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Auto industry at a crossroads?

Friday, April 29, 2016 - 01:36

Self-driving technology is the focus of this year's Beijing Auto Show, as carmakers ramp up efforts to find a breakthrough. But as Ivor Bennett reports, the trust issues surrounding Volkswagen and Mitsubishi has put the industry at a difficult junction.

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If the car industry is at a turning point, it's best seen here. All signs at the Beijing auto show pointing towards electric vehicles. At the moment, they account for only 1 percent of the industry in Europe. A lot of potential, but a long way to go, not least on price. SOUNDBITE (English) FORD, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT EMEA, JIM FARLEY, SAYING: "The math has to work for customers. Are we at that tipping point? Not for the average customer. Ford's a brand for the mass and we're not there yet. But with the right regulations, with the right environment on incentives and infrastructure, more and more people will make that choice." For now, though, it seems the market still has mileage. Tyre-maker Continental targetting higher profits this year - as demand strengthens. For Mitsubishi though, it's a case of putting a brave face on its fuel economy scandal. And with Volkswagen doubling its provisions over dieselgate, many are wondering who's next? SOUNDBITE (English) ADMIRAL MARKETS, MARKET COMMENTATOR, DARREN SINDEN, SAYING: "We seem to get one of these vehicle recalls now every 3-6 months so legacy issues i think are one of the principle concerns for investors in the auto industry, not knowing just how much more." Ford is investing 4.5 billion dollars into electric vehicles. Confirming this week it is working on a model with a 200-mile range. But so far, like others, they're not saying when it'll be ready. SOUNDBITE (English) ADMIRAL MARKETS, MARKET COMMENTATOR, DARREN SINDEN, SAYING: "It can't happen overnight. It's going to take a long term R&D plan and a large amount of investment. and that investment, for some anyway, might be hard to find if they're still having to pay for these historic legacy issues. So it's a crux." A car industry knowing where it wants to go then, but perhaps not sure of how to get there.

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Auto industry at a crossroads?

Friday, April 29, 2016 - 01:36