RU­MOUR HAS IT...

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that su­per­sport DNA. You can read our full interview with Reg­giani in next week’s is­sue of Mo­tor News. have also been pro­duc­ing mod­els that look re­mark­ably sim­i­lar, although Merc is mov­ing away from it a lit­tle.

The new BMW X7 con­cept takes model dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion to a to­tally dif­fer­ent level, but it is the start of change at BMW, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s head of de­sign, Adrian van Hooy­donk.

We grabbed a few min­utes with him in Frank­furt and he told us that there will be a “wave of six or seven new mod­els over the next year or so”. He says the com­pany doesn’t want “ev­ery­thing to look too sim­i­lar” and that to this end he wants to “pull prod­ucts fur­ther apart”.

He de­lib­er­ately chose more vari­a­tion in de­sign with the X7, which he says is 90% to 95% iden­ti­cal in con­cept form to the fi­nal pro­duc­tion ver­sion. We hope not, but will wait and see. has been an ar­mada with­out a flag­ship. Its mid-sized mod­els have been split into con­ser­va­tive (Pas­sat) and glam­orous (Ar­teon), while its smaller Golf and Polo mod­els are spawn­ing crossovers from the same me­chan­i­cal ba­sics (T-Roc and T-Cross).

Yet the top step re­mains empty. That will change at the Geneva mo­tor show in March 2018, when Volkswagen will tease a new all-elec­tric, five-me­tre-plus flag­ship con­cept car.

While the Phaeton was seen as then-chair­man Fer­di­nand Piech’s pas­sion project and strug­gled to sell 84,000 cars in 14 years be­fore be­ing mer­ci­fully axed in 2016, VW has dif­fer­ent plans for its new un­named flag­ship. The bat­tery-elec­tric car will be the big­gest VW will have built off its up­com­ing all-elec­tric MEB ar­chi­tec­ture, with a pre­dicted range in ex­cess of 600km in real-world driv­ing.

NEW START FOR GE­N­E­SIS?

Hyundai’s luxury di­vi­sion Ge­n­e­sis, was com­ing to SA, then it wasn’t. Then it was. This week a Hyundai SA spokesper­son con­firmed that plans to bring Ge­n­e­sis to SA have been shelved “at the mo­ment”.

It is no sur­prise, of course. Nis­san’s luxury arm In­finiti failed to make any im­pact in SA and has all but dis­ap­peared un­less you re­ally want to or­der one. Lexus has not re­flected its in­ter­na­tional sales suc­cess in SA for Toy­ota ei­ther and both of these com­pa­nies have the ben­e­fit of be­ing able to use ex­port cred­its from their lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing to try to keep the pric­ing down.

Hyundai, as a pure im­porter, has no such cred­its, so as well as a mar­ket that is re­luc­tant to ditch its Ger­man brands for fancy Korean or Ja­panese mar­ques, it is likely that any Ge­n­e­sis model would just prove too ex­pen­sive to re­tail.

So if you like the look of the new G70 which has just had its in­ter­na­tional launch in South Korea, then you are go­ing to have to wait for a fu­ture right mo­ment.

LEAVE US ALONE

Re­mem­ber when Kimi Raikko­nen told his pit crew to “leave me alone, I know what I’m do­ing”? Mercedes-Benz boss Di­eter Zetsche sounded sim­i­lar when ad­dress­ing a Euro­pean Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion brief­ing on CO2 is­sues at the Frank­furt Mo­tor Show.

“I do be­lieve tech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion and mar­ket forces are the best way to achieve the (CO2) tar­gets,” he said.

He stressed that there needed to be a proper frame­work in place in­stead of bans and re­stric­tions from city to city, clearly hit­ting out at the UK 2040 in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine ban pro­posal, as well as pro­posed bans in some Ger­man cities, such as Mercedes’ home town of Stuttgart.

Zetsche also crit­i­cised politicians say­ing “some fac­tors, like elec­tion times and things like that are less about fac­tual”.

While he was at it, he even hit out at the news me­dia say­ing “what we say and what we read are one thing and in-be­tween is the per­son who is writ­ing”.

As some of those do­ing the writ­ing, we would not want to spec­u­late, but per­haps, as Audi’s Ru­pert Stadler was a num­ber of years ago, Herr Zetsche is get­ting just a lit­tle ir­ri­tated with some of the ex­ter­nal in­flu­ences on his busi­ness.

Volkswagen will re­veal its first proper flag­ship since the Phaeton in Geneva in 2018.

Hyundai SA has con­firmed that its luxury Ge­n­e­sis brand is not in its South African plans at the mo­ment.

The of­fi­cial teaser from Lam­borgh­ini for its new Urus .

Daimler boss Di­eter Zetsche says there are no sim­ple so­lu­tions to re­duc­ing emis­sions.

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