After years of covering the automotive industry, I’m still amused by the enormous gulf between auto enthusiasts and “real people.” (I’m talking to you, B&B!) We get excited when Honda decides to offer a manual transmission in the V6 Accord, despite the tens of buyers who will come running for it, or General Motors’ confidence to sell the Chevrolet SS here at all. “Real people” like it when there’s a less expensive way to get into a BMW M product, as well as the ability to go into a showroom and walk out the same day with the same nameplate they know and trust.
A great example of this chasm/schism is the Buick Cascada. Here’s how we imagine the reaction of each affinity group:
Auto enthusiasts/press: “Buick’s decided to rebadge an aging Opel and try to pass it off in the United States as The New Thing in the segment abandoned by the Volkswagen Eos and Chrysler 200 convertible?”
Real people: “There’s a convertible Buick now?”
It’s been another exhausting day and, after wasting precious time trying to write some sort of clever introduction, I’ve realized that there just isn’t any point in beating around the bush.
The windmill I set out to topple is thoroughly defeated and the Town and Country looks smart sitting in front of the house tonight wearing its new set of permanent Japanese plates.
I wish I could say it was a cake walk, that the Town and Country sailed through its Shaken without any difficulty, but, as usual, there were last minute problems.
Want to know more? Hit the jump for another episode of your favorite reality program: “Man Meets Bureaucracy.” (Read More…)
General Motors announced Thursday it will import a Buick crossover from China to the United States by the end of 2016, much to the UAW’s disappointment.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the crossover in question, the Envision, is currently produced at a facility in the Shandong province. The Buick brand itself is doing well for itself in China, where it’s GM’s best-known brand, and in the U.S., where the brand is experiencing rapid growth as of late. In both instances, the main draw for Buick is its small and medium crossovers and SUVs.
Since the last installment in this series, my attempt to get the family Town & Country officially licensed here in Japan has slogged relentlessly forward.
After a week of such little progress that I saw no need to report upon it (action was limited to the receipt of my official approval from the recycle bureau), I can begin this by saying that over the past week important things are once again happening. Notice that I didn’t write: “Important progress has been made…” (Read More…)
It’s Friday and once again it’s time for an update from Japan where my efforts to get my Town & Country licensed and street legal continue unabated.
Last week’s baby steps have led to modest results. My visit to the local police station netted me a parking permit on Tuesday and, although I am immensely self-satisfied at the results, I am aware that the permit’s issuance has started a 30 day countdown clock. If I cannot complete the entire registration process within that window, I will have to repeat this step of the process.
Naturally, I would rather avoid that. (Read More…)
The quest to complete the importation of my 2013 Town & Country continues and, if the important successes I reported on last week were great strides towards the ultimate goal, this week’s progress has been limited to a frustrating series of baby steps.
Still, progress is being made.
As most government offices were closed on Monday as Japan paused to celebrate “Sports Day,” this week’s story begins bright and early Tuesday morning when I took the certified results of the emissions and noise tests, along with my completed application for title, to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Yokohama. (Read More…)
The Town & Country is back at home and, frankly — no pun intended — I’m exhausted.
As I had been warned, the necessary tests required an overnight stay for the van at the research facility and the two trips there and back sapped a lot of my energy. I was at the mercy of my iPhone’s navigation app — UConnect’s navigation, of course, doesn’t work in Japan — that led pell-mell all over the damn countryside without any real idea of where I was at any given moment. To make matters worse, when I wasn’t behind the wheel, there was an equally confusing three-hour train ride to deal with.
Once upon a time, I might have considered this a grand adventure. Right now, I’m just tired and in need of a beer. (Read More…)
Merkur? ZOMG SANJEEV Y U NO LS1-FTW?
No surprise, the auto journo that insists on everything LS-swapped is actually a big ol’ fraud. Do as he says, not as he does with TTAC’s Project Car — a 1983 Ford Sierra Ghia previously reviewed with the promise of more to come.
The first female senior executive to ever hold a managing officer role with Toyota has resigned.
The uncharged Julie Hamp remains in custody in Japan after being accused of attempting to import Oxycodone from the United States. Japanese prosecutors have 20 days to charge Hamp. That window expires on July 8.
Toyota issued a statement today:
On June 30, 2015, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) received notification from Ms. Julie Hamp of her intent to resign her position of Managing Officer. TMC has accepted her resignation after considering the concerns and inconvenience that recent events have caused our stakeholders.
Senior Managing Officer Shigeru Hayakawa will act as Hamp’s interim replacement.
This 1989 Toyota Soarer Aerocabin is a rare bird, especially in the U.S. With only 500 units built, all in April 1989, the Japanese droptop is the holy combination of a lengthened Supra chassis and bippu style for those wanting to feel the wind through their hair without sacrificing privacy.
This particular example, shot in Los Angeles by Keith Charvonia of Speedhunters, is owned by Bird DePrez and his girlfriend Corinne. While it may look fairly bone stock, DePrez has given it a TTAC Approved™ mechanical massage.
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.
“Wait! Is that a…”
“Are you British?”
“I haven’t seen one of these since I left Venezuela as a teenager, only rich people had Sierras!”
Behold random responses from gawkers of TTAC’s Project Car. The surprises continue after several hundred miles under the Ford Sierra’s belt, as life with this fish out of water is far from a compromise. (Read More…)