In this week's round-up of automotive gossip, Volvo finally finds a voice control system that understands Swedish, PSA explains why it's confident it can weather this storm and more.
Volvo's accent answer
Volvo believes its new Google-based infotainment system will make it easier for drivers in its home country to use voice control – because of how well Google Assistant understands Swedish accents. Anna Arasa Gaspar, who works for Volvo’s applications team, said many voice control systems struggle with tricky accents and languages but “Google’s algorithms are excellent at learning. It can even understand my accent, which is usually a problem.”
Honda's electric Jazz
The latest Honda Jazz will be launched as a hybrid only, with an electric version on the cards. Jazz project manager Takeki Tanaka said the model sits on a tweaked version of the outgoing Jazz’s platform, which means it would be “technically quite difficult” to fit an electric powertrain.
PSA's liquid luck
The PSA Group reckons European car sales will fall by as much as 25% this year but, unlike many firms, has enough liquidity to deal with market drops of over 50%. Some 90% of its staff are on furlough or partial lay-off, which in many cases is government-funded, but financial boss Philippe de Rovira told analysts: “We want the company to be as free as possible of public dependence.”
Merc thinks big for new EVs
Mercedes-Benz won't build an electric hatchback, instead focusing on SUV or crossover EVs, said R&D boss Markus Schäfer. Its next EV, the EQA, has almost finished testing and is a compact SUV. Schäfer said: “We have to watch customer demand and, at the moment, SUVs and crossovers are the absolute favourites. Those are our first priorities.”