Driving the Global Fleet

In Ger­many, the Com­pa­ny Car Is a Porsche
Even though demand for cars in Europe has tum­bled, BMW (BMW), Volk­swa­gen (VOW), and Daimler’s (DAI) Mer­cedes-Benz are all like­ly to post record sales for 2012. Deutsche Telekom (DTE) is part­ly to thank for that. Germany’s largest phone com­pa­ny, which owns 38,000 vehi­cles in its home coun­try, accord­ing to com­pa­ny reports, is tak­ing advan­tage of tax breaks that have propped up the local auto mar­ket and turned com­pa­ny cars into a wide­spread employ­ee perk. Learn more

Euro­pean Politi­cians Brace for Clash on Car CO2
Euro­pean Union politi­cians are sharply divid­ed between those keen for ambi­tious green car stan­dards they say are need­ed to keep up with U.S. goals and those try­ing to lim­it the reg­u­la­to­ry impact on mak­ers of big lux­u­ry cars, draft reports show. Ire­land, hold­er of the six-month rotat­ing EU pres­i­den­cy until the end of June, said it believed the pro­pos­al was like­ly to be watered down, as Ger­man politi­cians, reflect­ing the views of Germany’s car indus­try, were steer­ing par­lia­men­tary debate. Learn more

Euro­pean Car Sales Fall to Low­est Lev­el Since 1995
New car reg­is­tra­tions in the Euro­pean Union fell by 8.2% in 2012, drop­ping to their low­est lev­el since 1995, accord­ing to fig­ures from the Euro­pean Auto­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers Asso­ci­a­tion. And with the Euro­pean Union still strug­gling to resolve its debt cri­sis and pull out of reces­sion, indus­try ana­lysts fear the sit­u­a­tion may like­ly get worse this year – a sit­u­a­tion that could prove dis­as­trous for some of the Continent’s weak­er man­u­fac­tur­ers who have already racked up bil­lions of dol­lars in loss­es. Learn more

For­eign Brands Chal­lenge Hyundai on Home Turf
Hyundai Motor Group has been a recent stand­out suc­cess sto­ry in the glob­al auto mar­ket, as its Hyundai and Kia brands have logged dou­ble-dig­it annu­al vol­ume gains. But the group has slipped into reverse in one unlike­ly loca­tion: its South Kore­an home. Learn more

Europe-wide Police Oper­a­tion Clamps Down on Drink and Drug-dri­ving
A pan-Euro­pean police oper­a­tion held in Decem­ber saw more than 1.2 mil­lion dri­vers breath-test­ed, with a total of 13,236 alco­hol offences and 1,830 drug offens­es record­ed.  Learn more

Daim­ler Bet­ting Small Can Be Big
Per­haps noth­ing sym­bol­izes the Mer­cedes-Benz brand like its clas­sic S-Class mod­el. But while the big sedan is set for a remake next year, expect Mer­cedes and the sib­ling Smart brand to put an increas­ing empha­sis on down­sized prod­ucts that reflect the ongo­ing shift in the glob­al lux­u­ry mar­ket. Learn more

Nis­san Cuts Elec­tric Leaf Prices in Europe, Too
Nis­san Motor Co. is low­er­ing the price of its all-elec­tric Nis­san Leaf car by 3,000 euros, or near­ly $4,000, in Europe. Learn more

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