Friday, 15 May 2015
Aston Martin may modify its new sports car platform for its DBX crossover rather than use SUV underpinnings from industrial partner Daimler, CEO Andy Palmer said. Media reports have said that the DBX could use the same platform as the GLC SUV from Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand.
However, Palmer said that the DBX would be more crossover than SUV so Daimler’s SUV architecture likely would not be not suitable. Mercedes SUVs “clearly sit in a very different space to the one we want to go to.
They are very much an SUV and we don't want an SUV,” he told Automotive News Europe on the sidelines of a conference here organized by the Financial Times newspaper in London this week.
Palmer said the DBX needs to reflect the brand’s sports heritage rather than be an SUV. He said buyers should feel like they are sitting in the car rather than “on the car,” referring to SUVs’ high front seat position.
Aston Martin is developing a new architecture to replace the current platform that underpins its luxury sports car range. The first car built on the platform is likely to be the successor to the DB9 2+2 coupe. The car is likely to go on sale next year.
The company is investigating whether the platform can be adapted to fit the DBX. “It just depends how high off the ground it could go,” Palmer said. “I don't exclude the possibility of using some [Mercedes’] parts, but I would say very much the primary route is our platform.”
The new architecture will use extruded and cast aluminum to reduce weight, Palmer said.
Aston Martin said on April 30 that it has raised $315 million for the development of a crossover based on the DBX concept unveiled at the Geneva auto show in March, as well as other vehicles that fall outside its traditional lineup of luxury sports cars.
The DBX is expected to go on sale around 2019 and is aimed at attracting more women and younger buyers to the brand, which has traditionally relied on a small, male audience.
Aston Martin showed a Lagonda-badged SUV concept based on the Mercedes GL in 2009.
Daimler has a 5 percent stake in Aston Martin as part of an agreement for Daimler to supply electrical architectures and V-8 engines for the next generation of Aston Martin cars.
Workers protesting over employment conditions today brought production to a halt today at Renault's Turkish plant in the northwestern city of Bursa, Dogan news agency reported.
Thousands of employees at the plant, a joint venture with Turkey's army pension fund Oyak, refused to start the midnight shift, the agency reported, adding that about 400 vehicles are manufactured in a single shift.
A union official told Reuters that the action amounted to a protest but a strike had not been declared.
A spokesman for Oyak Renault, Turkey's market leader in car sales and exports, declined to provide detail on the production situation but said that a statement would be made later.
The factory builds the Clio and Symbol subcompact cars and Megane and Fluence compact models, according to Automotive News Europe's Guide to European Assembly Plants.
The Volkswagen Group will spend EUR 4.2 billion in Spain from 2015 to 2019, which represents the largest industrial investment ever made in the country and is destined for infrastructures and new models.
During a meeting at the Moncloa Palace, Dr. Francisco Javier García Sanz, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, announced this investment to the President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy.
“The Volkswagen Group reaffirms its commitment as a driver of the Spanish economy with the largest industrial investment ever made in the history of our country”, underlined García Sanz after expressing his gratitude to President Rajoy for the strong support of the Government in the automotive sector.
“Spain is a key country within the Volkswagen Group’s strategy”, added Dr. García Sanz, who highlighted that “this project is a guarantee for the future of the Group facilities in Spain, which are preparing themselves for the assignment of new models”.
The models to be manufactured are currently under development and will be the subject of future announcements.
This latest investment of the largest car manufacturer in Europe is destined for the company´s industrial facilities in Spain, the Volkswagen plant in Navarra and to SEAT in Martorell (Barcelona), that according to Dr. García Sanz, “are among the best plants within the Group in terms of productivity and flexibility”.
This new investment of the Volkswagen Group not only guarantees the future of its facilities in Spain, but will also have a very positive impact on the Spanish automotive supply industry, both in terms of activity and employment. Through this investment, the Group will substantially increase the supply of parts and components manufactured in Spain.
The Volkswagen Group has a significant presence in Spain, where it employs around 22,000 workers distributed within different companies: SEAT, Volkswagen Navarra, Volkswagen-Audi Spain, Volkswagen Financial Services, Volkswagen Group Retail Spain, Porsche Iberica, MAN Truck & Bus, MAN Finance, MAN Diesel & Turbo, Scania Iberica, Scania Finance, Italdesign Giugiaro Barcelona and Audi Tooling Barcelona.
In 2014, the sales revenue of the Volkswagen Group companies in Spain rose to €13.8 billion, which equals 1.3 percent of the total Spanish GDP.
Last year, deliveries from all the Volkswagen Group brands in the Spanish market exceeded 216,250 vehicles, of which over 200,000 were passenger cars. Thus, one of every four passenger or off-road vehicles registered in Spain in 2014 came from within the Volkswagen Group.
On an industrial level, the SEAT plant in Martorell (Barcelona) and the Volkswagen plant in Navarra produced a total of 748,400 vehicles in 2014, growing 13.1 percent compared to the previous year. The Volkswagen Group manufactures one in every three vehicles produced in Spain.
The Volkswagen Group, with headquarters in the German city of Wolfsburg, is the largest car manufacturer in Europe. Its global deliveries exceeded 10 million vehicles in 2014, four years ahead of its initial target, while its sales revenue exceeded €200 billion.
The corporation includes the Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, ŠKODA, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Ducati, Scania and MAN brands. In addition, the Volkswagen Group offers a wide range of financial services, including dealer and customer financing, leasing, banking and insurance activities, and fleet management. The Volkswagen Group has 118 production plants and 592,000 employees worldwide. - See more at: http://www.seat-mediacenter.com/en-stories/corporate/volkswagen-group-will-spend-eur-4-2-billion-in-spain-from-2015-to-2019/?v=t&p=1&overview=0&overview=1#sthash.CcpoEQD6.dpuf
The global Takata airbag recall expanded by millions more vehicles for the second time in as many days today, with Honda Motor Co. and Daihatsu calling back more inflators.
The latest recalls affect some 4.89 million vehicles at Honda and about 260,000 at Daihatsu, the mini vehicle subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. The safety campaigns came just a day after Toyota and Nissan Motor Co. announced a similar recall of more than 6.5 million cars globally.
The Honda recall doesn’t affect vehicles in the United States or Canada. Vehicles sold in those markets weren’t equipped with the possibly faulty inflators targeted in the latest action.
Honda’s recall covers 1.72 million vehicles in Japan that were manufactured from 2002 to 2008. Those 17 nameplates were made in Japan, Thailand and the United States. The remainder of the recalls falls in other regions. Honda said it will announce the regional breakdowns locally.
Daihatsu’s recall affects cars only in Japan.
Including the latest actions, about 36 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide since 2008 over Takata inflators, according to Reuters estimates. That includes 19.6 million from Honda alone, some 8.2 million of which are in the United States, Honda spokeswoman Yuka Abe said.
Honda and Daihatsu said they aren’t aware of any injuries or deaths linked to the latest recalls.
Carmakers are calling back more cars after investigations showed that certain inflators were susceptible to moisture damage over time and possibly prone to rupture. Honda said it is acting based on the results of a study provide in March by Takata Corp., the Japanese supplier that has produced millions of airbag inflators that may explode, showering occupants with metal shards.
Mazda Motor Corp. said it was investigating whether the current findings warrant a similar recall of its vehicles. A Mitsubishi Motors Corp. spokesman said the company couldn’t comment on whether it plans a recall before officially notifying transportation authorities. A spokesperson for Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries was not immediately available for comment.
That study, conducted independently by Takata, showed that moisture intrusion can cause the inflator’s propellant to lose density over time, raising the risk of rupture, Honda’s Abe said.
Honda said engineers have yet to determine the root cause of the problem.
Honda is acting in May, even though it received the study’s results in March, because it took time to determine how many cars were affected and where those cars were sold, Abe said.
Honda said it will replace the Takata-made driver-side inflators with inflators made by Autoliv and Daicel. Takata inflators on the passenger-side will be swapped for ones from Daicel and Takata. Abe said Honda opted to source from companies that can supply replacement quickly, and did not opt for Takata’s competitors because of concerns about Takata quality.
Daihatsu is replacing the Takata inflators with new inflators from Takata.
Toyota said Wednesday, while announcing its recall of about 5 million vehicles that it would opt for new inflators from Daicel on the driver-side because it could deliver the needed volume more quickly. Toyota will used Takata replacements for the passenger-side.
Toyota’s recall involved 35 models, including 1.36 million cars in Japan, 1.27 million in Europe, 637,000 in the U.S. and 18,000 in Canada, the company said in an email.
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesman Gordon Trowbridge said Toyota and Nissan as well as Japanese government officials have been in contact with the U.S. safety agency over the last few days, and NHTSA will soon announce "significant new steps" related to accelerating Takata recalls.
Nissan said it was recalling about 1.56 million cars globally over the same issue, adding that no accidents or injuries had been reported. Nissan's recall includes 563,000 cars in Europe, 326,000 in North America, 288,000 in Japan and 274,000 in China.
In the U.S., the Nissan recall affects 12,725 units of the 2004 Pathfinder and about 251,000 Sentra compact cars from the 2004-06 model years from all 50 U.S. states. The company's latest move expands earlier recalls that were limited to regions with high humidity, a Nissan spokesman said.
Nissan will begin notifying customers in June, the spokesman said.
Six fatalities in Honda cars, including five in the U.S. and one in Malaysia, have been blamed on shrapnel from Takata airbags. At least 105 injuries are connected to the flaw, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson said last month.
Regulators in Japan and the U.S. are investigating Takata airbag inflators that may malfunction, deploying them with so much force that the part breaks and hurls metal shrapnel at the car's occupants.
A group of 10 automakers hired aerospace and defense company Orbital ATK to test potentially faulty Takata airbag inflators. The Japanese component maker has also commissioned German research group Fraunhofer Society to investigate the cause of airbag ruptures.
Takata, which has forecast a return to profit this fiscal year, has said it's unable to estimate the penalties from the lawsuits associated with the airbags and hasn't set aside any amount to cover them as the cause of the defect is still being investigated.
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