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, 11 Sep 2014 17:31:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 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 is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. 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/ Mahindra Seeking Alliances With Global Players http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mahindra-seeking-alliances-global-players/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/mahindra-seeking-alliances-global-players/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=909098 Despite its struggles in its native market — and, perhaps, because of said struggles — Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking to build alliances with a trio of automakers to develop its global presence. The Economic Times reports M&M is joining up with its South Korean brand Ssangyong Motor in their entries into Russia and China […]

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Despite its struggles in its native market — and, perhaps, because of said struggles — Mahindra & Mahindra is seeking to build alliances with a trio of automakers to develop its global presence.

The Economic Times reports M&M is joining up with its South Korean brand Ssangyong Motor in their entries into Russia and China as part of a “coordinated global branding strategy” between the parent company’s two brands. The United States — where Mahindra has had a difficult time selling more than tractors — and Europe — where Ssangyong lost some of its footing prior to M&M’s purchase in 2011 — are also on the radar.

Speaking of Europe, M&M is in alliance talks with both PSA Peugeot Citroën and SAAB AB as far as branding and technology-sharing are concerned. Regarding the former, Mahindra is interested in PSA’s diesel- and compressed air-hybrid technology, with the aim of jumping “into the future generation,” according to French analyst Gautam Sen. In turn, PSA could piggyback on Mahindra into the Indian market it had abandoned in the 1990s. The company attempted to return in 2011 by breaking ground on a new factory in Sanand, only to be undermined by financial difficulties.

As for SAAB, Sen says Mahindra would like to acquire the Saab brand and resurrect it as another way to enter markets in Europe and the U.S. The strategy would involve rebranding and redesigning Mahindra and Ssangyong products into Saabs, but only if “quality and design can come up to the expectations of the typically discerning Saab enthusiast.” That said, he adds that relaunching the Saab brand would be easier said than done, as both Spyker and National Electric Vehicle Sweden can attest.

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Pre-Production 2015 Honda Civic Type-R Spotted In Croatia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/pre-production-2015-honda-civic-type-r-spotted-croatia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/pre-production-2015-honda-civic-type-r-spotted-croatia/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 14:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=906473 While our European friends are waiting for the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R to arrive next summer, one lucky spotter discovered a pre-production model tackling the switchbacks of Eastern Europe not too long ago. Carscoops reports a friend of theirs sent in two photos of the 2015 Type-R as it was shooting a promo in Rijeka, […]

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While our European friends are waiting for the next-generation Honda Civic Type-R to arrive next summer, one lucky spotter discovered a pre-production model tackling the switchbacks of Eastern Europe not too long ago.

Carscoops reports a friend of theirs sent in two photos of the 2015 Type-R as it was shooting a promo in Rijeka, Croatia, located two hours to the southwest from the nation’s capital, Zagreb.

This particular Type-R — later spotted on a trailer in Slovenia — lacks the concept version’s massive front wheel arches and matching set of front and rear air ducts — as seen at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show — yet maintains the large rear spoiler/LED tail lamp combo.

The Type-R will receive power from a 2-liter VTEC turbo-four punching out 280 horsepower through the front wheels when it begins production next year.

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Uber’s Low-Cost UberPop Service Banned In Germany http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ubers-low-cost-uberpop-service-banned-germany/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ubers-low-cost-uberpop-service-banned-germany/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=905633 Uber users living in or visiting Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Munich or Frankfurt, Germany may be waiting a while for a low-cost ride: A court ruling has banned the San Francisco-based transportation network company’s UberPop from operating within the entire nation. The New York Times blog Bits reports a district court in Frankfort placed a temporary […]

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Uber users living in or visiting Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Munich or Frankfurt, Germany may be waiting a while for a low-cost ride: A court ruling has banned the San Francisco-based transportation network company’s UberPop from operating within the entire nation.

The New York Times blog Bits reports a district court in Frankfort placed a temporary injunction on the service last week, with fines of $330,000 or jail time hanging over Uber and its local employees should they be found in violation; its drivers would not be directly affected by penalties.

The injunction is the result of a complaint filed by trade group Taxi Deutschland, who made the complaint under allegations that the TNC violated the German Passenger Transport Act by not having properly licensed and insured drivers, being selective in who the drivers pick up, and unfairly upending the local taxi industry overall.

However, the ruling cannot be directly enforced by the court, requiring Taxi Deutschland to file separate complaints for every perceived violation of the injunction prior to the court sending authorities to act on the charges. Uber is aware of this, as a representative for the company explained to the BBC:

Germany is one of the fastest growing markets for Uber in Europe. You cannot put the brakes on progress. Uber will continue its operations and will offer UberPop ridesharing services via its app throughout Germany.

Uber plans to appeal the injunction. Meanwhile, UberBlack drivers and passengers are unaffected by the ruling, and the UberPop app is still functioning in all of the TNC’s German cities as of this writing.

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North Korea Owes Sweden $428M For 1,000 Volvos Swindled In 1974 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/north-korea-owes-sweden-428m-1000-volvos-swindled-1974/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/north-korea-owes-sweden-428m-1000-volvos-swindled-1974/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904857 Forty years ago, the North Koreans and the Swedes entered into an agreement where the latter’s socialist and industrialist interests aimed to bring recognition to the former’s regime while filling its pockets from the country’s mining industry. Part of this agreement included 1,000 Volvo 144 GLs, which were meant to be paid in copper and […]

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Stolen Volvos in North Korea

Forty years ago, the North Koreans and the Swedes entered into an agreement where the latter’s socialist and industrialist interests aimed to bring recognition to the former’s regime while filling its pockets from the country’s mining industry. Part of this agreement included 1,000 Volvo 144 GLs, which were meant to be paid in copper and zinc.

But that was 40 years ago.

Newsweek reports North Korea, under Kim Il-sung’s regime, ultimately absconded with the Volvos and other Swedish goods during a Swedish-Korean trade fair in Pyongyang, all within the same year the vehicles were delivered.

Since then, the Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board has calculated the interest owed on the debt linked to those goods. Total debt after inflation plus interest holds at kr3 billion ($428 million USD).

As for the Volvos, they were ordered for taxi service within the North Korean capital. As of 2008, those cars were not only still running, but, according to photographer and entrepreneur Tor Rauden Källstigen, were treated well:

I think I’ve never been inside such an old car even back home in Sweden. This taxi was very well maintained too, close to mint condition it seemed.

Were Il-sung’s grandson and current ruler, Kim Jong-un, to sell the vehicles at current book value, he would net $2.6 million — or 0.6 percent of the debt — for the trouble.

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Ide: Apathy, Not Policy, Is Behind GM’s Japanese Blues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/ide-apathy-policy-behind-gms-japanese-blues/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=904801 Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles. Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, […]

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Cadillac in Japan

Though General Motors is finding big success in China among its brands, the automaker is still a bit player in Japan, and not because of so-called nontariff hurdles.

Automotive News reports Yanase & Co. CEO Takeyoshi Ide proclaims internal apathy, not external policy, as the reasoning behind GM’s current status in Japan. As one example, Ide — whose Cadillac and Chevrolet dealerships number at 13, down from a peak 114 — says if the automaker would consider building more RHD vehicles suited for the Japanese market, especially Cadillacs, sales of 5,000 units annually would be “not so difficult.”

He has hope that a few moves affecting Cadillac, such as the hiring of former Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen, would make the change “GM’s original people” from Detroit haven’t been able to undergo to bring success to the automaker’s premium brand. It’s also the reason why Ide hasn’t let go of his remaining GM dealerships despite also being the nation’s No. 1 Mercedes dealer, as well as one of its top sellers of Audi and BMW vehicles.

As for external issues affecting GM, Ide says policy is not among them — Japan imposes no tariffs on imported vehicles — and is just an excuse for the United States government to maintain its tariffs, including the infamous Chicken Tax.

That said, hope may be fading as it is. The sales forecast for 2014 remains flat at 1,200 units for GM’s efforts in Japan, higher than its nadir of 700 for all of 2009, yet lower than its zenith of 47,000 units in 1996. Additionally, while Mercedes moved 31,291 vehicles onto the streets of Tokyo through July 2014, Cadillac saw its sales fall 27 percent to 425 units compared to the same period in 2013.

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Russian Government Moves Ahead With Revived Cash For Clunkers Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-moves-ahead-revived-cash-clunkers-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-moves-ahead-revived-cash-clunkers-program/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=903274 A few days ago, we reported the Russian government was considering bringing back its cash for clunkers program to help spur domestic auto sales in the face of Western sanctions. The government as since decided to go forward with the scheme. Reuters reports the Kremlin will pledge P10 billion ($273 million USD) for the program, […]

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A few days ago, we reported the Russian government was considering bringing back its cash for clunkers program to help spur domestic auto sales in the face of Western sanctions. The government as since decided to go forward with the scheme.

Reuters reports the Kremlin will pledge P10 billion ($273 million USD) for the program, which is expected to subsidize over 170,000 new vehicles at a minimum discount of P40,000 ($1,086) for scrapping a passenger car, and P350,000 ($9,506) on up for commercial vehicles. Additional discounts from P40,000 to P300,000 ($1,086 – $8,148) will be made to consumers who trade-in vehicles six years of age or older.

The new program begins September 1, and will run through to the end of the year. A decision to revive the program in 2015 will be made no earlier than the middle of September of that year, according to Industry Minister Denis Manturov, and will be based on market conditions at that point in time.

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Datsun Unveils mi-DO Hatch At 2014 Automechanika Moscow http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/datsun-unveils-mi-hatch-2014-automechanika-moscow/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/datsun-unveils-mi-hatch-2014-automechanika-moscow/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901969 Nissan’s emerging-market brand Datsun unveiled its newest addition to its burgeoning lineup at the 2014 Automechanika Moscow show: The mi-DO. Just-Auto reports the compact hatch, joining the similarly named on-DO sedan set to arrive in September, will arrive in showrooms sometime in early 2015. No price of admission has been stated for the five-door, five-passenger […]

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Nissan’s emerging-market brand Datsun unveiled its newest addition to its burgeoning lineup at the 2014 Automechanika Moscow show: The mi-DO.

Just-Auto reports the compact hatch, joining the similarly named on-DO sedan set to arrive in September, will arrive in showrooms sometime in early 2015. No price of admission has been stated for the five-door, five-passenger vehicle, however.

Under the bonnet, a 1.6-liter 8V engine will deliver 87 horsepower to the front pair of 15-inch alloys through a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed auto.

As for its name — and that of the on-DO — Datsun says it’s a fusion of Japanese, Russian and English themes: “do” is Japanese for “moving,” “on” is Russian for “he,” and “mi” is meant to invoke personalization by rhyming with “me” to Russian ears.

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2015 Infiniti ESQ Official Photos Unveiled Ahead Of Global Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-infiniti-esq-official-photos-unveiled-ahead-global-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/2015-infiniti-esq-official-photos-unveiled-ahead-global-debut/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=901569 Official photos of the Infiniti ESQ, the crossover formerly known as the Nissan Juke Nismo, have been unveiled ahead of its global debut at this weekend’s 2014 Chengdu Auto Show. CarNewsChina reports the premium crossover will arrive in Chinese showrooms this October, with a price of admission set between ¥200,000 and ¥300,000 ($32,000 – $49,000 […]

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Official photos of the Infiniti ESQ, the crossover formerly known as the Nissan Juke Nismo, have been unveiled ahead of its global debut at this weekend’s 2014 Chengdu Auto Show.

CarNewsChina reports the premium crossover will arrive in Chinese showrooms this October, with a price of admission set between ¥200,000 and ¥300,000 ($32,000 – $49,000 USD). Power for the China-only ESQ will be a 1.6-liter turbo-four delivering 200 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque through a CVT.

Though Nissan sells a handful of vehicles in the Chinese market, the Juke is not among them. Further, few Infiniti badges decorate the ESQ, hinting that, like Citroën’s DS line, the crossover is just the first model of a sub-brand aimed at young buyers.

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Russian Government Considering Revival Of Cash For Clunkers Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-considering-revival-cash-clunkers-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/russian-government-considering-revival-cash-clunkers-program/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899986 In an effort to combat plunging auto sales, the Russian government is deliberating on a decision to bring back its cash for clunkers program, last seen sending Ladas, Volgas and GAZs to the crusher back in 2010. Just-Auto reports current geopolitical conditions — Ukraine, Crimea, sanctions by Western powers — are leading the path toward […]

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In an effort to combat plunging auto sales, the Russian government is deliberating on a decision to bring back its cash for clunkers program, last seen sending Ladas, Volgas and GAZs to the crusher back in 2010.

Just-Auto reports current geopolitical conditions — Ukraine, Crimea, sanctions by Western powers — are leading the path toward a 25 percent to 30 percent fall in auto sales to date. Thus, the Kremlin is considering bringing back the program, through nothing more has come according to a Ministry of Trade and Industry representative.

The delay of action is also delaying many a consumer’s decision in buying a new vehicle, especially since the original program paid P50,000 ($1,680 USD in 2010 dollars) for a vehicle 10 years old and over. Consumers are also wondering what vehicles would be available under the new program, as well as engine size.

The 2010 program proved successful, though the Russian government spent up to $2 billion back then for 200,000 vehicles to be replaced with newer models. Whether it wants to do so again may not matter as sales continue to fall.

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Chinese-Market Chevrolet Cruze Makes Showroom Debut http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-market-chevrolet-cruze-makes-showroom-debut/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/chinese-market-chevrolet-cruze-makes-showroom-debut/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=899546 As of Monday, the Chinese-market 2015 Chevrolet Cruze has gone on sale. CarNewsChina reports the Shanghai-GM-built compact sedan, ranging in price from ¥109,900 to ¥169,900 ($17,800 – $27,600 USD), is aimed at the Kia K4, Citroën C4L et al in the premium local market. The previous Cruze will continue on as the Cruze Classic, and […]

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As of Monday, the Chinese-market 2015 Chevrolet Cruze has gone on sale.

CarNewsChina reports the Shanghai-GM-built compact sedan, ranging in price from ¥109,900 to ¥169,900 ($17,800 – $27,600 USD), is aimed at the Kia K4, Citroën C4L et al in the premium local market. The previous Cruze will continue on as the Cruze Classic, and will be marketed like its North American cousin as a low-cost model.

On-board the new Cruze, a 1.5-liter with 112 horsepower/108 lb-ft. of torque or 1.4-liter turbo with 148 horses/173 lb-ft. of torque will send power to the front through either a five- or six-speed manual, six-speed automatic or seven-speed DSG depending on engine chosen. GM’s MyLink 2.0 infotainment system is also available, accessible via the Cruze’s 8-inch touchscreen.

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Riding the Luxury Buses of Latin America http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/riding-luxury-buses-latin-america/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/riding-luxury-buses-latin-america/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:34:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895202 Traveling by bus is the preferred mode for the growing middle class throughout Latin America. White collar workers, government employees, and students take long-distance buses for many reasons. First, it is much less expensive than flying. Second, buses reach a lot more destinations than planes. Finally, even those who own cars prefer to let a […]

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Traveling by bus is the preferred mode for the growing middle class throughout Latin America. White collar workers, government employees, and students take long-distance buses for many reasons. First, it is much less expensive than flying. Second, buses reach a lot more destinations than planes. Finally, even those who own cars prefer to let a professional do the driving, thus minimizing wear and tear to their own cars and the stress of dodging out-of-control big rigs and stray animals for hundreds of miles.

The stereotype, of course, is that all buses South of the Border are chicken buses– second-hand American school buses with psychedelic paint schemes, tinted windows, and chrome galore. In fact, luxury buses– built in Brazil and Europe– are very common and often have more amenities than commercial airliners. Make the jump to learn more about them.

The Buses. Along the Pan-American Highway, three brands dominate. Busscar (Brazil), Marcopolo (Brazil), and Scania (Sweden). Many are double deckers.

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Accommodations. All the buses have TVs hooked up to DVD players up front, constantly blaring bad American movies. Think Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, Fireproof (starring Kirk Cameron), or any Kevin James movie.

All luxury buses have a toilet in the back, as the long-distance buses make very few stops.

The seats recline, some up to 160 degrees. One Peruvian bus company even offers a business center onboard, complete with printer and fax machine.

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The Staff. Two drivers usually man each bus. And they are always men. They switch off after a few hours of driving, as it is very fatiguing work. The express bus from Osorno, Chile, to Punta Arenas, Chile, which cuts through Argentine Patagonia, for example, takes over 28 hours.

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The waitstaff onboard the buses puts the flight attendants of American legacy carriers to shame. Their uniforms are chic and tidy and they will go out of their way to make their passengers’ trips pleasant. Even after a couple of days on the road, they look like they just started the workday an hour ago. It’s unreal.

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The meals. On the most fancy of coaches, you get a meal just like on an airplane. When you buy your ticket, you have the option of beef, chicken, or vegetarian meals. And they are actually delicious. When meals are not available onboard, the bus will invariably stop at a clean and reputable restaurant. The photo below shows a meal I had during a stop in the Argentinean Lake District. The restaurant was at the base of a cliff and a waterfall behind the eatery provided the ambiance.

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The worst meal I had on a luxury bus was in Honduras, where I was served a Burger King breakfast sandwich, and it still wan’t half bad. Here it is, served in a cute bus shaped box.

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For a summary of my Pan-American bus journeys, by the numbers, click here.

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Looming Retaliatory Sanctions Threaten Western Automakers In Russia http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/looming-retaliatory-sanctions-threaten-western-automakers-russia/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/looming-retaliatory-sanctions-threaten-western-automakers-russia/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=895362 Automotive exports from European and American manufacturers may suffer sanctions by Russia in retaliation for more sanctions imposed upon by the European Union and the United States. Reuters reports the financial damaged suffered by potential sanctions would vary, with automakers like Mercedes-Benz suffering the most thanks to a lack of local factories in Russia. The […]

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Automotive exports from European and American manufacturers may suffer sanctions by Russia in retaliation for more sanctions imposed upon by the European Union and the United States.

Reuters reports the financial damaged suffered by potential sanctions would vary, with automakers like Mercedes-Benz suffering the most thanks to a lack of local factories in Russia. The move would be in addition to an import ban on food, and was on the table before President Vladimir Putin rejected the proposal.

The automotive ban would give Chinese and Korean manufacturers a chance to make their mark upon a muted market. Western imports made up 27 percent of passenger vehicle sales in 2014 thus far, while trucks and buses took 46 percent and 13 percent of the market.

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Saab’s Newest Owners Face Bankruptcy Petition In Sweden http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/saabs-newest-owners-face-bankruptcy-petition-sweden/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/saabs-newest-owners-face-bankruptcy-petition-sweden/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889754 Saab’s newest parent company may soon be declared bankrupt by a Swedish court, once again bringing the make toward the grave. The Detroit News reports supplier Labo Test has petitioned the court to declare National Electric Vehicles of Sweden bankrupt after failing to receive kr150,000 ($22,000 USD) since February 2014. The supplier provides testing tools […]

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Saab’s newest parent company may soon be declared bankrupt by a Swedish court, once again bringing the make toward the grave.

The Detroit News reports supplier Labo Test has petitioned the court to declare National Electric Vehicles of Sweden bankrupt after failing to receive kr150,000 ($22,000 USD) since February 2014. The supplier provides testing tools to automakers for quality testing of auto parts.

Sveriges Radio adds that CEO Håkan Bodin has no “hard feelings against NEVS,” and would be joyful to receive money owed from the company’s Chinese owners. NEVS communication officer Mikael Östlund, meanwhile, states that though his employer “cannot fully pay any of its suppliers,” NEVS itself is not insolvent.

The bankruptcy hearing, to be held in district court in Vänersborgs, is scheduled for September 8.

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VW Works Council Forces Out Consultants Amid Headcount Reduction Fears http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/vw-works-council-forces-consultants-amid-headcount-reduction-fears/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/vw-works-council-forces-consultants-amid-headcount-reduction-fears/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 13:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889337 Volkswagen AG execs will have to go back to the drawing board to determine where to cut costs after its works council demanded outside consultants be shown the door. Reuters reports last month, CEO Martin Winterkorn informed his employees that he was seeking €5 billion ($6.7 billion USD) in efficiency gains by 2017 so as […]

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VW XL1s

Volkswagen AG execs will have to go back to the drawing board to determine where to cut costs after its works council demanded outside consultants be shown the door.

Reuters reports last month, CEO Martin Winterkorn informed his employees that he was seeking €5 billion ($6.7 billion USD) in efficiency gains by 2017 so as to close the profit gap between his company and its rival automakers. In turn, VW brought aboard consultant group McKinsey to help determine where to find the needed gains. But the pricey consultants were a point of contention with VW’s labor representatives.

The concerns over McKinsey’s presence focused upon fears of potential layoffs at factories in Kassal and Wolfsburg, Germany, where a total of over 65,000 assemble components, transmissions and vehicles. Labor leaders suggested the company focus on cutting both R&D spending and its trimming its bloated model lineup rather than reduce headcount.

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HSV Unveils Its Last, Fastest-Ever Ute http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hsv-unveils-last-fastest-ever-v8-interceptor-ute/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/hsv-unveils-last-fastest-ever-v8-interceptor-ute/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=889305 As a parting gift to the world, Holden is set to built what should be the fastest Ute ever produced, borrowing the LSA V8 from the HSV GTS sedan. Carsguide.com.au reports the ute will receive its power from the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 powering the HSV GTS Sedan, capable of delivering 577 horsepower and 546 ft-lb […]

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As a parting gift to the world, Holden is set to built what should be the fastest Ute ever produced, borrowing the LSA V8 from the HSV GTS sedan.

Carsguide.com.au reports the ute will receive its power from the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 powering the HSV GTS Sedan, capable of delivering 577 horsepower and 546 ft-lb of torque to the back through either a manual or automatic with flappy paddles. Other pieces from the sedan, including a stronger differential and additional engine/transmission cooling systems, will likely make it to the ute.

Suspension and handling, meanwhile, will be retuned pieces from the HSV Maloo over the magnetic-controlled setup found in the GTS Sedan, just in case the lucky owner wanted to haul between 473 kg and 487 kg (1,043 lbs – 1,074 lbs) of hay, depending on transmission chosen.

And we do mean lucky: Only 150 HSV GTS Utes will be assembled, with potential owners paying $85,000 ($79,000 USD) for the honor of driving the fastest ute in the world when it arrives in showrooms at the end of 2014. Though speed is limited to 250 kph (155 mph), the sedan was able to hit 280 kph (174 mph) once the speed limiter was removed.

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Application Of Anti-Monopoly Law On Transplants Raise Chinese Protectionism Concerns http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/application-anti-monopoly-law-transplants-raise-chinese-protectionism-concerns/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/application-anti-monopoly-law-transplants-raise-chinese-protectionism-concerns/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 12:00:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=884433 A number of antitrust probes into companies such as Microsoft, Audi and Chrysler may be hinting at China’s preference for domestic firms over the transplants. Reuters reports the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission are pursuing investigations into the companies as part of enforcement efforts of a six-year-old […]

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SAIC

A number of antitrust probes into companies such as Microsoft, Audi and Chrysler may be hinting at China’s preference for domestic firms over the transplants.

Reuters reports the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission are pursuing investigations into the companies as part of enforcement efforts of a six-year-old anti-monopoly law that stipulates fines of anywhere from 1 percent to 10 percent of a company’s earnings for the previous year if found in violation.

Antitrust expert and professor at University of Melbourne Law School Mark Williams notes a large number of anti-monopoly investigations are being aimed at transplants, which suggests the law “is being used to discipline new entrants to the China market.

In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce penned a letter to both Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew urging the federal government to crackdown on Beijing’s alleged abuse of the AML to promote Chinese industry over “the internationally accepted norm of using competition law to protect consumer welfare and competition.”

Authorities in Beijing beg to differ, proclaiming the AML is being applied equally to both domestic and transplant firms, citing investigations into local telecoms and financial institutions as proof of equal application of the law.

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Japanese Officials Pushing Hard With Subsidies For New Hydrogen Mirai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/japanese-officials-pushing-hard-subsidies-new-hydrogen-mirai/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883545 The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free. Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will […]

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2015 Toyota Mirai

The 2015 Toyota Mirai may be breaking new ground in the fuel-cell vehicle game beyond merely existing, as subsidies galore are being thrown at potential consumers on all sides, including the possibility of owning the FCV for free.

Automotive News reports the ¥7 million ($68,556 USD) Mirai — whose name translates to “future” — will receive a ¥2 million (~$20,000) subsidy from the Japanese government when the first models go on sale next year, with residents of Aichi prefecture — the home of Toyota — taking an extra ¥1 million (~$10,000) from the local government.

However, paying only as much as ¥4 million ($39,175) for the honor of being one of the new pioneers of the silver hydrogen future might not be enough to bring the Mirai out of the showroom, as fueling infrastructure is nearly non-existent. The Japanese government aims to bring 100 stations online by March 2015 at the earliest, for what it’s worth.

So, where does the “free car” offer come in? Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai reported on a few suggestions made by a government panel on how to spur FCV adoption rates, including offering free FCVs, free hydrogen refueling and toll exemptions. The daily explained that the government’s hydrogen vision “must contain more radical ideas” in order to generate excitement from the public and “catalyze a revolutionary socioeconomic change.” A hell of a way to push the Mirai for Summerslam, one would suppose.

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Aston-Daimler Partnership Deepens With Component Agreement, Increased Holdings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/aston-daimler-partnership-deepens-component-agreement-increased-holdings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/aston-daimler-partnership-deepens-component-agreement-increased-holdings/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=883521 Daimler’s partnership with Aston Martin is growing, as the former will supply electric and electronic components to the latter for a 1 percent increase in holdings. Bloomberg reports Daimler’s total holdings will come to 5 percent as part of the supply deal, which in turn is part of a larger agreement where Mercedes AMG will […]

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Mercedes SLS AMG + Aston Martin DBS

Daimler’s partnership with Aston Martin is growing, as the former will supply electric and electronic components to the latter for a 1 percent increase in holdings.

Bloomberg reports Daimler’s total holdings will come to 5 percent as part of the supply deal, which in turn is part of a larger agreement where Mercedes AMG will supply V8s for future Aston models. Aston Martin is also planning on using Mercedes tech to develop an SUV for sale by 2017 at the earliest.

Other shareholders of the largely independent premium automaker include London-based investment firm Investindustrial, and Kuwaiti-based Investment Dar Co. and Adeem Investment Co.

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GM China Drops More 2016 Buick Envision Photos http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-china-drops-2016-buick-envision-photos/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/gm-china-drops-2016-buick-envision-photos/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=881058 You saw it before; now see it with more clarity: GM China dropped a few more photos of its upcoming 2016 Buick Envision. CarNewsChina reports the SUV will debut in September during the Chengdu Auto Show prior to going on sale sometime in Q4 2014. Pricing will range between ¥160,000 and ¥220,000 ($26,000 – $35,000 […]

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You saw it before; now see it with more clarity: GM China dropped a few more photos of its upcoming 2016 Buick Envision.

CarNewsChina reports the SUV will debut in September during the Chengdu Auto Show prior to going on sale sometime in Q4 2014. Pricing will range between ¥160,000 and ¥220,000 ($26,000 – $35,000 USD), and will be positioned between the Encore and Enclave.

Moving the SUV will be a pair of 2-liter four-pots giving either 200 horsepower/207 ft-lb torque or 260 horsepower/268 ft-lb torque to all four corners through a six-speed automatic. However, GM China is working on a turbo 1.5-liter with 170 horses, as well as a hybrid based upon said turbocharged engine, though no word on when either will turn up under the bonnet.

[WRITER'S NOTE: I originally reported the Envision as being front-wheel drive when I should have noted it was all-wheel drive. My apologies for the error.]

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Versatile 2015 Mercedes Vito Van Puts Power To Front, Rear Or All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/versatile-2015-mercedes-vito-van-puts-power-to-front-rear-or-all/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/versatile-2015-mercedes-vito-van-puts-power-to-front-rear-or-all/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=876185 If you run a very large flower shop somewhere in Europe, and are in need of a van that could be configured to your needs — including where the power from the engine will go — Mercedes has a van just for you. Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah! reports the 2015 Vito — part of Mercedes’ […]

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Der neue Vito / The New Vito

If you run a very large flower shop somewhere in Europe, and are in need of a van that could be configured to your needs — including where the power from the engine will go — Mercedes has a van just for you.

Jalopnik subsidiary Truck Yeah! reports the 2015 Vito — part of Mercedes’ V-Class — can be had with RWD and AWD — like the V-Class — as well as optional FWD. The previous Vito had FWD for only the EV variant, while the new one puts diesel power to the front of the line alongside the rest of the family.

Autoblog adds said power comes turbocharged through four-pots ranging from 1.6 liters to 2.1 liters, with anywhere from 136 to 190 horsepower pushed to wherever it’s meant to go through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic.

Der neue Vito / The New Vito Der neue Vito / The New Vito Der neue Vito / The New Vito Der neue Vito / The New Vito

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Ghosn Presents 2020 Autonomous Drive Roadmap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ghosn-presents-2020-autonomous-drive-roadmap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/ghosn-presents-2020-autonomous-drive-roadmap/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=869314 Before the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan Thursday, Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn issued a roadmap outlining the automaker’s path toward the first autonomous vehicles in 2020. The Wall Street Journal reports the following steps Renault-Nissan will take towards its 2020 Autonomous Drive target: 2016: The automaker will introduce a traffic jam pilot and fully automated […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fourth-Gen Toyota Prius To Receive AWD, New Battery Packs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fourth-gen-toyota-prius-to-receive-awd-new-battery-packs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/fourth-gen-toyota-prius-to-receive-awd-new-battery-packs/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:00:20 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866362 Though it may be a while before the fourth-generation Toyota Prius leaves the assembly line, it may be worth the wait as far as batteries and drivetrains are concerned. Automotive News reports the new hybrid will have two choices for battery power. According to senior managing officer of powertrain development Koei Saga, both a low-cost […]

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2014 Toyota Prius

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

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

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

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Last First-Gen Volvo XC90 Rolls Out Of Torslanda http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/last-first-gen-volvo-xc90-rolls-out-of-torslanda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/last-first-gen-volvo-xc90-rolls-out-of-torslanda/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 10:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=866234 Monday, the last first-gen Volvo XC90 rolled off the assembly line in Gothenburg, Sweden, where it was then driven to its final resting place as an exhibit in the Volvo Museum next door. Autoblog reports 636,143 units of the seven-passenger SUV rolled off the assembly line between 2002 and 2014, with Volvo expecting to sell […]

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Volvo XC90

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

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

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

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Saudi Arabia Latest To Fleet-Average Fuel Economy Mandate Party http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/saudi-arabia-latest-to-fleet-average-fuel-economy-mandate-party/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/saudi-arabia-latest-to-fleet-average-fuel-economy-mandate-party/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=865705 As in the United States, Europe and Japan, Saudi Arabia is now mandating new vehicles be more fuel efficient. Like the U.S., however, the Saudis will put the onus on the automakers without raising a cent on fuel prices. Green Car Reports says as part of the 2012 Saudi Energy Efficiency Program, new vehicles on […]

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Saudi youths demonstrate a stunt known as "sidewall skiing" in the northern city of Hail

As in the United States, Europe and Japan, Saudi Arabia is now mandating new vehicles be more fuel efficient. Like the U.S., however, the Saudis will put the onus on the automakers without raising a cent on fuel prices.

Green Car Reports says as part of the 2012 Saudi Energy Efficiency Program, new vehicles on sale will receive a fuel economy label beginning in August, followed in late 2016 with a mandate to follow fleet-average targets; the target for 2020 is 28.2 miles per gallon, lower than the 40 mpg mandate for that year in the U.S.

The reason for all of this is because energy use in the kingdom is rising at a rate of 4 percent to 5 percent annually as a result of economic growth, though the increases are outpacing said growth.

Other proposals include the possibility of a Cash For Clunkers program, temporary mass transit solutions until permanent transit offerings open to the public, and improvements to heavy-duty vehicles such as aero and no-idling mandates.

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GM Korea Workers Vote To Strike Amid Stalling Negotiations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/gm-korea-workers-vote-to-strike-amid-stalling-negotiations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/gm-korea-workers-vote-to-strike-amid-stalling-negotiations/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862969 Amid stalling wage and production negotiations between GM Korea and its workers, the latter have voted to strike. Reuters reports 69 percent of the 14,016-strong workforce voted to put down their tools and walk out for the fourth consecutive year unless a deal is reached between the workers’ union and management over a change in […]

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

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

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

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

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