Do you have a truly bespoke pair of shoes, hand-made, to the tune of $1,000? Or a truly bespoke suit, not just one off the plebeian racks of Armani or Ermenegildo Zegna? Watch out, “bespoke” is losing its worth faster than a dollar during the peanut president regime. Oddly, it is Rolls-Royce that is behind that dangerous paradigm down-shift. (Read More…)
Posts By: Bertel Schmitt
Scaling back from its former intentions of becoming “China’s No. 1 automaker by 2015 and the world’s leading car maker by 2025,” China’s BYD now wants to become a world-class fish in Hong Kong’s taxi pond. (Read More…)
In America, government bailouts of ailing car companies are (at least in some circles) viewed as an inalienable right. In the EU, government aid generally is forbidden by law. Ironically, Ford, the only un-bailed-out Detroit company, now is in collision with these quaint continental regulations. (Read More…)
“So would this new Infiniti Q50 be the new JDM Nissan Skyline?” asked TTAC commenter luvmyv8. One of the benefits of having a TTAC editor on the other side of the globe, as opposed to in a basement in Peoria, is that we can get first-hand answers to luvmyv8, straight from Nissan’s and Infiniti’s top men. (Read More…)
Of course, Carlos Ghosn did not miss this opportunity to talk about his most favorite topic: The value of the yen. As last Friday, the CEO of Renault and Nissan still does not want to hear talk of a low yen. Ghosn says the Japanese currency “is coming back to normal levels,” and as far as Ghosn is concerned, the yen still has some ways to go. Even if this freaks-out the CEO of Ford. (Read More…)
Yoko Kubota of Reuters had already written half of her story before we boarded a bus this Tokyo morning. It took us north to Nissan’s Tochigi plant, where we were promised to see the new Infiniti Q50 roll off the assembly lines. Kubota wrote that “in the financial year ended March, Infiniti sold 172,615 vehicles globally, up 12.1 percent year-on-year,” that the brand needs to grow, that the backbone of Infiniti’s volume has been the G37 Sedan, and that its successor, “with a new name Q50, will go on sale in the United States in the summer.” Today, we see how the Q50 is made.
It’s a thing in China: You don’t get the car service you expect, and instead of waiting for the J.D. Power questionnaire, you hire thugs with sledgehammers. Not to beat the dealer to pulp. No, to smash your car in front of a lot of cameras. It so recently happened to a Maserati Quattroporte. According to Carnewschina, the owner of the car (starting at 423,000 USD in China) disagreed with the dealer over a $390 repair. After a flurry of letters, the car was smashed. (Read More…)
Carmaking is a cyclical business. In crisis times, it’s “we are all in this together.” When business improves, relations between automakers and their suppliers revert to the old arrogance, to hurry up, make more for less. It’s that time again. (Read More…)
Bloomberg relentlessly covers a fight very few care about: Who sells the most “luxury cars?” Never mind that the only way to win this is to sell more, what do they call them, “approachable” cars. Which Bloomberg’s latest dispatch from the upper class struggle aptly proves.
Infiniti’s Q50 will come “this summer” says the new York Daily News, which nonetheless already “reviewed” it, coming to the conclusion that “the all new Infiniti Q50 will be base priced at just $36,450, and the expected to be most popular trim level, the “Premium,” featuring an optional, navigation system is expected to come in at $40,700.” (Read More…)
Now that Opel workers in Bochum refused a plan to keep the factory open, now that an intervention by UAW’s Bob King went exactly nowhere, the question is where to move production of the Opel Zafira when Bochum closes its doors by end of 2014.
In the running: Rüsselsheim, Germany, and Ellesmere Port, UK. (Read More…)
Then, finally, a reporter asks Ghosn when he intends to pack up and leave. Of course, this is Japan, and the question is asked in a circuitous way. The reporter argues that Nissan now makes solid profits, hence Ghosn could perhaps put the company into the hands of someone else, such allowing Ghosn to focus fully on Renault, which needs all the help it can get. This suggestion earns the reporter a likewise polite rebuke. Ghosn thanks him “for taking care of my own organization.” Pierced by Ghosn’s trademark laser eyes, the reporter deflates into his seat. (Read More…)
Finally, a chance for Ghosn to speak about his favorite topic: The value of the yen. Two years ago in Kyushu, Ghosn said that its valuation against the dollar and other major currencies was a crime against nature, a perversion. Back then, you got 77 yen to the dollar, and I assure you that 76 yen buy next to nothing. Ghosn called a high. The rise of the deviant was arrested. In the following year, the yen turned around, fainthearted first, then, with honest Abe getting behind the wheel in Japan, a dollar now buys 100 yen.
Ghosn does not want to hear talk of a “low “ yen. (Read More…)