ANE's April issue goes live on Monday

The latest issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly magazine goes live on Monday. The new edition looks at the profitability risks that European automakers face because of China’s slowdown.

A terrible second half of last year pushed the market into the red for the first time since 1990. Market leader Volkswagen Group expects the overall market will be flat in 2019. Car buyers in China have been postponing purchases in mass numbers because of trade tensions with the U.S. The ramifications of China’s slump on the European auto industry are potentially enormous. We look at what steps Europe’s major players are taking to offset the troubles in China.

Peter Schwarzenbauer has led Mini and Rolls-Royce to record sales during his six years as the BMW Group board member in charge of the brands. Starting this month he takes on a new role within the automaker as the board member whose primary focus is to continue the group’s electrification shift. He outlines the tasks ahead.

The Peugeot brand has been the driving force behind PSA Group’s record financial and sales performance. The 3008 and 5008 crossovers have become international hits while cars such as the 2008, 208 and 308 continue to be strong sellers. This year, Peugeot will sell a full-electric version of the new 208, along with plug-in hybrid versions of the 508 and 3008. Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato talks about the French brand’s future.

Electric vehicles dominated the stands and conversations at this year’s Geneva auto show as more automakers start to reveal models that will be crucial to their EV strategies. Despite the push to make the still-expensive technology more accessible, car companies remain unsure whether customers will reward their multi-billion-euro investments in EVs. We look at where this key segment is headed.

Asia’s battery companies are stepping up their investment in cell manufacturing operations in Europe to keep pace with electric car development, but European automakers haven’t given up on the idea of establishing their own cell production as the EV market grows. One European company, Northvolt in Sweden, is hoping to challenge the Asian dominance with a huge $1.6 million plant in its home market. The factory is scheduled to open late next year and is expected to have a 32 GWh capacity by 2023. We analyze this fast-changing sector.

Mazda is counting on the new Mazda3 to give it a lift in Europe’s crucial compact segment, where the predecessor model has dropped to 18th in the ranking after three consecutive years of declining sales. The fourth-generation Mazda3 gets fuel-saving mild hybrid powertrains and upgraded safety features more commonly found in more premium models to help regain lost share.

Toyota takes its leadership in hybrids to a new level with the gasoline-electric Corolla. The compact car will be the first model from Toyota to offer two different hybrid variants. One will be a high-performance version. The aim is for the Corolla to match the success of the RAV4, for which 80 percent of all European sales are hybrids.

Already a leading player in the soft trim and noise suppression sector, Auria Solutions in February opened a new plant in Vrable, Slovakia, which is about 20 km east of key customer Jaguar Land Rover’s factory in Nitra. Auria CEO Brian Pour spoke to us about current industry trends and explained why the company focuses on premium automakers.

Europe’s minivan market is in free fall but the struggling segment is being handed a lifeline as companies offer an alternative via more sophisticated passenger versions of their commercial vans. The latest passenger version of the VW Transporter, the Multivan 6.1, has technology from VW’s car range such as lane departure warning. We examine what’s next for the minivan sector.

Being the founding editor of Automotive News Europe was just one of Rick Johnson’s many lasting achievements during 35 memorable years with the Automotive News Group. For me, Rick was not only a boss for more than a decade, he was an ally, a mentor and a friend. Our Final Word column honors the man who brought ANE to life.

Enjoy the issue

Luca Ciferri, Associate Publisher & Editor

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