Autocar confidential: BMW’s 911 rival, Mazda’s upmarket ambition and more

In this week’s round-up of automotive gossip, we chat hydrogen with Volvo, talk EQ design goals with Mercedes, get the lowdown on Mazda’s upmarket aspirations and more.

Too early for hydrogen for Volvo

Volvo boss Hakan Samuelsson has said the firm is studying hydrogen fuel cell technology but it is “not something we believe in today”, focusing instead on battery-electric vehicles. “We need to prioritise,” he said. “And if you look at solar, wind and water energy [as electric power sources], the efficiency is much higher with battery EVs than fuel cell.”

BMW’s 911 rival…?

BMW Group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk likes the rumours that the firm may design a sports car to compete with the Porsche 911, using the 6 Series moniker. “It’s a nice idea. Maybe we should work on that!” he told Autocar. But such a statement is a long way from a confirmation…

Mercedes’ EQ redo

Mercedes must create new design forms for its electric EQ models because most buyers will be new to the brand, according to design director Gorden Wagener. “The key for EQ cars is to develop cleanliness for a technical, digital look,” he said. “It is quite free-form but still very sexy. The majority of buyers will not be S-Class customers making the switch but people who are entirely new to the brand. They have different expectations.”

Mazda’s premium ambition

Mazda intends to further improve the quality of its models as it bids to become a more premium car maker. Brand boss Ikuo Maeda said: “The quality of the vehicle, including drivability, needs to be pushed. Premium does not mean creating expensive, extravagant cars, but rather high-quality vehicles. And it means developing a car that only Mazda can build.”