BMW has M, Audi has a whole alphabet and Honda has Si. In truth, just the Civic has Si. Honda’s “Sport injection” trim started back in the 1980s but never expanded beyond its compact offerings in the U.S. Honda’s performance trim also never expanded beyond sharpened responses, a modest dollop of power and some looks-fast trim additions. The first Honda Si model came to our shores in 1985, but the first wasn’t a Civic — it was a Prelude. The Civic Si joined us a year later in 1986. But I digress.
Cars like the Civic Si are popular with journalists like me. The reason is simple, quite like the Civic itself. Unlike some performance packages, the Si treatment still favors sharpened responses and improved feel over simply jamming an over-boosted turbo engine under the hood. While the later is obviously a hoot and a half, the former is ultimately more pleasing to my peculiar tastes.
It’s Friday and once again it’s time for an update from Japan where my efforts to get my Town & Country licensed and street legal continue unabated.
Last week’s baby steps have led to modest results. My visit to the local police station netted me a parking permit on Tuesday and, although I am immensely self-satisfied at the results, I am aware that the permit’s issuance has started a 30 day countdown clock. If I cannot complete the entire registration process within that window, I will have to repeat this step of the process.
Naturally, I would rather avoid that. (Read More…)
The quest to complete the importation of my 2013 Town & Country continues and, if the important successes I reported on last week were great strides towards the ultimate goal, this week’s progress has been limited to a frustrating series of baby steps.
Still, progress is being made.
As most government offices were closed on Monday as Japan paused to celebrate “Sports Day,” this week’s story begins bright and early Tuesday morning when I took the certified results of the emissions and noise tests, along with my completed application for title, to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Yokohama. (Read More…)
The Town & Country is back at home and, frankly — no pun intended — I’m exhausted.
As I had been warned, the necessary tests required an overnight stay for the van at the research facility and the two trips there and back sapped a lot of my energy. I was at the mercy of my iPhone’s navigation app — UConnect’s navigation, of course, doesn’t work in Japan — that led pell-mell all over the damn countryside without any real idea of where I was at any given moment. To make matters worse, when I wasn’t behind the wheel, there was an equally confusing three-hour train ride to deal with.
Once upon a time, I might have considered this a grand adventure. Right now, I’m just tired and in need of a beer. (Read More…)
Subaru may have taken away our hot hatch goodness with the WRX and WRX STI, but the down-market Impreza looks to continue with all five doors intact.
In a release on Wednesday, Subaru announced they would show off the next Impreza in hatchback form at the Tokyo International Motor Show.
Nissan announced Monday that it would show in Tokyo a concept car that would be electric, charge devices and make all the kids search for it on TheInternet.web when they get home from school.
The Teatro for Dayz appears to be a Cube-ish subcompact, powered by electrons for some humans that Nissan’s marketing team are calling “share natives.” Nissan didn’t detail the car’s specifications, other than some pie-in-the-sky functions such as web cameras, LED displays on the outside and illuminated displays for something.
Interestingly, the car sports a steering wheel, pedals and won’t be autonomous, which suggests that some of the car could be rooted in reality. The EV boasts a “short range,” according to the automaker, and could actually be something that makes it on to the roads some day — hopefully without that name.
Twelve countries, including the United States, reached an agreement Monday on an historic trade agreement that could economically tie together more than 400 million people in Asian Pacific and American countries. The pact would cover trade for wide ranging products, from rice to pharmaceutical drugs to cars.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which negotiators have been working on for eight years, would thaw trade relations among countries included in the regional zone, including Japan and the United States. For automakers in both countries, the tentative deal includes provisions for Japanese automakers to (eventually) bring light-duty trucks to the U.S. For American automakers, part of the proposed agreement included a side deal between America and Japan to allow access for U.S. automakers to traditionally closed Japanese markets.
The agreement faces an uphill battle to get congressional approval; House Republicans and presidential candidates already have roundly dismissed the deal.
Back in July, just days before my family boarded a Boeing 777 to wing our way to Japan, a truck arrived at my home to haul away my Chrysler Town & Country. In the ensuing weeks, while we struggled through lost luggage and looked for a place to live, the van was trucked to California, loaded into a container and placed aboard a ship. As the summer wore on, while we worked through the details of an overpriced lease and did our best to get the kids enrolled in their new school, the ship crossed the wide expanse of the Pacific and made port in Yokohama. While we were accepting delivery of our household goods, the ship was being unloaded and its containers sent to a customs warehouse. Finally, just as we were beginning to settle into our new lives, I was contacted by a Japanese customs broker. The Town & Country had finally and irrevocably arrived. (Read More…)
A possible partnership deal between North American countries and Pacific countries may include provisions to penalize Asian governments for not opening up their markets enough for U.S. automakers, Bloomberg reported.
According to the report, negotiators are close to concluding talks regarding automobiles, which has been a contentious point during the talks. The CBC reported that talks in Atlanta were at a critical stage over pharmaceutical drugs, and any eventual deal may be delayed by an upcoming G20 meeting in Turkey.
Talks regarding automobiles have been focused on sourcing local content for each car. North American Free Trade Association rules mandate that cars made within the zone have 62.5 percent of its content sourced within the zone. Asian manufacturers have pressed for lower standards for sourced content in a bid for reduced manufacturing costs.
The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with countries such as Japan jeopardizes American jobs because those countries may be able to source cheaper parts from outside the negotiated area, according to the report.
“I hope it is not the case that the Canadian and Mexican negotiators are actually holding a harder line than our own government on this issue. But due to the unaccountable lack of transparency from USTR, absolutely critical decisions are being made without our input or voice. Thousands of good American jobs and an iconic American industry are at risk, and we don’t even know what our government’s negotiating position is.”