RUMOUR HAS IT...
Ringing in the changes at Audi
Audi has postponed the launch of its E-Tron all-electric SUV in the wake of the arrest of its CEO
It is all happening at Audi at the moment. Its global CEO Rupert Stadler remains in jail after being arrested last week in connection with the Volkswagen Group Dieselgate scandal. Authorities are keeping Stadler after initial questioning failed to yield the level of co-operation they were seeking.
The Audi PR machine went into overdrive, with speculation that Audi itself leaked pictures of the new A1 to try to distract attention from the CEO’s arrest. Then the company made a big announcement that it was tying up with Hyundai to develop hydrogen powered vehicles. Hyundai has already produced two hydrogen vehicles, one based on the iX35 SUV and more recently the Nexo, a standalone model.
But Audi was not done there. It then followed this up with a real internet whammy, that it is going to work on developing air taxis for its home city of Ingolstadt. Audi owns Italdesign, the company that designed the Pop.Up in collaboration with Airbus.
Finally, Stadler’s arrest no doubt contributed to this week’s announcement by Audi that it is postponing its big brand summit planned for the end of August, where it was scheduled to launch its new E-Tron all-electric SUV. The summit was due to take place in Brussels where the E-Tron will be built, but instead it will be moved to the US although Audi has not confirmed when.
Volkswagen and Ford have also announced an alliance, which initially will focus mainly on commercial vehicles, although no exact details have been given.
Ford’s president of global markets, Jim Farley, said: "Ford is committed to improving our fitness as a business and leveraging adaptive business models, which include working with partners to improve our effectiveness and efficiency.
"This potential alliance with the Volkswagen Group is another example of how we can become more fit as a business, while creating a winning global product portfolio and extending our capabilities."
AMG has been renowned for its brutish Mercedes 63 models, but recently the Mercedes-AMG brand began pushing out downsized AMG 43 models too.
Now our sources have told us that the company is looking to downsize even more with development under way of the A-Class AMG 35 range. The A35 will only be available as a sedan to take on the Audi RS3 and will offer around 223kW from a 2.0l petrol engine. The engine will essentially be a redone version of the A45 but will still offer a 0-100km/h time of around four seconds to take on the Volkswagen Golf R.
Development of the second generation Range Rover Evoque is continuing, with the model expected to be revealed at the Paris Motor Show later this year and go on sale in 2019.
The new L551 generation will be built on a slightly revised version of the existing model platform but will include mild-hybrid architecture. However do not expect full electrification options because the new Evoque will slip in before Jaguar Land Rover’s plans to electrify all its models from 2020.
Interior changes will see the Evoque ditch the rotary gearbox control in favour of a gearstick similar to that in the Range Rover Sport.