Category: Emerging Markets

By on June 21, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

The Toyota Camry holds the remarkable distinction of being a midsize sedan with U.S. sales that actually increased over the first five months of 2018. Impossible, you say. It can’t be. You’d trade your kids for a crossover, but wouldn’t stoop to pick up a “free sedan” voucher if you passed one on the sidewalk.

Well, it’s true. Year to date, Camry sales are up 2.1 percent in the United States. Last year’s introduction of an eight-generation midsizer seemed to halt the sedan’s sales decline, though we’d be fools to think it’s anything other than a temporary lift. Camry volume sunk 7.9 percent in May. June could send the model into the negative.

Toyota seems aware of this, too. Maybe that’s behind the decision to send the Camry somewhere it hasn’t been in years. Read More >

By on February 6, 2018

Think back. Waaay back — to 11:19 a.m.

In that article, we chronicled Fiat Chrysler’s deft handling (and perhaps, planning) of a historical Super Bowl Ram commercial that sparked a fierce social media backlash, all thanks to the spot’s use of dialogue from Martin Luther King, Jr.

We told you, all that time ago, and with all the certainty of someone knowing the sun will rise again, that the next automaker might not find itself so unscatched by a marketing blunder (if indeed you view the Ram ad as a blunder). Well, that time has come. Mercedes-Benz just offended a whole country. Read More >

By on January 18, 2018

peugeot-308gti-

At Wednesday’s Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Peugeot SA Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said the French automaker is picking the brains of former Opel engineers to develop vehicles for re-entry into U.S. market. In keeping with current trends, he also said Peugeot will offer electrification as an option on all its vehicles by 2025.

With plans to use the 2017 acquisition of GM’s European Opel and Vauxhall operations as the springboard for global expansion, Americans could eventually find themselves once again experiencing the Gallic delights of French motoring.

Read More >

By on December 8, 2017

NEVS 9-3

The Saab 9-3 has to have one of the strangest histories of any automobile ever to reach mass production. Intended as a replacement for the 900, the model used a pair of GM-based platforms split between two generations before dying out when Saab went bankrupt in December of 2011.

The company’s assets were purchased by National Electric Vehicle Sweden the following year. NEVS spent the following years attempting to relaunch the 9-3 as an all-electric vehicle. Despite multiple occasions where it seemed like the project had stagnated into oblivion, the firm actually started assembly on a rebadged 9-3 EV sedan in Tianjin, China, this December.

Now the company is saying it intends to expand production to Saab’s vintage factory in Trollhättan, Sweden, while also considering adding additional facilities in China and Turkey. Who could have imagined that the world’s next hot-ticket EV would be a model introduced in 2002 under a defunct nameplate?  Read More >

By on November 21, 2017

Image: 2017 GAC Trumpchi GS8

Seven years ago, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and China’s Guangzhou Automobile Group entered into a joint venture, forming a 50/50 partnership between the companies. Currently selling three locally produced Jeep models – the Cherokee, Renegade, and Compass – the JV also imports the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler. Last year, sales tripled to nearly 150,000 units.

Now, according to Automotive News, the parent companies are in discussions to deepen their tie-up in China. Talks are apparently focusing on models, production, and sales targets.
Read More >

By on November 4, 2017

Mahindra KUV100, Image: Mahindra & Mahindra

For the company’s sake, hopefully Mahindra & Mahindra’s second attempt to enter the U.S. market won’t go the same way as the first.

The Indian automaker is reportedly planning a 400,000-square-foot assembly plant in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, and has scheduled a press conference with government officials for November 20th. As we all know, local representatives and their higher-ups don’t like braving the cold unless there’s a promise of jobs and cameras.

A previous attempt to tap into the U.S. market went nowhere, ending in a lawsuit. If this plan comes to fruition, it would make Mahindra’s auto plant the first built in the Detroit area in decades — and would provide American consumers with some new SUV options. Read More >

By on October 27, 2017

Ssangyong SIV-2, Image: Ssangyong Motor

Hyundai and Kia did it, so why not Ssangyong? The India-owned Korean automaker has been itching to expand its horizons for years, but tentative plans to invade the Chinese car market have fallen victim to bad timing and geopolitics. Now, the company’s board is weighing a U.S. entry.

It’s not the first time Ssangyong Motor, owned by Mahindra & Mahindra, has eyed the United States for a big volume boost. Early last year, the automaker and its parent company temporarily shelved a proposed 2019 U.S. expansion plan, with Ssangyong’s CEO warning it could “make or break” the company.

Well, the idea’s back. With Ssangyong eager to land on American shores by 2020, a new report says the company has already made its decision. Read More >

By on July 17, 2017

2017 Cadillac Escalade

If Cadillac’s top boss, Johan de Nysschen, had his way, The Hunt for Red October would feature a scene in which Capt. Vasili Borodin describes his dream of seeing the United States in an Escalade, not an recreational vehicle.

While General Motors’ luxury division counts on American and Chinese buyers to keep it flush with cash, there’s still room in the fold for other markets. Assuming, of course, those citizens have a willingness to cast off deep-seated consumer habits and, perhaps, prejudices.

After dropping pedestrian vehicles for an all-prestige lineup, GM’s conquest of the Russian luxury market hasn’t yet occurred, though it’s still early days. Sales are looking up. With a new partner in tow, Cadillac feels confident it can muscle out the Germans on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Read More >

By on May 30, 2017

2017 Genesis G80 winter mountains - Image: Genesis Motors

Amid stagnating U.S. sales, a crash-dive in China, and a product lineup not optimally suited for growth, Hyundai is furiously crafting a salvation plan.

In North America and other utility-loving countries, the strategy is clear: more crossovers and a significant product shakeup. The little Kona is already on the way, though perhaps not as quickly as Hyundai had hoped.

China, however, presents a serious problem for the automaker. What was supposed to be a growth market for the company has now turned into the opposite. Hyundai’s share of the market has shrunk to 5 percent from last year’s 8.1 percent, which was down from years past. In March alone, after news of South Korea’s installation of a U.S.-supplied anti-missile defense system, Hyundai and Kia sales dropped 52 percent.

Determined to make the Chinese fall back into love, the automaker has a plan brewing. Read More >

By on May 25, 2017

2016 Ford Mustang GT

The Ford Mustang, a nameplate actually deserving of the word “iconic,” is no less vulnerable to the whims of the market than any other model. As domestic light vehicle demand in North America cools off, so have Mustang sales.

Fortunately for Ford, the automaker took it upon itself to fling Mustangs to every corner of the world for its most recent generation, and buyers in 140 countries are now able to take delivery of the original pony car. That volume, while not America-like, has bolstered sales. Read More >

By on May 18, 2017

General Motors Renaissance Center

In its global push for profitability, General Motors plans to yank the Chevrolet brand out of the hands of Indian consumers.

The automaker announced a wave of restructuring in overseas markets yesterday, a large part of which is the cancellation of nearly $1 billion in investment in India and the pull-out of its only brand. Until recently, GM had hoped to cater to the country’s growing middle class with a new line of region-specific Chevy models.

GM also plans to sell its South African division and cut back on staff in Singapore. The move will help the automaker free up money to funnel towards its biggest markets — North America and China. Read More >

By on March 24, 2017

2016 Lexus ES 350

After being knocked off the top perch of the “fastest growing economy” podium in 2016, India is expected to return to the Number One spot both this year and next. The world’s second most populous country has seen average per-capita incomes rise to record levels and, while the average only amounts to $1,500 greenbacks, India’s well-to-do class is thriving.

For automakers, the untapped Indian market offers big potential. The latest to the game: Lexus, which arrived today to offer citizens something better than just a Camry. Read More >

By on February 21, 2017

2016 Lotus Evora 400

There’s a battle brewing between France and China over a famous Malaysian-owned British automaker. Who said globalization was in danger?

Geely, Volvo’s Chinese parent company, is in talks to buy Proton, the Malaysian owner of the famed Lotus brand, the Financial Times reports. Proton’s not doing well these days, all thanks to an influx of affordable imports that has eroded its domestic market share. To reach its goal, Geely must first stave off stiff competition from Europe.

France’s PSA Group, maker of Peugeot and Citroën (and potential future owner of Opel and Vauxhall), also wants to get its hands on Proton. However, it looks like the competing automakers want different things from the deal. Read More >

By on January 23, 2017

FCA Windsor minivan assembly Dodge Grand Caravan 2011 - Image: FCA

Reactions are varied following this morning’s announcement that President Donald Trump will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and pull the country out of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

North of the border, however, the leader of Canada’s Detroit Three autoworkers was apparently dancing a jig. Unifor president Jerry Dias seemed thrilled when he appeared on talk radio to sing the praises of the president’s executive actions. Trump’s moves are “a great opportunity to right the ship,” he said. Read More >

By on November 2, 2016

2016 Subaru Outback

It was a bombshell decision that Fuji Heavy Industries describes as “extraordinary.”

Subaru’s parent company announced today that its board of directors has decided to eliminate its industrial division to free up resources for its car division. FHI built its empire on small industrial powerplants, spawning a quirky car company in the process, but that car brand is now the corporation’s main focus.

What does the new love mean for Subaru? Read More >

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