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

This week's gossip from the automotive industry explains why Hyundai reckons the new Kona SUV is its ‘halo’ model, the continuing sales success of the Nissan Qashqai and details of how long it takes to develop an autonomous car.

Most car makers speak of a sports car or supercar as their brand’s ‘halo’ model; for Hyundai, it is the Kona, according to design boss Peter Schreyer. “It’s a halo car for us, because it will build interest in our brand and our other cars when you see it on the street,” he said. Schreyer thinks the small SUV will attract buyers “with a younger mindset”.

Hyundai Kona prototype driven

Almost twice as many Nissan Qashqais were sold in Europe in 2016 compared with the original model’s debut year in 2007, despite increased competition in the crossover segment. At the recent launch of the facelifted second-generation Qashqai, Nissan UK boss Alex Smith said: “The freshening of the exterior design, the big lift in cabin material quality, ergonomics and perceived quality are going to give us further impetus to maintain the [segment-leading] position that it has held for so long.”

Insight: how the Nissan Qashqai became king of the crossovers

The amount of testing needed to develop an autonomous car to a production-ready standard is about 31 million miles, according to BMW’s development boss Klaus Fröhlich. That’s roughly 10 times the distance covered during development of the latest 5 Series. 

Growing driving ranges from electric vehicles and quicker battery charging will reduce demand for plug-in hybrids that offer limited electric-only driving, predicts Audi’s R&D boss, Peter Mertens. “People might not need more than 30-40 miles of driving range in a day, but they want a bigger number.”

Our Verdict

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan's second crossover album goes platinum, but can a light refresh to the Qashqai and some added extras help it hold off the advances from the Seat Ateca and Skoda Kodiaq

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