TTAC News Round-up: China Binds Up Holland, BMW Needs New Friends, Young People Dream On

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Amsterdam’s port facility is more crowded than a Walmart on Black Friday and it’s all China’s fault.

That, BMW wonders how it all went wrong, Millennials bare their souls to a salesman, Toyota walks down memory lane, and a safety regulator has some explaining to do … after the break!

Barges for Buicks leads to bedlam

China’s burgeoning middle class has a powerful thirst for cars — American cars, especially — but the growing demand for gasoline to power that private fleet is putting pressure in an unlikely location, reports Bloomberg Business.

The port of Amsterdam is jammed butt-to-gut with barges carrying an additive China needs in order to create the higher-quality gasoline and diesel fuel mandated by its government. Those barges ferry the product to tankers anchored offshore, and the long delay between shore and ship — up to two weeks in some cases — is causing serious gridlock.

Amsterdam remains the export port of choice for the European-produced additives, which include massive quantities of a gasoline blending component.

While China’s commercial vehicle fleet is seeing its numbers decline slightly, the number of private vehicles plying the avenues and byways of the Orient have more than doubled in the past six years.

BMW wants its mojo back

BMW is looking to regain lost swagger and make a “big bang” in the auto business, according to Bloomberg Business.

Sales stagnation at the Bavarian automaker is being compounded by resurgent Mercedes-Benz, and while BMW isn’t bringing anything new to the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, its chief rival is more than happy to show off its new products.

Compounding the issue is the fact that BMW seems to have covered all the bases in terms of model categories, without a resulting uptick in interest from the buying public.

The responsibility to turn the tide falls at the feet of BMW’s relative newcomer CEO Harald Krüger, seen here fainting during a press conference. A strategy review due out later this month could hold clues to BMW’s plans for a turnaround.

Optimistic Millennials dream of better bike

Tax season is coming, and Autonation (by way of Fractl) — the county’s largest retailer of new cars — wanted to know if Millennials who receive a refund are planning to blow the whole wad on a car.

Idealistic and hopeful as they are, 26 percent of the 2,000 surveyed Millennials expected a return of $1,000 to $2,499, which would be just dandy for a car down payment, no?

Asked if they’d buy new or used if they had to put their refund towards a car, three-quarters opted for used, with Honda, Toyota and Ford rounding out the top picks of both categories. Clearly, their parents taught them the value of research and reliability surveys.

Either that, or it’s a case of brands, brands, brands!

Interestingly, when the choices were broken down based on planned expenditure, the lowest tier ($1,000 to $4,999) saw Cadillac and BMW in the top three. If either make is going to become a low-income Millennial’s only used vehicle, the driver can only be described as either foolish or passionate.

Toyota data breach will have geeks salivating

No, they weren’t hacked. Rather, Toyota Motor Corporation thought consumers would get a thrill by releasing the chronologies of every model in its current lineup via its online newsroom.

Who knew the Land Cruiser was judged “4×4 of the year” in 1980, or that the Previa received an engine upgrade for 1990? You do … thanks to Toyota!

If you’re wondering about Lexus, the answer is “yes.” Toyota’s luxury make gets its own historical data dump, too.

There’s obviously a subtle strategy at work here, but that won’t matter to someone who’s now re-living the good times they had when that Previa was still running.

It’s still a bad time to have an accident

From the New York Times comes news that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is dragging its feet on crucial overhauls that were called for five years ago.

A recent audit by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation found that the NHTSA still hasn’t corrected the shortcomings laid bare in an earlier 2011 audit, a move that was prompted by the safety regulator’s handling of the Toyota acceleration scandal.

It seems that many of the recommendations from the earlier audit were accepted, but didn’t become standard practice, with little new training for staff to analyze the safety data it collects from manufacturers.

As a result, the report concludes, the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation’s staff “may not be sufficiently trained to identify and investigate potential vehicle defects or ensure that vehicle manufacturers take prompt and effective action to remediate issues.”

[Image: BMW 2002 © 2014 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Stuki Stuki on Mar 01, 2016

    Nothing as expensive as a BMW has Mojo anymore. Mojo needs the young and hip. BMW rode the boomers ascendancy, from their protests against their parents overwrought Detroit Floats with spartan but quick 2002, tough their yuppie years' "ultimate driving machines" that grew ever larger and more minivanish as boomers swelled out and (sometimes) had families. Then, finally, as boomers got too fat, old and stiff to sit in a real car, BMW made CUVs. No matter how much they may be willing to pay to see a 90 year old Jagger wobble around on stage, geriatrics will never bestow Mojo on anything. yet, these days, geriatrics have all the money. Hence, nothing expensive will have Mojo. The three to five exceptions who prove the rule, scattered around Palo Alto, care about their Iphone. And take Uber.

  • Tedward Tedward on Mar 01, 2016

    This is a big improvement in terms of layout over previous news updates. I was a bit of a dick about the epa article so I feel that has to be said.

  • RobbyG $100k+...for a Jeep. Are they selling these in fantasy land?Twin turbo inline 6 paired to an 8-speed transmission. Yet still only gets 14mpg.Whatever money you think you would save over a V-8 will be spent 2-3x amount fixing these things when they blow up.
  • Alan Well the manufacturers are catching up with stocks. This means shortages of parts is reducing. Stocks are building around the world even Australia and last year had the most vehicles ever sold here.
  • Larry You neglected to mention that the 2024 Atlas has a US Government 5-Star Safety Rating.
  • Alan Why is it that Toyota and Nissan beat their large SUVs (Patrol/300 Series) with an ugly stick and say they are upmarket? Whilst they are beating the vehicles with an ugly stick they reduce the off road ability rather than improve it.As I've stated in previous comments you are far better off waiting for the Patrol to arrive than buy an overpriced vehicle.
  • Alan How many people do you see with a 4x4 running mud tyres? How many people do you see with a 4x4 running massive rims and low profile tyres? How many people have oversize mirrors for towing once in a blue moon? How many 4x4s do you see lifted? How many people care what tyres they run to save fuel? The most comfortable tyres are more or less the most economical.