Category: Overseas

By on October 5, 2015

Subaru Sambar

Twelve countries, including the United States, reached an agreement Monday on an historic trade agreement that could economically tie together more than 400 million people in Asian Pacific and American countries. The pact would cover trade for wide ranging products, from rice to pharmaceutical drugs to cars.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which negotiators have been working on for eight years, would thaw trade relations among countries included in the regional zone, including Japan and the United States. For automakers in both countries, the tentative deal includes provisions for Japanese automakers to (eventually) bring light-duty trucks to the U.S. For American automakers, part of the proposed agreement included a side deal between America and Japan to allow access for U.S. automakers to traditionally closed Japanese markets.

The agreement faces an uphill battle to get congressional approval; House Republicans and presidential candidates already have roundly dismissed the deal.

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By on October 2, 2015


Lexus announced Friday that its RC coupe would get the turbo four treatment for 2016, following the NX, GS, IS and RX Toyota’s eventual march toward smaller-displacement, boosted engines for many of its sedans and coupes.

According to the automaker, the 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which produces 241 horsepower, will be available in the coupe with an eight-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive only. It will join three other engines available in the RC.

The all-wheel drive RC300 will come equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 255 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic, a rear-wheel drive RC350 with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 306 horsepower married to an eight-speed automatic, and a 468-horsepower 5-liter V-8 in the RC-F and how many engines does Toyota have on its shelves?

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By on October 2, 2015

German transportation authorities said Friday that Volkswagen can’t phone a friend for help, they’re on their own.

“At this point we have no indication of other manufacturers being involved,” a government spokesman, said according to Reuters (via Automotive News Europe).

Being the only automaker embroiled in the scandal — for now — means that Volkswagen will have to face alone the wrath from governments tripping over themselves to charge the automaker with just about anything they want. In the U.S., Volkswagen faces a pending congressional inquiry; in France, prosecutors have opened an investigation for “aggravated deception;” in Italy, the government’s antitrust authority has begun an investigation; in Switzerland — you get the idea.

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By on October 1, 2015


A meeting of Volkswagen executives revealed Thursday that the internal investigation into how the company produced 11 million cars with illegal “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests will take several months, Reuters (via Automotive News) reported.

The supervisory board said in light of the ongoing investigation, the automaker would push back its scheduled meeting in November, where it was expected to name Hans Dieter Pötsch as chairman.

“In view of the time available and the matters to be considered, it would not be realistic to provide well-founded answers which would fulfill the shareholder’s justified expectations,” it said according to Reuters, adding a court would appoint Poetsch to the board, after which he would be elected chairman. Read More >

By on October 1, 2015

02 Volkswagen Golf family

Volkswagen may issue preferred shares to help raise money to deal with its growing diesel scandal, Reuters reported.

The German automaker may cut costs and boost cash flow before resorting to offering parts of the company to outside investors. According to the report, VW may find some willing investors to help bail the company out of its dire straights thanks to its healthy balance sheet and assets. However, if no one is willing to take the bait, the company may resort to more extreme cash-raising strategies that include selling ordinary stock, or even perhaps selling off some of its brands.

Reuters reported that sources said Volkswagen wasn’t considering selling any of its brands now. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spun off luxury carmaker Ferrari this year, in part, to raise capital for other investments at the global automaker.

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By on October 1, 2015

Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Volkswagen suspended hiring at its finance arm and cut a shift at its Salzgitter engine factory to prepare its business for fallout from the largest business crisis that company has faced.

According to Reuters (via Automotive News), senior officials at Volkswagen will review Thursday findings from an internal investigation into the scandal that the automaker installed illegal emissions “defeat devices” on 11 million cars. The finance division said it would implement a hiring freeze through the end of this year.

“We are reacting to the current situation. It is a purely precautionary measure,” a spokesman told Reuters. Read More >

By on October 1, 2015


German prosecutors on Thursday said they focused too quickly on former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and removed a statement from earlier this week that they were investigating the former executive for the scandal that has engulfed the German carmaker.

In a statement by the Lower Saxony prosecutor’s office obtained by Automotive News Europe on Thursday, the office said there must be “concrete facts” before officially investigating Winterkorn. So far, no specific individuals have been named in the office’s investigation.

The stakes are high for whomever may be responsible for the 11 million cars that illegally cheated emissions tests. Volkswagen supervisory board member Olaf Lies told The Local in Germany that “those people who allowed this to happen, or who made the decision to install this software — they acted criminally. They must take personal responsibility.”

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By on September 30, 2015


Porsche announced Wednesday that Oliver Blume would succeed Matthias Müller as CEO of Porsche, after Müller left to save head Volkswagen last week.

Blume, who is 47 years old, has been the head of Production and Logistics for Porsche since 2013, and was head of production and planning for Volkswagen before that. Blume was responsible for planning at Seat in Barcelona from 2004 to 2009, and worked on the Audi A3 before his tenure in Spain. According to Porsche, Blume has worked under the Volkswagen umbrella for more than 20 years.

Blume’s challenges at Porsche won’t be as extensive as Müller’s, but will be substantial. As CEO of Porsche, Blume will oversee the iconic 911’s shift to turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the next generation of Panameras and whatever comes of the Mission E electric car concept.

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By on September 30, 2015


Honda took the wraps off its hydrogen-powered FCV sedan Wednesday. It that will pick up from where the FCX Clarity left off last year.

The FCV will be shown Oct. 28 at the Tokyo Motor Show this year, alongside the automaker’s NSX and Civic Type R. (Any bets on what goes on sale first?) However, it probably won’t be called the FCV when it goes on sale next March in Japan in sometime after in the U.S. Like the FCX Clarity, the FCV may not have much of a life outside California — that’s really the only state with a semblance of hydrogen fuel infrastructure.

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By on September 30, 2015

Mazda Concept Tokyo

Mazda on Wednesday released a teaser image for a sports car it will show off at the Tokyo Motor Show on Oct. 28.

The automaker divulged few details about the car, other than to say it would “almost condense Mazda’s entire history of sports car development into a single model,” which means nothing in itself. What may be more significant is that the car will be shown alongside a 1967 Cosmo Sport, which was rotary powered. Or maybe that doesn’t matter at all.

We’ve all but given up on rotary powered engines being fuel-efficient and commercially viable so calling this an RX concept would be a long throw.

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  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Bark M., United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Doug DeMuro, United States
  • Steven Lang, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, United States
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States