Design chief Walter de Silva has had a lot on his plate as manager of a huge empire, and it is unclear whether a direct replacement will be groomed or responsibilities divided more strategically among the bevy of brands in the VW Group.
Volkswagen reportedly has been working on similar technology and may show off a similar concept in Paris. But Renault wants to be the first automaker to offer a B-segment compact family car that delivers 235 mpg and can carry four people.
The outstanding fuel economy comes from a unique hybrid powertrain that uses air instead of electricity. The technology combines a 3-cyl. PureTech gasoline engine with a compressed-air energy-storage unit that powers the automatic transmission.
Without solid backing on Wall Street, FCA may have trouble securing favorable credit for the estimated €50 billion needed to reach aggressive volume targets set last May for the Chrysler, Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands.
BMW reportedly is leading the development of the cars’ chassis, banking on its experience with aluminum, carbon fiber and high-strength steel to create a lighter and stiffer composite body structure, while Toyota is focusing on high-performance hybrid technology.
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