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. Thu, 30 Jul 2015 22:00:51 +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/ Reuters: Subaru Success Fueled By Marginalized Foreign Workers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/reuters-subaru-success-fueled-by-marginalized-foreign-workers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/reuters-subaru-success-fueled-by-marginalized-foreign-workers/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1128529 Reuters Investigates has a scathing report on foreign workers in Japan at some of Subaru’s most important suppliers. According to the news agency, due to the combination of a booming “Abenomics”, Japan’s 2010 asylum seeker program, and manufacturers looking for cheap sources of expendable labor, foreigners are taken advantage of and treated as second- and […]

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2015-Subaru-Forester

Reuters Investigates has a scathing report on foreign workers in Japan at some of Subaru’s most important suppliers. According to the news agency, due to the combination of a booming “Abenomics”, Japan’s 2010 asylum seeker program, and manufacturers looking for cheap sources of expendable labor, foreigners are taken advantage of and treated as second- and third-class workers. Another program meant to help Chinese citizens learn manufacturing skills in Japan is also implicated in helping Subaru take advantage of marginalized immigrant workers.

Subaru isn’t the only automotive manufacturer named as the same suppliers also feed parts to Honda and Toyota.

The long, detailed report states there are nearly 18,000 foreign residents in Ota, Subaru’s manufacturing home base in Japan, “making it a rare example of multiculturalism in a country stubbornly resistant to immigration” at three times the national average by percentage of population.

However, that immigration isn’t officially of the economic variety as is typically seen between industrialized nations, but of asylum seekers looking for a better life and finding their way into Japan through labor brokers and as indebted trainees. The situation has also been an example of institutionalized racism within Japan.

From Reuters:

In Ota’s auto industry, labor brokers and a manager at a Subaru supplier said ethnicity plays a part in how workers are placed: Japanese workers are at the top of the chain, followed by Brazilians of Japanese descent, who have been in the country longer under a special visa category and can speak the language. They’re followed by South Asians, many of them asylum seekers, and lastly, African workers at the bottom of the pyramid. An executive at one local manufacturer said he favored asylum seekers from Nepal, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, who he said are more willing to take on difficult jobs for lower pay.

“We carefully examined the matter and confirmed that this was not the case,” Subaru said in a written response to questions from Reuters.

The conditions for asylum-seekers-turned-workers in Ota are fueled by Subaru’s popular Forester, Reuters states in the report, running counter to the company’s “Love Promise” to make “a positive impact in the world.” Some workers make as little as minimum wage — $6.60 an hour — before labor brokers take their own cut off the top for housing, utilities and “dispatch fees” for arranging employment.

Many of the employees, typically on short-term contracts, are working illegally while on provisional release from immigration detention centers.

From Reuters:

Asked how people on provisional release were supposed to survive if they were barred from working, Hidetoshi Ogawa, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said they should rely on support from their relatives, friends and local charities. He said provisional release was a humanitarian measure to avoid long-term detention, “but in truth, these people should leave the country.”

The terms of employment, conditions of work, and treatment of the workers is fully detailed in the report and not what you’d expect from a supposed First World country like Japan.

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Ford Posts $1.9B Second Quarter Profit, Largest Since 2000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126521 Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News. The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for […]

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2015 Ford F-150

Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News.

The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for more money and offering fewer incentives, despite recent reports of F-150 incentives topping nearly $11,000 in some places.

Ford said revenues in North America surged 10 percent, which helped the company beat Wall Street’s expectations.

The 10-percent gain in revenue in North America is despite Ford’s slower-than-average sales compared to the overall industry average. Automotive News reported that the automaker achieved a 1.7-percent increase in sales for the second quarter compared to the industry average of 3.3 percent.

A slowdown in production of the F-150 is partially to blame for the sales shortfall. Building the redesigned F-150 at both of Ford’s plants has gone slower than normal, the automaker said, and inventory levels should return to normal in September.

The automaker said it increased its global market share one-tenth of a percent to 7.6 percent. Twelve of its 16 planned global launches have happened already this year, and Ford said the rest were on track. The company said it was still on track for an end-of-year, pre-tax profit of between $8.5 billion and $9.5 billion.

Ford posted a net loss in South American, European, Middle Eastern and African markets, but posted a $33 million gain in the Asia Pacific region, a 20-percent improvement over last year.

Ford Credit posed a $506 million pre-tax profit for the second quarter, a 17-percent gain.

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GM to Develop Global Car with China-based SAIC Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126489 General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday. The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement. The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker […]

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General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement.

The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker expects the line to eventually produce roughly 2 million cars annually.

GM said the new global architecture would replace several existing models, but didn’t specify what those outgoing models would be. The vehicles would be manufactured in China, Brazil, Mexico and India and exported to other countries. GM said they expect to source many of the car’s components from local suppliers.

“With a significant majority of anticipated automotive industry growth in 2015 to 2030 outside of mature markets, Chevrolet is taking steps to capitalize on that growth,” General Motors President Dan Ammann said in the statement . “Strengthening Chevrolet’s position through this major investment is consistent with our global strategy to ensure long-term profitable growth in the markets where we operate.”

In February, SAIC and General Motors (through its Shanghai General Motors Wuling joint venture business) opened a plant in Indonesia to build SAIC-branded cars. SAIC also owns British car company MG.

The GM-SAIC partnership has an interesting history, especially in India.

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Honda Lifts Cover Off Updated Accord, Now With Apple CarPlay http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-lifts-cover-off-updated-accord-now-apple-carplay/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125041 Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord. The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims. The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines. In addition […]

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2016 Honda Accord

Honda unveiled its refreshed mid-sized sedan on Thursday, complete with facelift and available 19-inch wheels on the Acura Accord.

The new car also sports updated technology, including Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto systems and a 7-inch touchscreen on EX and higher trims.

The Accord will continue to use its 2.4-liter four and 3.6-liter V-6 engines.

In addition to the new nose and updated technology, Honda says its signature sedan will offer a suite of safety features including frontal collision warning and collision mitigation braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning and a hint of correction.

According to our own Tim Cain, sales of the Accord have remained relatively steady since the ninth-generation Accord went on sale in 2013. Honda quietly killed the plug-in hybrid Accord this year, which is statistically just as rare as a Porsche 918 Spyder.

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Lexus Expands IS Engine Lineup to Include Smaller, Turbo Four http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/lexus-expands-engine-lineup-include-smaller-turbo-four/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/lexus-expands-engine-lineup-include-smaller-turbo-four/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 20:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124921 Lexus will offer for the first time in the United States a four-cylinder IS, the automaker announced Friday. The compact luxury car will sport a variety of engines starting with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder borrowed from the NX200t, and two variations of its 3.5-liter V-6 that it currently offers. The smaller mill in the IS200t […]

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Lexus will offer for the first time in the United States a four-cylinder IS, the automaker announced Friday.

The compact luxury car will sport a variety of engines starting with a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder borrowed from the NX200t, and two variations of its 3.5-liter V-6 that it currently offers.

The smaller mill in the IS200t will produce 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, according to the automaker, and will only be offered with rear-wheel drive.

Lexus said it would offer a version of its existing 3.5-liter V-6 in an all-wheel drive IS300, detuned from its current 306 horsepower. The revised engine will produce 255 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.

The IS350 will be rear- or all-wheel drive and continue to sport the 3.5-liter V-6.

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Fiat Chrysler Chief in Asia Quickly Quits http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-chief-asia-quickly-quits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-chief-asia-quickly-quits/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124609 The head of the Asia Pacific region for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles abruptly left his position Thursday, only a few days before the former head of FCA in Australia is expected to file a defense against allegations that he misused money, Drive in Australia is reporting. FCA Asian-Pacific chief John Kett left the company “to pursue other […]

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John KettThe head of the Asia Pacific region for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles abruptly left his position Thursday, only a few days before the former head of FCA in Australia is expected to file a defense against allegations that he misused money, Drive in Australia is reporting.

FCA Asian-Pacific chief John Kett left the company “to pursue other business interests,” according to the automaker. His resignation is effective immediately.

Former managing director of FCA in Australia Clyde Campbell is accused by the automaker of swindling more than $30 million from the company to pay for extravagant parties and gifts. 

It’s unclear if Kett’s departure has any connection with Campbell’s expected defense that he misused money.

Jeep CEO and Asian Pacific chief operating officer Mike Manley will assume Kett’s duties on an interim basis, the company said.

Campbell is accused of providing cars to celebrities such as Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne, in addition to hosting lavish parties and buying a $400,000 yacht with company money.

Kett has a long automotive career stretching back to the 1980s when he was CFO for Holden in Australia. After assuming various roles with GM in China and Australia, Kett was hired by Chrysler in 2008 and promoted to his role in 2009.

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Hyundai May Bring Subcompact Crossover, but It Won’t Be Creta http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/hyundai-may-bring-subcompact-crossover-wont-creta/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124249 Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting. The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. […]

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Hyundai is looking to jump into the subcompact crossover fold in the States with the Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax and everyone else, but it won’t be with the Creta, Edmunds is reporting.

The Creta recently went on sale in India, but executives in America told Edmunds that it wasn’t the right fit for U.S. buyers.

“We have decided to wait a little bit longer to get the right vehicle,” said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America.

The Creta would enter an already crowded field of subcompact crossovers that’s getting more crowded every day. Already the HR-V, Trax and Juke duke it out with the Jeep Renegade and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with the Mazda CX-3 on its way this year. (EcoSport, Ford?)

According to Zuchowski, the Creta was too conservative for the segment and too closely resembled a smaller version of the Santa Fe.

“In our opinion, as we go into this segment, it is a great segment for Millennials, for Gen Y. It is a good youth vehicle and we think in order to tap that market, the thing should be styled less conservatively and more aggressively,” he said.

Last month, Hyundai released a rendering of the Creta that would have fit the “aggressive” bill, but as always many features didn’t make it into the production version.

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Magna Completes $1.9B Acquisition of Transmission-maker Getrag http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/magna-completes-1-9b-acquisition-transmission-maker-getrag/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/magna-completes-1-9b-acquisition-transmission-maker-getrag/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 17:05:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118633 Supplier and sometimes-assembler Magna International will buy German transmission-maker Getrag for roughly $1.9 billion, the Detroit News is reporting. The deal would firmly plant Canadian-based Magna International as the world’s second-largest parts supplier behind Robert Bosch GmbH and ahead of ZF, which recently purchased TRW Automotive for $12.4 billion earlier this year. “The trend among the […]

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Getrag

Supplier and sometimes-assembler Magna International will buy German transmission-maker Getrag for roughly $1.9 billion, the Detroit News is reporting.

The deal would firmly plant Canadian-based Magna International as the world’s second-largest parts supplier behind Robert Bosch GmbH and ahead of ZF, which recently purchased TRW Automotive for $12.4 billion earlier this year.

“The trend among the suppliers is that we now have to be bigger as the auto makers go to us to do more for them,” Magna Chief Executive Don Walker told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.

Magna is well-known for their Austrian subsidiary, Manga Steyr, which assembles cars for BMW including X5 and 5-Series, and will produce vehicles for Jaguar Land Rover.

Getrag produces transmissions for Ford, BMW, Renault, Volvo and Daimler. In addition to its significant contracts with those automakers, Getrag has a substantial business footprint in China that Magna needed, according to the Detroit News. In addition to being the largest automotive market in the world, China is the fastest growing market for dual-clutch transmissions, which Getrag produces.

The acquisition is the latest in a flurry of auto-supplier mergers and purchases. It’s the sixth major deal this year for auto parts suppliers.

Getrag produces about 4 million transmissions annually and employs about 13,500 people in Europe, Asia and North America. Magna generated about $36.3 billion in sales last year and employs around 133,000 people in 29 countries.

Walker told the Detroit News that the company would consider more acquisitions in the near future.

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Mazda Says 2016 CX-3 Will Start Under $20,000 (Kinda) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118137 The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday. That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment. Like the […]

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The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday.

That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment.

Like the rest of its competition, it’s not hard to hike the CX-3’s final price up in a hurry.

The base price gets Mazda’s 2.0-liter inline four and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard on all models will be a rear-view camera, 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth push button starter and power windows and doors. All-wheel drive can be added for $1,250.

The middle-of-the-range CX-3 Touring (with heated seats, leather wrapped wheel, blind-spot monitoring, et al.) runs $22,840. The top-of-the-line CX-3 Grand Touring (navigation, moon roof, leather, Bose sound, etc.) comes in at $25,870. And presumably, the most you could pay for a CX-3 coming from the factory would be a Grand Touring CX-3 with all-wheel drive and Mazda’s optional safety package would be $29,040.

If you need any further proof the segment is ultra competitive and willing to cut to the very bone for the best price on a headline, consider that you can still buy a Jeep Renegade without air conditioning and 16-inch steel wheels for $18,880.

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Honda Has Alarmingly Few Female Managers in Japan, and They Know It http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-alarmingly-female-managers-japan-know/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-alarmingly-female-managers-japan-know/#comments Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114881 Last month, Honda released its annual Sustainability Report outlining the company’s position and direction under its new CEO Takahiro Hachigo. Outlined on Page 73 of its 104-page report, Honda admits its number of female managers in Japan is quite low. Well, actually 0.5-percent low. Even compared to other regions where Honda does business, the number of […]

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Auto Worker at Japanese Honda Factory

Last month, Honda released its annual Sustainability Report outlining the company’s position and direction under its new CEO Takahiro Hachigo.

Outlined on Page 73 of its 104-page report, Honda admits its number of female managers in Japan is quite low.

Well, actually 0.5-percent low.

Even compared to other regions where Honda does business, the number of female managers in Japan is quite low. According to the report, 12.4 percent of managers in Honda’s Asia/Oceania region and 17.5 percent of managers in the North America region are female.

Compared to other automakers, the number of female managers at Honda isn’t much better. Nissan reported that 8.2 percent of its managers in Japan are female, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported that 13.1 percent of its worldwide managers are female.

Matt Slouster, a spokesman for American Honda outlined a few steps by Honda in Japan:

“Increasing female representation in management positions is among Honda’s
top priorities. In Japan, Honda Motor Co. has assigned full-time staff to
the newly formed Diversity Promotion Office (DPO) to provide direct support
to female associates and accelerate their advancement within the company.
Moreover, the DPO has implemented new programs to support associates who
are managing their careers while starting families and raising children.
As part of its ongoing responsibilities, the DPO will work continuously to
ensure equal opportunity for women throughout the organization.”

The problem isn’t Honda’s alone, however. In 2011, only 4.5 percent of division heads in Japan were women, according to a regional study. Less than 1 percent of senior-level, executive managers in Japan were women. That’s compared to 9 percent in China and 15 percent in Singapore.

A 2014 story by The Economist details the struggles women in Japan are working to overcome. According to the report, 70 percent of women stop working for a decade or more after having children, compared to just about 30 percent in America. Of the women who work, many don’t work full-time or in permanent positions. In 2012, about 77 percent of Japan’s part-time and temporary workforce were women, the story reports.

It’s a widespread problem Japan has faced for decades and one that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has specifically targeted to help revitalize the country’s aging and shrinking workforce — and even that may not help.

By 2020, Abe said women should occupy roughly 30 percent of “leadership” positions in Japan — government and business. Honda has a ways to go.

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American Honda Boss Knows, But Tight-Lipped, About ‘Baby NSX’ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/american-honda-boss-knows-baby-nsx-car-isnt-talking/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/american-honda-boss-knows-baby-nsx-car-isnt-talking/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 17:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115137 American Honda CEO John Mendel says he could tell us about the “baby NSX” that popped up in a patent filing, but that would probably get him fired, AutoGuide is reporting. Whatever the patent filing is — whether it’s a smaller NSX, perpetual prototype or a late-night CAD fantasy — it could find a home in Honda’s lineup […]

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American Honda CEO John Mendel says he could tell us about the “baby NSX” that popped up in a patent filing, but that would probably get him fired, AutoGuide is reporting.

Whatever the patent filing is — whether it’s a smaller NSX, perpetual prototype or a late-night CAD fantasy — it could find a home in Honda’s lineup that’s decidedly missing a sports car.

When asked if there’s room for a driver’s car, Mendel responded: “Absolutely there is.”

Details on the renderings released last month are incredibly murky. The smaller car wouldn’t likely get the NSX’s twin-turbocharged V6 with three electric motors to help propel it, but it could get some assist from electrons. Honda engineers were feverishly testing electric powertrains at Pikes Peak this year, including an all-electric CR-Z in the exhibition category.

The Civic Si is the automaker’s lone performance car in the U.S. The 305-horsepower Civic Type R is destined for U.S. shores, but it’s unclear when that will happen.

Production of the two-seater S2000 ended in 2009. Production of the CR-Z continues.

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2016 F1 Calendar Brings Back Germany, Adds Azerbaijan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2016-f1-calendar-brings-back-germany-adds-azerbaijan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/2016-f1-calendar-brings-back-germany-adds-azerbaijan/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 16:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113417 Next year’s Formula 1 season may have 21 races, including the first in Azerbaijan and a race in Germany after this year’s planned event was cancelled. The provisional calendar for F1 was released Friday with 21 races scheduled, the same number of races on last year’s provisional calendar. The race on the streets in Baku, Azerbaijan this year […]

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Next year’s Formula 1 season may have 21 races, including the first in Azerbaijan and a race in Germany after this year’s planned event was cancelled.

The provisional calendar for F1 was released Friday with 21 races scheduled, the same number of races on last year’s provisional calendar. The race on the streets in Baku, Azerbaijan this year would be dubbed the European Grand Prix and could be held in July.

The 2016 season would begin in Australia in April and end in Abu Dhabi in November.

The German Grand Prix, which was slated for the Nurburgring this year before it was cancelled due to financial issues, may be held at Hockenheim next year, according to SkySports.

Other changes on the 2016 F1 calendar include moving the Russian Grand Prix from October to May, and moving the Malaysian Grand Prix from April to September.

Last year, the provisional calendar included 21 races, including a Korean Grand Prix that was eventually dropped from the calendar. Mexico was added to be the 20th race this year before the German GP was dropped. F1 has only held a 20-race season once, which was in 2012.

The provisional 2016 calendar effectively eliminates the summer break for F1 teams. The largest gap between two races next year is only two weeks, with three back-to-back races in Asia, North America and Indonesia-Malaysia.

The provisional calendar was part of a larger set of changes F1’s governing body made to the sport this week. The FIA released a new set of rules simplifying how teams serve penalties, according to the BBC. Teams will move to the back of the grid for power-unit penalties, rather than a complicated system of grid penalties and time penalties based on position.

McLaren-Honda will also be allowed to use an additional complete power unit this year after the FIA relaxed rules for first-year engine suppliers. The rule will retroactively apply to McLaren-Honda this season.

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Nissan May Be Ending Rogue Select Sales in U.S. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-may-ending-rogue-select-sales-u-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-may-ending-rogue-select-sales-u-s/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 20:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113041 Nissan announced yesterday that the current-generation Rogue would be concurrently produced for U.S. sales in Japan, Korea and the automaker’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant, which had us wondering: What about the Rogue Select? According to a Nissan spokesman, the Rogue Select (which is essentially the last-generation Rogue) won’t be built alongside the current-generation Rogue in Japan, […]

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2014 Nissan Rogue Select

Nissan announced yesterday that the current-generation Rogue would be concurrently produced for U.S. sales in Japan, Korea and the automaker’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant, which had us wondering: What about the Rogue Select?

According to a Nissan spokesman, the Rogue Select (which is essentially the last-generation Rogue) won’t be built alongside the current-generation Rogue in Japan, which may spell the end of the Select model in the states.

It’s unclear how many Rogue Selects Nissan sells in the U.S. Nissan doesn’t differentiate in its sales data between the two Rogue models. Last year, Cars.com reported that as much as 43 percent of new Rogues on dealer lots were Rogue Selects.

Nissan sells the 2015 Rogue Select for $2,990 less than 2015 Rogue.

A Nissan spokesman didn’t specify how many Rogues on sale in the U.S. would be built in Japan, Korea or the U.S.

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Nissan Can’t Build Rogues Fast Enough in Tennessee, Apparently http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-cant-build-rogues-fast-enough-tennessee-apparently/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-cant-build-rogues-fast-enough-tennessee-apparently/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 19:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112241 Nissan announced today they’ll expand production of the current-generation Nissan Rogue to its Japanese plant and import those cars into the U.S. Nissan’s Kyushu plant produces a version of the Rogue already on sale in the U.S., called Rogue Select. It’s unclear if the current-generation Rogue and last-generation Rogue will be produced side-by-side or if […]

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2014-nissan-rogue-14

Nissan announced today they’ll expand production of the current-generation Nissan Rogue to its Japanese plant and import those cars into the U.S.

Nissan’s Kyushu plant produces a version of the Rogue already on sale in the U.S., called Rogue Select. It’s unclear if the current-generation Rogue and last-generation Rogue will be produced side-by-side or if Nissan will discontinue selling the Rogue Select.

U.S.-sold Rogues are sourced from Nissan’s Symrna, Tennessee plant and Busan, Korea.

In April, the Rogue became America’s second-favorite compact crossover behind the Honda CR-V, and helped fuel a sales surge for the automaker.

Year-over-year sales jumped 41 percent in March, and Nissan reported January to June sales of the CUV were up 36 percent from the same period last year.

Selling two generations of a car made in three different countries may not be enough. June sales for the Rogue were up 54.3 percent over last year, the automaker reported.

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Mazda App Will Start Your Car, Lock Your Doors, Improve Life http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-app-will-start-car-lock-doors-improve-life/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-app-will-start-car-lock-doors-improve-life/#comments Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112049 Mazda announced today a dealer-installed option that’ll let owners start their car, lock their doors and annoy everyone in the neighborhood via panic alarm. The app, which is free for the first year and $65 annually after, will be called Mazda Mobile Start. The suggested retail price is $500 for the option, but allegedly official kits […]

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Mazda Mobile Start

Mazda announced today a dealer-installed option that’ll let owners start their car, lock their doors and annoy everyone in the neighborhood via panic alarm.

The app, which is free for the first year and $65 annually after, will be called Mazda Mobile Start. The suggested retail price is $500 for the option, but allegedly official kits are selling on Ebay for $419.50.

The remote start will run for 30 minutes to warm up or cool down your car, according to Mazda. The system runs via GPS, but it’s unclear if navigation is a required option on the car. We reached out to Mazda to ask if the system could remotely stop an engine, but haven’t yet received a response.

In addition to remote start, panic and locking, Mazda is also offering a GPS locating system to help frequent flyers find cars in massive, crowded airport parking lots.

The app is available for most major smartphones, which basically means any phone not made by Blackberry.

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Police Releasing Former Toyota Executive Jailed for Pain Pills http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/police-releasing-former-toyota-executive-jailed-pain-pills/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/police-releasing-former-toyota-executive-jailed-pain-pills/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 18:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1109025 Former Toyota communications chief Julie Hamp will be released from jail Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News (via Kyodo News). Hamp was jailed June 18 for allegedly mailing herself 57 Oxycodone pills, which are illegal in Japan. She resigned her position with Toyota on June 30 as one of the global automaker’s highest-ranking female executives. The reason for […]

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Julie HampFormer Toyota communications chief Julie Hamp will be released from jail Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News (via Kyodo News).

Hamp was jailed June 18 for allegedly mailing herself 57 Oxycodone pills, which are illegal in Japan. She resigned her position with Toyota on June 30 as one of the global automaker’s highest-ranking female executives.

The reason for Hamp’s release is unclear. Bloomberg reported that prosecutors in Japan didn’t have enough evidence to indict Hamp on the charges. Kyodo News (via translator) reported prosecutors determined Hamp’s actions weren’t malicious and her resignation may have been enough punishment.

According to Kyodo News, police can’t hold Hamp longer than Wednesday without pressing charges.

On the day of her arrest, Hamp was named to PR Week’s “Power List” as a top communications executive. Before working at Toyota, Hamp worked at General Motors and Pepsi. She was promoted to her position on March 4.

According to a Bloomberg report, Hamp may be questioned up to 6 hours every day during her detention. Police in Japan can detain suspects for up to 23 days without formally charging them with any crime. If Hamp were charged and convicted, she could have faced 2 1/2 years in prison with two years suspended.

Japan is famously strict on prescription medications. The U.S. Embassy in Japan warns visitors to leave over-the-counter medication, such as allergy medicine and even asthma inhalers, at home. Common U.S. drugs such as Prozac or Viagra are sold on the black market in Japan and can carry jail sentences if purchased illegally, the embassy warns.

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With New Honda CEO, Possible FCA Partnership? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-honda-ceo-possible-fca-partnership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-honda-ceo-possible-fca-partnership/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 17:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1109249 New Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo told media Monday that the automaker wouldn’t aim for a specific global sales figure to drive growth and would be open to partnerships with other automakers, Automotive News reported. The speech also emphasized sharing global manufacturing resources within Honda’s six regional divisions and to create “challenging products.” (Which may or may […]

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Photo courtesy Honda

New Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo told media Monday that the automaker wouldn’t aim for a specific global sales figure to drive growth and would be open to partnerships with other automakers, Automotive News reported.

The speech also emphasized sharing global manufacturing resources within Honda’s six regional divisions and to create “challenging products.” (Which may or may not — probably not — mean “Challenger.”)

The speech was Hachigo’s first public address since taking the reins of Honda last month. In a sustainability report released in June, Hachigo signaled that the Japanese automaker would adopt English as its official language by 2020.

The news yesterday is particularly interesting as speculation ramps up around FCA and Sergio Marchionne’s plan for consolidation with General Motors. Any alliance with Honda could help FCA gain a sales foothold in Japan and could revitalize FCA’s hybrid program. In turn, Honda could capitalize on FCA’s European market share and network.

In the speech, Hachigo outlined several different initiatives Honda will undertake in the next few years, which include building a smaller, turbocharged Civic and other production efficiencies. For example, the CR-V, which is produced in Canada, will be exported worldwide. Civics produced in England will be shipped to Japan, and Japanese-built Fits will be sent to the U.S. In addition to those announcements, Hachigo said Honda will begin building Accords in Nigeria for African markets. More than 80 percent of Honda’s car building is outside Japan.

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Honda Making English Its Official Language by 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-making-english-official-language-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-making-english-official-language-2020/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107121 In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report. Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese […]

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Takanobu Ito

In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report.

Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese company. According to Automotive News, five years ago then-boss Takanobu Ito said — possibly in Japanese — that making English the official language of Honda was “stupid.” Five years from now, presumably all of Honda’s workforce, which includes more than 200,000 people — nearly three-quarters of it outside of North America — will be speaking the language.

Honda’s official stance on English isn’t wholly surprising, or new.

According to a report by The Economist in February 2014, Honda was keen on adopting “Corporate English” throughout the company and following suit with many other global manufacturers. Chinese tech giant Lenovo made English its lingua franca. Same goes for Nokia, Renault and Samsung.

Only one quarter of Honda’s workforce is in North America, but accounted for nearly one third of its new hires for 2015. Honda’s move to English is emblematic of its reality: 40 percent of Honda’s sales are in North America and 81 percent of its vehicles are assembled outside of Japan.

Included in the report is an outlook for the future of Honda’s manufacturing in North America.

The U.S. will add more than 3.4 million manufacturing jobs in the next 10 years, the report states, but will have only 1.4 million people to fill those jobs. Honda says they will implement a program in Ohio — where Honda builds cars — to teach middle- and high-school students how to fill those jobs with video games, or by directly funding STEM programs in some schools.

There’s been no word on whether Buick will be making the switch to Mandarin.

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Julie Hamp No. 10 in PR Week’s “Power List”, No. 1 in Badly Timed Awards http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ex-top-toyota-pr-rep-no-10-pr-list-no-1-badly-timed-awards/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ex-top-toyota-pr-rep-no-10-pr-list-no-1-badly-timed-awards/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107009 Resigned Toyota PR chief Julie Hamp was named to PR Week’s “Power List” two weeks after being busted for allegedly importing illegal prescription painkillers into Japan last month. Hamp allegedly received 57 pills of Oxycodone in a box labeled “necklaces” at Narita Airport in Tokyo. The list, which ranks her No. 10, was released the same day Hamp resigned her position […]

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Julie Hamp Not In BlackResigned Toyota PR chief Julie Hamp was named to PR Week’s “Power List” two weeks after being busted for allegedly importing illegal prescription painkillers into Japan last month. Hamp allegedly received 57 pills of Oxycodone in a box labeled “necklaces” at Narita Airport in Tokyo.

The list, which ranks her No. 10, was released the same day Hamp resigned her position and included an editor’s note at the top explaining the awkward timing.

The author of Hamp’s listing, Senior Vice President of Global Communications for General Motors Tony Cervone, noted Hamp’s ascendance as a woman in a field typically dominated by men:

“Julie understands the need for consistency, but allows it to be expressed naturally and authentically, with special sensitivity to cultural nuances. She understands discipline, but doesn’t drive bureaucracy. In short, Julie provides a great balance. And she fully deserves to be “the first” in so many ways.”

Hamp is reportedly in jail awaiting charges in Japan. According to the Wall Street Journal, her trial in Japan could last anywhere from six months to a year, if it even goes that far.

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Jeep Points to Map of India, Says Let’s Print More Money Here http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/jeep-points-to-map-of-india-says-lets-print-more-money-here/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/jeep-points-to-map-of-india-says-lets-print-more-money-here/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1104881 More and more automakers are looking at exotic locales to produce their wares (us Canadians can consider Mexico exotic thanks to its ice-free beaches) as they expand their brands and explore in-roads to untapped markets. For Jeep, that means investing in a shared money-printing press with an unlikely partner: Tata, the parent company of Land Rover. FCA […]

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2015 Jeep Renegade

More and more automakers are looking at exotic locales to produce their wares (us Canadians can consider Mexico exotic thanks to its ice-free beaches) as they expand their brands and explore in-roads to untapped markets.

For Jeep, that means investing in a shared money-printing press with an unlikely partner: Tata, the parent company of Land Rover. FCA will put $280 million USD into joint venture Fiat India Automobiles Private Limited which, since 2007, has solely produced Fiat models.

The investment will “support the production of a new Jeep vehicle and is expected to begin production in the second quarter of 2017,” according to statement released today by FCA. Jeep did not give further details on the new model.

With Sergio Marchionne’s hunger for consolidation, this could be seen as a sign of interest in a more formal arrangement between FCA and India’s Tata, especially when you consider the FCA executive’s desire for a Range Rover-esque model.

“We are pleased that this investment will strengthen FCA presence in India and are confident in the ability of the joint venture to produce world class products like those carrying the legendary Jeep nameplate,” Marchionne said.

This announcement is part of a wider expansion by Jeep into new markets. From The Detroit News:

FCA plans to produce 1.9 million Jeeps by 2018 at 10 plants in six countries: the U.S., Italy, China, Brazil, India and one other yet-to-be-announced country. Two years ago, only 798,000 rolled out of four plants in the United States.

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Mahindra-Pininfarina Deal Rejected By Creditors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mahindra-pininfarina-deal-rejected-by-creditors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mahindra-pininfarina-deal-rejected-by-creditors/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102857 Mahindra’s attempt to buy Italian design firm Pininfarina collapsed over the weekend due to opposition by the latter’s creditors. According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, three or four banks holding Pininfarina’s €87 million ($97 million USD) debt rejected a deal by the Indian company to buy the design house with the idea of writing off […]

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Mahindra XUV 500 W6 2013

Mahindra’s attempt to buy Italian design firm Pininfarina collapsed over the weekend due to opposition by the latter’s creditors.

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, three or four banks holding Pininfarina’s €87 million ($97 million USD) debt rejected a deal by the Indian company to buy the design house with the idea of writing off half of said debt, Reuters reports; Mahindra and Pininfarina had worked on SUVs and concepts in the past. Pininfarina will now seek a new debt restructuring agreement.

Had Mahindra’s deal been approved, the company would be the latest to acquire ownership of an Italian company in a series of foreign takeovers, such as ChemChina’s purchase of tire manufacturer Pirelli earlier this year, amid Italy sorting itself and its economy out.

(Photo credit: RL GNZLZ/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Suzuki CEO Appoints Toshihiro Suzuki To President, COO Roles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/suzuki-ceo-appoints-toshihiro-suzuki-to-president-coo-roles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/suzuki-ceo-appoints-toshihiro-suzuki-to-president-coo-roles/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102817 Suzuki chairman and CEO Osamu Suzuki announced Tuesday the appointment of his son and likely successor, Toshihiro Suzuki, to the role of president. Toshihiro’s appointment is part of Osamu’s plan of bringing aboard a younger management team over the next five years to guide the company, Automotive News reports, with Osamu overseeing the changeover: We […]

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Osamu and Toshihiro Suzuki

Suzuki chairman and CEO Osamu Suzuki announced Tuesday the appointment of his son and likely successor, Toshihiro Suzuki, to the role of president.

Toshihiro’s appointment is part of Osamu’s plan of bringing aboard a younger management team over the next five years to guide the company, Automotive News reports, with Osamu overseeing the changeover:

We thought we needed to rejuvenate ourselves, and in that case it would be best if I left first. But I am so full of conceit that I cannot do that.

Osamu took on the mantle of president and chief operations officer following Hiroshi Tsuda’ 2008 resignation over poor health. His son, who observers see as his successor since the 2007 passing of son-in-law Hirotaka Ono, will take the mantle July 1.

Toshihiro headed the company’s Iwata factory west of Tokyo and managed mini and compact car production at Kosai early in his career, after which he acted as the company’s liaison at General Motors beginning in 2001. There, he helped facilitate exchanges of technology between the two companies, including those surrounding a jointly developed FCV. GM would divest itself of its 20 percent of Suzuki by 2008, a decade after first agreeing to a joint venture with the company.

Whether Toshihiro or another ultimately takes the helm of Suzuki, Osamu’s successor will have much to carry upon their shoulders, such as defending its stronghold in India while pursuing newer markets, and acquiring financing via new partnerships for new, greener powertrain technologies. They will also have the burden of handling the fallout from the dissolution of the company’s partnership with Volkswagen; the case recently finished arbitration, with both parties awaiting a ruling.

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Volkswagen Introducing ‘Budget-Car Family’ By 2018 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-introducing-budget-car-family-by-2018/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/volkswagen-introducing-budget-car-family-by-2018/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1101537 Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more. CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” […]

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Volkswagen Beetles in Paphos Circa March 2015

Once upon a time, Volkswagen lived up to its name by providing a low-cost car for the people. Now, the automaker has plans to do so once more.

CEO Martin Winterkorn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag Sunday his company would bring “a budget-car family to market in 2018, with an SUV, saloon and hatchback,” Reuters reports. Winterkorn added the cars — to cost between €8,000 and €11,000 ($8,932 and $12,225 USD) — would be assembled in China; the original target was between €6,000 and €8,000 ($6,670 and $8,932).

Though the low-cost vehicles are aimed for markets in Southeast Asia, Winterkorn says his company would determine “if this is something of interest for other markets as well.” Whether North America is among them, only he and his senior execs know for certain.

(Photo credit: Chris Parker/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Takata’s Shigehisa Takada Sees Dramatic Pay Cut For 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takatas-shigehisa-takada-sees-dramatic-pay-cut-for-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/takatas-shigehisa-takada-sees-dramatic-pay-cut-for-2014/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100577 While some Japanese CEOs are doing well for themselves in compensation, Takata’s Shigehisa Takada took a dramatic cut in pay for 2014. Shown Friday, the supplier’s regulatory filing found Takada took home less than ¥100 million ($810,373 USD) in 2014, Reuters notes. The figure pales to his compensation during FY 2013, when he was given […]

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Shigehisa-Takada-circa-June-2015

While some Japanese CEOs are doing well for themselves in compensation, Takata’s Shigehisa Takada took a dramatic cut in pay for 2014.

Shown Friday, the supplier’s regulatory filing found Takada took home less than ¥100 million ($810,373 USD) in 2014, Reuters notes. The figure pales to his compensation during FY 2013, when he was given ¥206 million ($1.67 million).

The exact amount paid in FY 2014 wasn’t disclosed, however; the Japanese government only requires full disclosure of compensation above ¥100 million.

Takada’s pay cut — and those of Takata’s other five directors — is in part over the failings over the handling of the airbag recall crisis affecting several million vehicles and 10 automakers. Takada issued an apology over the matter Thursday following the company’s annual shareholders meeting, and said he and the directors would give back part of their pay as a result.

Per a representative, Takada would see a reduction of 25 percent for the year ending this March, while the five directors would give back 20 percent of their compensation.

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Julie Hamp Could Face Criminal Intent Charges Over Controlled Drug Importation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/julie-hamp-could-face-criminal-intent-charges-over-controlled-drug-importation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/julie-hamp-could-face-criminal-intent-charges-over-controlled-drug-importation/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:15:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1100065 Toyota PR exec Julie Hamp isn’t having the best time in Japan right now, and the situation could worsen thanks to the nation’s strict drug importation laws. As explained by Jalopnik‘s Kat Callahan, Japan requires users of any controlled substance brought into the nation to walk in a limited amount of the prescribed meds before […]

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Julie Hamp Not In BlackToyota PR exec Julie Hamp isn’t having the best time in Japan right now, and the situation could worsen thanks to the nation’s strict drug importation laws.

As explained by Jalopnik‘s Kat Callahan, Japan requires users of any controlled substance brought into the nation to walk in a limited amount of the prescribed meds before customs, declare the drugs, and present a doctor’s note translated into Japanese before they can be allowed into one’s medicine cabinet. Otherwise, narcotics like the Oxycodone brought in by Hamp are verboten, and cannot even be sold by or found in a pharmacy in Japan; they can’t also be mailed.

Non-controlled drugs, meanwhile, don’t need a translated note, but must now be walked in and declared, and only a one-month supply is allowed to enter the country.

While Hamp could attempt to plead ignorance on the laws of the land, her case would need to depend on her not hiding the Oxycodone in a box marked “Necklaces” among a ton of toy necklaces, and thus, avoiding customs declarations in so doing. Unfortunately, this is the scenario which played out, giving prosecutors the ability to declare criminal intent on the part of Hamp; it’s also why Toyota’s HQ was raided by police a few days ago.

Should the criminal intent charge stick, Hamp would be in prison for a long time before finally given the boot out of the country for the rest of her life.

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