Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry
10 April 2018

This week's snippets of automotive news include news on Aston Martin Lagonda, the future for V8s, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and autonomous cars. 

Lagonda on being a start-up:

"We're a 113-year-old start-up," said Aston Martin Lagonda’s strategy director, Gerhard Fourie, on the reborn Lagonda brand. Why the start-up mindset?

“If we take on the established strong brands, we can’t take them on by their own rules.” But, said Fourie, Lagonda will avoid the pitfalls faced by other start-ups that “celebrate the brilliance of the technology” only and “don’t have the focus on the customer experience like Rolls-Royce does. [Lagonda] has the opportunity to be the best of both.” 

V8 sports cars and big saloons: 

The days of sports cars and big saloons powered solely by V8 engines are “no more”, said Jaguar design boss Ian Callum, due to electrification. “The XE SV Project 8 is the last of its kind for sheer horsepower and mechanical drive. Everything after that is going to be different.” 

Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 

The sale success of the outgoing Mercedes A-Class has silenced its critics, according to boss Dieter Zetsche. He said: “A lot of people didn’t think Mercedes should continue in the compact segment, saying ‘it’s not a true Mercedes’. I don’t hear those critics now. We were daring with where we took the concept and got a huge success.” 

Autonomous cars: 

An autonomous car has to calculate and constantly measure 27 different data points to carry out a single lane change, according to engineering company IAV, which is assisting firms such as Renault with autonomous car systems. Those points range from the trajectory of the car itself to the distance of other vehicles and potential hazards. 

Read more

Aston Martin DB11 review 

Aston Martin Vantage review 

Mercedes-Benz A-Class review 

Our Verdict

Seat Arona

Seat is on a roll but can the Arona, its new junior SUV, cut it in such an ultra-competitive class?

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10 April 2018

Quite the opposite, Dieter. Merc gave up originality and made the A class very conventional. True Mercedes or not, it’s not very good.

10 April 2018

The only thing daring about the departing A-Class was the lease deals, as it was on run-out preparing the launch of this new generation. Have they ditched the Clio diesel engine yet?

10 April 2018

The original A-Class was the best. The current and new ones owe a lot to Renault (not that there's anything wrong in that, it's just that Mercedes can't take all the credit).

Where the current A-class is more succesful is profitability  - much cheaper to R&D and produce than the original. That's why Dieter likes it so much.

10 April 2018

Is it? JLRs sales figures for March are on their website today. Surprised Autocar hasn't mentioned it all. Actually, perhaps not a surprise when every Jaguar declined from 19% for the F-Pace to 46% for the XE. Every Land Rover too, except a 3% increase for the Discovery and the Velar which is too new for comparison. Basically, it's BAD news. Arguably VERY BAD.

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