Over the course of the past week, there has been a plethora of interesting news and developments from the world's automotive industries. It has thus prompted me to compile my favourites for your view today. So feel free to have a soothing drink in hand, perhaps coupled with some snacks, and enjoy reading.
- Ink dries for FCA-PSA's merger
- Jaguar Land Rover buys Bowler
- Ferrari's Roma gets some new info
- Rivian receives a large investment
- A new achievement unlocked
The Franco-Italian connection.
Several moons ago, I wrote an article discussing the merger between Groupe PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and going into detail as to the potential cause and effect of such an agreement. When that article was written, the merger talks were serious, but it was not bound in stone.
Finally, just some days ago, the combination of businesses between them were finally officiated, now creating the world's 4th largest automaker, with a formal sign-off on their merger agreement. Moreover, the combined conglomerate has also shared some interesting news regarding the direction of the future for its 15 car brands under ownership.
In my previous article, it was noted that several marques within their stable had been culled, while others had received a boost stemming from the then-anticipated merger of the two companies, which left an uncertainty for some of their beloved car brands.
It was reported by Automotive News, that over two-thirds of the new conglomerate's future cars will sit atop on just two platforms, both engineered in-house by PSA some years ago. Those two platforms were recognised as; CMP, which underpins small, compact car classes; and EMP2, which underpins medium-sized and larger cars. Both of these platforms are adapted to use any variety of diesel, petrol, hybrid, or electric powertrains.
PSA's architecture is far more modern and sophisticated when compared to FCA's current platform. When PSA acquired Opel/Vauxhall from GM, they made easy work of combining the Anglo-German cars with its in-house CMP and EMP2 platforms, which helped to modernise Opel and Vauxhall's cars for the 21st-century.
That same goal is put in mind with FCA's subcompacts and mid-sized cars, moving away from the comparatively antiquated Giorgio platform, and it has been reported that the first FCA marque to use this architecture would be carrying an Alfa Romeo badge, which remains to be announced in 2022.
Moving over to FCA's American brands, many of its larger vehicles such as those from Dodge or Jeep, would continue to use their respective platforms for the time being, however there's nothing to note for its future development. Only time will tell of its success, but I believe the next few years could herald some interesting developments for any enthusiast of FCA's stable brands, even for those who've lost hope… Lancia
A British tussle.
It has been announced that Her Britannic Majesty's largest and proudest homegrown automaker, Jaguar Land Rover, have made an acquisition of Bowler. For those who may not know, Bowler has cemented its legacy in specialising in tuning and modifications of racing-bred Land Rovers, groomed for driving at high speeds on very rough roads, often without any tarmac.
While JLR may have been put on rough financial footing in recent times, its changes over the years have improved their brand image, and most importantly, the company's balance sheet. So much so, that they've decided to purchase a company which makes money in an otherwise niche market, albeit for an undisclosed sum.
The only question now, is what can be expected to happen to Bowler under JLR's ownership - will they help to grow the brand with its large coffers, or will they simply neuter them?
There is hope, that JLR's guidance and money will help to nurture Bowler's continued prosperity; and there is even greater anticipation for Bowler's expertise to move into the mainstream, should they add some finely-tuned flair to Jaguars and Land Rovers for ordinary people to buy.
Bowler will now sit firmly within JLR's Special Vehicle Operations division, a diverse group which helps to maintain classic cars, create limited edition specials, and also to provide armoured vehicles for those who require extra protection.
However, there is also some slight dose of skepticism from the automotive community, that JLR could potentially make Bowler's acquisition as a way to remove external competition, as it brings everything in-house. Supposedly, as JLR's past dislike for outside tuners, such as Kahn or Overfinch, have fueled their goal to make its own businesses stand out.
Personally, I believe this skepticism may be overhanded, since external tuners such as those mentioned have only made external modifications to Jags and Landies, most of which results in gaudy over-compensation. Meanwhile Bowler has made its reputation for truly tuning a Landy inside and out, fit for purpose, not form.
Thus, I think JLR's acquisition of Bowler could be exciting times for any JLR fan, as fingers crossed, we could see fine-tuned, sportier, and higher performance Land Rovers in the works, or alternatively, we may also anticipate more special Bowler limited editions in the future.
A song for the ages.
Just last month, Ferrari had lifted the veil on its newest model, the Roma, which itself aims to be the successor to the Portofino, and one which I've covered extensively. If you've read that article, you'll know that I was very attracted to the Roma, not only for its beauty, but also to what it could mean for Ferrari's future line-up.
Some days ago, Ferrari has done some public service, by releasing some tantalising new details for their upcoming sports car/grand tourer. The timelessly elegant and pretty Roma got some new tidbits of information which were not confirmed or known when I made my first post.
To recap, the Roma has a 3.9L twin-turbo V8, producing 612 hp and 560 lb-ft of torque, mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission which was first seen on the SF90 supercar, with acceleration to 62 mph taking only 3.4 seconds, and onto a top speed in excess of 199 mph.
Now for some info which was not known previously, that 8-speed transmission has longer gear-ratios, which compliments the grand-touring nature of the Roma well. Ferrari has also revealed that the Roma will receive their latest computer brains, culminating in their latest Slide Slip Control technology, or SSC 6.0, that works in conjunction with the rest of the programmes built in.
Ferrari's electronics have long been unique to its competitors, by providing a large degree of enjoyment to the driver without digital annoyances or interferences, while at the same time being able to rein in the massive performance figures and preventing the driver from crashing when his/her skill runs out. With the Roma, it is simply an evolution of that, taken to the next level.
Speaking of technology, the Roma also has some advanced driver aids, which seems unheard of in a Ferrari, that includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, a 360-degree camera system, traffic sign recognition, and blind spot detection with rear-crossing alerts.
Moving into the lovely interior, there has been reports that the central 8.4-inch infotainment screen is optional. Thus, for those people like me, who may want less screens in their cars, especially since the instrument cluster itself is a 16-inch curved screen, then this may be welcoming news.
Also, as I have written before, a spoiler hides in the rear deck-lid of the Roma, to keep its elegant body shape intact. What isn’t known then, is that the rear spoiler has 3 different positions, and changes based on the requirements of drag or downforce, which helps to add 209 lbs more downforce at 155 mph compared to the outgoing Portofino.
Image source: Ferrari
An electrifying competition.
Rivian, a Michigan-based EV startup had just received a new investment of $1.3 billion, allowing the upstart company a larger wallet to play around with, especially considering the extremely competitive market for electric cars.
Building a new car company from scratch is not as cheap, or simple as some people may have suggested, but Rivian has thus far managed quite well, with growing support from industrial titans such as Ford, thus marking an increased resistance against consumer favourite, Tesla.
With Tesla's continued growth, Rivian is steaming ahead with future launches slated in late-2020, with the R1T pickup truck, and the 5- or 7-seater R1S SUV, with a range over 400 miles on the largest battery pack. Moreover, they've also received large orders from Amazon for electric delivery trucks, 100,000 units in total for 2021.
Ford's backing of Rivian could also bring a better-than-expected return on investment, as their luxury brand, Lincoln, is planning on using Rivian's unique architecture for its future electric vehicles. All in all, Rivian could help to shake up the electric-car market, with its unique approach to battery technology, industry backing, and minimally-elegant design.
It could also help to stand against Tesla, with their R1T pickup looking very pretty, compared to the Cybertruck's ghastly figure. In summary, there's much to look forward to in our electrified future.
Image source: Rivian
At the closing of this compilation of much good news, there is something which has no relations whatsoever in content, but its motives will surely encourage me to further author more automotive related content in the future, amongst other things.
I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to all those who've participated in Publish0x's BestDApp contest, which aimed to sharpen writer's skills by uncovering the best in the world of decentralised applications.
With your continued support, I was awarded 2nd place, with my contribution titled "Viva la revolución - Compound Finance, and their goals for DeFi" (Publish0x) (Steempeak), a coverage of one of the most interesting projects in the decentralised finance (DeFi) movement, with Compound's unique approach to creating a lending platform.
With this award, I can only say thank you, to each reader and to the rest of the Steem and Publish0x community which has helped me to grow, ever better.