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Significant step for Volvo

Volvo’s engine factory in Skövde, Sweden, has become the first climate-neutral manufacturing plant, having switched to renewable heating on 1 January 2018.

Skövde is the first plant in Volvo’s manufacturing network to reach this status, which marks a significant step towards the company’s goal of having climate-neutral global manufacturing operations by 2025.

Javier Varela – Senior Vice President Manufacturing and Logistics

Skövde also becomes one of only a few climate-neutral automotive plants in Europe.

Javier Varela, senior vice president of manufacturing and logistics at Volvo says improving energy efficiency is car maker’s first priority.

“The Skövde plant achievement is an important addition to our broader efforts in minimising our environmental footprint. We are pleased to be a leader within the automotive industry in the move towards climate-neutral manufacturing,” he says.

All heating supplied to the Skövde plant is generated from waste incineration, biomass and recycled bio-fuels.

Since 2008, along with the company’s other European plants, its Skövde site’s electricity supply already comes from renewable sources.

“This is a proud moment both for the Skövde plant and for Volvo,” says Stuart Templar, director for sustainability.

“Environmental care is one of our core values. Along with our plan to electrify all new Volvo cars launched from 2019, climate-neutral manufacturing operations will significantly reduce our overall carbon footprint, supporting global efforts to tackle climate change,” he says.

Assembly in Volvo Cars’ engine factory in Skövde, Sweden

Volvo is constantly looking at innovative ways to move towards its 2025 vision. In 2016, the production plant in Ghent, Belgium, introduced a district heating system that reduced carbon emissions by 40 per cent, saving 15,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

“We will continue to work actively with our energy suppliers in all regions to secure further access to renewable energy for our manufacturing plants,” says Javier Varela.

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Jaguar Land Rover to cut output

Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover will temporarily reduce production at its car plant in Halewood later this year due to weakening demand after Brexit and tax hiked on diesel cars.

Jaguar Land Rover’s sales in Britain and Europe were flat in 2017, with the company’s sales director saying that the tough conditions will continue.

The Halewood plant, which builds Range Rover models, is one of the Indian-owned automaker’s three production sites in Britain, which together build nearly one in three of the country’s roughly 1.7 million cars.

“Ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit is being felt by customers at home and in Europe,” the company said on Monday.

“Concern around the future of petrol and diesel engines – and general global economic and political uncertainty – and it’s clear to see why the industry is seeing an impact on car sales.”

“Following a review of planned volumes, we are planning to make some temporary adjustments to the production schedule at Halewood in Q2.”

Britain will increase the amount of vehicle excise duty (VED) paid by almost everyone buying a new diesel car from April, which will in turn hurt Jaguar Land Rover, as diesel accounts for around 90 per cent of sales.

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Nissan sales show no improvement

The latest figures show that Nissan’s passenger car sales have nearly halved in Japan for the second month in a row as the car maker still struggles with a damaging inspection scandal. (more…)

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Subaru boosts SUV production

Subaru announced on Friday that they plan to increase SUV production at their Indiana factory. Subaru will be investing NZ$200 million into the venture, which will also provide an additional 200 jobs.

Subaru debuts the all-new 2019 Ascent SUV at the L.A. Auto Show.


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China to reach one million units

Production of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in China could reach one million units by next year and three million by 2020.

Chairman of carmaker BAIC group, Xu Heyi said the production is likely to exceed a target set by the Chinese government.

“Rather than the time when gasoline-fuelled cars are withdrawn, it is more important to consider the extent to which new energy vehicles are popularized, or their market share,” Xu told reporters at the Communist Party Congress.

Wang Chuanfu, chairman of leading EV producer BYD, said in September that all of China’s vehicles could be “electrified” by as early as 2030.

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150 million Nissans to date

The Nissan Motor Company has produced its 150 millionth vehicle.

Established in 1933, Nissan is based in Yokohama Japan and sells vehicles world-wide. The US, China, Mexico and the UK lead Nissan’s sales, and Australia has contributed to producing over 1.6 million of these vehicles, including 806,432 of the 50 million cars sold since the start of 2005.

Nissan held about 6 per cent market share of passenger and commercial new vehicle sales in New Zealand in 2016, selling 11,219 that year.

The Nissan Motor Company has its origins in the pre-war Japanese Empire, being one of the members of the “zaubatsu”, a group of business that dominated the Japanese economy from the late 1800s to the end of World War Two.

In 1914, the company produced its first car. Named DAT, the car’s name was an an acronym of the first letter of each of its investor’s surnames. The DAT was followed by the smaller DATSON (son of DAT) Type 11.

The 1933 Datsun 12 Phaeton.

Nissan were the first manufacturer to produce cars in New Zealand, when they sold under the Datsun brand.

They built cars in Mount Wellington from March 1963, and until the company built its own permanent plant in South Auckland in the late 1970s, Nissans were assembled all over New Zealand.

Nissans were manufactured by NZ Motor Bodies in Mt Wellington, Campbell Industries in Thames, Motor Holdings, Waitara and Todd Motors Porirua. Nissan also owned a plant in Mt Roskill, Auckland and commercial vehicle plants in Glen Innes and Mangere.

Nissan closed its last plant in New Zealand in 1998, but retains plants in North America and Mexico, Europe, Asia, Oceania, Latin America & Caribbean, the Middle East and Gulf States, and Africa.

Today, Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands.

Nissan produces the all electric Leaf, which has become a best-selling electric vehicle both globally and in New Zealand. The Leaf’s ancestry can be traced all the way back to 1947, when the Japanese government encouraged auto makers to produce electric powered cars, due to oil shortages caused by World War Two.

The 1947 Tama Electric Car and the 2017 Nissan Leaf.

This resulted in the Tama Electric Car, which went on to succeeded in bettering its catalog specifications in government performance tests, with a cruising range of 96.3km, and a top speed of 35.2kmh. It was widely used as a taxi and a cargo vehicle.

Nissan is currently operating in six regions: ASEAN & Oceania; Africa, Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America and North America, and has a global workforce of 247,500.

In fiscal year 2015, the company sold more than 5.4 million vehicles globally, and generated revenue of ¥12.19 trillion, about $160 million NZD.

The company has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault under the Renault-Nissan Alliance since March 1999.

The 1980 Nissan Violet, four time winner of the infamous Safari Rally.





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Mitubishi and Nissan may share ute production

The Mitsubishi Triton

Mitsubishi Motors and its new parent company Nissan are investigating joint production of its utes in Southeast Asia as part of a broader plan to cut costs within the alliance.

Nissan bought a 34 per cent controlling stage in the ailing car maker last October for $3.3 billion, and have been aggressively seeking ways to cut costs and maximise profits.

Mitsubishi COO Trevor Mann told Reuters that the two car makers may pool technical resources and production of future replacements for the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton.

Future models are likely to be based on the Thai-produced Mitsubishi models, Mann said. “Our four-by-four technology, our cost base on pickups is better than Nissan’s.”

Nissan and Mitsubishi currently produce their utes on separate lines in their Thai factories, and moving to a common design could allow Mitsubishi to specialise in utes and for Nissan to build more cars and SUVs, which would increase productivity at both plants.

The current Navara and Triton models, which both launched in 2014, are not due for a replacement until 2022, which means changes to production is still some time away. Mann stressed to Reuters that nothing is yet confirmed, and decisions still had to be made.

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