Nissan announces record sales in Europe

Nissan announces record sales in Europe

Record sales in Europe for FY16 driven by increases in major markets including UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

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Nissan has today announced European sales of 756,762 units in fiscal year 2016, a 2.6% rise on 2015 sales.

Nissan brand sales in Europe totalled 735,725 while recorded sales in Western Europe were 663,718, an increase of 6.7% on 2015 levels. March 2017 sales totalled 107,592, a rise of 10% on the previous year.

In a growing TIV context, Nissan sales were strong in all major markets in Western Europe during FY2016, with continued increases in Spain +13.3%, UK +7.5% Italy +4.8%, France +4.7% and in Germany +4.7%.

The brand's European sales were bolstered by the introduction of the new Micra in March. The strong Nissan crossover line-up continues to dominate with the X-Trail, Juke and the pioneering Qashqai bringing in awards across the region. The Navara, launched last year, also over-performed with double-digit growth.

More than 270,000 customers in Europe chose the Nissan Qashqai in 2016, appreciating its style, efficiency and advanced technologies – a record for the segment leader.

Nissan's electric vehicle line-up continues to thrive, with more than 23,000 units sold in Europe this outgoing fiscal year, a new annual record. Leaf sales increased +11% year-on-year and e-NV200 +19%.

Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said: "We have a commitment to our customers to bring more each year – more choice, more value and more innovative and exciting products.

"Nissan stands apart from its class. We deliver quality, and we continue to reinvent and break boundaries with products such as the new Nissan Micra, which many customers are now enjoying. In 2017, we will continue to lead the way in important new technologies, with Nissan ProPILOT appearing on the new Qashqai later in the year".

Nissan's strong and cohesive product line-up results in Nissan's European car plants breaking records year after year. Nissan produced 660,000 vehicles in Europe in 2016, with over 507,000 in Sunderland, UK.

Borgward to return to Bremen

Borgward to return to Bremen

Borgward to acquire 140,000-square-metre site in the Cargo Distribution Centre.

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The time-honoured Borgward brand is set to return to Bremen. The Stuttgart-based automaker plans to acquire a 140,000-square-metre site in the Cargo Distribution Centre in the western part of Bremen. Borgward Group and WFB Wirtschaftsförderung Bremen (Bremen invest) have signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect. "The purchase of this site is the next systematic step in our global growth strategy," said Ulrich Walker, CEO of Borgward Group. The purchase price was not disclosed.

"We extend a warm welcome to Borgward," added Andreas Heyer, CEO of WFB: "The Cargo Distribution Centre Bremen offers with its outstanding transport connections perfect location conditions for the undertaking of Borgward Group." Bremen's Senator for Economic Affairs, Martin Günthner, also welcomes the commitment of Borgward Group: "We are very pleased about the location decision of Borgward. The Bremen region has great experience in the automotive sector and wins with Borgward a strong brand that has the ambition to play an important role in the European market."

During the first stage of construction, the automaker plans to build a SKD/CKD assembly facility for the production of up to 50,000 vehicles per year. The objective is to ensure that the SKD/CKD assembly facility can be changed into a full-scale production plant if demand for the vehicles requires. In addition to the production facility, plans call to include a test track, a delivery centre, and a brand studio. Borgward intends to start construction of the facility by early 2018. Production is scheduled to begin in 2019. WFB will already begin with sand filling at the site that is needed for the first investment in May. Immediately thereafter, sand filling will also be carried out at the expansion area.

Plans for two new Q models in the Audi production network

Plans for two new Q models in the Audi production network

Production of the Audi Q8 crossover SUV to start in Bratislava in 2018; Audi Q4 compact utility vehicle from Győr as of 2019.

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Audi is to expand its portfolio with two new Q models and has announced where they will be built: Production of the Audi Q8 will start in Bratislava (Slovakia) in 2018 and the first Audi Q4 will drive off the assembly line in Győr (Hungary) in 2019.

"We will integrate two completely new Q‑models into the existing production network and will thus increase our competitiveness in an extremely important segment," stated Audi's Board of Management Member for Production and Logistics, Prof. Dr. Hubert Waltl.

With the Audi Q8, the brand will open up a new segment for its top-end models. The premium SUV in a coupe style combines great spaciousness with emotive design and offers the latest technologies in assistance and infotainment systems. Audi will produce the model in Bratislava as of 2018. The Audi Q7 has already been produced at the Slovakian plant since 2005. Meanwhile, the second generation of the large SUV is in production there, as an S version and as the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid.

In 2019, production of the Audi Q4 will start at Audi Hungaria in Győr. With this model, the brand is entering the segment of compact utility vehicles (CUVs). The very sporty Audi Q4 with its typical coupe-style silhouette will be positioned between the Audi Q3 and Q5. And as of 2018, Audi Hungaria will also be responsible for production of the Audi Q3 compact SUV, which until then will continue to be produced in Martorell, Spain.

Aston Martin starts conversion of St Athan facility ahead of SUV production

Aston Martin starts conversion of St Athan facility ahead of SUV production

750 direct new jobs created in South Wales; on target to commence DBX production in 2019.

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Aston Martin hosted a special ceremony on April 6 that launched Phase II of the redevelopment of MOD St Athan. The site in South Wales will become the British luxury carmaker's second UK manufacturing plant.

The former military site was formally handed over from the Ministry of Defence to Aston Martin by Secretary of State Sir Michael Fallon at a ceremony including Aston Martin President and CEO Dr. Andy Palmer, and Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns and Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones. With the commencement of these works, Aston Martin St Athan is on target to commence production of the company's new SUV, the Aston Martin DBX, in 2019.

Dr. Palmer commented: "Due to its sheer size and scale, the St Athan Super Hangars represented an excellent opportunity for us to build our second manufacturing facility, within the envelope of an existing structure. It is perhaps fitting that St Athan is, like our headquarters and sports car factory at Gaydon, a former Royal Air Force base.

"I am pleased to welcome Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon and Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, both of whom have been instrumental in helping us secure this facility. I am also especially pleased to welcome back the First Minister, who has worked side-by-side with us on this programme from inception to completion.

"Now we have commenced Phase II, these hangars will be redeveloped to become the home of our newest manufacturing facility."

Just over one year ago, Aston Martin announced that St Athan had been chosen as the site for its second UK manufacturing plant from 20 potential global locations as part of the growth strategy under the companies Second Century Plan. The investment into St Athan is part of Aston Martins wider industrial expansion plans which will see 1,000 new jobs created across its two manufacturing sites by 2020, with a likely further 3,000 across the supply chain and local businesses in Wales.

Phase I commenced in late 2016 when Aston Martin was first given access to part of the site and began to create the customer and staff reception areas, administration and management offices and the employee restaurant.

Phase II marks the beginning of the project that will see the three super hangars redeveloped into a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. The new plant brings employment opportunities to South Wales; a recruitment event last year attracted 3,000 applications and already the first technicians are working on the DB11 at Gaydon, training for the highly-skilled roles they will take up at St Athan in 2020.

Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon commented: "This investment is great news for Wales. Aston Martin's decision to build a new facility on MOD land we no longer need will also bring high skilled jobs to Wales. Releasing this site, and others, will enable us to invest in a better defence estate for the Armed Forces and their families."

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns added: "Thanks to the close partnership between the UK and Welsh Governments and the prestigious Aston Martin brand, the St Athan site is springing back to life as a significant centre of employment, bringing with it valuable skills and a lasting legacy for the entire region.

"As the UK exits the EU, we are determined that our country remains a great place to invest and to do business. Aston Martin's decision to invest in Wales shows that we are creating and supporting the right conditions for industry investment. The UK Government's comprehensive industrial strategy will build on that success, ensuring that we have the right infrastructure, skills and support in place for our world-leading industries as well as support for new emerging sectors to flourish."

First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones said: "Aston Martin's positive influence on the local community and the economy of Wales is already being felt. More than 40 Welsh workers are now employed at Aston Martin Gaydon preparing for the start of production at St Athan, and many more job opportunities will follow before 2020. As Phase II of redevelopment commences at St Athan, supply chain companies throughout Wales will also have the opportunity to bid for contracts worth over £60 million through the Welsh Government's own Sell to Wales procurement site, extending the benefits of this massive investment throughout Wales.

Toyota announces record $1.33 billion investment in Kentucky plant

Toyota announces record $1.33 billion investment in Kentucky plant

Investment for next generation vehicle production to drive the future of mobility.

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The future of automobile production is now. A $1.33 billion investment- the highest of any automaker in Kentucky and the second-largest in state history- will make Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK) the first plant in North America to begin producing vehicles using Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). The number one selling car in America for the past 15 years, the Camry, from the 2018 model year, will become the first Toyota vehicle made in the US to fully incorporate the new vehicle development and production technology.

"This $1.33 billion investment is part of Toyota's plan to invest $10 billion dollars in the US over the next five years, on top of the nearly $22 billion Toyota has invested in the US over the past 60 years," said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. "Toyota New Global Architecture is about exciting, ever-better vehicles for our customers as it will improve performance of all models, including increased fuel efficiency, more responsive handling, and a more stable, comfortable feel while driving."

TNGA represents a completely new strategy to the way the company designs, engineers, and manufactures its vehicles. In addition, it will shorten the development cycle for vehicle improvements and new vehicles. TNGA retains all of Toyota's traditional values of exceptional build quality and safety while injecting a fun driving experience with more responsive handling, regardless of the model. It also allows for a more flexible production environment, which will allow Toyota Kentucky to build ever-better cars, and respond quicker and more capably to customer demands down the road.

In addition to TNGA improvements, TMMK will undergo other makeovers that will, together, modernize and streamline the production process. That includes updating equipment and construction of an all-new paint shop.

"This is the largest investment in our plant's history and it speaks directly to the quality of our people and our products, as well as the partnerships we've forged in the local community and across the state," said Wil James, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK). "This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky."

Toyota Kentucky is the automaker's largest plant in the world, employing 8,200 team members. This represents an all-time high after recently adding over 700 people to support the upcoming launch of the 2018 Camry. Last year, TMMK produced nearly a quarter of the total number of Toyota vehicles produced in North America – over 500,000. In total, the plant has produced more than one-third – 11 million – of all Toyota vehicles manufactured in North America since 1986.

This announcement adds to the $530 million investment the plant committed to in 2013, in part to support Lexus production. This brings Toyota Kentucky's investment in the last four years to approximately $1.86 billion.

"Toyota's decision to invest $1.3 billion in their Kentucky plant is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration and echoes the recent National Association of Manufacturers' 2017 Outlook Survey showing that 93% of manufacturers are now optimistic, which is an increase of 37% from just a few months ago." - President Donald J. Trump.

Ford announces ambitious China electrification strategy; confirms two new EVs

Ford announces ambitious China electrification strategy; confirms two new EVs

Ford announces two new electrified vehicles as part of its China electrification plan - the Mondeo Energi plug-in hybrid and an all-new fully electric small SUV with an estimated range of more than 450 kilometers.

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Ford Motor Company has detailed an ambitious China electrification strategy, confirming two new electrified vehicles for China and a broad range of EVs by 2025.

The Mondeo Energi, to be launched in early 2018, will be the first plug-in hybrid to be manufactured by the Changan Ford JV. Ford also confirmed plans to bring an all-new fully electric small SUV to China within five years.

China is the world's largest new energy vehicle market thanks to strong government support and growing customer acceptance. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers of China, by 2025 new energy vehicles are expected to account for over 15% of total passenger vehicle sales in China.

"The time is right for Ford to expand our EV lineup and investments in China," said Mark Fields, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company. "We are prioritising our electrification efforts on China to reflect its importance as a global electrified vehicle market and to make lives better, simpler and more cost effective for Chinese consumers."

To address the diverse needs of consumers in China, including the growing demand for EVs, Ford will offer a comprehensive range of electrified solutions by 2025 - hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fully battery-powered electric vehicles. By then, 70% of all Ford nameplates will have electrified powertrain options, including the full range of nameplates produced by Changan Ford.

In addition, by 2020 Ford will start manufacturing electrified powertrains in China. It also plans to expand its new energy vehicle engineering capabilities at its Nanjing Research and Engineering Centre, with a focus on incorporating Chinese customer needs into Ford's next generation EV technologies.

Leading in electrification is fundamental to Ford's transformation into an auto and a mobility company. Globally, the company is investing $4.5 billion to electrify its most-popular, highest-volume vehicles for customers, offering more capability, productivity and performance - together with better fuel economy. In January, Ford confirmed seven of the 13 new global EVs it will launch in the next five years, including the all-new fully electric small SUV that will be sold in China, and a hybrid autonomous vehicle designed for commercial operations in mobility services, starting in North America.

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