your money on Fittipaldi EF7 GTR,
because Emerson Fittipaldi has plenty of track records - yes, I mean
track records. The 70-year-old Brazilian won Formula 1 champonship
before I was born, and he won twice. What drives him founding
Fittipaldi Motors at this age is unknown, but I read his video
interview and believe he still have the fire in heart to do something
great. Moreover, he gets the right technical backing. In fact, the EE7
GTR is developed and built by German company HWA, a spin-off from AMG
that runs Mercedes DTM team and also the creator of CLK GTR
for styling, it is done by Pininfarina. German engineering and Italian
design, should be very promising.
The EF7 is still under development thus Fittipaldi has yet to reveal
full specifications, but we can already tell it will be very exciting.
First of all, it is constructed fully in carbon-fiber, including the
monocoque and the body. Fittipaldi said it will weigh 1000 kg, plus or
minus 50 kg, which is incredible these days. Everything is designed to
keep weight to the minimum, such as a flat-crank naturally aspirated V8
and rear suspensions that are mounted directly at the gearbox casing
(like Ferrari F50). The weight distribution is said to be 48:52, but
since Fittipaldi also mentioned that it is the same as Ferrari 458, I
think it should be 42:58 instead. The engine looks pretty close to the
Ferrari's as well: a dry-sump, flat-crank 4.8-liter 90-degree V8. It
revs up to 9000 rpm, the same as Ferrari 458, too. It is said to be a
bespoke engine developed by HWA, so I guess probably based on the
4-liter V8 used by DTM cars. This might explains why it weighs only 187
kg. Power output is 600 hp at 8250 rpm, accompanied with 376 lbft of
torque at 6000 rpm. Power goes through a racing 6-speed sequential
gearbox and a clutch-type LSD to the rear wheels.
The car rides on all-double-wishbone suspensions with coil-over springs
and adjustable anti-roll bars but not adaptive dampers. Because the car
is so light, steel brakes are up to the job. Electronic aids include
ABS and adjustable traction control, but without torque vectoring. The
body work measures 4.6m long, 1980mm wide and only 1125mm high, lower
than even Lamborghini Aventador! Its long wheelbase of 2700mm should
benefit stability and ride. Massive front and rear spoilers, skirts and
diffusers should generate huge downforce. It should be an excellent
Fittipaldi will build only 39 units of this car, each represent one of
his victories in F1 or Indy. Price is yet to be announced, but should
be more than one million dollars. The car is scheduled for delivery in
the first quarter next year. Testing will begin this summer.
Eadon Green Black Cuillin
If you love classic-looking cars, now you have one more choice beside
Morgan. Eadon Green is a new British company no one knows (not even
Autocar had heard about it). It is founded by a guy named Felix Eaton
(again no one knows), but he seems to have a fond memory of classic
cars like Alfa
Romeo 8C 2900
, though I suspect he prefers the coupe roofline of Bugatti T57 SC Atlantic
Anyway, the new model Black Cuillin, name after a mountain in Isle of
Skye where I visited a couple of years ago, is the combination of the
The car is still under development thus there is virtually no concrete
details. The only thing we know is its engine will be a 6.0-liter
naturally aspirated V12. From its picture I am pretty certain that it
is the old BMW V12 that served the E65 760Li
2002 to 2008. If you like, you can visit Eadon Green's website,
the emptiest I have ever seen. The company seems to have neither
engineering nor manufacturing capabilities, as all the work is
contracted to the Envisage group
|9 Mar, 2017
concepts in Geneva
I like the Pininfarina H600 very much, because it shows the direction
BMW should have adopted instead of the Bangle theme that it wasted the
last 15 years! It is a very modern and elegant design, with good
proportion and is practical for production, too. Not sure which
designer is behind it, but I would give him the highest regard.
The car showcases an electric powertrain with micro turbine range
extender provided by Hybrid Kinetic Group, a Hong Kong-based,
Chinese-backed company developing new energy vehicle technologies. Just
2 weeks ago, Hybrid Kinetic signed a contract to hire Pininfarina for
designing and engineering prototypes for €65 million.
The H600's electric motors are said to offer 600kW (816 hp), good for
155 mph top speed and 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds. Its micro turbine range
extender enables a range of over 1000 km (620 miles). The car is huge,
measuring 5.2 meters long but it weighs only 1870 kg thanks to an
aluminum chassis. Well, don't take these seriously, as it is strictly a
concept designed to showcase the range extender technology of its
While its proportion might be exaggerated, Peugeot Instinct looks fresh
with its clean lines, and that huge grille is smoothly integrated at
the nose. Its fine elements make the grille look almost hidden,
the mold of conventional cars.
The powertrain is said to be a 300hp plug-in hybrid 4. Again, that's
not the focus.
|7 Mar, 2017
years ago, McLaren returned to the supercar making business. The first
act was MP4-12C, which evolved to 650S in 2014. Now it is replaced with
the all-new 720S. Priced at £208,000, the Super Series model
to be the company's middle of the range, sandwiched between the 570S
series) and P1 (Ultimate series). Its main rivals remains to be Ferrari
488GTB and Lamborghini Huracan.
The 720S is again designed by Frank Stephenson. Compared with the old
car, its shape is more flowing and more adventurous, but a bit
heavy-handed to my taste. The key changes include the adoption of glass
roof, slimmer pillars, hidden engine air intakes (located at the top
rear fenders beside the quarter windows) and a prominent adjustable
rear spoiler which McLaren calls "Air brake" (it raises dramatically
under braking to improve balance and rear traction). The windscreen
gets even larger and deeper for the benefit of visibility.
While its predecessor was built around a carbon-fiber tub called
MonoCell, the new car has added upper structures to the tub, creating a
monocoque called MonoCage II (the first MonoCage was used by P1).
Thanks to the T-bar roof, the A, B and C-pillars can be made slimmer to
improve visiblity. As before, front and rear subframes are aluminum,
while the body work is finished in either carbon-fiber or superformed
aluminum. The whole car weighs 1283 kg dry, 18 kg lighter than before,
which is also the lightest in its class. Ferrari 488GTB is 87 kg
The M838T twin-turbo V8 engine is replaced with M840T. Its capacity is
increased to 3994 c.c., thanks to lengthening the stroke by 3.6mm. Some
40 percent of its parts have been changed, including lighter pistons,
con-rods and stiffer crankshaft. The turbochargers are now twin-scroll
type for faster response. The fuel injection remains non-direct, but it
gets twin-injectors each cylinder for more precision. Turbo boost
pressure should be higher than before, otherwise it would not have
produced 720 horsepower (as indicated by its name), 70 more than its
predecessor and 45 more than the mighty 675LT. The peak power is
released at 7000 rpm, slightly earlier than before. Meanwhile, peak
torque is improved significantly to 568 lbft at 5500 rpm, again earlier
than before. Brilliantly, its fuel consumption and emission has been
cut by 10 percent.
The transmission continues to be Graziano 7-speed twin-clutch. As
expected, performance is improved considerably. Now the car tops a
remarkable 212 mph and sprint from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. 124
mph is reached in 7.8 seconds, or half a second shorter than Ferrari
In the chassis, the all-double-wishbone suspensions have been
overhauled with new geometry and control arms, saving an unsprung
weight of 16 kg in the process. The Proactive Chassis Control, a
hydraulically interconnected damping system, is carried over, but it
gets a new control system with more sensors. The McLaren still lacks an
LSD or active differential, but given the track record of 675LT there
seems to be not much problem. Its torque vectoring, or so-called Brake
Steer, is good enough in most situations.
As before, the brakes are large carbon-ceramics. Tires are Pirelli P
Zero for road use or P Zero Corsa for track days. The front rubbers
measure 245/35ZR19, 10mm wider than before, while the rear remain the
same size at 305/30ZR20.
Inside, the cockpit is completely redesigned, with a TFT instrument,
new console and infotainment system. McLaren claims more cabin space,
and the perception of space is amplified by the lighter ambience.
|7 Mar, 2017
As a fan of Renault Alpine, I have been waiting for this day too long -
in fact, for a quarter of a century! The last time Alpine launched a
new car, it was 1991
sales killed the last breed of French sports car as well as the only
other rear-engined sports car beside the 911. The Dieppe plant of
Alpine was turned to build Clio V6 and then Renaultsport Clio and
Megane. People started forgetting the glorious days of Alpine, which
was ironically associated with the earliest A110
. Although I
have never seen an A110 in my life, history books told me it won world
rally championships twice in the early 1970s and dominated Monte Carlo
rally. No wonder Renault decided to use A110 as a blueprint for its
The new production A110 is deliberately styled like the original. By
today's standards, its round shape and a low trunk look retro. It also
looks incredibly compact and narrow for a modern sports car, just like
the original. At 4178mm long, 1798mm wide and 1252mm high, it is some
200mm shorter and 43mm lower than Porsche 718 Cayman, although it is
only 3mm narrower. Like the Porsche but unlike its spiritual
predecessor, it is mid-engined. The weight distribution is 44:56 front
to rear. Kerb weight is only 1080 kg, some 255 kg less than a base 718.
How can it be so light? Apart from the smaller dimensions, its chassis
and body are both constructed out of aluminum, which is a first for
Renault. It goes without saying it is built on a dedicated platform - a
rare example in Carlos Ghosn era.
Le Cost Killer influenced its powertrain though. The engine is a
1.8-liter four-cylinder turbo based on the mass production
Renault-Nissan unit. Despite bespoke intake, exhaust and turbocharger
etc., the power output is a little disappointing to me at 252 hp and
236 lbft, considering Peugeot's 1.6-liter turbo is good for 270 hp. The
engine is placed transversely in front of the rear axle together with a
Getrag 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Getrag builds some very good DCTs for Ferrari and BMW M cars, but it
also builds some very bad ones, such as the one on the current Renault
Clio RS. The unit to serve Alpine employs wet clutches (immersed in oil
for better lubrication and cooling), so it is likely to be a new design
(a similar wet clutch DCT with 221 lbft torque capacity is used on the
Straight line performance is adequate rather than remarkable, I would
say. It is quoted to top a regulated 155 mph and sprint from 0-60 mph
in 4.3 seconds. The base Porsche 718 quotes slower time, but you know
Porsche has always been conservative, whereas the same cannot be said
to the French. Audi TT S takes 4.4 seconds, while Alfa Romeo 4C takes
4.3. The carbon-fiber-tub Alfa is only 10 horsepower down but it is 150
kg lighter. I think the Alpine needs some tail wind to realize its
As for top speed, 155 mph seems to be achievable, as the A110 has a Cd
of 0.32 (pretty good for a sports car) and a rather small frontal area.
To reduce drag, it skips rear spoiler for a flat undertray and
The car rides on forged aluminum double-wishbone suspensions all-round,
but adaptive dampers are not offered. To save weight, it employs
relatively small, 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 195s front and 225s
rear tires. 18-inch forged alloy wheels with 205s front and 235s rear
tires are optional. The Brembo brakes have aluminum calipers. In the
cabin, the Sabelt one-piece bucket seats are very light at 13 kg each,
half the weight of the seats used on Megane RS. The cabin is
minimalist, but it offers proper equipment and infotainment system.
|7 Mar, 2017
911 GT3 4.0
The last 911 GT3 3.8 was one of my favourite sports cars but,
disappointingly, its production lasted less than 2 years. By the end of
February 2015, Porsche stopped producing it and turned to build the GT3
RS. Now the GT3 finally returns, and it is fitted with a larger,
4.0-liter engine like the GT3 RS and 911 R !
The 4-liter engine produces the same 500 hp at 8250 rpm and 339 lbft of
torque as its siblings, so it is 25 hp and 15 lbft more than the last
GT3. The 4-liter engine used to have a slightly lower maximum rev than
the 3.8-liter engine (8800 rpm vs 9000 rpm), but Porsche said this one
revs to 9000 rpm without explaining detailed changes. As before, it is
mated with 7-speed PDK as standard, but like 911 R this time around it
is also available with a 7-speed manual gearbox as a no-cost option.
The manual car weighs 17 kg less, but even the PDK car retains the 1430
kg (DIN) kerb weight of the old car, so it doesn't cry for more weight
The chief reason for choosing the manual is to enhance driver
engagement. Inevitably, the flipside is a slower acceleration. It is
quoted to do 0-60 mph and 0-100 mph in 3.8 and 7.6 seconds
respectively, compared with the PDK's 3.3 and 7.3 seconds. A bit
disappointing is, the old 3.8-liter car quoted 3.3 and 7.5 seconds, so
the new car is not remarkably faster. As for top speed, its additional
horsepower finally shines at the top end, extending the terminal
velocity from 196 to 198 mph in the case of PDK. The manual's gear
ratios are different thus is 1 mph faster still.
Frankly, all these are minor changes. The same story goes for the
chassis. It is benefited from 4-wheel steering, dynamic engine mounts,
PCCB brakes, PASM dampers and 20-inch forged alloy wheels and tires
mesauring 245/35 and 305/30, but so was the old car. What you can tell
is the revised aerodynamics, in particular the rear spoiler which is
set slightly higher and further back to be more effective. Up front,
there is a pair of LED headlamps, but boys, shouldn't we concentrate on
performance relevant elements for such a car?
Yes, it is nice to see the return of GT3. It just fails to show the
progress we expected after 4 years.
|7 Mar, 2017
"AMG GT" concept
Why does this Mercedes 4-door coupe concept get the same name as the
AMG GT sports car currently on sale? No one can answer.
The concept previews the third dedicated model line of AMG beside the
GT 2-seater and the F1-inspired hybrid supercar. However, unlike the
two, it will be built on the Mercedes E-class platform like the next
generation CLS, although it is expected to get more lightweight
aluminum in its construction. The suspension will be bespoke to the AMG
though, as is the powertrain. In the concept, it is said to be a hybrid
powertrain comprising of the familiar 4-liter twin-turbo V8 and an
electric motor with a combined output of 816 hp (crazy!). 4matic+
system can send power to the front axle if needed, but normally both
the engine and motor power goes to the rear axle. The motor also
doubles as torque vectoring. While the concept is far from finished,
the production car is tipped to debut next year.
|7 Mar, 2017
As predicted, the new generation Audi RS5 abandons naturally aspirated
V8 for a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6. It is derived from the single-turbo
unit of the S5, and is practically a higher tuned version of the one
serving Porsche Panamera 4S. In that car, it produces 440 hp and 406
lbft of torque. In this car, it is good for 450 hp and 442 lbft. The
peak power is produced between 5700 and 6700 rpm, while peak torque is
available from 1900-5000 rpm. The pair of turbochargers are situated
within the V-valley between the cylinder banks. Dual variable valve
timing and intake variable valve lift are fitted to the cylinder heads.
Compared with the old 4.2-liter V8, its maximum power is equal, but its
torque trumps the V8 by a whopping 125 lbft !
Unexpectedly, Audi abandons also twin-clutch gearbox for an ZF 8-speed
automatic that it calls Tiptronic, even though Porsche has an 8-speed
PDK (it might not fit the Quattro layout of Audi). Never mind, because
that robs nothing from the performance side. The new RS5 is quoted to
do 0-60 mph in only 3.8 seconds, compared with the old car's 4.4
seconds. It is in a different performance league. Top speed, however,
is still capped at 155 mph or 174 mph depending on whether the optional
performance package is ordered.
The rest of the car is predictable: 40:60 Quattro, optional active rear
differential, optional DRC hydraulically interconnected suspension...
As the new A4/A5 has lighter construction, so does the RS5. It weighs
in at 1655 kg, 40 kg more than S5 but 70 kg less than its predecessor.
|7 Mar, 2017
Civic Type R
Fans of Type R must be pleased, because this is the second Civic Type R
launched in less than 2 years. The outgoing Type R was so close because
it was introduced at the very end of the Civic hatchback's model cycle.
Therefore, its mechanicals are still fresh and highly competitive. No
wonder the new Type R carries over a lot of parts from it. Most notable
is the 2.0-liter VTEC turbo engine, which gains only 10 horsepower to
320 hp while retaining the maximum torque of 295 lbft. The 6-speed
manaul gearbox is also retained, but it gets automatic rev matching for
quicker and smoother downshift. We expect the car's straight line
performance will be more or less unchanged, because Honda said its kerb
weight is also much the same.
What it has changed is the chassis, of course. The new generation Civic
has a longer wheelbase, lower stance, wider tracks and multi-link rear
suspension, so does the new Type R. Its body shell is 38 percent
stiffer in rigidity, while center of gravity is lowered by a
significant 34mm. I expect the new independent suspension to give more
compliance on bumpy roads, which is desperately needed to compete with
the German. The aerodynamic package is just as aggressive as the old
car's. Unfortunately, so is its over-to-top styling. Once again, the
Type R is built in Honda's UK factory.
|7 Mar, 2017
Traditionally, the higher performance version of small Lamborghini is
called Superleggera (means superlight). This time, however, Lamborghini
adopts a new name for the higher performance Huracan, i.e. Performante.
Its production is unlimited, so it will sit permanently above the
standard Huracan LP610-4 and LP580-2 in the line-up. Price in the UK
£213K, compared with £181K of the LP610-4.
The headline figure of Performante is neither its increased power
(+30hp to 640hp) nor reduced weight (-40kg to 1492kg DIN), but its
Nurburgring lap time of 6:52, set last October in the hands of test
driver Marco Mapelli. It is not only a new lap record, but also beats
the last record held by Porsche 918 Spyder by no less than 5 seconds.
Considering the Lamborghini relies on a naturally aspirated V10 to
do so, it is incredible!
A few factors contribute to its record-breaking lap. One of the most
important is the active aerodynamics called ALA (Aerodinamica
Lamborghini Attiva). Up front, the new front splitter incorporate 2
active flaps, which close to enhance downforce and open to lower drag.
More interesting is at the back. The new fixed rear wing looks nothing
special, but it actually incorporates 2 ducts underneath its aero foil,
situating near the two supports for the wing. Meanwhile, 2 air outlets
are added at the engine lid to feed those ducts with speedy air flow.
Again, the ducts are fitted with moving flaps, thus they can be closed
to enhance downforce or opened to lower drag. All the moving flaps are
actuated electrically to save weight compared with conventional
hydraulic. The front and rear spoilers are made of extremely light and
rigid forged carbon-fiber composites (Lamborghini has been researching
on this material for long) thus they allow the complex shape in one
Lamborghini claims that the rear wing generates 750 percent more
downforce than the standard Huracan's. This undoubtedly helps its lap
time a lot. Moreover, like Pagani Huayra the rear downforce is adjusted
between left and right to balance the car in corner, thanks to the
control of the two ducts. This puts more downforce on the inside rear
wheel to counterbalance the weight transfer and keep both wheels firmly
on the ground.
Changes ot the 5.2-liter V10 are relatively modest. Its intake and
exhaust are revised to enhance air flow. The valves have been replaced
with titanium ones to reduce weight and enhance rev. The valve lift is
increased, too. Strangely, the engine doesn't get any peakier.
Its 640 hp peak output is actually released 250 rpm earlier at 8000
rpm. The peak torque is increased from 413 to 442 lbft at the same 6500
rpm, while 70 percent of which is available from as low as 1000 rpm.
The dual-clutch gearbox and Haldex 4WD system are unchanged from the
standard car, but the suspension is benefited from stiffer setup - the
springs and anti-roll bars get 10 percent stiffer, while bushings are
50 percent firmer. Equally helpful is less weight to cope with. The
Performante is 40 kg lighter thanks to using the aforementioned forged
carbon-fiber composites in front and rear spoilers, engine lid, rear
bumper and diffuser. The special forged alloy wheels are also lighter.
The last thing contributing to its record lap time is the new set of
Pirelli Trofeo R road-legal track tires. Standard road tires are
Pirelli P Zero Corsa.
Benefited by more power and less weight, the Performante has its 0-60
mph acceleration shortened by
0.2s to 2.8 seconds, while 0-124 mph (200km/h) is cut by a full second
to 8.9 seconds, although Ferrari 488GTB is faster still at 8.3 sec. Its
top speed remains unchanged at 202 mph.
Its there any room for a Superleggera? I believe yes, because there is
still room to cut weight from the cabin, which loses no equipment, by
ditching sound insulation and using plexiglass windows etc. However,
for the next couple of years at least, the Performante will remain the
|7 Mar, 2017
Arteon replaces CC
The new Arteon replaces CC (previously Passat CC) to be Volkswagen's
"4-door coupe". Unsurprisingly, it continues to be built on the
Passat's underpinnings, but the flexible MQB platform allows it to be
enlarged further - about 100mm longer, 40mm wider, 30mm lower and 50mm
longer in wheelbase than the current Passat. This not only frees up the
back seat but also allows the Arteon to be priced higher, sitting
comfortably above the Passat.
Unfortunately, the interior shares exactly the same dashboard with the
Passat, wasting an opportunity to distinguish itself from the sedan
sister further. Moreover, all the engines come from the Passat as well,
including 150hp 1.5TSI Evo, 190hp 2.0TSI, 280hp 2.0TSI and a trio of
2.0TDI with 150hp, 190hp or 240hp. It doesn't sound very sporty to me.
Regarding styling, I will leave you to judge.
|7 Mar, 2017
Bugatti Chirons sold
Bugatti will build only 500 Chiron coupes, but it has already sold 250
of them. As the Molsheim factory builds only 70 cars a year, this means
it already has a waiting list of 3 and a half years!
|6 Mar, 2017
Vauxhall sold to PSA !
Having owned Opel for 88 years and Vauxhall for 92 years, General
Motors finally agrees to sell them to PSA group and withdraw from
Europe. GM will get only €2.2 billion from the sale, and it will
continue to undertake the employee pension funds. PSA will get not only
the 2 brands, which are still quite valuable in German and UK, but also
6 assembly plants, 5 component plants and the engineering center at
Rüsselsheim. Seems not a bad deal to the French? Carlos Tavares
must be happy.
Why is GM so keen to get rid of its European operation? Because of
losses, of course. Since 2000, Opel has not made a profit. From 2009
till now it has lost $9.1 billion. The firm was originally expected to
turn black last year, but unfortunately the sudden drop of British
pound due to Brexit turned to a substantial exchange deficit and
consequently a loss of $257 million.
Wouldn't it be better next year? Unlikely. GM did the math and found
the European market is increasingly isolated, demanding cars that are
so unique that only 20 percent of Opel's next generation models could
be shared with other regions. This make it hard to share costs, unless
it can find another European partner - and here comes the PSA.
PSA has been cooperating with Opel since 2012, when they signed an
agreement to share platforms and components for their crossovers, i.e.
Citroen C-Aircross / Opel Crossland X, and Peugeot 3008 / 5008 / Opel
Grandland X. Unexpectedly, the acquisition comes before these cars
debuted. After the merger, existing Opel models will last until the end
of their model lifespan. This means, the Astra will continue until
2021, the new Insignia will be about 2023, but the Corsa is due in 2 to
3 year's time, thus will be the first to transfer to PSA platform. By
2026, the acquistion is expected to net a saving of €1.7 billion. The 2
assembly plants in Germany (Rüsselsheim and Eisenach), 2 in UK
(Ellesmere Port and Luton), one in Spain (Zaragoza) and one in Poland
(Gliwice) will be safe for the next few years as it is part of the
agreement to secure the support from the governments. In the longer
term, some of them could be shut down to increase utilization. Since
the French government still holds 14% stake in PSA, retaining the
French plants will be top priority.
The sale comes as a shock as GM has just withdrawn the Chevrolet brand
(mostly selling Korean-built cars) from Europe at the end of 2015 to
make space for Opel/Vauxhall. It seems to have no Plan B but to
withdraw from mainstream car selling there completely. Another shock is
Holden, which has just announced the next gen Commodore to be a
badge-engineered Insignia. Opel will honor the deal until the end of
its model cycle. After that, GM will have to source an alternative,
Under the control of PSA, I don't expect Opel to keep its own
character. PSA does not have a good track record for keeping the
character of Citroen either. However, do we really care about the
character of Opel? or what character it has left?
Opel is producing about 1.1 million cars annually. Adding this number
to PSA's 3.15 million units volume, the group will easily overtake
Renault group to be the European No. 2, even tough it is still quite a
long way behind Volkswagen.
|6 Mar, 2017
Unfortunately, the 2017 European Car of the Year award goes to an SUV,
and not a particularly impressive SUV: Peugeot 3008. It narrowly beats
Alfa Romeo Giulia. Still, well done the Italian car! Had it got a
better infotainment system, I think it should have won the award and
matched the achievement of Alfa 156. Comparatively disappointing is the
impeccable Mercedes E-class, which finished a distant third, probably
because it lacks surprises.
1. Peugeot 3008: 319 points
2. Alfa Romeo Giulia: 296 points
3. Mercedes E-class: 197 points
4. Volvo S90: 172 points
5. Citroen C3: 166 points
6. Toyota C-HR: 165 points
7. Nissan Micra: 135 points