The Truth About Cars » Overseas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 28 May 2015 17:47:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Overseas http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/overseas/ China’s SUV Boom Fueled By Road Rage Concerns, Other Factors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076922 A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list. SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom […]

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Great_Wall_Haval_H6_01_China_2012-06-02

A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list.

SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom is in part due to increasing incidences of road rage, prompting “sane” motorists to buy SUVs “for self defense” against “the angry ones” on the road.

Other contributors to the boom include rough roads (of the literal sort) outside the nation’s cities, lower fuel prices, and the introduction of low-cost SUVs and crossovers with prices beginning at ¥130,000 ($21,000 USD); 49 such models were or will be introduced by domestic automakers during 2014 and 2015.

[Source: Navigator84/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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Ford Otosan Ceases Production In İnönü Amid Ongoing Industrial Action http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-otosan-ceases-production-in-inonu-amid-ongoing-industrial-action/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-otosan-ceases-production-in-inonu-amid-ongoing-industrial-action/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076338 Remember when we said all was well for Ford Otosan regarding recent industrial actions? It’s no longer the case, as one plant ceases production once more. Ford Otosan said it ceased production at its İnönü facility “until further notice” — where the Ford Cargo commercial truck is assembled — as a precaution after some of […]

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Ford Cargo Rolling Out Of Container Port

Remember when we said all was well for Ford Otosan regarding recent industrial actions? It’s no longer the case, as one plant ceases production once more.

Ford Otosan said it ceased production at its İnönü facility “until further notice” — where the Ford Cargo commercial truck is assembled — as a precaution after some of the strikers did not leave the plant, Reuters reports.

The industrial action over working conditions and pay — also affecting Ford Otosan’s plant in Gölcük, as well as operations belonging to Fiat (Tofaş) and Renault-Nissan (Oyak-Renault) — began last month when union Turk Metal negotiated a 60 percent wage hike for workers at a Bosch Fren factory, but failed to do the same with the rest of Turkey’s auto workers.

Renault-Nissan offered to pay striking workers ₺1,000 ($370 USD) to resume production by midnight May 25, only for workers to reject the deal when the automaker’s employer union made revisions said not to benefit employees.

[Source: Ford Trucks/Facebook]

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Will the GenX Nano Erase Tata’s ‘Cheapest Car’ Stigma? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/will-genx-nano-erase-tatas-cheapest-car-stigma/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/will-genx-nano-erase-tatas-cheapest-car-stigma/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 13:26:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071194 It’s not often a car company, or any group of people for the matter, will admit mistakes – particularly billion dollar mistakes. That’s why the launch of the all-new Tata GenX Nano is refreshing. Based on former CEO Ratan Tata’s dream of moving Indians who transport their entire families on scooters and motorcycles into safer […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bajaj Re60

Bajaj Re60. Image: Bajaj

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

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

 

Original Tata Nano instrument panel

Original Tata Nano instrument panel. Wikimedia commons photo

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

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

 

Renault Kwid

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

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

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

 

Original Tata Nano

Original Tata Nano. Wikimedia commons photo

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

 

Tata Nano Twist

Tata Nano Twist

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

 

Maruti Alto 800

Maruti Alto 800

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

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

Click here to view the embedded video.

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

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

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

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2015 Jeep Renegade

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

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

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

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

[Source: Jeep]

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Ford, Fiat Factories In Turkey Resume Production After Week-Long Shutdown http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-fiat-factories-in-turkey-resume-production-after-week-long-shutdown/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/ford-fiat-factories-in-turkey-resume-production-after-week-long-shutdown/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 18:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073098 Over a week after wage disputes shut down production, Fiat and Ford report operations are back to normal at their plants in Turkey. Both Ford Otosan’s Gölcük and Yeniköy plants, and Fiat’s Tofaş saw production restart Friday after going offline for over a week, Automobile News Europe reports. The plants are responsible for building models […]

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Fiat Ducato Passenger Transport in Turkey Circa November 2014

Over a week after wage disputes shut down production, Fiat and Ford report operations are back to normal at their plants in Turkey.

Both Ford Otosan’s Gölcük and Yeniköy plants, and Fiat’s Tofaş saw production restart Friday after going offline for over a week, Automobile News Europe reports. The plants are responsible for building models such as the Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster City, and the upcoming Fiat Aegea set to hit showrooms in November.

The shutdown came about due to a dispute over working conditions and pay which began last month when union Turk Metal negotiated a wage hike of 60 percent for those working in a plant by Bosch Fren, neglecting to include the rest of Turkey’s auto workers in so doing.

Meanwhile, Renault’s joint venture with the Turkish military pension fund in Bursa remains closed, prompting the automaker to reconsider future investments into the nation’s auto industry should the ongoing labor dispute present more instability.

[Source: shankar s./Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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

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Renault Kwid 01

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Image credit: Renault]

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

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

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

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

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

[Photo credit: Tata]

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OPEC: Oil To Remain Below $100 Per Barrel Through 2020s http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-oil-to-remain-below-100-per-barrel-through-2020s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/opec-oil-to-remain-below-100-per-barrel-through-2020s/#comments Mon, 18 May 2015 20:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1070218 Those hoping for a return to $100 per barrel of oil are in for a long wait, as OPEC says oil will remain below the price point through the 2020s. A report by the group forecasts oil will trade for around $76/barrel in 2025 under optimistic conditions, The Wall Street Journal reports, with $40/barrel under […]

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Entrance_OPEC_Headquarter_Vienna

Those hoping for a return to $100 per barrel of oil are in for a long wait, as OPEC says oil will remain below the price point through the 2020s.

A report by the group forecasts oil will trade for around $76/barrel in 2025 under optimistic conditions, The Wall Street Journal reports, with $40/barrel under more dire straits. The forecasts take into account the group’s competitors in the United States coping through low prices amid increased production.

To combat this, the report recommends OPEC return to the production-quota system it ditched in 2011 amid conflict over how much each member state would be allowed to produce. Members are reluctant to go back, preferring to attract new business instead of being tied down by quotas most ignored already. However, the proposal would grant poorer members, like Algeria and Venezuela, the right to produce more oil, and would come into force if OPEC’s share of the global oil market fell below 32 percent, the size of the share it holds now.

The report comes amid worries among the members about their ability to balance their respective budgets with oil money. According to the International Monetary Fund, only Qatar and Kuwait can weather trading at $76/barrel, while most need trading to be as much as $130/barrel for a properly balanced budget.

[Photo credit: Vincent Eisfeld/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0]

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Hyundai Group Riding High Amid Russian Economic Maelstrom http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-group-riding-high-amid-russian-economic-maelstrom/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/hyundai-group-riding-high-amid-russian-economic-maelstrom/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 17:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068554 As Russia continues to struggle with its economic health, Hyundai Group is doing its part to keep the nation’s auto sales afloat. According to a representative, “Russia is one of the major and important markets for Hyundai (Group),” Ward’s Auto reports. The group’s Hyundai and Kia brands hold a combined 19.9 percent of the nation’s […]

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2016 Rio  SX

As Russia continues to struggle with its economic health, Hyundai Group is doing its part to keep the nation’s auto sales afloat.

According to a representative, “Russia is one of the major and important markets for Hyundai (Group),” Ward’s Auto reports. The group’s Hyundai and Kia brands hold a combined 19.9 percent of the nation’s automotive market in Q1 2015, with Hyundai holding 10.4 percent and Kia 9.5 percent.

Despite the maelstrom sweeping through the market, Hyundai Group has managed to fare well against the economic storm compared to other automakers. Analysts and industry-watchers suggest this is due to factors such as proper product placement, a beneficial global strategy, and its ability to play the game driving Russia’s auto industry.

The group also took home the gold in deliveries over the recent quarter, moving a combined 75,871 vehicles out of the showroom. Local automaker AvtoVAZ pulled up in second with 68,554 in the same period, while Renault-Nissan took bronze with 65,657 combined deliveries. Meanwhile, BMW is reconsidering plans to build a factory in Russia, and General Motors is shutting down local production and withdrawing its Chevrolet and Opel brands from the market.

Within the group, the Kia Rio has done wonders for the bottom line, especially for the Kia brand. Produced locally at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Russia facility in St. Petersburg, the Rio accounted for 44 percent of overall production — 104,700 units — and 48 percent of all the brand’s sales in the market during 2014.

Though the country’s economic woes are expected to worsen in 2015, a Kia representative says market share for the brand is likely to continue trending upward, having gone from 7.1 percent in 2013 to 7.9 percent last year; current projections through February 2015 point to a 9.8-percent share by the end of the year. Hyundai remains mum on yearly forecasts, but believes it will continue to fare well, also, thanks in part to government incentives for both consumers and the industry as a whole.

[Photo credit: Kia]

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Volkswagen Unveils New W12 At Vienna Motor Symposium http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-unveils-new-w12-vienna-motor-symposium/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-unveils-new-w12-vienna-motor-symposium/#comments Mon, 11 May 2015 20:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1066002 Volkswagen’s new 6.0-liter W12 TSI made its global debut at the 36th International Vienna Motor Symposium last Friday. The next-gen W12 combines Audi’s FSI direct injection and Bentley’s TMPI multi-point injection systems together, and is augmented by a pair of twin-scroll turbochargers, an oil circuit for off-road applications, APS-coated cylinders, active engine mounts with hydraulic […]

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Volkswagen 6.0 W12 TSI TTAC Style

Volkswagen’s new 6.0-liter W12 TSI made its global debut at the 36th International Vienna Motor Symposium last Friday.

The next-gen W12 combines Audi’s FSI direct injection and Bentley’s TMPI multi-point injection systems together, and is augmented by a pair of twin-scroll turbochargers, an oil circuit for off-road applications, APS-coated cylinders, active engine mounts with hydraulic basic damping, cooling with integrated temperature management, cylinder deactivation, and start-stop.

Power output for the W12 comes to 600 horses and 664 lb-ft of torque, slotting between the mills used by the Bentley Continental GT W12 and GT Speed on the power scale.

Depending on the application, the new engine could move a vehicle from nil to 62 mph in under four seconds, with top speeds reaching 186 mph.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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

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Landwind X9 Rally Trucklet

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

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

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

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

[Photo credit: Landwind]

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Al-Naimi: Only Allah Knows Where Oil Prices Will Go http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/al-naimi-allah-knows-oil-prices-will-go/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/al-naimi-allah-knows-oil-prices-will-go/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 17:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062274 How long will Saudi Arabia allow oil prices to drop as the country’s production remains unchanged? Only Allah knows the answer. Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi told CNBC as much when asked about where oil prices were heading amid speculation as to how long the country would maintain the status quo […]

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Ali Al-Naimi

How long will Saudi Arabia allow oil prices to drop as the country’s production remains unchanged? Only Allah knows the answer.

Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi told CNBC as much when asked about where oil prices were heading amid speculation as to how long the country would maintain the status quo before cutting production. Al-Naimi added he wasn’t worried about the possibility of Iranian crude entering the mix as sanctions were lifted as part of Iran’s international nuclear deal, even though it would likely add to the growing glut and prompt lower prices still upon introduction.

The ongoing decline in oil prices began last year when OPEC kept production at 30 million barrels a day in order to maintain its share of the market against the likes of Canadian shale and U.S. crude from North Dakota.

Currently, Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude are trading for around $68/barrel and $60/barrel, respectively, helped by protests in Libya hampering exports, and possible disruptions linked to the ongoing conflict in Yemen.

[Photo credit: UNCTAD/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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Volkswagen Supervisory Board Meeting Monday To Discuss New Chairman http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-supervisory-board-meeting-monday-discuss-new-chairman/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/volkswagen-supervisory-board-meeting-monday-discuss-new-chairman/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 16:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1060674 A week after Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch quit his post, the company’s supervisory board will meet Monday to discuss finding a replacement. The 20-member board, led by interim chairman Berthold Huber, will meet in Hanover, Germany prior to Tuesday’s shareholder meeting to discuss candidates suitable for the vacated role, Reuters reports. A source close […]

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Volkswagen Group Logo TTAC Style

A week after Volkswagen Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch quit his post, the company’s supervisory board will meet Monday to discuss finding a replacement.

The 20-member board, led by interim chairman Berthold Huber, will meet in Hanover, Germany prior to Tuesday’s shareholder meeting to discuss candidates suitable for the vacated role, Reuters reports. A source close to the issue says a decision isn’t likely today, however.

Though Huber is leading the search, the former IG Metall boss isn’t up for consideration to helm the company permanently. Whoever is chosen for the role, though, “needs a high degree of automotive expertise and authority,” and would ideally be a VW outsider who can govern neutrally, according to Union Investment fund manager Ingo Speich, whose group holds 0.6 percent of VW preference shares.

As for who is up for consideration, speculation points to Continental AG chairman Wolfgang Reitzle and Porsche SE chairman Wolfgang Porsche; VW and its works council have not commented on potential candidates as of this writing. Reitzle was recently suggested by Piëch to fill his vacated seat on the board alongside former Siemens manager Brigitte Ederer instead of the board’s choice of his two nieces, a move the former chairman opposed.

[Image credit: Volkswagen]

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Saudi Prince Offers Bentleys To Pilots In Yemen Bombing Raid http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/saudi-prince-offers-bentleys-pilots-yemen-bombing-raid/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/saudi-prince-offers-bentleys-pilots-yemen-bombing-raid/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052425 After the end of the first phase of a military campaign in Yemen, one Saudi prince decided to reward the pilots with Bentleys for a job well done. Saudi royal family member Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal tweeted that he would give the 100 pilots involved in the bombing operation 100 Bentleys “in appreciation of their […]

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2016-bentley-continental-gt-17

After the end of the first phase of a military campaign in Yemen, one Saudi prince decided to reward the pilots with Bentleys for a job well done.

Saudi royal family member Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal tweeted that he would give the 100 pilots involved in the bombing operation 100 Bentleys “in appreciation of their role” in said operation, the BBC reports. The tweet was shared over 28,000 times and favorited by over 5,000, with many praising the prince for his “generosity.”

However, those affected by the bombing weren’t too thrilled by the proposal. One Yemeni chastised the gesture, stating that no ambulances would be coming to the hospitals the pilots likely helped fill. Others noted the disparity between Al-Waleed’s wealth and the poverty among those in Yemen, with one Jordanian saying “100 or 200 lives for a Bentley” was how “cheap” a human life was for the Saudis.

The original tweet was eventually deleted, with Saudi media reporting the account as having been hacked; the prince himself did not claim this happened.

[Photo credit: Bentley]

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

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Honda Step WGN 01

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

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

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

[Photo credit: Honda]

Honda Step WGN Gallery

Honda Step WGN 01 Honda Step WGN 05 Honda Step WGN 09 Honda Step WGN 02 Honda Step WGN 06 Honda Step WGN 10 Honda Step WGN 07 Honda Step WGN 08

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James May Bidding Farewell To Top Gear Unless Clarkson Returns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/james-may-bidding-farewell-top-gear-unless-clarkson-returns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/james-may-bidding-farewell-top-gear-unless-clarkson-returns/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:17:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052281 Top Gear presenter James May is saying farewell to the show, as hosting it with Richard Hammond and a “surrogate” Jeremy Clarkson would be “lame.” May explained hiring a replacement for the dismissed host is a “non-starter” at best, as the chemistry that made the trio what it was would be hard to replicate without Clarkson, […]

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James May

Top Gear presenter James May is saying farewell to the show, as hosting it with Richard Hammond and a “surrogate” Jeremy Clarkson would be “lame.”

May explained hiring a replacement for the dismissed host is a “non-starter” at best, as the chemistry that made the trio what it was would be hard to replicate without Clarkson, according to The Guardian:

It has to be the three of us. You can’t just put a surrogate Jeremy in and expect it to carry on. It would be forced. I don’t believe they would be stupid enough to try that.

May added he’d like to continue working with the BBC on other projects and there may be a possibility of all three returning to Top Gear someday.

Regarding Clarkson’s dismissal as a result of the “fracas” between he and producer Oisin Tymon in March, the host says the BBC “haven’t completely closed the door on Jeremy’s return,” adding the broadcaster only decided not to renew his contract instead of outright firing and/or banning him.

Whether the trio would reunite for a production elsewhere, May did not rule it out, though non-compete clauses in at least one of the presenters’ contracts would make the jump difficult for now.

May also said he would be happy to film new studio and other footage for the remaining three episodes of Top Gear previously cancelled. The BBC says those three would air sometime this year, with this summer being the earliest.

[Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons]

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Volkswagen Takes Silver In Quarterly Sales Amid Lingering Leadership Battle http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volkswagen-takes-silver-quarterly-sales-amid-lingering-leadership-battle/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volkswagen-takes-silver-quarterly-sales-amid-lingering-leadership-battle/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1052129 While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015. Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next […]

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2013 Volkswagen Up

While the dust-up between chairman Ferdinand Piëch and CEO Martin Winterkorn lingers on, Volkswagen looks to take silver on the global sales podium in 2015.

Amid reports from German press agency dpa regarding Piëch’s desire to replace Winterkorn with either Porsche’s Matthias Mueller or Skoda’s Winfried Vahland prior to VW’s annual shareholder meeting early next month, the chairman denied the allegations to German newspaper Bild, Automotive News Europe reports.

Piëch said he had agreed to support Winterkorn following a meeting with board members in Austria last week. However, broadcasting network NDR says the chairman doesn’t feel bound by the agreement, and is seeking support from the Porsche and Piëch families to oust the CEO. The two families hold 50.7 percent of VW voting rights, a factor that could sway the state of Lower Saxony and German unions to vote in favor of Piëch’s chosen champion for the role. Both groups, though, stand firm behind Winterkorn and the board’s decision.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is closing in on its immediate goal of becoming the second largest automaker in the world by the end of 2015. According to AutoGuide, the automaker sold 2.49 million units from its family of brands between January and March 2015, edging out General Motors for the second spot on the sales podium by 70,000 units; Toyota retains the gold for now. The figure is also a 1.8-percent improvement compared to 2014.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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

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2003 Suzuki Wagon R

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

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

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

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

[Photo credit: Kuha455405/Wikipedia]

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Volvo Group Appoints Martin Lundstedt To CEO Role http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volvo-group-appoints-martin-lundstedt-ceo-role/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/volvo-group-appoints-martin-lundstedt-ceo-role/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050953 In a surprise move by Swedish truck builder Volvo Group AB, the company has replaced president and CEO Olof Persson with Scania AB boss Martin Lundstedt. Group chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told The Wall Street Journal the board came to the conclusion the company would be “better served by someone with longer experience in the truck industry” […]

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Martin-Lundstedt

In a surprise move by Swedish truck builder Volvo Group AB, the company has replaced president and CEO Olof Persson with Scania AB boss Martin Lundstedt.

Group chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told The Wall Street Journal the board came to the conclusion the company would be “better served by someone with longer experience in the truck industry” than Persson, who had been its CEO for four years prior to Wednesday’s announcement. Svanberg added that one couldn’t reach world leadership via cost-cutting – such as the kr10-billion ($1.15 billion USD) program from 2012 through 2015 that cut 4,000 jobs – but through “clear vision” of what the company seeks to accomplish.

The move comes after Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri reported claims of Svanberg seeking to replace Persson amid frustrations with Volvo Group’s performance despite the overhaul program meant to improve profit margins. The company’s shareholders held similar criticisms of Persson’s restructuring program and the pace at which it was implemented.

As for what Lundstedt will bring to the table, Svanberg praised his 25 years of experience in the commercial truck industry as well as his “winning leadership style.” Lundstedt shares some of the credit in maintaining Scania’s margins in the market, which had stood at 9.2 percent throughout 2014.

Lundstedt will take over as Volvo Group’s CEO in October. Chief Financial Officer Jan Gurander – who worked under Lundstedt as Scania’s CFO in the early 2000s – will be the company’s interim leader effective immediately.

[Photo credit: Scania]

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VW Group Board Supporting Winterkorn In Leadership Conflict http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/vw-group-board-supporting-winterkorn-leadership-conflict/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/vw-group-board-supporting-winterkorn-leadership-conflict/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050873 VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn gained a few key supporters in the leadership conflict between he and chairman Ferdinand Piëch. The company’s six-member supervisory board’s leadership committee met with Piëch in his office in Austria last week to declare their support, according to Autoblog, following similar actions made by Wolfgang Porsche, Volkswagen’s global works council, […]

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Winterkorn, Piech, Piech - Picture courtesy Volkswagen

VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn gained a few key supporters in the leadership conflict between he and chairman Ferdinand Piëch.

The company’s six-member supervisory board’s leadership committee met with Piëch in his office in Austria last week to declare their support, according to Autoblog, following similar actions made by Wolfgang Porsche, Volkswagen’s global works council, and the German state of Lower Saxony. The board also let it be known they may extend Winterkorn’s contract beyond 2016 and should Piëch refuse to agree to public support of the CEO they would demand Piëch’s resignation.

The leadership battle is linked to a few problems Piëch has had with Winterkorn for some time, particularly VW’s ongoing sales woes in the United States. Alongside similar problems in Brazil, overall profits taking a downturn, and competitor BMW grabbing the green-car title among the German automakers, Piëch believes the CEO lacks the vision needed to pull his company into a better place in the industry. For now, though, Piëch is holding to his part of the deal with the board.

[Photo credit: Volkswagen]

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Norway Set To Review EV Incentives Amid Soaring Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/norway-set-review-ev-incentives-amid-soaring-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/norway-set-review-ev-incentives-amid-soaring-sales/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1049953 The law of unintended consequences has found another victim in Norway as the nation re-assesses its electric vehicle incentives amid soaring sales. Monday marked the 50,000th EV sold in Norway since the nation implemented incentives in 2012 meant to encourage electric-vehicle adoption among its citizens. The incentive includes toll and parking fee exemptions, free use […]

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Tesla Model S delivery to Høyres Nikolai Astrup in Norway

The law of unintended consequences has found another victim in Norway as the nation re-assesses its electric vehicle incentives amid soaring sales.

Monday marked the 50,000th EV sold in Norway since the nation implemented incentives in 2012 meant to encourage electric-vehicle adoption among its citizens. The incentive includes toll and parking fee exemptions, free use of charging stations, and bus-lane usage in addition to the usual tax credit scheme, Reuters reports. The milestone arrived three years earlier than expected by the government, whose official data shows that one-fifth of 2015 new-car sales in Norway are of electric models. Norway, a nation of 5.1 million, now accounts for one-third of all battery-powered vehicle sales in Europe based on 2014 sales figures.

As such, the nation’s finance ministry is looking to revise those incentives, especially in light of losing kr3 billion to kr4 billion ($380 million to $510 million USD) in revenue, as well as complaints about increased sales of the Tesla Model S, which made up 3 percent of overall EV sales last year. The latter issue has led to calls from critics to remove the incentives for wealthy consumers.

The finance ministry will present the outcome of its review when the revised budget is presented May 1.

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

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Auto Shanghai 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audi prologue allroad

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

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

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

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

Audi A6 L e-tron Gallery

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

Audi Q7 e-tron Gallery

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

Audi prologue allroad concept Gallery

Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad Audi prologue allroad

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

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Buick Verano - Shanghai 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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Hyundai To Build Mexican Factory After Sales Exceed 50K Per Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-build-mexican-factory-sales-exceed-50k-per-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/hyundai-build-mexican-factory-sales-exceed-50k-per-year/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1046314 Hyundai is planning on building a factory in Mexico, but only after annual domestic sales in the country rise to appropriate levels. Bloomberg reports the automaker is waiting until annual sales exceed 50,000 before breaking ground on a factory for the Hyundai brand, per Hyundai Motor de Mexico managing director Pedro Albarran. He adds that […]

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Hyundai Grand i10 Receiving Service in Mexico

Hyundai is planning on building a factory in Mexico, but only after annual domestic sales in the country rise to appropriate levels.

Bloomberg reports the automaker is waiting until annual sales exceed 50,000 before breaking ground on a factory for the Hyundai brand, per Hyundai Motor de Mexico managing director Pedro Albarran. He adds that the target could come as soon as 2018; 2014 sales totalled 12,000.

As for where it could be built, Albarran says the state of Nuevo Leon — where Kia is investing $1 billion into building a new factory of its own — would be an ideal location, and that Kia’s move to build the factory made Mexico more desirable for Hyundai, thanks to the factory attracting suppliers.

When operational, the Hyundai factory would produce over 100,000 units per year, and would include subcompacts popular in the country.

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

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Eneos Gas Station With Hydrogen Pumps

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

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

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

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