This week's gossip from the automotive industry has news of Toyota's hybrid successes, Ghibli and Quattroporte updates, car sharing's importance to Mercedes-Benz and Cirtoën Dispatch updates.
Toyota's hybrid success
Growing hybrid sales at Toyota mean it is finally achieving serious economies of scale with hybrid production, according to Karl Schlicht, executive vice-president of Toyota Europe. As a result, this should finally start to bring hybrid prices into direct competition with those of diesel-engined rivals.
Maserati will update the Ghibli and Quattroporte with the more advanced infotainment system of the Levante early next year. It will also replace all three cars’ hydraulic power steering with an electrically assisted system. Besides saving fuel, electric power steering allows for self-correcting lane keeping, self-parking and other features. The EPAS was not sufficiently developed to be introduced on the Levante.
Mercedes-Benz car sharing
Car sharing is becoming a bigger area of focus for Mercedes-Benz, according to sales and marketing boss Ola Källenius. “We do believe that sharing will play an increasingly important part in market share,” he said. “Although car sharing has exploded, we’re not selling fewer cars. Instead, fewer people are using public transportation. If you look at a shared car business model, the marginal additional cost for luxury versus volume shrinks. So it’s a big business opportunity for luxury.”
Updates on the Citroën Dispatch
The new Cirtoën Dispatch van doesn’t have the Airbumps technology pioneered on the C4 Cactus, because buyers favour “low costs and practicality”, according to Citroën CEO Linda Jackson. “We are free-thinking enough to appreciate that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution,” she said.