The booths of Japanese automakers were mobbed today just like those of any other automaker at the Shanghai Motor Show. The action at the showrooms are a different matter. Sales of Japanese cars in China remain problematic more than half a year after rowdy crowds took to the streets last September to torch Japanese cars and showrooms. Sales of Japanese cars in China were down 14.3 percent in March while sales of U.S. carmakers were up 31.1 percent. Sales of German brands rose 24.6 percent.
Toyota does not expect to reach positive territory until August this year, Hiroji Onishi, head of Toyota’s China operations, told a small circle of reporters this morning at the Shanghai show. Asked why August, another Toyota executive quipped: “After previous riots in 2005 and 2010, it took half a year to recover. We figure, this time it might take twice as long.” (Read More…)
Buick shows a few interesting concepts in Shanghai. One, a business MPV attracted the interest on GM’s competition at Toyota. Soon-to-be Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada came for a quick visit, eyed the prototype for a few seconds, and left. (Read More…)
Within 50 feet of getting out of my old 74 Chevy C10 I hear a familiar voice.
“Hey Steve. How are ya?”
A 6 foot 7 inch monstrosity of a man pats me hard on the back and dislodges the few cobwebs that remained from a 5 AM wake-up call.
Editor’s Note: This is the second part of the series. The first can be found here.
Production of the Lexus ES will move from Toyota’s plant in Kyushu, Japan to a plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, where its platform twin, the Toyota Avalon, is built.
Oldsmobile, Packard, Plymouth. Another dead brand with obscure concept cars in this part of the alphabet is Pontiac. This is their Rageous concept from 1997, another proto-CUV, and what some have called “the Aztek that should have been”. Imagine a four door Trans Am (the rear doors are suicide style like on the RX-8 Mazda) with a hatchback and a flat load floor that will accommodate a 4X8 sheet of plywood. A ’90s vintage LT1 and a Corvette based rear suspension completed the package, which of course had Pontiac’s supernumerary nostrils from that era. Actually, the Rageous isn’t that obscure. Mattel’s Hot Wheels released their own version of it in 1999 and reissued it at least 8 times since then. Like the Jeep Jeepster concept, if you’re a Gen Y’er, or a baby boomer who collects Hot Wheels you may actually remember the Pontiac Rageous. (Read More…)
GM published global sales numbers for the first quarter of 2013, and media from The Detroit News to Bloomberg considered it headline material that GM edged out Volkswagen – barely. Who would have thought that the scrappy maker of cars that – if the blogs are to be believed – can’t keep their wires from crossing is breathing down the neck of the formerly mighty General? (Read More…)
The Tercel EZ sold about as well as the Plymouth Sundance America, Chevrolet Chevette Scooter, and the other zero-frills cars of the 1985-1995 period, i.e., very poorly. Jack Baruth does a fine job of explaining why this is so, but enough of these cars were moved off showroom floors that you still see the occasional example. Here’s a Tercel EZ that I spotted in my local self-serve wrecking yard. (Read More…)
The 420,000 mile Ford truck. The 420,000 mile Chevy truck. The 420,000 mile Camry. The 420,000 mile Accord.
I have covered all of these brands and models to the point now where I just hope, wish and dream of a different vehicle to highlight.
A few months ago I finally had a pair of Saturns make it to the top. A little before that there was a 90′s Altima that handily beat nearly 7000 other cars and trucks. This week…
The mid-size sedan sales race has become a close one over the first quarter of this year – while the Toyota Camry has established a healthy lead, the race for second through fourth place comes down to an 8,000 unit spread between the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and the (game-changing) Ford Fusion.
I recently inherited a Nissan Cube from my brother. When I tell people this, they have two distinct reactions. For anyone who isn’t into cars, it’s: “Your brother died?” Car people, however, usually respond with: “You have a Nissan Cube?” This is the same reaction that non-car people tend to have when I explain my brother did not die, but rather moved to Los Angeles, where his soul will.
GM will have two new mid-size pickups out in 2015, just in time to steal the spotlight from the all-new Ford F-150. And according to TTAC Commenter and GM exec Mark Reuss, the two trucks should have fairly different missions.
My annual pilgrimage to the New York Auto Show reminded me of just how much hassle it can be to park in the world’s most important city. (It’s the world’s most important city because it is the setting for the HBO show, Girls). For people who are not wealthy and/or well-connected, simply finding a place to dump a car off for a day or so can be fraught with drama. Not only are most Manhattan garages well into the $45-a-day zone, that price doesn’t get you any of the things most Americans take for granted in a parking spot — in/out privileges, access to their vehicles to drop off shopping items or pick up a change of clothes, or even a half-hearted hope that they might be able to leave a valuable item in the trunk. I wound up leaving my rented 2013 Caravan jammed up into a not-a-space in the Port Authority Bus Terminal’s garage, walking a few miles each way to the Village to see a couple of musicians perform, and begging the Port Authority cops to let me have my car back at three in the morning.
Things will get worse in the world of urban parking before they get better… but what if you could fix most of these issues at a reasonable cost?
A couple weeks back, Tetsuya Tada, father of the Scion FR-S, wistfully meditated on his desire to see more variants of the Scion FR-S, including a shooting brake. Rather than dismissive them as fantasy-bait for the enthusiast set, TTAC determined that there is probably a good business case for developing more variants of the Toyobaru platform. After all, you can’t spend billions on an all new platform and only build one low volume niche model off of it, right?
For anyone rooting for this scenario, there’s more encouraging news. Toyota executives are pondering an upward expansion of the Scion brand, and the FR-S could be the focal point of that initiative.
What’s happening here? Is Toyota finally getting some style all of a sudden? The 2014 Highlander, shown here in Sanjeev Brown (my new name for Brown, in honor of all the misspellings of our dear Sajeev’s name that come across TTAC’s inbox) actually looks macho and handsome. The 2.7L 4-cylinder and 3.5L V6 are standard Toyota fare, though a new 6-speed automatic is a welcome update. All the usual active safety features, from lane departure warning to cross traffic alert to a blind spot monitoring system, are standards.