Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week’s gossip from across the automotive industry
Skoda on LPG:
Skoda development boss Christian Strube is an enthusiastic supporter of CNG- and LPG-powered cars, believing they can make instant improvements to air quality given widespread adoption. “Let’s begin this now,” he said. “Many markets are keen to discuss. I want to be with people who want to do something the environment can benefit from today.”
Bentley on a Bentayga Speed SUV:
Bentley design boss Stefan Sielaff has confirmed the company is working on a Speed version of the Bentayga SUV, saying it will be a “big change” in design over the standard car on which it will be based. He said to expect the “typical” styling changes Bentley makes when creating Speed versions of its models. More power for the W12 engine is on the cards, too.
The new Honda CR-V can accommodate an electric powertrain, but CR-V assistant project leader Tetsuo Mikasa said there are no plans to introduce a zero- emissions version, believing that the forthcoming hybrid CR-V “brings the best benefit for customers”. Honda’s electric efforts will focus on its Urban EV city car, due next year.
Ford Europe’s profits:
Ford of Europe’s 2017 profits were wiped out by the post-Brexit currency swing – Ford said it cost the firm $600m – but boss Steven Armstrong said new product launches, including new Fiesta, Focus and Ecosport models, should enable it to swing back into the black this year. “We will replace or refresh 80% of our cars by sales volume this year,” he said. “That’s already having a hugely positive effect.”