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

This week's gossip from the automotive industry has news of how Brexit affected Mazda, Hyundai's electric future, future Countryman models, Kia's thoughts on diesels and Honda's views on SUVs.

How Brexit affected Mazda

The biggest impact of the Brexit vote for Mazda has been the fall in the value of sterling. Mazda Europe boss Jeff Guyton said: “The vote has put all importers under certain pressure.” He added that “time would tell” if the election of Donald Trump as US president would affect Mazda and he hoped to “see a regime that supports free trade and a growing economy” when the dust settles.

Read more: Driving a V6-powered Mazda MX-5 Rocketeer2017 Mazda MX-5 RF 2.0 160 UK first drive

Hyundai's electric future

Hyundai has confirmed it will have 14 electric vehicles in production by 2020. Its next EV after the Ioniq will be a compact SUV with a range of more than 200 miles. It’s also planning a new fuel-cell model with a greater range than the existing ix35 FCV.

Read more: Hyundai ix35 Fuel Cell long-term test review: first report2017 Hyundai i30 1.0 T-GDi 120 SE Nav

The future of the Countryman

Don't expect any more Mini SUVs or a coupé version of the Countryman. Boss Peter Schwarzenbauer said Mini does not want to expand its portfolio too far. He believed the Countryman is “the perfect car for the market” in SUV terms.

Read more: Mini Countryman Cooper S v Nissan Juke Nismo RS v Audi Q2 Sport - group test, Electric Mini to launch as fifth 'superhero model' in 2019

Kia's thoughts on diesels

Diesel engines will continue to form a key part of Kia’s powertrain strategy, according to the boss of the company’s UK arm, Paul Philpott. However, Kia’s global boss, Thomas Oh, said: “Kia is well prepared for alternatively fuelled vehicles.”

Read more: 2017 Kia Picanto revealed ahead of Geneva motor show debut, Kia confirms development of hydrogen model due in 2021

Honda and the SUV

The popularity of SUVs will soon decline, Honda Motor Europe’s sales and marketing boss, Jean-Marc Streng, has predicted. “You [can] call anything an SUV and it sells. Soon the SUV market will be crowded – look what happened to MPVs,” he said.

Read more: 2017 Honda Civic 1.0 i-VTEC Turbo SR review2017 Honda Civic Type R Black Edition review

Our Verdict

Mini Countryman

The Mini Countryman represents the biggest stretch yet for Mini – for the car and the brand

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Comments
9

21 February 2017
Reference the remark from Jean-Marc Streng..."look what happened to MPVs" this shows a complete lack of understanding of the pysche of the typical car buyer and is typical of "executives" in the upper echelons of automotive management. The primary driving (sic) force behind the buying decision is emotionally based with fashion playing a large part in this. Cars are not appliances and whilst more practical considerations do, indeed, play a lesser part in the buying decision people buy what they deem represents the image they wish to portray. MPVs struggle for sales because SUVs can fulfill most of their essential functions whilst seemingly projecting a far more positive image of the user. The automotive hierarchy requires more Autocar readers types and fewer ex-financial controllers for Skoda Finance...

21 February 2017
But SUVs don't project a positive image. People driving around in their Audis, Hyundais and Nissans think people see them as Lord or Lady of the manor - in fact most people see them as someone who would describe their favourite leisure activity as 'shopping'. Once this realisation reaches mainstream consciousness, the game is up.

21 February 2017
[quote=scrap]But SUVs don't project a positive image. People driving around in their Audis, Hyundais and Nissans think people see them as Lord or Lady of the manor - in fact most people see them as someone who would describe their favourite leisure activity as 'shopping'. Once this realisation reaches mainstream consciousness, the game is up.[/quote] "think people see them as Lord or Lady of the manor ", "fact most people see them.... "

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

21 February 2017
[quote=scrap]But SUVs don't project a positive image. People driving around in their Audis, Hyundais and Nissans think people see them as Lord or Lady of the manor - in fact most people see them as someone who would describe their favourite leisure activity as 'shopping'. Once this realisation reaches mainstream consciousness, the game is up.[/quote] The popularity of SUVs says otherwise. And I don't see how a Hyundai Tucson would make me feel like a lord.

21 February 2017
[quote=scrap]But SUVs don't project a positive image. People driving around in their Audis, Hyundais and Nissans think people see them as Lord or Lady of the manor - in fact most people see them as someone who would describe their favourite leisure activity as 'shopping'. Once this realisation reaches mainstream consciousness, the game is up.[/quote] I see the truth in this. People in their jumped-up Megane/i30 badged as Qashqai/ix35 think they're driving Range Rovers, Top Gear a few years ago hit the nail on the head, spend all their days badly parking at B&Q then going to the council tip.

21 February 2017
If Honda produced more attractive SUVs they wouldn't make such a daft statement. MPVs died out cos they're deadly dull - except for the S-Max and 2 Series Sports Tourer. The new Scenic is highly desirable though - but at the expense of some practicality.

TS7

21 February 2017
...a VW Touran with Golf R underpinnings. Might have bought one in fact.

21 February 2017
Sounds good to me. Have your tried a Touran though ? they are a quite good at what they are designed to do and not a bad drive.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

21 February 2017
Here's hoping that Honda is right. Sick of market saturation of all models being SUVs. UK roads are now a sea of fat-a**ed metal. Difficult to style an elegant looking car when your brief is to copy a Qashqai. @xxxx - what are you on about hydrogen all the time?

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