The world’s climate has been centerstage the last two days. President Biden and other world leaders have vowed to reduce global warming by making drastic changes. Will they follow through?
At the 2015 Paris climate accord, then-President Obama set greenhouse gas reduction at half what Biden has proposed. Former President Trump, Obama’s successor, did little to forward this, but is it realistic for Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, to double down on Obama’s goal in a relatively short time frame?
Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone colossus, has announced they are building their own branded electric vehicles (EVs), just like Apple, Huawei, Sony, and Foxconn.
If you’re prepared to lose money, starting a car company is easy. Just ask Tesla. Xiaomi has plenty, enough to sink $10 billion into the venture over the next 10 years.
This special racing edition of Rare Rides was made possible by the Infiniti Q50 First Drive event in Nashville, Tennessee, which also provided the source material for this Q50 review and this Q60 Picture Time. Our Rare Ride today also happens to be my 100th contribution to TTAC. Time flies!
Let’s have a little look at some Japanese racing royalty, starting with some history.
Back in late May of this year, I inquired which modern automaker was the most daring. While I posited it could be Nissan or Volvo, many of you replied it was actually Dodge, followed by Kia and Mazda.
This week, let’s turn back the clock a couple of decades and see if all our answers require a bit of reworking. We’re off to everyone’s favorite car decade, the 1990s. Which automaker was most daring in the era of the neon and teal fanny pack? I’ll give you two specific model examples, much like I did before.
Heads of state and other dignitaries typically like to ride around in large, sedan-shaped vehicles. Offerings like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and contemporary Rolls-Royce sedans have long been the go-to around the world. Of course, there are exceptions. For places like the United States, national pride dictates an American-made Cadillac or Lincoln.
The Japanese also have a strong sense of national pride, and for decades there was only one vehicle appropriate for heads of state and CEOs — the Toyota Century.
Now it’s gone.
Carlos Ghosn, the CEO for both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, says a full merger between the two automakers is out of the question. Instead, he wants Mitsubishi to get its act together and strengthen the greater alliance, which also includes Renault. Nissan purchased a controlling stake in Mitsubishi for $2.3 billion in 2016 after the smaller automaker weathered years of profitability issues and admitted to posting misleading fuel economy estimates.
While Ghosn agrees that Mitsubishi and Nissan should co-develop a select number of vehicles, he wants to help the brand bring itself back from the brink by focusing on its strengths and fixing its weaknesses.
“A full merger is not on the table. We want Mitsubishi to reform itself,” said said at the opening ceremony for a new Mitsubishi factory in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Carlos Ghosn, the synergizing executive that Sergio Marchionne only wishes he could be, isn’t mincing words when it comes to Nissan’s plans for fledgling automaker Mitsubishi.
According to the Renault-Nissan top boss, the deal between Nissan and Mitsubishi is “massive.”
Update: Automotive News is reporting General Motors is now focusing “on the higher end of the market while the Japanese firm sticks to selling vehicles for everyday commercial purposes,” strongly hinting that GM is the one that broke off the collaboration. We’ve added detail below.
After announcing a new bromance with Mazda just over a week ago, Isuzu is calling it quits with its old beau General Motors.
(Or maybe GM caught Isuzu cheating behind its back. Who knows? The relationship dynamics at play between automakers are difficult to flesh out.)
Regardless, midsize trucks — badged as both Isuzus and Chevrolets — will be no more in the Land of Smiles. The duo, which has a truck plant each in Thailand, will decouple their R&D efforts as they move toward engineering new global midsize pickups.
Indonesia is the biggest vehicle market in Southeast Asia, and Ford Motor Company is running away from it.
You can forget about ever buying a new car with the Saab name attached. That’s right, Swedeophiles, the name that conjures up happy memories of a quirky-but-attainable brand that hated column-mounted ignitions is officially dead.
National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEVS), the Swedish holding company that bought up Saab Automobile’s assets in a 2012 bankruptcy sale, just announced it won’t sell any vehicles under the Saab name.
There won’t be a Swedish Spring after all. Not even in China.
The Jeep brand is Fiat-Chrysler’s biggest money maker, so it’s no wonder that CEO Sergio Marchionne is scattering factories around the world like a sailor’s offspring.
The company’s head honcho outlined his business plan for the brand in an interview published by Automotive News, and it involves no longer having to make a “Sophie’s Choice” decision with Jeep output.
The Beijing Motor Show begins next week, but Buick couldn’t wait a minute longer.
At yesterday’s 2016 Buick Day event in Shanghai (was there a parade?), the automaker rolled out its LaCrosse Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), a model tailor-made for the Chinese market.
China loves Buicks, and Buick loves them right back, so much so that the U.S. will get a Chinese-made model this fall. The LaCrosse HEV is part of General Motors’ plan to foist as many vehicles on China as possible.
China’s thirst for American executive sedans knows no bounds, so Lincoln is rubbing its palms together and giving the red-hot luxury market exactly what it wants: piles and piles of prestige.
The Continental nameplate is already soaked in presidential history, but for the Chinese market, the company’s flagship model needed something a little more…obvious. These images from China’s Autohome (via Carscoops) reveals Lincoln’s elegant solution — the addition of a “Presidential” badge to the sedan’s rear.
That’s the sound of a sad trombone playing.
Dodgy offshore tax havens get a lot of press lately, but what about mass movements of capital to friendlier shores that hide in plain sight? The New York Times has a heartbreaking story today of young Chinese adults in Vancouver, Canada who just can’t figure out what to do with all that cash their fathers earned.
They do know one thing it’s good for: obscene quantities of ultra-high-end cars.
Nissan’s product pipeline has all the flow of a crusted-over faucet, and that’s not good for business.
That, automation is insidiously infiltrating cars all around you, Mercedes-Benz goes all in on AMG, Jaguar teases China with something special, and foreigners flee the Russian automotive landscape … after the break!
Americans might finally start to see a few of these so-called “Jeeps” roaming around their hometown.
That, Mark Fields can pick up everyone’s tab, eight (speeds) isn’t enough at General Motors, the Phaeton ends its long farewell, and GM Korea wants out of its slump … after the break!
New U.S. sanctions might spell the end of the glorious, glorious era of North Korean vehicle production.
That, Suzuki asks for its winnings and staggers home, automakers are being slowed down by the EPA (and it’s all Volkswagen’s fault), Audi still loves diesels (and so do you, America!), and Volvo tries to spice up its life … after the break!
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!
TTAC News Round-up: Honda Separates the Kids, Toyota Funks It Up, and the Costs Are Too Damn High at FCA
The CEO of Honda is pulling the car over and giving a stern lecture to the kids in the backseat.
That, a Scion gets a corporate makeover, Google goes in for autonomous feng shui, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is drowning in modules and a famous British racetrack could get even Britisher … after the break!
Ford announced Thursday that it had earned a record pre-tax profit of $10.8 billion for 2015 — including $2 billion in the fourth quarter — bolstered by pickup sales in the U.S. and strong growth in China.
The record-setting year for the automaker wasn’t much of a surprise — second- and third-quarter results set records along the way — but Ford’s ability to finally turn a profit in Europe may be the most unexpected news. The automaker had lost money in Europe since 2011.
Latin America, notably Brazil, will continue to be a sore spot for Ford and other automakers. Ford said Thursday it expects to lose more money there in 2016 than the $832 million it lost there in 2015.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne on Wednesday said the automaker would rely more heavily on profitable Jeeps and Rams in North America and Europe to help its business remain profitable in other sagging areas and regions.
“We are not of the view that this industry is facing an impending demise,” Marchionne said before announcing FCA’s adjusted earnings of $1.78 billion in the fourth quarter.
Marchionne and CFO Richard Palmer said Jeep’s success in North America and Europe led the company last year and would be the “bedrock” for the automaker’s future. The automaker laid out specific plans to bring forward a Jeep pickup and Wagoneer, and let wither less-profitable models such as the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart.
China’s finance minister said Saturday that the government will end green car subsidies by 2021 and let its market dictate whether EVs or plug-in hybrid can sell on their own in the country, Reuters reported.
Lou Jiwei told reporters that the government would cut subsidies by 20 percent over the next two years, by 40 percent before 2020 and eventually end subsidies altogether by 2021, according to the report.
China surpassed the U.S. last year in electric car sales, in part because of the government’s aggressive support. Few electric cars made in China are available outside the country, however its expected that Cadillac will build in China and sell in the U.S. a plug-in version of its CT6 sedan.
General Motors CEO and Chairwoman Mary Barra defended Wednesday her company’s decision not to put airbags in some of its cars in international markets.
“In many of those places the technology is available and it’s a customer choice if they want it,” Barra said, according to the International Business Times. “There’s many cases where we are well above standards, but we also have to look at affordability otherwise you cut people out of even having the availability of transportation.”
Barra made the remarks in Davos, Switzerland, which was a response to a letter sent to her last year by consumer advocacy groups in the U.S. — including Consumer Reports — requesting the automaker standardize safety features in its cars worldwide.
Speaking to the Automotive News World Congress on Tuesday, Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz said the automaker doesn’t plan on making fully autonomous vehicles any time soon.
“We don’t see a day coming soon when you’ll just hop in the back seat, open the newspaper and scan the headlines while the car drives you to work,” Lentz said. “Instead our focus is on building cars that can actually enhance a driver’s operation of the vehicle while helping to reduce or mitigate serious and fatal accidents.”
So, how does that “driver’s” Toyota Camry sound?
TTAC News Round-up: Kia's Big Show, Porsche's Diesel Fix and Mller Says VW Just Misunderstood The Law, You Guys
Porsche’s CEO is confident that the fix for their 3-liter diesel Cayennes will be approved by regulators, which is more than Volkswagen can say at the moment.
That, Kia’s big Detroit show, GM’s plan to sell cars online and Volkswagen CEO has a momentarily lapse of logic … after the break!
When the American-spec 2017 Genesis G90 finally made its bow at the North American International Auto Show on Monday, most of us already knew what to expect. The South Korean version of the first Genesis model — dubbed EQ900 — has already been out there for more than a month. Still, we were eager to see how the new fledgling luxury automaker would grow from the top of luxury market to the bottom.
On Monday, we found out.
Four years after Lexus unveiled its LF-LC at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, the automaker announced Monday that it would put into production largely the same car and call it the LC 500.
Powered by a 5-liter V-8 lifted from the RC-F and GS-F, the LC 500 will be the brand’s largest two-door coupe and mostly complete the turnaround by the automaker they started around four years ago.
Seriously, the LC 500 is by the same people who make the ES 350.
Hyundai on Monday revealed its 2017 Hyundai IONIQ ahead of its official reveal at Geneva in March and my goodness it’s already yelling at me.
The hatchback has been in the works for some time by now, which we already knew. Hyundai cleared up some of the technical details that we were waiting on — but not its fuel economy, apparently.
Kia teased Tuesday a “future premium large SUV” it has in mind for the North American International Auto Show next week.
The gold-colored SUV is heavy on promises and short on details. According to the automaker, the concept is fitted with “state-of-the-art health-and-wellness technology,” but no word on powertrain.
So does that mean it’s powered like a “Flintstones” car, or something?
TTAC News Round-up: Winterkorn Appears on BI Top 15 List, Oil Near 11-Year Low (Again), and Jeep Goes Online in India
Where do you end up if you’re the former CEO of a company guilty of cheating diesel emissions tests, the fallout of which wipes out billions of dollars of value from said company? Business Insider’s “The 15 biggest career crashes of 2015” list, of course.
That, and Nissan prices the new Sentra, oil is still on a well-lubricated downhill slide, Jeep is now online in India, and more … after the break!
Bloomberg ( via Automotive News) reported that engineers at Honda demanded to know why Takata airbags were injuring drivers and passengers during a 2009 meeting held four months before investigators started their inquiry.
“Why does it explode? I want to know the truth,” an engineer identified as “Otaka” asked Takata’s CEO at the meeting, according to Bloomberg.
Minutes from a July 2009 meeting between Honda executives and Takata officials were made public as part of a lawsuit against the airbag maker.
Mazda North American Operations CEO Jim O’Sullivan on Monday announced that he will retire at the end of the year and will be replaced by Mazda global sales chief Masahiro Moro. O’Sullivan has led Mazda for more than a decade, out from under Ford ownership and into a small, independent — but growing — U.S. automaker.
O’Sullivan took over in 2003 and helped guide the company during its split from Ford five years later. He also led Mazda through the recession and helped raise money for its facility in Mexico, which opened last year.
Moro is a longtime Mazda employee who first joined the automaker in 1983, according to the company. Most recently, Moro was responsible for global sales and marketing and has been vice president for marketing in Europe. Moro also served as director for Mazda in Australia between 2012 and 2013.
TTAC News Roundup: Merry Boozy Christmas; Subaru Can't Make 'em Fast Enough; Nevada's Playing With House Money
You’ve made some bad decisions at the holiday office Christmas party. We’ve all done it. Don’t compound it by using a (probably inaccurate) free breathalyzer that you picked up at a Honda dealer instead of a cab ride.
That, and Subaru is turning production up to “11,” Hyundai was hit hard in China and Nevada’s rolling the dice on electric cars … after the break.
The next-generation Nissan Z (which may or may not be: 1. A crossover; 2. Real; 3. Inspired by a bicycle; 4. FWD; 5. All of the above) may be less expensive than the current car, Nissan design chief Mamori Aoki told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
A lower price would appeal to a younger generation who can’t afford the Z’s current $30,000 price tag, Aoki said. Well, yeah.
Interestingly, the report notes that a less-expensive Z could make room for a more powerful Nissan sports car that isn’t called a GT-R. Aoki told the newspaper that the GT-R would remain a flagship performance car that wouldn’t compromise speed for something as silly as price. Wonderful.
Honda announced Friday that it had found a logjam in its news department, and summarily fixed the problem by releasing a month’s worth of news for the automaker in about an hour.
The logjam apparently precluded the release of information it had for the North American International Auto Show next month, namely an Acura sedan concept with hood lines like an NSX and hips like a Playmate.
The so-dubbed “Precision Concept” will make its bow next month and foretell the company’s future plans for performance sedans. According to Car and Driver, Acura general manager John Ikeda said there was much to be read into the car’s long hood — which may mean a longitudinally mounted mill and rear-wheel drive.
Who would have known that one of the largest parts supply recalls in U.S. history could poison the well for the rest of your business?
That, and Jeep needs you to keep it dry for a minute, Porsche pulls another player from Volkswagen’s bench and how big does Magna International’s yacht need to be anyway, after the jump.
Settling the debate between whether Mazda’s Koeru concept from Frankfurt was a new CX-5 or CX-9 (or CX-7?), CEO Masamichi Kogai told Automotive News that the answer may be “none of the above,” apparently.
On Monday, Kogai said that the Koeru could get the green light as a sporty crossover, sold alongside the CX-5 as a wagon-esque crossover aimed “to generate more driving pleasure,” Kogai told Automotive News.
Media reports on Tuesday likened the lower, fastback, five-door Mazda wagon to a possible Subaru Outback competitor, which completely forgets what an Outback looks like today.
Hyundai announced Monday it would bring back silliness to car names and make the world’s first hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicle available in the same body, catering decadently to an individual’s fondness for electrons.
The Ioniq — which sounds like it’s spelled — will be unveiled January in South Korea and later next year in Geneva and New York. It will go on sale next year.
According to the automaker, Ioniq is the type of car people have been asking for: a model named after slightly obfuscated common words to fit with an over-stretched marketing philosophy rather than alphanumeric letters and symbols that require no creativity whatsoever. (God, I miss the Integra.)
Buick announced Friday that it will bring from China the Buick Envision to sell in the U.S. next summer, two years after that car was introduced overseas, and that it will be the first Chinese-made car from a domestic manufacturer.
Automotive News reported that the small crossover would go on sale sometime around August, earlier than expected from initial reports last month.
When it goes on sale, the Envision will be powered by a 2-liter turbocharged four that makes 252 horsepower and will only be offered in all-wheel drive to start. The model will be bookended by the subcompact-sized Encore and full-size Enclave and fill a substantial need for the premium automaker.
Volkswagen will have to recall hundreds of thousands of cars in India for cheating emissions standards, adding to Volkswagen’s worldwide woes that the automaker illegally sold with “defeat devices” designed to cheat emissions tests, Reuters reported.
More than 323,000 Audi-, Volkswagen- and Skoda-branded cars with the automaker’s EA 189 diesel engine will need to be fixed after authorities discovered in November that those cars were illegally polluting. The revelations follow similar charges made by U.S. authorities two months ago that Volkswagen and Audi cars were polluting up to 25 times more nitrogen oxide than allowed by law.
Volkswagen officials in India said cars would be recalled immediately.
Mitsubishi’s sedan offering in the United States may very likely begin and end with its Mirage ( which Mark says they didn’t ruin for 2017) as the company builds more and more crossovers to sell.
“We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. market. We have changed direction,” CEO Osamu Masuko told Automotive News. “We are going to allocate more resources to the areas where we are strong in the U.S.”
Mitsubishi will announce a mid-sized crossover to fit between its Outlander and Outlander Sport, which are both due for a redesign in 2017 and 2019 respectively. The automaker is also betting big on electrification: all of its crossovers will either offer a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric version.
While the rest of the world warms up to our Thanksgiving tradition of football and mountains of potatoes and gravy, we must admit that the world goes on without us some days.
Thankfully, the Internet never forgets. So here’s a roundup of the stories we missed in our Tryptophan-induced naps.
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- MaintenanceCosts We hear endlessly from the usual suspects about the scenarios where EVs don't work as well as gas cars. We never hear the opposite side of the coin. From an EV owner (since 2019) who has a second EV reserved, here are a few points the "I road trip 1000 miles every day" crowd won't tell you about:[list][*]When you have a convenient charging situation, EV fueling is more convenient than a gas car. There is no stopping at gas stations and you start every day with a full tank.[/*][*]Where there are no-idling rules (school pickup/dropoff, lines for ferries or services, city loading, whatever else) you can keep warm or cool to your heart's content in your EV.[/*][*]In the cold, EVs will give you heat from the second you turn them on.[/*][*]EVs don't care one bit if you use them for tons of very short trips. Their mechanicals don't need to boil off condensation. (Just tonight, I used my EV to drive six blocks, because it was 31 degrees and raining, and walking would have been unpleasant.)[/*][*]EVs don't stink and don't make you breathe carcinogens on cold start.[/*][*]EV maintenance is much less frequent and much cheaper, eliminating almost all items having to do with engine, transmission, or brakes in a gas car. In most EVs the maintenance schedule consists of battery coolant changes and tire maintenance.[/*][*]You can accelerate fast in EVs without noisily attracting the attention of the cops and every passerby on the street.[/*][/list]
- MaintenanceCosts Still can't get a RAV4 Prime for love or money. Availability of normal hybrid RAV4s and Highlanders is only slightly better. At least around here I think Toyota could sell twice the number of vehicles that they are actually bringing in at the moment.
- Tree Trunk Been in the market for a new Highlander Hybrid, it is sold out with order time of 6 months plus. Probably would have bit the bullet if it was not for the dealers the refuse to take an order but instead want to sell from allotment whether it fits or not and at thousands over MRSP.
- AKHusky The expense argument is nonsense. My mach e was $42k after tax credit. Basically the same as similarly equipped edge. And it completely ignores that the best selling vehicles are Rams, F150s, and Silverados, all more expensive that a bolt, MAch e or ID4. As an owner, I'd say they are still in second car territory for most places in the country.
- Johnster I live in a red state and I see quite a few EVs being purchased by conservative, upper-class Republicans (many of them Trump-supporters). I suspect that it is a way for them to flaunt their wealth and that, over time, the preference for EVs will trickle down to less well-off Republicans.