Currently reading: Autocar confidential: Fiat's sea seats, Citroen's stick-shift, and more
Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up a week in gossip from across the automotive industry
Autocar
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2 mins read
15 September 2020

In this week's round-up of automotive gossip, we hear about the links between the interior of the new Fiat 500 and the seaside, how Rolls-Royce is avoiding lay-offs and more.

Fiat's sea seats

The interior of the new Fiat 500 uses a fabric trim made entirely from plastic recycled from the sea. The fabric, called Seaquel, is plastic harvested by fishermen that has been spun into polyester fibres.

No job losses at Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce is bucking the trend of industry job losses and has returned “back to normal” this week with the second production shift brought back in after the pandemic shutdown. Company boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said: “We haven’t laid off a single person. If the trend continues, I foresee that the end-of-year figures won’t be as bad as we thought at the beginning.”

Citroen's stick-shift

The stick-shift runaround could be on its way out, according to Citroën UK’s head of product marketing, Rob Clark. “Manual still accounts for around 70% of our cars in the C-segment, but we’ve seen a shift consistently over the last few years,” he said. “We’re expecting 35% of the ICE-powered C4 to be automatic.” He added that the C4’s new eight-speed automatic is much more closely aligned to the manual on emissions than the outgoing six-speed unit.

In a class of its own

Some features in the new Mercedes S-Class are so advanced that there’s no regulation in certain places to certify their use, claims research and development boss Markus Schäfer: “Take the digital lights that can display 2.6 million pixels. You can play a movie in your garage with that resolution. We are still working with authorities in a couple of countries to get it working and on the road.”

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15 September 2020

The Citroen article suggests the manual box is on its way out, however if its currently 70% of sales, and in future the auto might be 35%, it suggests the manual will fall only to 65% of future sales. Hardly on its way out!

15 September 2020
Manual gearboxes will stay for some sports cars and very cheap cars. For anything else the autos are better in every conceivable way. Of course, some failed rally drivers still believe they can shift better than a modern computer, urban legends die hard.

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