9 Mar, 2017
The wierd and unknown in Geneva

Techrules Ren

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. As 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 track car.

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 two.

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 from 2002 to 2008. If you like, you can visit Eadon Green's website, which is 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
The best concepts in Geneva

Pininfarina H600

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 client.

Peugeot Instinct

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, breaking 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
McLaren 720S

6 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 continues to be the company's middle of the range, sandwiched between the 570S (Sport 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 edge of 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 heavier.

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 488.

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
Alpine and A110 reborn!

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. Poor 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 revival.

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 Espace).

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 promise.

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 functional diffusers.

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
Porsche 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 trimming.

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
Mercedes "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
Audi RS5

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
Honda 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
Lamborghini Huracan Performante

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 will be £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 piece.

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 independent 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 hottest Huracan.

7 Mar, 2017
Volkswagen 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
Industrial News

250 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
Opel / 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, maybe Buick.

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
Industrial News

ECOTY: Peugeot 3008

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

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