Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up a week in gossip from across the automotive industry
11 February 2020

In this week's round-up of automotive gossip, hear why a small sports car isn't in the pipeline for Toyota, why Mercedes thinks the future of the showroom is online, why the UK needs more EV battery infrastructure and more.

Online is key for Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz aims to sell 25% of its new cars online by 2025 and is looking to make the buying process as seamless as possible to achieve that, according to head of sales and marketing Britta Seeger. She declined to give a specific figure of how many cars the firm sells online today, saying only that it is “less than 5%”. Even in 2025, at least 80% of buyers will still interact with a dealer, to research, test or collect a new car, Mercedes data suggests.

MR2 revival hopes dashed

Relaunching an MR2 is “not a priority” now for Toyota, according to European vice-president Matt Harrison. The MR2 was understood to be under consideration as an EV, but that is now less of a priority for Toyota as it focuses instead on developing a next-generation GT86 under its GR performance brand.

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz ECQ 2019 review - hero front

Mercedes’ first proper electric car hits a competitive mark dynamically and might exceed rivals for comfort and refinement. Big appeal for the eco-conscious and tech-savvy; maybe a touch less for the interested driver

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It's EV all the way for Volvo

Volvo will not be investing in hydrogen fuel cell technology, according to boss Håkan Samuelsson, who believes the wider industry is committed to EVs and the infrastructure and legislation are being geared up to support them. A radical shift to another technology would not therefore be welcomed. “We need to be very clear and stop dreaming of the greenest grass,” he said.

Investment needed to lead the charge

The UK needs a gigafactory to make battery packs for electric cars if it is to become a global player in their production, according to SMMT boss Mike Hawes. He’s aware of discussions, but not negotiations, between the government and potential investors into realising this goal.

READ MORE

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