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Automotive News – September 2017

Jaguar Land Rover has announced that, from 2020, all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles will be electrified.

 

According to Jaguar Land Rover, every new model line will be electrified from 2020, giving the customers even more choice.

 

Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive officer, said: “We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. Our first fully electric performance SUV, the Jaguar l-PACE, goes on sale next year.”

 

Jaguar has announced that the company is already testing driverless cars in the real world. The Autonomous Urban Drive technology can enable a vehicle to operate without a driver through a city, obeying traffic lights as well as negotiating T-junctions and roundabouts.

 

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Volkswagen, the world’s biggest carmaker, will offer an electric version of all its 300 models by 2030, becoming the latest manufacturer to move away from petrol and diesel.

 

VW will double investment in zero-emission vehicles to 20bn euros (£l8bn) as it seeks to put the diesel emissions scandal behind it.

 

The German firm plans to offer 80 new electric cars across the group by 2025.

 

It comes as Mercedes-Benz also promised electric versions of all its cars. However, VW is the first major carmaker to announce a big push into the mass-market with electric vehicles.

 

Speaking at the Frankfurt motor show, Volkswagen chief Matthias Mueller told the BBC the firm had “got the message”. “Customers want clean vehicles. People want to have clean air and we want to make our contribution here.” he said

 

The German firm, whose brands include Seat and Skoda, also said it would place orders worth more than 50bn euros for batteries to power the cars.

 

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Vehicle manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled its most extreme production off-roader ever – and it will be built in the West Midlands.

 

Debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Land Rover Discovery SVX is billed as the most adventurous member of the Discovery family.

 

The vehicle, which will be produced at JLR’s Special Vehicle Operations centre in Ryton, near Coventry, has increased ground clearance, a specially tuned terrain response system for hardcore off-road capability and is powered by JLR’s 5.0-litre Supercharged V8 petrol powertrain, tuned to deliver 525PS peak power and 625Nm torque.

 

It will be available for customers in 2018.

 

While the SVX will grab the headlines, Land Rover has also said the regular Discovery family will now have the option of a Wolverhampton-built 2.0-litre Ingenium petrol engine option to its S, SE, HSE and HSE Luxury models.

 

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Coventry-based London EV Company (LEVC) is targeting improved European sales after launching its all-new electric TX six-seater taxi at the continent’s biggest auto show in Frankfurt.

 

The vehicle is being produced at the company’s new £325m factory in Ansty Park.

 

LEVC, formerly the London Taxi Company, has even premiered the vehicle in Germany’s famous ‘taxi beige’.  The company, owned by China’s Geely, is hoping the vehicle will attract sales in cities looking to reduce vehicle emission levels.

 

Chris Gubbey, CEO, LEVC, said: “From our heritage as the manufacturer of the iconic London Taxi, we have unparalleled insight into the needs of commercial operators and passengers. Drawing on the best of British design and engineering as well as technical expertise from our sister company Volvo, our products will help transform city living and urban air quality.”

 

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Toyota has warned that the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit discussions could lead it to shift some UK production elsewhere if concerns around the direction and timetable of the talks are not addressed.

 

Toyota is concerned that early government assurances that free trade with the European Union would survive Britain’s exit have been replaced by talk of transition periods, Toyota executive vice president Didier Leroy told reporters.

 

Speaking at the Frankfurt Car Show, he said: “A few months ago the UK government was saying, we’re sure we’ll be able to negotiate (a deal) without any trade tax. They are not saying that anymore.”

 

He added, “It’s clear that if we have to wait two to three more years to have a clarity on this topic, we will have a big question-mark about our future investment in the country.”

 

In March Toyota announced plans to start a £240m upgrade to its Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, after receiving assurances from the government about the direction of Brexit. The firm has been making cars in the UK since 1992. The Burnaston plant, near Derby, makes the Auris and the Avensis models.

 

However, Leroy stated the firm could not wait forever before deciding whether to build a new model at the site.

 

He said: “We cannot take this kind of decision before we have clarity on the future trade relationship,” said Leroy.

 

“We will not close the plant tomorrow morning, but if in two to three years we have to decide some future investments, of course the key point will be the competitiveness of this plant in future.”

 

Leroy warned Reuters on the future of the Derbyshire plant: “The longer we have to wait, the more potential there is to move to another factory.”

 

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Jaguar Land Rover has announced a new scheme to recycle aluminium waste from end-of-life cars and reuse it in the production of new JLR vehicles.

 

Known as REALITY, the £2m project builds on the REALCAR programme set up by JLR in 2018 to reuse aluminium waste from the manufacturing process. According to JLR, in 2016/2017 REALCAR allowed It to reclaim more than 75,000 tonnes of aluminium scrap and reuse It in new vehicles.

 

So far, JLR’s closed-loop aluminium recycling efforts have seen Infrastructure and investment of more than £13m. According to the OEM, more than 10 press shops have been involved in the project, both within JLR and across the company’s supply chain. However, the scheme promises both financial and environmental long-term benefits, as recycling aluminium requires up to 95 per cent less energy than its primary production.

 

REALITY will aim to expand on REALCAR’S success, introducing even more reclaimed aluminium into JLR’s production process. The project plans to use Innovative sorting technologies that can differentiate between different grades of aluminium in end-of-life waste streams. To ensure a high-grade of reclaimed material, JLR is working with recovery specialist Axion Recycling.

 

Partners include Novelis, Norton Aluminium, Brunel University London, WMG University of Warwick and Innoval Technology. As with REALCAR, REALITY, has received the backing of Innovate UK, which awarded a £1.3m grant to the project in 2016 as part of Its Manufacturing and Materials Round One funding competition.

 

“Innovate UK is proud of our support for the REALCAR programme,” said Simon Edmunds, director of manufacturing and materials at Innovate UK.

 

This exciting latest stage of the project, REALITY, is another excellent example of collaboration between large and small businesses in the supply chain, supporting them to scale up and become more productive. These projects have been a model in terms of professional delivery of complex research and development.”

 

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Car making is pretty much at the top of the list of industries that the UK government worries about after Brexit.

 

It is a sector that the UK has painstakingly rebuilt as other industries have shrunk, rising from a 4.8% share of UK manufacturing in 1990 to 9.4% in 2016, according to the ONS.

 

Nevertheless, one carmaker is surprisingly upbeat about Brexit. McLaren Automotive is admittedly not a mass market manufacturer. Its factory near Woking has produced supercars using the company’s Formula One technology for just seven years.

 

McLaren sells £649m of these luxury motors each year, and the weakness of sterling since the Brexit vote should boost that number.

 

Tariffs are nothing new to the business. Its customers in China, where it sells 7% of its output, pay roughly 100% duties on foreign supercars. It has relatively limited exposure to the EU.

 

Confidence in its business plan has encouraged McLaren to press ahead with investments that should help it profit from Brexit.

 

It has already been moving more of its supply chain back to the UK, announcing a £50m investment in a new carbon fibre chassis facility in Sheffield last year to replace an Austrian supplier.

 

More widely, the UK government has ordered incentives to increase the proportion of domestic components in cars, which have risen from 36% in 2011 to 44% last year.

 

For McLaren, the biggest positive effect of Brexit is that it has focused the government on supporting the industry.

 

McLaren is looking at ways to suppress the expense of tariffs on components. “Clearly if there is a UK supplier who met our criteria, we would look at it very favourably, Mr Buddin, the company’s chief financial officer said.

 

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Black Country sports car manufacturer and electric vehicle pioneer, Westfield has announced details of another driverless vehicle project.

 

Fresh from concluding a £30m supply deal with South Korea for its first autonomous vehicle, the Kingswinford company has confirmed it is developing he UK’s first Autonomous Road Sweeper through its subsidiary Westfield Autonomous Vehicles.

 

The project is a joint venture with Johnston Sweepers and Fusion Processing.

 

The three organisations aim to automate the repetitive sweeping process in precincts and pedestrian areas, as well as removing foreign objects in safety critical environments such as airside at airports and in live roadworks projects. Thereby reducing the risk of punctures and associated delays.

 

Julian Turner, CEO, Westfield said: “A fully autonomous road sweeper could revolutionise town centre sweeping, improving the environment for residents and businesses, and this is an exciting opportunity to develop the technology for use at airports and on roadwork sites. We are delighted to work with these two organisations at the forefront of advancing these pioneering applications.”

 

Westfield Autonomous Vehicles’ driverless PODs have driven more than 3.6m passengers in excess of 5.6m km.

 

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Aston Martin has accelerated its expectations about its financial performance this year after achieving “sharply improved” results in the first half of the year.

 

The luxury sports car manufacturer now expects revenues of £830m – £15m above the top end of its February estimate – which would show 77% growth over three years.

 

It also now forecasts underlying earnings will be around £175m, up from earlier estimates of £160m-£165 and significantly above the £101m achieved in 2016.

 

The Warwickshire manufacturer was founded in 1913 and launched its Second century plan in response to a £50m sales fall and big losses in 2014.

 

Its ambitions are being boosted by its current sales performance. For the six months to June, volumes rose by 67% to 2,439 vehicles as orders continued to rise in the UK, mainland Europe, the Americas and China. The average selling price per model. Excluding special editions, increased by 25% to £149,000 –principally driven by the DB11 – and a higher option take rate across the range.