Munich will be the new host city for the former Frankfurt motor show. Picture: REUTERS
Munich will be the new host city for the former Frankfurt motor show. Picture: REUTERS

Munich is to take over from Frankfurt as the host city for Germany’s IAA motor show from 2021.

The capital and most populous city of Bavaria got the nod over Berlin and Hamburg, announced Hildegard Müller, President of the VDA German automakers association which runs the show.

She said Munich was chosen as its city centre and highly attractive locations close to downtown could be used to host events for the show.

Munich also seemed a natural choice given its proximity to German car makers’ headquarters. BMW is located Munich and Audi is only a short distance away in Ingolstadt.

The biennial event, which has taken place for seven decades, was the world’s biggest motor show. It will evolve from an automotive to a mobility platform, said Müller.

“In addition to the fascination with cars, it should be the initial spark that the host city will develop into a smart city with intelligent traffic concepts and innovative networking of modes of transport - sustainable and geared to people's needs,”said Müller.

It was announced in January that Frankfurt would no longer host the event after visitor attendance declined 30% last year from 2017. Moving to a new venue is hoped to draw in more people, although in recent years the number of automotive companies and visitors attending car shows has been on the decline.

Before the late cancellation of this month’s Geneva motor show due to the coronavirus outbreak, a number of brands had already decided not to take part including Cadillac, Citroën, Ford, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Peugeot, Subaru, Tata and Volvo.

- Denis Droppa


Koenigsegg Gemera hammers EV power home

Swedish sizzler: how does 1,270kW of power grab you? Picture: REUTERS
Swedish sizzler: how does 1,270kW of power grab you? Picture: REUTERS

The Geneva show has always been about concept cars, crazy sports cars and family cars.

Swedish hypercar maker Koenigsegg has rolled them all into one outrageous four-seater called the Gemera that even has isofix points for the rear seats.

Said to be a family car, the Gemera boasts an astonishing 1,270kW of power, 3,500Nm of torque (not a typo) and rips to 100km/h in a claimed 1.9 seconds.

And it’s a hybrid, combining a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with town-lighting electric power.

It has a top speed of 400km/h, which is limited, and Cristian von Koenigsegg assures the world he will only build 300 of them.

It’s a proper family car, too, Koenigsegg insists, with cupholders, wireless phone charging, rear-seat entertainment and luggage for four pieces of carry-on kit.

Claimed to be an environmentally friendly megacar, the Gemera defies conventional powertrain engineering with a host of stuff you rarely see together.

Each rear wheel scores an electric motor and there’s another one on the crankshaft of the combustion engine. They chip in for a combined 800kW of power.

The electrically boosted, 2.0l, three-cylinder “Freevalve” combustion engine can run on ethanol or methanol and drives the front wheels. The fuels it swallows are so clean that Koenigsegg claims they’re as good as CO2 neutral.

The little triple knocks out 450kW of power and 600Nm of torque in its own right, so it’s not to be mocked. It will even swallow petrol.

The Gemera can hit 300km/h in pure EV mode, which is rear-drive only, though that’ll eke nastily into the 31km of range from the 800-Volt battery system.

All the power systems are tied together for torque vectoring and all-wheel drive, all squeezed into a carbon-fibre monocoque.

The odd-opening Koenigsegg doors remain, though they’re enormously long inside the frameless doors.

- Michael Taylor


Green chauffeur service using Jaguar I-Paces blossoms in London

Environmentally conscious travellers can now book an electric Jaguar I-Pace for a London commute. Picture: SUPPLIED
Environmentally conscious travellers can now book an electric Jaguar I-Pace for a London commute. Picture: SUPPLIED

Early adopters of the electric-car revolution in the UK can now continue reducing their carbon footprint thanks to a new premium chauffeur service that uses a fleet of all-electric Jaguar I-Paces.

The service, called Havn, launched in London this month and its drivers are carefully selected and armed with the skills to deliver a customer-focused experience. Furthermore, the company says each ride can be tailored to the preferences of the passenger with options such as a playlist, temperature, and chauffeur interaction, all customisable ahead of the journey via a phone app or through an online booking portal.

Havn is backed by InMotion, Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital and mobility services arm.

Joseph Seal-Driver, Managing Director of Havn, said: “The decision to use the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace allows us to offer our customers a sustainable premium alternative – urban mobility with zero emissions.

“In just four months we have proved there is a significant appetite from customers who want sustainable transport without compromising on luxury. We’re seeing a fantastic response from businesses who want to improve their corporate travel.”


Coronavirus leads to nosedive in global vehicle sales

Employees wearing masks to prevent the coronavirus walk at a Hyundai Motors factory in Ulsan, South Korea. Picture: REUTERS
Employees wearing masks to prevent the coronavirus walk at a Hyundai Motors factory in Ulsan, South Korea. Picture: REUTERS

A tiny organism continues to wreak big havoc around the world. Just 6.2 million light vehicles were sold around the world in January, which is 13.9% down on the same month in 2019 and the lowest monthly figure since January 2012 which saw 5.9 million units sold according to analytics company GlobalData.

Driving the drop in sales was the emergence in December 2019 of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China. The disease has spread rapidly and has already infected more than 100,000 people and caused at least 3,500 deaths worldwide.

The outbreak has paralyzed the Chinese motor industry. To avoid becoming infected, many consumers in China and other exposed regions have barricaded themselves at home. This has caused vehicle sales and production to plummet, with no customers visiting dealerships and factories shut down with no one to operate them.

In February, car sales in China plummeted 80% compared to the same month in 2019, following a 33.1% drop in January 2020.

Many established automakers and suppliers have hinged their business plans on China in light of its previously reliable sales growth, especially as western markets begin to contract having reached peak ‘motorization’. This means China’s latest sales figures will be a significant cause for concern for these companies, potentially requiring them to scale back revenue and profit forecasts, says GlobalData.

Mike Vousden, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData continues: “The longer-term effects are difficult to quantify but it is likely that sales growth will continue to be stunted throughout the rest of 2020, even if the spread of COVID-19 can be contained. This is because many of the components that go into building vehicles all over the world are produced in China, in factories that are currently standing still because it is too risky for workers to return. The auto industry is poorly prepared for such supply chain shocks because many operations run on a ‘just-in-time’ basis, with very limited numbers of stockpiled parts.”

Already, companies such as Jaguar-Land Rover have confirmed they’ve had to resort to flying parts in from China to meet production demand. Others including Toyota and PSA have said they expect to see supply chain disruption while Fiat-Chrysler has warned it may have to halt some European production if parts supply continues to be affected. 

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