The big Blue Oval is setting in the Land of the Rising Sun.
That, Volkswagen’s labor boss doesn’t like what he hears, Detroit’s big show and Kia’s big plans for the Rio … after the break!
Ford closing up shop in Japan, Indonesia
Ford will shutter its operations and business in Japan and Indonesia by the end of this year, Bloomberg reported.
The automaker said it would still provide parts and services to the area, but that it had “become clear that there is no path to sustained profitability, nor will there be an acceptable return over time from our investments in Japan or Indonesia,” according to a Ford spokeswoman.
Ford sold an abbreviated lineup of cars in Japan, including the Fiesta, Focus, Mustang, EcoSport, Kuga and Explorer. Ford offered the Lincoln Navigator and MKX in Japan as well, which will be an answer to an automotive-related trivia question some day soon.
Kia readying Rio GT to fight Fiesta ST
Kia is preparing to unleash a faster, tuned version of its Rio to compete with other hot hatchbacks including the Ford Fiesta ST and Fiat 500 Abarth, according to Autocar.
The UK magazine said the Rio GT would sit atop a new platform for Rio and sport a tuned version of Kia’s 1.6-liter turbocharged four.
The Rio GT would be part of the company’s growing portfolio of performance cars that would include an Optima GT and a possible GT sports car.
The report doesn’t specifically mention the model coming to the States because we’re not allowed to have nice things.
Volkswagen labor chief wary of automakers plans
The labor boss for Volkswagen’s workers’ union said the automaker’s plan to increase efficiency and reshuffle workers to rebound from the company’s cheating scandal was causing unease with the rank-and-file, according to Reuters.
“We will not support a further drive towards performance,” works council chief Bernd Osterloh told IG Metall bei Volkswagen. “We principally view productivity in a positive way … But we expect that VW at the same time guarantees the security of employment.”
Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess said the automaker would press for a 10 percent increase in productivity and a reshuffling of regional brands to allow for more autonomy.
“At the moment there are more questions than answers. That is bad,” Osterloh said.
Audi making electric SUV in Belgium in 2018
Audi announced Monday that it would put into production an all-electric SUV in 2018 and produce batteries for the electric car at its Brussels plant. The Belgium plant could produce batteries for other Volkswagen Group vehicles, according to the automaker’s statement.
The all-electric SUV will be based on Audi’s e-tron Quattro concept the automaker first showed off at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show.
According to Audi, the car will have three electric motors and a range of more than 300 miles.
Attendance up at North American International Auto Show
More than 815,000 people visited the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year — eclipsing last year’s mark of 808,775, according to the Detroit Free Press.
According to show organizers, the event contributed more than $425 million to Detroit’s economy.
“I think the mild winter led to more people venturing downtown,” Detroit Auto Dealer Association spokesman Max Muncey told the newspaper. “We’re up this year. We’re trending to finish above last year, which brought in just over 808,000.”
This year’s mark of 815,575 visitors would be the most for the auto show since 2003, according to the Detroit News.