Skoda entering the US market? Not so fast, says VW, part 2

Volkswagen-US-strategyI’ve just tried to argue once again why launching Skoda in the US would be a smart move, but I’m sure at least one of our esteemed readers will raise the following counterarguments and I’d have to fully agree with him/her, so here’s why I think why VW shouldn’t bring Skoda to North America: the market is already saturated and the upcoming changes that will affect the automotive industry will give Volkswagen an opportunity to redeem itself. None of these points were stipulated by the unnamed VW board member who was quoted to say it wouldn’t be a good idea to bring Skoda to the US anyway.… Continue Reading …

Skoda entering the US market? Not so fast, says VW, part 1

Skoda_Kodiaq-auto-sales-statistics-EuropeEver since the Diesel scandal broke in the US, there have been rumors that Skoda could step up to enter the North American market to pick up the lost share or even to replace the tarnished VW brand altogether in this market. Kriss even wrote an article explaining in 5 points why it would make sense for Skoda to enter the US market 18 months ago, before the emission cheating software had been revealed. In the poll at the end of that article, 63% of our respondents thought VW should base its US offerings on Skoda models. This week, the influential auto journalist and well-informed industry watcher Georg Kacher quotes a senior VW board member: “We may be crazy, but we’re not mad. Entering this huge market with an unknown brand, a model range focused on Europe, and a non-existent dealer network is pure suicide. Furthermore, the last thing Volkswagen of America needs now is in-house cannibalization.”

The irony in this quote lies in the part “a model range focused on Europe”, because that’s exactly what Volkswagen itself has been unsuccessfully attempting to to for decades.… Continue Reading …

Rolls Royce Cullinan – first spy photos

Rolls Royce Cullinan

Not content to wait for spy photographers to snap the Cullinan prototype out in the wild, Rolls Royce decided to snap a few pictures itself and share it with the world.… Continue Reading …

Lynk & Co shows off its first car, the Volvo-based 01 SUV

Say what you will about Chinese carmakers, but one thing can’t be denied – they have made progress faster than any other country, faster than even Korean carmakers, the previous record-holders for how quickly they went from making shoddily-built copies of models that were past their “best by” date to building desirable, potentially segment-topping cars. The latest evidence of such progress can be seen with the 01, the aptly-named first car from the newly-formed brand of the Geely conglomerate, Lynk & Co.… Continue Reading …

BMW releases new 5-series… no, really! [w/ poll]

Late last week BWM finally pulled the wraps off the long-awaited 5-series replacement, causing a lot of head-scratching among its fans and the general public. The unaffiliated were left wondering why BMW had re-revealed the 7-series, especially when looking at the front lights and the detailing on the side of the car, while BMW aficionados were left staring at the shape of the C-pillar and wondering “is this just a very elaborate facelift?”.… Continue Reading …

China’s new EV plans: sell them or risk not selling anything

New-Energy-Vehicles-ChinaAfter the Chinese government exposed a large-scale fraude with its subsidies for New Energy Vehicles, Beijing has now developed and proposed two new system to stimulate manufacturers to produce and sell EVs and PHEVs in the world’s largest car market. China surpassed the US as the largest market for electric cars in 2015 and has set a target of 3 million new-energy vehicle sales by 2025. To encourage manufacturers to step into this market, central and local governments have already spent 15 billion yuan (€ 2 billion / US$ 2.25 billion) on subsidies since 2009, but plans to phase them out after 2020. The carrot will be replaced by a stick: the first proposal features a carbon credit scheme which should be introduced in the next two years, with strict enforcement from 2018. A second proposal puts a cap on average fleet fuel consumption, with extra credits for New Energy Vehicles. To enforce this limit, this new scheme will require any automaker to sell EVs and PHEVs in China if they want to keep selling gasoline-powered cars in the country, similar to California’s system. This means foreign automakers, for whom the subsidies provided too little incentive to launch electrified cars in China until now, will have to get into the New Energy Vehicle market as well.… Continue Reading …

Peugeot turns 5008 minivan into 7-seat soft-roader

Hot on the heals of the Škoda Kodiaq reveal, Peugeot revealed its own competitor for the wallet of those looking for a rugged, seven-seat family runabout: the new 5008.

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Škoda releases long-awaited Kodiaq [w/ poll]

After what seems like years of speculation, spyshots, teasers and leaks, Škoda finally released its take on the 7-seat family crossover: the Kodiaq. But for once all the buildup may actually be justified, as the Kodiaq is not just another Škoda model – it is the harbinger of a bevy of new crossovers from the Czech carmaker, and has the potential to become one of its best-sellers. That, and it’s probably the ultimate answer to the question “why should Škoda enter the US market?”.… Continue Reading …

BMW China-only 1-Series Sedan [w/ Poll]

BMW 1-Series Sedan

The other day BMW finally revealed the long-awaited 1-Series Sedan, a fine-looking premium compact sedan that will go head-to-head with Audi A3 Sedan and Mercedes-Benz CLA. The model is a production version of the Compact Sedan Concept (what an imaginative name that was…), and seems to have inherited most of the concepts good looks, including a front that looks better-balanced than the awkward 1-series Hatchback or the Coupe. For now BMW did not reveal what platform the Sedan is based on, leading many to assume that rather than being based on the RWD platform of the Hatch/Coupe, it is based on the FWD “UKL2” platform from the 1-series Active Tourer / X1.… Continue Reading …

Hopes of Dacia Kwid in Europe vanished by crash test results?

Renault_Kwid-IndiaFor the past 12 years, Renault has enjoyed an incredible worldwide success with its line-up of low-cost models, which are marketed under the Dacia brand in Europe and North Africa, and under the Renault brand in most other markets like Russia, South America, Arabia and India. In fact, these low-cost models currently comprise as much as 46% of worldwide sales for the combined Renault and Dacia brands. In India, the Duster had been the most successful Renault model so far, but the French carmaker has really shaken up the Indian car market when it launched the Kwid small car there last year. The Kwid is slightly larger than the European Twingo, and has a higher ride height, giving it a sort of mini-crossover look. Initially only produced in India and launched there, the Kwid has become an instant hit, with 70.000 orders in the first two months of sales, while Renault’s previous sales record in India stood at less than 45.000 sales in 2014. Production capacity was quickly upgraded to 10.000 units a month and so far Renault has sold every Kwid it could build in India, helping the French brand to a record 4th place in April, ahead of local manufacturer Tata. The model itself has stormed up the Indian sales charts as well, rising quickly to the segment 2nd place, ahead of the Hyundai Eon and unsuccessful Tata Nano, and closing in quickly on the perennial overall sales leader in India: the Maruti (Suzuki) Alto, which suffered a drop of 23% in dealer orders in April, possibly as dealers expect the Alto to suffer from competition from the Kwid in coming months.

Renault_Kwid-Maruti_Alto-Hyundai_Eon-Tata_Nano-sales-figures-India

Sales trends in the A-segment in India. Credit: Team-BHP.com

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