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. Tue, 28 Jul 2015 22:00:58 +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/ Ford Posts $1.9B Second Quarter Profit, Largest Since 2000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ford-posts-1-9b-second-quarter-profit-largest-since-2000/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126521 Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News. The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for […]

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2015 Ford F-150

Ford announced that it made a $1.9 billion net-adjusted profit in the second quarter of 2015, marking the largest gain for the automaker since 2000, according to Automotive News.

The profit represents a 44-percent gain over last year despite dipping global sales and a stronger U.S. dollar hampering exports. Ford said it was selling cars for more money and offering fewer incentives, despite recent reports of F-150 incentives topping nearly $11,000 in some places.

Ford said revenues in North America surged 10 percent, which helped the company beat Wall Street’s expectations.

The 10-percent gain in revenue in North America is despite Ford’s slower-than-average sales compared to the overall industry average. Automotive News reported that the automaker achieved a 1.7-percent increase in sales for the second quarter compared to the industry average of 3.3 percent.

A slowdown in production of the F-150 is partially to blame for the sales shortfall. Building the redesigned F-150 at both of Ford’s plants has gone slower than normal, the automaker said, and inventory levels should return to normal in September.

The automaker said it increased its global market share one-tenth of a percent to 7.6 percent. Twelve of its 16 planned global launches have happened already this year, and Ford said the rest were on track. The company said it was still on track for an end-of-year, pre-tax profit of between $8.5 billion and $9.5 billion.

Ford posted a net loss in South American, European, Middle Eastern and African markets, but posted a $33 million gain in the Asia Pacific region, a 20-percent improvement over last year.

Ford Credit posed a $506 million pre-tax profit for the second quarter, a 17-percent gain.

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GM to Develop Global Car with China-based SAIC Motors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/gm-develop-global-car-china-based-saic-motors/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 15:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126489 General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday. The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement. The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker […]

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General Motors will invest $5 billion to build a global line of cars with Shanghai-based SAIC Motors that will be sold in Brazil, China and other emerging markets, the automaker announced Tuesday.

The cars won’t be sold in the United States, according to the statement.

The global vehicles will go on sale starting in 2019 and the automaker expects the line to eventually produce roughly 2 million cars annually.

GM said the new global architecture would replace several existing models, but didn’t specify what those outgoing models would be. The vehicles would be manufactured in China, Brazil, Mexico and India and exported to other countries. GM said they expect to source many of the car’s components from local suppliers.

“With a significant majority of anticipated automotive industry growth in 2015 to 2030 outside of mature markets, Chevrolet is taking steps to capitalize on that growth,” General Motors President Dan Ammann said in the statement . “Strengthening Chevrolet’s position through this major investment is consistent with our global strategy to ensure long-term profitable growth in the markets where we operate.”

In February, SAIC and General Motors (through its Shanghai General Motors Wuling joint venture business) opened a plant in Indonesia to build SAIC-branded cars. SAIC also owns British car company MG.

The GM-SAIC partnership has an interesting history, especially in India.

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Mercedes-AMG Teasing More C63 Coupe Because It’s Monday http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mercedes-amg-teasing-c63-coupe-monday/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mercedes-amg-teasing-c63-coupe-monday/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125801 Mercedes-AMG released a new batch of “spy” shots of its C63 coupe testing at Hockenheimring in Germany, AutoGuide is reporting (via Facebook). The coupe, which will be unveiled in August ahead of its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, looks remarkably similar to the C-Class sedan from which it’s based. The car is […]

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Mercedes-AMG released a new batch of “spy” shots of its C63 coupe testing at Hockenheimring in Germany, AutoGuide is reporting (via Facebook).

The coupe, which will be unveiled in August ahead of its first public appearance at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, looks remarkably similar to the C-Class sedan from which it’s based.

The car is heavily camouflaged in the photos released on the automaker’s Facebook page. Despite hiding its body, the car will sport a unique front fascia and grille.

Under the hood, Mercedes-AMG is expected to stuff its 4-liter, turbocharged V-8 taken from the AMG sedan. That engine produces 470 horsepower or 503 horsepower depending on specification and is mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Power is shifted around corners through a limited-slip differential.

Mercedes-AMG linked the photos to a website counting down the days to the car’s official release on Aug. 19.

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Domestic Automakers Lobby to Streamline US-EU Safety Regulations http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/domestic-automakers-lobby-to-streamline-us-eu-safety-regulations/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 16:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125273 Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting. Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a […]

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Automakers are pressing U.S. and European governments to find common ground on safety regulations to save them hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, Automotive News is reporting.

Automakers have to change dozens of components on their cars at a huge cost to comply with different safety standards. The article said to make a popular U.S. car in 2013 comply with European safety standards cost $42 million for the automaker.

Trade talks have been been ongoing for 10 months and lobbyists are hoping one government will adopt the standards of the other, instead of creating a separate system.

The story details the differences between U.S. and E.U. safety regulations, as small as a trunk release latch in the U.S that isn’t required in Europe, all the way up to small overlap front crash protection.

Despite the differences, both sets of safety regulations create equally safe cars and would boost EU-U.S. auto trade by 20 percent, the Peterson Institute for International Economics said in a study.

This isn’t the first call for harmonized regulations, Ford and Daimler have both asked for unified standards.

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Tesla Model 3 May Make Appearance Next Year http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-model-3-may-make-appearance-next-year/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tesla-model-3-may-make-appearance-next-year/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 15:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1125257 Despite the absence of a mule, prototype or anything that would resemble reality, Tesla’s Model 3  — or III, however you spell it — will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next year, AutoExpress is reporting. The BMW 3 Series fighter would be the third model from Tesla, and perhaps the first built […]

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Tesla Repair Bay With Superchargers

Despite the absence of a mule, prototype or anything that would resemble reality, Tesla’s Model 3  — or III, however you spell it — will make its debut at the Geneva auto show next year, AutoExpress is reporting.

The BMW 3 Series fighter would be the third model from Tesla, and perhaps the first built in a European factory. Representatives from Tesla said they would consider building the Model 3 on the European continent once the automaker started mass producing its three models.

The Model 3 would join the Model S and Model X in the automaker’s portfolio.

In an interview with AutoExpress, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 would be around 20 percent smaller than the Model S and would have a range over 200 miles.

Musk said the car would sell for around $35,000 and performance — from the car company that just announced “ludicrous speed” in the Model S — would be on par with the M3 or M4.

The Geneva auto show begins March 1, 2016.

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Fiat Chrysler Files IPO to Spin-off Ferrari http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-files-ipo-spin-off-ferrari/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/fiat-chrysler-files-ipo-spin-off-ferrari/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 19:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1124177 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles formally filed its initial public offering on Thursday to spin off Ferrari into its own separate company. The filing doesn’t specify price or number of shares to be offered when the shares are publicly available sometime after Oct. 13. Roughly 10 percent of the company will be publicly traded, with the rest of the […]

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles formally filed its initial public offering on Thursday to spin off Ferrari into its own separate company.

The filing doesn’t specify price or number of shares to be offered when the shares are publicly available sometime after Oct. 13.

Roughly 10 percent of the company will be publicly traded, with the rest of the company remaining under control of existing FCA shareholders and Piero Lardi Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s son and current vice chairman.

The IPO documents offers an exhaustive glimpse at the supercar maker’s finances and income. The Maranello-based manufacturer said they made €2.7 billion ($2.96 billion) in revenue in 2014 with profits of €265 million ($295 million). About 70 percent of the company’s revenues came from cars they produced, 11 percent came from engine sales to Maserati and the rest came from sponsorships and commercial revenue.

Sergio Marchionne, who is CEO of FCA, will stay on as chairman of the new company to be based in the Netherlands. The company will keep its Maranello factory and Formula One team based in Italy.

Ferrari’s F1 team and consumer-facing business — aside from cars — figures heavily into the future company’s success. In the IPO, the company mentions that its F1 program and sponsorships would factor into the viability of the future business. The company also mentions that its low-volume production strategy would remain, keeping its cars exclusive to well-heeled buyers.

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Porsche May Bring Smaller, Electric Panamera-ish Car to Frankfurt http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/porsche-may-bring-smaller-electric-panamera-ish-car-frankfurt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/porsche-may-bring-smaller-electric-panamera-ish-car-frankfurt/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 21:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1123433 Porsche may roll out a Tesla-fighting, BMW 5-Series-sized sedan concept at this year’s Frankfurt auto show, L’Automobile Magazine is reporting (via Car and Driver). The smaller sedan would be about a foot shorter than a Panamera, sport an all-electric powertrain — a first for Porsche — and could be offered alongside gasoline, diesel or hybrid-powered engines. Rumors […]

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Porsche may roll out a Tesla-fighting, BMW 5-Series-sized sedan concept at this year’s Frankfurt auto show, L’Automobile Magazine is reporting (via Car and Driver).

The smaller sedan would be about a foot shorter than a Panamera, sport an all-electric powertrain — a first for Porsche — and could be offered alongside gasoline, diesel or hybrid-powered engines.

Rumors about the car, which has been nicknamed “Pajun,” (PA-namera JUN-ior) have been around for some time, but plugging in a motor that runs on electrons and not gasoline would be relatively new for the perpetually speculative car.

The smaller sedan has seemed like a forgone conclusion for the automaker that is expanding into a full-line manufacturer. Even if our own Jack Baruth can’t stand it. 

The Frankfurt show begins Sept. 15.

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Land Rover Defender Production Extended Into 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/land-rover-defender-production-extended-into-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/land-rover-defender-production-extended-into-2016/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 19:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1120177 Land Rover, just after building its two-millionth Defender (pictured), looks to be extending final production of the go-anywhere utility into January of next year. According to Automotive News Europe, the manufacturer will extend production of the Defender and increase production before the new best-before date to meet renewed demand, the company said a statement. Unfortunately, none of […]

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Land Rover, just after building its two-millionth Defender (pictured), looks to be extending final production of the go-anywhere utility into January of next year.

According to Automotive News Europe, the manufacturer will extend production of the Defender and increase production before the new best-before date to meet renewed demand, the company said a statement.

Unfortunately, none of those Defenders will be making it stateside — at least not in new condition. However, Jaguar Land Rover is looking for an additional facility, likely outside of the U.K., in order to expand future production. Contract builder Magna Styr recently signed an agreement with JLR to produce unnamed models in Austria.

The next-generation Defender, which will address tightening safety and emissions standards, is expected to launch in 2018.

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EU Gains Not Enough to Stave Opel Production Reductions http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/eu-gains-not-enough-to-stave-opel-production-reductions/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/eu-gains-not-enough-to-stave-opel-production-reductions/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2015 17:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1119321 Recent sales growth in the EU hasn’t been kind to Opel as the group is forced to reduce hours at two German plants. According to Automotive News, Opel will cut production of the Adam and Corsa at Eisenach and Insignia and Zafira Tourer at Ruesselsheim. The move is due to Opel’s exit from the Russian […]

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Opel Bochum - Picture courtesy wa.de

Recent sales growth in the EU hasn’t been kind to Opel as the group is forced to reduce hours at two German plants.

According to Automotive News, Opel will cut production of the Adam and Corsa at Eisenach and Insignia and Zafira Tourer at Ruesselsheim. The move is due to Opel’s exit from the Russian market and what the automaker calls “moderate” gains in the rest of Europe.

However, within the EU, overall sales for all automakers are up 8.2 percent in the first six month of this year and 14.6 percent in June, according to ACEA.

Opel and Honda are the only two automakers to see sales decline within the EU versus the same six month period last year. Opel experienced a 0.7-percent drop in overall group sales in the EU. Honda took an even harder hit with an 7.9-percent decline.

On the other end of the graph, Mitsubishi has posted 57.0-percent growth in the EU, though that percentage is based on relatively low volume compared to others. Nissan is the runner up at 21.6-percent growth while Jaguar-Land Rover (16.9 percent), Daimler (15.0 percent), FCA (12.9 percent) and BMW (12.0 percent) all saw double-digit percentage growth, beating the overall six-month average.

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Mazda Says 2016 CX-3 Will Start Under $20,000 (Kinda) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/mazda-says-2016-cx-3-will-start-under-20000-kinda/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1118137 The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday. That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment. Like the […]

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The new mini crossover from Mazda will start at $19,960 (not including $880 destination) when it goes on sale after next month, the automaker reported Thursday.

That puts the CX-3 in leagues with the Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke, Honda HR-V and Jeep Renegade as sub-$20,000 crossovers in an increasingly crowded and competitive segment.

Like the rest of its competition, it’s not hard to hike the CX-3’s final price up in a hurry.

The base price gets Mazda’s 2.0-liter inline four and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard on all models will be a rear-view camera, 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth push button starter and power windows and doors. All-wheel drive can be added for $1,250.

The middle-of-the-range CX-3 Touring (with heated seats, leather wrapped wheel, blind-spot monitoring, et al.) runs $22,840. The top-of-the-line CX-3 Grand Touring (navigation, moon roof, leather, Bose sound, etc.) comes in at $25,870. And presumably, the most you could pay for a CX-3 coming from the factory would be a Grand Touring CX-3 with all-wheel drive and Mazda’s optional safety package would be $29,040.

If you need any further proof the segment is ultra competitive and willing to cut to the very bone for the best price on a headline, consider that you can still buy a Jeep Renegade without air conditioning and 16-inch steel wheels for $18,880.

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The Future of Roads May Be in Lego-type Construction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/future-roads-may-lego-type-construction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/future-roads-may-lego-type-construction/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 20:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115337 Dutch company VolkerWessels is proposing a new type of roadway construction that could make it easier to remove, replace or resurface streets in the near future, Gizmodo is reporting. The engineering firm is working with the City of Rotterdam to test its early concept. The streets are prefabricated and dropped into place. The roadways use a below-surface […]

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Dutch company VolkerWessels is proposing a new type of roadway construction that could make it easier to remove, replace or resurface streets in the near future, Gizmodo is reporting.

The engineering firm is working with the City of Rotterdam to test its early concept. The streets are prefabricated and dropped into place. The roadways use a below-surface tunnel to house infrastructure like water, cables and utilities.

The civil engineering firm is responsible for massive projects in the U.K. and Europe, so their idea isn’t completely out of left field. The company already produces a recyclable asphalt in Rotterdam.

VolkerWessels’ concept for roadway sections would be created out of plastic turned into aggregate for production. The company told The Guardian that it would like to produce fully recyclable roadways within three years.

“It’s still an idea on paper at the moment; the next stage is to build it and test it in a laboratory to make sure it’s safe in wet and slippery conditions and so on. We’re looking for partners who want to collaborate on a pilot — as well as manufacturers in the plastics industry, we’re thinking of the recycling sector, universities and other knowledge institutions,” said Rolf Mars, the director of VolkerWessels’ road division.

The company said asphalt attributes to more than 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions globally, which comprises about 2 percent of overall emissions.

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Volvo Buys Polestar, Maybe Won’t Be Unicorn After All http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-buys-polestar-maybe-wont-unicorn/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-buys-polestar-maybe-wont-unicorn/#comments Tue, 14 Jul 2015 15:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1115105 Volvo has purchased Swedish high-performance tuner Polestar, the automaker announced Tuesday. The company will own and operate Polestar as an in-house performance division much like Ford’s SVT division or Subaru’s STI group (anything other than another Mercedes-AMG or BMW M Division reference). You could be forgiven for thinking Volvo owned Polestar already — the Swedish […]

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Volvo has purchased Swedish high-performance tuner Polestar, the automaker announced Tuesday. The company will own and operate Polestar as an in-house performance division much like Ford’s SVT division or Subaru’s STI group (anything other than another Mercedes-AMG or BMW M Division reference).

You could be forgiven for thinking Volvo owned Polestar already — the Swedish automaker already exclusively contracted with the Swedish tuner in 2013 to produce the V60 and S60 Polestar editions and the two have worked together since the 1990s.

Volvo said in the medium-term it would double output of Polestar branded cars — which could mean more than 80 sedans and 40 wagons a year coming to the United States.

Polestar’s racing team, which races in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, won’t be included in the deal. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Volvo Global Marketing Vice-President, Alain Visser, stated last year, “Motorsport does not conform with our brand, where we stand for smaller engines and safety. We are therefore pulling out of STCC, for example, as soon as the contracts permits.”

Christian Dahl, now former-CEO of Polestar, will remain as the team’s principal and the touring car team will be renamed.

“We are extremely satisfied with the way the performance business with Volvo has developed. But we are a racing team first and foremost. This is an opportunity to return our full attention to our core business – to develop and race Volvo cars,” Dahl said in a statement announcing the deal.

Volvo said Polestar would be involved with the automaker’s plug-in hybrid cars in the future.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed by Volvo.

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Nissan Rogue Hybrid Imminent, Qashqai Replacing Rogue Select http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-rogue-hybrid-imminent-qashqai-replacing-rogue-select/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-rogue-hybrid-imminent-qashqai-replacing-rogue-select/#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 15:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1114561 Nissan will add a hybrid powertrain to the Rogue and bring the smaller, European Qashqai to the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting. A few days ago, we reported that Nissan would be ending production of the last-generation Rogue in Japan, which is sold as the Rogue Select in the United States. Now it appears the Qashqai […]

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Nissan will add a hybrid powertrain to the Rogue and bring the smaller, European Qashqai to the U.S., AutoGuide is reporting.

A few days ago, we reported that Nissan would be ending production of the last-generation Rogue in Japan, which is sold as the Rogue Select in the United States. Now it appears the Qashqai will effectively replace the Rogue Select in Nissan’s lineup, giving the Japanese automaker another small crossover to sell stateside.

And Nissan is selling the snot out of crossovers in the U.S.

Nissan made rumblings about a hybrid Rogue back in April and it believes the already huge market hasn’t yet been tapped.

“We haven’t hit the ceiling yet. We have more opportunity there if we can get our dealers more [crossovers],” Fred Diaz said, Nissan’s senior vice president of U.S. sales, said according to AutoGuide.

The Qashqai is built on a similar platform as the Rogue, but is 10 inches shorter, and also sports a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that may or may not make the ride over to the states.

No word yet on whether Canada will be getting the Qashqai.

In case you’re wondering:

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Nissan May Be Considering NISMO Maxima http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-may-considering-nismo-maxima/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/nissan-may-considering-nismo-maxima/#comments Sun, 12 Jul 2015 16:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113649 Nissan may consider building a NISMO variant of its Maxima sedan based on sales of its SR model, The Detroit Bureau is reporting. Initial sales of the Maxima have been relatively strong so far, and Nissan said it expects 20 percent to 25 percent of its sales to be of the sportier SR model. A performance version […]

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2016 Nissan Maxima (8 of 23)

Nissan may consider building a NISMO variant of its Maxima sedan based on sales of its SR model, The Detroit Bureau is reporting.

Initial sales of the Maxima have been relatively strong so far, and Nissan said it expects 20 percent to 25 percent of its sales to be of the sportier SR model.

A performance version of the Maxima would be welcome news considering the model was nearly killed off four years ago.

According to The Detroit Bureau, a NISMO version of the Maxima may get a horsepower bump — although it’s unclear where the boost would come from. The Maxima currently sports a 3.5-liter V6 and, short of pulling an engine out of thin air, it would likely stay that way.

In reality, the NISMO version may be a more aggressive handling and appearance package for the Maxima, which may help it realize its “four-door sports car” moniker our managing editor Mark Stevenson said it fell short of last month.

Nissan’s NISMO division, a former racing outfit turned into branding mechanism, may expand in coming years to capture enthusiast interest a la BMW’s M division and Mercedes’ AMG group. Currently, Nissan sells NISMO versions of its Juke, 370Z and GT-R — although who wouldn’t like to see the NISMO Leaf in dealerships?

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Ferrari Filing ‘Days Away’ Says FCA Boss Marchionne http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ferrari-filing-days-away-says-fiat-chrysler-boss-marchionne/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ferrari-filing-days-away-says-fiat-chrysler-boss-marchionne/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113401 Speaking to reporters in Toronto on Friday, Fiat Chrysler Automobile chief Sergio Marchionne said the official filing to spin off Ferrari could happen within the next few days. “We are days away from filing the prospectus,” Marchionne said, according to the Detroit News. The future standalone supercar maker will make available 10 percent of the company through […]

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Speaking to reporters in Toronto on Friday, Fiat Chrysler Automobile chief Sergio Marchionne said the official filing to spin off Ferrari could happen within the next few days.

“We are days away from filing the prospectus,” Marchionne said, according to the Detroit News.

The future standalone supercar maker will make available 10 percent of the company through its initial public offering, which is widely expected in October. The remainder of the company will be held by Fiat investors and Enzo Ferrari’s son, Piero Lardi Ferrari, who is vice chairman of the company.

The move to spin off Ferrari is part of a larger plan to reinvest $61 billion back into FCA to fund future development for its range of vehicles.

Last week, Marchionne said Ferrari could be worth about $11 billion, or around 60 percent of FCA’s current market cap value. Analysts predicted the Maranello-based car maker would be worth roughly half Marchionne’s estimate. Despite building around 7,000 cars a year, Ferrari generates considerable profits for parent-company FCA.

Marchionne also denied that FCA would make a hostile bid to takeover General Motors in an effort to consolidate costs and boost profits. Marchionne has been looking for a partner — particularly GM — to offset rising investment costs.

“There are other, less optimal combinations,” he said.

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Report: Nurburgring Won’t Lift Limits in 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-nurburgring-wont-lift-limits-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/report-nurburgring-wont-lift-limits-2015/#comments Sat, 11 Jul 2015 14:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113385 After speculation that Germany’s famed Nurburgring would lift speed limits at the track for manufacturer testing this year, GTSpirit.com has reported that officials will keep the limits in place for at least this year. “There is no change in the situation so far and the speed limit at three sections of the Nordschleife will not […]

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After speculation that Germany’s famed Nurburgring would lift speed limits at the track for manufacturer testing this year, GTSpirit.com has reported that officials will keep the limits in place for at least this year.

“There is no change in the situation so far and the speed limit at three sections of the Nordschleife will not be lifted during the 2015 season,” track spokesman Uwe Baldes told GTSpirit.com.

Nurburgring management implemented speed limits in three portions of the track after a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator during a race held in March. The limits effectively ended the manufacturer arms race for the fastest production time around the circuit.

Porsche’s 918 Spyder was the last production car to set a record lap around the circuit. Supercar maker Koenigsegg had planned to challenge Porsche’s record before speed limits were imposed on the track.

The Flugplatz, Schwedenkreuz and Antiniusbuche sections of the Nordschleife track are limited to 200 kph (124 mph) and Dottinger Hole is limited to 250 kph (155 mph).

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New V8 Supercars Rules: Smaller Engines (Maybe), More Cars (Maybe) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-australian-supercars-rules-smaller-engines-maybe-cars-maybe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/new-australian-supercars-rules-smaller-engines-maybe-cars-maybe/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2015 17:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1112857 Guidelines for the new Australian V8 Supercar series outline specifications for its new cars, including an option to use smaller engines for the manufacturers who compete. According to the racing series, the new platform “allows more flexibility in terms of body style and engine configuration, provided they comply with the regulations. The V8 engine, which has been mandated […]

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Guidelines for the new Australian V8 Supercar series outline specifications for its new cars, including an option to use smaller engines for the manufacturers who compete.

According to the racing series, the new platform “allows more flexibility in terms of body style and engine configuration, provided they comply with the regulations. The V8 engine, which has been mandated for more than 20 years, is also expected to continue as the dominant power plant of the sport.”

The guidelines allow for 4-, 6- or 8-cylinder engines, as long as they meet power specifications. The plans also call for a minimum noise limit of 85 to 95 dB. Take that, Bernie.

Currently, five manufacturers compete in the series: Ford, Holden, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Volvo. Two of the five manufacturers — Nissan and Volvo — don’t offer their production cars used in the race series with V8 engines.

The new regulations also allow for a wider range of body styles — presumably to entice more manufacturers to compete such as BMW — provided that the cars are right-hand drive, four-seat, front-engined, rear-wheel drive and “accurately reflect” the look of a production model. GT cars with four seats would be allowed under the new rules.

Currently, cars race with different engines on a uniform chassis. Both Mercedes-Benz and Nissan use fundamentally different engines than Ford and Holden. 

The new generation supercar program was started last November and will be implemented at the beginning of 2017. The V8 Supercar season runs from February to December.

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Can Maserati Replace Ferrari? (Or at Least Ferrari’s Profits) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/can-maserati-replace-ferrari-least-ferraris-profits/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/can-maserati-replace-ferrari-least-ferraris-profits/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 18:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1110425 With the imminent spin-off of Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles boss Sergio Marchionne may be looking for a cash cow to help keep lagging brands at FCA afloat. A story by Automotive News on Wednesday wonders aloud if Maserati will replace Ferrari as FCA’s marquee brand with double-digit profit margins. Behind Marchionne’s plan to sell the world on […]

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With the imminent spin-off of Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles boss Sergio Marchionne may be looking for a cash cow to help keep lagging brands at FCA afloat.

A story by Automotive News on Wednesday wonders aloud if Maserati will replace Ferrari as FCA’s marquee brand with double-digit profit margins. Behind Marchionne’s plan to sell the world on Jeep and Alfa Romeo, he would need to sell the world on the idea that Maserati is an exclusive, luxury brand, the article says.

Of course, that may be tough to do considering Maserati has always had a reputation for being Ferrari’s nerdy suburban cousin.

At issue isn’t the Trident brand’s identity, but rather its bottom line. When Ferrari leaves the FCA family later this year, it’ll likely be taking some debt but also a lot of cash. Ferrari turns a profit each year, upwards of $500 million, for parent-company FCA. Money like that is hard to replace.

Maserati comes close, according to the story. Despite starting at $69,800 for an entry Ghibli, Maserati manages 10 percent margin on its cars compared to Ferrari’s 13 percent. Maserati’s volume production is also roughly 6 times that of Ferrari’s, but refining Maserati’s image from famously fussy to drop-dead desirable could be a tall task.

According to Autodata Corp., sales of the Ghibli have slid considerably since its introduction in 2013 and dealers have offered more than $9,500 in incentives for the mid-sized luxury car.

Still, Maserati is boosting its dealership presence in the U.S. by around 20 percent this year to 125 dealers and their luxury Levante SUV should be unveiled at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

“They’ve got a hell of a lot to build on,” Joe Phillippi, president of AutoTrends Inc., a consulting firm in Andover, N.J., told Automotive News. “But it’s incredibly expensive to play the game. Marchionne can’t afford to stumble. With the volume numbers he’s trying to generate, he’d better not miss.”

Maserati has grown considerably in the U.S. thanks to a larger portfolio and growing dealership network.

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Tommi Mäkinen Leading Toyota’s 2017 WRC Team http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tommi-makinen-leading-toyotas-2017-wrc-team/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/tommi-makinen-leading-toyotas-2017-wrc-team/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 21:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1109433 Rally legend Tommi Mäkinen will lead Toyota Gazoo Racing’s World Rally Championship team when it begins competition in 2017, the automaker announced today. Mäkinen was announced as team principal, which will race a Yaris-based car, for the WRC team. Toyota boss Akio Toyoda, who will be the team’s chairman, said the 51-year-old Mäkinen was an ideal fit for […]

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Tommi Makinen will lead Toyota's new WRC team

Rally legend Tommi Mäkinen will lead Toyota Gazoo Racing’s World Rally Championship team when it begins competition in 2017, the automaker announced today. Mäkinen was announced as team principal, which will race a Yaris-based car, for the WRC team.

Toyota boss Akio Toyoda, who will be the team’s chairman, said the 51-year-old Mäkinen was an ideal fit for the team.

“Tommi has abundant experience and fresh ideas for vehicle development, both of which will be valuable assets to us. With Tommi behind us, Toyota will forge ahead with our return to the WRC and also our efforts to make ever better cars,” Toyoda said in a statement.

Mäkinen is widely known for his success piloting a Mitsubishi Evolution to four consecutive world championships in the 1990s. Mäkinen moved to Subaru in 2002 and retired from the sport in 2003.

His four world titles is second on the all-time championship list behind Sebastian Loeb and tied with Juha Kankkunen — who won one of his world championships driving a Toyota in 1993. Mäkinen’s 18-year rally career also includes 24 wins.

Toyota has not raced in WRC competition since 1999.

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Police Releasing Former Toyota Executive Jailed for Pain Pills http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/police-releasing-former-toyota-executive-jailed-pain-pills/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/police-releasing-former-toyota-executive-jailed-pain-pills/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 18:00:31 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1109025 Former Toyota communications chief Julie Hamp will be released from jail Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News (via Kyodo News). Hamp was jailed June 18 for allegedly mailing herself 57 Oxycodone pills, which are illegal in Japan. She resigned her position with Toyota on June 30 as one of the global automaker’s highest-ranking female executives. The reason for […]

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Julie HampFormer Toyota communications chief Julie Hamp will be released from jail Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News (via Kyodo News).

Hamp was jailed June 18 for allegedly mailing herself 57 Oxycodone pills, which are illegal in Japan. She resigned her position with Toyota on June 30 as one of the global automaker’s highest-ranking female executives.

The reason for Hamp’s release is unclear. Bloomberg reported that prosecutors in Japan didn’t have enough evidence to indict Hamp on the charges. Kyodo News (via translator) reported prosecutors determined Hamp’s actions weren’t malicious and her resignation may have been enough punishment.

According to Kyodo News, police can’t hold Hamp longer than Wednesday without pressing charges.

On the day of her arrest, Hamp was named to PR Week’s “Power List” as a top communications executive. Before working at Toyota, Hamp worked at General Motors and Pepsi. She was promoted to her position on March 4.

According to a Bloomberg report, Hamp may be questioned up to 6 hours every day during her detention. Police in Japan can detain suspects for up to 23 days without formally charging them with any crime. If Hamp were charged and convicted, she could have faced 2 1/2 years in prison with two years suspended.

Japan is famously strict on prescription medications. The U.S. Embassy in Japan warns visitors to leave over-the-counter medication, such as allergy medicine and even asthma inhalers, at home. Common U.S. drugs such as Prozac or Viagra are sold on the black market in Japan and can carry jail sentences if purchased illegally, the embassy warns.

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Ferrari Worth Over $11 Billion, Says FCA Boss Sergio Marchionne http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ferrari-worth-11-billion-says-fca-boss-sergio-marchionne/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ferrari-worth-11-billion-says-fca-boss-sergio-marchionne/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1108185 Speaking at an unrelated Fiat 500 reveal last week, Fiat-Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari is worth about $11 billion and he expects the prancing horse’s IPO to garner about $1.1 billion went it goes up for sale in October. “There are clear expectations from ourselves as Ferrari brand is unique,” Marchionne said, according to […]

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Picture courtesy blogs.reuters.com

Speaking at an unrelated Fiat 500 reveal last week, Fiat-Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne said Ferrari is worth about $11 billion and he expects the prancing horse’s IPO to garner about $1.1 billion went it goes up for sale in October.

“There are clear expectations from ourselves as Ferrari brand is unique,” Marchionne said, according to Bloomberg News. “There is also a scarcity value as we are just selling a 10 percent stake.”

Marchionne’s estimate is roughly double what brokers said the Maranello-based manufacturer could be worth almost a year ago.

The $11 billion valuation before its October IPO may be ambitious, but so is Marchionne’s overall plan for FCA. He announced the move to spin off Ferrari last year as part of a larger plan to invest $61 billion back into FCA. The sale is made up of a 10-percent offer of Ferrari on the NYSE and a redistribution of FCA’s remaining 80-percent share to the Agnelli family, who also own about 30 percent of Fiat. The non-FCA owned 10 percent of Ferrari will stay with Enzo Ferrari’s son, current Ferrari vice chairman Piero Lardi Ferrari.

When it goes to sale in October, the IPO may raise about $1.1 billion for Ferrari. The company has said it won’t build any more than 7,000 cars per year, wouldn’t change its current business model nor would it be likely that anyone could takeover controlling interest.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad investment. As a company, Ferrari is wildly profitable and will still sell you a $50 T-shirt if you can’t afford a share in October.

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Nurburgring May Dump Speed Limits for Manufacturers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ring-may-dump-speed-limits-manufacturers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/ring-may-dump-speed-limits-manufacturers/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107289 Per Road and Track, the operators of the famed Nurburgring in Germany may be preparing to dump its speed limits for manufacturers and may mean a return for manufacturer records. After a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator, the famous road installed speed limits during specific sections for safety and enforced those limits […]

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Per Road and Track, the operators of the famed Nurburgring in Germany may be preparing to dump its speed limits for manufacturers and may mean a return for manufacturer records.

After a Nissan GT-R GT3 crashed and killed a spectator, the famous road installed speed limits during specific sections for safety and enforced those limits during testing for manufacturers — effectively ending record run chest-thumping.

Although the rumor is just a rumor right now, there are undoubtedly a few manufacturers who should be licking their chops today at the chance to unseat Porsche for the production-car throne.

The speed limits are enforced on the Flugplatz section and Gantry to Antoniusbuche sections.

If lifted, speed limits at the track for manufacturer testing would have only lasted a few weeks, and it may signal the end of Pikes Peak two-day run as the new ‘Ring.

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Honda Making English Its Official Language by 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-making-english-official-language-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/honda-making-english-official-language-2020/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1107121 In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report. Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese […]

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Takanobu Ito

In its 104-page annual sustainability report, Honda announced it would make English its official language by 2020, requiring all interregional communication be conducted in English. Similarly, English-language proficiency would be a requirement for promotion to management. The new mandate appears on Page 70 of the report.

Despite burying the lede, it’s a seismic change for the Japanese company. According to Automotive News, five years ago then-boss Takanobu Ito said — possibly in Japanese — that making English the official language of Honda was “stupid.” Five years from now, presumably all of Honda’s workforce, which includes more than 200,000 people — nearly three-quarters of it outside of North America — will be speaking the language.

Honda’s official stance on English isn’t wholly surprising, or new.

According to a report by The Economist in February 2014, Honda was keen on adopting “Corporate English” throughout the company and following suit with many other global manufacturers. Chinese tech giant Lenovo made English its lingua franca. Same goes for Nokia, Renault and Samsung.

Only one quarter of Honda’s workforce is in North America, but accounted for nearly one third of its new hires for 2015. Honda’s move to English is emblematic of its reality: 40 percent of Honda’s sales are in North America and 81 percent of its vehicles are assembled outside of Japan.

Included in the report is an outlook for the future of Honda’s manufacturing in North America.

The U.S. will add more than 3.4 million manufacturing jobs in the next 10 years, the report states, but will have only 1.4 million people to fill those jobs. Honda says they will implement a program in Ohio — where Honda builds cars — to teach middle- and high-school students how to fill those jobs with video games, or by directly funding STEM programs in some schools.

There’s been no word on whether Buick will be making the switch to Mandarin.

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Mahindra-Pininfarina Deal Rejected By Creditors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mahindra-pininfarina-deal-rejected-by-creditors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/mahindra-pininfarina-deal-rejected-by-creditors/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102857 Mahindra’s attempt to buy Italian design firm Pininfarina collapsed over the weekend due to opposition by the latter’s creditors. According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, three or four banks holding Pininfarina’s €87 million ($97 million USD) debt rejected a deal by the Indian company to buy the design house with the idea of writing off […]

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Mahindra XUV 500 W6 2013

Mahindra’s attempt to buy Italian design firm Pininfarina collapsed over the weekend due to opposition by the latter’s creditors.

According to Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, three or four banks holding Pininfarina’s €87 million ($97 million USD) debt rejected a deal by the Indian company to buy the design house with the idea of writing off half of said debt, Reuters reports; Mahindra and Pininfarina had worked on SUVs and concepts in the past. Pininfarina will now seek a new debt restructuring agreement.

Had Mahindra’s deal been approved, the company would be the latest to acquire ownership of an Italian company in a series of foreign takeovers, such as ChemChina’s purchase of tire manufacturer Pirelli earlier this year, amid Italy sorting itself and its economy out.

(Photo credit: RL GNZLZ/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Suzuki CEO Appoints Toshihiro Suzuki To President, COO Roles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/suzuki-ceo-appoints-toshihiro-suzuki-to-president-coo-roles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/suzuki-ceo-appoints-toshihiro-suzuki-to-president-coo-roles/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1102817 Suzuki chairman and CEO Osamu Suzuki announced Tuesday the appointment of his son and likely successor, Toshihiro Suzuki, to the role of president. Toshihiro’s appointment is part of Osamu’s plan of bringing aboard a younger management team over the next five years to guide the company, Automotive News reports, with Osamu overseeing the changeover: We […]

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Osamu and Toshihiro Suzuki

Suzuki chairman and CEO Osamu Suzuki announced Tuesday the appointment of his son and likely successor, Toshihiro Suzuki, to the role of president.

Toshihiro’s appointment is part of Osamu’s plan of bringing aboard a younger management team over the next five years to guide the company, Automotive News reports, with Osamu overseeing the changeover:

We thought we needed to rejuvenate ourselves, and in that case it would be best if I left first. But I am so full of conceit that I cannot do that.

Osamu took on the mantle of president and chief operations officer following Hiroshi Tsuda’ 2008 resignation over poor health. His son, who observers see as his successor since the 2007 passing of son-in-law Hirotaka Ono, will take the mantle July 1.

Toshihiro headed the company’s Iwata factory west of Tokyo and managed mini and compact car production at Kosai early in his career, after which he acted as the company’s liaison at General Motors beginning in 2001. There, he helped facilitate exchanges of technology between the two companies, including those surrounding a jointly developed FCV. GM would divest itself of its 20 percent of Suzuki by 2008, a decade after first agreeing to a joint venture with the company.

Whether Toshihiro or another ultimately takes the helm of Suzuki, Osamu’s successor will have much to carry upon their shoulders, such as defending its stronghold in India while pursuing newer markets, and acquiring financing via new partnerships for new, greener powertrain technologies. They will also have the burden of handling the fallout from the dissolution of the company’s partnership with Volkswagen; the case recently finished arbitration, with both parties awaiting a ruling.

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