Harkening back to its early days as a purveyor of horseless carriages, Ford Motor Company has patented a no-frills folding vehicle for those who want something more than a bicycle.
American Chevrolet Volt fans have long discussed how the quasi-upscale extended-range EV might have fared with a Buick badge instead of being branded as a bread-and-butter Chevrolet.
It appears the Chinese have gone beyond the discussion phase.
According to Chinese website Autohome, Shanghai GM gets it, and has pulled the strings to rename the Chevy Volt the Velite for a brand that is more prestigious and sells in higher volume in China. (Read More…)
Production of the Buick Verano is expected to end next month, but it seems we’ve already forgotten about the nameplate and the sort-of luxury compact car it was attached to.
The model lives on in China, but a hatchback bearing the Buick badge and a Verano GS nameplate has been seen driving near General Motors’ Milford, Michigan proving grounds, according to photos published by AutoGuide. (Read More…)
Here’s something to depress our older readers: There is an entire generation of drivers that has never known a world without Lexus. Note that I did not say “Lexus and Infiniti.” The majority of American drivers probably have no idea Infiniti exists.
It wasn’t supposed to be that way. I was there at the start, working for a BMW dealer, and I can tell you that many people on the retail side of the business thought that Infiniti would prove to be just as successful as Lexus. Maybe more successful. All of the momentum seemed to be on Nissan’s side: They had the near-legendary Nissan Primera as Infiniti’s entry-level car, beloved of autowriters and cognoscenti everywhere. Toyota had a Camry with frameless windows. Infiniti had the mighty, dream-crushing Q45, which was as fast as a V12 Bimmer and styled from nose to tail in an original, tasteful, fake-wood-free fashion. Toyota had a store-brand copy of the S-Class.
It didn’t turn out that way, of course. We now live in a Lexus world. The brand is so strong that other brands, like Cadillac, obtain the bulk of their sales volume selling knockoff versions of the RX350. I don’t have access to hard numbers, but I would suspect that Lexus dealers are more profitable, per unit sold, than any other franchise south of, say, Porsche.
And where is Infiniti? Nowhere. Lost. Sinking. The reasons for the brand’s failure are too numerous to consider in a single article. But I’m going to discuss what I think might be the most important reason here, because it doesn’t just apply to Nissan’s boutique brand and it continues to affect everyone from Honda to Hyundai.
Over the years, various Chinese automakers have
been inspired by produced blatant copies of various mainstream automobiles.
The Landwind X7 appears to be a direct replica of the Range Rover Evoque. So much so, that Jaguar Land Rover recently sued Jiangling Motor, the largest shareholder of Landwind, for copyright infringement and unfair competition. Shockingly, that case is currently in a little bit of a limbo in the Chinese court system.
The worlds of Land Rover and Landwind literally collided today when a Landwind X7 and Range Rover Evoque got into a minor fender-bender. The accident happened in Chongqing, a small city in southwest China with a population roughly twice that of Los Angeles.
Buick is all about China, where the brand claims more than 5 percent market share.
Buick’s achievements in the United States, once storied, are now not nearly so impressive. Buick’s market share in America today is half what it was in 2002, after volume declined in eight of 14 years, tumbling from more than 430,000 sales 14 years ago to 223,055 last year.
This is part of the Buick story we told you yesterday. In touting record global sales as one of the planet’s fastest-growing volume brands, Buick’s General Motors parent company also made clear that the brand is achieving rapidly increased rates of sales because of the Chinese market, even though U.S. sales are declining, albeit marginally.
Following our managing editor’s press of the publish button, we almost immediately heard from Buick. (Read More…)
As if we needed more evidence that North America is an increasingly unimportant component of Buick’s future plans — Buick is discontinuing the Verano, its most popular car model in the U.S. and the most popular Buick overall in Canada — GM revealed that Buick added more Chinese sales between January and June than the whole U.S. Buick division managed in toto. (Read More…)
As the saying goes, if you can’t sign a supply agreement with ’em, buy a part of ’em.
That’s clearly not a saying, but that’s what Samsung Electronics Company just did with Chinese electric automaker BYD, handing over $440 million deal for a 1.9 percent stake in the company. According to Bloomberg, a Samsung subsidiary was turned down by China as an approved supplier of batteries to the automaker, so the electronics giant tried another door. (Read More…)
Would you be furious if you invested millions to open a dealership, only for the manufacturer to supply just one vehicle with any sort of consistency? Of course you’d be.
That’s the problem some Hyundai dealers in China are facing now, who are in the unique situation of competing with another set of Hyundai dealers in the country. That’s a tall order: the only vehicle Hyundai supplies to those dealers on a regular basis is the Veloster hatchback. Now Hyundai has a Little Problem in Big China in the form of a $135 million lawsuit.
As this is written in late June, the 2016 presidential race has been whittled down to two presumptive nominees from the two major political parties, and two or three more candidates that should appear on ballots nationwide. There are dozens of issues facing the public, certainly, but as The Truth About Cars is obviously an automotive-focused site, we felt discussing issues not related to the auto industry is well beyond the scope of our talents or expertise.
However, there are plenty of issues that will affect our industry, so we are establishing a discussion on the candidate’s positions on those issues. We aim to present a fair, unbiased assessment that will no doubt be shredded within the first five comments, so have at it.