Confidential car: Byton thanks Tesla, Fiat deflates more pandas, and more

Fiat Panda City Cross - driving front Our reporters drive blank notebooks for a week into gossip from all over the automotive industry.

As we chat with the bigwigs in the auto industry this week, we hear how Tesla has made life easier for the Byton, how Audi will differentiate each of its SUVs, and more.

Fiat panda market demand

It may be an aging process, but Fiat Panda sales have risen substantially this year, thanks to the popular new city cross model. The high-ride, jerky, clad version looks like four-wheel drive (versions can still be bought), but isn't.

Volkswagen: diesel isn't dead... yet

Volkswagen sales and marketing boss Jurgen Stackmann says the brand isn't giving up on diesel yet. “There is no date anywhere [we give up on diesel] written,” he said. “We believe diesel is great for certain types of vehicles and long journeys, with unparalleled efficiency. We are the only manufacturer that has actually grown diesel blends. We will give him a strong blow to EU7.”

Ingolstadt draws up a plan

Audi's ever-growing SUV range allows each model's design changes to be needed in order to determine its place in the lineup, according to Jakob Hirzel, exterior design leader of the recently updated Q7 model. “It's all about character and identifying where it makes sense to make them different,” he said. "It's a big lineup now, so it's a challenge to make sure they all make sense."

Byton boarding the Tesla train

Tesla's early success helped lay the groundwork for other electric automakers, according to Byton CEO Carsten Breitfeld. “They have done a great job to create this premium electric brand. They changed people's perceptions,” he said. Hiring designers and engineers for the upcoming MB SUV has been a lot easier because “no one is questioning the potential of electric vehicles anymore. Nobody said that an electric car is something boring.”

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Byton m-byte SUV is preparing for production

New Fiat Panda could start as early as 2021

Audi Q7 review 2019

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