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

This week's gossip from the automotive industry has news of Audi's testing regime, the future of the Mazda 3 Fastback, hybrid Ferraris and Kia's success in the UK.

Audi's testing regime

Audi tests its cars in the UK on Welsh roads two to three times a year. It tests not only upcoming models, but also ones that are a couple of years into their production cycle to see if the original chassis settings are still being successfully applied by the factory, and what might need changing for the facelift.

Read more: Audi RS model range to double by 2018, 2016 Audi TT RS Roadster review

The future of the Mazda 3 Fastback

A fastback version of the Mazda 3 will still be offered when the next-generation car goes on sale in 2018 – despite falling sales of such models in the UK and saloon versions of the 3’s biggest rivals not being offered here.

Currently, 18% of 3 buyers opt for the Fastback in the UK, but that number is much higher in mainland Europe and Ireland.

Read more: Mazda 3 Fastback long-term test review - hatchback versus saloon, Mazda 3 review

A hybrid Ferrari?

A mainstream hybrid Ferrari model is conceivable in the medium term, according to senior management, but the technology will be used to improve performance rather than reduce fuel consumption.

Company engineers regard the power-to-weight ratio of current hybrid and battery systems as too poor. Higher power densities from future batteries would allow lighter cells to be used, making more sense of hybrid drive for out-and-out supercars.

Read more: Ferrari models to get hybrid power from 20192017 Ferrari F12 M - successor to F12 undergoes testing

Reasoning behind Kia's success in the UK

At the recent opening of Kia’s flagship GWR store in west London, its global boss, Thomas Oh, explained why the firm is so successful in the UK.

He said the lack of strong UK rival brands makes the market easier to grow in than other European markets such as France or Germany, whose numerous home brands dominate sales.

Read more: Kia set for alternative-fuel onslaught, Kia to launch a wave of hot GT models


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