Groupe PSA: The car manufacturer that contributed most to France’s trade balance in 2017

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•    Nearly €6 billion automobile trade surplus, up 15%
•    Surplus of 397,000 vehicles exported, up 21%
•    15 Peugeot, Citroën and DS vehicles earn “Guaranteed French Origin” label

Groupe PSA is the car manufacturer that made the largest contribution to France’s trade balance in 2017, with a surplus of €5.54 billion , of which €200 million generated by the Opel vehicles manufactured at the Sochaux plant.

The five vehicle assembly plants produced 1.1 million vehicles, an increase of 12.9% on 2016, representing one-third of the Group’s worldwide vehicle production. The level of domestic output exceeds the commitments made under the New Momentum for Growth agreement, signed in July 2016 by five out of six French trade unions, representing 80% of employees.

In addition, the 12 components plants manufactured five million Groupe PSA engines and gearboxes in France. Due to the Group’s strong manufacturing presence in France, 15 Peugeot, Citroën and DS vehicles  were awarded the “Guaranteed French Origin” label by the not-for-profit organization Pro France.

Carlos Tavares, Chairman of the Managing Board of Groupe PSA, stated: “Directly contributing to France’s economic activity is a source of great pride for our Group and for the 58,000 employees based in the country. It is important to create the right economic conditions to enable us to enhance, through our Push to Pass strategic plan, the performance of our manufacturing base in France in order to meet the challenges of the energy transition.”

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peugeot-logo-2010-1920x1080Peugeot to re-enter India through a joint venture with CK Birla Group

PSA Group, the France-based carmaker and owner of automotive brands like Peugeot and Citroen, will soon re-enter the Indian market. The company is reportedly in talks with the New Delhi-based CK Birla Group for a probable manufacturing venture. An official announcement about the same is expected to be made by the end of this week. Though detailed information hasn’t…read more

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Mercedes-Benz Cars: World premier of the “Factory 56” – the most modern car production in the world

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Digital laying of the cornerstone at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant (from left to right): Michael Bauer, Site Manager Mercedes-Benz Werks Sindelfingen plant and Head of Production, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economics, Work and Housing Construction of Baden-Württemberg, Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain, Dr. Bernd Vöhringer, Lord Mayor of the City of Sindelfingen, and Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council.
  • “Digital, flexible, green” – latest production technologies are integrated at “Factory 56”. Main focus is on the people.
  • “Our ‘Factory 56’ will define a new way of building cars. With its ‘Factory 56’, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating the car plant of the future. It combines three trend-setting features: It is consistently digital and flexible – and it brings the term ‘ green production’ to life. As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
  • The foundation stone for the “Werk 56” production hall in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen is laid by high-ranking representatives from politics and business.

Sindelfingen – Mercedes-Benz Cars presents its “Factory 56”, the world’s most modern car production. “Our ‘Factory 56’ will define a new way of building cars. With its ‘Factory 56’, Mercedes-Benz Cars is creating the car plant of the future. It combines three trend-setting features: It is consistently digital and flexible – and it brings the term ‘green production’ to life. As the inventor of the car, we are reinventing production,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.

To mark the laying of the cornerstone for the new assembly hall on 20th of February, high-ranking representatives from the worlds of politics and business came together at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. Alongside Markus Schäfer, Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economics, Work and Housing Construction of Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Bernd Vöhringer, Lord Mayor of the City of Sindelfingen, Michael Bauer, Site Manager of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant and Head of Production, as well as Ergun Lümali, Chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen Works Council, also took part in the celebrations.

Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut emphasized that the laying of the cornerstone is also an essential element for a good future of Baden-Württemberg as an automotive location: “The ‘Factory 56’ will bring together two global megatrends that are of crucial importance for our country in particular: the digitalization of production and vehicle models of the future.” Baden-Württemberg will only be able to defend its reputation as a premium location for industry in the long term and secure the country’s prosperity if the manufacturers provide the right answers in both fields, production and mobility of the future, she said. The task of the state would be to support this path by supporting innovation.

In 2020, the “Factory 56” will already start production of upper- and luxury-class cars and electric vehicles at the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant. Passenger cars, electric vehicles of the upper and luxury class and robo-taxis will be produced. These include the new generation of the S-Class as well as the first electric vehicle of the product and technology brand EQ “made in Sindelfingen”. For the construction site 700,000m3 earth was moved. The area is 220,000 m2. This corresponds to about 30 football pitches. Approximately 6,400 tons of steel are used for the steel construction – almost as much as for the Parisian Eiffel Tower.

“Factory 56” – latest production technologies in series

The production concept of the “Factory 56” is setting new standards. This includes man-machine-cooperations and digitally supported processes including work organization as well as logistics and quality assurance. The plant is not only digitised consistently according to Industry 4.0, it is also connected to other productions in the global production network.

The 360 degree linkage along the whole value chain is an essential feature – from the suppliers, through to the development department, design and our production and to our customers. In the future, for example, the finished vehicles shall drive off the line automated to the loading station. Under “Digital Anticipation” in the Mercedes me App and online, customers purchasing new vehicles can already today gain exclusive insights into the production of their vehicles and thus have a much more enjoyable wait for delivery.

In the assembly hall itself state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 technologies are used. Driverless transport systems (DTS) with product baskets support logistics in the assembly and ensure the seamless supply of the required materials for the employees at the line. Innovative Radio Frequency Identification-technologies (RFID) are integrated into the “Factory 56”. Components and vehicles can thus be digitally tracked and linked with one another.

Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analyses and Predictive Maintenance guarantee high transparency and support in production planning, control and also in quality assurance. Through the analysis of existing production data, for instance, predictions on potential faults or due maintenance work can be made in advance.

The human at the centre

The human is at the centre of all activities in the “Factory 56”. The employees work at ergonomically optimised workstations and are optimally supported in their tasks by digital tools. The focus is on the use of intelligent, flexible technology. A new work organisation provides for flexible and modern working time models. The break areas are designed according to the latest standards – for example with a pantry, couch and info screen.

“Factory 56” is sustainable and energy-efficient

Modular building structures are characteristic for the “Factory 56”, with a design that is both energy-efficient and green, so environmentally friendly. The assembly uses renewable energies and reduces CO2 production, water consumption and waste significantly.

On the roof of “Factory 56” there is a photovoltaic system which feeds green electricity into the productions supply. This leads to a reduction of yearly 5,000 MWh of electricity. An electric vehicle of the product and technology brand EQ, for example the electric SUV EQC, could be charged 72,000 times a year with this. That corresponds to around 36 million kilometres mileage a year. CO2 emissions at the “Factory 56″ will be reduced by 75 percent compared to today’s S-Class production in Sindelfingen.

The construction of the assembly hall is very translucent. The Blue Sky architecture supports a pleasant working climate for the employees in daylight. In addition, the temperature of the hall can be set at up to seven degrees below the outside temperature.

About Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations

Mercedes-Benz Cars Operations is responsible for passenger car production at over 30 locations around the world. Three of them are currently being established. Within a flexible and efficient production network with around 78,000 employees it includes the central functions of production planning, TECFACTORY, logistics, and quality. Mercedes-Benz Cars produced more than 2.4 million Mercedes-Benz and smart passenger cars last year, marking the seventh record in a row. The network is based on the product architectures of front-wheel drive (compact cars) and rear-wheel drive (for example the S-Class, E-Class, and C-Class) as well as the SUV and sports car architectures. In addition, there is a powertrain production compound (engines, transmissions, axles and components). Each of these production compounds is grouped around a lead plant that serves as a center of competence for the ramp-up of new products, technology and quality assurance. Mercedes-Benz Cars is ready for the electro mobility: Around the globe electro hubs are built for the production of electric vehicles and batteries. The focus of day-to-day work is on the continuous improvement and refinement of state-of-the-art production methods, which allow future high-tech vehicles to be produced in a way that is efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly, according to the typical Mercedes-Benz quality standards. All of this revolves around the employees and their expertise, whose work is systematically supported by ergonomic workplace design and intelligent automation. In addition to its own production plants, Mercedes-Benz is increasingly leveraging partnerships and utilizing capacities at contract manufacturers as part of its growth strategy.

Source: Daimler

Pininfarina develops two cars for Vietnamese carmaker VinFast

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*Images for illustrative purpose only

Vietnamese carmaker VinFast Trading and Production Limited Company has finalized a contract with leading car designer Pininfarina for the development of two cars, an SUV and a sedan.

The two models to be developed by Pininfarina are the two most voted designs by
Vietnamese consumers in “VinFast car vote contest” launched in October, 2017. After unveiling 20 concept designs submitted by world-famous design houses including Pininfarina, Vinfast asked customers to vote which they thought were both “in line with world trends” and fitting with “Vietnamese tastes and demand”. Nearly 62,000 participants voted in the contest. The Sedan and SUV designs that collected the most votes were the two that Pininfarina will develop.

“The direct involvement of Pininfarina, one of the world’s biggest design brand, is expected to bring modern beauty while retaining Vietnamese identity to the first two VinFast car models”, said Mr. Quang Viet Nguyen, Vice President of Vingroup.

VinFast is likely to be the Country’s first car brand bringing the ambition to change automotive landscape in Vietnam. The target is to produce 500,000 vehicles in the country by 2025 and to launch the first car in September 2019.

ABOUT VINFAST

Vinfast is a member of Vingroup – one of the largest companies in Vietnam. The Company expects to initially produce between 100,000 and 200,000 Vinfast-branded vehicles per year, including five-seat sedans, seven-seat SUVs, and electric motorbikes. Vinfast has since taken several steps to prove it intends to take a serious hold on Vietnam’s car market, including the appointment of James B. DeLuca, a former executive vice president of General Motors, as its general manager. DeLuca will be charged with the construction, operation, and development of the SUV and sedan segments.

Source: Pininfarina

Kia previews second-generation K900

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Kia Motors has previewed its flagship luxury sedan, the K900, ahead of its world debut later in the year.

The new model combines sophisticated exterior design, effortless performance and a spacious cabin distinguished by luxurious materials and elegant styling. New technologies protect occupants, enhance interior comfort and give the driver greater confidence at the wheel.

Created through joint efforts by Kia’s designers in Korea and in the U.S., the new K900 will be manufactured at the company’s production facility in Korea. The new flagship sedan will go on sale in selected global markets from the second quarter of 2018.

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Volvo Cars debuts three-cylinder engine in new XC40 compact SUV

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*Image for illustrative purpose

Volvo Cars, the premium carmaker, today launched its new three-cylinder Drive-E powertrain in the XC40, the company’s first entry into the compact SUV segment.

The new powertrain is the first three-cylinder engine in the company’s 91-year history.

The all-new 1.5 litre, three-cylinder, direct-injection petrol engine was developed in-house using the same modular design as Volvo’s four-cylinder Drive-E engines. The three-cylinder powertrain comes with a manual six-speed transmission. An optional automatic eight-speed transmission will follow next year.

In line with Volvo Cars’ strategy to continue improving economies of scale, the engine will roll off the same production lines as the company’s four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

“Our new three-cylinder engine is an exciting development for the XC40 and for Volvo Cars in general,” said Alexander Petrofski, senior director cluster 40 at Volvo Cars. “This compact engine design provides the flexibility we need as we introduce more powertrain options for XC40 customers.”

Volvo’s current D3 150hp diesel and T4 190hp petrol engines are also added to broaden the XC40 engine offer.

Furthermore, the new three-cylinder powertrain has been deliberately designed for integration into Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars. A hybridised as well as a pure electric powertrain option for the XC40 will be added later.

XC40 customers now also have more choice in trim levels, including base, the launch variants Momentum and R-Design, plus the luxurious new Inscription level.

The Inscription trim offers exterior styling choices with 18”, 19” or 20” rims, unique skidplates, side window and grill mesh chrome, plus model-specific car colours. Inside, Inscription adds a newly designed crystal gear knob and the attractive Driftwood deco, which Volvo first introduced in its award-winning XC60 mid-size SUV.

XC40 customers can further express themselves with accessories like the 21” Black Diamond Cut alloy wheels, and the new accessory styling kit that offers brushed stainless steel skidplates and integrated dual tailpipes.

“The new XC40 is a youthful car that suits drivers with a strong sense of individuality,” said Alexander Petrofski. “We want our customers to be able to make a statement their way – subtle or otherwise – and so we want to offer them more choices, both in performance and styling.”

Note: Items included for each trim level may vary market to market. XC40 customers are advised to check with their local Volvo dealer for market-specific details.

Volvo Car Group in 2017

For the 2017 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 14,061 MSEK (11,014 MSEK in 2016). Revenue over the period amounted to 210,912 MSEK (180,902 MSEK). For the full year 2017, global sales reached a record 571,577 cars, an increase of 7.0 per cent versus 2016. The results underline the comprehensive transformation of Volvo Cars’ finances and operations in recent years, positioning the company for its next growth phase.

About Volvo Car Group

Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world with sales of 571,577 cars in 2017 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.

In 2017, Volvo Cars employed on average approximately 38,000 (30,400) full-time employees. Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China) and body components in Olofström (Sweden).

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Mahindra releases teaser video of its upcoming America only off-road vehicle


Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) to launch Roxor off-road vehicle from its newly opened headquarters cum manufacturing facility located at Metro Detroit, Southeast Michigan.

Exact details and specifications of the vehicle like powertrain, gearbox, et cetera are not known yet. The vehicle name is Roxor and the planned launch date is 2018 March 02nd .

About MANA

Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) is Mahindra’s North American automotive headquarters. In addition to leading all North America activity, MANA is a comprehensive automotive design, engineering and vehicle development center. Established in 2013 and located in Troy, Michigan, MANA’s team of veteran executives, engineers and designers working with affiliate Mahindra automotive teams in India, Korea and Italy, is playing a key role in growing Mahindra’s global automotive business.

Learn more about Mahindra Automotive North America at: www.mahindraautomotiveNA.com

About THE MAHINDRA GROUP

The Mahindra Group is a USD 19 billion federation of companies that enables people to rise through innovative mobility solutions, driving rural prosperity, enhancing urban living, nurturing new businesses and fostering communities. It has a leadership position in utility vehicles, information technology, financial services and vacation ownership in India and is the world’s largest tractor company, by volume.  It also enjoys a strong presence in agribusiness, components, commercial vehicles, consulting services, energy, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, steel, aerospace, defense and two wheelers. Headquartered in India, Mahindra employs more than 200,000 people across 100 countries.

Learn more about Mahindra at www.mahindra.com

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and Didi Chuxing sign MOU to explore new business opportunities


Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world’s leading automotive alliance, today announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with DiDi Chuxing (‘DiDi’), the leading Chinese mobile transportation platform, to explore future business cooperation on a new electric vehicle car-sharing program in the People’s Republic of China.

The memorandum of understanding signed with DiDi underlines the commitment to new mobility services at the Alliance, including the launch of robo-vehicle ride-hailing services, as part of the Alliance 2022 strategic midterm plan launched last year by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Ogi Redzic, senior vice president of Connected Vehicles and Mobility Services for Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said: “The potential business and technology opportunities that we will explore with DiDi are quite promising. This cooperation fits with the Alliance expansion in vehicle electrification, autonomy, connectivity and new mobility services.”

Chen Ting, General Manager for the Express Mobility Group of DiDi Chuxing, said, “Strategic partnerships with the world’s leading industry players like Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi will enable us to pool our strengths and resources to meet diversified mobility demands and create an open, sharing-based transportation ecosystem, as we innovate vehicles for a future of ridesharing, AI technology and new energy.”

As the world’s largest automotive group in unit sales, the Alliance is accelerating convergence and synergy initiatives in a range of new automotive technologies. By the end of its strategic plan, the Alliance will launch 12 pure electric models worldwide, utilizing common EV platforms and components, while also bringing to market 40 vehicles worldwide with autonomous drive technology and developing robo-vehicle ride-hailing services.

Under the Alliance 2022 strategic plan, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is forecasting that the combined revenues of its member companies will reach $240 billion and that annual unit sales will exceed 14 million by the end of 2022, compared with 10.6 million units sold by its member companies in 2017.

ABOUT RENAULT-NISSAN-MITSUBISHI:

Groupe Renault, Nissan Motor Company and Mitsubishi Motors represent the world’s largest automotive alliance. It is the longest-lasting and most productive cross-cultural partnership in the auto industry. Together, the partners more than 10.6 million vehicles in nearly 200 countries in 2017. The member companies are focused on collaboration and maximizing synergies to boost competitiveness. They have strategic collaborations with other automotive groups, including Germany’s Daimler and China’s Dongfeng. This strategic alliance is the industry leader in zero-emission vehicles and is developing the latest advanced technologies, with plans to offer autonomous drive, connectivity features and services on a wide range of affordable vehicles.

About Didi Chuxing

Didi Chuxing (formerly Didi Kuaidi ), is a major ride-sharing , AI and autonomous technology conglomerate founded by Cheng Wei, providing transportation services for more than 450 million  users across over 400 cities in China. Its headquarters is located in Beijing. It provides services including taxi hailing, private car hailing, Hitch (social ride sharing), Didi Chauffer, Didi Bus, Didi Test Drive, Didi Minibus, Didi Luxe, Didi Car Rental,  Didi Enterprise Solutions, and bike sharing to users in China via smartphone application. Didi has over 7000 employess with 40 percent women.

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