Thursday 17 January 2019

Shortcuts with Eddie: VW confusion; Peugeot prices; Dacia showroom; Grand affair; Joe Duffy Athlone

Shortcuts with Eddie...

Joe Duffy Group
Joe Duffy Group
Peugeot Rifter
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Someone in Volkswagen should tell people within the organisation to talk to each other before they make public statements.

A top exec was widely reported last week as saying the auto giant would make the last new vehicles powered by internal combustion engines (ICE) in 2026 and that everything after that would be focused on electric cars.

However Frank Welsch, VW's development chief, this week attempted to clarify those comments.

"It is not correct to say we will stop developing internal combustion engines from 2026," he said.

"What I think has happened is that people were talking about the 2040 date widely talked about for stopping selling ICE cars in Europe and then worked backwards in a logical way.

"But Europe is not the only market. Other regions have their own regulations and requirements, and I can see us developing more and more efficient ICE cars long beyond the quoted 2026 date."

This has created a lot of confusion, I think, because it suggests that last week's report was true for Europe but not for many other markets.

I think it all boils down to this: Sure, there will be a huge shift to making electric vehicles, and Volkswagen is gearing up massively for that.

But, as another senior VW exec told me recently, they will still be making tens of millions of ICEs by the time EVs break the one-million-a-year mark in the mid-2020s (and that includes the European market).

Last week's announcement - by Volkswagen head of strategy Michael Jost - would seem to suggest, however, that even more ambitious EV targets are now being set for electric vehicles.

That is to be expected, but they need to stop sending conflicting signals. People are planning on spending their hard-earned cash on the basis of what they think is coming down the line. And right now it is hard to say for sure what's what.

* Peugeot's new Rifter will cost from €23,540 for the Active 1.5 BlueHDi 75bhp 5-seater. It comes with a five-year extended warranty as standard. There are two lengths, with five or seven seats. Meanwhile the company's new Partner van will cost from €16,700 (€13,615 ex-VAT), the brand has announced. That is for the Access 1.6 BlueHDi 75bhp 650 KG level one model. It goes on sale in the new year.

* The first standalone Dacia showroom in Ireland has been opened by Menapia Motors in Wexford following an investment of more than €1m. Best of luck.

* Renault's Megane Grand Coupe has been upgraded and given a new petrol engine.

The firm is concentrating on the Easy Life line-up that has three trim levels and two engines, among which is the debut in this model of the new 1.3 TCe 140 petrol. It comes with a 6spd manual or 7spd EDC automatic. The 1.5dCi diesel gets more power and SCR technology to reduce NOx. It too has either a 6spd manual or 7spd auto.

There is a five-year warranty on all versions. Prices start at €23,940 for the TCe 140 Play trim. The diesel dCi 115 kicks off at €25,870.

* The Joe Duffy Group has just been appointed Volvo cars sales and after-sales partner for Athlone. It's the second Volvo Cars dealership (Tuam Road and Airside) and 18th franchise appointment for the ever-expanding group.

* The next-gen VW Golf is expected to be made in autumn 2019. The automaker has released a sketch that outlines an evolution of today's hatch. It is expected to reach unprecedented levels of fuel-saving technology and connectivity.

Irish Independent

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