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Peugeot 308 Wins European Car of the Year

BMW i3, Tesla Model S end up runners-up.

by on Mar.04, 2014

The Peugeot 308 beat out two battery electrics and Mercedes most technologically advanced vehicle to capture Car of the Year honors in Geneva.

It might not be the silver lining the struggling French automaker has been desperately seeking, but Peugeot officials were clearly pleased to learn they landed the much-coveted European Car of the Year title for their little 308 model.

The compact hatchback triumphed over some tough competition that included a pair of well-reviewed new battery cars, as well as the most sophisticated full-sized luxury sedan ever offered by Mercedes-Benz.

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It’s been a tough few years for the largest of the French automakers, PSA Peugeot Citroen only last month forced to sell a major chunk of its stock to Chinese partner Dongfeng, an equal share to the French government – effectively ending more than a century of control by the Peugeot family. That move was forced by the company’s continuing losses and the rising fear of collapse. (more…)

More European Plant Closings Coming – But Who’ll be First?

by on Mar.19, 2012

“Europe, today, is a place where all manufacturers have capacity problems,” says Renault CEO Ghosn.

European automakers are desperately hoping that the just-concluded Geneva Motor Show will give the industry a much-needed push.  But with the Greek debt crisis still unsettled and economic problems spreading to other parts of the Continent, few expect automotive sales to rebound this year.

That’s likely to put even more pressure on the industry to address the chronic problem of overcapacity – which by some counts is running to several million vehicles annually.  Yet while almost all industry leaders agree that plant closings are needed no one seems to want to go first.

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“Europe, today, is a place where all manufacturers have capacity problems,” says Carlos Ghosn, CEO of The Renault-Nissan Alliance.

The Brazilian-born Ghosn estimates the industry may need to shrink capacity by as much as 20%, but everyone is waiting for the other guy to blink.  “The day it starts, every manufacturer will have to follow.”

(more…)

BMW, Peugeot Citroën Engine Sharing to Continue

Further development of 4-cylinder gasoline engines is agreed.

by on Feb.05, 2010

Philippe Varin, PSA Peugeot Citroën, sitting left, and Norbert Reithofer, BMW AG, sitting right.

The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën will continue their engine sharing  that dates back to the reintroduction of the Mini brand in 2002.

A revised  agreement was signed by Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Philippe Varin, Chairman of the Managing Board of PSA Peugeot Citroën, in Paris.

The two companies will develop the next generation 4-cylinder gasoline engine, which will meet stringent EU 6 requirements, which take effect in 2014, and strictly limit CO2, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions.

Currently, the engine is being used in several Mini models, the Peugeot 207 and 308, as well as Citroën’s C3 Picasso.

The existing family of 1.6 – liter turbocharged petrol engines, with fully variable valve timing and direct fuel injection have power outputs ranging from 55 kW (75 hp) to 128 kW (175 hp).

The cars they are used in have been favorably reviewed, and there does not appear to be any negative effects on the brands, which could come from the use of a common engine.

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Illuminating!

There is a widespread assumption in the industry that engine technology is best held closely at individual makers. That assumption is increasingly pushed aside, though, as development costs skyrocket due to emissions and efficiency demands on what is an automobile’s single most expensive component.

Still, preserving brand integrity in a world of shared pieces is a delicate balancing act.   (more…)

Fiat Forecasting 20% Drop in Global Sales

Italian maker also rumored in talks with France’s PSA.

by on Jan.22, 2009

Fiat: Falling Flat, Even as it Explores a Second Alliance with PSA?

Fiat: Falling Flat, Even as it Explores a Second Alliance with PSA?

The sky is falling, the sky is falling. How do you say that in Italian? The folks at Chrysler might want to learn, and fast, considering the news out of Turin, this evening.

Chrysler is betting a lot, perhaps its entire future, on the global alliance it announced, earlier this week, with Fiat s.P.a., but after posting one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the industry, earlier this decade, things are suddenly looking a little problematic for the Italian automaker.

The Fiat Group is revealing that its net quarterly profit dropped from 597 million euros to 180 million euros during the last quarter of 2008. The Fiat car division’s revenues dropped 19 per cent over Q4. For the Fiat brand, as well as Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Ferrari and Maserati, revenues during October, November and December were 6.3 billion euros or 8.1 billion dollars, compared with 7.6 billion euros for the fourth quarter of 2007. The car division’s profits fell to 202 million euros, a drop of 44 per cent.

Though there was a bit less of a line waiting for those high-demand Ferrari sports cars, Fiat’s uber-marque continued to set records, but Alfa Romeo, the Fiat brand and Lancia saw sales slip considerably.

The forecast for 2009 is also disturbing, as Fiat expects to see a drop in worldwide sales of 20 percent, with the first quarter likely to be especially difficult. On the Milan stock exchange, after Fiat shares lost 9 per cent, following the announcement, leading to a temporary halt in trading.

Ironically, while Chrysler is struggling to get the U.S. government to continue propping it up, the Italian government seems ready to launch its own bailout program, even though all signs indicate Fiat would be able to make it through a moderately protracted global recession – and come to the aid of its new U.S. partner.

But the trans-Atlantic partnership may be just the beginning of a broader alliance strategy for Fiat, with the Italian media now reporting a second possible alliance, this one teaming Fiat and the French PSA Peugeot Citroën.