After 13 months of rising car sales, Japan is looking into a deep, dark abyss. A government subsidy program will end any minute. Officially, the program runs through the end of September, but the funds have dried up. As of Monday, around 10.2 billion yen ($122m) were in the kitty. That’s about a day’s worth of subsidies. (Read More…)
The Japanese auto industry is staring at the calendar like a rabbit at the snake. October 1, the rabbit will be dinner. October 1, government subsidies for purchases of “environmentally friendly vehicles” (read pretty much any new vehicle that passes Japanese rules) will be no more. According to popular wisdom, come October, the Japanese new car market that had enjoyed double digits growth rates, will go poof and implode.
So what to do in a country where with the exception of flu masks, the Top 10 list of popular products ”was dominated by low-priced retail merchandise and eco-friendly products as consumers pinched pennies and took advantage of government stimulus subsidies” as Reuters put it? Simple: Local subsidies. (Read More…)
Everybody in the Japanese auto biz (and who’s not in the auto biz in Japan, except my friends who, but that’s for another day), everybody in the Japanese auto biz has their eye on the sky. Why? Because the sky is soon to drop. On September 30, government subsidies for purchases of “environmentally friendly vehicles” (read pretty much any new vehicle that passes Japanese rules) will expire. Everybody expects a mad dash in August and September, and in October: Whammo. Down comes the sky. (Read More…)
Doesn’t it bug you when other countries give their carmakers money? Doesn’t it bug you a hell of a lot when other countries give their carmakers money with they express purpose to increase exports? Shouldn’t those felonious countries be dragged in front of the WTO and shot? Well, there are exceptions. (Read More…)
AutoblogGreen‘s Sam Abuelsamid earns a tip of the blogger’s hat today for making sense of a fascinating nugget in a Times of London piece on the Nissan Leaf. The revelation by Nissan EV honcho Andy Palmer to the British paper that Leaf battery packs cost £6,000 (about $9k) to produce could have been missed, buried as it was near the bottom of the story. Not only did Abuelsamid catch it, he calculated that the Leaf’s 24 kWh lithium-ion battery costs break down to a staggeringly cheap $375 per kWh. How cheap is that, relatively speaking? Apparently cheap enough to send Li-ion startup A123 Systems’ stock to record lows according to the WSJ [sub]. More price-comparison context and some insight into how Nissan might have beaten those costs down after the jump.
Japan’s domestic car trade can look back at the first up year in seven years. Japan goes by the fiscal year, which spans from April 1 in the current year to March 31 in the next. In the 2009 fiscal, domestic sales of new vehicles rose 10 percent on the year. You think that’s an occasion to head down to your favorite Ginza hostess bar, break out the sake, or stronger stuff, and party like it’s 2003? Chigaimasu. Quite the opposite is true. The land of the rising sun is worried about falling sales. “A strong sense of anxiety continues to grip the industry,” reports The Nikkei [sub]. (Read More…)
China’s carmakers better get their pure plug-ins ready. The central government is set to spend serious money to electrify development and sales. China Daily reports that “a much-awaited government stimulus plan” is ready for government approval and should be in effect in the next couple of months.
Private buyers in five chosen cities (so far unveiled, but the usual suspects apply) will be able to collect close to $9000 if they buy a pure plug-in. Imports need not apply. (Read More…)