The Truth About Cars » Asia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 26 May 2015 20:00:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Asia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/asia/ Will the GenX Nano Erase Tata’s ‘Cheapest Car’ Stigma? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/will-genx-nano-erase-tatas-cheapest-car-stigma/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/will-genx-nano-erase-tatas-cheapest-car-stigma/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 13:26:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071194 It’s not often a car company, or any group of people for the matter, will admit mistakes – particularly billion dollar mistakes. That’s why the launch of the all-new Tata GenX Nano is refreshing. Based on former CEO Ratan Tata’s dream of moving Indians who transport their entire families on scooters and motorcycles into safer […]

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It’s not often a car company, or any group of people for the matter, will admit mistakes – particularly billion dollar mistakes. That’s why the launch of the all-new Tata GenX Nano is refreshing. Based on former CEO Ratan Tata’s dream of moving Indians who transport their entire families on scooters and motorcycles into safer – albeit, basic – four wheeled automobiles, the very fact the original 2009 Nano was the least expensive car on sale anywhere in the world proved to be an albatross around the Nano’s tiny neck. Even Indians aspiring to the middle class of a developing country, it turns out, aspire to be seen in something other than the cheapest car in the world. They’d rather buy a used Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, the hatchback that more or less defines India’s entry level car segment. In recognition of that reality, the new GenX Nano will now be positioned as an entry level hatchback to more directly compete with the Alto 800, Hyundai Eon and the newly announced Renault Kwid.

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While some saw the Nano as India’s Model T, prompting comparisons of Ratan Tata to Henry Ford, the historical reality is while Henry Ford had a great idea in making cars for the average consumer, not just the wealthy, the Model T was far from the cheapest car on the market when it was introduced. While it’s true that productivity and cost improvements allowed Ford to eventually drop the price of the T to less than $300, that was in 1924. When the Model T was introduced in 1908 (as a 1909 model) it cost $850. By comparison, a Brush Runabout cost less than $500 in 1908. Henry Ford didn’t face the stigma of selling the cheapest car in the world when he launched the Model T.

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In a 2013 interview, while claiming it was never his personal goal, Ratan Tata admitted it was a mistake for his company to market the Nano on price.

“It became termed as a cheapest car by the public and, I am sorry to say, by ourselves, not by me, but the company when it was marketing it. I think that is unfortunate,” Tata told CNBC.

Around the same time, which would have been while the GenX Nano was being developed, brand positioning guru Jack Trout publicly suggested that Tata kill the Nano. But, in launching the GenX Nano, Tata Motors Senior Vice President for passenger vehicle product and chief Nano engineer Girish Wagh said, “Never did we have discussion about killing the brand.” Wagh admitted the company erred in not recognizing the “societal status” needs of those upgrading from a two-wheeler to an actual automobile and that the launch of the GenX Nano meant creating a “perception change” for both the Nano and for Tata as a maker of passenger cars. Wagh told the Economic Times, while they haven’t yet discussed killing the Nano, the relaunch is indeed a “make or break” effort for Tata’s sub-brand.

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When the original Tata Nano was launched, the “cheapest car in the world” was big news globally, even though it was designed primarily for the domestic Indian market. The Nano’s existence persuaded some very big automakers to reexamine their plans concerning low cost passenger cars and their strategies about export hubs and the developing world.

 

Bajaj Re60

Bajaj Re60. Image: Bajaj

In the Indian market a number of companies started developing low cost cars, with Maruti introducing the Alto 800, the latest version of the Suzuki Alto with a smaller, older engine. Scooter and three-wheeler maker Bajaj, working with Renault-Nissan, introduced their first four wheel vehicle, the RE60, a low cost, low speed car for the commercial autorickshaw market. The French-Japanese automotive alliance revived the Datsun brand with the $5,000+ Go for the Indian market. The Go hasn’t exactly gone as well as Mr. Ghosn had hoped, so Renault itself just introduced the $4,700 Kwid to India. The GenX Nano will be priced from $3,150 to  $4,550.

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For all that news and influence, Nano sales have been disappointing for Tata. Tata has sold only as many Nanos in six years, about 250,000 units, as they had hoped to sell in the first two years of Nano production. Currently, the factory in Sanand, Gujarat is operating at just 15 percent capacity and sales this year are down 20 percent from last.

 

Original Tata Nano instrument panel

Original Tata Nano instrument panel. Wikimedia commons photo

Tata acknowledges they misjudged just how aspirational Indian consumers are at even the lowest entry level of car ownership and they are now relaunching the Nano for the third time. It’s really more than a relaunch, though. The Nano has been substantially rengineered and equipped with features to reposition it as a city car, an entry level hatchback, hopefully removing the stigma of being the cheapest car in the world. That’s a stigma the corporate owners of one of the world’s storied luxury automobile brands, Jaguar, can’t really afford to have.

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After collecting consumer impressions from over 1,000 Nano owners and half again as many of owners of other entry level Indian cars, Tata is hoping that a safer, all-new design and features like an automated transmission and Bluetooth connectivity (not earlier available at the price point) will allow it to more directly compete with other small hatches like the Chevrolet Beat, Hyundai Eon, and the Maruti Alto 800. The Eon and Alto 800 each sell about ten times as many units per month as the outgoing Nano. Even the highest priced GenX Nano will still undercut comparable Maruti Altos by 50,000 rupees, or about $800 at current exchange rates.

 

Renault Kwid

Carlos Ghosn introducing the new $4,700 Renault Kwid. Round trip Business Class airfare on Air France for Paris-Mumbai starts at $2,500. Kinda puts global business into perspective. Renault photo.

There is talk, not denied by Tata, of a bigger 1.0-liter engine to be offered a year down the road in addition to the 660 cc twin that currently powers the Nano, along with a possible diesel option. Right now, the GenX Nano has about half of the power to weight ratio of the Alto 800, which has, as the name indicates, a 796 cc engine. Because the engine is relatively loaded down, the GenX Nano is projected to get slightly worse fuel economy than the Alto 800, about 21 km per liter of petrol vs 22.7.

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The Tata Nano began as Ratan Tata’s dream of getting Indians who sometimes transport entire families on motorcycles and scooters into an unquestionably safer, enclosed, four-wheeled vehicle. It then became what, I think, was a rather impressive feat of engineering to a price point, removing all but the essential. That price point was “one lakh” or 100,000 rupees, the equivalent of about $2,000 US when the Nano was launched in 2009. The project had setbacks from the beginning, with farmers and politicians protesting the original factory location, delaying production. And because we’re in the internet age, fires in a small number of early production Nanos went viral around the world, harming the car’s image. Then Ratan Tata’s dream ran into the fact the families riding on motorcycles had aspirations greater than owning the world’s cheapest car. Indians would apparently rather drive a used example of a more expensive car.

 

Original Tata Nano

Original Tata Nano. Wikimedia commons photo

The first relaunch stressed the value of the Nano by emphasizing low monthly payments, but that only reinforced the image of the Nano as a cheap car. A second relaunch of the slightly more upscale Nano Twist models ran into the fact that, by then, competitors in India had products like the Beat and Alto 800 on the market.

 

Tata Nano Twist

Tata Nano Twist

This time, Tata has abandoned the cheapest car in the world scheme and decided to make a better Nano. As mentioned, much of the design and engineering of the original Nano was about taking things out, like using three lug nuts instead of at least four. By comparison, the GenX Nano’s development was more about putting things in than taking things out.

 

Maruti Alto 800

Maruti Alto 800

Tata says with the use of more high strength steel, crush zones, and side intrusion beams, the Nano’s body is much stronger and safer. It now also has a functional hatch with up to 110 liters of cargo space in the trunk. The original Nano was a four door, not a hatchback. Though the engine has been more or less unchanged, it’s been recalibrated for better urban fuel economy based on Tata engineers’ real-world observations of driving in major Indian markets. Mechanically, the biggest change is the availability of an automated manual transmission. While Tata is no longer marketing the Nano as the cheapest car in the world, the launch publicity did mention that the GenX Nano will be the “most affordable” car with an automated manual transmission.

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In addition to the structural and drivetrain changes, the GenX Nano has a new instrument panel, a stronger air conditioner (something very important with India’s climate), power steering, modern connectivity, and better NVH performance. While the overall silhouette hasn’t changed, the GenX Nano has a new face and rear end, with new bumpers, lamps and a honeycomb grille. The changes are intended to appeal to young, aspirational Indians, particularly women who will like the “Easy Shift” automated manual. Women take a targeted role in the GenX Nano’s marketing and dealers report 20 percent of those who have already booked a GenX Nano – which is already on sale with deliveries scheduled in about two months – are females.

Click here to view the embedded video.

When the original Nano was introduced in 2009, I saw more than a couple of online comments from consumers in North America wondering why a car that cheap couldn’t be sold on this continent. As it turns out, a car that cheap can’t be sold in great numbers on the Indian sub-continent, let alone in North America, where something as relatively advanced and luxurious when compared to the Nano, like the Mitsubishi Mirage, struggles in the market. In time, the Nano project may turn out to be a success. But, whatever success it will have will now be based on its virtues as an automobile compared to competing products, not by being the cheapest car anywhere on the planet.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Jeep Returns To Tokyo Motor Show After Eight-Year Absence http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/jeep-returns-to-tokyo-motor-show-after-eight-year-absence/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/jeep-returns-to-tokyo-motor-show-after-eight-year-absence/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 20:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073146 The last time the Detroit Three turned up at the Tokyo Motor Show was in 2007. One recession later, Jeep returns to Tokyo to represent the Motor City. Jeep will join Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Fiat on FCA Japan’s stand when the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show kicks off in late October, Automotive News reports. Jeep […]

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2015 Jeep Renegade

The last time the Detroit Three turned up at the Tokyo Motor Show was in 2007. One recession later, Jeep returns to Tokyo to represent the Motor City.

Jeep will join Abarth, Alfa Romeo and Fiat on FCA Japan’s stand when the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show kicks off in late October, Automotive News reports. Jeep will also be sole representative for U.S.-born manufacturers, as Ford, General Motors and Tesla sit out of this year’s festivities.

The off-road brand is currently No. 7 in import sales in the Japanese Domestic Market, having rose 21 percent to 2,298 units between January and April of this year. Though still behind the likes of Mercedes, BMW and MINI, Jeep is outperforming fellow domestic competitors Ford (1,625 units through April 2015), Chevrolet (313) and Cadillac (297).

Jeep’s presence at the show is also a boon for the show’s organizers, seeking to standout against bigger shows across the sea in China; the 2013 edition overlapped the show in Guangzhou, as well as the Los Angeles Auto Show.

[Source: Jeep]

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Renault Kwid Unveiled, Ready To Battle Maruti Suzuki Alto In India http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-kwid-unveiled-ready-to-battle-maruti-suzuki-alto-in-india/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/renault-kwid-unveiled-ready-to-battle-maruti-suzuki-alto-in-india/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 17:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071530 As the Datsun brand stumbles in India, Renault-Nissan unveiled the Kwid Wednesday to take on the challenge of beating the best-selling Maruti Suzuki Alto. The Kwid hatchback is underpinned by the alliance’s Common Modular A Family platform, boasts a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and has a starting price of ₹3,00,000 ($4,700 USD), Automotive News […]

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Renault Kwid 01

As the Datsun brand stumbles in India, Renault-Nissan unveiled the Kwid Wednesday to take on the challenge of beating the best-selling Maruti Suzuki Alto.

The Kwid hatchback is underpinned by the alliance’s Common Modular A Family platform, boasts a ground clearance of 7.1 inches, and has a starting price of ₹3,00,000 ($4,700 USD), Automotive News Europe reports. Power is set to come from an 800cc unit, though no other powertrain information was announced at this time.

Like the Tata GenX Nano announced Tuesday, the Kwid has a feature set normally found on more upscale vehicles for the Indian market, including hands-free voice-calling with Bluetooth, 7-inch touchscreen display with navigation and infotainment, and optional airbags.

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said the Indian market was not an easy one during the Kwid’s unveiling in Chennai, and expects the city car to be “a game changer for Renault India.” The alliance’s current attempt to crack the market — the Datsun Go — sold 16,000 units since its introduction in 2014. The Alto manages to sell over 16,000 units per month in comparison at a starting price of ₹2,46,163 ($3,865).

Renault India also plans to expand its dealership network from 157 to 280 by the end of next year, though the target still pales to Maruti’s 1,500 stores.

The Renault Kwid is expected in those showrooms in September upon leaving the assembly line in Chennai.

[Image credit: Renault]

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Tata GenX Nano Latest In Low-Cost Line Of Nano City Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tata-genx-nano-latest-in-low-cost-line-of-nano-city-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/tata-genx-nano-latest-in-low-cost-line-of-nano-city-cars/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 16:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070802 Hitting showrooms Tuesday, Tata Motors announced its latest variant of the Nano city car: the GenX Nano. Starting price for the four-passenger GenX ranges between Rs1.99 lakh ($3,000 USD) for the XE trim, to Rs2.89 lakh ($4,535) for the XTA model. Power comes from a 624cc two-cylinder with multi-point injection, and is good for around […]

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Hitting showrooms Tuesday, Tata Motors announced its latest variant of the Nano city car: the GenX Nano.

Starting price for the four-passenger GenX ranges between Rs1.99 lakh ($3,000 USD) for the XE trim, to Rs2.89 lakh ($4,535) for the XTA model. Power comes from a 624cc two-cylinder with multi-point injection, and is good for around 38 horses and 38 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed manual and a five-speed “Easy Shift” automated manual route the power to the back, with the latter providing enhanced acceleration and traffic-friendly features.

Other features available include: smoked headlamps; 24-liter fuel tank for longer trips; electric power steering; 110 liters of luggage room; connected-vehicle system with Bluetooth, CD and USB/AUX ports; “SUV-like ground clearance”; and structural safety enhancements.

The GenX Nano will be on sale at all 450 Tata showrooms Tuesday, with the XE, XM, XT and XTA models available immediately; the XMA trim will arrive made-to-order beginning in August. Its competitors include the Hyundai Eon and Suzuki Alto.

[Photo credit: Tata]

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Oil Bull Market Rally Could Soon Falter Without China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oil-bull-market-rally-could-soon-falter-without-china/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1067698 Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time. During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in […]

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PetroChina-Station

Those hoping to make it big on oil commodities would do well to bet against the bulls on parade, as China won’t be around to keep prices afloat this time.

During the early days of the Great Recession, oil prices quickly regained footing thanks to China’s then-booming economic standing, Bloomberg reports. However, fuel use in the nation has slowed by half of what it was in the previous decade, following global trends of decreased consumption.

Global demand is expected to grow 1.3 million barrels/day to 94.58 million in 2016 according to the Energy Information Administration, with China taking 11.34 million barrels/day; the U.S. will use 19.44 million/day, lower than what was used in 2008. The figure is an increase of 3.1 percent over this year, yet pales when compared to the 11-percent jump in 2010. The spike delivered a boost to oil prices of 15 percent.

Combined with rising oil production pushing toward a glut in supply — to the tune of 1.8 million barrels/day in inventory currently, and 900,000/day during H2 2015 — China’s economic power faltering despite the government’s best efforts, and technological advancements reducing overall oil consumption, the global demand for oil will remain low for some time to come.

[Photo credit: Otebig/Wikimedia Commons/CC PD 1.0]

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China Automotive Exports Crashing Against Geopolitical, Currency Challenges http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/china-automotive-exports-crashing-geopolitical-currency-challenges/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/china-automotive-exports-crashing-geopolitical-currency-challenges/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 19:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1065906 China may be a hotbed for automakers to bring in their latest and greatest, but exports of its automotive wares aren’t as hot these days. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported a drop of 22 percent in exports of commercial and passenger vehicles during April, falling to 61,600 units shipped compared to the previous […]

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Landwind X9 Rally Trucklet

China may be a hotbed for automakers to bring in their latest and greatest, but exports of its automotive wares aren’t as hot these days.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported a drop of 22 percent in exports of commercial and passenger vehicles during April, falling to 61,600 units shipped compared to the previous month according to Bloomberg. The group also found a decline of 15 percent over the first four months of 2015, putting a significant ding on the nation’s goal of 860,000 units shipped elsewhere this year.

Causes of China’s export woes include geopolitical issues in Iraq, Russia and Ukraine, and currency challenges in Algeria and Argentina, per association deputy secretary-general Shi Jianhua, who sees no signs of improvement on the horizon.

The 2015 export target is a far cry from the nation’s peak of 1.06 million units in 2012, and is less than the 910,400 units sent overseas in 2014.

[Photo credit: Landwind]

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De Tomaso Under Chinese Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/de-tomaso-chinese-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/de-tomaso-chinese-ownership/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056930 After being purchased over a month ago, De Tomaso once again finds itself with a new owner. The once-storied Italian automaker is now in the hands of Consolidated Ideal TeamVenture, a consortium of Chinese investors based out of Hong Kong with its legal headquarters in the Virgin Islands, Europe Online Magazine reports. The consortium paid […]

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DeTomaso Pantera

After being purchased over a month ago, De Tomaso once again finds itself with a new owner.

The once-storied Italian automaker is now in the hands of Consolidated Ideal TeamVenture, a consortium of Chinese investors based out of Hong Kong with its legal headquarters in the Virgin Islands, Europe Online Magazine reports. The consortium paid just over €1 million ($1.1 million USD) for De Tomaso at auction and has plans to build vehicles in China wearing the De Tomaso name.

The latest change in ownership comes after Swiss investment group L3 Holdings bought the name for €2 million ($2.2 million) last month, only to lose the rights when the group was investigated for failure to honor its financial commitments.

Other former De Tomaso owners include Gian Mario Rossignolo – who was arrested in 2012 for misuse of public funds in trying to revive the automaker – and Automobili Turismo e Sport, though the group later withdrew its bid.

[Photo credit: Jack Snell/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Fears Hover Over Detroit Three http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/trans-pacific-partnership-fears-hover-detroit-three/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/trans-pacific-partnership-fears-hover-detroit-three/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055241 The Detroit Three are among those expressing concern over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, specifically what it would do to the industry. Last week, both houses of Congress approved President Barack Obama’s request for an up-or-down vote to fast-track the free-trade agreement involving 12 nations and affecting 40 percent of the global economy, The Detroit […]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The Detroit Three are among those expressing concern over the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, specifically what it would do to the industry.

Last week, both houses of Congress approved President Barack Obama’s request for an up-or-down vote to fast-track the free-trade agreement involving 12 nations and affecting 40 percent of the global economy, The Detroit News reports. The urgency comes amid warnings that if the TPP isn’t put into effect as soon as possible, China, not the United States, would be the one creating similar trade deals.

Though the TPP has few fans among unions, activists, and most Democrats in Congress, the Detroit Three have their own concerns about the fast-tracking proposal: once enacted, the 2.5-percent tariff on cars and parts, as well as the infamous 25 percent “Chicken Tax” on imported light-duty trucks, would disappear over a period of time. The latter has been used to protect the domestic truck market by keeping competitors out unless the latter were willing to build trucks in the U.S.

According to the trio, were the tariffs – which they want to keep around for 25 more years at minimum – to disappear, and if Japan weakens its currency to better compete against them, domestic automakers would eventually be undercut by Japanese automakers. In turn, the Detroit Three would face considerable pressure to return fire, with those on the factory floor likely to be the hardest hit.

Another issue surrounding Japan is importation of U.S. vehicles, which the trio state has been difficult to accomplish over the years due to a number of trade barriers, tariffs not being among them as far as Japan’s importation policy is concerned. Japanese automakers counter that so few U.S. vehicles are imported annually because the Detroit Three haven’t made much of an effort to sell them to Japanese consumers in the first place. While the former has spent billions and employed thousands to build vehicles in the U.S., Detroit hasn’t done the same at all.

Currently, their lobbyists are working to add an enforceable currency provision to the TPP to protect Detroit’s standing. So far, the provision has yet to be added to the pact.

[Photo credit: Gobinero de Chile/Flickr]

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Fifth-Gen Honda Step WGN Debuts With New 2016 Civic Engine, Tailgate System http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fifth-gen-honda-step-wgn-debuts-new-2016-civic-engine-tailgate-system/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/fifth-gen-honda-step-wgn-debuts-new-2016-civic-engine-tailgate-system/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 17:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052169 Honda revealed the fifth-gen Step WGN for the Japanese market Thursday, which not only features a new flexible tailgate, but the same engine planned for the 2016 Civic. The main draw for the seven-passenger Step WGN is the “Waku Waku” tailgate, which can be lifted up in most circumstances, or can be opened from the side […]

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Honda Step WGN 01

Honda revealed the fifth-gen Step WGN for the Japanese market Thursday, which not only features a new flexible tailgate, but the same engine planned for the 2016 Civic.

The main draw for the seven-passenger Step WGN is the “Waku Waku” tailgate, which can be lifted up in most circumstances, or can be opened from the side via the tailgate’s sub-door. The sub-door has three levels of opening angles, allowing greater ease of access to cargo for occupants when the kei van is parked in a tight space, such as a shopping center or home garage. Third-row passengers can also use the door to exit without opening the full tailgate when the door is paired with the third-row 60-40 Magic Seat.

Under the hood is the 1.5-liter direct-injection VTEC turbo set to provide power for the 2016 Civic. Horsepower and torque figures were not mentioned at this time, but Honda claims output is “equivalent to that of a 2.4-litre engine even while driving with multiple passengers and on hilly roads.” Power is directed to the front or all four corners via CVT.

[Photo credit: Honda]

Honda Step WGN Gallery

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Suzuki Recalls 2M Amid Reports Of Smoking Ignitions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/suzuki-recalls-2m-amid-reports-smoking-ignitions/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1051009 Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part. The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, […]

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2003 Suzuki Wagon R

Suzuki is recalling a record 2 million vehicles to replace ignition switches amid reports of smoke and fumes being emitted from the part.

The recall adds 1,873,000 vehicles to the 168,000 previously recalled late last month, Reuters reports. Both figures apply to nine models made in Japan, including the Chevrolet Cruze, Mazda AZ-Wagon, Mazda Carol, and Suzuki’s own Alto, Wagon R and Swift. The recall for the latter three covers vehicles built between 1998 and 2009.

Another 133,700 models in the new recall were sold overseas in Australia and Europe, including the aforementioned Swift, Alto and Cruze.

Thus far, 67 reports of smoking switches have been reported, including 18 in police cars. The reports have all come from Japan.

[Photo credit: Kuha455405/Wikipedia]

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Shanghai 2015: Audi Showcases Prologue Concept, A6 L, Q7 E-Tron Models http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-audi-showcases-prologue-concept-a6-l-q7-e-tron-models/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-audi-showcases-prologue-concept-a6-l-q7-e-tron-models/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 19:00:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1048601 Audi showcased the new A6 L and Q7 e-tron models at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, as well as the prologue allroad concept. First up is the Audi A6 L e-tron, the automaker’s first PHEV specifically tailored to the Chinese domestic market. The e-tron model is based upon the A6 L that is already on […]

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Auto Shanghai 2015

Audi showcased the new A6 L and Q7 e-tron models at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, as well as the prologue allroad concept.

Audi A6 L e-tron (Angebot im chinesischen Markt)

First up is the Audi A6 L e-tron, the automaker’s first PHEV specifically tailored to the Chinese domestic market. The e-tron model is based upon the A6 L that is already on sale in said market.

Power for the A6 L e-tron comes from a parallel hybrid system combining a 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 211 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, and an electric motor fed by a 14.1-kWh lithium-ion pack capable of 124 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque.

Once fed to the front corners via an eight-speed tiptronic automatic, maximum output comes out to 245 horses and 369 lb-ft of torque, which is good for moving the 4,409-lb from nil to 62 mph in 8.4 seconds, topping out at a limit of 130 mph or 84 mph in electric-only mode. Electric-only range comes to 31 miles, with overall travel totalling 547 miles. Fuel economy is 2.2 liters per 107 miles travelled, and charging time can range between two and eight hours depending on infrastructure.

The driver can choose from four modes of travel, ranging from hybrid and the aforementioned EV modes, to battery hold and battery charge modes. The latter two allow the driver to either store energy or recharge the battery as needed.

Other features include: 18-inch alloys; LED light guides in the air ducts; MMI navigation system; and 11.9 cu ft of cargo space.

The A6 L e-tron is set to hit showrooms from the FAW-Volkswagen facility in Changchun in 2016.

Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt)

The Audi Q7 e-tron is the automaker’s first PHEV to combine the 2.0-liter TFSI engine with the storied quattro AWD system. Here, total output to all four corners — via eight-speed tiptronic — comes to 367 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, good for pushing the crossover from zero to 62 in 5.9 seconds, topping out at 137 mph. Range in electric-mode is 33 miles, while overall range is 634 miles. Fuel economy is 2.5 liters per 100 kilometers.

Upon startup, travel is strictly electric until the driver pushes down the “active accelerator pedal beyond a certain point of resistance” to activate the four-cylinder. Said resistance is determined by the hybrid system’s requirements.

Aside from the power, the Q7 e-tron offers new electromechanical power steering and lighter five-link wheel suspension, as well as an HVAC unit that uses waste heat generated by the hybrid system’s electrical components for warming the cabin, and NVIDIA Tegra 30-powered MMI connected-vehicle system. Other features include: electronic stability; torque vectoring; 19- and 20-inch wheels; Bose and Bang & Olufsen sound systems; smartphone inductive charging; HUD; and climate-controlled front seats with massage function.

Like the A6 L e-tron, the Q7 e-tron is set to hit showrooms next year.

Audi prologue allroad

Finally, the Audi prologue allroad concept serves as a hint of what future allroad models could look like. This includes a long front clip and a rapidly dropping roofline with D-pillars that are flat to give the concept a more athletic appearance. Laser headlamps, LED light guides and tail lamps, aluminum accents, wide wheel flares, and a flat, wide grill contribute to the overall aesthetic, as well.

Inside, “lithely drawn lines and slender geometric bodies convey the impression of expanse, serenity and lightness.” Three touch displays up front include one for the passenger to configure infotainment options that can then be swiped over to the driver via the right-side driver display or the virtual cockpit behind the steering wheel.

Power for the prologue allroad comes from a 4.0-liter turbo-V8 mated to an eight-speed tiptronic with integrated electric motor. The hybrid setup is good for 734 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, pushing the concept from nil to 62 in 3.5 seconds. Electric-only range is 34 miles, and fuel economy comes to 2.4 liters per 100 kilometers travelled.

Other features include: Audi wireless charging; 20-inch carbon-fiber ceramic discs; air suspension with controlled damping; quattro AWD system; open-pored, dark fine-grain ash veneer bezels; OLED center console; and Unicum and Alcantara leathers.

Audi A6 L e-tron Gallery

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Audi Q7 e-tron Gallery

Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt) Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro (Angebot im chinesischen Markt)

Audi prologue allroad concept Gallery

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Shanghai 2015: Buick Verano Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-buick-verano-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-buick-verano-debuts/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1048521 Aimed at those “who value a personal and dynamic driving experience,” the next-gen Buick Verano debuted at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. Power for the sedan comes from a 1.5-liter direct-injection turbo-four stated to be the most powerful engine in General Motors’ Ecotec family. Output amounts to 166 horses and 184 lb-ft of torque, all […]

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Buick Verano - Shanghai 2015

Aimed at those “who value a personal and dynamic driving experience,” the next-gen Buick Verano debuted at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show.

Power for the sedan comes from a 1.5-liter direct-injection turbo-four stated to be the most powerful engine in General Motors’ Ecotec family. Output amounts to 166 horses and 184 lb-ft of torque, all of which is directed to the front via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission specially adapted for road conditions in China. Fuel economy is 6.1 liters per every 100 kilometers.

The Verano’s styling draws from both the 2013 Riviera and 2014 Avenir concepts, such as the Avenir-esque, wing-shaped high-intensity discharge xenon headlamps with daytime LEDs and matching LEDs in the rear. A fastback roof, steeply raked windshield and “streamlined” C-pillars make the sedan appear longer than it actually is — no dimension figures were given at this time — while its double-sweep beltline give the Verano a sculpted appearance.

Other features include: 17-inch, 10-spoke aluminum wheels shod in Continentals; start-stop; signature Buick waterfall grill; and dual integrated inset exhaust.

The Verano is the newest vehicle in Buick’s Chinese market lineup meant to address the needs of customers in the midsize sedan segment, following the Excelle and Excelle GT.

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Japan Hydrogen Ambitions Fall Short Of March 2016 Target http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045250 Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed. Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose […]

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Eneos Gas Station With Hydrogen Pumps

Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed.

Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose of helping would-be hydrogen-station operators build them; each station costs $5 million to build, with the government pitching in $2.5 million in aid.

Though a representative for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry stated the government is considering increasing the amount given to encourage more infrastructure development, energy companies are asking for proof that building the stations are worth the investment in the first place. In turn, consumers may find the lack of said stations off-putting as far as considering an FCV like Toyota’s Mirai goes, while FCVs themselves need government incentives to attract said consumers.

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Hyundai Patent Shows Cell-Phone Disabling Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-patent-shows-cell-phone-disabling-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-patent-shows-cell-phone-disabling-technology/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045106 Can’t put down the smartphone while driving? Hyundai has a patent for technology that can render it as dumb as a Motorola DynaTAC. Autoblog reports the patent shows technology that “limits or disables the use of some of mobile device features which could cause distraction to the user.” The system determines when and what to […]

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Hyundai Driver Cell Phone Blocking Patent

Can’t put down the smartphone while driving? Hyundai has a patent for technology that can render it as dumb as a Motorola DynaTAC.

Autoblog reports the patent shows technology that “limits or disables the use of some of mobile device features which could cause distraction to the user.” The system determines when and what to disable on a phone based on vehicle speed, time of day, importance of message, and other factors, and can do so either at the driver’s seat or the entire vehicle.

According to the patent, this is done with cellular-signal-monitoring antennas placed throughout the cabin. When an antenna detects a signal, the system performs the tasks needed to disable functions that would otherwise hinder a driver’s ability to maintain vigilance. However, the system requires the phone in question to have firmware that would accept the former’s commands.

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Shanghai 2015: Volvo S60L T6 Twin Engine Ready For The Spotlight http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-volvo-s60l-t6-twin-engine-ready-spotlight/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-volvo-s60l-t6-twin-engine-ready-spotlight/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045066 Debuting alongside the XC90 Excellence at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the Volvo S60L T6 Twin Engine PHEV brings hybrid power to the Sino-Swede party. The S60L Twin Engine will arrive in Chinese showrooms from Volvo’s plant in Chengdu April 22, and is powered by a Drive-E 2-liter four up front with a 50-kW electric […]

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Debuting alongside the XC90 Excellence at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show, the Volvo S60L T6 Twin Engine PHEV brings hybrid power to the Sino-Swede party.

The S60L Twin Engine will arrive in Chinese showrooms from Volvo’s plant in Chengdu April 22, and is powered by a Drive-E 2-liter four up front with a 50-kW electric motor on the rear axle; the latter is fed by “an energy-optimized” 11.2 kWH lithium-ion pack. Total output comes to 306 horses and 406 lb-ft of torque, and range tops out at 33 miles in electric-only travel.

Volvo says that the PHEV’s green credentials allows would-be owners to bypass the standard license-plate process — lotteries and auctions — in cities such as Shanghai, where the car “fulfills the relevant environmental regulations.”

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Shanghai 2015: Volvo XC90 Excellence Ready For Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-volvo-xc90-excellence-ready-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/shanghai-2015-volvo-xc90-excellence-ready-debut/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044602 Coming to the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show later this month, the Volvo XC90 Excellence is the Sino-Swede’s first foray into high-end luxury. Unlike the standard flagship XC90, the Excellence does away with having an extra three passengers and two back rows of seating. Instead, the two rear occupants will each have their own reclining seats […]

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Coming to the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show later this month, the Volvo XC90 Excellence is the Sino-Swede’s first foray into high-end luxury.

Unlike the standard flagship XC90, the Excellence does away with having an extra three passengers and two back rows of seating. Instead, the two rear occupants will each have their own reclining seats with massage functions, ventilated fabric, and plenty of leg room. They’ll also have access to a refrigerator with bottle and glass holders, heated/cooled cup holders, retractable touchscreens, folding tables, and handmade crystal glasses from Swedish glassmaker Orrefors.

Other luxury comforts include: Pirelli Noise Cancelling System tires; 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system; Volvo’s CleanZone climate system with ionic air cleaner; leather instrument panel and seats with Nubuck headliner; luggage compartment dividing screen; and passenger footrests.

Those who desire Swedish-style luxury — whether in Sweden, China, the United States, or other global locales — will be able to lease their XC90 Excellence beginning later this year, with digital ordering coming to select markets at the same time.

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Orders For Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition Now Being Taken In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/orders-mitsubishi-lancer-evolution-final-edition-now-taken-japan/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043746 If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history. Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter […]

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If you live in Japan, you can now place your order for one of the 1,000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Final Edition models before the Evo fades into history.

Autoevolution reports Mitsubishi isn’t saying how much power the Final Edition has under the hood, but the publication notes that the GSR-based Evo won’t have the 2-liter 4B11T turbo-four and its 473 horses from the Final Concept shown at this January’s Tokyo Auto Salon; the Final Edition uses a 2-liter MIVEC turbo, instead.

Aside from the turbo-four and Mitsubishi’s S-AWC AWD system, Final Edition owners can expect sodium-filled exhaust valves, 18-inch BBS wheels, Recaro seats, Bilstein and Eibach suspension pieces, and Brembo brakes for their ¥4,298,400 (approximately $36,000 USD). Owners can also choose from red, white, blue, black or gray and a white- or black-painted roof panel.

Orders for the 1,000 Evos began last Friday, with deliveries set for August. After that, the Evo will be no more the world over.

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Citroën Aircross Concept Ready For Shanghai Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/citroen-aircross-concept-ready-shanghai-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/citroen-aircross-concept-ready-shanghai-debut/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 10:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1040857 Coming to the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show is the Citroën Aircross crossover concept, whose looks harken back to when designs took after jelly beans. The Audi Q5-sized PHEV rides on 22-inch wheels shod in custom Continental tires, and is motivated by a 1.6-liter turbo-four producing 218 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque, paired with an […]

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Citroen Aircross 01

Coming to the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show is the Citroën Aircross crossover concept, whose looks harken back to when designs took after jelly beans.

The Audi Q5-sized PHEV rides on 22-inch wheels shod in custom Continental tires, and is motivated by a 1.6-liter turbo-four producing 218 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque, paired with an electric motor on the rear axle contributing an additional 95 horses and 147 lb-ft of torque; total output is 313 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. Nil to 62 occurs in 4.5 seconds, electric-only range comes to 31 miles, and combined fuel economy is 166 mpg.

Part of the Aircross’ design includes so-called “Alloy Bumps,” which are meant to protect the Aircross from lateral impacts thanks to their motorsport-derived aluminum honeycomb structure. Meanwhile, the PHEV’s enhanced aero package — such as the “Air Signs” rear-window trim and “Air Curtains” air intakes up front — improve the concept’s aerodynamic profile beyond the initial design.

Inside, the driver is greeted by a pair of 12-inch panoramic HD screens “inspired by the worlds of fashion and modern furniture design,” one of which can be transferred from passenger to passenger via hand gestures. All occupants can also enjoy a pair of webcams mounted on either side of the cabin’s door frames, which can take photos of the outside world to be shared via social networking, as well as to gain information for use with the Aircross’ navigation system.

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Nissan Making Automatic Braking Standard On JDM Models By Fall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nissan-making-automatic-braking-standard-jdm-models-fall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/nissan-making-automatic-braking-standard-jdm-models-fall/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039569 Nissan announced Tuesday that it will make automatic braking standard on all of its mass-market models in its home market of Japan. Reuters reports the first model to receive the now-standard feature will be the X-Trail Hybrid, which will hit showrooms May 13 with a starting price of ¥2.8 million ($23,423 USD); Nissan expects to […]

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Nissan announced Tuesday that it will make automatic braking standard on all of its mass-market models in its home market of Japan.

Reuters reports the first model to receive the now-standard feature will be the X-Trail Hybrid, which will hit showrooms May 13 with a starting price of ¥2.8 million ($23,423 USD); Nissan expects to sell 3,500 per month.

The move to make the feature standard is a step towards the automaker’s goal of autonomous vehicles, the first phase of which is set to be carried out in Japan next year.

While automatic braking is available in Nissan’s home market offerings, it hasn’t yet decided if it plans to offer the feature elsewhere.

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BMW i3 Models Now Available Through Amazon Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/bmw-i3-models-now-available-amazon-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/bmw-i3-models-now-available-amazon-japan/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039553 You can order a lot things from Amazon, including books, CDs and giant drums of lubricant. If you’re in Japan, though, you can also order a BMW i3. Yahoo Maktoob News reports sales of the i3 began on Wednesday, a move BMW Japan hopes “will cover the entire market more thoroughly” alongside the 46 dealers […]

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2015 BMW i3 Range Extender Exterior-002

You can order a lot things from Amazon, including books, CDs and giant drums of lubricant. If you’re in Japan, though, you can also order a BMW i3.

Yahoo Maktoob News reports sales of the i3 began on Wednesday, a move BMW Japan hopes “will cover the entire market more thoroughly” alongside the 46 dealers already selling the model in Japan, widening the sales channel while providing more convenience to potential owners in so doing.

Those who do order their i3 will have their choice of either the electric-only model or the range-extender version. However, the purchase will only be completed once BMW calls up the would-be owner to request documentation regarding parking and charging space for the vehicle.

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Cadillac CT6 Coming To Shanghai In Hybrid Form http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/cadillac-ct6-coming-shanghai-hybrid-form/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/cadillac-ct6-coming-shanghai-hybrid-form/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 12:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1039073 After its global debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the Cadillac CT6 will arrive wearing a hybrid badge at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show in late April. According to Autoblog, General Motors product boss Mark Reuss said as much when interviewed by the publication about work on the hybrid model, while a Cadillac […]

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After its global debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the Cadillac CT6 will arrive wearing a hybrid badge at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show in late April.

According to Autoblog, General Motors product boss Mark Reuss said as much when interviewed by the publication about work on the hybrid model, while a Cadillac representative could only say that variants would be forthcoming.

Speaking of variants, Reuss adds that the flagship sedan could wear a V-Series badge, though it may be a while before such a thing arrives:

The [CT6] architecture is certainly capable of doing it. The question is who’s going to buy the CT6? What kind of person? And do we need a V-Series off of that is the question we haven’t answered yet. It’s certainly capable of doing it … we’ve certainly thought about it.

As for the hybrid, little was mentioned about the powertrain beyond the possibility that it could be a PHEV in the vein of the Chevrolet Volt and 2016 Malibu Hybrid.

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SsangYong XAV Concept Debuts At 2015 Seoul Motor Show http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ssangyong-xav-concept-debuts-2015-seoul-motor-show/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/ssangyong-xav-concept-debuts-2015-seoul-motor-show/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 10:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1038905 While most of the eyes were on the latest and greatest debuting in New York, the SsangYong XAV concept SUV hit the ramp at the 2015 Seoul Motor Show. Power for the XAV — short for eXciting Authentic SUV — comes from a hybrid powertrain featuring a 1.6-liter engine paired to a so-called e-4WD system […]

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While most of the eyes were on the latest and greatest debuting in New York, the SsangYong XAV concept SUV hit the ramp at the 2015 Seoul Motor Show.

Power for the XAV — short for eXciting Authentic SUV — comes from a hybrid powertrain featuring a 1.6-liter engine paired to a so-called e-4WD system that places electric motors to the front and rear wheels, linked to a lithium-ion pack. No power figures were given for the setup.

SsangYong says the design for the concept is meant to evoke an “authentic” SUV experience, with strong masculine lines up front — also a retro design based on the automaker’s second-gen Korando; the first was a Jeep CJ-7 clone — and an equally strong backside with storage space for tools and emergency equipment, augmented by an oversized rear bumper.

Speaking of the Korando, the XAV is a preview of what the fourth-gen SUV could look like, and would join the smaller Tivoli in SsangYong’s collection as it and its parent company, Mahindra & Mahindra, look for a way to break into the North American market.

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Tesla Commits To Localized Production In China Within Three Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-commits-localized-production-china-within-three-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-commits-localized-production-china-within-three-years/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033497 Aiming to build confidence among Chinese consumers, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pledged his company will begin local production in China within three years. Xinhua reports that until then, imports from the United States will continue because the factory still has capacity left to grow into. Once that occurs, however, Musk says it would only […]

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2014 Tesla Model S in China

Aiming to build confidence among Chinese consumers, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pledged his company will begin local production in China within three years.

Xinhua reports that until then, imports from the United States will continue because the factory still has capacity left to grow into. Once that occurs, however, Musk says it would only be sensible to “localize production in China for the Chinese market, in Europe for the European market.”

Though Musk and Tesla haven’t had the best time in China since importation began in mid-2013 — ranging from sales issues and speculators, to range anxiety and consumer preferences — the CEO is optimistic about the future of his company’s work in the market, taking the long-term view as the basis for said optimism.

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Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

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Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

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ChemChina, Finanzaria Buying Pirelli In €7.1B Takeover Deal http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/chemchina-finanzaria-buying-pirelli-7-1b-takeover-deal/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028233 Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal. Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend […]

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Pirelli F1 Tire Range

Should things go as planned, China National Chemical Corp. — ChemChina — will buy into Pirelli in a €7.1 billion ($7.7 billion USD) deal.

Automotive News reports the deal could bring premium-tire technology to ChemChina, while giving Pirelli a huge jump in the Chinese domestic market. However, the chemical company’s bid of €15/share last weekend may be the beginning of a protracted takeover as it and Pirelli’s largest investor, Cam Finanziaria, attempt to secure 90 percent of the stock to take the tire company off of the trading floor; the share price climbed to €15.76 Monday.

The terms of the deal would give ChemChina 50.1 percent of the company, Finanziaria 49.9 percent, and would begin with the former paying €15/share for Finanziaria’s 26.2 percent of Pirelli, followed by a public tender for the rest of the company at the same price. Should that fail, however, ChemChina could merge its 66 percent with Finanziaria’s holdings to force a delisting. Pirelli chair and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera would remain CEO under the deal, while ChemChina will seek a new chair.

The Sino-Italian buy-in is part of a number of takeovers of Italian companies by Chinese buyers, and would be the fifth-largest deal by a state-owned enterprise.

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