Paris Motor Show - Volkswagen ID
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IHS Automotive analysts on the Volkswagen and JLR announcements – and key trends from the Paris Motor Show 2016

VOLKSWAGEN announced that it will create a 13th group brand to support mobility developments. VW CEO Matthias Müller said that the new brand would be headquartered in Berlin witha full management team and structure. However, we shall have to await the new division’s name and further strategy and metrics until November.

Implications: The reveal at Paris centred largely on the ID EV, while a mobility services brand is something other automakers have created already.

Paris Motor Show - Mercedes-Benz generation eqStephanie Brinley, senior analyst, IHS Markit on Paris

  • Automakers presented a utopian view of how people will move, but also new ways to make a vehicle even more integral to one’s lifestyle. As an example, the scenario that Mercedes-Benz (Generation EQ pictured above) laid out for a car that picked up dry cleaning for the owner coming back from a business trip – while the car was also shared with another instead of just sitting at airport parking. Car not only as mobility but also errand-runner.

Outlook: Much of what VW announced has been in development over the past year. While the impact of the diesel emissions scandal continues to weigh on the company, market trends, regulations, and changing consumer demands are driving VW to adapt its forward strategy to take account of the potential of wider mobility services. VW’s announcements were largely predictable. The company seems, so far, to be addressing mobility and electrification in a similar way to top-volume automakers, so it was not clear that VW presented anything truly innovative.

VW’s EV news was also echoed by other automakers, as Mercedes-Benz announced a new EV brand called EQ and Opel announced the European Ampera-e, a version of the Chevrolet Bolt.

While sales of EVs have been growing and manufacturers’ efforts have continued to drive improvements in the infrastructure necessary to support them, they remain a small share of market today. IHS Automotive forecasts that global production of EVs will grow from about 493,000 units in 2016 to 3.0 million units by 2027.

Paris Motor Show - Land Rover Discovery

New Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover also launched the eagerly awaited new Discovery (above) which focuses on efficiency, styling, infotainment and off-road ability.
Significance: The first time in over a decade that the strategically important model has been replaced with an all-new version.

Ian Fletcher, principal analyst, IHS Markit

  • Although the VW brand’s reveal of the I.D. concept  dominated the news cycle of the Paris Motor Show, other OEMs should not be overlooked. Indeed, many are showing concepts that are putting out a similar message for the future of the automotive landscape in terms of electrification, autonomy, connectivity and sharing, such as Mercedes and Renault.
  • There have also been plenty of upgrades announced in terms of existing battery electric vehicles. A range of 300km appears to be the magic number to be surpassed with the BMW i3 and VW e-Golf both now said to hit this mark, while Renault’s Zoe is now said to reach 400km.
  • However, by far the leader at the event is Opel with its Ampera-e that the automaker says will reach 500km on NEDC and estimates will achieve 380km on the tougher WLTP cycle. The question now is whether this hasten the switch for some customers from more conventional types.

Implications: The new Discovery is focused on giving customers an even more premium feel in terms of the interior, the latest connectivity and infotainment features and a more interior space while it will also feature JLR’s new range of four-cylinder Ingenium powertrains.

Outlook: The new Discovery is another key new model for JLR’s growth plans and will help the company maintain the impressive sales momentum it has built in recent years.

Probably the biggest technology change is the move to aluminium monocoque construction that JLR has perfected on other models, including the latest Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, with all its weigh-saving benefits.

The move to aluminium monocoque construction will see the model built alongside the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport at the company’s specialist aluminium body manufacturing site in Solihull.

The Discovery has always been held in great affection by owners, despite occasionally suspect quality and reliability, and this new model is eagerly awaited after what has effectively been a 12-year wait for an all-new model.

Perhaps the only questionable aspect to the new model’s launch is the inclusion of the V6 diesel into the initial model range. Given the negligible performance benefits and far poorer emissions and fuel economy than the Ingenium-engined model it is difficult to see many customers opting for the V6, although some customers will always prefer a six-cylinder unit over a four in such a large, premium car.

IHS Automotive’s powertrain forecast also has a gasoline-engined Ingenium unit being added to the range, which will also serve as the basis for a hybrid variant.

The Discovery’s sales have remained remarkably consistent throughout its lifetime, averaging around 50,000 units per annum. IHS Automotive forecasts that despite much enhanced competition from OEMs, the new Discovery will surpass the previous sales record for the car of 56,000 units in 2005, with a peak volume of 59,000 in 2019, which will continue to see the model as a key cash generator for the Land Rover brand.

Paris Motor Show - BMW X2

Read more about the Paris Motor Show

Click here to read our top 10 business cars from the Paris Show on our sister site Business Car Manager, including the BMW X2 (left)

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