There is one corner of the world where the glory days of General Motors are a reality rather than a memory; Uzbekistan.
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Ford unveiled a number of new products at its European dealer meeting in Amsterdam, including new crossovers and an all-new Mondeo powered by a three-cylinder engine.
Germany hasn’t seen the double digit sales losses of other EU countries, but it isn’t walking on water either. August sales in Germany were down 4.7 percent on 226,455 units, says the KBA. For the first eight months of the year, sales in Germany now are 0.6 percent below the same period of the prior year. Read More >
Rubbing shoulders with industry types displaced to a Chinese city called Chengdu has its good parts. You hear stories you normally don’t see in a press release. An executive who works for the western partner of a large Chinese joint venture told me today that my story about Chinese interests killing the Opel deal between GM and PSA wasn’t true. At least not completely. As so often, in the denial was a much more interesting story. After another drink for encouragement, said executive told me very much off the record that GM is tired of the PSA deal and wants out. If that means leaving Opel for dead, so be it. Read More >
Auto makers in Europe are freaking out about excess capacity, but Honda can’t get enough of it.
The hordes of Chinese and Japanese reporters roaming the halls of the Chengdu Global Automotive Forum in Chengdu were not really interested in exports. They were sniffing blood. There are tensions between China, Japan, and a few other countries over some rocks in the sea. The rocks are called Diaoyu by the Chinese, Senkaku by the Japanese, and choice words by many others. Nissan’s COO Toshiyuki Shiga sat on the podium, next to the always photogenic Atsushi Niimi. The Japanese were flanked by a BAIC president and a Dongfeng CEO. The reporters wanted to know: How bad is it? Read More >
There is one thing about the Chinese car industry that can’t be said often enough: It is learning fast. A year ago, the recurring theme at the Chengdu Global Automotive Forum was brands, brands, brands. This year, nobody talks about new brands anymore. The only one who does is the CEO of Dongfeng, one of China’s largest automakers. He says last year’s brand binge was misguided, “irrational, incompetent, and immature.” Read More >
Renault has outmaneuvered partner Daimler, which didn’t have a prayer. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn handed Pope Benedict XVI (nee Joseph Aloysius Ratzinger) a new, fully sustainable electric popemobile.
It is unclear whether the public will see an emission-free pope. According to a Renault press release, the holy EV is for use when the Pope is travelling at his summer residence Castel Gandolfo. Read More >
They say the third time is always a charm.
I don’t think this was what they meant.
The SUV arms race has been over for a few years now, with four-ton, leather-lined, full-framed trucks no longer appearing to be viable as the middle-class commuter machines they were during the SUV-crazed 1990s and 2000s. Oh, sure, you can still buy the things, but Times Have Changed. If we are to draw a parallel between the Golden Age of the Muscle Car (during which Detroit slapped off-the-shelf luxury-car engines and $27 worth of scoops and graphics on midsize commuter cars and made crazy money) and the Golden Age of the Big-Ass SUV (during which Detroit slapped off-the-shelf pleather and Simu-Wood™ trim and $27 worth of badging on full-sized work-truck chassis and made crazy money), then we are now in the SUV equivalent of about 1976. If so, this means that, in another decade or two, nostalgia for Navigators and Escalades will kick in, just as it did for GTOs and Super Bees in about 1985, and— just as with muscle cars— the love of these absurd luxo-trucks will take on symbolic connotations of past glory, an era before nanny-state killjoys, and so on. Read More >