Autocar confidential: McLaren, Jaguar, Audi, Geely

McLaren 540C

Our reporters empty their notebooks to round up this week’s gossip from across the automotive industry

This week’s gossip from the automotive industry brings news of McLaren’s new customers, Jaguar‘s design director’s thoughts on the decline of rotary controllers, Geely’s focus on design and Audi’s upcoming autonomous electric city car.

McLaren’s new customers

More than half of buyers of the ‘entry-level’ Sports Series McLarens, such as the 540C and 570S, are new to the brand.

Company boss Mike Flewitt said it is crucial to the firm’s long-term health: “Our hope is that, over time, a large proportion will move up to our Super Series models and be part of the McLaren family for years to come.”

Read more: 2017 789bhp McLaren P15 will eclipse performance of P1, McLaren P1 review

Jaguar‘s design director’s thoughts on the decline of rotary controllers

While many car makers are ditching rotary controllers from the cabins of their latest models, Jaguar won’t follow suit as long as design director Ian Callum is around.

Referring to the rotary climate controls on the new E-Pace, which sit below a 10.0in touchscreen, he said: “I’m a great believer in tactile controls with a mechanic feel. It’s not quite right for Jaguar [to have just touchscreens].”

Read more: 2018 Jaguar E-Pace officially revealedFirst ride: four-cylinder, 296bhp Jaguar F-Type

Geely’s focus on design

Geely, owner of Volvo, Lotus, Lynk & Co and LEVC (formerly known as the London Taxi Company), had just 15 designers five years ago. Today it employs more than 5000 in Los Angeles, Barcelona, Shanghai and Gothenburg.

All design projects are overseen by Geely’s British-born executive vice president of design, Peter Horbury.

Read more: Geely buys Lotus, stake in ProtonLotus Elise: the troubled road that led to the revolutionary sports car

Audi’s upcoming autonomous electric city car

Despite Audi‘s new A8 being equipped with the company’s most advanced self-driving systems yet, the model will not lead the way for full autonomy. Product boss Peter Fromm described so-called level 5 autonomy as a “fully different concept than level 3 [which is offered on the A8]”.

Instead, a city car to be introduced in 2021 will be Audi’s first autonomous production car.

Read more: Audi to produce Volkswagen Up-sized autonomous EV2017 Audi A8 revealed as brand’s most high-tech model yet

Source: Autocar Online

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