Japanese carmakers are driven out of the country by a rising yen and an urge to diversify their production after the catastrophic March 11 tsunami. A favorite destination is Thailand. Due to free trade agreements with many nations, Thailand increasingly morphs from the Land of Smiles to a South East Asian production and export hub. Now, most car production in Thailand is stopped – again because of killer floods. (Read More…)
If you want to contend for 24 Hours of LeMons racing’s top prize, the Index of Effluency, choosing a terrible Malaise Era subcompact gives you a big edge. Choosing a General Motors product also helps. Going with a diesel or, even worse, a Chevette Diesel, means that you pretty much have the Index of Effluency nailed down if you can manage to keep the thing on the track for most of the weekend. Easier said than done, of course, but Zero Budget Racing managed to do just that with their ’82 Chevette Diesel. (Read More…)
Here on TTAC, one finds recurring references to that elusive “sub-$20k AWD manual diesel wagon”. Clearly, this brief blurb of specs isn’t my dream alone; sounds like a lot of us want such a car. But suppose one cares not for a million airbags, iPod styling, touchscreens, blackbox electronics, or much of the other modern malaise plaguing cars that come with warranties. Suppose one’s warranty is a toolbox, two hands, and a brain. Suppose one wants to get such a vehicle by customizing an older platform oneself, on half the budget. And suppose we add one more criterion: light off-road ability. What does one do?
When the first rumors of a possible tie-up between Volkswagen and Isuzu were floating around, they were vigorously denied by Isuzu, and meekly (“currently not on the agenda”) denied by Volkswagen. Here they are again. The Nikkei [sub] writes without the usual qualifications that „Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Volkswagen AG have begun negotiating a tie-up involving the mutual supply of truck engines and related technologies, a move that could create a formidable force in emerging markets.”
According to the report, if that engine deal progresses well, “they will also consider acquiring stakes in each other.” (Read More…)
The Trooper II deserves some serious respect and love. It was among the very first, perhaps the very first of the “compact” SUVs that took the US market by storm in the eighties. It was eminently practical, durable, rugged, and good looking. And it’s one of the cars on the list that I wish I had bought. Did it have any faults? Probably, but as far as I’m concerned, someone should still be making this Trooper. (Read More…)
In the good old “SUV” days, GM forged ties with many companies. But since the bubble burst and GM went to the bankruptcy court, those ties are being severed. Fiat, gone. NUMMI, gone. Suzuki, gone. Now, another partner wants out. Bloomberg reports that Isuzu are looking to have talks with General Motors to review and possibly pull out of a joint venture. The joint venture in question is the DMAX diesel engine plant in Ohio, which may operate at 30% capacity next year. “Our venture in North America serves large-size vehicles, and there is definitely a question mark on that market,” Susumu Hosoi, President of Isuzu said. “I want to ask GM what their thinking is.”