Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry
28 February 2017

This week's gossip from the automotive industry has news of BMW's plug-in hybrid ambitions, Kia's Rio GT, complications of PCP deals, the future of hydrogen power and Mazda outlines the hardest part of creating an EV.

BMW's plug-in hybrid and electric ambitions

BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson expects the company to sell 100,000 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles this year. That’s the same number it has sold overall since the i3 went on sale in 2014. He put the growth down to the increasing popularity of the technology and the wider choice of models on sale.

Read more: BMW i3 reviewBMW readies radical battery technology for 2026 launch

Kia's Rio gets a hot hatch makeover

Kia will reveal its Rio GT hot hatch in 2021, when the just-launched fourthgeneration car will be due a facelift. Kia’s Ford Fiesta ST rival has been rumoured for some time, but other projects, including the Stinger sports saloon and an upcoming B-segment SUV, have taken priority.

Read more: Kia Rio review, 2017 Kia Picanto revealed

Monthly cost or the list price?

List prices of cars are almost becoming irrelevant due to the popularity of PCP deals, according to a senior UK executive. They said the monthly cost was now by far the most important factor in determining a car’s true cost to the consumer.

Read more: PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) explained: how to get it right

The future of hydrogen power

Hydrogen will eventually become a big-selling fuel type, almost as popular as petrol, according to Hyundai UK boss Tony Whitehorn. He believes fuel cell powertrains will one day be as ubiquitous on cars as sunroofs or sat-navs.

Read more: Toyota Mirai review, Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell review

The problems when creating an EV

Mazda R&D boss Kiyoshi Fujiwara has revealed that the most complex part of developing EVs is making the power management systems that control the batteries communicate with the car. He pointed to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and its tendency to catch fire as evidence of how badly it can be if you get it wrong.

Read more: Driving a V6-powered Mazda MX-5 Rocketeer2017 Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 160 UK first drive

Our Verdict

The Kia Rio offers appealing style and tangible quality as well as typical Kia brand value

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28 February 2017
quote "List prices of cars are almost becoming irrelevant due to the popularity of PCP deals, according to a senior UK executive. They said the monthly cost was now by far the most important factor in determining a car’s true cost to the consumer". This is not news Autocar....you are about 18 months behind the curve!

28 February 2017
...."Empty their notebooks".....Indeed, they are not only emptying them, they are scraping around the sides. Nothing happening much, lads, until Geneva ? You bet.


28 February 2017
are quite clear from the launch of the G30 5 Series. The initial customer mail shots stated that the 530e PHEV (which I am interested in buying) would be released in "late 2017". Instead it goes on sale in Mar 17. The F10 5 Series at launch had a 520d, 525d, 530d and later a 520d Efficient Dynamics, 518d, 535 and M550d - 7 diesel variants. The G30 5 Series has been launched with a 520d and 530d. As a potential buyer in 2018 to 2019 I have been told that BMW expects to release 540e PHEV and even a 520e PHEV by the time of or concurrent with the LCI/facelift of the G30. BMW do not expect that they will release any other diesel variants other than the 520d and 530d. BMW could also drop the 530d by the time of the facelift as big diesel engines are probably going to get taxed out of existence. If that is true (and as the LCI/facelift would be around 2020 when London and other cities may ban diesels it could be)then the wheel will have really turned in favour of PHEVs as the G30 will have 2 petrol, 1 diesel and potentially 3 or 4 PHEV variants.

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