Autocar confidential: Land Rover’s pick-up possibility, Volvo’s electric lesson and more

In this week’s round-up of automotive gossip, we hear why a Defender pick-up is “technically possible” for Land Rover, Kia scales back its Stinger sales targets, Volvo explains the thinking behind its year’s worth of free electricity offer and more.

Land Rover’s pick-up possibility

Land Rover says a pick-up version of the Defender is “technically possible” on its D7x platform but that such a model isn’t on its radar. The commercial pick-up truck market is very different to where the latest Defender is pitched and, unless such a vehicle were produced in much larger quantities and at lower prices than Land Rover plans, it could prove a distraction from the new Defender’s market.

Kia Stinger to be “absolute halo model”

Kia will reduce sales of its Stinger fastback to 500 this year, down by half from 2019. Due to its 3.3-litre petrol V6 (now the sole engine offered), this is necessary to negate the EU’s strict new emissions rules. Kia UK boss Paul Philpott said: “The Stinger will be an absolute halo model for us.”

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Volvo’s electric lesson

Volvo’s offer to give away a year’s worth of free electricity to drivers of its plug-in hybrids is designed to show people how to get the best out of electrified cars, according to Olivier Loedel, the firm’s business manager of electrification. “We’re trying to encourage customers to drive more on electric power,” Loedel said. “We can demonstrate they can do a daily commute on pure electric, for example.”

PSA’s profits turnaround

Opel and Vauxhall are now consistently profitable after three years of PSA ownership, following “20 years of burning €1 billion a year” under GM, according to PSA Europe boss Maxime Picat. The 6.5% margins now enjoyed by Opel beat those of most mainstream brands and some premium ones, Picat added, “showing what happens when you give people autonomy and empower them”.