I feel fortunate enough that the first manual transmission car I ever drove was a 1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S. Yes, that Corolla. Although I am barely in my twenties, I learned how to drive a stickshift at a time when you could still pick up a ratty AE86 for a few hundred bucks.
Tag: japanese cars
The 2014 Chicago Auto Show marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of two of God’s most perfect creations: The Mazda Miata and the Acura NSX. Long-time readers will know that I have a strong affinity for both of these cars. The Miata was the first car I ever owned, while the NSX remains a focal point in my relationship with the automobile.
Ah, the 3000GT: possibly the car that’s most commonly believed not to be front-wheel drive, even though it is. That’s an accolade it shares with the 1997-2003 Audi A8, by the way. And while both cars offered all-wheel drive versions, you’d never know the 3000GT did by looking at Atlanta Craigslist.
Times are tough if you’re into Japanese cars. The sportiest Honda is a hybrid with 15-inch wheels. The coolest Toyota is a Subaru with 150 pound-feet of torque, while the fastest Toyota is a horse race between a three-row SUV and the Camry. And, despite the efforts of the American car-buying public, Mitsubishi still exists.
Sure, there are some bright spots. The Impreza WRX, for example, is still cool, despite Subaru’s attempts to make it look like a hood-scooped version of every other compact car. And the Nissan GT-R is awesome, even though experts like automotive journalists and Porsche employees will tell you it lacks “soul.” But there was a time not so long ago when there were more than just a handful of cool Japanese cars.
Suzuki’s death rattle continues unabated as the company’s American distribution arm will receive $100 million in financing, half of which is earmarked to purchase inventory from parent company Suzuki Motor Corp.
Only 6 dealers haven’t taken a buyout offer from Suzuki – of the 219 Suzuki dealers in America, 213 took the offer from American Suzuki, including the top 50 dealers by volume.
Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko re-affirmed his company’s commitment to the American marketplace, despite seeing most of its product line eliminated, and the flagship i electric car fail miserably. Despite these Job-like setbacks, Mitsubishi will release more new product in 2013, including a plug-in hybrid SUV and an all-new A/B segment car.
When the news came out last night of American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, I was glad to be validated in my suspicions, but sad that a potentially great opportunity had been wasted due to mismanagement and short-sightedness on behalf of its Japanese management.
In other regions, Suzuki does an excellent job catering to the needs of each domestic market. In India, through their long time partnership with Maruti (which has since turned into full ownership of the once state-owned automaker), Suzuki enjoys double digit market share that is the envy of every other automaker in the country. Maruti Suzuki has control over product, they understand the needs of Indians looking for new cars, and they have enough financial input into SMC’s bottom line that the executives in Japan have no choice but to listen.
Late last night, we were contacted by an employee of American Suzuki Motors Corp, who reached out to TTAC to vent his frustrations regarding the downfall of ASMC’s auto business. The picture painted by this employee is one of a highly dysfunctional operation, focused only on tomorrow and never beyond that, a revolving door of Japanese management and deep antipathy for American workers.
Though we’ve confirmed the identity of this Suzuki employee, they wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of their remarks.