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, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. 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/ Japanese Government To Push FCVs Via $20k Subsidy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/japanese-government-to-push-fcvs-via-20k-subsidy/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872802 Toyota_FCV_featured

With Toyota ready to make big moves with its 2015 FCV, the Japanese government is ready with their own big move: $20,000 USD in incentives.

Autoblog Green reports the government will offer buyers of the hydrogen-powered sedan $20,000 in subsidies, which may bring down the reported $69,000 MSRP down to $49,000; EV subsidies in Japan max out at $8,500 per vehicle for comparison.

Meanwhile, the FCV will likely sell for $50,000 in the United States when it leaves the container ships next summer, and will be joined by Honda’s own FCV — name to be determined later — sometime in 2015.

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Galhotra Takes The Reins As Lincoln’s New President http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/galhotra-takes-the-reins-as-lincolns-new-president/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/galhotra-takes-the-reins-as-lincolns-new-president/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871938 ashwani-kumar-galhotra.img.1375822969106

As one of his first major moves since becoming CEO, Ford’s Mark Fields named vice president of engineering Kumar Galhotra as president of Lincoln, effective September 1.

Automotive News reports Galhotra, who will report directly to the new CEO, will be the premium brand’s first president since Al Giombetti left the post in 2007. The move will also reduce executive vice president of global sales, service and marketing Jim Farley’s role with Lincoln, which will be focused on marketing the brand once Galhotra takes over.

The new president — an engineer and product executive who has worked with Lincoln, Ford and Mazda in the past — will bring his marketing experience to the table as Lincoln prepares to launch in China later in 2014; he headed Ford’s Asia Pacific division from 2009 to 2013, and helped bring about the new Ranger pickup to market.

Speaking of the division, engineering director Jim Holland will move from there to replace Galhotra as Ford’s vice president of engineering, reporting to global product development chief Raj Nair.

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Tata To Enter Global Passenger Market With Help Of Jaguar Land Rover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tata-to-enter-global-passenger-market-with-help-of-jaguar-land-rover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/tata-to-enter-global-passenger-market-with-help-of-jaguar-land-rover/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=871890 Tata-Xenon-11

Having done well with Jaguar Land Rover in its portfolio, Tata Motors is now turning to its premium subsidiary for its own foray into passenger cars and SUVs.

Drive.com.au reports the parent company is using the technical and design know-how JLR to begin growing its passenger vehicle line in Australia and beyond, though Darren Bowler, managing director of importer Fusion Automotive, assures that no badge engineering would occur between the two brands.

What would be shared, according to Bowler, would be platforms and engines, such as the global platform underpinning the upcoming Nexon SUV that could “be used as an Evoque… a Tata, [or] a Jaguar,” as well as the Ingenium family of four-cylinder engines that will soon turn up under the bonnet of many a JLR product.

In the meantime, Tata Australia plans to tackle the medium- and heavy-duty markets with the Ultra and Prima, both joining the light-duty Xenon.

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Ghosn Presents 2020 Autonomous Drive Roadmap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ghosn-presents-2020-autonomous-drive-roadmap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ghosn-presents-2020-autonomous-drive-roadmap/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869314 Carlos-Ghosn-5112012-10

Before the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan Thursday, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn issued a roadmap outlining the automaker’s path toward the first autonomous vehicles in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal reports the following steps Renault-Nissan will take towards its 2020 Autonomous Drive target:

  • 2016: The automaker will introduce a traffic jam pilot and fully automated parking systems, the former of which would allow vehicles to safely drive their passengers through rush hour and other congestion scenarios.
  • 2018: Vehicles will use multiple lane controls to safely negotiate road hazards and lane changes.
  • 2020: Vehicles will use intersection autonomy to delivery their passengers safely through intersections without the need for driver intervention.

Ghosn emphasized the difference between his company’s approach to autonomy over those like Google, who are pursuing vehicles that drive themselves:

Autonomous Drive is about relieving motorists of everyday tasks, particularly in congested or long-distance situations. The driver remains in control, at the wheel, of a car that is capable of doing more things automatically. Self-driving cars, by comparison, don’t require any human intervention — and remain a long-way from commercial reality. They are suitable only for tightly-controlled road-environments, at slow speeds, and face a regulatory minefield

He concluded that the 2020 roadmap was only the beginning, with further advancements to come on the momentum generated by the plan.

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Fourth-Gen Toyota Prius To Receive AWD, New Battery Packs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fourth-gen-toyota-prius-to-receive-awd-new-battery-packs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fourth-gen-toyota-prius-to-receive-awd-new-battery-packs/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866362 2014 Toyota Prius

Though it may be a while before the fourth-generation Toyota Prius leaves the assembly line, it may be worth the wait as far as batteries and drivetrains are concerned.

Automotive News reports the new hybrid will have two choices for battery power. According to senior managing officer of powertrain development Koei Saga, both a low-cost nickel-metal hydride unit and a larger-capacity lithium ion pack — for longer electric-only range — will help provide power. Though Saga was cagey regarding economy numbers, he claimed that the new packs’ economy would “surprise everyone.”

Meanwhile, the power won’t be directed toward just the front wheels. Saga says there’s a possibility that AWD could be in the cards for the new Prius, which will be underpinned by the company’s Toyota New Global Architecture.

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Last First-Gen Volvo XC90 Rolls Out Of Torslanda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/last-first-gen-volvo-xc90-rolls-out-of-torslanda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/last-first-gen-volvo-xc90-rolls-out-of-torslanda/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866234 Volvo XC90

Monday, the last first-gen Volvo XC90 rolled off the assembly line in Gothenburg, Sweden, where it was then driven to its final resting place as an exhibit in the Volvo Museum next door.

Autoblog reports 636,143 units of the seven-passenger SUV rolled off the assembly line between 2002 and 2014, with Volvo expecting to sell 50,000 annually. Instead, 85,000 left the showroom between 2004 and 2007 before dropping off to 11,000 units by the end of production.

Though the SUV is now a museum piece, the tooling will continue be used in China, where the XC90 will become the China-only XC Classic, joining other long-lived vehicles like the Volkswagen Santana Vista and the Beijing Auto Works Knight S12 (a.k.a., Jeep Cherokee XJ). Meanwhile, the workers in Torslanda will now prepare for the new XC90, set to make its global debut in August prior to production in 2015.

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GM Korea Workers Vote To Strike Amid Stalling Negotiations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/gm-korea-workers-vote-to-strike-amid-stalling-negotiations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/gm-korea-workers-vote-to-strike-amid-stalling-negotiations/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862969 gm-korea-facility

Amid stalling wage and production negotiations between GM Korea and its workers, the latter have voted to strike.

Reuters reports 69 percent of the 14,016-strong workforce voted to put down their tools and walk out for the fourth consecutive year unless a deal is reached between the workers’ union and management over a change in GM Korea’s 60-year-old wage scheme along with a production increase. A representative for the union claimed that “both sides remain committed to reaching a fair and reasonable labour agreement based on mutual trust and understanding,” however.

The demands come on the heels of a 2013 ruling by South Korea’s supreme court proclaiming fixed bonuses should be considered as part of a worker’s base wage. If successful, GM Korea’s workers would see an increase in overtime and severance pay among other statutory benefits, all adjusted accordingly in proportion to base pay.

Meanwhile, the subsidiary’s CEO, Sergio Rocha, warned that if a strike were to occur, the action would threaten both production and job security, and urged his employees to step away from the abyss before all is lost.

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2016 Cadillac SRX May See Local Production In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2016-cadillac-srx-may-see-local-production-in-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2016-cadillac-srx-may-see-local-production-in-china/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862161 01-2013-cadillac-srx-ny

On the strength of rising SUV sales in China, General Motors will likely add production of its next-generation Cadillac SRX in the emerging market in order to better capitalize on said sales.

The Wall Street Journal reports Cadillac as a whole is doing well in China, sales rising 72 percent from January through May 2014 to 33,760 units with the SRX making up the bulk of those sales at 14,496 units, a rise of 23 percent for the crossover in the same five-month period compared to 2013. The current model goes for ¥420,000 ($67,770 USD), and has been on sale in China since 2009.

The new SRX would likely arrive as a 2016 model, with the hope Chinese production would help the automaker avoid tariffs on imported models; the crossover is only assembled in Mexico at the present. GM itself has big plans for its premium brand, including a $1.3 billion plant in Shanghai, and a goal of 300,000 units sold/10 percent share of China’s premium market by 2020.

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Kato: EVs Need Nobel Prize-Quality Battery Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kato-evs-need-nobel-prize-quality-battery-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/kato-evs-need-nobel-prize-quality-battery-technology/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=861553 Mitsuhisa Kato + Toyota FCV

Toyota’s global R&D head Mitsuhisa Kato has little regard for the current crop of EVs, proclaiming the technology to make them viable in his eyes has yet to be invented.

Automotive News reports that although his team will still do R&D work on EVs, Kato believes there are few customers seeking a vehicle with short cruising ranges:

The cruising distance is so short for EVs, and the charging time is so long. At the current level of technology, somebody needs to invent a Nobel Prize-winning type battery.

He added that while EVs could be brought to parity with ICE vehicles, doing so using current technology would establish “a vicious circle” over costs and charging times.

Toyota itself is moving away from EVs into hydrogen with the upcoming 2015 FCV; the outgoing RAV4 EV and eQ will be gone from the global lineup by the time the FCV arrives in January of next year.

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2015 Ford Escort Goes Sunbathing Months Before Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-escort-goes-sunbathing-months-before-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-ford-escort-goes-sunbathing-months-before-showroom-debut/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=860817 ford-escort-china-1

The last time the Chinese-market Ford Escort was seen, it had made its world debut during the 2014 Beijing Auto Show. Over the weekend, however, new official photos had surfaced.

CarNewsChina reports the Escort, originally due in showrooms Q4 2014, will instead arrive in January 2015. The new compact will retail between ¥90,000 and ¥120,000 ($14,510 – $19,347 USD), and will come with a 1.5-liter I4 driving 110 horsepower and 81 ft-lb of torque to the front through either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

The Escort is underpinned by the current China-made Focus Classic, which in turn is based upon the second-gen Focus riding on the C1 platform. It will replace the Focus Classic, and slot under the current third-gen Focus.

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2015 Hyundai Genesis Sedan To Receive Speed-Camera Warning System http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-hyundai-genesis-sedan-to-receive-speed-camera-warning-system/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-hyundai-genesis-sedan-to-receive-speed-camera-warning-system/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857105 2015-Hyundai-Genesis-main

Speed cameras are the bane of any driver’s existence, especially if they’re more trouble than they’re worth for the municipality who experiments with them for a contract period of several years. Future Hyundai Genesis owners in Korea, however, may have a new tool at their disposal that should make dealing with the long lens of the law much easier on the wallet.

Drive.com.au reports the new generation of the Korean premium sedan will use GPS and braking technology to help would-be Alex Roys down to the limit in time to wave hello at the camera. Hyundai representative explained to reporters at the Genesis Sedan’s unveiling in Seoul how the system would work:

It knows there is a speed camera there, it knows where the speed camera is and it will adopt the correct speed. It will beep 800 metres before a camera and show the legal speed, and it will beep at you if your speed is over that.

The system will work best at fixed and average speed cameras, but not against mobile units. Meanwhile, the same self-braking tech used in the preemptive camera evasion will also bring the sedan to a halt to prevent a collision should such an event arise.

Alas, the system won’t be available to U.S. drivers anytime soon, while Korean drivers may have to wait a bit until after the Genesis makes its local debut in October of this year.

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Hydrogen Digest: July 1, 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hydrogen-digest-july-1-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/hydrogen-digest-july-1-2014/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856681 DSC_0018

In today’s hydrogen digest: Toyota asks the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a two-year exemption on its FCV; the automaker banks on subsidies to help the FCV leave the showrooms at home and abroad; and ammonia may be the secret to hydrogen’s success as a fuel.

Bloomberg reports Toyota is asking the NHTSA for a two-year exemption from FMVSS No. 305, which requires automakers to isolate high-voltage parts in electric cars in the event of a crash. The FCV doesn’t meet this rule in full because said isolation would render the vehicle inoperable, opting instead to use insulation on high-voltage cables and related components to protect first responders and occupants from potential electrical shocks in the event of a low-speed accident. Toyota claims the protections will be at least equal to those in compliance with the agency’s rule.

Meanwhile, Automotive News says the automaker is banking on subsidies at home and in markets such as the United States and Europe to help the FCV leave the showroom toward the path of success. The ¥7 million ($69,000 USD) will need a sizable credit to match its Lexus-esque pricing when it goes on sale in Japan next April; the highest subsidy is ¥850,000 (approximately $8,400). As for the U.S., where fueling infrastructure is woefully inadequate, Toyota may instead opt to lease the FCV, details of the plan still in discussion.

Finally, Autoblog Green reports ammonia may be the way toward the hydrogen future. The Science and Technologies Facilities Council in Swindon, England have discovered a process which cracks ammonia into nitrogen and hydrogen using sodium amide as the catalyst. The lower-cost process could be conducted on-board an FCV via an ammonia decomposition reactor no bigger than a 2-liter bottle of Coke, providing enough power for “a mid-range family car” while easily handling NOx-free tailpipe emissions. The STFC is now in the process of building a low-energy demonstration system to prove ammonia’s viability as a source of hydrogen fuel.

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Fourth-Generation Toyota Prius Production Delayed Six Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fourth-generation-toyota-prius-production-delayed-six-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fourth-generation-toyota-prius-production-delayed-six-months/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=856489 2014 Toyota Prius

Once set for production in the spring of 2015, the fourth generation of Toyota’s Prius will instead enter production beginning in December of said year.

Automotive News Europe reports the delay is due to engineers wanting to massage as much fuel economy as possible, along with adjustments to the chassis and body. The confirmation model of the new hybrid is expected in November 2014, 12 months before production is set to begin; the plug-in variant will follow in October 2016.

Though Toyota declined to clarify the reasons behind the delay, managing officer for product planning Satoshi Ogiso said the new hybrid will serve as a test bed for the automaker’s modular Toyota New Global Architecture and a new hybrid system that will be more compact and lighter than the current system while delivering a thermal efficiency rate above 40 percent. The system will also support a wider range of engines and vehicles beyond the Prius and Camry hybrids.

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General Motors Digest: June 30, 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/general-motors-digest-june-30-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/general-motors-digest-june-30-2014/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855849 GM Renaissance Center

In today’s General Motors digest: GM recalls over 700,000 units globally; Siemens VDO Automotive urged the automaker to look into airbag data in 2004; product chief Doug Parks was aware of the ignition problems in 2005; Feinberg compensation plan will have no payment cap; and Delphi is under the gun from both Congress and the IRS.

Autoblog and The Detroit News report the following vehicles are under recall:

  • 2013 – 2014 Chevrolet Cruze: Takata airbag inflator defect; 29,019 (U.S.), 4,066 (Canada)
  • 2014 – 2015 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra; 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, Surburban/GMC Yukon, Yukon XL: Transfer case electronically switching to neutral without driver input; 392,459 (U.S.), 53,607 (Canada), 20,874 (Other Markets)
  • 2013 – 2014 Chevrolet Caprice, SS: Potential for windshield wiper motor gear teeth to become stripped; 4,794 (U.S.)
  • 2014 Chevrolet Corvette: Insufficient welding in rear shocks of FE1, FE3 suspension-equipped vehicles; 1,939 (U.S.), 33 (Canada), 82 (Other Markets)
  • 2009 – 2012 Buick Excelle GT: Potential for high-beams to remain on under extreme circumstances; 194,107 (China)

Automotive News says in 2004, Siemens VDO Automotive engineer Douglas McConnell wrote a report urging GM to look into a possible link between airbag sensors and the loss of power via the ignition cycle. The GM-commissioned report was penned a month before the first Chevrolet Cobalts left the assembly line, and shown to five engineers working for the automaker at the time, including Matthew Craig, who currently works for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as its chief of human injury research. Declining to elaborate on the report, representative Greg Martin stated “there were several missed opportunities for GM to properly identify the problem,” citing the Valukas report to back his statement.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Doug Parks, appointed to the post of vice president of global product programs by CEO Mary Barra, was a vehicle chief engineer for the Chevrolet Cobalt program in 2005. In that role, he was a part of the cost debate over whether or not to redesign the ignition switch that would be put into the compact, stating in a May 2005 email that changing the design “appears to be the only real, quick solution.” Parks had been invited to attend two meetings in the first half of 2005 over the issue, though nothing could be determined as far as attendance was concerned.

In the present, Kenneth Feinberg’s compensation program for those injured or killed as a result of the ignition switch will pay claims to all drivers, passengers and bystanders involved in an accident with an affected GM vehicle. Further, claimants will have few hurdles to go through in being paid, including alcohol use and lack of physical evidence. Finally, the program will have no cap on the amount of money paid in total, though no word has been given by Feinberg and his time about how much will be paid per victim and their families. Claims will be accepted beginning August 1.

Finally, Automotive News reports Delphi, already under investigation by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee over its part of the February 2014 ignition switch recall, is now under the gun from the Internal Revenue Service over whether or not the supplier can be taxed as a domestic corporation. Upon emerging from bankruptcy in 2009, Delphi set up its tax base in the United Kingdom, though it retained its headquarters and executive team in Troy, Mich. Should the supplier lose its appeal with the IRS, its tax rate could rise to 22 percent effective rate, up from the 17 percent Delphi pays currently. In 2013, it paid $256 million in taxes; under the new rate, an additional $75 million would need to be paid, bringing the total to approximately $331.3 million.

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GAC Hopes Transformers Appearance Means US Sales Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gac-hopes-transformers-appearance-means-us-sales-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gac-hopes-transformers-appearance-means-us-sales-next-year/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 10:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=855657 trumpchi-gs5-002-1

Aside from seeing another Hasbro IP cameo transform into a weapon of mass destruction, viewers at the weekend opening of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” may have also glimpsed the first Chinese vehicle to arrive in the United States in the near future.

Autoblog reports director Michael Bay chose Chinese brand Trumpchi to be involved in the latest film upon seeing its E-jet PHEV and asking if the PHEV could be used in said film. Parent automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd hopes the exposure will help them when (or if) they bring a few of its Trumpchis to the U.S. by 2015 at the earliest.

The first to be sent over via container ship is the GS5 SUV, which can be had in China for as low as ¥148,000 ($24,000 USD). Power comes from either a 2-liter four-pot providing 145 horses and 128 lb-ft of torque, or a 1.8-liter turbo-four delivering 174 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. The SUV can either be had with FWD or AWD, and power can be processed through a five-speed manual or automatic.

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Ghosn Top Earner In Japan For Fourth Time In Five Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ghosn-top-earner-in-japan-for-fourth-time-in-five-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/ghosn-top-earner-in-japan-for-fourth-time-in-five-years/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=852041

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will once more be graced with the honor of being the highest paid executive at a Japanese corporation, having held the honor three previous times in the past five years.

Bloomberg reports Ghosn made ¥995 million ($9.76 million USD) in salary and bonuses for fiscal year 2013, which ended March 31 of this year; total compensation, including dividends, amounts to ¥10 billion ($9.81 million). This puts the CEO ahead of Toyota president Akio Toyoda, who made four times less than Ghosn despite Nissan eking out a profit amid incentive spending and recall costs in the same period. However, Toyoda’s ¥757 million ($7.42 million) in dividends narrows the gap between the two leaders.

Though Ghosn may be killing it in Japan, his total earnings are outgunned by those of his standing among European and U.S. automakers. Outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mullaly earned $23 million in total compensation last year, while GM CEO Mary Barra may receive as much as $14.4 million at the end of FY 2014. Meanwhile, VW boss Martin Winterkorn took home €15 million ($20 million) and Daimler’s doctor Dieter Zetche made €8.25 million ($11.2 million) in 2013. Renault paid €2.3 million ($3.1 million) to Ghosn, bringing total earnings from the alliance to around $13 million USD..

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Honda, Nissan, Mazda Recall 3 Million Over Defective Airbag Inflators http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/honda-nissan-mazda-recall-3-million-over-defective-airbag-inflators/#comments Tue, 24 Jun 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=850770 Honda_Civic_Si_EP3

Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling a total of 3 million vehicles equipped with defective airbag inflators supplied by Takata, following a similar action by Toyota.

Automotive News reports 2.03 million Hondas, 755,000 Nissans and 159,807 Mazdas globally are being recalled to replace the defective units. The effort comes just after Toyota recalled 1.62 vehicles outside Japan that were recalled earlier this month for the same issue, and 655,000 vehicles in the home market that were being recalled for the first time. As of June 23, 10 million vehicles between 2009 and 2014 have been recalled due to defects in Takata’s airbag units.

June’s action follow those by the four automakers conducted in April of this year, when Takata informed the group that a number of the defective units had escaped into the supplier channels due to poor record-keeping between 2000 and 2002 at the supplier’s plants in Washington and Mexico, where the moisture-infected units were assembled and stored. Moisture degraded the airbags’ inflators, which led to the units exploding, throwing metal shrapnel throughout the cabin.

Other manufacturers who used Takata airbags — including Ford, Chrysler and BMW — are also calling back a handful of affected models, especially those in humid climates such as Florida and Puerto Rico; CEO Shigehisa Takada claimed “the high levels of absolute humidity in those states” may also cause catastrophic failure of the inflators.

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GM China Introduces Plate-Scanning App For Driver-To-Driver Texting http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gm-china-introduces-plate-scanning-app-for-driver-to-driver-texting/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/gm-china-introduces-plate-scanning-app-for-driver-to-driver-texting/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 13:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=845849 Chinese-English Stop Sign

Ever been cut-off by a driver and wanted to let them know exactly how you feel without the need for a PIT bumper? Did you happen to see someone attractive pass you by, but didn’t want to be as obvious as Clark Griswold about it? If you’re in China, General Motors is about to make that dream come true in the creepiest way possible.

ComputerWorld reports GM China R&D director John Du introduced an Android app called DiDi Plate before attendees at this year’s Telematics Detroit 2014. The app uses an Android smartphone’s camera to snap a photo of a license plate, which then uploads the info gathered into the cloud so that the driver can then connect with the other driver via cell.

The creeper part? Du explains it best:

Even if the other driver didn’t register this app, you can still give them greetings and comments.

Du added that the app can also be used with Google Glass, allowing the driver to simply look at a license plate to find the other’s personal online profile prior to arranging a date, telling them to move their car so the driver can get out, or telling them off as far as their driving skills are concerned.

However, GM would like DiDi Plate to be embedded in a connected-vehicle environment rather than reside on the driver’s smartphone of choice; thus, the app may not make it out of the prototype phase in time to warn the car ahead that they missed the stop sign, among other, more personal actions.

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2015 Infiniti ESQ Caught In The Wet In Spy Photos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-infiniti-esq-caught-in-the-wet-in-spy-photos/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/2015-infiniti-esq-caught-in-the-wet-in-spy-photos/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=843345 infiniti esq 1

Yesterday, we received word of the China-only Infiniti ESQ crossover, which is really the Nissan Juke minus the Nissan. Today, we have some spy shots and some information on the ESQ.

CarNewsChina reports the ESQ will enter the market by the end of the year, and will have few differences in appearance with the Juke, though most consumers won’t likely know about the badge-engineering exercise on the showroom floor; the Juke is not sold at all either as an import or as a locally made product.

Infiniti’s crossover will be assembled by the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture, and will have the same 1.6-liter turbo delivering 200 horsepower and 184 ft-lb of torque to all four corners via CVT as the Juke Nismo. No price of admission has been given thus far.

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US Nissan Plant To Supply Engine For Euro-Special Infiniti Q50 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/us-nissan-plant-to-supply-engine-for-euro-special-infiniti-q50/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/us-nissan-plant-to-supply-engine-for-euro-special-infiniti-q50/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 11:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=842922 2014 Infiniti Q50

In its fight against the big premium brands in Europe, Infiniti is calling upon some German-designed American firepower for its Japanese-made, Euro-market special Q50 sedan.

Automotive News reports the Q50 will receive a 2-liter turbo-four from an $319 million Infinti-only line inside Nissan’s engine plant in Decherd, Tenn.; total overall production is expected to reach 250,000 annually while employing 400. The same engine will be used by Mercedes in its next-generation C-Class launching this year from the German automaker’s factory in Vance, Ala.

The plan, set to begin in late June, is part of a product-sharing agreement between parent companies Renault-Nissan and Daimler, as well as a checkbox for Infiniti’s to-do global portfolio expansion list.

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Abe Administration Pushes Automakers, Nation Away From Kei Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/abe-administration-pushes-automakers-nation-away-from-kei-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/abe-administration-pushes-automakers-nation-away-from-kei-cars/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=841985 Nissan Moco

For ages, the kei car has been one of the darlings of the automotive world, owing to its tiny size and equally tiny engine (that also netted owners a smaller tax bill). Alas, Japan’s littlest cars may soon be put in a toy box destined for Goodwill as the nation’s government puts the pressure on both automakers and owners to move toward supporting bigger offerings.

The New York Times reports the Japanese government introduced three tax increases on kei owners, including a 50 percent boost in the kei car tax meant to bring their tax burden close to larger vehicles. Officials claim the cars are becoming a drain on the Diet’s coffers both on the tax and free trade fronts, and as they cannot be exported to other markets — college campuses withstanding — the keis are a waste of profit and R&D for automakers.

The Abe administration may see push back from owners and automakers alike, however. Smaller automakers such as Suzuki and Daihatsu use the R&D from their kei offerings to better compete in other markets where similar offerings are sold, as well as adding more content to make their cars more attractive to their local market base. Owners, meanwhile, opt for keis because of the low ownership costs involved, and the greater mobility offered in areas where mass transit is few and far between.

The tax increase on the kei has affected both parties, with automakers losing sales and owners who may decide not to buy any vehicle altogether; sales are expected to drop from 2.23 million in 2013 to 1.7 million in 2015.

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Kia Building First Mexican Plant To Alleviate Strained U.S. Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/kia-building-first-mexican-plant-to-alleviate-strained-u-s-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/kia-building-first-mexican-plant-to-alleviate-strained-u-s-production/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 11:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840426 2014-kia-forte-5-door-rear-left-view

In light of high demand in the United States for its offerings, Kia will build its first Mexican plant in Monterrey to help bring additional capacity to North America.

Reuters reports the factory will open 21 months after groundbreaking, supplying a total of 300,000 vehicles annually to the United States. Production will focus on Kia’s compacts — the Forte and Rio — at first before taking on work from the brand’s sole U.S. factory in Georgia, where the Optima, Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are assembled, and from Hyundai’s Alabama plant, where the Sonata and Elantra are built. No word was given on when the first shovels would break the earth.

Aside from supply-and-demand issues in the U.S., Kia is likely building the Monterrey plant — to go with Hyundai’s production expansion into Chongqing, China — in order to maintain its market share around the globe. The duo together hold fifth place in the global auto sales race, a position it could lose by 2016 if no more capacity is added, according to Korea Investment & Securities auto analyst Suh Sung-moon.

The capacity limit was unofficially put in place by Hyundai/Kia chair Chung Mong-koo over two years ago, fearing his two brands would end up like Toyota in the 2000s if they expanded as aggressively as had the Japanese automaker.

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Toyota’s First FCVs To Arrive In Showrooms Christmas 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/toyotas-first-fcvs-to-arrive-in-showrooms-christmas-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/toyotas-first-fcvs-to-arrive-in-showrooms-christmas-2014/#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=840394 Toyota FCV Concept With Penguins

Toyota is wasting no time in moving forward toward a hydrogen future, announcing it will build its FCV Concept-based fuel-cell sedan this December, with sales coming just in time for the big-red-bow-tie Christmas 2014 sales extravaganza.

The Japan Times reports the FCV will likely be built by the dozen on a monthly basis at the automaker’s Motomachi plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. As for price, early adopters can expect to fork over some ¥8 million (~$78,000 USD), while those coming aboard in the next decade will pay between ¥3 million and ¥5 million (~$29,000 and ~$49,000 USD) to contribute toward the water cycle.

For those who dive into Toyota’s hydrogen-electric future, range is expected to be 300 miles per tank, with refueling to take anywhere from three to five minutes at a hydrogen fueling station. Though the automaker has no plans to emulate Tesla’s Supercharger infrastructure for its FCV, it will lend its hand in developing and managing the supply of hydrogen.

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GM Korea Faces Critical Wage Negotiations Amid Rising Won, Labor Costs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/gm-korea-faces-critical-wage-negotiations-amid-rising-won-labor-costs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/gm-korea-faces-critical-wage-negotiations-amid-rising-won-labor-costs/#comments Fri, 30 May 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834401 GM Korea Bupyeong Plant

With labor costs set to rise in South Korea, wage negotiations between management and employees inside GM Korea may be “the most critical negotiation” the subsidiary has ever faced.

Bloomberg reports the rising costs are the result of the nation’s Supreme Court ruling last December that bonuses and other compensation were to be included in the base pay of an employee’s annual earnings. The ruling means a total of 13.75 trillion won ($13.5 billion USD) will be added to current labor costs, which GM Korea CEO Sergio Rocha claims won’t be good for his company, the local automotive industry, or “Korea Inc.”

Speaking of the won, Rocha also voiced his concerns about the strengthening currency as it undermines profits from exports to countries, including Australia and Germany. The won is trading around 1,020 to $1 USD. Hyundai’s Korea Automotive Research Institute issued a forecast earlier this week that the currency will rapidly appreciate during the second half of 2015, a forecast Rocha believes to be higher than GM Korea’s own prognostication:

We see an appreciation, but not at that level. Korea has many big exporting conglomerates and I don’t think the economic group of President Park will allow this to get derailed.

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Akerson: Barra Did Not Know About Ignition Defect Before Becoming CEO http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/akerson-barra-did-not-know-about-ignition-defect-before-becoming-ceo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/akerson-barra-did-not-know-about-ignition-defect-before-becoming-ceo/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 13:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=834025 Dan Akerson

Automotive News reports former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson proclaimed in an interview with Forbes magazine that current CEO Mary Barra had no knowledge of the out-of-spec ignition switch that led to the February 2014 recall of 2.6 million vehicles, going as far as to bet his own life on the statement. Barra added the fallout from the recall is a chance for GM to not only “do the right thing and serve the customer well through” the crisis, but “to accelerate cultural change” within the company. Akerson passed the torch to Barra in December 2013 to take time to care for his ailing wife, and has since rejoined Carlyle Group as vice chairman on its board of directors.

Within the company, Detroit Free Press reports morale is up despite the numerous recalls levied upon the automaker, according to global product boss Mark Reuss. He states the results of an internal survey among GM’s global employees are higher than those found in 2012, citing a renewed focus on corporate transparency since the recall crisis began. Finally, Reuss told reporters at an event focused upon this weekend’s Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix that the C8 Corvette is now being developed, and did not rule out the possibility for electric and/or hybrid power for the upcoming sports car.

Speaking of GM’s recall parade, Ward’s Auto says the automaker released a document of its recall activities thus far in 2014, which is available to interested parties through a special site set up by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The document focuses on recalls in the United States and North America through Q1 and Q2 2014, with the current totals as of May 21, 2014 standing at 13.8 million in the U.S. and 15.8 in North America.

In compact car news, Automotive News reports GM India will begin exporting compact and subcompact vehicles during the second half of 2014 to help better use capacity of the Talegaon plant as the local market slows down. LHD variants of the Chevrolet Beat — Spark in the U.S. — will be the first to see a trip to the docks, destined to arrive in Chile Q1 2015, a reflection of the boosted confidence in quality at the plant, according to president Arvind Saxena. GM’s utilization rate is the lowest among all automakers in India at 28 percent, contributing to an overall local industry total of 55 percent production capacity used in 2013; the automaker’s two factories produce a combined capacity of 282,000 annually.

Finally, CarNewsChina has new spy shots of the upcoming Chevrolet Aveo hatchback set to enter the market July 10. The automaker’s best-selling compact will retain the 1.4- and 1.6-liter engines of the outgoing models, with five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions available to deliver between 103 and 121 horsepower to the front wheels. The hatch will follow the redesigned sedan, the latter due next month.

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