Tag: Imports

By on June 23, 2017

Image: 1988 Alpina B7S, image via Enthusiast Auto Group

The glorious green Alpina coupe before your eyes nets three firsts for the Rare Rides series. It’s the first coupe coated in any shade of green paint, the first BMW, and indeed the first German vehicle in the series (I don’t count last week’s Rolls-Royce as German, though you might).

Time for some eye candy.

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By on June 7, 2017

Charity Civic Type R, Image: Bring A Trailer

The very first Honda Civic Type R is being made available to U.S. buyers via auction, and it’s probably going to go for a small fortune. While my sensible side wants to urge you to save your money and wait for the second or even third Type R to hit our shores, the premium you’re paying to be numero uno is going to a good cause. Honda donated the Civic to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and all the proceeds will go to the charity.

That gives you the right to install the most obnoxiously loud exhaust system legally allowed and rev up that homely hot rod in your driveway day and night. If your neighbors complain, you can tell them that your car helped save the lives of children before asking them what their CR-V has done for the world.  (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2017

robert_lighthizer 2017

I hope you’re fond of domestic automobiles.

The Trump administration is setting the table to make importing cars more difficult with the U.S. Senate confirming Robert Lighthizer in an 82-14 vote as the U.S. trade representative, prepping the country for an assertive trust from the White House’s America First trade strategy. (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2017

Toyota Century, image via eBay

Heads of state and other dignitaries typically like to ride around in large, sedan-shaped vehicles. Offerings like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and contemporary Rolls-Royce sedans have long been the go-to around the world. Of course, there are exceptions. For places like the United States, national pride dictates an American-made Cadillac or Lincoln.

The Japanese also have a strong sense of national pride, and for decades there was only one vehicle appropriate for heads of state and CEOs — the Toyota Century.

Now it’s gone.

(Read More…)

By on March 22, 2017

U.S. Mexico Border

Now that Mexican negotiators aren’t reacting specifically to President Trump’s heated rhetoric over foreign trade policies, their terror and rage has begun to subside. The North American Free Trade Agreement might even continue to exist for the time being.

Trump’s previous attacks on NAFTA, import tariff threats, and promise of a border wall incensed Mexican officials to a point where many suggested Mexico should simply abandon the renegotiation talks on principle. However, now that cabinet officials will be speaking on behalf of the president and the focus of the negotiators have shifted toward the fundamentals — and not the politics — Mexico can relax a little.  (Read More…)

By on February 9, 2017

Viper Supra Corvette

Japanese cars gradually overcame the stigma of being low-quality, unreliable trash piles after entering the U.S. market decades ago. Imports became commonplace during the 1970s and Japan’s cars began setting the new benchmark for automotive quality while Ronald Reagan was in office.

The inverse can be said of American cars being sold in Japan, and it’s a well-documented and long-running annoyance for the American automotive industry. In January, a frustrated President Donald Trump complained that Japan does “things to us that make it impossible to sell cars in Japan, and yet, they sell cars [in the United States] and they come in by the hundreds of thousands on the biggest ships I’ve ever seen.”

Though the statement could be taken as contentious, as Japan does not impose any tariffs on U.S. cars, the country also exported 1.6 million vehicles to the States while America sold fewer than 19,000 back in 2015. Something is definitely amiss, and while it might not be as simple a reason as Japan hating our cars, that’s still a large part of it.  (Read More…)

By on May 4, 2016

2016 Ford Mustang GT

The Ford Mustang is currently the best-selling sports car in Germany and in many other European countries. Sales are so strong that allotments for official importers are usually sold out for the rest of the year and customers are flocking to gray importers, who offer cars at higher prices and without factory warranty.

What made Europeans go crazy for a pony car all of a sudden? Is something changing in European tastes, or is the new Mustang just that good? And why can’t other American cars make it in Europe? (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2016

Herbert Diess, Image: Image: RudolfSimon (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Volkswagen dealers in the U.S. will get more vehicles to sell this year and next, but there’s still no word on possible reparations or when to expect a diesel emissions fix.

At a meeting with dealers at the National Auto Dealers Association convention on Saturday, Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess promised to “redefine” the brand and boost shipments of popular models, Automotive News has reported.

The meeting aimed to calm the fears of increasingly frustrated dealers while providing some certainty about product strategy. Despite promising to carry on with the strategy favored by departed Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn, Diess’ reassurances didn’t win over everyone.

(Read More…)

By on August 24, 2015

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.

(Read More…)

By on October 8, 2014

Volvo-S60L_P

CEOs and senior execs going on shopping runs to Staples may soon be able to leave their MKTs at the parking garage when the Chinese-made Volvo S60L arrives next year.

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By on March 10, 2014

Mirage (6)

In a study conducted by Roy Morgan Research, one in eight Australian consumers prefer locally made vehicles for their next new-car purchase today, down from one in four a decade earlier.

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By on February 21, 2014

Toyota Altona Engine Plant

Sources close to Toyota say the engine plant in Altona, Australia will likely be relocated to Siam Toyota Manufacturing in Thailand once the automaker ceases Australian manufacturing operations in 2017.

(Read More…)

By on August 7, 2013

Bloomberg photo

Automotive imports to China were down 11% in the first six months of 2013, to 526,000 cars, according to China’s largest import dealer group. That wasn’t the only bad news luxury car importers got.

(Read More…)

By on July 7, 2013

Ford Setagaya Dori

 

And here, by popular demand, the sales of cars imported to Japan in June, and for the first half year of 2013, as published by the Japan Automobile Importers Association.  For those with open eyes and mind, a few items quickly become clear: (Read More…)

By on June 23, 2013
Ford Setagaya Dori

Open: The Ford dealer down the road from me. Go there yourself.

Last week, I had a few very interesting discussions with a few very famous people, and I should not keep them to myself. The discussions were about one of my pet peeves, the supposedly closed Japanese car market, and the allegedly manipulated Japanese currency. Some very knowledgeable people I talked to were convinced it’s true. Other very knowledgeable folks said it’s utter baloney. In a rare display of balanced reporting, I will bring you both. And as they say, we purport, you decide.

(Read More…)

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