The Truth About Cars » China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:27:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 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 » China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com China Will Again Control Rare Metals in Hybrids, Other Cars http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-will-control-rare-metals-hybrids-cars/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-will-control-rare-metals-hybrids-cars/#comments Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1154281 Metals found in hybrid batteries, diesel fuel and headlight glass could again be subject to China’s ever-changing rules for rare earth exports. On Wednesday, Molycorp announced that it would be suspending its mining operations of rare earth metals in California, but keep its mines in China and Estonia open for the time being. The company, […]

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2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-headlight-2

Metals found in hybrid batteries, diesel fuel and headlight glass could again be subject to China’s ever-changing rules for rare earth exports.

On Wednesday, Molycorp announced that it would be suspending its mining operations of rare earth metals in California, but keep its mines in China and Estonia open for the time being.

The company, which went public in 2011, has fallen on hard times. In June, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and slowing demand in China isn’t helping. However, without a mine in the U.S., much of the rare earth metal mined in the world could be under Chinese government purview, and that’s not good.

In 2010, China’s tightening grip of its mines and exported metals opened a hole for Molycorp to exploit. As prices skyrocketed for rare earth metals found in many parts of vehicles, so did the need for domestic production.

transportation-img1

Now, as a flood of illicitly obtained metals and loosened export restrictions by China reduces the value of the metal — in some cases by 50 percent, according to a Molycorp spokesman — the mining company was forced to lay off 500 workers and shutter its mine in California.

“In general, global demand for rare earths used in vehicles — particularly for the magnetic elements that go into fuel efficient vehicles, direct drive wind turbines, and energy saving home appliances — has been positive and is forecast for robust growth over the next several years. The problem is on the supply side,” said Jim Sims, spokesman for Molycorp.

That could set up a situation for automakers similar to 2010, when China severely restricted how much metal it would export and drove up the overall price. Analysts say China controls up to 95 percent of the market.

Sims also said producers in China are mining rare earth metals illicitly or without environmental impact oversight, which are making their way into cars today. According to Dudley Kingsnorth, a professor at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, up to 50 percent of rare earth magnets contain illicit material.

“The Chinese Government readily admits that this illicit production and smuggling is occurring, that it is the primary cause of weak rare earth pricing, and that they have had limited success to date in getting it in under control,” Sims said. “Even some legitimate producers in China who follow the rules and try to do right by the environment aren’t making money these days in their rare earth business.”

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Union Leader Blasts Obama on Pacific Trade Talks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-leader-blasts-obama-pacific-trade-talks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/union-leader-blasts-obama-pacific-trade-talks/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1153377 The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with […]

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with countries such as Japan jeopardizes American jobs because those countries may be able to source cheaper parts from outside the negotiated area, according to the report.

“I hope it is not the case that the Canadian and Mexican negotiators are actually holding a harder line than our own government on this issue. But due to the unaccountable lack of transparency from USTR, absolutely critical decisions are being made without our input or voice. Thousands of good American jobs and an iconic American industry are at risk, and we don’t even know what our government’s negotiating position is.”

According to the Detroit News, a free-trade agreement with Asia would be high on Obama’s priorities before his administration ends.

Trumka said there would be no guarantee for American automakers to gain a foothold in Japan if the Trans Pacific Partnership were created.

Instead, he said, the deal would make it easier for American automakers to source cheaper parts from China and Thailand, or other developing nations, which would come at the expense of American auto workers. Under current free trade rules in North America, 62.5 percent of a car or light truck must originate within the trade zone to be tariff free. Mexico, which is currently building nearly 4 million cars a year, would like to increase that to 65 percent. Japan is proposing a 45-percent threshold for vehicles and 30 percent for parts.

The agreement could also end the 25-percent import tax on light pickups, commonly called the “Chicken Tax.”

Automakers have said they’d prefer to renew the Chicken Tax or slowly roll the tax back after years — or even decades.

According to the story, Japan doesn’t place any import tax on American-built cars, and has said they’ve spent billions building production facilities in America — which American automakers haven’t yet done in Japan.

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QOTD Bonus: Would You Buy A Chinese-built American Car? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-buy-chinese-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/qotd-buy-chinese-car/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 21:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1151657 You’re car shopping for your dream car. You test drive it. It’s perfect. Everything in its place. The power … breathtaking. You look at the window sticker and there are a few numbers after a dollar sign. You can afford it — just. Next year, your dream car will have no discernible differences from the […]

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Cadillac-XTS-with-Brad-Pitt

You’re car shopping for your dream car. You test drive it. It’s perfect. Everything in its place. The power … breathtaking. You look at the window sticker and there are a few numbers after a dollar sign. You can afford it — just.

Next year, your dream car will have no discernible differences from the one you are driving today. Everything will still be perfect, in its place, and the power will be just as intoxicating. Except next year the price will go down $5,000 thanks to a “Made in China” stamp on the doorjamb.

Whether toothless threat or real risk, the global automotive markets are so integrated now that GM can say they’ll build more Buicks in China and it’s a real possibility. GM does make vehicles in China these days. Shipping rates are incredibly low thanks to bigger and bigger ships making the journey across the Pacific more efficient.

Fifteen years ago, if a company pulled the China card, the UAW would laugh them off and say, “Yeah, right. We’ll believe that when sweaters and sweater vests become the defacto suit for automotive CEOs.” Now, almost every automaker that sells vehicles in North America has some kind of manufacturing operation in China.

Not too long ago, Honda Canada started importing the Fit from China, and not an eye was batted by consumers. I’d be surprised if a single Honda customer went into the dealer, test drove a Fit, found out it was built in China and decided not to buy it based solely on that fact.

But America is a different story, and GM is a different company. We don’t think of Honda as being a domestic automaker, even though they do manufacture a considerable number of products within our borders. Nor do we feel that Honda owes us anything (besides maybe an S2000 reprise).

Meanwhile, GM does owe us something. We kept them afloat, after all. While they don’t legally owe us — the taxpayers — a single dime at this point, the fact remains they are quickly squandering the very small amount of goodwill they had after the bankruptcy and re-emergence to profitability.

Surely, they owe us to keep as much manufacturing in North America as possible. But they don’t.

If your dream is to own a vehicle from a domestic manufacturer — let’s say Hellcat or Corvette or Shelby GT350 — and they decide to build that product in China while offering a lower MSRP, would you buy it?

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Toyota Keeping China Production Plant Closed Longer http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-keeping-china-production-plant-closed-longer/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/toyota-keeping-china-production-plant-closed-longer/#comments Sun, 23 Aug 2015 15:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1150961 Toyota will keep a plant in China closed until at least Aug. 26 as it waits for conditions to improve after an explosion there killed more than 120 people, the Detroit News is reporting. The Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin, China injured 67 Toyota employees nearby and damaged 4,700 Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The plant in Tianjin, […]

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Panoramic_View_from_Tianjin_TV_Tower_East(small)(2008-08)

Toyota will keep a plant in China closed until at least Aug. 26 as it waits for conditions to improve after an explosion there killed more than 120 people, the Detroit News is reporting.

The Aug. 12 explosion in Tianjin, China injured 67 Toyota employees nearby and damaged 4,700 Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The plant in Tianjin, which produces Crown, Reiz, Corolla and Vios cars, is responsible for roughly half of Toyota’s annual production in China.

“We will only restart operations when we have been able to confirm the safety of our facilities and their surroundings, and when our employees feel that they can once again go to work in a safe environment,” the company said in an email, according to Reuters.

According to reports, fires are still breaking out near the site of the explosion. On Aug. 12, a chemicals warehouse exploded in the port city, which killed 121 people and injured hundreds.

Analysts say the disruption to Toyota’s supply chain would be felt across the automaker’s lineup.

Automakers such as Volkswagen and Jaguar Land Rover said thousands of their cars were damaged in the explosion as well.

(Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

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Who’s Ready to Party Like It’s 2008? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whos-ready-party-like-2008/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/whos-ready-party-like-2008/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 18:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1149793 Break out the champagne and 7-liter engines. Have one on us, alright? The Wall Street Journal and Reuters are reporting that despite a mild increase in crude, oil is hovering around $40 a barrel and it’s expected to further dip in coming months to a six-year low on a global glut of oil. The national average […]

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Ford Mustang Receiving Gas Circa April 2015

Break out the champagne and 7-liter engines. Have one on us, alright?

The Wall Street Journal and Reuters are reporting that despite a mild increase in crude, oil is hovering around $40 a barrel and it’s expected to further dip in coming months to a six-year low on a global glut of oil.

The national average for a gallon of gas could drop to as low as $2, Green Car Reports says, which would be the cheapest its been since January, and could approach historical lows from 2008.

Brent crude (light, sweet oil that serves as a trading standard) dropped on worries that a slumping Chinese economy would further slide and European uncertainty about Greek’s flailing economy.

American crude reserves will likely increase in the short-term as refineries prepare for off-season maintenance, which would reduce demand for crude and drive prices down further.

In crude’s corner, worries about hurricane season — and that’s about it — kept the bottom from falling out.

Although stone-cold cheap gas seems like a good deal for drivers, it may not be the best for the economy and energy-sector jobs. This year, the Wall Street Journal excellently reported how super-cheap gas wasn’t exactly great in the 1980s either.

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China 2015: Cars of Yanji, Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-2015-cars-yanji-korean-autonomous-prefecture/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-2015-cars-yanji-korean-autonomous-prefecture/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148281 After Changchun, we hop on a short 45 minute flight to Yanji, capital of the little-known Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, next to the North Korean border. Yanbian was created in 1955 as a reward for Koreans who fought on the side of the communists in the Civil War and is the only minority prefecture in the […]

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1. Hyundai Elantra Yanji

After Changchun, we hop on a short 45 minute flight to Yanji, capital of the little-known Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, next to the North Korean border. Yanbian was created in 1955 as a reward for Koreans who fought on the side of the communists in the Civil War and is the only minority prefecture in the north of China. Many Koreans refer to it as the “third Korea” — after the South and North, given it’s around half the size of South Korea. However, it’s home to just two million inhabitants, including roughly 400,000 in Yanji.

2. Chery QQ Yanji

Chery QQ in Yanji (notice the Russian sign)

It’s a fascinating and unexpected experience to see most street signs including shops, restaurants and hotels bilingual in Chinese and Korean (and even Russian, sometimes), newspapers in Korean and hearing Korean spoken instead of Chinese.

As has been the case in China’s western Xinjiang province with its Uyghur population, the percentage of ethnic Koreans in Yanbian has fallen from 60  in the 1950s to 38 percent today.

 

China map with Yanji TTAC

Yanji localization in China

 

2. Kia K3 Yanji

Kia K3 and Hyundai Mistra

Apart from taxis that account for a good 25 percent of cars in circulation in the centre of town and composed at 75 percent of 2000 Hyundai Elantras (still sold in China, the rest are VW Jetta König), it is not the Korean car tidal wave I expected. The Kia K3, Sportage R, Hyundai ix35 and Mistra are present in good numbers, but not much more than expected given their respective national rankings. The Kia Sorento may have had its sales inflated by the region’s proximity of Korea, but that would be about it.

 

3. VW Jetta Chery QQ Yanji

Chery QQ and VW Jetta under a Korean-style arch in Yanji.

Chinese manufacturers represent roughly 1/3 of all cars in the centre of town (excluding taxis), a ratio that increases as we reach the outskirts of the city. In any case, a slight improvement over the 25-30% of Changchun — with the added specificity that in Shanghai (Roewe) and Changchun (FAW) one local carmaker clearly dominated — here the landscape is a lot more varied and most main domestic manufacturers are fairly well represented.

 

7. Yanji Street scene 2

Yanji street scene

The Yanji car park is markedly older than in Changchun where it seemed that almost every private car in circulation had been bought in the past year. Sedans rule by far, but are skewed towards smaller sizes and more affordable brands — a logical trend as we step out of the big cities and revenue per inhabitant goes south. SUVs are frequent but not a craze yet, and we remain at a very low pickup ratio in traffic, dominated by the Dongfeng Oting, JMC and Great Wall Wingle.

 

4. Dongfeng V07S Yanji

Dongfeng V07S

 

FAW V70 Yanji

FAW V70

Microvans, however, are back in force — though this time the brand spread is very large. It’s not just Wulings and Chanas like the national sales figures indicate. Other lesser-known models have their time in the limelight here: the FAW V70 is at its most popular here versus anywhere I’ve been in China so far (see further down this report for an illustration), and I spotted generous amounts of Dongfeng V07S, Beijing Auto Weiwang 205, Karry Youyi and various Jinbei and Hafei models.

 

5. Wuling Hongguang Yanji

2 x Wuling Hongguang in Yanji

 

Wuling Hongguang Yanji 2

Wuling Hongguang

Overall though, the Wuling Hongguang should top the sales charts in Yanji as it does nationally, with the Chana Honor also strong and the Karry K50 starting to show itself.

 

6. Chery E3 Yanji

Chery E3

 

Chery Tiggo5 Yanji

Chery Tiggo5 (notice the Korean characters above the Chinese ones)

Two brands are clearly noticeable much more often in Yanji than in other Chinese cities I have visited so far. The first one is domestic manufacturer Chery. I am willing to bet the 2013 Chery QQ ranks inside the Top 5 in Yanji, with the Tiggo3 inside the Top 10 and the Tiggo5 and E3 small sedan inside the Top 15. That’s a spectacular success for a brand that has been relatively discreet on the national stage for the past couple of years. The Fulwin 2 hatchback is also a very frequent sight.

Chery Fulwin 2 Kia Sportage Yanji

Chery Fulwin 2 and Kia Sportage R

 

Chery Cowin 2 and E3 Yanji

Chery Cowin 2 and E3

But the most interesting element about Chery’s success in Yanji is that it seems to be relatively recent, as there is no significant heritage of previous generations QQ or Tiggo. If this is true, it would make for a very interesting insight as it shows a Chinese brand is reclaiming lost territory in the sedan and SUV segments with low-end models. Cities like Yanji are the reason why affordable sedans like the E3 are still manufactured by Chinese carmakers even though their success nationally is relatively limited. These aren’t successful in big cities, but in smaller ones where new car sales are growing the fastest.

Citroen C-Quatre Hyundai Elantra Yanji

Citroen C-Quatre and Hyundai Elantra taxi

The second brand that captured my attention by its unusual frequency — albeit at a much lower level than Chery — is Citroen, in particular with the C-Quatre hatchback and sedan that seem to be very successful here. This is in contrast with Peugeot,  which is almost inexistent bar one single 408 and a couple of 2008. I also saw the first DS 5LS of this trip in Yanji.

 

Nissan Sylphy Yanji

Nissan Sylphy

 

Nissan Teana Yanji

Nissan Teana

 

Nissan Sunny Yanji

Nissan Sunny

Although Citroen was stronger than expected, the most popular foreigner overall here seems to be Nissan, whose Sylphy is a blockbuster seller in Yanji, and the Tiida, Sunny, X-Trail and Teana also very strong in this order. Logical in a city keen on affordable sedans, the Toyota Vios is a hit in Yanji (as is the Yaris L), while in the Honda aisle the XR-V and Vezel twins are already frequent, which is extremely impressive given they have been in market for just a handful of months.

 

Ford Escort Yanji

Ford Escort

Volkswagen is still successful here but nowhere near as much as in Changchun. The Santana, Lavida and Jetta are the most popular. Ford’s Kuga (Escape in the U.S.) is a winner and I already saw one Escort. Obviously, and this is becoming comical, we have our residents Toyota Tundra (two in fact) and Ford F-150 Raptor in Yanji. No pictures yet but there will be some in the next stops…

Brilliance H330 Yanji

Brilliance H330

 

BAW BJ40 Yanji

BAW BJ40

 

ChangAn CS75 Yanji

ChangAn CS75

Back to the Chinese: Apart from the Chery QQ, Yanji consumers are avid buyers of all its minicar competitors. The BYD F0, JAC A10 and ChangAn Benben are all popular here. ChangAn does very well indeed in Yanji, the CS35 is very well established and the CS75 is becoming quite frequent already. Brilliance also gets noticed with its V5 SUV (I spotted 3 in a matter of meters) and the H330 sedan pictured above. The FAW Besturn X80 is once again among the best-selling SUVs in Yanji – although a lot weaker than in Changchun. I spotted two BAW BJ40s, the first Leopaard Q6 of the trip (facelifted Mitsubishi Pajero), and half of all police sedans are of the Haima family with the other half of the police fleet comprising of VW Jetta Königs.

 

Great Wall M4 Yanji

Great Wall M4

Finally, there is a very solid heritage of Great Wall M4, C20R and C30. Now that these models are being phased out, it will be interesting to see where these specific consumers (mainly women from what I saw) report their next sales. The Haval H1 — in effect a modernised Great Wall M4 — would be the first possible choice, but the door is open for another domestic manufacturer to win the sale.

 

Jaguar XJ Yanji

Jaguar XJ in Yanji

Next we are going further north to Mudanjiang in the Heilongjiang province… Stay tuned!

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a website dedicated to car sales, trends and analysis called BestSellingCarsBlog.

Buick Excelle GT YanjiBuick Excelle GT

Yanji Street scene 3Yanji street scene

Geely EC7 YanjiGeely EC7

Yanji Street scene 1Yanji street scene

Foton Pickup YanjiFoton Pickup

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Report: Buick Will Import Most of its New Cars by 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-buick-will-import-new-cars-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/report-buick-will-import-new-cars-2016/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2015 19:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1148865 Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan. Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come […]

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Reuters is reporting that Buick will import most of its new models to North America from China and Europe by 2016. Only the mid-size that will eventually replace the LaCrosse and the large Enclave crossover will be built in America, both in Michigan.

Other Buick models, including the coming Cascada convertible and the small crossover Envision would come from Europe and China respectively. Production of the Verano would shift from Michigan to China, the next-generation Regal would come from Germany instead of Canada, and the Encore would continue to be assembled in Korea, but would eventually shift to China, Reuters reported from an unidentified source.

If true, executives would deliver a sizable blow to contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union. Already, General Motors has announced substantial investments in North American plants during negotiations.

According to Reuters, a spokesman for Buick declined to comment on the report. A spokeswoman for the UAW said Buick would be unwise to import cars “after the sacrifices by U.S. taxpayers.”

Buick is expected to launch the China-built Envision in North America later this year.

Buick sells four times as many cars in China as they do in North America. 

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Could the Ford Taurus be Imported From China? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-taurus-imported-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/ford-taurus-imported-china/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1144049 The Ford Taurus, once the flagship in Ford’s range, apparently has fallen on hard times. Sales are down 28 percent through July, it hasn’t done much to outrun its perception as a perennial fleet queen and police fleet buyers are picking the Explorer-based Interceptor over the sedan. Automotive News details the fall and rise and fall again […]

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New Ford Taurus

The Ford Taurus, once the flagship in Ford’s range, apparently has fallen on hard times.

Sales are down 28 percent through July, it hasn’t done much to outrun its perception as a perennial fleet queen and police fleet buyers are picking the Explorer-based Interceptor over the sedan. Automotive News details the fall and rise and fall again of the Ford Taurus (thanks mostly to former Ford CEO Alan Mulally) and throws in a little tidbit in the middle:

If sales keep falling, analysts speculate Ford could eliminate U.S. production of it and … import the small volume it needs here from China …

Oh boy. 

It’s clear that Ford will have to make a decision about the Taurus soon. The current Taurus was last redesigned in 2009 and slightly updated in 2012. In April, Ford announced it would redesign the Taurus, but only in China.

Sales of the full-size Taurus peaked only a couple years ago, but the Taurus is on pace to sell 45,000 cars this year — including police cars — it’s lowest total ever.

In fact, the move to a full-size sedan — something Mulally pressed for early on in his tenure — may be what is killing the Taurus. By comparison, the Ford Fusion outsells the Taurus nearly four to one and is about $5,000 less for roughly the same car.

All that may be contributing to the tough time the Taurus is having in the States, and there’s always the Lincoln Continental right around the corner too.

So could the Taurus be Ford’s first import from China?

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China 2015: The Cars of Changchun http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-2015-cars-changchun/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-2015-cars-changchun/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 15:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1140666 After exploring the Shanghai car landscape, we are now headed North to land in Changchun, the capital city of the Jilin province and known as the Chinese Detroit.   The city itself has 3.6 million inhabitants. Including the greater Changchun, this figure climbs to 8 million, or almost as much as Paris or London! Yes, you’ve […]

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VW Jetta taxi in front of the Chanchun Railway Station

After exploring the Shanghai car landscape, we are now headed North to land in Changchun, the capital city of the Jilin province and known as the Chinese Detroit.

 

Where is Changchun?

Where is Changchun?

The city itself has 3.6 million inhabitants. Including the greater Changchun, this figure climbs to 8 million, or almost as much as Paris or London! Yes, you’ve read that right: There are cities in China you may not have heard of that are larger than most European cities. Changchun was the Japanese capital of Manchukuo between 1933 and 1945. It houses the former residence of Puyi, the Qing dynasty’s final emperor (also known as the ‘puppet emperor’), whose story was made into the 1987 movie “The Last Emperor”. Adequately, Changchun also used to be the capital of the Chinese film industry in the ’50s and ’60s.

Nowadays, Changchun is known as China’s Detroit. It is the largest vehicle manufacturing, research and development centre in China, producing roughly 10 percent of the country’s automobiles in 2014. First Automobile Works (FAW), you would have guessed, is the first ever Chinese carmaker and has its headquarters here along with its various joint ventures with foreign manufacturers including FAW-Volkswagen and FAW-Toyota. This impacts the Changchun car landscape greatly as we will discover in a lot more detail below. Anecdotally, Changchun also produces 50 percent of all passenger trains in China.

 

FAW Besturn B50 taxi and BMW X1 in Changchun

FAW Besturn B50 taxi and BMW X1 in Changchun

Landing in Changchun means we have arrived in what I call ‘the real China’: I did not see a single foreigner the entire time I stayed here (24 hours) and my very presence in the streets has everyone glued to their bus windows in curiosity, waving and smiling at me like they just spotted a movie star. Having around 50 bus patrons turn their head all in the same motion to keep staring while the bus drives on is a very interesting experience indeed. Must be the beard.

 

FAW Xenia S80 at Changchun Longjia Airport

FAW Xenia S80 at Changchun Longjia Airport

As soon as I step on the airport tarmac, the evidence I’m in FAW city awaits in the form of a FAW Xenia S80 minivan in its Changchun Longjia Airport livery. It is the start of a constant flow of FAW models streaming through Changchun, but they were not the ones I expected. The FAW Xiali sedan, a decade ago among the best-sellers nationwide — although not produced in Changchun but 850km South in Tianjin — is nowhere to be seen. I only spotted two lonely Xiali N5s. It goes the same for the lower end of the FAW lineup: only a couple of Oley sedans and Xiali N7 hatchbacks and one Junpai D60.

 

FAW Besturn X80

FAW Besturn X80

No. What Changchun drivers can’t get enough of are the more upmarket FAW offerings, namely the Besturn sub-brand. The Besturn X80 SUV is absolutely everywhere; 2 or 3 of them at every block, no less. While only ranking #91 nationally in 2014, in Changchun it is flirting with the pole position.

 

FAW Besturn B70

FAW Besturn B70

Also very popular are the Besturn B50 and B70 — all generations of them (they both launched in 2006), with the 2014 B70 model already very present in the Changchun streets. I would safely bet on a Top 10 ranking here, even potentially Top 5.

 

FAW Besturn B50 and Jinbei Haise

FAW Besturn B50 and Jinbei Haise

The first generation Besturn B50 also accounts for roughly 5 percent of all taxis here. Only the flagship B90 has yet to become a local favourite, potentially because of its 139,800 yuan pricetag (US$22,800). I did see one FAW Hongqi H7, the first time I’ve seen one of these out and about, and Hongqi has one H7 exhibited in the Departures hall of the Changchun Airport along with very sleek brochures. To know more about the Hongqi prestige brand, check out my coverage of the Shanghai Auto Show here.

 

FAW Hongqi H7 at Changchun Dongjia Airport

FAW Hongqi H7 at Changchun Dongjia Airport

As such, FAW secures itself the lion’s share of domestic carmakers who account for roughly 25-30 percent of a car park still largely dominated by sedans. SUVs are starting to be relatively popular, but there is no heritage of any SUV buying pattern in the past. Meanwhile, minivans and microvans are relatively rare compared to cities like Chongqing, and pickup trucks are non-existent.

 

Changchun street scene

Changchun street scene

In Changchun, we see the return of the Wuling Hongguang — well established here but a long way from matching its #1 national ranking — as well as a sprinkling of the microvans that preceded it. I spotted the first two Wuling Hongguang Vs and the first four Baojun 730 MPVs in circulation, confirming the mesmerising sales starts of these two nameplates are no legend but well and truly confirmed in the streets.

 

Haval H1

Haval H1

Great Wall is relatively strong here and I learned by studying the Changchun traffic that the Haval H6 Sport has, in effect, replaced the H6 over the past 18 months in terms of sales. That is before the new generation H6, unveiled at Auto Shanghai this year, will take the relay. Also of note were the success of the Dongfeng X3 SUV and ChangAn CS75.

 

VW Jetta

VW Jetta

That’s it for the Chinese. What brands compose the remainder of the Changchun park?

One word: Volkswagen. Or two: VW Jetta.

Being produced locally since 1991, the Jetta is logically the best-seller in Changchun whether it be with taxi companies or private buyers. I spotted hundreds of them in the streets in the space of only a few hours. The first generation Jetta (1991-1997) and its facelifts König (1997-2010) and Pionier (2010-2013) still account for around 75 percent of the Changchun taxi park, with the current generation called Jetta Night (2013-) holding a 20-percent share and growing. Come back in a few years time and the new gen will be dominant.

 

VW Jetta taxis in Changchun

VW Jetta taxis in Changchun

In fact, all mass-market Volkswagens produced in Changchun are popular here: the Sagitar (the Chinese name for the Jetta we know in the U.S.) follows the Jetta, ahead of the Bora, Magotan and Golf. Changchun is the first Chinese city where I spotted the European best seller in significant numbers, including one station wagon.

 

Chery E3

Chery E3

Even though Toyota produces in Changchun, it’s Honda that could snap the title of most popular Japanese manufacturer with a regular flow of Criders, CR-Vs, Citys, Civics and Accords, whereas in the Toyota camp only the Vios and to a lesser extent the Yaris L and RAV4 have made a real mark so far. Mazda has also made a very strong and very recent impression with the 3 Axela and 6 Atenza — the names of the latest generations have taken to differentiate them from the earlier ones still on sale — placing way above their respective #84 and #150 national rankings. Korean-wise, the Hyundai Mistra and Kia Optima have also struck a chord with Changchun car buyers, and the ix25 small SUV is off to a great start.

 

Mercedes C-Class

Mercedes C-Class

There is one car of choice for the wealthy: the Audi A6L, surprisingly frequent despite its price starting at a whopping 355,000 yuan (US$57,300). But it doesn’t stop there. Changchun wealth is clearly visible through the cars that roam its streets, including three Porsche Macans spotted in one hour, a handful of BMW X5s and X6s, a new generation Mercedes C-Class, and a dozen Audi Q3s and Q5s produced locally.

 

Changchun street scene

Changchun street scene

Let’s finish on an American note: It would seem that each Chinese city has one resident Ford F-150 Raptor scaring its pedestrians and Changchun is no exception — with the added surprise of one Toyota Tundra. Next stop is Yanji in the Yánbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture at the border with North Korea…

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a website dedicated to car sales, trends and analysis called BestSellingCarsBlog.

 

Toyota Yaris L

Toyota Yaris L

Changchun street scene

Changchun street scene

VW Jetta taxi 

VW Jetta taxi

Hyundai Mistra

Hyundai Mistra

Maxus M80

Maxus M80

Haval H6 Sport

Haval H6 Sport

FAW Xiali N7

FAW Xiali N7

FAW Besturn B70

FAW Besturn B70

Porsche Macan and Audi A6L

Porsche Macan and Audi A6L

Toyota Vios

Toyota Vios

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Cadillac Slowing its Plans to Sell Cars in Europe http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cadillac-slowing-plans-sell-cars-europe/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cadillac-slowing-plans-sell-cars-europe/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 22:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1140154 Cadillac likely won’t push to sell more cars in Europe before 2020, the company’s CEO Johan de Nysschen told analysts on Tuesday. “We’ll go to that market when we have the right powertrains and the right cars,” he said Tuesday, according to the Detroit News. Previously, Cadillac had planned some right-hand drive models and diesel powertrains […]

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Cadillac likely won’t push to sell more cars in Europe before 2020, the company’s CEO Johan de Nysschen told analysts on Tuesday.

“We’ll go to that market when we have the right powertrains and the right cars,” he said Tuesday, according to the Detroit News.

Previously, Cadillac had planned some right-hand drive models and diesel powertrains to help it gain a foothold in European markets. According to the report, Cadillac has sold only 838 cars in Europe so far this year. Cadillac wants to sell 500,000 cars globally by 2020, de Nysschen said.

Instead of Europe, de Nysschen told J.P. Morgan Auto Conference attendees (we guess our invitation just got lost in the mail, or something) that Cadillac would focus on strengthening its position in China, Russia and the Middle East.

The report didn’t detail how Cadillac would combat crumbling or slowing economies in China or Russia, but it’s clear that Cadillac is going to wait until its portfolio is much, much stronger before it attempts to seriously compete with the Germans in their own backyard.

Global sales of Cadillacs are up 1.5 percent, led by a 7.4-percent rise in China, and despite a 2.4-percent slowdown in America.

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Bentley Can Stretch its ‘Brand DNA’ Quite A Ways, it Appears http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/bentley-can-stretch-brand-dna-quite-ways-appears/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/bentley-can-stretch-brand-dna-quite-ways-appears/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 20:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1140002 Bentley’s upcoming SUV, dubbed Bentayga, may be shown here in all its 1:18-scale glory in leaked photos released by CarNewsChina.com. If the photos — reportedly from a Chinese toy company — resemble the final figure for the luxury automaker’s SUV, which is partially based on architecture from Audi’s Q7, that is exactly what a Bentley SUV […]

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Bentley’s upcoming SUV, dubbed Bentayga, may be shown here in all its 1:18-scale glory in leaked photos released by CarNewsChina.com.

If the photos — reportedly from a Chinese toy company — resemble the final figure for the luxury automaker’s SUV, which is partially based on architecture from Audi’s Q7, that is exactly what a Bentley SUV should look like. It’s like the automaker rolled Silly Putty on a Flying Spur and pulled it from the top and the back.

The SUV is slated to go on sale in 2017 and will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

The grainy photos and dark body color conceal a few body lines, but it’s clear to see how much the grille and D pillars have changed from the EXP 9 F concept that was shown two years ago. Four headlights are up front, instead of the concept’s two, and the lower front fascia appears to be completely different.

The model shows dual sunroofs and a lot of chrome, but doesn’t show the Bentayga’s purported W-12 engine under the hood.

Bentley’s application of its design to a much larger, much different type of car is what automakers such as Lamborghini, Maserati and others will attempt in coming years with their expanding lineups.

bentley-bentayga-china-leak-21 bentley-bentayga-china-leak-11-660x451 bentley-bentayga-china-leak-31 bentley-bentayga-china-leak-41 bentley-bentayga-china-leak-51

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Automakers Are Taking a Beating Over China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-taking-beating-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automakers-taking-beating-china/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1139322 Stocks for automakers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford took a pounding Tuesday after China devalued its currency in an effort to boost exports from the country, stemming the economic slowdown already underway. In a statement released Tuesday, GM said it had enough of a local supply chain within China to offset its […]

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Stocks for automakers such as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford took a pounding Tuesday after China devalued its currency in an effort to boost exports from the country, stemming the economic slowdown already underway.

In a statement released Tuesday, GM said it had enough of a local supply chain within China to offset its exposure to international currency fluctuations.

“We believe that our exposure is limited and manageable, and do not expect that the devaluation will have a material impact on the company’s financial performance,” the company wrote.

According to the New York Times, China’s currency swing of nearly 2 percent yesterday is historic for the country. Typically the Yuan would fluctuate hundredths of a percent against the dollar. The largest move up until yesterday was 0.16 percent.

Still, the 2 percent dip isn’t considered a big enough swing to warrant a huge reaction. By comparison, the Euro and Yen have fallen 18 and 22 percent against the dollar in the last year, and China’s economy is ranging out of double-digit growth — but still growing.

Nonetheless, automakers with heavy ties to China — notably GM and FCA — took a shot in the pocketbooks yesterday on expectations of what could be around the corner for China.

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Why Can’t We Buy Bentleys on Amazon Yet? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cant-buy-bentleys-amazon-yet/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/cant-buy-bentleys-amazon-yet/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 20:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1135514 Chinese luxury car dealer Yongda and giant online retailer Alibaba are offering the next logical step in online car buying for luxury car buyers: point-and-click car buying. The South China Morning Post is reporting that Yongda, which has more than 200 high-end car dealerships in China, will make available its cars on the shopping site for browsers […]

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Chinese luxury car dealer Yongda and giant online retailer Alibaba are offering the next logical step in online car buying for luxury car buyers: point-and-click car buying.

The South China Morning Post is reporting that Yongda, which has more than 200 high-end car dealerships in China, will make available its cars on the shopping site for browsers to point, click, pay and drive away from a dealership.

Seems like a good idea for ultra-luxury cars.

According to Yongda, more than 20 luxury and ultra-luxury car makers will have available models online, including Land Rover and Bentley. To celebrate the new partnership, Alibaba will offer 4,000 models of the Chevrolet Epica at a 40 percent discount.

According to the companies, the partnership allows a broader base for Alibaba to appeal to a wider range of buyers. The online retail giant already sells cars that range between $15,000 and $25,000.

According to reports, roughly 20 million people signed up to finance their purchase through the online retailer.

It’s unclear how many dealerships Alibaba’s automotive division works with already, but the agreement with Yongda would offer 200 more dealerships where buyers would pick up their cars. Alibaba and Yongda would also offer a used car network where owners could sell their cars back to the companies online.

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China 2015: The Cars of Shanghai http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-2015-cars-shanghai/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/china-2015-cars-shanghai/#comments Thu, 06 Aug 2015 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1130161  Shanghai Pudong street scenes After going through the most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Shanghai Auto Show, it’s time to go wandering the streets of Shanghai to share with you the most popular cars. The Shanghai automotive landscape is surprisingly easy to read with a few main trends on display.  VW Santana taxis in Shanghai French Concession […]

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1. Shanghai Pudong street scene 7 Shanghai Pudong street scenes

After going through the most impressive Chinese carmakers at the Shanghai Auto Show, it’s time to go wandering the streets of Shanghai to share with you the most popular cars. The Shanghai automotive landscape is surprisingly easy to read with a few main trends on display.

2. VW Santana taxi x3 Shanghai VW Santana taxis in Shanghai French Concession

VW Santana taxi is king
The Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture has been spitting out Santanas for three decades, so it’s no surprise to see them litter every single street of Shanghai. The surprise is how many of them still roam around. Santana taxis account for up to 50 percent of the total traffic in the French concession part of town for example.

3. VW Lavida Taxi Shanghai VW Lavida and Santana taxi in Pudong

Efforts to replace it with more modern Touran and Lavida, though relatively successful, have done nothing to limit the Santana’s supremacy. The Santana Vista 1998 model is everywhere and I did spot two very well preserved first generation, privately owned Santanas. If anything, the Touran and Lavida have curbed sales of the new generation Santana, and you see none of them as taxis.

4. Buick GL8 Shanghai Buick GL8 in Shanghai Tianzifang

Too cool for taxi? Buick GL8 it is.
If you think you’re way too cool to get moved around town in a regular taxi, then you’ll need to opt for the ubiquitous Buick GL8. Already very popular in Beijing, the GL8 — most of all the current generation —is the way to get chauffeured around in Shanghai if you can afford it. Go near the shopping districts of Tianzifang and Xintiandi and you’ll find line after line of Buick GL8 parked with their driver sleepily awaiting the end of a Prada and Louis Vuitton shopping spree.

5. Buick LaCrosse VW Santana taxi Shanghai Buick LaCrosse and VW Santana in Shanghai Tianzifang

In fact, it not only the GL8 but the entire Buick lineup that’s particularly strong in Shanghai, even at the higher end of the scale. The LaCrosse is very frequent in the streets of the city, especially in financial Pudong, and I have spotted a few Envision SUVs already.

6. Shanghai Pudong street scene 3 Shanghai Pudong street scene

7. Roewe 550 VW Touran Shanghai Roewe 550 in Shanghai Tianzifang

Locals? What locals?
Even more acutely than in Beijing, where I estimated that Chinese carmakers amounted to around 10-15 percent of the traffic, Shanghai harbours a stinging self-hate for domestic manufacturers. The local brands account for no more than 5-8 percent of the overall Shanghai car landscape. The only ones keeping their head out of the water belong to Shanghai-based SAIC Group. Roewe is by far the most popular local brand in Shanghai, with the 550 being the favorite in the lineup by a large margin.

9. Maxus G10 Shanghai Maxus G10

Maxus is strong in the commercial area with a dozen M80 as well as a handful of G10 spotted. MG follows, mainly thanks to the MG3. The only other nameplates to pop up more than once are Jinbei and Foton Hiace-inspired vans and JAC light vans. I did spot one Qoros 3 in Pudong and a couple of BYD Qin hybrids.

8. Shanghai street scene

Range Rover Evoque favorite import
A particular favourite in Shanghai is the Range Rover Evoque, imported here and therefore highly expensive, but that hasn’t deterred a mini-craze towards this vehicle in China. I saw a total of over 20 in just two days spent wandering the streets. I also noticed an inordinate amount of Fiat Viaggio and Ottimo and three Tesla Model S’s in two days: one near People’s Square, one in Pudong and one on the Bund where a Ford F-150 Raptor also caught my attention.

12. BYD Qin Shanghai BYD Qin

Next we are headed North towards the North Korean and Russian borders. Next stop: Changchun, the “Detroit of China” in the Jilin province. Stay tuned!

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a website dedicated to car sales, trends and analysis called BestSellingCarsBlog.

11. Venucia Morning Wind Shanghai

10. Shanghai Pudong street scene 5

13. Ford F-150 Shanghai

15. Chana China Post Minibus Shanghai

16. Foton MPV ShanghaiFoton MPV

17. Jinbei Haise ShanghaiJinbei Haise

14. Shanghai Pudong street scene 4

19. Roewe W5 Police ShanghaiRoewe W5 police

18. Qoros 3 ShanghaiQoros 3

20. Tesla Model S Shanghai Tesla Model S

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Automotive News Late, Wrong On Cadillac XTS De-Livery News http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automotive-news-late-wrong-on-cadillac-xts-news-de-livery/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/08/automotive-news-late-wrong-on-cadillac-xts-news-de-livery/#comments Sat, 01 Aug 2015 16:00:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1131385 Automotive News reported earlier this month the death of the Cadillac XTS — expected to happen when the new, range-topping CT6 arrived at dealers — has been stayed until 2018 or 2019 thanks to the livery market and sales in China, sourcing “three people familiar with General Motors’ plans.” Sorry, Mike Colias, but you are about 3-and-a-half […]

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2015 Cadillac XTS Vsport front

Automotive News reported earlier this month the death of the Cadillac XTS — expected to happen when the new, range-topping CT6 arrived at dealers — has been stayed until 2018 or 2019 thanks to the livery market and sales in China, sourcing “three people familiar with General Motors’ plans.”

Sorry, Mike Colias, but you are about 3-and-a-half months too late and have the narrative all wrong.

The CT6 is the first model in Cadillac’s lineup to sport the brand’s new nomenclature and will also trigger similar changes to other models; the next Cadillac to be renamed will be the Cadillac SRX when the XT5 is introduced later this year.

At the media preview of the CT6, a model widely rumored to be the death knell for the front-wheel drive XTS, I was able to ask Cadillac head honcho Johan de Nysschen exactly what the new CT6 meant for the similarly sized, large, front-wheel-drive sedan.

“Ultimately, a car like XTS when it reaches the end of its lifecycle, will not be replaced,” de Nysschen said of the XTS at the CT6 preview event.

Speaking of the livery market specifically, de Nysschen continued, “We will not have a car that will lend itself to these kind of modifications and we will probably withdrawal from those markets.”

This narrative makes the most sense as Cadillac looks to position itself as a more premium offering against the likes of BMW and Audi. Offering up a model from the Cadillac range for stretch limousine and funeral service would only contribute to prolonging the brand’s image of building vehicles for the Florida snowbird set.

While Automotive News is reporting Cadillac will “XTend” life of its XTS into 2018 or 2019, the fact of the matter is 2019 is the planned end-of-life for the large sedan anyway — and when it dies, Cadillac’s livery business will likely die along with it.

Automotive News does highlight one worry, however, and that’s where the Cadillac XTS will be built after 2016. Currently, the large sedan is built in Oshawa, Ontario, and we all know how secure that facility’s future is these days.

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Volvo Bringing New V40, S60L to United States http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-bringing-new-v40-s60l-united-states/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volvo-bringing-new-v40-s60l-united-states/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1130217 Volvo will bring its smaller, compact-sized V40 wagon, its related crossover and long-wheelbase, Chinese-built S60 sedan to America, Autoblog is reporting. The newest generation of the Volkswagen Golf-sized V40 wagon is being built with the U.S. in mind, Volvo senior vice president Alan Visser told media in the Netherlands. The earliest it could reach the United […]

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Volvo V40 R-Design - model year 2016

Volvo will bring its smaller, compact-sized V40 wagon, its related crossover and long-wheelbase, Chinese-built S60 sedan to America, Autoblog is reporting.

The newest generation of the Volkswagen Golf-sized V40 wagon is being built with the U.S. in mind, Volvo senior vice president Alan Visser told media in the Netherlands. The earliest it could reach the United States would be 2017.

Visser also said the XC40, a compact crossover based on the V40 Cross Country, would make its way to the States shortly after the V40.

It’s unclear what engine would power the V40 in North America. Worldwide, the V40 is powered by a inline, four-cylinder diesel- or gasoline-powered engine. Visser told De Telegraph that the V40 would also be available as a hybrid.

The company also said that it would make available its long-wheelbase version of the S60. The Chinese-built S60L would go on sale later this year in North America and Russia, according to Reuters.

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Volkswagen Surpasses Toyota in Global Auto Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-surpasses-toyota-global-auto-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/volkswagen-surpasses-toyota-global-auto-sales/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:00:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1126585 Despite slowdowns in China, Russia and Asia, Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global auto sales by delivery in the first half of 2015, Automotive News Europe is reporting. Volkswagen sold 5.04 million cars in the first six months of 2015, compared to 5.02 million for Toyota, according to the report. Sales were down 1.5 percent and […]

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Volkswagen Wolfsburg

Despite slowdowns in China, Russia and Asia, Volkswagen surpassed Toyota in global auto sales by delivery in the first half of 2015, Automotive News Europe is reporting.

Volkswagen sold 5.04 million cars in the first six months of 2015, compared to 5.02 million for Toyota, according to the report. Sales were down 1.5 percent and 0.5 percent for Toyota and VW respectively.

GM was the third-largest automaker with 4.86 million vehicles.

Volkswagen capitalized on a growing European market to help offset softening Chinese sales. Passenger-vehicle sales fell for the first time in two years in China as that country’s economy responds to market volatility.

Sales slumped in South America, some Southeast Asia markets and sales in Russia have dramatically declined, the story points out.

Deliveries in North America increased by only 4.4 percent, the smallest margin since the economic recovery began in 2009.

The report is the latest in the saga of “Who Wants To Be The World’s Largest Automaker?” with VW on pace to take the crown three years before their executives forecasted. In May, it looked as if VW would take silver thanks to its ongoing leadership shuffle, but a resurgent European market may help. Meanwhile, Toyota may make up ground after a 10-percent gain in China in the first half, according to the report.

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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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China 2015: The 10 Most Impressive Carmakers at Auto Shanghai (Part 3) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/china-2015-10-impressive-carmakers-auto-shanghai-part-3/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/china-2015-10-impressive-carmakers-auto-shanghai-part-3/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1113057 This is it: the most impressive carmaker at Auto Shanghai, Haval. Like in Beijing last year, I was most impressed by Haval at Auto Shanghai, and for a variety of reasons. Haval is Great Wall’s SUV marque, a standalone brand since July 2013. Above all, having topped my ranking last year already, I had high expectations […]

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Haval Concept R. Picture courtesy Matt Gasnier

This is it: the most impressive carmaker at Auto Shanghai, Haval.

Like in Beijing last year, I was most impressed by Haval at Auto Shanghai, and for a variety of reasons. Haval is Great Wall’s SUV marque, a standalone brand since July 2013. Above all, having topped my ranking last year already, I had high expectations for the brand and they didn’t disappoint, which was a very significant achievement on its own.

Haval stand 2

Haval standThe multi-layered Haval stand at Auto Shanghai 2015

Haval was the only manufacturer in the entire Shanghai Auto Show (not just the Chinese carmakers) to build a multi-layered stand, displaying no less than 28 vehicles. It reminded me of Mercedes going all out at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2013. Haval was the only Chinese manufacturer in an exhibition hall almost exclusively dedicated to SUV brands, sitting next to Jaguar Land Rover and Jeep. A lack of inferiority complex and a willingness to play with the big boys earned my respect once again and put Haval in a sphere of its own among Chinese carmakers.

Haval H6 CoupeHaval H6 Coupe

Once on the stand, I braced myself for a couple of new, unheard-of-before models. Two concepts looked very aggressive and very sexy. The Concept B and R (for Blue and Red) royally waved at the crowd from their elevated stage, hinting at a future range-topping model slotted above the H9 (H10?) that could be unveiled in Beijing next year.

Haval relaunched its best seller, the H6, before my eyes, and added a very appealing H6 Coupe variant to the mix. To clarify, the H6 was already facelifted a little more than a year ago when the H6 Sport launched and quickly accounted for the large majority of the H6 nameplate sales. Now the nameplate is completely renewed, looking much better. I was impressed with Hyundai’s fast turnaround, but Haval blows the Korean marque out of the water with only 18 months between renewals. Keeping in mind two years ago Haval wasn’t even a standalone brand, this pace is very impressive indeed, even if this is just skin deep and the mechanics remain mostly unchanged.

Haval H7Haval H7

But that wasn’t all. A completely new Haval nameplate made its first appearance at Auto Shanghai. The H7 was introduced in two variants: H7 and H7L extended wheelbase, each featuring different front designs and effectively looking like two different vehicles altogether.

Everything I appreciated at the Haval stand in Beijing last year remained true this year, only at a much larger scale. Host(esse)s opened the door for you to slide into each car and close it behind you. They’re also very helpful and answer all your questions in perfect English. All nameplates were present including the H1 that looked very cool inside with coloured dashboards matched with the exterior paint, the now trusted best-seller H2, the patched-up H5 and H6 Classic, and the H8 and H9 flagships.

So is it all good and well in the world for Haval? Not quite.

Haval Concept BHaval Concept B

Firstly, Haval unveiled a new Red/Blue logo strategy at the Show. It’s a mystery to me that some Chinese manufacturers seem to often mess with something very clear and single-minded — this time brand positioning — by confusing the heck out of it. The creation, success and growth of the SUV-exclusive Haval brand in China in the past two years is potentially the most impressive strategic achievement of any Chinese carmaker, ever. Now to confuse it with two different philosophies and logos — labelled as “an impressive fission of Haval that will bring the brand to a new level” (cough) — this new strategy means Haval’s products will now be divided into two lines represented by a red or a blue logo. “Luxurious and classic Red Logo Haval targets mainstream families, and cool and trendy Blue Logo Haval targets young consumers” (Haval words). In the future, Haval’s sales network will be divided into the red network and the blue network, too. Say what?

Haval H6 Coupe 3This H6 Coupe has a red logo and looks a lot like the H7…

The Concept R (for Red) and B (for Blue) were used to launch this new logo strategy, but the Concept R was looking much more aggressive and sexy with its Audi-inspired grille whereas the Concept B, although classy with its thin headlights and hexagonal grille, was a lot blander. So mainstream families prefer aggressive styling whereas the youth wants conservative? I think you got it all wrong there Haval.

Armed with the new Red/Blue positioning info, I had to go through all models displayed on the Haval stand once more to see if I could guess whether their logo should be red or blue. And then I discovered the H6 Coupe was shown in two different-looking variants: one with a red logo, one with a blue. So the H6 now comes as H6 Classic, H6 Sport, New H6, H6 Coupe Blue and H6 Coupe Red — that’s five different vehicles. If this doesn’t cement the #2 ranking it snapped in April in the overall Chinese models ranking, I don’t know what will. The H1 had a blue logo (makes sense), the H5 and H6 Classic also (because they’re older and cheap?), the H7 had a red one (logical) but the H7L a blue one (what?)… I give up.

Haval H1Blue logo’ed Haval H1

Having its range expand from essentially one nameplate (the H5) three years ago to 12 vehicles today and potentially 15 within a few months when the Concept R and B come to life, Haval has displayed the fastest lineup expansion I have witnessed in the course of the almost 30 years I have spent studying the global automotive industry. Enormous kudos should go to Great Wall for having the guts to separate the Haval brand from the rest of the Great Wall lineup in the first place, making it a credible standalone SUV specialist brand at home and growing it so smartly and so fast.

Haval H5Haval H5 Classic celebrating 10 (youthful?) years of existence with a blue logo.

However, there is one last thing I must mention before I’m done with Haval and Auto Shanghai 2015. The same way Volkswagen has lost themselves in their Chinese success and started spitting clones a couple of years ago, Haval snouts are starting to look dangerously similar: The H6 Coupe looks like the Concept R while the new H6 now looks like a H7 that is a smaller clone of the H8 which in turn takes cues from the H6 Sport and the H2. Caution Haval, don’t ruin a perfectly oiled machine even before you take your brand overseas: Haval is scheduled to launch in its first foreign market, Australia, imminently.

Next we start exploring the car landscape in various cities around China, so stay tuned!

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a website dedicated to car sales, trends and analysis called BestSellingCarsBlog.

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China 2015: The 10 Most Impressive Chinese Carmakers at Auto Shanghai (Part 2) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/china-2015-10-impressive-chinese-carmakers-auto-shanghai-part-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/07/china-2015-10-impressive-chinese-carmakers-auto-shanghai-part-2/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1110625   Last time we had a look at the 10th to 6th most-impressive Chinese carmakers at Auto Shanghai 2015, it’s now time for ranks No. 5 to No. 2. By now, either the carmakers in question have made tremendous progress compared to last year in Beijing, or they are approaching world class. And we’ll start with […]

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84. Leopaard logo

It’s Leopaard, with two A’s.

Last time we had a look at the 10th to 6th most-impressive Chinese carmakers at Auto Shanghai 2015, it’s now time for ranks No. 5 to No. 2. By now, either the carmakers in question have made tremendous progress compared to last year in Beijing, or they are approaching world class. And we’ll start with the “Most Improved” award.

Drumroll, please:

82. Leopaard CS10Leopaard CS10

5. (29) Leopaard

(Ranking at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show)

This is my biggest surprise of Auto Shanghai. While in Beijing last year, I discovered this new brand, and it made such progress in the past 12 months that it now deserves a spot in my Top 5 Most Impressive Chinese carmakers, easily earning the “Most Improved” award of the entire Show. But first let’s backtrack a tiny bit. Up until 2014, the brand Leopaard was called Lièbào, meaning cheetah (close enough). Lièbào/Leopaard is a brand of GAC Chengfeng Motor, in turn wholly owned by GAC Group, but was originally a branch of the People’s Liberation Army. Sir yes sir. Changfeng restricted the use of the Lièbào brand to Mitsubishi Pajero variations built under license from Mitsubishi that used to own 15 percent of Changfeng until 2011 when it sold its participation in the company. Not anymore. Leopaard is now free to run — and run fast.

83. Leopaard CS10 unveiling copyLeopaard Press Conference at Auto Shanghai 2015. No prompts!

The Leopaard press conference was unusually heartfelt and authentic, with a confident and genuinely motivated female presenter introducing the product and guest speakers with authority, kindness and professionalism. Very far from an automated, nervous delivery that can characterise such roles (I’ve seen a few at the show), this presenter accentuated her speech with flashes of enthusiasm that didn’t feel forced – an achievement in itself. Repetitive expressions in her speech evoked enthralled political rallies (in a good way). We are in China after all. The executives were all very good in their own way and certainly not boring, and absolutely no video nor hand prompts for any of the presenters made the Leopaard press conference the most polished and professionally handled of any Chinese carmaker at the Show.

85. Leopaard CS10 detail
86. Leopaard CS10 interiorLeopaard CS10 headlight detail and interior

The entire press conference was delivered with one about-to-be-unveiled CS10 SUV in the background, but in the end it was not just one but rather four examples that drove onto the stage and above the audience at reveal time. This sneaky little mise-en-scene reinforced the goodwill I have toward this brand. As for the CS10 itself, although not a marvel of creative design, it looks easy enough on the eyes front-on and aggressive from the back, which is a difficult task for an SUV. The interior is refined, everything looks and feels polished and well finished, nothing weird or out of place. All-in-all a very well-rounded delivery indeed from Leopaard, light years ahead of their rushed Beijing stand. Run Leopaard run! Now to confirm with sales success. And that’s a whole different story.

Hongqi LS5Hongqi LS5

4. (2) Hongqi

I still have a soft spot for Hongqi (Chinese for “red flag”) the only true Chinese luxury brand, owned by FAW. Adding on to the retro-cool L5 sedan concept and the H7 sedan, currently the only Hongqi model actually on sale to the public and both already on show in Beijing last year, Hongqi had the very good idea of unveiling the soon-to-be-produced LS5 SUV at Auto Shanghai. Surfing on the current SUV craze in China, I wanted Hongqi to move to the next level for an automaker and it over-delivered.

Hongqi LS5 backHongqi LS5

Hongqi LS5 grille detailHongqi LS5 grille detail – notice the traditional Chinese motifs

Far from a bland replica of current SUVs and unlike the H7 — which looks like a spruced-up previous generation Skoda Superb — the LS5 adds personal and typically Chinese touches like the motifs formed by the head and taillights and the detail of its grille. I know some (most?) of you won’t agree with me, but the LS5 is my favorite Chinese model of Auto Shanghai. No less. The Hongqi LS5 is powered by a turbocharged, 4-liter gasoline engine mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox giving off 381kW (510 hp) and 530Nm (390 lb.-ft). Top speed is 220km/h (136 mph) and 0 to 100km/h are reached in 8.1 seconds.

Hongqi heritage

Hongqi VIP areaHongqi VIP area

Hongqi’s heritage — the only custom-made presidential vehicle — is rightfully shown off on its stand with big photographs tracing the history of the brand (see above) and its luxury status shines with a delightfully decorated VIP area only accessible by invitation (I got invited thanks to CCTV, the No. 1 TV channel in China). All looking very posh, refined and sophisticated. It’s all there. Hongqi is one of only a few Chinese brand (the only one?) to have a fantastic story to tell and a unique positioning in the world: it can work up to be synonymous with Chinese sophistication. Not a single car brand can, has or will claim this. Gold.

Hongqi logoHongqi logo on H7 steering wheel

Hongqi L5Hongqi L5 Concept

Hongqi should be careful not to rest on its laurels in a Chinese market that evolves at lightning speed. The LS5 is definitely the right step in the right direction, but if the H7 interior looked great last year in Beijing, it has suddenly aged when compared to new upmarket Chinese models unveiled this year, such as the Geely GC9 — to name one — and we will cover it shortly.

Hongqi H7

Hongqi H7 interiorHongqi H7 and interior

But the main is in the attitude. Again, bonus points for a stand completely separate in location and ambiance from parent FAW. However, it’s time for Hongqi to get the gall to play with the big boys. Great Wall’s SUV brand, Haval, stood alone as the only Chinese brand in an exhibition hall dedicated to SUV manufacturers. Makes sense. Hongqi should have taken a spot in the premium exhibition hall along with Lincoln, Lexus, Cadillac, BMW, Volvo or DS and is starting to feel like a sleeping giant that has doesn’t realize it can actually run. You won’t know until you try, Hongqi.

87. BYD TangBYD Tang

3. (14) BYD

Last year BYD — backed by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — was strong, but unsurprising and seemed caught in a bout of duplication of its successful S6, itself a dubious copy of the Lexus RX. This year in Shanghai, Build Your Dreams is back to doing just that, returning to its core capability: energy efficient cars. The three main trends at Auto Shanghai were energy efficient cars, SUVs and youth-oriented designs. Utterly on trend, BYD unveiled two smaller PHEV SUVs to complete its lineup: the Song and Yuan, respectively named after Chinese and Mongolian dynasties. Note both accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, a “4.9S” badge proudly proclaiming it on each model’s rear door.

88. BYD Song YuanBYD Song and Yuan

Notice also the bicolor scheme, à la Haval H2 or Renault Captur. Putting energy efficient nameplates in its range front and center, BYD also announced that the Song and the Yuan are PHEV versions of upcoming, more conventional models respectively named S3 and S1. Bonus points for enthusiasm.

BYD strategy 1Couldn’t be clearer.

But what impressed me at BYD is the clarity of their strategy and their transparency sharing it with the media at Auto Shanghai. The entire press conference materials shown were dubbed in English and explained everything there is to know about the brand, its ambition and the strategy it is employing to meet its goals. BYD’s mission is to “Lead the new energy vehicle industry.” Its Green Mobility Strategy has two aspects: public transportation catered to by pure electric vehicles, and the private market catered to by plug-in hybrids.

90. BYD strategyBYD strategy

Looking back at its 2014 achievements, BYD noted that the Qin was China’s new energy vehicle sales leader with 14,717 units. BYD’s words for 2015 are: “2015 will be big” with planned 50,000 sales of plug-in hybrids, 15,000 pure electric e6 taxis and 6,000 electric buses (keeping in mind BYD now offers public electric transportation in 100 cities and 35 countries including London, Brussels and Rotterdam). In one presentation, BYD clearly showed me what it is aiming at and that, for once (it’s relatively rare for a Chinese manufacturer) its objectives were anchored in reality and logic. BYD wants to Build Your Dreams and it’s starting to get convincing at it.

89. BYD Tang SportBYD Tang Sport

91. BYD SongBYD Song

BYD also had the good idea to spice up its stand with a couple of sporty SUVs actually looking pretty mean like the Tang Sport pictured above in matte black. Finally, I really like the naming structure BYD has chosen for its energy efficient models: using traditional Chinese expressions and characters to baptise them. After the Qin sedan and the Shang MPV (introduced at Beijing 2014 but yet to be released) we now have the Tang, Song and Yuan SUVs. May I suggest later on applying this system to the entire range? That would be a breath of fresh air and a very clear point of differentiation in a Chinese carmaker universe packed with letters and numbers.

Geely standGeely stand: definitely an upmarket feel.

2. (17) Geely

We are now looking at the creme de la creme of all Chinese manufacturers present at Auto Shanghai. Geely ranked at a lukewarm No. 17 last year in Beijing because I found them unfocused and confusing. This year, Geely sent a loud and clear message that it was moving upwards into sophistication. I wouldn’t call them premium just yet and by a pretty large margin, but the progress the manufacturer has made in the past 12 months is nothing short of spectacular. Finally the benefits of purchasing Swedish carmaker Volvo a few years back are in the open for all to see. Starting with the stand, giving off a definitely upmarket vibe with posh little carry bags featuring golden handles, a sleek silver and blue color scheme and enthusiastic, yet professionally reserved, hostesses. All cars had their doors open for you by a host who would close them after you. Someone has been visiting the Haval stand in Beijing last year and got some ideas! And that’s a great sign.

Geely GC9Geely GC9

But the stand on its own would be far off elevating Geely to 2nd place overall in this ranking. Geely needed a flagship to demonstrate its shift upmarket and it found one with the extremely impressive GC9, designed by Volvo’s head of design, and it shows. The GC9 takes Geely (and all Chinese manufacturers with it) onto a completely different stage, now fully armed to compete with overseas brands. Yes I have said it. It was the question on everyone’s lips in the Chinese media: “Are we there yet?” “Do you think Chinese manufacturers are catching up with foreign ones?” “Can we do this?” In the Geely stand, my answer was a clear and resounding “yes.”

Geely GC9 interior 3

Geely GC9 interior 2
Geely GC9 interiorGeely GC9 interior

The GC9 interior depicted above is nothing short of astounding for a Chinese manufacturer. Stylish, exhaustive without being confusing, high tech and full of sophisticated notes such as this complete climate control console for rear passengers pictured above. The materials are solid, nice on the touch and comfortable. Very, very impressive indeed. All this for a strikingly low price: the GC9 ranges from 119,800 to 229,800 yuan or USD$19,300-$37,100. Can’t believe what you’re reading? I couldn’t either at first.

But was Geely consistent in its interior quality? Or did it put all its eggs in the same basket? Ranking No. 2 should give you a hint. I was very impressed by the brand’s two hot sellers so far in 2015: the facelifted EC7’s door clomp was the closest to a VW of all Chinese models I tested, and the completely revamped Vision’s glovebox’s slow and soft opening is lightyears ahead of a VW Santana whose glovebox crashes onto your knee with a flat, hollow and definitely cheap “clang!” The Vision is priced between 52,900 and 65,900 yuan (USD$8,500-$10,600) whereas the Santana ranges from 84,900 to 123,800 yuan (USD$13.700-$20.000). Now the coughing of VW’s Chinese sales so far in 2015 and the doubling of Geely sedan sales in the same period makes a lot more sense.

Geely PandaGeely Panda: what’s with the Gleagle logo?

A near perfect 10 for Geely so far. Except for one thing, and unfortunately this is one of my pet hates. The manufacturer smartly killed the Gleagle, Emgrand and Shanghai Englon brands last year to stremline its entire lineup under the Geely brand, choosing the Emgrand logo as its own. However, at Auto Shanghai 2015 Geely still displayed one bright orange Panda Cross with a Gleagle logo! And the cover of the Geely Golden Eagle Cross brochure features a car with a Shanghai Englon logo! Why oh why? You were so close Geely.

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and runs a website dedicated to car sales, trends and analysis called BestSellingCarsBlog.

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While You Were Sleeping: BMW M3 Touring Render, Ferrari Dino Returning and Takata’s Quality Chief Gets More Power http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/while-you-were-sleeping-bmw-m3-touring-render-ferrari-dino-returning-and-takatas-quality-chief-gets-more-power/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/while-you-were-sleeping-bmw-m3-touring-render-ferrari-dino-returning-and-takatas-quality-chief-gets-more-power/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2015 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1085281 As rumors swirl about the eventual release of the BMW M3 Touring, Theophilus Chin has put a couple of renders together of Bavaria’s hot D-pillared automobile. Here’s what happened overnight (and stories we’ve missed over the last few days). BMW M3 Touring (Theophilus Chin) Knowng Theophilus’ wonderful insight, it wouldn’t surprise me if the M3 Touring […]

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BMW M3 Touring Render

As rumors swirl about the eventual release of the BMW M3 Touring, Theophilus Chin has put a couple of renders together of Bavaria’s hot D-pillared automobile.

Here’s what happened overnight (and stories we’ve missed over the last few days).

BMW M3 Touring RenderBMW M3 Touring (Theophilus Chin)
Knowng Theophilus’ wonderful insight, it wouldn’t surprise me if the M3 Touring looks exactly like this when the sheet is pulled off in Frankfurt.

Ferrari DinoFerrari might bring back the Dino, says Sergio (AutoBlog)
…but it likely won’t be marketed as a Ferrari. Instead, Sergio is keen to build a sub-brand around the idea of a resurrected Dino. So far, that’s worked in Sergio’s favor.

1Takata will give quality chief more authority with board role (Automotive News)
Takata will put their quality chief on the board of directors, effectively giving him a louder voice within the company. It only took them seven years.

pst1002-100k-1_23394248Motor Mouth: Why no one drives like a saint all the time (Driving.ca)
“There’s a good reason nobody drives like a saint all-year round: it’s not practical.”

1282948112939395876You Probably Want To Watch Chris Harris Drive The Ferrari 488 GTB (Jalopnik)
I think the 488 GTB is an ugly ducking that grew up to be an ugly duck. But whatever. Here’s Chris Harris getting it sideways.

15TDI_StarlinkKiosk002-300x204Subaru Starlink services priced, packaged (Technology Tell)
It’s kind of like OnStar, but for people who have a higher chance of driving off a cliff near Kings Canyon.

Speedhunters_Keith_Charvonia_Hilux-2Minitruckin’ All Grown Up (Speedhunters)
This is not your grandfather’s Hilux. Actually, this is your grandfather’s Hilux.

Lotus-Elise-frontJaguar Designer Planning Super Lotus Elise (GTspirit)
Jaaaaaag designer Julian Thomson, responsible for the Series 1 Elise, wants to build this “Super” Elise.

car-wash-girls-china-1a-660x546Underdressed Chinese Girls open a Car Wash in Urumqi (CarNewsChina)
Chinese auto show models have resorted to washing cars to make a living, maybe.

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While You Were Sleeping: Phaeton Axed in UK, Porsche 911 GT With A Stick and GM Is Down in China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/while-you-were-sleeping-phaeton-axed-in-uk-porsche-911-gt-with-a-stick-and-gm-is-down-in-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/06/while-you-were-sleeping-phaeton-axed-in-uk-porsche-911-gt-with-a-stick-and-gm-is-down-in-china/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1084185 The Volkswagen Phaeton, the pride of former chairman Piëch, has been discontinued in the UK. Don’t worry, though, if you’re one of those people who enjoy such understated luxury. Volkswagen is still planning a next-generation version of the car. Here’s what happened overnight. Volkswagen Phaeton axed in the UK (Autocar) The current-generation VW Phaeton has […]

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2011 VW Phaeton

The Volkswagen Phaeton, the pride of former chairman Piëch, has been discontinued in the UK. Don’t worry, though, if you’re one of those people who enjoy such understated luxury. Volkswagen is still planning a next-generation version of the car.

Here’s what happened overnight.

2011 VW PhaetonVolkswagen Phaeton axed in the UK (Autocar)
The current-generation VW Phaeton has been removed from the company’s UK lineup due to engines not meeting Euro 6 emissions.

opensesameThis Hacked Kid’s Toy Opens Garage Doors in Seconds (WIRED)
Using the pictures Mattel IM-ME kid’s texting toy, security researcher Samy Kamkar has developed a way to open garage doors relying on an insecure “fixed code” system.

Chevy-Cruze-SalesChevy has Sold 3.5 Million Cruzes Globally (AutoGuide)
“Globally, the bow-tie brand has sold more than 3.5 million copies of its Cruze compact car, making this nameplate their best-selling automobile in the world.”

lesabreWatching This 1990s Buick LeSabre Get Thrown Around Off-Road Makes Us Wonder If Grandma Regrets Loaning Out Her Car (BlipShift)
Rally LeSabre? Okay.

Maruti-Suzuki-Celerio-diesel-0Suzuki Builds Its First Diesel Engine, A 0.8L 2-Cylinder Rated At 47 HP (CarScoops)
But it does has a whopping 92 (!!!) pound-feet of torque.

Formula 1 Testing, JerezF1 refuelling decision imminent (Motorsport.com)
Teams are discussing the possibility in efforts to liven “the show”.

img_4613Unique vintage Alfa Romeo took $2-million to restore (Driving.ca)
“Timelessly elegant Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Speciale was a complete basketcase, but the story behind it makes the car truly unique.”

B99276667Z.1_20150604082658_000_GQBH60D4.1-0GM China sales drop 4% in May (The Detroit News)
Drop blamed on “vehicle model changeovers and phasing out of older vehicles.”

porsche-911-spy-nov-2014-194_0‘Pure’ Porsche 911 GT planned (Autocar)
New GT model will get a manual transmission and be distinct from other 911’s with GT badging.

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China’s SUV Boom Fueled By Road Rage Concerns, Other Factors http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinas-suv-boom-fueled-by-road-rage-concerns-other-factors/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 18:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076922 A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list. SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom […]

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Great_Wall_Haval_H6_01_China_2012-06-02

A handful of factors are fueling China’s current SUV boom, with road-rage protection at the top of the list.

SUV registrations rose 48 percent during Q1 2015 while accounting for 27 percent of all registrations during the period compared to three years ago, Bloomberg reports. Sanford C. Bernstein senior analyst Robin Zhu says the boom is in part due to increasing incidences of road rage, prompting “sane” motorists to buy SUVs “for self defense” against “the angry ones” on the road.

Other contributors to the boom include rough roads (of the literal sort) outside the nation’s cities, lower fuel prices, and the introduction of low-cost SUVs and crossovers with prices beginning at ¥130,000 ($21,000 USD); 49 such models were or will be introduced by domestic automakers during 2014 and 2015.

[Source: Navigator84/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0]

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While You Were Sleeping: Mad Max, Maria de Villota’s Mad Family and Mad Funny Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-mad-max-maria-de-villotas-mad-family-and-mad-funny-comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/while-you-were-sleeping-mad-max-maria-de-villotas-mad-family-and-mad-funny-comedians-in-cars-getting-coffee/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 11:03:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076570 Mad Max has been tearing up the box office since mid-May. To capitalize on George Miller’s latest explogasm that’s putting Michael Bay in his place, Warner Brothers has made a video game, too. Rolls-Royce Takes Aim At Younger Customers (GTspirit) Rolls-Royce has a new strategy: get ’em while they’re young. New models like the Wraith […]

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Mad Max Video Game Trailer Screenshot

Mad Max has been tearing up the box office since mid-May. To capitalize on George Miller’s latest explogasm that’s putting Michael Bay in his place, Warner Brothers has made a video game, too.

2014 Rolls-Royce WraithRolls-Royce Takes Aim At Younger Customers (GTspirit)
Rolls-Royce has a new strategy: get ’em while they’re young. New models like the Wraith and Ghost are doing just that by attracting customers on average 10 years younger than those buying Phantoms.

Maria de VillotaMaria de Villota’s family is considering legal action (GMM/Auto123)
While Marussia (now Manor) was cleared of wrongdoing in the freak accident involving one of its cars driven by de Villota, her family is considering bringing a case against the team in an attempt to “assign civil responsibility.”

Buick CascadaGM Extending Run of Buick’s Candid Ad Campaign (WardsAuto)
The “That’s a Buick?” campaign, seen as successful by some and not so by others, will be extended with a new focus on individual features versus schlepping its overall model range.

BYDChina’s BYD says plans fundraising to boost battery capacity, new models (Reuters)
BYD will fundraise through a private placement in order pay for future development. The company is trying to “expand its share of the electric and hybrid vehicle market.”

Comedians in Cars Getting CoffeeStephen Colbert and Jim Carrey are the latest Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee (AV Club)
The new season will also include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jim Carrey, “and a heavily bearded Stephen Colbert.”

Mad Max Video Game Trailer Screenshot‘Mad Max’ the game has crazy cars, murder and a story (Engadget)
Following the long tradition of great video games based on movies, here’s the first trailer for the interactive playable version of Mad Max.

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Chinese-Built Volvo S60 Sedans to Arrive in U.S. in “About Two Months” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinese-built-volvo-s60-sedans-to-arrive-in-u-s-in-about-two-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/chinese-built-volvo-s60-sedans-to-arrive-in-u-s-in-about-two-months/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 17:18:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1076298 Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months. Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020. […]

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2015 Volvo S60 Sedan

Proving the first Chinese cars to come to America will be imported by established brands, Volvo has a number of S60 sedans on the boat from China and they’re expected to arrive in about two months.

Manufacturing in China is just one part of Volvo’s plan to boost sales to 800,000 units annually before 2020.

The S60s bound for the United States are built in the Chinese city of Chengdu before transported to Shanghai for export. Volvo also produces the XC60 in Chengdu. Another plant in Daqing builts the previous generation XC90 that Volvo markets as the XC90 Classic.

Volvo did not say how many cars it plans to export from China, Automotive News Europe reports.

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