Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week's gossip from across the automotive industry
12 February 2019

This week's collection of motoring snippets reveals why Nissan sees a future in the saloon market, how Mazda's heading upmarket with its new models, why utility vehicles are still the backbone of Ford's line-up and more. 

So long, saloon?

While the popularity of SUVs continues to soar, the saloon might be due a comeback, according to Nissan’s US boss. Denis Le Vot said the firm decided to make its recent IMs concept a saloon after a survey found twice as many youngsters preferred them to SUVs.

More snazzy Mazzies

Mazda is aiming to move upmarket by designing cars with fewer feature lines. The firm’s European design boss, Jo Stenuit, said: “Premium brands tend to have very pure lines. I think we’re going more premium now because we’re trying to delete all the unnecessary lines.” 

Ford's truckloads of profit

Our Verdict

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Ford’s North American arm celebrated selling more than one million of its F-Series trucks last year. In total, 1.075 million of the pick-ups were sold, an average of one every 29.3sec. That was enough to generate more than £38 billion of sales revenue. 

Porsche's problematic pallet

Porsche’s quality control boss, Frank Moser, says one of the toughest tasks in building any car is matching colours for interior trim items. Moser noted that the 11 interior colours offered on the new 911 have to be matched across 16 equipment levels and 300 visible parts, made from 51 different materials from 76 different suppliers. 

Land Rover lands new customers

Around 60% of sales of the first-generation Range Rover Evoque were ‘conquest’ customers from other brands, according to Land Rover bosses. They are aiming to increase that figure with the recently revealed second-generation version and reckon the car’s greater interior space will be key to doing that.

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9

12 February 2019

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12 February 2019

I have sympathy for Porshe on the trim front. I'll never forget a customer driving the after sales department nuts because the grain on the wood trim on his doors did not look identical (not match or compliment I mean look totally identical) and ran around with constant phone calls to the dealer demanding action. I'm mean it's bad enough to be so lacking in taste to think wood trim looks good in an Audi ( some cars can carry wood trim off I don't know of any where it is an improvement on the offered alternative ) but this guy was barely touching 60 years old.

On thing I learned working in a dealership, when it comes to customers there's never an a -hole shortage.

12 February 2019
SamVimes1972 wrote:

I have sympathy for Porshe on the trim front. I'll never forget a customer driving the after sales department nuts because the grain on the wood trim on his doors did not look identical (not match or compliment I mean look totally identical) and ran around with constant phone calls to the dealer demanding action. I'm mean it's bad enough to be so lacking in taste to think wood trim looks good in an Audi ( some cars can carry wood trim off I don't know of any where it is an improvement on the offered alternative ) but this guy was barely touching 60 years old.

On thing I learned working in a dealership, when it comes to customers there's never an a -hole shortage.

 

im horrified Porsche didn’t match the grain of the wood up correctly. Wouldn’t happen on a British brand. Just wouldn’t! 

12 February 2019

Well, I think Denis is wrong.  In fact, I don't think he could be more wrong even if his posterior was screwed on backwards.  The popularity of SUVs is because they are very practical - this is why hatchbacks became popular.  There's no way saloons are going to make a comeback, it's SUVs and city hatchbacks all the way, now.  'Youngsters' have all the options when they're young, but when they grow up (though listening to many you have to think they won't) they see practicality like we all do.  In my area, 'youngsters' want a car they can push the seat back all the way and almost lay down as they drive...with one hand on the top of the wheel.  "Dude, s'up?"

I say my bit, then go. So although I'm interested in what you may initially say, I don't care what you think about what I've written, so I won't read whatever your reply is.

12 February 2019

I really hope the saloon is coming back, though my own prediction (as I'm sure I've mentioned before :) ) is that they will be fastback hatches and possibly a little tall to allow battery packs. Think Jaguar iPace. People can still have their practicality and sit a little higher but in something with a bit of elegance to the styling rather than the current breed of fat a**ed slab sided boxes of metal.

I'd say youngsters think SUVs are naff (is that a word anymore? showing my age) as they are what their parents drive, school run fake off roaders with as much street cred as a knackered Citroen Xsara Picasso MPV. Indeed I think the current breed of fake off roaders are just an evolution of the old people carrier that went out of fashion, and these are due to fall out of fashion too.

12 February 2019
WallMeerkat wrote:

I'd say youngsters think SUVs are naff (is that a word anymore? showing my age) as they are what their parents drive, school run fake off roaders with as much street cred as a knackered Citroen Xsara Picasso.

I was saying this in another post the other day, referring to the lack of 3-door small hatches. A few years ago young, first time drivers bought three door Clios and the like, but you don't see them buying the current larger 5-door models. When the 3-door Corsa goes, the 3-door MINI (according to Autocar), etc etc, what will they be able to buy, apart from a Fiesta, that isn't the same as their parent's SUV or dowdy  5-door hatch? I really can't believe that all the owners of the DS3, for example, have been clamouring for Citroen to replace it with an SUV.

12 February 2019
SUVs will fall, and I suspect that fall has already begun. The hideous Cullinan was the high water mark of the madness.

JLR gained fickle conquest customers, which was all well and good in its own right, as long as they remembered they are fickle.

But they were foolish in the extreme to simultaneously snub those customers who would never have even considered being disloyal.

McGovern and Speth are corporate vandals.

7 March 2019
eseaton wrote:

SUVs will fall, and I suspect that fall has already begun. The hideous Cullinan was the high water mark of the madness. JLR gained fickle conquest customers, which was all well and good in its own right, as long as they remembered they are fickle. But they were foolish in the extreme to simultaneously snub those customers who would never have even considered being disloyal. McGovern and Speth are corporate vandals.

 

OH BE QUIET - you talk such rubbish - go back to your Barryboy Nova

 

12 February 2019

i don't think that saloons will ever make a full comeback, there really isn't much future in them.  unless of course your a top chauffer, in which case a saloon may prove to be better for some reasons.

i think the way the sales are going more people want a practical suv or a little hatchback.  if you are looking for something a bit bigger than a hatchback then many companies offer their hatchback on an extended chasis making it an estate.

saloons don't carry the practicality of a suv or hatchback so i don't think we will see any significant rise in saloons throughout the next few years, whatever car makers may say.


Whatever happens, don't get an electric.

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