What unites the pandemic responses from the German industry’s chiefs? Panic. At BMW, Oliver Zipse is keen to re-focus on hardware and forget grand talk about being a service provider. At Audi, Markus Duesmann is considering saving the doomed TT and R8; they may be niche products, but at least they’re distinctive and admired. Merc’s Ola Källenius is having serious doubts about car sharing and hydrogen fuel cells for passenger cars. VW’s Herbert Diess, meanwhile, is lobbying for a softening or delaying of the inevitable huge penalties for not meeting CO2 targets.   Even consumers who expect to hold on to their jobs are in no mood to spend on new cars. Many are now much more likely to hang on to what they’ve got, in some cases extending their lease with smaller monthly payments. Most manufacturers are facing far fewer orders, leading to job losses and eating into cash reserves. The assumption is that the post-pandemic car world will restructure itself to be less reliant on global supply chains, and will employ notably fewer people.   Tesla is bucking every trend. It’s growing in appeal, pressing ahead with building a factory in Germany, and able to magic up waiting lists for even the most divisive of products, such as the Cybertruck. We expect it to come up with a compact city car soon. Gloomy old-world manufacturers are figuring out how to learn from Tesla, and how to beat it at its own game.   Some options? Go head to head, offering potential Tesla buyers a direct alternative. Or offer cars in the market segments Tesla has so far skipped, such as sub-compacts. Or exploit Tesla’s weaknesses: patchy build quality, dull design and a lack of solid-state battery leadership. And finally, push digital, making cars better at being mobile offices and aids to e-commerce.  It’s all a very long way from the traditional car industry way of doing things…  Divisive Cybertruck: the future?
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German giants gloomy… buyers not buying… Tesla the exception to every rule

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What unites the pandemic responses from the German industry’s chiefs? Panic. At BMW, Oliver Zipse is keen to re-focus on hardware and forget grand talk about being a service provider. At Audi, Markus Duesmann is considering saving the doomed TT and R8; they may be niche products, but at least they’re distinctive and admired. Merc’s Ola Källenius is having serious doubts about car sharing and hydrogen fuel cells for passenger cars. VW’s Herbert Diess, meanwhile, is lobbying for a softening or delaying of the inevitable huge penalties for not meeting CO2 targets.

Ben DR Barry
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2021 Kia Sportage model range
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2021 Kia Sportage model range

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The 2021 Kia Sportage range has been revised for the 2021 model year, with a slimming down of the trim levels and deletion of the entry-level 114bhp 1.6-litre CRDi engine. Levels 1 and 4 specifications have been discontinued, with a new mid-range 3 equipment level introduced in its place.

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Klaus Fröhlich
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BMW R&D man Klaus Fröhlich – flexibility is key

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‘We can do 100 EVs if we want’ If you want electric, BMW is ready. Or hybrid. Or petrol. Even diesel! Klaus Fröhlich explains how.

Ben DR Barry
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2021 Mazda CX-5 SUV
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2021 Mazda CX-5 SUV

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The 2021 Mazda CX-5 SUV has been revised for 2020, with prices starting at £29,060 for the SE-L 2WD and rising to £39,085 for the GT Sport AWD automatic. Since its launch, more than 25,000 examples of the second-generation CX-5 have found homes, with over 60,000 examples sold since the nameplate arrived in UK showrooms in 2012.

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2022 BMW M340d xDrive G20
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2022 BMW M340d xDrive G20

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The barnstorming new 2022 BMW M340d xDrive was set to be unveiled at the Geneva motor show in March by BMW, but we all know that it didn’t happen. So with very little in the way of fanfare, the new M340d xDrive joins the petrol M340i xDrive in crowning the 3 Series line-up. Featuring 48-volt mild hybrid technology, the 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine develops 335bhp and 516lb ft of torque. The top speed is electronically limited at 155mph, however, acceleration to 62mph takes just 4.6 seconds for the saloon, and 0.2 of a second longer for the Touring. Priced at £49,505 for the saloon, CO2 emissions are 168g/km and fuel economy on the new WLTP combined cycle is 44.1mpg. The Touring estate costs £50,420, with CO2 emissions of 173g/km and 42.8mpg possible on the combined testing regime.

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2021 Volvo S90
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Facelifted versions of the 2021 Volvo S90, V90 and V90 Cross Country

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The 2021 model year Volvo cars are now available to order, with facelifted versions of the S90, V90 and V90 Cross Country the headline act. While the S90 is now plug-in hybrid only, the V90 and V90 Cross Country retains the use of diesel engines.

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2023 Porsche Panamera 3 remains a combustion engine and integrated online casino in a web browser
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2023 Porsche Panamera 3 remains a combustion engine and integrated online casino in a web browser

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At Porsche, the electric drive is spreading. But what will become of the most expensive series when the new generation arrives in 2023? A Taycan XL or a super hybrid?

Read more: 2023 Porsche Panamera 3 remains a combustion engine and integrated online casino in a web browser

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