The Truth About Cars » Asia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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/ Tesla Losing Chinese Chief After Less Than Nine Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-losing-chinese-chief-less-nine-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-losing-chinese-chief-less-nine-months/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961289 After less than nine months at the helm, Tesla China president Veronica Wu will be resigning from the top job, and leaving the company behind. Bloomberg reports Wu, who joined the automaker from Apple last December, took the wheel after previous subsidiary chief, Kingston Chang, left earlier this year. Her replacement will be Tom Zhu, […]

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Veronica Wu

After less than nine months at the helm, Tesla China president Veronica Wu will be resigning from the top job, and leaving the company behind.

Bloomberg reports Wu, who joined the automaker from Apple last December, took the wheel after previous subsidiary chief, Kingston Chang, left earlier this year. Her replacement will be Tom Zhu, who currently is in charge of Tesla’s charging network development in China.

Wu’s last day with Tesla is unknown, nor are her plans upon leaving the company.

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Toyota Increasing Mirai Production To Meet Strengthening Demand http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-increasing-mirai-production-meet-strengthening-demand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/toyota-increasing-mirai-production-meet-strengthening-demand/#comments Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957394 Its looks leave the B&B cold, and is powered by a fuel whose infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. So, how popular could the Toyota Mirai possibly be? Better than you’d expect. Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota will be investing ¥20 billion ($165 million USD) to triple local production in order to meet corporate […]

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Toyota Mirai in Red

Its looks leave the B&B cold, and is powered by a fuel whose infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. So, how popular could the Toyota Mirai possibly be? Better than you’d expect.

Nikkei Asian Review reports Toyota will be investing ¥20 billion ($165 million USD) to triple local production in order to meet corporate and public-sector demand, which is likely to exceed the 700 units currently planned for assembly by the FCV’s showroom debut December 15.

The investment will allow for increased fuel stack and hydrogen tank production at its main factory in Toyota City, with upgrades planned at a nearby facility where final assembly of the Mirai is conducted. In turn, the move could spur on related investments in infrastructure and other products by interested companies.

Toyota expects to sell 400 Mirais in its home market by the end of 2015, with 3,000-plus moved in the United States by the same period in 2017, and around 50 to 100 in Europe in 2016. Exports to the U.S. and Europe are set to begin next summer.

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Shimizu: Takata Hasn’t Found The Cause Of Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955722 Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls. Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That […]

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Shimizu, Takata's Senior Vice President for global quality assurance, testifies before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls.

Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That said, Shimizu said his company was of “the strong opinion that (there) is a factor contributing to this defect: which is high humidity, temperature and the life of the product.” He also claimed the ammonium nitrate used in the airbags was safe and stable, though he admitted replacements weren’t coming fast enough.

Meanwhile, competitor Autoliv announced it would supply replacements to Honda for vehicles in the United States. The automaker had mentioned before Congress it was in talks with the supplier and another, Daicel, regarding expanded production to replace modules in a nationwide recall. Autoliv will add capacity in its existing plants, with deliveries to come after six months.

Among the other affected automakers, Chrysler, Toyota and Mazda have stepped up their individual recall efforts. AutoGuide says the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has called back 149,150 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models from the 2003 model year, covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated the move wasn’t enough, and is looking at what action to take next.

Over in Japan, Bloomberg reports Toyota is recalling 190,000 affected vehicles in its local market and in China. The recall comes on the news of a catastrophic detonation at a junkyard of a Takata airbag inside a 2003 WiLL Cypha; the detonation was part of the procedures outlined by Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law, which also requires dismantlers to report any problem to the automaker to determine if a recall is necessary.

Finally, The Detroit News says Mazda is recalling 40,000 more vehicles — including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6, 2004-2005 MPV and 2004 B-Series — in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. The automaker previously recalled 44,000 units in the U.S. and 2,600 in Puerto Rico.

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Takata Faces Forced Recall After Defying NHTSA Order http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-faces-forced-recall-defying-nhtsa-order/#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955385 Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter. Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less […]

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Takata

Hours after Takata informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would not comply with the order to conduct a nationwide airbag recall in the United States, the agency took the supplier to task during Wednesday’s congressional hearing over the matter.

Bloomberg reports deputy administrator David Friedman cited data showing humidity is playing less of a factor in the catastrophic failures than previously proclaimed by Takata, adding that the agency would hire an independent expert within the week to conduct more tests.

Takata claimed in its letter to the NHTSA that a nationwide recall was not necessary, as there wasn’t enough reliable evidence to mandate such an action that would take away from fixing the problem in high-humidity zones, creating needless delays in conducting repairs. The supplier also took the agency to task for not providing enough notice, and that it was already on its way to improving the safety of its products.

Sens. Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut encouraged the NHTSA to force Takata into compliance, and to expand the nationwide recall to cover passenger-side airbags as well. Friedman said the agency’s next move would be to force said recall, which could take several weeks or months. He added that he didn’t have a set timetable to bring about the action.

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Takata Refuses NHTSA Call For Nationwide Airbag Recall http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/takata-refuses-nhtsa-call-nationwide-airbag-recall/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955057 Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and […]

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Toyota WiLL Cypha

Takata won’t be conducting a nationwide recall of its defective airbags anytime soon, but did hire three former U.S. Transportation Secretaries to help the supplier manage the crisis. Meanwhile, an airbag in an non-recalled model explodes in a Japanese junkyard; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration won’t push for a nationwide passenger airbag recall; and Toyota and Honda both call for an industry review of Takata’s wares.

The Detroit News reports the supplier informed the NHTSA Wednesday morning that it will not conduct a nationwide recall of vehicles in the United States equipped with driver-side airbags, as requested by the agency in a special order made last week, and whose deadline was December 2. Deputy administrator David Friedman expressed the agency’s disappointment in a statement, lamenting Takata is failing to live up to its responsibility toward keeping drivers safe. Chair and CEO Shigehisa Takada proclaimed in his own statement that his company “remains committed to cooperating closely with our customers and NHTSA to address the potential for inflator rupturing.” An initial decision and public hearing demanding the supplier to recall is the next step for the NHTSA.

Detroit Free Press says Takata called upon former Transportation Secretaries Sam Skinner (George H.W. Bush), Rodney Slater (Bill Clinton) and Norman Mineta (Clinton, George W. Bush) to help guide it through the crisis. Skinner is slated to lead a quality assurance panel to help the supplier better design its airbags, while Slater and Mineta will provide counsel to help it “regain the public’s trust.”

Though the NHTSA is pushing for Takata to recall every driver-side airbag possibly affected by the quality issues at the center of the current regional recall, Automotive News says the agency isn’t in a hurry to do the same for passenger-side airbags. Friedman informed the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade in a written statement that such a recall “is not supported by the data as we now understand it. At this point, a national recall of all Takata air bags would divert replacement air bags from areas where they are clearly needed, putting lives at risk.” That said, if the supplier’s test data proves otherwise, the agency may demand a recall for those airbags, as well.

Over in Japan, a Takata airbag exploded in a 2003 Toyota WiLL Cypha at the Chikamatsu Shokai Co. scrapyard in the Gifu prefecture. Manager Akihiro Wakayama was caught off-guard by the explosion, as the car in question was not among the models already under recall:

I was surprised once again because the unusual explosion occurred in a vehicle that we were told to be safe. That made me think we really don’t know what we can trust to do our work safely.

The WiLL Cypha’s airbag detonation marks the seventh occurrence of junkyard detonations in Japan since June 2012, with the first six occurring among four Honda Fit and two Toyota Corolla models in July of that year. The incidences prior to the Cypha’s — all occurring during detonation procedures as prescribed by the nation’s Automotive Recycling Law prior to scrapping — led to an additional 3 million units being recalled globally.

Speaking of Toyota and Honda, The Detroit News says the two Japanese automakers are calling for a coordinated effort among the entire industry to independently test Takata’s airbags for defects. Both companies issued separate statements to Takata and eight other manufacturers — including Ford, Chrysler and General Motors — asking them to commit to the effort. Ford said it would heed Toyota’s call, with Chrysler Group proclaiming it would “remain committed to identifying the root cause” of the malfunctions, and GM taking the call “under NHTSA guidance.”

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Mahindra Buys Majority Stake In NEVS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mahindra-buys-majority-stake-nevs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/mahindra-buys-majority-stake-nevs/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 15:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954745 Ever wondered what Indian curry and Swedish meatballs tasted like together? You will soon enough, thanks to a new deal between National Electric Vehicle Sweden and Mahindra. SaabsUnited reports Mahindra & Mahindra purchased a majority stake in NEVS in an agreement that keeps Mahindra’s identity secret until the agreement is made final. Though NEVS’ administrator […]

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1280px-Saab_9-5_2.0_TiD_Vector_(II)_–_Frontansicht_(1),_13._März_2011,_Wuppertal

Ever wondered what Indian curry and Swedish meatballs tasted like together? You will soon enough, thanks to a new deal between National Electric Vehicle Sweden and Mahindra.

SaabsUnited reports Mahindra & Mahindra purchased a majority stake in NEVS in an agreement that keeps Mahindra’s identity secret until the agreement is made final.

Though NEVS’ administrator Lars Eric Gustafsson wouldn’t confirm Mahindra as the party purchasing the stake, he said the deal would finance operating costs — to the tune of €5 million ($6.2 million USD) per month until the agreement is finalized, which is expected to occur February of 2015. Gustafsson added that NEVS was in talks with another Asian manufacturer about the possibility of a joint venture.

Meanwhile, the company is still undergoing reorganization, granted by the Vänersborg District Court in Vänersborg, Sweden late August of this year. NEVS petitioned for an three-month extension Monday.

As for the Saab name, NEVS plans to renegotiate the brand agreement with owner SAAB AB once its finances are more stable. The company lost the name after filing for creditor protection.

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Toyota’s LFA Works Now Home To Mirai FCV Production http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-lfa-works-now-home-mirai-fcv-production/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyotas-lfa-works-now-home-mirai-fcv-production/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=952529 Remember when Herr Schmitt took us for a TTAC exclusive into the workshop that made the Lexus LFA? It’s now the home of the Toyota Mirai. Automotive News reports Toyota gave its FCV to the LFA Works — located behind the Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Japan — because the facility’s attention to detail and […]

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2016-toyota-mirai-front-three-quarters-03

Remember when Herr Schmitt took us for a TTAC exclusive into the workshop that made the Lexus LFA? It’s now the home of the Toyota Mirai.

Automotive News reports Toyota gave its FCV to the LFA Works — located behind the Motomachi plant in Toyota City, Japan — because the facility’s attention to detail and better tools (i.e., hands) than any of the more “ultra-efficient,” machine-powered factories under the automaker’s watch.

Because of the Mirai’s hand-built nature — the powertrain and other components are assembled in Toyota’s Honsha plant, then brought over to the LFA Works for final assembly — executive vice president for domestic sales Masamoto Maekawa warns supplies will be limited, with only 700 planned for the first year, 200 of which are already on-order:

Each unit is carefully built with utmost care. So therefore, the production volume might be limited. During the initial stages, delivery time might be delayed. The 200 orders are mostly from government and corporate fleets.

Prior to the Mirai, the small workshop made limited-edition models, including a $10,000, 100-unit run of carbon fiber bicycles marketed to well-off Lexus owners, a carbon-fiber roof for special performance variant of the Toyota Mark X, and of course, the 500 LFAs assembled between 2010 and 2012.

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Toyota Recalls 57K Over Takata Airbags http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyota-recalls-57k-takata-airbags/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/toyota-recalls-57k-takata-airbags/#comments Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=952505 Toyota issued Thursday a global recall of 57,000 vehicles affected by the Takata airbag crisis. Reuters reports the majority of the vehicles — 40,000 — were sold in the automaker’s home market of Japan, while 6,000 are in Europe and the rest scattered around the world excluding the North American market. The models affected are […]

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2003 Toyota RAV4

Toyota issued Thursday a global recall of 57,000 vehicles affected by the Takata airbag crisis.

Reuters reports the majority of the vehicles — 40,000 — were sold in the automaker’s home market of Japan, while 6,000 are in Europe and the rest scattered around the world excluding the North American market. The models affected are the Vitz/Yaris and the RAV4, and were assembled between December 2002 and March 2004.

Additionally, Toyota subsidiary Daihatsu recalled 27,571 Miras assembled for sale in Japan between December 2002 and May 2003 for the same issue, marking the brand’s first Takata-related recall.

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Takata, Honda Under Government Spotlight At Home http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-honda-government-spotlight-home/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951465 Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota. Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe […]

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Japanese-government-weighs-in-on-Takata-airbag-debacle

Takata and Honda are both coming under the gun at home, on order of Japan Transport Minister Akihiro Ota.

Bloomberg reports the transport minister ordered the formation of a special task force to oversee the 2.54 million vehicles under recall in Japan over the Takata airbags onboard. The ministry also announced that it would probe Honda’s reporting errors in the United States, where 1,729 injury and/or death claims weren’t reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration between 2003 and 2014.

Regarding the errors, Honda President Takanobu Ito reiterated that his company misunderstood the the responsibility it was supposed to take in reporting said claims to the agency, that management made several mistakes in filing procedure.

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Twenty Japanese Execs Hide In Local Exile From US DOJ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/twenty-japanese-execs-hide-local-exile-us-doj/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/twenty-japanese-execs-hide-local-exile-us-doj/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=950865 At present, 20 Japanese executives are charged with price-fixing by the U.S. Department of Justice. Extradition, however, is proving hard to accomplish. Automotive News reports that while most of the 20 are no longer employed by the Japanese suppliers where they once worked, at least one — Hiroya Hirose of NSK Ltd. — still has […]

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US Department of Justice

At present, 20 Japanese executives are charged with price-fixing by the U.S. Department of Justice. Extradition, however, is proving hard to accomplish.

Automotive News reports that while most of the 20 are no longer employed by the Japanese suppliers where they once worked, at least one — Hiroya Hirose of NSK Ltd. — still has his title as section head of the ball-bearing maker’s West Japan Automotive Unit, even though he has enough charges to be thrown in prison for a decade on top of a $1 million fine.

However, all 20 are still in hiding in their home country, leaving the DOJ with no option but to file extradition. In turn, the Ministry of Justice can decide to honor the request based on what punishment awaits suspects abroad compared to Japan. As the businessmen would only receive a slap on the wrist at home, the ministry won’t be too keen on complying with the requests.

That said, the 20 are stuck in Japan thanks to the indictments, as they won’t be able to find work elsewhere. Further, the indictments put the group at the top of Interpol’s radar, allowing the agency to nab any one of the execs as soon as they leave the country.

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Merrill Lynch: Tesla Sitting On 3K Cars Despite Alleged Scarcity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/merrill-lynch-tesla-sitting-3k-cars-despite-alleged-scarcity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/merrill-lynch-tesla-sitting-3k-cars-despite-alleged-scarcity/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945017 If you’re still waiting for your Model S to arrive in your driveway, you might not be too pleased to learn there could be 3,000 cars hiding in the back room, thanks to one man seeking knowledge about Tesla’s famed scarcity. The Daily Kanban reports Merrill Lynch research analyst John Lovallo found that while the […]

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If you’re still waiting for your Model S to arrive in your driveway, you might not be too pleased to learn there could be 3,000 cars hiding in the back room, thanks to one man seeking knowledge about Tesla’s famed scarcity.

The Daily Kanban reports Merrill Lynch research analyst John Lovallo found that while the hype held up for the Model X — for obvious reasons — the same couldn’t be said for the Model S. Despite Tesla’s claim that they sold every car they had in Q3 2014 — even the ones in the showrooms — Lovallo saw a different story with the finished goods inventory. In short: Some 3,000 vehicles were either in transit or in a warehouse.

Merrill Lynch — who told its clients in its research note about Tesla that the automaker’s stock will remain labelled “underperform” for the foreseeable future — also noted that Tesla is facing difficulties in penetrating the Chinese market, “coupled with seemingly tepid European demand for the Model S.” Despite the Chinese government creating a separate pool for EV license plates, 70 percent of plate winners failed to cash-in by the end of last month, and even if everything worked out, lower-cost EVs like the Nissan-Venucia r30 and the 20-some models set to leave Volkswagen’s factories would hardly leave any money for a higher-end EV like those sold by Tesla.

The note concludes by pointing out that the automaker barely makes money from selling regulatory credits to other automakers, while not making a dime off of its vehicles, the latter an issue that “could ultimately prove to be the biggest risk for the company and the pure electric vehicle market at large.”

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Takata Airbag Propellant Revised, Composition Unknown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-airbag-propellant-revised-composition-unknown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-airbag-propellant-revised-composition-unknown/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 12:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=944681 The original airbag propellant recipe used by Takata in the modules at the center of the supplier’s recall crisis has been changed, according to an anonymous company official. According to Reuters, the source didn’t explain what was changed for the new recipe, but that ammonium nitrate — the chemical used in the original recipe — […]

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Billboard advertisement of Takata Corp is pictured in Tokyo

The original airbag propellant recipe used by Takata in the modules at the center of the supplier’s recall crisis has been changed, according to an anonymous company official.

According to Reuters, the source didn’t explain what was changed for the new recipe, but that ammonium nitrate — the chemical used in the original recipe — remained part of the revised propellant’s makeup:

There is no admission of a defect with the original version. There has not been any finding that ammonium nitrate or the earlier composition was somehow flawed. We changed the composition in an effort to improve quality.

The original compound, when exposed to high humidity, caused the inflators in the module to catastrophically explode, showering the cabin and those inside with metal shrapnel that once was the module’s housing.

The new compound has been used in replacement modules for vehicles brought in for repairs under recall, though the source did not say how many vehicles had the new compound, when the change in the recipe was made, or which models had the new modules. Around 17 million vehicles with the defective modules have been recalled since 2008, 11 million in the United States alone.

Takata made over 100 million units with the original recipe since 2000, and is the only major airbag supplier to use ammonium nitrate; Autoliv and TRW Automotive — both of whom called up by Takata to help supply replacements — use guanidine nitrate instead.

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Takata Issues Newer, Wider Annual Loss Forecast For FY 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-issues-newer-wider-annual-loss-forecast-fy-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/takata-issues-newer-wider-annual-loss-forecast-fy-2014/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942449 The hits keep coming for Takata as its airbag debacle moves forward, this time with announcement that its annual loss forecast will grow wider than previously stated. Automotive News reports the new forecast calls for a loss of ¥25 billion ($218 million USD) during FY 2014, a ¥1 billion ($8.7 million) difference compared to the […]

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A sign board of Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp's Annual General Meeting is seen on a street near the venue in Tokyo

The hits keep coming for Takata as its airbag debacle moves forward, this time with announcement that its annual loss forecast will grow wider than previously stated.

Automotive News reports the new forecast calls for a loss of ¥25 billion ($218 million USD) during FY 2014, a ¥1 billion ($8.7 million) difference compared to the forecast made in August; both figures are record losses for the automotive supplier.

Additionally, Takata will skip a dividend this year, the first time in eight years it has done so. The company took a ¥45 billion ($390 million) charge in Q1 2014 as a result of the airbag recalls, and has said future charges would be limited.

CFO Yoichiro Nomura apologized before the Tokyo Stock Exchange, saying his company hadn’t meant to worry its customers, automakers and investors who were all affected by its products. Takata shares declined 1.4 percent in trading, falling from ¥1,579 ($13.69) to ¥1,527 ($13.23) by the closing bell Thursday afternoon.

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Mercedes Vision G-Code Study Shows Off Possible Future For SUV/CUV Lineup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-vision-g-code-study-shows-possible-future-suvcuv-lineup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/mercedes-vision-g-code-study-shows-possible-future-suvcuv-lineup/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940225 Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz opened its Product Engineering Centre in Beijing. To celebrate the occasion, the luxury brand unveiled a new design study: the Vision G-Code sporty utility coupe. The 2+2-passenger study took its inspiration from the rising affluence and “digital affinity” of Asia’s youth culture, who are gravitating toward SUVs and crossovers over all […]

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Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014 Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014

Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz opened its Product Engineering Centre in Beijing. To celebrate the occasion, the luxury brand unveiled a new design study: the Vision G-Code sporty utility coupe.

The 2+2-passenger study took its inspiration from the rising affluence and “digital affinity” of Asia’s youth culture, who are gravitating toward SUVs and crossovers over all other vehicle configurations. Thus, aside from its muscular coupe profile — measuring 13 feet long and 4.9 feet tall — and 21-inch wheels riding a 6.2-foot wide track, the G-Code offers a few technological wonders that may someday appear in Mercedes’ portfolio of SUVs and crossovers.

The first is the paint itself. The silver paint is a “multi-voltaic” coating that pulls energy from the sun and/or wind to help aid in the methane/hydrogen synthesis process; the G-Code is also an FCV. The driver can use their smartphone to start the vehicle, then place it in the docking station to access the study’s connected-vehicle system.

Moving both pairs of wheels, a turbocharged hydrogen mil delivers power to the front, while an electric motor selectively moves the rear wheels via a dual multi-disc clutch. Power regeneration is carried out via the aforementioned coating, plug-in technology, and a suspension system that transmits energy into a compact current generator.

The grill adds still more flash to the G-Code by indicating the state its HYBRID system is in, from blue light moving toward the star in eDrive, to vivid red and reverse movement in sport.

Finally, the driver and their passengers can enjoy niceties, such as: GPS, 3D cameras, leather-upholstered seats with 3D body scanning for improved comfort, a pair of stand-up scooters in the back for additional mobility, and photosynthetic air conditioning for cleaner cabin air.

Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014 Grand Opening Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Beijing2014Eröffnung von Mercedes-Benz Research & Development China, Peking 2014

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Hyundai, Kia Fined $300M By State, Federal Agencies Over Erroneous Fuel Economy Numbers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/hyundai-kia-fined-300m-state-federal-agencies-erroneous-fuel-economy-numbers/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940209 Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups. Autoblog reports the […]

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2015 Kia K900

Being an asterisk regarding fuel economy numbers isn’t the only penance Hyundai and Kia must pay: The U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board dropped a collective $300 million penalty on the South Korean brands for mistating fuel economy numbers on their respective 2011-2013 lineups.

Autoblog reports the two alone will pay a total of $100 million to the EPA, the highest such fine in the agency’s history. Hyundai’s part of the bill comes to $56.8 million, while Kia will foot the remaining $43.2 million. The brands will also forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse emissions credits, worth approximately $200 million, and contribute a requested $50 million in investments “to prevent future violations of the Clean Air Act” by automakers.

In-house, parent company Hyundai is establishing “an independent certification test group” to handle future fuel economy testing and reporting, along with training proctors on the proper methods. The company maintains the erroneous reporting was due to the methodology used in the EPA’s test schedule, as well as errors from the coastdown portion of the test.

Hyundai and Kia are also auditing 2015 and 2016 models for accurate fuel economy numbers in light of the previous errors.

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Spotlight Shines Brighter On Takata Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/spotlight-shines-brighter-takata-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/spotlight-shines-brighter-takata-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938913 Investigators unearth more reports of deaths and injuries linked to catastrophic detonations of Takata’s airbags; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets a deadline for the supplier to submit related documents; and attorneys urge a U.S. district judge to act quickly on a class action against Takata and four of its client automakers. Automotive News […]

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takata sign holder

Investigators unearth more reports of deaths and injuries linked to catastrophic detonations of Takata’s airbags; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sets a deadline for the supplier to submit related documents; and attorneys urge a U.S. district judge to act quickly on a class action against Takata and four of its client automakers.

Automotive News reports a number of cases linked to Takata airbags are coming to the surface as investigators begin their probes into the supplier. A common thread through the cases — such as an incident in Atlanta that left a woman with a speech disorder, as well as caused a number of strokes and one seizure, as a result of a piece of shrapnel from the unit slicing through her carotid artery — is settlement. Most of the cases are being settled out-of-court, just before prosecutors can gather the evidence needed to go after Takata, and just before such cases enter the public eye.

Over in the Beltway, Reuters says the NHTSA has set a deadline of December 1 for Takata to submit documents and answers to questions under oath as part of the agency’s probe into the defects. The order also cites an October 17 report by the news organization about manufacturing issues at the supplier’s Mexico facility, particularly a reference to an email written in March of 2011 that proclaimed “a part that is not welded = one life less,” as well as the discovery of chewing gum in a unit. The agency also wants a list of every death and injury caused by the airbags.

Finally, attorneys representing their clients in a class action suit against the supplier have asked Miami-based U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King to move their case quickly forward. One of the attorneys, Peter Prieto, stated the urging was necessary due to the danger the airbags create among the public. Eighteen plaintiffs in 10 states are involved in the suit, which also names Toyota, Ford, BMW and Honda as defendants. The next hearing will be on December 8.

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Hyundai Developing Dedicated Hybrid To Battle Toyota Prius http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundai-developing-dedicated-hybrid-battle-toyota-prius/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundai-developing-dedicated-hybrid-battle-toyota-prius/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 11:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=938833 Though one can already purchase a hybrid from Hyundai — the Sonata Hybrid, to be exact — the South Korean automaker is now planning to follow in the footsteps of Toyota and Honda by building a hybrid that always was from the get-go. Reuters reports the Korean Prius will add onto Hyundai’s green portfolio, which […]

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2012-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-badge-2

Though one can already purchase a hybrid from Hyundai — the Sonata Hybrid, to be exact — the South Korean automaker is now planning to follow in the footsteps of Toyota and Honda by building a hybrid that always was from the get-go.

Reuters reports the Korean Prius will add onto Hyundai’s green portfolio, which also includes the Tucson Fuel Cell FCV, as well as act as a hedge against ever-tightening fuel economy and emissions standards. CEO Kim Choong-ho explained as much during the launch of his company’s latest premium sedan, the Aslan:

We will take the lead in the future by raising the competitiveness of our environment-friendly cars like hybrid-only cars, plug-in hybrid cars and fuel cell hydrogen cars.

Hyundai won’t be alone in bringing a new dedicated hybrid to market; Ford plans to do the same on a compact platform by 2019. Kim did not offer a timetable or other details about Hyundai’s hybrid, however.

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Nissan, Honda Recall More Takata-Equipped Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-honda-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/nissan-honda-recall-takata-equipped-vehicles/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935674 The Takata airbag recall continues to grow, with Nissan adding 260,000 2008 through 2012 models worldwide to the list. Automotive News reports the recall total for Nissan linked to the airbags since 2013 totalled nearly 700,000 prior to the additional vehicles called back. The recall affects vehicles outside of the United States, including the Cube […]

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2014 Nissan Versa Note Exterior

The Takata airbag recall continues to grow, with Nissan adding 260,000 2008 through 2012 models worldwide to the list.

Automotive News reports the recall total for Nissan linked to the airbags since 2013 totalled nearly 700,000 prior to the additional vehicles called back. The recall affects vehicles outside of the United States, including the Cube and Micra/March, with the majority of the models located in the automaker’s home market of Japan.

Meanwhile, Honda is replacing the defective units in 3.5 million vehicles in 11 states in the U.S. where high humidity could lead to an airbag exploding with metal shrapnel taking dead aim at all inside. The company also recalled 425,825 units, adding onto the 6 million that have been recalled over the issue since 2008.

Finally, General Motors and Toyota are issuing warnings to their customers not have anyone sit in the front passenger seat until the airbag unit is replaced.

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Los Angeles 2014: Honda HR-V, Acura ILX To Bow On The Red Carpet http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-acura-ilx-bow-red-carpet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/los-angeles-2014-honda-hr-v-acura-ilx-bow-red-carpet/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934146 Coming soon to an automotive red carpet near you: Honda’s new HR-V and Acura’s 2016 ILX. The former, seen only in photos when announced in New York earlier this year, will be making its North American debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Fit-based crossover is expected to serve “as the entry point […]

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2016_ILX_to_Debut_at_LAAS

Coming soon to an automotive red carpet near you: Honda’s new HR-V and Acura’s 2016 ILX.

The former, seen only in photos when announced in New York earlier this year, will be making its North American debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Fit-based crossover is expected to serve “as the entry point to the Honda light truck lineup,” consisting of the Ridgeline, Pilot and CR-V. The HR-V will take the stage sometime after 12:30 p.m. Pacific November 19.

Over at Acura, the Civic-based ILX will be debuting its new look for 2016, with the aim of firming up its appeal with customers in the entry-level premium market. The updates include a “more forceful, sporty exterior,” an unknown-yet-powerful powertrain, and new interior design. The sedan will roll up to the world’s stage at 9:30 a.m. Pacific November 20.

2016_ILX_to_Debut_at_LAAS 16HR_V_Teaser_Final

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Jeep First American Brand To Enter Japan COTY Top 10 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/jeep-first-american-brand-enter-japan-coty-top-10/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/jeep-first-american-brand-enter-japan-coty-top-10/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932338 While the new Mazda2 — Demio to its friends in Japan — took home the overall gold in this year’s Japanese Car of the Year awards, Jeep took home a JCOTY, too, the first time an American brand has ever accomplished the feat. AutoGuide reports the Cherokee took eighth place among the top 10 list, […]

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2014 jeep cherokee

While the new Mazda2 — Demio to its friends in Japan — took home the overall gold in this year’s Japanese Car of the Year awards, Jeep took home a JCOTY, too, the first time an American brand has ever accomplished the feat.

AutoGuide reports the Cherokee took eighth place among the top 10 list, the third Fiat Chrysler Japan product in a row to do so after the Fiat Panda and Alfa Romeo Giulietta. The crossover went on sale in Japan in May 2014.

Among the transplants, the Mercedes C-Class took a close second behind the Demio, the BMW i3 won the bronze, and the Peugeot 308 came in sixth place. Subaru’s Levorg wagon was the next highest-placing home model.

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Singapore Researchers Invent New Anode For Faster Battery Charging, Increased Longevity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/singapore-researchers-invent-new-anode-faster-battery-charging-increased-longevity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/singapore-researchers-invent-new-anode-faster-battery-charging-increased-longevity/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=932306 One of the main roadblocks to wide adoption of EVs is how quickly the battery can be fully charged. While Tesla’s Supercharger could put a Model S P85D back on the road in 30 minutes to an hour, a Dodge Charger Hellcat can pull up to and away from the pump in three minutes, barring […]

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NTU Assoc Prof Chen Xiaodong with research fellow Tang Yuxin and PhD student Deng Jiyang

One of the main roadblocks to wide adoption of EVs is how quickly the battery can be fully charged. While Tesla’s Supercharger could put a Model S P85D back on the road in 30 minutes to an hour, a Dodge Charger Hellcat can pull up to and away from the pump in three minutes, barring a run inside the 7-Eleven for a cup of coffee and a couple of donuts.

That roadblock may come down sooner than later, thanks to researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University.

The university recently unveiled a new battery that could be recharged to 70 percent capacity within two minutes, and boasts a lifespan of 20 years over the two to three years of life found in current lithium-ion batteries.

The secret? Replacing the graphite anode in those batteries with a nanogel composed of titanium oxide, a chemical commonly found in soil, sunscreen and food. Invented by Professor Chen Xiaodong at the university’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, the gel will be taken to the next level with a proof-of-concept grant to help fund a large-scale prototype.

Meanwhile, at least one company has already purchased a license to develop the titanium oxide battery for production down the road. Chen himself believes his invention will enter the marketplace within the next two years, knocking down more than just the long-charging barrier in so doing:

Electric cars will be able to increase their range dramatically, with just five minutes of charging, which is on par with the time needed to pump petrol for current cars.

Equally important, we can now drastically cut down the toxic waste generated by disposed batteries, since our batteries last ten times longer than the current generation of lithium-ion batteries.

Ease of manufacturing and lower replacement costs may further widespread adoption within the industry, in turn increasing adoption rates for whatever EVs come down the line in the future; the nanogel — a mixture of titanium oxide and sodium hydroxide — is stirred together at a given temperature for easier integration into current production systems.

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Revised Mazda2 Takes Home Japan COTY Award http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/revised-mazda2-takes-home-japan-coty-award/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/revised-mazda2-takes-home-japan-coty-award/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931434 The newly revised Mazda2 — Demio in its home market of Japan — won’t be in United States showrooms until sometime during the 2016 model year, but when it does arrive, it will be bringing along its first award: the 2014-2015 Car of the Year Japan, as presented by the Japan Car of the Year […]

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New-Mazda2-3-Demio

The newly revised Mazda2 — Demio in its home market of Japan — won’t be in United States showrooms until sometime during the 2016 model year, but when it does arrive, it will be bringing along its first award: the 2014-2015 Car of the Year Japan, as presented by the Japan Car of the Year Committee.

The fourth vehicle to adopt the automaker’s Kodo design language — after the CX-5, Mazda6 and Mazda3 — the Mazda2 took home the award just two years after the CX-5 did the same. The win is Mazda’s fifth overall.

All passenger vehicles announced or in production in Japan between November 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014, with over 500 units produced/planned for the home market, were eligible for this year’s award.

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China Auto Sales Slow To Lowest Rate Since February 2013 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/china-auto-sales-slow-lowest-rate-since-february-2013/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/china-auto-sales-slow-lowest-rate-since-february-2013/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931362 Chinese automotive sales are still growing, but at the lowest rate in the past 19 months as demand cools. Bloomberg reports sales in September rose 2.5 percent to 1.98 million units compared to what they were in 2013, marking the lowest rise in sales since February of last year. While passenger-car sales climbed 6.4 percent […]

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SAIC bus

Chinese automotive sales are still growing, but at the lowest rate in the past 19 months as demand cools.

Bloomberg reports sales in September rose 2.5 percent to 1.98 million units compared to what they were in 2013, marking the lowest rise in sales since February of last year. While passenger-car sales climbed 6.4 percent to 1.7 million units, commercial-vehicle sales fell 16 percent.

Meanwhile, purchase restrictions and declines in other parts of the nation’s economy also contributed to the slowdown in sales. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers lowered its 2014 forecast of vehicle sales growth in July, bringing it down from 10 percent to 8.3 percent. Economists add that overall growth will slow to 7.3 percent in 2014 — the lowest rate since 1990 — and 7 percent for 2015.

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Datsun Dealing With Low Sales In Emerging Markets http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/datsun-dealing-low-sales-emerging-markets/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=931346 Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin. It’s not quite working out thus far. Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three […]

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Datsun mi-Do 01

Last year, Renault-Nissan resurrected Datsun, positioning the brand for emerging markets — like India, Russia and Indonesia — with a portfolio of models that would attract new, young consumers whose wallets were a bit thin.

It’s not quite working out thus far.

Bloomberg reports deliveries of the Go hatchback in India have fallen in three of the previous four months through this August, with only 607 units leaving the lot in July, briefly dipping below the sales rate of the Tata Nano in the same month. Further, from its debut in March through August, a total of 9,557 of the ₹312,270 ($5,100 USD) Gos found their way into Indian garages.

Meanwhile, Russian sales will take a hit thanks to the ongoing geopolitical Cold War retro revival delivering a two-pronged attack upon the market, with sanctions by Western states on one side, the spectre of recession along the other. According to IHS Automotive, sales may fall to a decade-low of 9 percent by the time 2015 rolls around.

Finally, Datsun has moved 6,400 Go+ Pancas thus far in FY 2014, with the goal set for 40,000 units sold by the end of March 2015. The brand recently began accepting orders for the Go hatch, while Nissan believes it can hit the mark within the year.

India may prove to be the toughest market for the upstart brand, as those interested in a new car would rather pay more than be seen in something considered “cheap.” That said, sales could pick up during the country’s festival season, which began last month and is set to end in November. Additionally, Datsun corporate vice president Vincent Cobee acknowledged that it would take a while for a new-car buyer to consider a new brand over an established one, even if they are paying $10,000 or less for the vehicle.

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Hyundai/Kia Reconsidering US Diesel Market Stance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/hyundaikia-reconsidering-us-diesel-market-stance/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=930882 With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market. According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to […]

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Kia-Rio-Diesel

With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market.

According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to bring them over as far back as 2009, only to back out due to then-upcoming regulations for cleaner diesels, the costs in creating them, and the higher price of diesel compared to gasoline. He says that while those issues “haven’t necessarily been eliminated, they’ve been understood better,” leading to a “more direct path” toward a U.S. diesel lineup.

Additionally, CAFE targets — especially the 2025 fleet target of 54.5 mpg — could necessitate Hyundai/Kia to add diesel to its green weapons arsenal. Juriga stated Hyundai may bring cylinder deactivation, PHEVs and EGR between 2016 and 2021, while nine- and 10-speed automatics could further its fuel efficiency game between 2021 and 2025.

That said, the duo’s diesel efforts would need to find the right fit in the U.S. in order to achieve success. Juriga explained that the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made up just 3 percent of overall Cruze sales, and that the vehicle chosen by Hyundai/Kia would also have to go against Volkswagen strong diesel lineup. Though he didn’t offer what vehicle the duo had in mind, he believes the automakers’ customer base would be “more accepting of the technology and willing to pay a premium for the engine type in the correct product.”

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