Everybody was betting big on electric cars in China. Everybody thought China will be the world’s biggest market for EVs. It was a bluff. At the Shanghai Auto Show in April, the smart money suddenly was on hybrids. Insiders expect that the Chinese government will extend bigger subsidies to buyers of hybrid cars, after the big electric car revolution in China turned out to be a bust. This is good for Japanese carmakers – for some at least. (Read More…)
For better or for worse, it looks like the endless rants of bloggers about beige appliances are having their effects. Toyota is getting in touch with its emotional self, and that self-discovery starts in America, ground zero of the beige kvetching. (Read More…)
Unperturbed by propaganda that the Japanese import market is closed, and that setting up new cars dealerships in Japan is just about impossible, a myth propagated by an unholy UAW/D3 alliance to detract from the tariff and regulatory walls protecting the American market, Tesla opened its second Japanese showroom in Osaka. (Read More…)
Nissan and Mitsubishi today presented their jointly developed, but separately badged and marketed kei car to an amazingly large contingent of the Japanese press. TTAC readers are quite familiar with the car(s). They have watched the Nissan DAYZ and its Mitsubishi siblings, the eK Wagon and eK Custom on its first day of production at Mitsubishi’s plant in Mizushima, near Hiroshima, more than two weeks ago. Today, the car arrived in Tokyo.
May sales were down in Japan, and this time around, small kei cars could not bail out their bigger brethren. Imports into the allegedly closed market Japan on the other hand are zooming, despite the weaker yen that makes imports more expensive. (Read More…)
Carlos Ghosn and Osamu Masuko CEO of Mitsubishi
Renault chief Carlos Ghosn is reaching out, forging foreign alliances with a heavy emphasis on emerging markets. “Faced with the slump in the European markets,” writes the French Figaro, Renault is “edging closer to Mitsubishi.” Nothing is official, and if you ask on the record, you get firm denials, such as the “this is not true,” told to Reuters by a Mitsubishi Motors spokesman. Behind the scenes, there are traces of heavy petting. Let’s look into them. (Read More…)
Today’s Nikkei [sub] puts forth an interesting thought: Dependence on big pick-ups distracts the Detroit 3 on a global basis. Now, tiny kei cars could do the same to the Japanese. Writes the Nikkei:
“Part of the reason the Big Three U.S. automakers lost their international dominance is because they lagged foreign carmakers in implementing global strategies by clinging to large pickup trucks, which only do well in the U.S.” (Read More…)
Kawasaki Heavy Industries has developed “technology to produce fuel for cars from farm waste at a cost that is competitive with imported ethanol made from food products, such as sugar cane,” Reuters says. (Read More…)
Toyota announced today what it calls the “Big Data Traffic Information Service,” a giant mashup of data harvested from currently 3.3 million of telematics users in Japan, and 700,000 Toyota customers equipped with a Digital Communication Module (DCM), a gizmo that constantly monitors and transmits vehicle data. Combined with other telematics data, the harvest powers navigation and information services. Unlike other systems, Toyota’s on-line platform can also be used by local governments and businesses. (Read More…)
The fact that GM creates 6,000 jobs in China and will invest $11 billion in China until 2016 (and $16 billion in America) gets all the headlines. What falls under the table is the fact that someone else invests $76 billion each year straight into more than a million Americans. It’s the Japanese auto industry. (Read More…)
People assume that car companies know their competition’s every move, as if there was some sort of mission impossible crew sent in every weekend to monitor R&D progress. While some less-than-ethical information exchange goes on, on the whole, a car manufacturer like Honda finds out what the competition’s latest widget looks when we do. Need proof? Look at the
2011, 2012, 2013 Honda Civic. The 9th generation Civic was intended to début as a 2011, but the financial implosion caused Honda to go back and re-work their compact car as a 2012 to keep prices low. In the perpetual game of auto-leapfrog, Honda miscalculated the direction Ford, Hyundai, Kia (and perhaps even Nissan) were headed. The result was bashed by Consumer Reports and raked across the coals by most of the press. Did buyers care? Apparently not. The 2012 Civic was purchased in impressive quantities by real-people. Honda could have found solace in their sales, but instead they did something unusual: they re-re-redesigned the Civic for 2013. Say what?
After accumulating some $9 billion in losses, Mitsubishi Motors is bringing its financial house in order. According to Reuters, “Mitsubishi Motors is considering asking shareholders to approve plans for a 10-for-1 reverse stock split. At the same time, the company may ask shareholders to approve a capital reorganization – a change in accounting that would make it possible to resume paying dividends.” (Read More…)
Ford has long been at the forefront of the currency debate, claiming currency manipulation when the yen went to levels that nearly killed the Japanese auto industry, and shouting “currency manipulation” now that the yen is back to normal levels. Now, Ford itself experiences the devastating effects of changing exchange rates: Ford is shutting down all its manufacturing operations in Australia. The reason: A strong Australian dollar. Says Reuters: (Read More…)
At just 10:30 AM the sun was already near its full zenith and it beat down upon the city of Osaka with an intense, angry glare. Waves of heat shimmered up from the pavement and superheated the air which blew around in tepid, weak breezes that offered little respite. Perhaps later, the column of heat created by the great city’s many square miles of pavement would spark a sudden thunderstorm as it rose high into the stratosphere and the resultant rain would bring relief as it cascaded down and turned the streets into raging torrents. For now, however, there was only the glare of the sun, the stifling heat and, for me, the thought that riding an 1100 cc air cooled sport bike in a full set of leathers was a choice I should have avoided making.