Automotive News, June 2018

Automotive News, June 2018

Thousands of the newly launched Range Rover Velar, revamped Land Rover Discovery and the new Jaguar E Pace – the baby version of the F-Pace SUV – were sold last month, helping hike JLR’s global sales by 6.1% in May to 48,281.

 

Sales for the company, which makes its engines at the £1bn factory on the i54 site to the north of Wolverhampton, were up in the UK, America and the Oversea markets – including the Pacific area, Middle East, South America, India and Russia. However they were down in Europe and in the key Chinese market.

 

It was only the new E-Pace that helped buoy Jaguar’s figures, with sharp drops in demand for the relatively new F-Pace, the F-Type sports car and big XF and XJ saloons. And the new Velar and Discovery helped counter a drop in sales of the Discovery Sport and the Range Rover Evoque.

 

Jaguar retail sales were 14,507 vehicles in May, up 6.6% on the same month last year. Land Rover retailed 33,774 vehicles in May, up six% year on year. Jaguar Land Rover total retail sales for the calendar year to date were 266,170, up a scant 0.3% year-on year as the introduction of new models were offset by lower sales of more established models.

 

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Midlands Future Mobility, a consortium led by WMG at University of Warwick, is to use over 50 miles of Coventry and Birmingham roads to establish the Midlands as a world-class UK centre for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV).

 

Midlands Future Mobility will be at the heart of the UK’s transport network, making significant contribution to the UK’s national transport strategy, and will play a crucial role in shaping the transport sector.

 

Reportedly, it will firmly establish the UK’s presence in the connected and autonomous vehicle market, and contribute to the UK’s Industrial Strategy. The specially selected networked roads cover a range of representative areas and will be the largest, most diverse testing environment in the UK, with the deployment of new roadside infrastructure including smart vehicle monitoring, data analytics and 5G ready wireless infrastructure Including smart vehicle monitoring, data analytics and 5C3 ready wireless infrastructure.

 

By using real-world environments, Midlands Future Mobility will enable a variety of industries to test new vehicle technologies and services, with the aim of improving integration. Midlands Future Mobility is a consortium of industry and academic experts that, through ambitious technology and business innovation, will work together to transform the way we experience transport.

 

The consortium is being led by WMG, University of Warwick, and includes Amey, AVL, Costain, Coventry University HORIBAMIRA Ltd, Wireless Infrastructure Group, and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). The £25m funding has come from industrial partners and Innovate UK as part of the wider Meridian Mobility initiative.

 

 

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Jaguar Land Rover is to shift all production of its Discovery model to Slovakia from Birmingham in a move likely to affect hundreds of workers. The company said the switch will take place early next year and that agency workers are most at risk from the decision.

 

Two years ago the firm, owned by India’s Tata Motors, insisted that its Slovakia plant would “complement” its UK operations, operations, operations, with the Discovery built in both locations. However, Jaguar Land Rover have now said that all production the Discovery will be moved to the Eastern European nation.

 

The announcement comes weeks after profits at Jaguar Land Rover were almost cut in half in the fourth quarter as the car-maker was stung by a combination of falling diesel sales, Brexit uncertainty and vehicle taxation. The group saw pre-tax profit slump to £364 million in the three months to March 31, down from £676 million in the same period last year.

 

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Car giant Volkswagen has been fined €1bn (£880m) by German prosecutors over its diesel emissions scandal. The Braunschweig public prosecutor found VW had sold more than 10 million cars between mid-2007 and 2015 that had emissions-test-cheating software installed. The car firm said it did not plan to appeal against the fine. The fine is one of the highest ever imposed by German authorities against a company. The fine in Germany follows a US plea agreement last year, when VW agreed to pay a criminal fine of 54.3bn to resolve criminal and civil penalties.

 

€1bn is not a small sum. It pales into insignificance compared with the fines and compensation the group has had to pay out in the US – which add up to well over €20bn. If this puts an end to criminal proceedings in Europe, VW may well think it’s a relatively small price to pay. The company has consistently denied that the software fitted to its cars was actually illegal under European law. Nevertheless, it will welcome the disappearance of that particular legal threat.

 

The total cost of the scandal has been much higher. VW has set aside $30bn to pay for its US bill, which includes fixing cars, buying back cars, clean air fines, penalties and compensation. The Volkswagen scandal erupted in September 2015, when the company admitted that nearly 600,000 cars sold in the US were fitted with “defeat devices” designed to circumvent emissions tests. Since then it has emerged that VW installed emissions-cheating software in nearly 11 million vehicles worldwide.

 

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