It’s not just the UAW that is upset about free trade agreements. The Koreans are likewise. The offices of the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association were raided by investigators of the country’s Fair Trade Commission, the Financial Times reports. The agency alleges that BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Toyota Motor were involved in price collusion. Read More >
Sergio Marchionne has been one of the most prolific alarmists regarding European overcapacity, and who can blame him? The economy is in the dumps in Fiat’s home market, as well as crucial export markets, and closing a plant would come with all kinds of blowback.
The folks at Toyota have been complaining about the low euro and the strong yen long enough. Now, they are putting the low Euro to work. Starting in May 2013, Toyota will ship its Toyota Yaris from Toyota’s Onnaing-Valenciennes plant in France to the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Read More >
The Globe and Mail’s Greg Keenan explored an interesting conundrum that Canadian governmental officials are facing; is it worth subsidizing auto industry manufacturing facilities, even with austerity programs in place?
Coda Automotive, a Southern California start-up that assembles EVs with Chinese components, announced at today’s Beijing Auto Show that it would partner with the Chinese OEM Great Wall to develop a new, lower-cost EV. Says Coda CEO Phil Murtaugh (who you might remember as a key character in American Wheels, Chinese Roads) explains in a press release
Now we know why GM bought seven percent of PSA, a move for which most of the industry had no explanation. Forget overcapacity and scale effects. It was a carefully crafted plan to bring traffic in the Iran to a halt. Stuxnet is nothing compared to this. Read More >
Renault has realized a new trend: Imports are hot in Japan. Nissan established a new company, Renault Japon Co., Ltd., to import and sell Renault vehicles in Japan, effective April 2, 2012. Previously, Renaults were sold in Japan by a division of Nissan.
While American automakers sit sulking in a corner and complain about mythical import restrictions to Japan, European makers are looking back at a great year exporting their cars to the island nation. While the Japanese market as a whole dropped 14 percent, imports to Japan rose 22.5 percent. Read More >
Toyota plans to more than double its exports to South Korea to 20,700 vehicles this year, says The Nikkei [sub]. The cars come from places that used to be import nations for Toyota: The U.S. and Europe. After announcing plans to export U.S.-built cars to South Korea, Toyota now is looking to bringing made-in-Europe cars back to Asia. Read More >
Which country is Toyota’s second largest export hub? If all goes according to the wishes of Yoshimi Inaba, president of Toyota Motor North America, then that will be North America. Toyota has an annual production capacity of 1.8 million vehicles in the U.S. alone and wants to export increasing numbers to the world, Inaba told The Nikkei [sub]. Read More >
It looks like Carlos Ghosn is tired of talking about the inaction of the Japanese government with regards to the killer yen. He told his people to start packing. The Nikkei [sub] reports today that Nissan will stop making in Japan newly developed cars for export from Japan. New cars will be produced at overseas plants.
“Under current foreign exchange rates, there can be no shipments from Japan of totally new projects,” Nissan’s COO Toshiyuki Shiga said. According to the report, anything with a new chassis that is intended for foreign markets will begin its life in those foreign markets. Says The Nikkei: Read More >
With a 35% import tax on new cars, Argentina is already a touch market for foreign brands seeking to bring cars into the country. But the Argentinean government has just made it little bit harder by demanding that importers export an equal amount of Argentina-made goods for every car imported. As a result, Bloomberg reports that Porsche’s importer is exporting Malbec wines and olives, Mitsubishi’s importer is getting into the peanut export game, and Subaru’s representative is shipping chicken feed to Chile. BMW, which has had recent difficulties importing into Argentina, is focusing on its core business, exporting auto parts and upholstery… and a little processed rice to make up the difference. But why are these major manufacturers getting into all kinds of strange side businesses just because Argentina wants to improve its trade balance and foreign currency reserves? Simple: Argentina is South America’s second-largest economy, and it’s been growing at over 5% per year since 2007 (i.e. when other markets were shrinking). So if the government wants imports balanced with exports, well, Porsche’s importer is just going to have to get into the wine business, isn’t he?
Designed to be the world’s cheapest car, the Tata Nano is supposed to compete with scooters and three-wheelers rather than full-priced, global-brand vehicles. But the Nano has already seen several price increases since the target MSRP of $2,500 was announced, and the price in India for a base-level Nano is now about $2,870. And when you talk about such low prices, even small increases can wreak havoc on expected volumes, and as a result the Nano is turning into something of a flop (helped along by its pyromania problem).
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China’s assault on the auto markets of the west may have been delayed another five years, but Australia is going to be the canary in the coal mine. The first mature Western-style market to see any significant imports of Chinese vehicles, led by the Chery J1, is adapting to a new era of low-cost, low-content cars. And it seems that the Chinese OEMs are right to be waiting for future generations of vehicles, as the J1 seems unlikely to make even the impact that Hyundai’s departed Excel made. One reason: safety. Or lack thereof. Hit the the jump to see what we’re on about.
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