Category: Alliances

By on October 2, 2017

Toyota TNGA platform, Image: Toyota

Of all automakers, no company holds out hope for the gasoline engine’s longevity quite like Mazda. Not only does Mazda anticipate many decades of continued hydrocarbon-fueled driving, it’s also ensuring gas stays viable by inventing a new Skyactiv engine that (supposedly) uses much less of it. That motor, a first-of-its-kind gas compression ignition four-cylinder, debuts in 2019.

For now, Mazda’s North American lineup remains pure in terms of propulsion. The promised CX-5 diesel is taking its sweet time showing up, and neither a hybrid or EV can be found among the model ranks. That will soon change, but given Mazda’s size and finances, it won’t be a Mazda platform underpinning the next Mazda EV. Read More >

By on August 25, 2017

2017 Volkswagen Amarok, Image: Volkswagen

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the manufacturer currently at the center of rampant speculation over a possible Chinese buyout and a spin-off of its Italian luxury brands, is reportedly in early talks with Volkswagen over the joint production of certain light utility vehicles.

Volkswagen, which has made crystal clear it wants nothing to do with a merger, might have products the Italian-American automaker could find beneficial. Despite the awkward back-and-forth between FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and VW Group chief Matthias Müller earlier this year, the German automaker didn’t rule out discussions with FCA.

According to a source close to the issue, the discussions include future versions of VW’s small commercial van and, interestingly, a midsize pickup truck. Read More >

By on August 14, 2017

zhengshanghai2013__mid

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has been hoping to sell the company to the right kind of buyer for a while now. But, with no serious contenders, FCA has been forced to trudge onward into the future without a bonafide suitor.

That’s rumored to have changed, as numerous sources are claiming Chinese automakers have taken an interest in the Italian-American company. However, whether these are potential one-night stands or a serious courtship remains unknown. Marchionne has previously specified he only wants to see FCA enter into the warm embrace of an established automaker and, while China has them, some would be better partners than others.  Read More >

By on August 4, 2017

Mazda Driver's Choice YouTube Screenshot - Image: Mazda YouTube Channel

Toyota Motor Corp. is set to strike a deal to take a 5-percent stake in fellow Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Corp. The alliance includes the construction of a joint-venture $1.6 billion U.S. automotive plant and sharing EV technology — showing that Mazda hasn’t totally sworn off the idea of an electric car.

The two companies have been dating casually for a couple of years; Toyota sometimes uses Mazda’s Mexican factory to build compact cars, the two have fostered a love child (the Mazda 2-based Toyota Yaris iA), but this is the first time they’ve seriously considered moving in together. Toyota claimed the decision was about more than just a strategy to share technology, suggesting the automakers had genuine feelings for one another.

“The greatest fruit of our partnership with Mazda is that we have found a new partner who truly loves cars,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said in a statement, “It has also sparked Toyota’s competitive spirit, increasing our sense of not wanting to be bested by Mazda. This is a partnership in which those who are passionate about cars will work together to make ever-better cars. It is also the realization of our desire to never let cars become commodities.”

Read More >

By on June 20, 2017

Carlos Ghosn

Since acquiring Mitsubishi in 2016, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has found itself in the midst of Volkswagen and Toyota’s struggle for the title of World’s Largest Automaker.

At the end of 2016, VW was still on top but momentarily ceded ground as Toyota amped up volume in early 2017. Compared to last year, the Germans saw sales fall a half-percent in the first quarter of 2017 as the Japanese companies recorded more stable growth. But CEO extraordinaire Carlos Ghosn believes Renault-Nissan has what it takes to fill the top spot before the end of the summer.

While it would be a privilege to tell you that Ghosn entered a darkened room illuminated by a single spotlight to announce the time for the Alliance to crush its enemies was now, the reality was far more tame. The shareholders meeting was adequately lit and Carlos stated, without malice, that becoming the world’s largest automotive superpower is more of an inevitable accident than an intentional conquest. Read More >

By on June 5, 2017

2017 Mirage Mitsubishi, Image: Mitsubishi Motors

Mitsubishi’s new ownership spells big changes for the automaker’s product future, but the controlling stake recently purchased by Renault-Nissan also means the newly joined automakers will partner on financial services.

As such, buyers in three markets will soon be able to turn to Nissan for a loan on a new Outlander or Mirage. Sorry, Americans — there’s good reason why Mitsubishi’s U.S. financing arm is staying put for now. Read More >

By on March 8, 2017

marchionne

It’s often sad to witness the moment when an individual’s high hopes collide with a cold, antiseptic wall of reality. Though we should all aspire for more, the inescapable truth is that most of our dreams will end up dashed on the rocks.

This week it was Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne’s turn — once again — to face rejection. Buoyed by PSA Group’s acquisition of General Motors’ European car divisions, Marchionne must have assumed that love was in the air and it would perhaps soon be FCA’s turn to go home with another automaker.

Unfortunately for Marchionne, one potential mate quickly burst that balloon in a fairly heartbreaking fashion. Read More >

By on February 23, 2017

Carlos Ghosn (Image: Nissan)

Carlos Ghosn, the aggressive figurehead who brought a nosediving Nissan back from the brink, is stepping down as CEO after 16 years on the job.

The industry titan will remain CEO of Renault, where he staged a similar turnaround, and will continue to serve as chairman of Nissan, Renault and lowly Mitsubishi — the latter company being added to the alliance last year. Apparently, the decision to step down was prompted by Mitsubishi’s deeply-ingrained woes. In order to work some Nissan-style magic on the struggling automaker, Ghosn needed to hand over the reins.

Meanwhile, a man who stuck with Nissan for 40 years has seen his loyalty pay off. Read More >

By on January 30, 2017

Honda Clarity

A quick look at the automotive landscape of 2017 tells us that electricity, long relegated to golf courses and RC cars, is the chosen successor to gasoline and diesel propulsion. However, automakers are hedging their bets on the best way to create those electrons.

Despite a critically meager refueling infrastructure, hydrogen lives on as a potential source for that energy, and select automakers continue a quest to equip our future vehicles with containers of lighter-than-air gas. To this end, General Motors and Honda partnered up back in 2013.

Now, we know the next step in the two automotive rivals’ plan. Read More >

By on January 6, 2017

INFINITI QX50

After a report appeared claiming that Nissan is scrapping a joint development effort with Mercedes-Benz, the Japanese automaker’s CEO says the two partners haven’t split up.

Japan’s second-largest carmaker and Germany’s oldest made an agreement in 2010 to share engines and platforms for Infiniti and several compact Mercedes-Benz models. A new platform is planned for a cooperative factory in Mexico opening this year, and a decision to back out would throw a wrench into the future of the $1 billion plant Read More >

By on December 18, 2016

2014 Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Image: Mitsubishi

After inking the deal that brought Mitsubishi Motors under his corporate umbrella, Nissan-Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn said the acquisition would have a “massive” impact on the struggling automaker.

By sharing the alliance’s technology, platforms and engines, Mitsubishi can look forward to a brighter, product-filled future, he claimed. Full integration is still years away, but a new report sheds some light on the first all-new product born of the $2.29 billion deal. Read More >

By on November 2, 2016

2016 Mazda 3 sedan

Mazda loves its Skyactiv engine technology, as the high-compression fuel-sippers eliminate the automaker’s need for pricey hybrids or battery electric vehicles.

Boasting an increasingly rare all-gas U.S. fleet, Mazda has said it can handle increasingly stringent fuel economy requirements with improved second-generation Skyactiv engines, including their diesel variants.

It now looks like that plan won’t be enough. Read More >

By on October 20, 2016

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

Mitsubishi has officially tied the knot with its savior, making Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn the only automotive executive in the world (and possibly the galaxy) to head three companies.

The $2.29 billion deal gives Ghosn’s Renault-Nissan alliance a 34 percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi — a financial lifeline for the struggling, scandal-plagued automaker. Already, the company’s new chairman (and demoted former chair) have big, big plans for the Mirage maker.

Nissan-sized plans. Read More >

By on October 17, 2016

Buffalo (David Hamill/Flickr)

Sparks flew when Tesla teamed up with Panasonic to produce battery packs at the automaker’s Nevada Gigafactory. Of course, it helped that the Japanese battery maker brought $1.6 billion of its own money to the table.

After it tested the waters and liked what it saw, Tesla has now inked an agreement with Panasonic to bring jobs — hopefully long-lasting ones — to Buffalo, New York. Read More >

By on October 14, 2016

alpine_moments_la-route_bleue-1200x675 (1)

A modern take on one of the sexiest four-cylinder cars of the 1960s will officially debut before the end of the year, and there’s a chance it will find its way to these shores.

Alpine, a reborn subsidiary of Renault, is putting the final touches on the production version of its Vision concept, a practical sports car that harkens back to the glory days of the nearly forgotten brand. Read More >

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