TTAC News Round-up: Ford Leaving Japan, Indonesia; Detroit's Big Show; Kia Rio GT Coming?

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

The big Blue Oval is setting in the Land of the Rising Sun.

That, Volkswagen’s labor boss doesn’t like what he hears, Detroit’s big show and Kia’s big plans for the Rio … after the break!

Ford closing up shop in Japan, Indonesia

Ford will shutter its operations and business in Japan and Indonesia by the end of this year, Bloomberg reported.

The automaker said it would still provide parts and services to the area, but that it had “become clear that there is no path to sustained profitability, nor will there be an acceptable return over time from our investments in Japan or Indonesia,” according to a Ford spokeswoman.

Ford sold an abbreviated lineup of cars in Japan, including the Fiesta, Focus, Mustang, EcoSport, Kuga and Explorer. Ford offered the Lincoln Navigator and MKX in Japan as well, which will be an answer to an automotive-related trivia question some day soon.

Kia readying Rio GT to fight Fiesta ST

Kia is preparing to unleash a faster, tuned version of its Rio to compete with other hot hatchbacks including the Ford Fiesta ST and Fiat 500 Abarth, according to Autocar.

The UK magazine said the Rio GT would sit atop a new platform for Rio and sport a tuned version of Kia’s 1.6-liter turbocharged four.

The Rio GT would be part of the company’s growing portfolio of performance cars that would include an Optima GT and a possible GT sports car.

The report doesn’t specifically mention the model coming to the States because we’re not allowed to have nice things.

Volkswagen labor chief wary of automakers plans

The labor boss for Volkswagen’s workers’ union said the automaker’s plan to increase efficiency and reshuffle workers to rebound from the company’s cheating scandal was causing unease with the rank-and-file, according to Reuters.

“We will not support a further drive towards performance,” works council chief Bernd Osterloh told IG Metall bei Volkswagen. “We principally view productivity in a positive way … But we expect that VW at the same time guarantees the security of employment.”

Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess said the automaker would press for a 10 percent increase in productivity and a reshuffling of regional brands to allow for more autonomy.

“At the moment there are more questions than answers. That is bad,” Osterloh said.

Audi making electric SUV in Belgium in 2018

Audi announced Monday that it would put into production an all-electric SUV in 2018 and produce batteries for the electric car at its Brussels plant. The Belgium plant could produce batteries for other Volkswagen Group vehicles, according to the automaker’s statement.

The all-electric SUV will be based on Audi’s e-tron Quattro concept the automaker first showed off at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show.

According to Audi, the car will have three electric motors and a range of more than 300 miles.

Attendance up at North American International Auto Show

More than 815,000 people visited the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year — eclipsing last year’s mark of 808,775, according to the Detroit Free Press.

According to show organizers, the event contributed more than $425 million to Detroit’s economy.

“I think the mild winter led to more people venturing downtown,” Detroit Auto Dealer Association spokesman Max Muncey told the newspaper. “We’re up this year. We’re trending to finish above last year, which brought in just over 808,000.”

This year’s mark of 815,575 visitors would be the most for the auto show since 2003, according to the Detroit News.

Aaron Cole
Aaron Cole

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7 of 27 comments
  • Rday Rday on Jan 26, 2016

    The Asians are just smarter than the american public. They know when they have been screwed over by a car manufacturer/s like Detroit. the ignorant american public still haven't figured it out yet. They still want to deal with those low-lives from Detroit. I finally figured out why i like Asia so much. People are just much smarter there than here in the US.

    • See 3 previous
    • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Jan 26, 2016

      @Noble713 My point, you would be really have to looking in Thailand, to find any US vehicles. About the same or less than Indonesia. All I saw in the very crowded streets of Bangkok was Asian sourced vehicles. Thailand followed the British Monarchy a lot and made vehicles RHD, unlike LHD in Vietnam, Laos etc

  • Dtremit Dtremit on Jan 26, 2016

    I'm so glad that Japan is an open market with no barriers to foreign automakers!

    • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Jan 26, 2016

      It is , they buy what they want.Japanese have a lot better choices Going by what is the best selling sedan in the US is, you feel, Japanese is best as well.

  • El scotto The days of "Be American, buy America" are long gone. Then there's the mental gymnastics of "is a Subaru made in Lafayette, IN more American than something from gm or Ford made in Mexico?" Lastly, it gets down to people's wallets; something cheap on Amazon or Temu will outsell its costlier American-made item. Price not Patriotism sells most items. One caveat: any US candidate should have all of his/her goods made in the USA.
  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.
  • Jmo2 I just got an email from the dealership where I bought my car and it looks like everything has $5k on the hood.
  • Lou_BC I suspect that since the global pandemic, dealerships have preferred to stay with the "if you want it, we will order it" business model. They just need some demo models on hand and some shiny bits to catch the impulse buyer. Profits are higher and risks lower this way.