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Osram takeover and Linux Auto expands – the week | Automotive Industry Comment

VW detailed ID.3 parts it is making in-house this week

VW detailed ID.3 parts it is making in-house this week

News Osram’s board was supporting an offer for the supplier from a bidding consortium of Bain Capital and The Carlyle Group was the most-read item on just-auto this past week. Osram and the consortium also concluded an investor agreement that includes comprehensive commitments. “Bain and Carlyle are the right partners for Osram at the right time”, said Osram CEO, Olaf Berlien. “They support our strategy and facilitate growth. Both are committed to our employees and offer shareholders an attractive premium.” The offer values Osram at an equity value of EUR3.4 (US$3.8bn) and an enterprise value of around EUR4bn. Bain and Carlyle have announced a minimum acceptance threshold of 70% which does not include the shares owned by Osram Licht itself.

The Automotive Grade Linux announcement of new members also attracted interest. AGL said Wuhan Bluestar Technology had joined as a Silver member while Candera, IDW Technologies, Reutlingen University and T-Systems joined in the Bronze category. AGL is a collaborative cross-industry effort developing an open source platform for connected car technologies. The project at the Linux Foundation bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies to accelerate the development and adoption of a fully open, shared software platform for all technology in the vehicle, from infotainment to autonomous driving. Sharing a single software platform across the industry reduces fragmentation and accelerates time-to-market by encouraging growth of a global ecosystem of developers and application providers, which can build a product once and have it work for multiple automakers.

This week we welcomed back occasional contributor Ray Hutton who said Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary had finally defied the doubters to become one of the Europe’s fastest-growing car brands. But SEAT’s history illustrates that it wasn’t easy. Well worth a weekend read. Hutton notes 2018 was the best year in SEAT’s history as it reached over half a million sales for the first time, made an after-tax profit of EUR294m and was given lead responsibility in the VW Group for ‘micromobility’ – scooters and other non-automotive modes of personal transportation.

Our future models analysis is always very popular and, after first taking a look at the Geely and Geometry brands and then Lynk & Co, this third feature in a five part series examining the divisions of ZGH turned the focus to Proton and Lotus.

PSA’s Peugeot has become big in SUVs – its UK tv advertising currently highlights the three x008 models – but other Peugeots are available, like the 508 we scrutinised which is selling well in the EU.

A late breaker last Friday afternoon: Ralf Speth, the CEO of Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover, denied “crying wolf” over Brexit following that day’s welcome announcement the automaker would make a range of new electrified vehicles at its plant in Castle Bromwich, England. The first model was confirmed as an electric version of the next generation Jaguar XJ in a move the company said would safeguard thousands of jobs in the UK. “No, I’m not a wolf,” Speth, a German national, told Sky’s Ian King Live. “But I know my facts and figures. I want to make quite clear I honour democratic processes. But I also want to go away from emotion and discuss this kind of case on facts and figures. “Everybody can calculate these facts and figures and everybody can see the implications out of it.” Programme host King noted JLR was pressing ahead with a significant investment without knowing the outcome of Brexit and asked Speth why he had now made the announcement “given some of the previous comments you’ve made on Brexit”. “Statements are statements and figures are figures,” retorted Speth. “We also see that [time is advancing] and being first in the market is very important.” So are the jobs at Castle Brom.

Pickup truck and BMW rarely share the same sentence but it looks like there was room for a one-off. The automaker stressed that the X7 Pick-up, a prototype created by trainees in Munich for its Motorrad division, was to be quantity: 1 only. Twelve people from the occupational sectors body and vehicle mechanics (m/f/x), vehicle mechatronics (m/f/x) and technical model construction (m/f/x) created the truck in 10 months from a test car which would otherwise have been scrapped. BMW termed the result a “fully functional, road-legal automobile in show car quality”. Wonder how many potential buyers have already waved cheques at the company? With just about every other niche covered, could a BMW truck appear soon? If not, why shout about it with a media release?

Our Man in Brazil kicked in this week with his quarterly review. Summary: Argentina is toast but Brazil output and sales are on the up again. Good to know and we hope the neighbour and largest export market comes back again, too. Car sales in Brazil in the first half of 2019 rose 12.1% year on year as production inched up 2.8% but, in contrast, exports dropped a sharp 41.5% due mainly to the economic crisis next door.

Last week, ZF announced its second largest sale ever of automatic transmissions to FCA. This week the giant supplier detailed the new ‘box, highlighting its suitability for hybrid models. Looking forward to trying it soon. We also took a look at June sales in western Europe, poked around inside the latest Kia Proceed, reported the impending departure of BMW’s chief, were introduced to the first production Mini Electric and learned that VW is making a lot of the bits for its upcoming ID EV range in-house. Henry Ford’s Rouge revived?

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, just-auto.com

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