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From the Editor

  • After PSA and Opel, what’s next?

    March 23, 2017

    Even as the industry absorbs news from PSA and Opel, discussion turns to other brands who might be ripe for consolidation.

  • Time to get personal

    March 14, 2017

    The advent of 3D printing has set the industry’s imagination racing with regard to how far this innovative technology could actually push technological boundaries, particularly concerning personalisation. Ford says it is now testing the 3D printing of large-scale car parts for commercial use, with personalisation and light weighting in mind. Using a Stratasys Infinite Build 3D printer at its Research and Innovation Centre in Dearborn, USA, increasingly affordable parts…

  • PSA and Opel? Why, Carlos… why?

    February 15, 2017

    Periodically, the car industry goes through a burst of rationalisation, with companies closing plants and merging or creating alliances. This is typically accompanied by a flood of headlines and stories about the need for structural change, realignment in the industry and so forth. It has happened before and will happen again…

  • The Trump factor

    January 12, 2017

    Donald Trump has arguably had more impact on manufacturing strategy than any US president in a very long time; and that is even before he has taken office. During his election campaign he lambasted US vehicle-makers, especially Ford, for building cars in Mexico, threatening to rip up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to impose “a big border tax” on Mexican-made vehicles being sold in the US. At the time, he was dismissed as not understanding the industry and the car companies continued expanding in Mexico. Although there was parallel investment in the US, this did not detract from the Trump narrative that American jobs were being lost to Mexico…

  • Reality check for tech

    January 5, 2017

    In 2015, Samsung Electronics set up a team specifically to look at ways of penetrating the automotive industry. The South Korean tech giant was seeking to gain a firm foothold in an automotive electronics market that it predicted would grow to more than $100 billion in the next decade. Towards the end of last year, Samsung began to act on those ambitions. The group announced a deal to buy the US car infotainment and audio company Harman, valued at about $8 billion. According to the Financial Times, this is Samsung’s biggest acquisition to date…

  • Carlos Ghosn – hungry for even more power?

    December 16, 2016

    As the end of the year approaches, news from Japan has emerged about what Nissan – or more specifically, Carlos Ghosn – intends to do with Mitsubishi. Japanese corporate law allowed Nissan to take control of its troubled compatriot by acquiring just 34% of the company for 237 billion yen ($2.3 billion). Although only ratified in December, this was announced earlier in the year when Mitsubishi admitting to falsifying various emissions results for a range of small kei cars which it sells only in Japan. Nissan’s immediate involvement was in large part due to the fact that Mitsubishi supplied some of the affected cars for sale as Nissans…

  • What might Trump have in store for OEMs?

    November 22, 2016

    During the recent presidential campaign, Donald Trump was severely critical of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which allows Mexican-made vehicles to be imported tariff-free to the US. At various times, he threatened to rip it up, or at least renegotiate it to give US workers “a better deal”. Trump coruscated Ford and GM for switching production to Mexico, despite the US factories which lost this small car production generally seeing it replaced by larger and more profitable SUVs or crossovers…

  • Reflections on the Paris Motor Show

    November 1, 2016

    This year’s show was notable for a number of intriguing launches, corporate reinventions and absences – no Mazda, no Volvo, no Bentley, no Lamborghini and, most interestingly, no Ford. Mazda stated that the strength of PSA and Renault in France made it difficult for it to have much of an impact at the show. On this basis, the power of the German brands will presumably lead it to pull out of Frankfurt next year. However, what may be true for Mazda surely does not apply to Ford…

  • Editor’s note: A headlong rush

    October 18, 2016

    Vehicle-makers can barely get into Mexico fast enough. No fewer than six new factories will be opened between 2016 and 2019 – more than one a year. This September witnessed official plant launches by Kia and Audi, next year it will be Renault-Nissan in partnership with Daimler, Ford will follow in 2018, while BMW and Toyota will bring up the rear in 2019. Some of these companies will be manufacturing in Mexico – or even the wider region – for the very first time, as is the case for Kia and Audi. Another interesting point is that exactly half of these new factories will be producing premium vehicles…

  • Coming soon: A new Ford

    September 21, 2016

    There will be a new Ford soon – a new company that is, not just a new model. At least, that is the ambitious plan outlined to Ford’s investors in September. This new company will not only allocate capital more efficiently, deliver improved margins and strengthen its core business as well as several other matters that companies tend to talk about when launching a fresh strategy. According to Ford president and CEO Mark Fields…