Autocar confidential: Volvo's hybrid hopes, VW's transatlantic Golf and more

Volvo XC40 Recharge 2019 - stationary front

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

In this week’s round-up of automotive gossip, we chat plug-in hybrids with Volvo, talk e-Niros with Kia, find out why Bugatti is swapping clay model cars for virtual ones and more.

Volvo’s hybrid hopes

Volvo expects that a quarter of all the cars it sells in Europe in 2020 will be plug-in hybrids, up from 10% in 2019. It has tripled factory capacity for them and prioritised their production to cut lead times. It will also launch its first electric car, the XC40 P8 Recharge, this year. “This is the year in which electrification goes from a niche to a significant business to lay down the future,” said Volvo’s boss for Europe, Björn Annwall.

Kia’s professional appeal

Less than 10% of e-Niro buyers are existing Kia owners, creating a good opportunity to bring new consumers to the brand. Kia UK boss Paul Philpott said: “We’re not seeing people leave Kia products to go to the e-Niro. It’s mostly professional people [buying the model]. There’s a disproportionate number of doctors on the list!”

VW’s transatlantic Golf

While the regular Mk8 Volkswagen Golf won’t reach the US, where pick-up trucks and large SUVs dominate, the forthcoming Golf R hot hatch will. “The Mk7 Golf R is a huge success there,” said R division boss Jost Capito. “In the US, car dealers measure success by the days a car spends on the lot; the Golf R averages two days and sells overpriced.”

Bugatti swaps clay for code

Bugatti design boss Achim Anscheidt believes the days of shaping new cars with clay are over, as using virtual reality is quicker, more accurate and cheaper. “We’ve been talking about this for 20 years, saying ‘one day, we’ll be standing over a virtual model’. Now it has happened,” he said. The shift began in 2016 and helped Bugatti design its recent Chiron offshoots.


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Why Volvo is redefining autonomous driving

Source: Autocar

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