By on March 14, 2017

porsche-ceo-matthias-muller

Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen Group, said in a press conference he hasn’t excluded the possibility of a merger with Fiat Chrysler Automotive.

Müller said, “There has been no contact at this point between (CEO of FCA) Mr. Marchionne and me, but I have never said I would exclude it.”

(Read More…)

By on February 6, 2017

2004 Suzuki Verona in California wrecking yard, grille badge - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp. have agreed to begin official talks on pushing their partnership further. The partnership memorandum announced today covers a wide range of issues crucial to developing and producing automobiles, while keeping Suzuki independent as an automaker. Toyota is apparently not interested in corporate control. The automaker showed a similar gentle touch in its partnerships with Mazda Motor Corp. and Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries.

Instead, the two companies have agreed to start brainstorming on how to best collaborate on advanced safety systems, environmentally friendly tech, information technology, overlapping components, and shared product.  (Read More…)

By on January 11, 2017

SYNC 3 AppLink now automatically discovers smartphone apps including Spotify, Pandora, Stitcher, and displays their unique graphics and branding, Image: Ford

Ford, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, PSA (Peugeot, etc.), and Suzuki are now part of an automotive alliance concerning your dashboard. The SmartDeviceLink Consortium, as they’re styling it, is apparently all about muscling around Google and Apple’s forays into the automobile, and is based on Ford’s existing “AppLink” software project, which has been around for several years.

I’ve written about smart dashboards before for TTAC. Particularly, in 2013 after Apple’s original announcement, I was amazed automakers were willing to cede so much control over the precious dashboard real estate. I later noted people are likely to be more loyal to their phones than cars and to make buying decisions around what cars support their phones “properly,” especially because Apple and Google fundamentally know a lot more about you and can do a much better job of knowing what you want to listen to and where you want to go.

But what exactly is the SmartDeviceLink Consortium all about? You might think it sounds like it’s a rejection of your smartphone driving the screen in your car, as with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Curious as to what was really going on, I then dug into the giant pile of software and specifications they’ve posted on Github. What’s really going on here isn’t as much in opposition to what Google and Apple are up to as it’s an attempt to standardize it and refactor it.

(Read More…)

By on October 12, 2016

2013_Toyota_NDM_Akio_Toyoda_002

This could be the start of a beautiful business partnership.

After its romance with Volkswagen AG ended in a bitter breakup last year, Suzuki is considering hopping into bed with the world’s largest automaker.

Toyota and Suzuki issued a joint press release today announcing their intention to get together and see where it goes. (Read More…)

By on May 13, 2016

2016 Nissan Titan XD PRO-4X Grille, Image: © 2015 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Yesterday’s news that Nissan will buy a 34-percent controlling stake in Mitsubishi for $2.2 billion was the latest win for Carlos Ghosn, the man behind the Renault-Nissan Alliance of 1999 and possessor of many fingers in many pies.

Ghosn, CEO of both Nissan and Renault, inked the agreement with Mitsubishi as the other automaker battles a misleading gas-mileage scandal. At a price of 468.52 yen/share, Ghosn’s purchase of new shares was a smoking deal. Mitsubishi shares traded for 1,100 yen just last December.

What becomes of the two companies now? And how will Ghosn’s world-straddling empire benefit by snapping up beleaguered Mitsubishi? (Read More…)

By on January 5, 2016

Partnership

Ford CEO Mark Fields just wrapped up his Consumer Electronics Show keynote speech Tuesday morning and mentioned the word “Google” exactly zero times. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

So, um, where does that leave the current planned partnership between the global automaker and Google to build self-driving cars and let them roam free at a 1,000-acre North Carolina ranch?

Not dead, maybe — just not fully baked, apparently.

(Read More…)

By on January 4, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

“What do I gotta do to get you to drive out of here in a brand-new 2016 Chevrolet Malibu today?”

That, Ford and Google are moving to the country, Hyundai halts in China and Volvo’s wagon spied in some guy’s garage … after the break! (Read More…)

By on July 29, 2013

Suzuki SX4. Photo courtesy AutoExpress

Suzuki and VW don’t seem ready to officially call it quits just yet. The two companies are still talking, with both sides continuing to see positives in what was to be a partnership on small cars and Suzuki’s domination of emerging markets.

Senior management from both sides, including Osamu Suzuki, are currently in talks to revive the partnership as it could help Suzuki spread their R&D costs over multiple products and give them access to VW technology. Volkswagen wants a greater foothold in India and China, where Suzuki has been wildly successful, a stark contrast to their presence in North America. If talks fail, the courts have some decisions to make.

(Read More…)

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