While America Slept. Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
while america slept sunday january 18 2009
Definitely infrequent for a few weeks while I’m in Europe, hunting the elusive Euro: An 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. WAS is being filed from Berlin – when I’m in Berlin.

Toyota closed on Saturdays: Toyota closed all of its 12 Japanese factories Saturday in response to the worsening global sales slump. Toyota plans to suspend production for a total of three days in January, the Nikkei (sub) says. Toyota will have a total of 11 no-work days in February and March. As a result, its daily production capacity in February and March will fall to 9,000 units, about the half the year-earlier level. Toyota also plans to reduce output by closing all seven vehicle assembly plants in the U.S. and Canada on some days through early April.

Buyers return in Beijing: After disappointing sales in the second half of 2008, China’s auto market is showing signs of life. As the Lunar New Year holiday season approaches, prices have been cut and favorable credit sales policies expanded to lure customers into showrooms, Gasgoo writes. Sales in Beijing’s biggest auto market have jumped over 40 percent compared to the same period last year. Financing is becoming more popular. Currently, only 10 percent of car buyers in China financing vehicles, the rest pays cash.

Kia successful in China: With a growth rate of 40 percent over 2007, Dongfeng Yueda Kia has become one of the fastest growing automakers in China. Gasgoo reports. The company is a joint venture between Dongfeng Motor Corporation, Kia Motors, and Yueda. Dongfeng Yueda Kia Automobile Company sold 142,008 units in 2008, eightfold above the industry growth rates.

Fiat launches Linea in India: Fiat India launched its luxury sedan Fiat Linea in India. The car will be available in both diesel and gasoline versions, India’s Economic Times report. The car is currently sold in more than 50 countries across Europe, Asia, Central and South America and Africa, and will now be manufactured in India and Brazil. Fiat also plans to launch the Bravo and Grande Punto in India this year. The sedan will be manufactured at Fiat’s plant near Pune.

Chinese Miles: Miles Electric Vehicles plans to source a Highway Speed Sedan in China and sell 9,000 of them almost exclusively in California, mostly in the Los Angeles area, Gasgoo writes. The car will sell for about $40K. The core business of Miles so far has been importing Chinese-built low-speed electric vehicles. The sedan will be built at Hafei Motors Co., and use Tianjin Lishen lithium-ion batteries. The company specifies a range of approximately 100 miles after a charge between four to six hours.

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Inside Looking Out The next 4Runner will be BEV.
  • The Oracle This is a proper Italian red sauce turd.
  • Carson D This isn't a notice of a wait time for 4Runner fans. This is a deadline for the opportunity to buy one new before they're gone. Whatever comes next, there is no possible way that it will be as good at doing 4Runner things as what is available today.
  • Bkojote There's a lot "just right" with the current 4Runner, and having spent time in more contemporary equivalents for road trips, I completely understand why they sell a ton of these.Here's some topics that aren't super common among 4runner owners - excessive carbon buildup in the engine after 40,000 miles (Audi/VW), bent valves (Bronco) , failed oil coolers (Jeep), cracked engine blocks (Jeep), dead vehicles from OTA updates (Chevy Colorado), being stranded due to opening the door too many times (Defender), malfunctioning engine sensors (Defender, VW), dead batteries due to electrical system malfunctions (Jeep), unusable defoggers (Jeep), waiting for seat heaters to boot up (Subaru), randomly catching fire (Kia/Hyundai), crappy build quality (Ford, Tesla).The interior feels solid and rattle free, and everything feels substantial in the way a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Kia Telluride does not. 14 year run means accessories are plentiful and well sorted. The control inputs from the radio to heated seats to climate control work better than 99% of the cars you can buy new at this point and are dead simple and ergonomically satisfying. Even dynamically (I drove a model with the KDSS system to be fair) it is a surprisingly composed vehicle on mountain roads- it's far more civilized than a Bronco or Wrangler, and hell, it was far more pleasant than the past two peastant-grade Benz crapmobiles I've been in.So I get it- car journalist rags whine about how overly complicated and tech-heavy modern vehicles are while their substance is cost cut, but here's the literal definition of 'don't fix it if it aint broken.' . It's a trusty Ford Econoline in a world of craptastic Ram ProMasters.
  • Frank Sounds like they dont want to debut it at the same time as the new Land Cruiser, which is probably smart. The new 'runner is ready to go I am told, so there's a reason for this delay.