Fika Off*

Opening a new coffee jar should be a pleasant experience

Image: Volvo.com

September 2022 saw the millionth electric powered vehicle registered in the UK. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), practically a quarter of a million leccies were registered in the same year. Consider that the overall year to date figures includes over 85,000 hybrids of one form or another, along with 91,000 petrol driven machines. Favourite of old, diesel, mustered just over 10,000 sales, a sign of the times when overall sales are expected to encroach on 1.4 million cars for the year.

The UK’s top spot has been a race between the Liverpudlian Vauxhall Corsa and Newcastle’s Qashqai – 29,000 units each with the bronze headed to the blue oval’s Puma, an increasingly popular sight, especially in lime green.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive observed, “September has seen Britain’s millionth electric car reach the road, an important milestone in the shift to zero emission mobility. Battery electric vehicles make up but a small fraction of cars on the road, so we need to ensure every lever is pulled to encourage motorists to make the shift if our green goals are to be met.

And how does the Swedish/ Chinese conglomerate, Volvo react? By unveiling the EX90, the habitually strong selling XC90’s replacement. Destined for a 2024 release, the EX is a supercomputer dressed in a prosaically designed body shape with seating for seven and four driven wheels, with the purpose of delivering its occupants somewhere.

Readers of this parish will understand this author’s particular fondness for Volvo. However, my vehicle’s methodologies lie within the dinosaur age. Powered by diesel and a three-box shape to, ahem, boot, this car is practically now anathema to Gothenburg as not only has the black pump had its day, but it would appear, so too the humble saloon[1].

The EX is, according to head honcho, Jim Rowan, “A statement for where we are and where we are going.” Design chief, Robin Page added, “We made a conscious decision not to go too crazy. Later on, we can be more playful.” Pragmatic stoicism or searching for something more eloquent, this leviathan could otherwise be easily mistaken for the marque’s smaller siblings – there’s Swedish minimalism and then there’s borderline-bland.

Image: Volvo.com

The removal of almost all but the essentials continue inside. A steering wheel, some actuators behind, a letter box screen for dashboard instrumentation and a whopping tablet that appears easily removed (though surely isn’t) controlling everything else. Apologies, a knurled volume wheel sits where old-fashioned vehicles once featured a gear selector. A 25 speaker (including headrests), 1600w Bowers & Wilkins stereo blaring out the Prodigy might cause you to spill your latte on the recycled material seats – cowhide no longer welcome.

Placed upon Volvo’s latest SPA2 platform, shared with similar cousin Polestar 3, the EX90’s body has a supremely slippery, for a coffee shop sized vehicle, 0.29 coefficient of drag. This must assist with the (potential) 360-mile range, and the 0-60 time of under six seconds, whilst observing Volvo’s curtailed v-max of 112mph. Initial models make do with 400bhp from the twin motors alongside 568-foot pounds. Higher specifications can unfurl over 500bhp and almost 700 of the twisting stuff, while base models offer single motors for one expects slightly more sedate progress. Dimensions are large, a nod over 2,800Kgs and 37mm over five metres in length, the car’s hips are wider than the previous incarnation, but its stance is lower.

Driving a large electric Volvo won’t be a cheap affair, either. First editions will relieve the cash buyer a Range Rover-aping £96,000 or for the monthly payee, around £1,600. Sip that cappuccino slowly as you contemplate the limited colour palette or smile smugly at how fast the 111 Kwh battery recharges.

Image: Volvo.com

LiDAR appears to cover almost every imaginable on (and maybe off-) road situation. Include Pilot Assist and the faintly terrifying sounding Nvidia along with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon cockpit core software, not forgetting Google based infotainment. Long gone the days of pub bores extolling the virtues of a particular engine or trim level. Nowadays, if your software isn’t available over the air, you’re history. Volvo insist such developments will increase longevity and “keep the car new.

Which is just as well for apart from the moon landing technology, what, if anything novel has Volvo brought to the table? An ever larger and heavier machine than before that will, in most cases transport one individual from home to office, able to sip a takeaway mocha in supreme comfort and electrified silence. Should you fill ‘er up with seven and a modicum of luggage[2], heading off on the school run or holiday in a hilly area on a chilly morn, the range will plummet. Rather like forgetting the cup of coffee left outside on a windy day as you inspect the garden.

Image: Volvo.com

Now look at the vehicle objectively. It’s rather boring, plainer than milky coffee and too similar to its forbear. Volvo appears to have wasted an opportunity to conjure up something, if not melodramatic then at the very least, characterful. Page alludes to more fanciful ideas at a later stage, but for now, this is a conservative brand with a loyal following – the customer, it would seem does not welcome change.

Volvo must have conducted the relevant research, even in the hotter areas of the States where a long glass roof will impact internal temperatures and drain battery levels more.

The EX90 is an anachronism, wholly irrelevant and will doubtlessly sell like hot coffee and pastries. The Iron Mark’s electric future probably won’t include me – I prefer tea and biscuits, you see.

[*] The title’s first word refers to a Swedish phrase meaning to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee with a true friend, mentioned on every official Volvo related email this author receives.

[1] Written late on the 10th November, the following day Page alluded to the possibility of a new saloon design. One waits, although not avidly.

[2] The boot swallows 310 litres of stuff if all seven seats are used, doubling when dropping the rear chairs. A “frunk” (awful phrase) might just store a 400g coffee jar.

Author: Andrew Miles

Beyond hope there lie dreams; after those, custard creams?

49 thoughts on “Fika Off*”

  1. Good morning.
    I can fully agree regarding boringness and dullness of the presented vehicle. However, it might be worth pointing out that coefficient of drag is unrelated to the size of the object, in this case an enormous SUV, but rather depends only on the its shape. Actual drag force is, in turn, dependant on drag coefficient and size.

    1. Good morning.

      That was the thaught that came to my mind when reading the post.

      Last time l watched, Cx was just a given shape’s aerodynamic efficiency.

      True aerodynamic efficiency was S (surface area) times Cx, meaning for example that a 0,4 Cx BMW e30 would probably require less energy to move than this 0,29 whale.

      Why the industry never mentioned their products S x Cx figures says all about their intelectual (and, IMO, overall) honesto.

  2. Good morning, Andrew. Volvo must have great designers. Everything I don’t like is wrapped up in one car, that takes skill. I wonder if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

  3. For me, more intriguing than one new more EV-SUV (bland, but not the worst), is the path the whole auto industry is taking – The EV path.

    I seriously question, when many more millions of EV’s will roam the roads, what will be the ability of the power grids (worldwide) to charge them and what will be the average waiting times at public charging stations.

    Not to mention the ecological and human rights concerns raising by the mining of all the necessary lithium and other rare earth metals.

    And the concerns on the large scale necessary battery recycling needed…

    Until better technology arrives, I feel the big push should have been on hybrids (and maybe even kits to hybridise existing ICEs) and their ongoing optimization.

    I can’t help to think that the EV push (specially in Europe) is motivated not just by eco-climate concerns, but also and significantly, by pure greed / profit motives. The manufacturers just want to sell more new (and more expensive) cars ever and ever… and of course the EU political body obliges…

    1. Perhaps this is a bit too much of ‘watching from afar’, but obviously the entire charade has to come to a head at some point, and with any luck it will bite those who enacted such draconian measures the worst. Sadly it will no doubt affect the disproportionately privileged even more in the meantime so I admit it’s not without guilt that we await such a reckoning. No doubt, though, that without some major (fantastical, perhaps) breakthrough in generation and storage technology there will be zero chance that the transportation sector can be 100% carbon-free by 2035 as everyone is so keen on pushing as the current narrative.

      It’s a bit unfortunate as EVs do have real use cases that are quite beneficial, but they are by no means the end-all solution they are being posited as right now. I’d love to have a crappy little EV with under 100 mile range for errands and commuting to avoid the engine wear-and-tear from constant cold-starts on my ICE Volvo, but alas, nothing seems to be available in that segment.

    2. I’m sure that a large part of the increased demand is due to the fragility of gasoline infrastructure. It was always so, but memories are short, so I think many were surprised to find themselves in gas queues.
      We’ve known for a long time how dirty oil is: dirty money, emissions, health, human rights, corruption, etc. Not everybody remembered that fossil fuels could suddenly be unavailable.

      Say what you will about your electric grid, at least it’s mostly at the mercy of your own national fools. Your local fuel pump can and will run dry because of events happening anywhere in the world. The electric grid is also generally getting cleaner, not dirtier like oil.

      I’m not in the market right now, but the choice seems clear for the future: I can either trust not-so-foreign dictatorships to keep me in the juice at a reasonable rate, or I can plug into the local grid for a few minutes each week. We’ve already reached the tipping point in terms of lifecycle cost: an electric car will be cheaper, unless you don’t intend to drive. Even then it’s a toss-up. What will a fossil car be worth in 10 years?

    3. Well said, Bernard. I don’t think anyone here is questioning that the EV push is in any way a retrograde step, i.e. it will be the future (or at least a key part of the future) eventually, but the timelines and the narratives that are being pushed right now seem both elitist and impractical. To move so quickly to an all-new energy system will no doubt leave millions who are less fortunate in the dust while straining a grid that is already struggling to cope with a rather insignificant amount of EVs. Additionally, taking older cars off the road that are perfectly functioning and well-maintained is ridiculously climate insensitive, regardless of the emissions that those cars produce (which ought to be rather low given the decades of CARB and EURO standards).

      I’m really not sure of the right answer myself, of course, but it really is telling that the EV ‘revolution’ is by no means the ‘zero carbon, climate guilt free’ solution that everyone likes pretending it is. Ideally I’d love to have solar panels on my home and charge a small BEV (or PHEV) off of that, but after doing some research even the benefits of those are somewhat diminished as their generation is highly sun and angle-dependent and needs to be stored in batteries if you mean to take advantage of every kWh you generate, not to mention that they generally deteriorate after about 25 years. There’s no easy answer besides reduce, conserve, and eliminate, but that’s not what people like to hear. They want to have their cake and eat it, too.

    4. Exactly. Many people want to be seen to be doing ‘the right thing’, regardless of how practical it is in the wider picture, for the planet as a whole. The overall aim is (or should be) surely to reduce global emissions, not just relocate them from my exhaust pipe to some remote power station, or exchange one kind of environmental damage (air pollution) for another (mining spoils).
      Here in Australia I read an article recently by an electrical engineer employed on a fashionable city multistory housing project, explaining the flow-on effect throughout the state’s energy infrastructure from adding the desired number of extra EV charging points to the development’s car park. This was just for the one development. Fortunately our government here seems to recognise the need to improve the energy infrastructure, but these things take time (don’t they just?). Here I think they’re still deciding how to address the energy problem, and realising that localised blackouts are not an acceptable solution.

    5. All of this is true, but to me an added problem is that it’s near-impossible to judge for an average person or even one interested in the matter (be it cars or sustainability). Most people have neither the time or the inclination to do extensive research on a matter like sustainable mobility, so if they are told that X solves the problem (or their part in it) and it is made easily accessible/affordable, then they will choose X and believe they are helping. I think people can be forgiven for that, since sustainability is a devilishly complicated question.

      Ideally, there would be scientists and politicians working together to make sure that all those partial solutions X that get offered to people actually add up to helping solve the problem at hand. Ideally. In reality, you can see politicians grappling with the question just as much (and eventually sticking their head in the sand just as much, going “X is going to solve it” over and over again – unless they are self-proclaimed contrarians, in which case they go “X is the work of a satanic conspiracy”).

      It’s equal parts terrifying and reassuring that this is how humanity has functioned throughout its history (or its existence).

    6. Tom, you may be over-thinking things. Individual consumers don’t care much about the politics. They make decisions based on their own circumstances.
      For the few that do consider the environment, it’s quite clear that electric cars are better than the alternative. I find it funny when people are concerned about mining for minerals, seemingly unaware of how oil is extracted.

      In the end it will come down to value. Is a new electric car a better deal than a new fossil car? We’ve reached that tipping point already. It doesn’t take many £100+ fill-ups per month to make-up the extra initial surcharge for an electric car.
      This will filter-down to the majority of the population who don’t buy new cars. Today’s new car is tomorrow’s used car, after all.

    7. Overthinking? Me? 🤔 Never! 😄

      The scary thing for people like me who worry too much is that you simply cannot say where a new market and regulatory equilibrium will be. It might be that EVs will trickle down the market quickly enough to replace the current options for the less well heeled, but it might also be that personal mobility will again become the luxury it once was. I do tend to see a lot of societal regression currently, where accomplishments are being thrown by the wayside for sheer boredom, it seems. That, however is very much my emotional truth and not in independently established fact.

    8. I too am concerned about ecology, and that’s why I see the trend towards individual mobility only for a few rich people (aka eco-aristocracy).
      A vehicle will become a luxury, as it was 100 years ago.
      It simply won’t be enough for everyone.

      I know, “Predictions are difficult, especially when it comes to the future. (Mark Twain)”

      But it’s already not enough. That’s why I don’t see the tipping point regarding EV.

      We have a 2000 Lancia Y. We bought it in 2014. For 1250 euros, new it cost around 12000 euros.
      A comparable EV (Fiat 500, Opel Corsa) currently costs around 33-35 thousand. The batteries are end-of-lifetime after 14 years. Even if one wanted to, there will be no replacement batteries for such old vehicles in 14 years. These vehicles will definitely not be available as used cars, they will be stored somewhere as electronic waste.

      We currently have an offer from an electricity producer who wants to install a photovoltaic system on the roof of our apartment building. He will not pay us a usage fee, but will give us the system as a gift after 16 years.
      At the last owners’ meeting where this topic was discussed, one owner (he only owns the flat to rent out and lives in his own home with his own photovoltaic system on his roof) said “Yes, after 16 years there are no more spare parts, they are giving it to us as a gift to save the dismantling costs”. He speaks from experience, as he is now already getting spare parts problems for his system, and it is not 16 years old.
      My brother-in-law, who had a photovoltaic system installed on his roof 8 years ago, is also already having maintenance problems.

      I don’t want get into whataboutism, but even if the subsidies for EVs and PVs are not as bad as the subsidies for oil, there’s an (electric) waste problem coming up for the next generation, compared to which the pollution from combustion vehicles will look like a child’s birthday.

      And yes, there are excellent applications for EVs, but it is not “EV for everybody and everything”.

      Yes, there is a tipping point at the moment. But not in terms of EV.
      Certainly not in the “best-Germany-ever” where, thanks to our wisdom-blessed government, we are supposed to brace ourselves for brownouts (if not blackouts) this winter.
      We will be see the belated implementation of the Morgenthau Plan.
      So, enough of the digressions…

    9. Maybe private automobiles are becoming elitist for the same reason that fountain pens, wristwatches, and “Sunday best” clothing are elitist: not enough people want to pay for them. If that’s the case, you may have inverted cause and effect. The uni-age people I know feel the same way about car ownership as they do about cable television: it’s a quaint thing that their grandmother is strangely attached to. 

  4. The Volvo EX90 is the undisputed winner of my ‘Disappointing Debutante of the Year Award’, 2022.

    The concept vehicle that Gothenburg made much of in the summer of last year had me hoping for more – much more.

    Earlier leaked Patent Office images appeared online, I fervently hoped they were of some rejected proposal for an XC90 facelift. Alas, they were accurate.

  5. Hard to imagine in what world a 2.8ton EV with >100kwh battery is eco friendly but the quote mentioned in the article gives a glimpse behind such thinking. The west is concerned with meeting their green goals and would do everything in their power to do so. That includes people scrapping their old cars and flooding to dealerships to buy the latest and greatest appliance. Nobody spares a thought about where these resources are coming from.

  6. Good morning Andrew. Thank you for alerting me to another new vehicle that would otherwise have passed me by. (I find I have so little interest in new cars these days that I only rarely visit the online pages of Autocar or Car.)

    Putting aside the well founded concerns about lithium mining and the resilience of the electricity grid for a moment, what can one say about the styling of the EX90? Not very much, actually. I initially thought the second-generation XC90 rather bland after its characterful predecessor, but I have come to appreciate its subtlety. This, however, is a strangely dissonant looking thing. The overall form is bland verging on characterless, but the detailing, notably the front lights and that chiseled groove in the door skins, looks oddly overwrought by comparison.

    The first thing to which my eye is drawn, however, is the clamshell bonnet to wing shutline, in particular the abrupt way it ends at its rearmost point. This treatment looks bad on the XC40 and worse here.:

    They could have mitigated the abrupt ending by continuing the shut-line as a crease along the bodyside, as shown in this speculative rendering, which looks rather better than the real thing:

    The base of the A-pillar is proving a trouble-spot for Volvo’s designers lately. The a look at this area on the XC40, and the otherwise handsome and characterful Polestar 2:

    I could overlook it on the latter, but not on the EX90.

    1. It´s so bland and characterless that it seems one of those cars that appear in insurance companies´ TV ads, “restyled” so that no one can identify it.

    2. Good eye as always, Daniel! Leave it to Page’s team to emphasize ‘purity’ and ‘perfect proportions’ while overlooking such a massive faux pas when it comes to shutline management. A shame since the preceding generation of Volvos were such a breath of fresh air compared to the German competition. Ah well, I only buy used cars anyway, so I’ll be looking for a nicely maintained V90 CC in a decade or so!

  7. The discussion EV versus ICE is tedious. Every negative argument against the EV is also a negative argument against the ICE.
    Whether it is the reference to waste of resources, the circumstances of raw material extraction or the questionable energy supply.
    A vehicle with more than 2.5 tonnes (for, usually, one person & coffee to go) is a waste. The extraction of oil is no better than the extraction of raw materials for batteries. And without electricity an EV won’t run, but without electricity there is no petrol at the filling station either.

    It doesn’t help, the EV is politically desired.
    We can speculate about the reasons. There are probably a thousand reasons, but ecology is probably not one of them.
    Even the term “zero-emission vehicle” obscures the fact that the exhaust is not on the vehicle but at a location 100km away. An EV is the perfect vehicle for NIMBYs.

    Many also have a hard time with EVs, because with this type of vehicle, a change of era is also becoming noticeable: the move away from individual mobility.

    We are currently seeing the disappearance of the small (affordable) vehicle classes. Today, the entry level is no longer A or B, but C or D.
    Since an EV, no matter in which class, will always be more expensive than an ICE – on the one hand because of battery technology, on the other because manufacturers do not have to offer a politically prescribed product cheaply – many are slowly becoming aware that sooner or later they will no longer be able to own their own vehicle.
    This will only be reserved for the “driving aristocracy”.

    Regarding the EX90:
    At first glance I thought it was a Polestar. (I had just read the headline sloppily).
    Why Geely is operating with two labels whose difference is disappearing is beyond me.
    And yes, the clamshell bonnet to wing shutline is poorly executed. For a vehicle costing almost 100 grand, I would expect this not to happen.

    1. Agreed regarding the entire philosophy of EVs as they currently stand. I can’t believe how quickly they became such a hot-button political topic, you’d think they only found out yesterday that fossil fuel emissions kill children! Not mentioning of course the children whose parents are dying in far off countries from rare earth mineral extraction. There is something to be said that in theory the EV should be a much more sustainable proposition with closed-loop battery recycling, renewable localized energy production, and everyone simply driving less and eliminating excess, but of course none of that is ‘profitable’ or looks good on a corporate spreadsheet.

      Regarding the EX90, it’s academic to compare it to the recently revealed Polestar 3 sitting on what is the same underlying architecture. From this you can see how Polestar is taking on a much more ‘sporty’ bent to Volvo’s traditional conservatism aimed more at (rich) families:

      So in that case Polestar seems like Volvo’s ‘AMG’ or ‘M’ division, or ‘Pontiac’ if one were feeling less charitable. I am very curious to see if the ‘Volvo’ brand can command >$100k prices, though honestly the current XC90 has already proven that any level of upmarket is still not enough.

    2. Polestar is Volvo’s Saab division, of course! It’s meant to appeal to the flip side of Swedish national identity. They need to let loose once in a while, but still be safe and modern.

    3. Thanks for the comparison pictures.
      Which of the two is the “sportier” one?

      But yes, your comparison of Polestar with AMG or M-division makes sense.

    4. The sporty one has yellow brake calipers and seatbelts, of course! Don’t you know yellow is a ‘sporty’ color? 🙂

    5. Thank you Alexander for your instructive comment. I will pay more attention to these coloured details in future.
      I will probably then notice that there are a lot of “sporty” vehicles parked here in our residential area, which until today, in my infinite ignorance, I simply took for piles of tin.

    6. Please also take care to notice the huge wheels, bulging haunches and aggressively pinched headlights. That should provide a clear distinction.

      😁

    7. Keith Darby mentioned the Concept Recharge above, which I guess is how the designers see Volvo.

      One can see some elements of it showing up now, though not translating all that well to the SUV form factor. Nevertheless it would seem foolhardy for Volvo to completely abandon the estate market, so there’s still hope that the essence of the Concept Recharge could survive productionization.

      After the XC40, I am relieved that the designers seem to have expressed a preference to move the brand in a different direction from whatever is the opposite of elegance.

      I don’t know what Polestar is, especially the Polestar 2. Its designer: Thomas Ingenlath is credited for the Skoda Roomster and Yeti, and the Polestar 1. I want to like the Polestar 2, but unlike those other designs I don’t see any charm in it at all.

  8. I remember Volvo advertising seats covered with “man-made leather”, which is presumably derived from human skin…
    I have as much interest in Volvos as I have in battery-powered vehicles, so I’ll pass on this thread.

  9. I wonder if we should wait until we see the EX90 in the metal before passing judgement. I agree the front lamps don’t cohere with the rest of the design, and also that, on first sight on screen and without the benefit of getting used to the changes, it’s an inferior refresh of the current XC90’s design theme (the XC90 will, I understand, carry on for a while alongside the EX90).

    However, although not an SUV fan, I rate the current XC90 as one of – if not – THE best looking large SUV (the Range Rover and Velar being the only others worth looking at properly). I was driving behind a 72 plate (i.e. brand new) model for about 30 minutes on the route to work the other day and marvelled at how fresh and handsome it still looks – if had been launched only three weeks before I would not have been surprised. It has a great stance, balanced volumes (for an SUV), nicely formal surfacing and interesting details (I love the rear lamps).

    So, given the EX90 is a mild iteration of the car’s look, I find it attractive in its own right, only really disappointing in that the pictures given the sense that it is inferior to its predecessor. There are, dare I say, parallels with the new Range Rover which most commentators on this site seem to accept for what it is.

    All of that said, the price is ridiculously out of reach, but I think that’s all about incentivising potential buyers to ‘subscribe’ rather than buy the car outright. I find PCP’s and ‘subscriptions’ quite evil devices which entice people into renewing perfectly good cars every 2/3/4/5 years whilst paying a monthly rate which is not that transparent in its make up and usually includes both a relatively high rate of interest and low valuation of the car at the given ‘trade-in’ date.

    1. To design, develop and make a car with PCP and subscriptions in mind is a great idea for manufacturers. These cars are going to be replaced after 3 years, and technical obsolescence or wore out batteries will make sure that a big percentage of them will finish in the scrapyard at 10-12 years old.
      In my family we have three cars; average age of my “fleet” is 23 years old. They work very well.

    2. Isn’t PCP the same arrangement as a ‘company car?’ The contract is with an individual instead of a company, but other than that what’s the difference?

      On a related note, I would love to read an article explaining “company car culture” in the UK. It’s a job benefit that is almost unheard-of in North America. It seems, at a distant glance, to have shaped the post war UK market. Why else would you need such a huge proliferation of engine displacements and rear badge lettering, if not to display your standing at work? I find it fascinating that a car which comes in two trim levels in the US (with or without sunroof, usually), and a choice of two engines (three back when diesel was a thing), can have 5 trim levels and 6 engines in Europe. Each increment provides only the slightest noticeable difference: a half dozen newton-metres, or a mirror in the passenger sun visor.

  10. I must say I’m finding this discussion very interesting, as my own opinions on EVs are somewhat mixed. I’d like to believe that they’re better for the environment, but suspect that it’s all a giant con.

    I’ve also noticed that EVs don’t seem to depreciate – I assume because there’s a big demand for them. On the other hand, I get regular and slightly desperate sounding emails from manufacturers telling me that they really need to shift some of the hundreds of EVs they have in stock.

    As regards the Volvo, 700 Nm of torque is impressive, but is really in truck territory.

    The answer to the world’s environmental problems: Buy More Stuff! It all doesn’t make sense, somehow.

  11. An interesting piece Andrew so thank you. Not really a fan of SUV’s as you know and I also share others concerns about PCP’s as a way of “purchasing” cars these days too.
    I do wonder if anyone actually tracks the amount of debt folk are taking on to “hire” such vehicles these days? Maybe not as it would probably scare everyone to death!

    1. Charles – Thank you for your reply. I have just read the link you posted and this extract jumped out at me.
      “The car industry is utterly reliant on people buying cars they don’t need with money they don’t have. The problem, of course, is that if people no longer have the means to borrow, the car industry will collapse. It was a genuine concern during the Covid shutdowns and remains a risk today as costs of living spiral.”
      I admit that I have been tempted to take out a PCP in the past but not now. What a crazy time we live in!

    2. Thanks, Mike – yes, without wishing to go too far off topic, modern life is based on putting it all on the never-never.

      The average personal adult debt in the UK is £33k.

    3. That statistic about UK average personal debt: is it just credit cards and cars or does it include mortgages? I assume it doesn´t. If it doesn´t then that means that the fall in incomes has been made up for by borrowing. That is not what is supposed to happen when market-liberal policies are enacted; I believe the intended outcome is people are better off.
      About the car: I don´t mind the A-pillar or bonnet shut line; it would appear to be a car trying to be minimal but ending up as bland. They did resist the urge to put in a false grille though.

    4. Richard – I believe it does include mortgages.

      Here’s the article I got the figure from:

      https://moneynerd.co.uk/average-personal-debt-uk-2022/

      I would think that people are borrowing more (and interest rates are going up, of course). People buying things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like with money they don’t have.

      Serves them right for having notions.

  12. A
    At 2.8t unladen, it will only hold 700kg passenger(s) and luggage before it is deemed by law overloaded in most of Europe.

    1. There must be a terrible “that’s where they Mackem” joke in there somewhere.

      Funnily enough, I think the Corsa is now made in Zaragoza, in Spain; Ellesmere Port now produces the Vauxhall Combo-e, Citroën e-Berlingo and Peugeot e-Partner electric van.

    2. For Europe, the Corsa has only ever been made in Zaragoza and Eisenach.

      The Corsa-derived Combo was built in Azambuja near Lisbon until the plant’s closure in 2006.

      Even early Eisenach production was assembling cars with fully painted bodyshells from Spain, until the Thuringia factory got its own pressing, body assembly and painting facilities.

      For such an enthusiastic consumer of superminis, the UK has produced suprisingly few in its own factories:

      Ford Fiesta to 2002
      Metro / Rover 100 (1980-98)
      Nissan Micra – second (K11) and third (K12) generations were built at Usworth, County Durham.
      Honda Jazz – second generation at Swindon.
      Peugeot 206 – Ryton-on-Dunsmore.
      MINI – Ochsfurt.

      The Chevette and Sunbeam could be included at a push, but then I’d have to add the Austin A40.

    3. Well, the Mackems would claim otherwise; they’ve got nowt else to lay claim to let’s be honest. But regardless, the Nissan plant is in Washington. Irrespective of that nouveau city’s land grab of Putin-esq proportions. Washington folk, original Washington folk, reset the ‘ townies’ occupation and plundering of the fair town of Washington’s assets. Sunderland squandered coal, glass, shipbuilding, brewing, docks and religion. Let’s hope they don’t try and squander car building too (although the local MPs do their best to)

  13. As a former GM Europe employee, 5 door Corsa built in Spain had better build quality than the 3drs built in Germany.

    1. Don’t be too hard on the Eisenach workforce. Most of them had cut their manufacturing teeth turning out Wartburgs with knackered machinery in the AWE factory on the opposite side of the Horsel.

      The Opel factory was a couple of km to the north west of AWE, and was claimed to be GM’s most efficient and environmentally friendly facility in Europe, as well as consistently coming top in quality audits.

      There may have been some “creative accounting” behind this, in the cause of tapping into the newly unified Bundestag’s seemingly limitless generosity to the states of the old east.

  14. Leaving aside the whole EV and politics issues, is this a new design or just a nose and tail job on the old one? Front and rear aside, it doesn’t look like anything I haven’t seen before.

    1. Peter,

      I have the same feeling.
      Assuming it is a nose and tail job, that could somehow explain the bonnet shutline problem pointed by Daniel: I can see said shutline as a visual feature used to distract our atention from the midle of the vehicle.
      That would also explain the very existence of said ‘mistake’: it is not dificult to solve it, so it is dificult to believe it was the result of the designer lack of competence.
      It makes more sense to look at it as a deliberate ilusionist trick that makes you look the other way.

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