Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry
13 December 2016

This week's gossip from the automotive industry has news of Koenigsegg's plans for a four-wheel-drive EV, manual Ferraris, Mazda's dream for the MX-5, Kia's ambitions and the Renault-Nissan Alliance's aims for Russia.

Koenigsegg's four-wheel-drive EV

Koenigsegg has long-term plans to make a four-wheel-drive EV. Responding to a fan asking why the brand hasn’t made a four-wheel drive car, Koenigsegg replied: “Mechanical 4WD doesn’t make sense for us. Electric 4WD is more likely but not for some time.”

Read more: Koenigsegg One:1 prepares for Nürburgring lap record attemptKoenigsegg One:1 review

Manual Ferraris are officially dead

There'll never be another manual Ferrari, even though rival Porsche is reintroducing manual transmissions on high-end 911s. Sources say the last Ferrari with the option of a manual ’box was the first-gen California, but it’s thought only three to five examples left the factory. “There’s just no demand,” said a spokesman.

Read more: Ferrari California reviewOne-off Ferrari SP275 RW Competizione makes public appearance

Mazda's dream for the MX-5

Mazda's MX-5 Spyder concept is the “dream” version of the iconic roadster, according to MX-5 programme manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto. One million MX-5s have now been built, 15% of which have made it to the UK.

Read more: Mazda MX-5 review, Mazda to launch electrified cars by 2021

Kia's competition with VW

Kia is aiming high with its market position. Speaking at a recent dealer opening in London, Kia UK CEO Paul Philpott said Kia was “comfortable” with the showroom’s neighbouring Volkswagen, Mercedes and Audi dealerships. Another source at the event said Kia was “competing with VW on quality but not price”.

Read more: Kia GT will hit 0-62mph in 5.1secs, Meeting Peter Schreyer - the man behind Kia's tiger nose grille

Renault-Nissan Alliance's aims for Russia

The Renault-Nissan Alliance hopes to dominate new car sales in Russia when the country’s economy bounces back. With Renault, Nissan, Datsun and Lada brands in Russian showrooms, sources say the group could take more than 40% of sales in that country annually. 

Read more: Renault Twingo GT review, Limited edition Alpine Premiére Edition revealed

Our Verdict

Here is the fourth-gen Mazda MX-5 - the definitive small sports car

Fourth-generation MX-5 heads back to the roadster's roots

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Comments
8

13 December 2016
will be crying in their hands. Boo hoo hoo, manual Fezzas dead. I do want the new GT3 to be a great car if only to teach unscrupulous Porsche and private 911R dealers a great lesson against exhorbitant profiteering.

14 December 2016
until we change our mind and build some.

13 December 2016
I live here and see the crap they are providing the poor sods with. Its all about how basic for how much profit with how little price tag. The result is some pretty dire plastic cheap metal much of which wouldnt get 2 stars at Ncap testing. Fortunately the other 50% of the population of car owners have some pretty decent wheels all the way up to RR and Bentley and PanAm with a few Maybachs thrown in for good measure. Pity so few of them have road manners of ability to drive. They do have ZERO tolerance for DD but any video of mayhem on Russian roads will show you those who float the rules

what's life without imagination

13 December 2016
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Mian

13 December 2016
- is kind of sad and a little pathetic. Clearly its a business and makes what the customer wants these days, but you just can't imagine Enzo being happy with the decision.

Other car manufacturers have realised that enthusiasts want three pedal manual cars so they are reintroducing them.

So in reality what this decision by Ferrari says is that its cars are not bought by enthusiast and keen drivers, they are bought by people more interested in owning a status symbol than a sports car that the driver really connects with - or am I being just to cynical about the kind of people that buy Ferraris these days?

13 December 2016
- is kind of sad and a little pathetic. Clearly its a business and makes what the customer wants these days, but you just can't imagine Enzo being happy with the decision.

Other car manufacturers have realised that enthusiasts want three pedal manual cars so they are reintroducing them.

So in reality what this decision by Ferrari says is that its cars are not bought by enthusiast and keen drivers, they are bought by people more interested in owning a status symbol than a sports car that the driver really connects with - or am I being just to cynical about the kind of people that buy Ferraris these days?

18 December 2016
Even Porsche is selling GT3 with PDK only. Customers (you know, the ones paying for these cars) obviously don't prefer manual but rather twin clutch. If Porsche or Ferrari customers buy twin clutch in 95% of the cases, or even higher, then there is NO business case for manual.

Porsche selling a few 911R is NOT because of enthusiasts. The only thing 911R has done is to fuel this crazy investment circus with ever increasing crazy prices. If Porsche truly was about enthusiasts then they would make a lot more 911R and not just a few hundreds so a few people could make a tone of profit on them. But they know there is not a big market for manual 911.

Almost all Porsche cars are sold with PDK. Are they also more interested in owning a status symbol than a sports car that the driver really connects with, or is it just easier to bash Ferrari owners?

Dan

14 December 2016
I love the way some 'enthusiasts' cling to the manual gearbox. When I look at some of the things they were wrong about (EVs, the rise of autonomous tech, the popularity of SUVs, the real world popularity if diesels - let's be honest we bought those becuse they were cheap and had big mid range overtaking power) I have to think it's good that enthusiasts don't run car companies. Or maybe they ran Jaguar Alfa and SAAB.

I'm not sorry at all about the demise of the manual and I'm a car enthusiast who loves driving, its kind of sad that some people are so insecure they have to bleat about the joy of a manual gear box and how liking one makes them a 'better' member if the tribe.

By all means enjoy your manual but why not insist on removing all driver aids - will you not feel even more joy cancelling your indicators yourself using your excellent skills feeling at one with the road as you feel the satisfying click of a cancelled indicator? Or perhaps we could dispose of central locking, bringing us closer to our cars as we lean over and individually unlock (and lock!) each door in a perfect ballet of motion?

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