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.
Honda’s jet was supposed to be commercially available in 2012, and then in 2013, but it will be another wait of another year. The FAA certification of Honda’s small business jet is delayed until late next year, “due to a minor issue in the certification procedure, which has since been resolved,” says Reuters. (Read More…)
TTAC finally found the holy grail of the auto-blogosphere: We busted a stringent embargo that won’t lift for more than two weeks. We did that on cars that are unobtainable for most. We blew the tarps not off one, but two makes. We didn’t find a dealer brochure, we caught the cars while they were made.
“So would this new Infiniti Q50 be the new JDM Nissan Skyline?” asked TTAC commenter luvmyv8. One of the benefits of having a TTAC editor on the other side of the globe, as opposed to in a basement in Peoria, is that we can get first-hand answers to luvmyv8, straight from Nissan’s and Infiniti’s top men. (Read More…)
Of course, Carlos Ghosn did not miss this opportunity to talk about his most favorite topic: The value of the yen. As last Friday, the CEO of Renault and Nissan still does not want to hear talk of a low yen. Ghosn says the Japanese currency “is coming back to normal levels,” and as far as Ghosn is concerned, the yen still has some ways to go. Even if this freaks-out the CEO of Ford. (Read More…)
Yoko Kubota of Reuters had already written half of her story before we boarded a bus this Tokyo morning. It took us north to Nissan’s Tochigi plant, where we were promised to see the new Infiniti Q50 roll off the assembly lines. Kubota wrote that “in the financial year ended March, Infiniti sold 172,615 vehicles globally, up 12.1 percent year-on-year,” that the brand needs to grow, that the backbone of Infiniti’s volume has been the G37 Sedan, and that its successor, “with a new name Q50, will go on sale in the United States in the summer.” Today, we see how the Q50 is made.
Infiniti’s Q50 will come “this summer” says the new York Daily News, which nonetheless already “reviewed” it, coming to the conclusion that “the all new Infiniti Q50 will be base priced at just $36,450, and the expected to be most popular trim level, the “Premium,” featuring an optional, navigation system is expected to come in at $40,700.” (Read More…)
Then, finally, a reporter asks Ghosn when he intends to pack up and leave. Of course, this is Japan, and the question is asked in a circuitous way. The reporter argues that Nissan now makes solid profits, hence Ghosn could perhaps put the company into the hands of someone else, such allowing Ghosn to focus fully on Renault, which needs all the help it can get. This suggestion earns the reporter a likewise polite rebuke. Ghosn thanks him “for taking care of my own organization.” Pierced by Ghosn’s trademark laser eyes, the reporter deflates into his seat. (Read More…)
Finally, a chance for Ghosn to speak about his favorite topic: The value of the yen. Two years ago in Kyushu, Ghosn said that its valuation against the dollar and other major currencies was a crime against nature, a perversion. Back then, you got 77 yen to the dollar, and I assure you that 76 yen buy next to nothing. Ghosn called a high. The rise of the deviant was arrested. In the following year, the yen turned around, fainthearted first, then, with honest Abe getting behind the wheel in Japan, a dollar now buys 100 yen.
Ghosn does not want to hear talk of a “low “ yen. (Read More…)
Asked today at the annual results conference in Yokohama whether he wants to back off from his old target of putting 1.5 million EVs on the road by 2016, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn displayed an astounding degree of determination. He still believes in the 1.5 million. Maybe a little later than 2016.
Our last look at the Accord was back in September when we ran a two-parter (part 1, part 2) after being invited to the launch event. Yes, shockingly our invite wasn’t lost in the mail. As TTAC has said in the past, there are problems with launch events. Usually you’re running around in a pre-production car that may not be “quite right” yet, you have to split your driving time with some dude from another publication (shout out to Hooniverse on that trip). Drive time is limited, and exclusively done on roads selected by the manufacturer. Sometimes you don’t get the trim level you want either. What I wanted was one step up from the base model, the mainstream EX and I wanted it on the same roads I’ve driven the other Camcord competitors. Here’s that review.
Nissan closed the year in America with U.S. sales up by 10 percent, but that wasn’t enough to please Ghosn. Said the CEO today in Yokohama:
“China was not our biggest disappointment last year. It was mainly the United States. We were expecting a strong year. It did not happen. We postponed it to 2013.” (Read More…)
Nissan is the largest of all Japanese automakers in China, and therefore has the most to lose. With about a quarter of its global sales in China, Nissan has the highest exposure to the ups and downs of the Middle Kingdom. When Chinese rioted in the streets, overturned Japanese cars and torched their dealerships , Nissan was beaten hard. At one point, sales of Nissan cars were cut in half.
If any carmaker is hoping for an imminent turn-around in Europe, or is telling shareholders (I am looking at you, GM) that better times will be here again real soon now, then Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn has a bucket of ice-cold water for them.
“Europe is going to be bad,” Ghosn predicted today in Yokohama. Ghosn also serves as CEO of Renault, a company that is taking major lumps in a market that has been careening south for five years in a row now. One would assume that a man in his position paints a rosier picture. Instead, Ghosn’s pallet is all gloom.
Ghosn knows what is on the mind of the European customer: (Read More…)
If you wanted to have a ten minute advantage (for placing those jumbo derivatives order into the mainframe of your hedge fund) before Nissan’s annual results for the last fiscal were announced in the newly redecorated meeting room on the 8th floor of their Yokohama headquarters, all you had to do was read the smiling faces of Nissan’s top lieutenants. Executive VP Andy Palmer was all grins. (Read More…)