Geneva motor show dominated by launch of "green" cars
Published: 2nd Mar 2010 00:44:04
More than 30 world premieres will be unveiled during the first press day of this year's Geneva motor show.
Small cars will dominate the show as even luxury brands like Audi, Lexus and Aston Martin try to meet growing demand for frugal, fuel efficient cars.
Many electric and hybrid models will be displayed - the fruits of government aid to help carmakers cut emissions.
And on the corporate front, Toyota and GM Europe will outline their plans to recover from recent difficulties.
Meanwhile, Europe's biggest carmaker, Volkswagen, will outline plans to take advantage of trouble elsewhere in the industry as it pursues ambitions to overtake Toyota as the world's largest carmaker by 2018.
Toyota, which is reeling from recalls of more than eight million models because of faulty accelerator or brake pedals, hopes the impact of this costly episode will be softer in Europe than in the US.
Toyota is launching its first petrol-electric hybrid to be produced outside Japan or the US.
The Auris hybrid model will be built at its Burnaston facility in Derbyshire in the UK, with its hybrid powertrain made at its Deeside engine plant in North Wales.
With widespread concerns about Toyota's technology, the model launch comes at an awkward time.
"A lot of people thought Toyota was like the pope; they can never fail," said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the Centre for Automotive Research in Germany.
"Now we see they have not just a problem with the competition, but with their own technology."
Challenges for GM
General Motors Europe, which produces Opel and Vauxhall in Europe, is facing different challenges after the US parent decided not to sell the division late last year. The company recently outlined a restructuring plan that would rely heavily on 3.3bn euros (£2.9bn) in loan guarantees from European governments.
The bulk - 1.5bn euros - would need to come from Germany, though two weeks ago a government task force there said a plan put forward by the firm was "unqualified for government loan guarantees".
GM Europe is also meeting much resistance from the German trade unions, which are angry at plans to cut 3,260 manufacturing jobs in the country.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Geneva motor show dominated by launch of "green" cars [Online] (Updated 2nd Mar 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/41091/Geneva-motor-show-dominated-by-launch-of-green-cars [Accessed 28th Jul 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
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