Tag: Japan

By on July 20, 2015

2015 Lexus RC F Exterior

The last Lexus coupé-only model to grace luxury Japanese dealer lots was the 1991-2000 Lexus SC 300/SC 400. Since then Lexus has tried to satisfy luxury coupé and convertible shoppers simultaneously with the hardtop SC and IS convertibles since 2001.

That is until the folks in Japan decided to change their strategy to compete more directly with BMW, Mercedes and Audi in every segment. The result is the development of the RC.

Perhaps because Lexus decided against a 2-coupé strategy, as utilized by BMW and Mercedes, the RC is mix mash between the compact IS and the mid-sized GS — with a little bit of Lexus IS C tossed in for good measure.

In theory, the new coupé was also to serve as the basis for an all-new convertible. Unfortunately, the dealer network revolted and demanded another change in course, redirecting efforts into a 3-row crossover. As a result, the all-new RC is sold alongside the aging Lexus IS C convertible, a situation that’s unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. Fortunately for enthusiasts, Lexus developed their M4-fighter at the same time as the more pedestrian RC 350, otherwise the very-blue 467-horsepower RC F you see above may have met the same fate as the moribund convertible.
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By on July 10, 2015

2014 Nissan Rogue Select

Nissan announced yesterday that the current-generation Rogue would be concurrently produced for U.S. sales in Japan, Korea and the automaker’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant, which had us wondering: What about the Rogue Select?

According to a Nissan spokesman, the Rogue Select (which is essentially the last-generation Rogue) won’t be built alongside the current-generation Rogue in Japan, which may spell the end of the Select model in the states.

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By on July 9, 2015


Nissan announced today they’ll expand production of the current-generation Nissan Rogue to its Japanese plant and import those cars into the U.S.

Nissan’s Kyushu plant produces a version of the Rogue already on sale in the U.S., called Rogue Select. It’s unclear if the current-generation Rogue and last-generation Rogue will be produced side-by-side or if Nissan will discontinue selling the Rogue Select.

U.S.-sold Rogues are sourced from Nissan’s Symrna, Tennessee plant and Busan, Korea.

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By on July 7, 2015

Julie HampFormer Toyota communications chief Julie Hamp will be released from jail Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News (via Kyodo News).

Hamp was jailed June 18 for allegedly mailing herself 57 Oxycodone pills, which are illegal in Japan. She resigned her position with Toyota on June 30 as one of the global automaker’s highest-ranking female executives.

The reason for Hamp’s release is unclear. Bloomberg reported that prosecutors in Japan didn’t have enough evidence to indict Hamp on the charges. Kyodo News (via translator) reported prosecutors determined Hamp’s actions weren’t malicious and her resignation may have been enough punishment.

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By on July 2, 2015


According to Toyota, three Japanese automakers — Honda, Toyota and Nissan — are working together to build hydrogen fuel stations around for future fuel-cell cars.

The program, which will subsidize fueling stations up to 11 million yen ($89,500) per year for each station, is meant to boost the nation’s infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars.

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By on June 25, 2015

Julie Hamp Not In BlackToyota PR exec Julie Hamp isn’t having the best time in Japan right now, and the situation could worsen thanks to the nation’s strict drug importation laws.

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By on June 23, 2015

Julie HampReuters is reporting police have raided Toyota’s office in Tokyo in connection with the arrest of communications chief Julie Hamp over alleged drug importation offences.

When asked, a Toyota spokesman declined to comment on the nature of the police presence, but said the company is cooperating with police.

Hamp, the first female senior executive at Toyota, has a long road ahead of her if there’s enough evidence to bring her to trial, as we covered last week.

[Source: Reuters]

By on June 19, 2015

Julie HampYesterday, TTAC reported on the arrest in Japan of Toyota Chief Communications Officer Julie Hamp on drug smuggling charges. We have new information on what awaits Hamp now.

Through our anonymous source, Hamp’s alleged receipt of 57 Oxycodone pills — marked in a parcel dubbed “necklaces” — in the mail at Tokyo’s Narita Airport is a fairly common practice, where U.S. citizens in Japan take over housing from another foreigner, then use the previous occupant’s name to ship whatever drugs they desire. Japanese authorities routinely intercept the packages, which are then delivered as usual prior to a raid hours later.

The idea for allowing the delivery to go through as planned is if the package was delivered in error, the current occupant would either return it to the post office, or bring it to the nearest police station if thought to be suspicious. In most cases, the raid finds the package is already opened, and the drugs partially consumed.

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By on June 8, 2015

2015 Infiniti Q50S Exterior

When Infiniti launched their original G sedan, the brand started gaining a reputation as “the Japanese BMW” due to its sharp handling and V6 engine that loved to rev. Today, the Lexus IS and Cadillac ATS have taken the 3-Series’ place as the compact luxury sedans with the sharpest handing and best feel. What of the Japanese BMW then? To answer that question, Infiniti sent me a 2015 Q50S with all the options, including the controversial steer-by-wire system.

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By on May 28, 2015

Cadillac ATS-V

The ATS-V+ rumored by Motor Trend is definitely not happening according to Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell. The proposed new model would encroach too much into CTS-V territory for comfort.

Here’s what happened overnight.

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