Autocar confidential: Byton thanks Tesla, Fiat pumps out more Pandas, and more

Fiat Panda City Cross - driving front

Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up a week in gossip from across the automotive industry

As we chat to the motoring industry’s bigwigs this week, we hear how Tesla made life easier for Byton, how Audi will differentiate between each of its SUVs and more. 

Fiat Pandas to market demand

It may be ageing but sales of the Fiat Panda have risen substantially this year, thanks to the popular new City Cross model. The high-riding, snappily dressed version looks like a four-wheel drive (a version you can still buy) but isn’t.

Volkswagen: diesel’s not dead… yet

Volkswagen sales and marketing boss Jürgen Stackmann says the brand isn’t giving up on diesel yet. “There is nowhere the date [we give up on diesel] is written,” he said. “We believe diesel is great for certain vehicle types and long-distance drives, with unparalleled efficiency. We’re the only manufacturer that has actually grown its diesel mix. We’ll give it a strong shot for EU7.”

Ingolstadt draws up a plan

Audi’s ever-growing SUV range makes varying the design of each model vital in order to identify its place in the line-up, according to Jakob Hirzel, exterior design leader of the recently facelifted Q7. “It’s about character, and identifying where it makes sense to make them different,” he said. “It’s a much bigger line-up now, so it’s a challenge to make sure they all make sense.” 

Byton boards the Tesla train

Tesla’s early success helped lay the groundwork for other electric car makers, according to Byton CEO Carsten Breitfeld. “They did a great job to build up this premium electric brand. They changed the perceptions of people,” he said. Hiring designers and engineers for the upcoming M-Byte SUV was that much easier because “no one is questioning the potential of electric cars any more. No one would say an electric car is something boring”.

Read more

Byton M-Byte SUV gearing up for production​

New Fiat Panda could launch as early as 2021​

Audi Q7 2019 review

Source: Autocar

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