By on December 25, 2008

A short overview of what happened in other parts of the world while you were in bed. TTAC provides round-the-clock coverage of everything that has wheels. Or has its wheels coming off. For the next two weeks, WAS will be filed from Tokyo.

Japan’s auto production in the dumps: Production of cars, trucks and buses in Japan fell 20.4 percent on year in November, marking the second straight month of falls, the Nikkei (sub) writes, Vehicle output declined to 854,171 vehicles in the month from 1,072,519 vehicles a year earlier, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said. Japanese domestic vehicle demand in November totaled 368,884 units, down 18.2 percent from a year earlier. Japanese exports of passenger cars contracted by 19.5 percent.

Joe Isuzu gets a haircut: Isuzu announced temporary pay cuts for all 8,000 domestic full-time employees in response to a steep decline in auto and truck sales, The Nikkei (sub) writes. Executives will get 30 percent less starting in January. Manager-level employees will see 10 percent less from spring. For rank-and-file workers, Isuzu will propose to its labor union as early as the beginning of next year a several-percent reduction in base wages that could begin as early as April. The Nikkei: “While the pay cuts would be temporary, they could last a year or longer.”

Parent infects children: Following Toyota’s announcement of an anticipated loss in fiscal 2008, Denso, Aisin Seiki and four other Toyota group firms have downgraded their earnings forecasts for the year ending March 31, the Nikkei (sub) reports. To offset the yen’s strength, Denso began discussing shipping products from the U.S. to Japan.

BYD delays foreign sales of hybrid: China’s BYD won’t sell its plug-in hybrids in European and U.S. markets before 2011, Gasgoo writes. No reason for the delay was given. BYD officially launched their F3DM on Dec. 15. It is available in 14 Chinese cities at $21,890. That’s double the price of a similar sized gasoline-powered car in China.

GM bets on China: GM Asia Pacific president Nick Reilly thinks that GM’s sales in China are expected to be “significantly” over 1 million units in 2009, Gasgoo reports. China is GM’s second-largest market outside the United States. GM and its joint ventures in China sold 1.03 million vehicles in 2007. GM’s sales in China reached 590,126 units in the first half of this year. Reilly: “I would expect us to do a little better than the market. As I said, I think the market will be flat to slightly up next year.”

At least something is up: Grins at Mercedes-Benz China. They announced that sales of Mercedes-Benz brand cars in China’s soared 52 percent in the first 11 months of this year to 35,200 units, reaching this year’s sales target one month in advance, Gasgoo says. Sales of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class rose 44 percent year on year to 13,000 units, and sales of the SUV line-up surged more than 100 percent.

4WD 7-series: BMW has an all wheel drive 7-series in a winter test in Finland, Automobilwoche (sub) learned. The prototypes have the 407 hp engine of the 750i. The all wheel luxury model may get a “Hill Descent Control.” If it  assists the driver in getting down from a pile of debt, it would be really helpful.

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3 Comments on “While America Slept. Thursday, December 25, 2008...”

  • avatar

    I hate to say this but the BYD F3DM hype seems to be slowly deflating. It was supposed to be the first mass produced plug-in hybrid vehicle with this 60 mile all electric range at an affordable $ 22000 price level, but ever since the news about this vehicle just doesn’t add up.

    1: It’s weird that this car that’s supposed to be this great international breakthrough and important car for BYD isn’t even featured on BYD’s website.
    2: As a consequence no body knows the exact battery capacity of this vehicle, in fact there is wide spread confusion about the exact type of battery that is used. Speculations range from Lithium-ion and lithium iron phosphate to “ferrous”batteries, what ever they may be.
    3 The “mass produced” claim seems like an exaggeration too if it is true that “Henry Li, general manager of BYD Auto, predicts sales of a few hundred in the next 12 months.” (Gasgoo)
    4 This could be explained by the fact that the car is just too expensive for the Chinese market, but it would be a riot on European markets where fuel is heavily taxed and hybrids get great fiscal benefits. Yet BYD chooses to delay foreign exports.

    None of this adds up. Too bad, the world really needs a car like this.

  • avatar

    I’m confused as to why the executives at Chrysler and GM (the entire executive team that is) aren’t doing the same thing that Caterpilar executives are doing. They aren’t even getting a bail out and they’re taking pay cuts. So what’s the drop in Lutz’s pay?? Or any of the other VP’s

  • avatar

    “ferrous”batteries = batteries with lithium and iron. Don’t follow battery technology that much but they have the name to be the safest of the lithium batteries

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