Tag: Japan

By on December 31, 2013

Supra

At the stroke of midnight, a new millennium would begin and the whole world was supposed to come unhinged. Religious leaders were telling us that we needed to be afraid because Jesus Christ, aka the “Prince of Peace,” was coming back to wreak holy vengeance upon us all, cosmologists hinted that that an ominous planetary alignment was going to totally screw up our Feng Shui and computer experts were saying that the silicon chips that they had been relentlessly incorporating into everything since the late 1980s were going to suddenly freak out. It was this last thing that got most people’s panties in a twist. When the computers stopped, we were told, power grids would fail and modern society would grind to a halt. Anything that had an internal clock, they said, would simply stop working. (Read More…)

By on December 23, 2013

QOTD-BongoFriendeeAs we all know, the Japanese car industry has produced some of the greatest cars ever made, from the Isuzu Statesman Deville to the Autozam AZ-1. And, of course, the Japanese have come up with some of the greatest car names ever. The Nissan Homy Elgrand. The Mitsubishi Debonair Royal AMG. The Mazda Bongo Friendee. So many to choose from! (Read More…)

By on December 13, 2013

2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Exterior

It wasn’t that long ago I had an Acura RLX for a week. If you recall that review, I came away liking the car but found little joy in the price tag. Despite wearing a fantastic stitched leather interior, there was just no way I could justify the $10,000 premium over the AWD turbocharged competition from Lincoln, Volvo and others. Can a new dual clutch transmission and three electric motors turn the RLX from being a good car with the wrong price tag to a value proposition? (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2013

Three of the world’s most important auto shows began last week. Since my invitations to the various press events must have been lost in the mail I, like virtually everyone else in the world, followed them over the internet. I’m OK with that, really. I hate fighting the crowds and by the time a show closes high resolution photos of the most important cars are always all over the world-wide-web, anyhow. With the photos are the journalists’ impressions. Some are good and some are bad, but they all make me think. For example, there’s this article from the Top Gear website on the Tokyo motor show that asserts, on the strength of the cars at this year’s show, “Japan is back.” Hold on – Really? (Read More…)

By on November 19, 2013

GSXR1100

The ’91 GSXR 1100 was a feral beast. It had been tame once, well “mostly tame” anyhow, but the bike’s previous owner had stripped away the thin veneer that civilization had imposed upon it and restored it to its primeval form. It hadn’t taken much, really. Larger carburetors, performance cams and a full race exhaust had transformed the bike from a wickedly fast street machine into a full-race bike that, despite the license plates, had no business being on the street. Still, it had a sort of lethal charm that attracted men like me: confident, experienced, prideful. It was a battle of wills I would not lose. I was determined to master the bike and, like a living thing, the bike was determined to kill me. (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2013

2013 Mazda CX-5. Picture courtesy motortrend.com

When the year 2025 comes around, and your sons and daughters purchase their autonomous commuter pod sans steering wheel, you may want to check the automatic brakes just to be sure they’re able to stop your children from smashing through the commuter pod in front of them, much like what happened to one customer during a test drive at a Mazda dealership in Japan over the weekend.

(Read More…)

By on November 5, 2013

2014 Lexus IS 250 Exterior

After taking a sales hit due to tsunami-related production woes, Lexus has been trying to regain their mojo with a new product offensive. Things started out with the new Lexus GS sedan that Jack Baruth and I loved on and off the track, followed by a revised RX. With the redesigned IS, the bulk of their lineup has been overhauled. Initially, I was a little concerned that the Lexus IS sedan would receive nothing more than a new nose and some LED lights for 2014 but the Japanese 3-Series fighter came out swinging when we were invited to the launch event earlier in the year. I came away impressed with the IS 350′s road manners, but most buyers will be shopping for the less powerful IS 250 and it’s taken us this long to get our hands on one.

(Read More…)

By on November 4, 2013
Manufacturer Month (A) Previous year (B) A / B (%) This year total Previous year total Year-on-year (%)
Daihatsu 194 241 80.5 1939 2303 84.2
Fuji Heavy Industries 13121 11851 110.7 99888 76721 130.2
Hino 5524 4704 117.4 34737 32041 108.4
Honda 39398 26186 150.5 238177 365294 65.2
Isuzu 8259 6915 119.4 47349 46223 102.4
Mazda 16669 15531 107.3 131909 136678 96.5
Mitsubishi 4194 3550 118.1 31980 40397 79.2
Mitsubishi Fuso 3803 2988 127.3 26533 26569 99.9
Nissan 47534 48502 98 362177 371501 97.5
Perch 6908 7289 94.8 61243 72230 84.8
Toyota 140228 124025 113.1 1166595 1295876 90
UD Trucks 1024 856 119.6 6672 6886 96.9
Imported car 37459 35841 104.5 257873 233609 110.4
Total 324315 288479 112.4 2467072 2706328 91.2

With a sales tax increase of 3% looming next year and the Japanese economy on an upswing, October retail sales of cars and light trucks in Japan were up over 17% from the same month last year, with both regular and mini “kei” cars doing well. Honda led all companies with a 50% increase from 2012 and Toyota taking first place in overall sales with a little over 140,000 units sold, up 13%. (Read More…)

By on October 26, 2013

2014 Acura ILX 2.4 Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The Acura ILX has been derided as being nothing more than a gussied-up Honda Civic, an analogy that I too applied to the compact Acura when it first arrived. But then our own Brendan McAleer caused me to question my dismissal of the ILX. How many shoppers out there are willing to option-up a base model by 50% and don’t think twice about the fact their “limited” model looks just like the base model? All of a sudden the ILX, especially the 2.4L model we tested made sense to me. What was the revelation? Click through the jump to find out.

(Read More…)

By on October 25, 2013

149937319537758187

 

This pink Mitsubishi Mirage Hello Kitty Edition, made to celebrate the cartoon feline’s 40th birthday, will be limited to just 400 units, and will cost less than $12,000 when it goes on sale in Japan this month. I can’t say I’ve ever really thought about stepping foot in a Mitsubishi showroom until now, but the Hello Kitty throw pillow would make a great addition to my apartment. I wonder if it can be ordered through the parts counter.

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