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NADA’s Welch: Seize the political opportunity
NADA exec: Dealers must fight rising prices
National Automobile Dealers Association President and CEO Peter Welch said it is critical to take advantage of a Republican-led government to reduce government regulations and keep annual new-vehicle sales growing. Welch, speaking at the Automotive News World Congress last week, predicted annual U.S. new-vehicle sales will be between 16 million and 18 million for the next few years. But, he warned, “there will be serious challenges to all of us” to keep sales strong. One is the potential for rising prices, which would put vehicle ownership out of reach for many Americans, he said.
Nissan to undertake autonomous vehicle tests in London
Nissan will bring real-world demonstrations of autonomous driving cars to London next month. Passengers, including Government officials and technical and safety experts, will be given the opportunity to experience and test the technology in a live environment in a modified Nissan Leaf.
These will be the first demonstrations of Nissan’s autonomous drive technology on public roads in Europe, representing the next step in Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility blueprint for transforming how cars are driven, powered, and integrated into wider society.
It follows recent announcements that both the refreshed Qashqai and the new Leaf, both coming soon, will be equipped with autonomous drive technology to enable single lane autonomous driving on motorways.
Confidence grows as Britons shrug off worries over Brexit
A quarter of Britons expect to be better off in 2017 than last year, despite rising inflation and fears of a “hard” Brexit, according to PwC. Its consumer survey suggests that positive sentiment is marginally up on last year, when only 21 per cent of those polled expected to be better off. However, 26 per cent of those polled said that they expected conditions to worsen over the next 12 months. PwC, which questioned more than 2,000 people across England, Scotland and Wales, said that issues such as the national living wage were encouraging a “feel good factor” in some quarters.
Toyota marks break from past with fund for tech investments
Toyota has invested in 15 technology start-ups worldwide through a $310m fund it launched 14 months ago, marking a break from its typically conservative investment stance in an attempt to ride the new wave of connected vehicles and robotics. The uncharacteristic focus on tech companies — ranging from car sharing and flat-panel satellite antennas to home robots — reflects a sense of urgency felt by Akio Toyoda, the chief executive of the Japanese company, to keep pace with innovation in autonomous driving and incursions by tech rivals such as Google, according to people close to the company.
The Financial Times
Rolls-Royce pledges to motor on without state incentives
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is not seeking any Nissan-style guarantee from Whitehall after Britain’s departure from the European Union, its chief executive has said. Torsten Müller-Otvos said the company would not threaten job cuts if ministers did not pledge to protect it from the consequences of Brexit. In the autumn, the government promised Nissan that it would not “lose out” from Brexit and the carmaker secured thousands of jobs in Sunderland by announcing it would build two new models at its plant in the city.
China, Europe drive shift to electric cars as U.S. lags
Electric cars will pick up critical momentum in 2017, many in the auto industry believe – just not in North America. Tighter emissions rules in China and Europe leave global carmakers and some consumers with little choice but to embrace plug-in vehicles, fuelling an investment surge, said industry executives gathered in Detroit this past week for the city’s annual auto show. “Car electrification is an irreversible trend,” said Jacques Aschenbroich, chief executive of auto supplier Valeo which has expanded sales by 50 percent in five years with a focus on electric, hybrid, connected and self-driving cars.