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JLR takes on German rivals with move to make Jaguar saloons at China plant – Jaguar Land Rover is attempting to gain traction in China with its flagship saloons as it seeks to break the stranglehold of its dominant German rivals in the world’s largest car market. The carmaker, which yesterday opened its first fully-fledged manufacturing facility outside the UK in Changshu near Shanghai, plans to manufacture its premium Jaguar saloons in China, as it faces off with Audi, BMW and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz marque.
Airbag maker Takata’s shares plunge amid safety warnings – Shares in Japanese airbag supplier Takata plunged by nearly a quarter yesterday after owners of 4.7m vehicles were urged by US car safety regulators to “act immediately” to have defective airbags fixed. While this is the latest issue in a snow-balling number of recalls by carmakers worldwide, the unusual warning sparked fresh investor concern about the future of Tokyo-based Takata, the world’s second-largest airbag maker behind Sweden’s Autoliv.
Taxi Wars Uber takes on bigger cabs – Uber is continuing its collision course with Britain’s taxi services, launching a larger car service in an effort to win over business passengers who had been a key advantage of rivals such as Addison Lee and Hailo. The US tax app group said it was launching “Uber XL” today, a system that will allow passengers to book six-seater cars in London and eight-seater vehicles in Manchester.
RAC calls for more cash for road maintenance – Motoring groups are calling for increased investment in road maintenance after a study showed drivers pay four times as much in taxes than is spent by the government ton the roads. A report for the RAC Foundation said that spending had dropped to £7.5bn in 20122 while the exchequer’s total take from motoring taxes remained just under £31bn – 24.8bn from fuel duty and £5.9bn from vehicle excite du=ty. In 2009, the amount spent on roads was £9.7bn, a third of the tax raised.
Low-cost formula drives success of Dacia, the fastest-growing car brand in Europe – Walking through the assembly plant at Dacia’s sprawling factory complex in Misoveni, 80 miles north-west of Bucharest, Christian Negoita talks proudly of the factory’s output. “We make about 65 cars in an hour, 1,389 a day” says the 25-year company veteran and deputy chief of the assembly plant. “Before we joined Renault we were making 110,000 cars a year here with 30,000 workers, today it’s 340,000 cars, with 14,000 workers.”