RAC Cars News


The auto industry in 2015

By raccars Published

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2015 was an action-packed year for the auto industry, featuring a number of exciting and controversial stories and some spectacular new releases.

Three cylinder petrol engine

Budget motoring became more sophisticated as manufacturers including Ford, BMW, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Vauxhall and Toyota took advantage of some of the controversy surrounding diesel to push their newly refined three cylinder petrol engines.


After a few years in the doldrums, sales-wise, Honda experienced a resurgence in 2015 with some excellent new product releases including the new Honda Civic and bombastic Civic Type R; a new CR-V; the welcome return of the HR-V; an updated Jazz; and the return of the NSX.

Electric cars

The Government has been pushing electric cars to a reluctant British public for years and it appears the message is finally getting through, with sales of EVs up fourfold.


Significant sales increases have offset the considerable costs involved in new product releases including the XE compact executive saloon, an updated Jaguar XF and the much anticipated F-Pace SUV. The luxury British manufacturer is going from strength to strength, investing substantial sums into research and development. Each new product release is more impressive than the last.

Auto industry losers in 2015

Diesel cars

Diesel came under a multi-pronged attack in 2015. In addition to the aforementioned emissions scandal, local governments threatened and, in some cases followed through, increasing congestion charges and resident parking fees for diesel car owners, while in Paris cars will be banned from entering altogether in 2020.

Keyless entry technology

Owners of premium brand vehicles fitted with keyless entry technology discovered that their cars were extremely easy to steal, with thieves hacking their software using devices cheaply and easily bought on the internet.

EU emissions testing

Motoring groups have long been protesting about the way in which manufacturers obtain official fuel economy and emissions statistics, which they claim do not reflect real world vehicle usage. The consumer will surely benefit as new, more realistic testing procedures are introduced.

Land Rover Defender

The iconic off roader is no more, having been officially phased out on 31 December, a victim of modern safety regulations and strict cost controls. In fact Land Rover sold out of the remaining stock a while ago and existing models are gaining in value fast, such is the demand for the extremely popular Land Rover Defender. The firm has promised a replacement but it's not yet clear what form this will take.


Lord Montagu

Edward Douglas Scott Montagu, the third Baron of Beaulieu and the founder of the National Motor Museum died aged 89 after a lifetime spent supporting the auto industry.

Justin Wilson

IndyCar racer Justin Wilson, previously of Jaguar F1, died aged 38 after an accident at Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway when he was hit by flying bodywork from another race car. He was known for his pleasant, down to earth personality.

Ferrari 458 Italia

A car that inspired almost religious devotion among fans, the 458 Italia has been replaced by the excellent 488 GTB. However the new car simply can't match the 458 Italia's spectacular V8 roar.

Volkswagen Phaeton

Ferdinand Piech's white elephant project, the Phaeton never fulfilled the potential its creator saw for it. Officially it remained on VW's sales roster for months after production ceased.

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