Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up a week in gossip from across the automotive industry
18 June 2019

In this week's collection of motoring murmurs, we hear why BMW isn't building another B-Class rival, how Hyundai is ready for any market eventuality, and more. 

Munich’s MPVs make way for high-riders

Don’t expect to see a replacement for BMW’s 2 Series Active Tourer and seven-seat Gran Tourer, at least for some time. BMW’s product management vice-president, Peter Henrich, claims the current MPVs have “done an excellent job in bringing new customers to our brand” but are now “not at the centre of what our brand today stands for”. “We will see about moving Gran Tourer customers to our SUVs,” he added. 

Volkswagen tightens its grip on power

Volkswagen sales boss Jürgen Stackmann says the firm has no concerns over battery supply limiting its ability to produce 100,000 ID 3 electric cars per year from 2020 onwards. Some car firms are struggling to secure enough batteries to meet demand, but Stackmann said VW’s supply was secure “as far as you have security in life and business. We will have stable and good supply for the volumes we want to build.” 

Our Verdict

Volvo S60 Polestar Engineered 2018 review - hero front

American-built Swedish sports saloon has the style, but is more a rival for the Mercedes-AMG C43 or the hardcore BMW M3?

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Volvo grabs the green pump 

Volvo won’t follow Mercedes down the diesel hybrid route, according to UK operations director David Baddeley. “There will either be petrol, petrol hybrid or full battery electric,” he said. “Go back two or three years and we were 98% diesel in the UK. Now we are 60% diesel and moving quickly. You’ve got to anticipate these changes.”

Hyundai: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail…

New Hyundai UK boss Ashley Andrew claims the allure of the brand is that it has “completely future-proofed itself, whichever way it goes” in terms of powertrains. “If the market goes towards battery-electric vehicles, we have them; if it goes towards hydrogen quickly, we’ve got that. Not only that, we’ve got the intellectual property.” 

Read more

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Comments
12

18 June 2019

I believe the 2 Series ‘failed’ for no other reason than it’s a very poor implementation of an MPV. Note to BMW, MPVs don’t have honking great transmission tunnels where the ‘third’ read passenger sits. I suspect that there is indeed a market for a ‘premium’ MPV, just look at how the Mk 1 S-MAX Titanium X Sport Ghia Lux’s (sarcasm) did. The only doubt I have is that the Mk 2 S-MAX does not appear to be as popular ... not sure why.

18 June 2019
Merod wrote:

I believe the 2 Series ‘failed’ for no other reason than it’s a very poor implementation of an MPV. Note to BMW, MPVs don’t have honking great transmission tunnels where the ‘third’ read passenger sits. I suspect that there is indeed a market for a ‘premium’ MPV, just look at how the Mk 1 S-MAX Titanium X Sport Ghia Lux’s (sarcasm) did. The only doubt I have is that the Mk 2 S-MAX does not appear to be as popular ... not sure why.

 

funny I was just about to say that I think BMWs Grand Tourers failed because they look frumpy and are not stylish enough as hatchbacks. Had BMW made a few true good looking hatchbacks based on their saloon designs I think they might have caught on.

This by the way is how I think BMW could make Jaguar work for them if they bought JLR. They should simply morph Jaguar’s existing cars into proper hatchback and spin them off BMWs parts bin.

18 June 2019
Merod wrote:

 I suspect that there is indeed a market for a ‘premium’ MPV

Absolutely, but the market is sown up by premium van conversions - most of the C level execs visiting my office arrive in Mercedes V class, and the Apprentice which used to use top of the range Chryslers now uses VW Transporters.

Otherwise everyone is moving to SUVs.

The 2 series MPV was just plain ugly. BMW do have some ability to build an attractive car - the old 5 series, the old 4 door 6 series, the 4 series GT, the 8 series and 8 series GT for example.

Unfortuanately they also build some uglies - 2 series grand tourer, the last 3 series with the tall bonnet forehead bump, the X-range, the new 7 series (when the old 90s E38 was elegant and then it went downhill after that)

Myk

18 June 2019
Merod wrote:

I believe the 2 Series ‘failed’ for no other reason than it’s a very poor implementation of an MPV.

Did it fail then?  It was regularly the 3rd best selling MPV in Europe (behind the Scenic and Touran), and comfortably outsold the Merc B-Class throughout its life.  At its peak it was selling 100,000 a year - Jaguar would like to sell that many cars in Europe of its whole range combined.  The MPV market has collapsed though, which is a shame as they're far better at being family transport than the dominant SUVs.

18 June 2019

Let's be honest the MPV is dead. If you want handling there are some excellent estates out there, if you want image, then it's an SUV and if you need 7 seats then it's a bigger SUV.

The MPV is an answer to a question no one is asking anymore.

18 June 2019

Let's be honest: the SUV shows all that is wrong with the car industry. For the interior space available they are hopelessly unaerodynamic, they drag around unreliable pseudo-4x4 hardware that can't cope with the tyres wearing out unevenly and then expensively gives up the ghost soon after the warranty expires, and they promote some nonsense 'sport' image that they cannot fulfill.

If you need space, an MPV makes more sense than an SUV; the packaging is far better. If you need to go off-road, a proper off-roader does it far better. If you want to fool yourself into thinking that a few bits of plastic moulding make you invincible then go ahead and buy an SUV, but fashions change and I expect that this one will fizzle out soon.

18 June 2019
FiveAlive wrote:

Let's be honest: the SUV shows all that is wrong with the car industry. 

...

SUV, but fashions change and I expect that this one will fizzle out soon.

Agree FiveAlive.

I've been hoping that it has been a fashion for a few years now, but sadly it looks to be more of a long term trend.

If we look to the US, which increasingly UK and Europe try to emulate, the likes of Ford and GM have all but given up on selling saloon cars.

18 June 2019

Was the BMW man specifically talking about 2series GT/AT? The quote says 'We'll see about moving Grand Tourer customers to SUVs'. The 3GT was culled in the last couple of weeks so would seem likely he meant all the GT models.

18 June 2019
Bob Cat Brian wrote:

Was the BMW man specifically talking about 2series GT/AT? The quote says 'We'll see about moving Grand Tourer customers to SUVs'. The 3GT was culled in the last couple of weeks so would seem likely he meant all the GT models.

The 3 and 5 series GTs were a bit strangely proportioned, top heavy look, and have been replaced by the better looking 4 series and 6 series GTs.

18 June 2019
WallMeerkat wrote:

Bob Cat Brian wrote:

Was the BMW man specifically talking about 2series GT/AT? The quote says 'We'll see about moving Grand Tourer customers to SUVs'. The 3GT was culled in the last couple of weeks so would seem likely he meant all the GT models.

The 3 and 5 series GTs were a bit strangely proportioned, top heavy look, and have been replaced by the better looking 4 series and 6 series GTs.

There isnt a 4series GT. There is the 4 sereis GC, which has sold alongside the 3GT since their inception. Admittedly selling both does seem odd. To my eyes the 6GT looks as bad as the 5GT.

 

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