Tag: Asia

By on April 1, 2020

Subaru Legacy 2018 Logo Emblem Grille

Subaru is joining the long list of automakers closing shop on account of the coronavirus. Japanese production is being suspended at the automaker’s main plaint in the country’s Gunma prefecture from April 11th through the first of May. It’s also idling the Oizumi engine facility as it announces plans to extend the suspension of its U.S. facility in Indiana. The plant will now be idled through April 20th.

While some of the closures are due to social distancing obligations, the rest is down to parts allocation. Subaru is heavily reliant on components manufactured in China, and it’s still not clear how things are actually going there. What is clear is that Subaru (and plenty of other manufacturers) can’t do without its robust industrial sector operating at full strength. Subaru CFO Toshiaki Okada said in February that “it’s impossible to manufacture cars without China.”  (Read More…)

By on February 21, 2020

infiniti nissan factory japan

Yep, we’re still talking about the damned coronavirus. But how could we not, with the situation being obfuscated from all sides as the outbreak just seems to worsen? Both Japan and South Korea have reported their first deaths relating to the virus; meanwhile, the unsettling theory that 2019-nCoV was created in a Chinese laboratory has grown by leaps and bounds.

While the mainstream media has dismissed this as an unfounded conspiracy, loads of circumstantial evidence published by reputable sources leave one wondering. Our favorite is that the exotic meat market initially pegged as the disease’s point of origin was across the the street from (get this) a viral disease laboratory. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) has repeatedly pushed for the virus’ origin to be found, saying “We also know that just a few miles away from that food market is China’s only biosafety level 4 super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases,” only to be framed as an alarmist crank.

There was also a Chinese coverup (similar to SARS) that kicked off when police detained eight doctors in Wuhan for attempting to warn the public of a potential outbreak. The point here is that nobody seems ready to give (or even search for) answers in China. Naturally, this has left people confused and scared, rather than just scared. (Read More…)

By on January 13, 2020

Ford has struggled to improve market share in China for years now, as decades of economic growth made the region’s overwhelmingly large population too tempting for global manufacturers to pass up. But it hasn’t been an easy road for foreign automakers. Many entered the region saddled with a lack of brand awareness and were required to enter into joint ventures with Chinese firms to gain access (Ford has three). U.S. products have since faced additional scrutiny as American-Sino relations soured; at the same time, the whole of the market appears to be heading in the wrong direction.

While this hurt plenty of automakers that aren’t Ford, the Blue Oval has really taken it on the chin. The company reported a 26.1 percent sales decline for 2019, marking its third straight year of negative growth in China. At first blush, that may not appear relevant to what’s happening in the West. But Ford hasn’t seen its market share in the People’s Republic rise above 5 percent since 2008 (it’s about half that now), despite putting plenty of resources behind the project.  (Read More…)

By on October 25, 2019

Eager to minimize import costs, Tesla has made impressive progress laying down roots in China. The company secured a long-term lease on a 210-acre site near Shanghai in October of 2018. Ground was broken at the start of January, with the $5 billion facility estimated to begin producing cars as early as this November. While all of this effort was aimed at expanding the brand in Asia while minimizing costs, it’s not translating into a cheaper Model 3 for the Asian market.

Tesla, being Tesla, has decided to launch the Model 3 with a starting MSRP of $50,000. According to Bloomberg, that’s only 3 percent less expensive than the versions it had to ship across the ocean. Rather than attempting to build more budget-conscious variants, the automaker decided to offer all vehicles sold in China with Autopilot and additional standard content.  (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2019

Today marks the final entry in our Question of the Day series discussing bad sporty car design from the Nineties. So far we’ve covered America and Europe, and we now finish up with poor sports car designs from Japan. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2019

Last week we reported on the headway electric vehicles are making in the Netherlands, framing the situation as idyllic for EVs. Less picturesque for plug-in sales is India — a nation that has similarly attempted to encourage the proliferation of electric cars, but with unimpressive results. As it turns out, India makes a stellar counterpoint for worldwide electrification.

Based on the success EVs have seen over the last few years, you’d think the government was asking everyone to start eating hamburgers. Despite having a population of 1.34 billion people, with more of them becoming drivers every day, just 8,000 EVs have been sold in the nation over the last six years.  (Read More…)

By on October 2, 2019

We return to our Nineties sports car design discussion this week. Previously, we covered America and Europe; this week we end on the continent which arguably provided the broadest variety of excellent car design in the decade — Asia.

(Read More…)

By on August 6, 2019

We’ve spent the better part of 2019 describing how unwell the automotive markets of China, Europe and North America have become, which might accidentally lead some to believe that most other markets are performing better. While Brazil expects continued expansion and a presumably healthy 2019, its rosy outlook is unique.

Japan saw a modest decline in registrations (just 0.3 percent) through the first half of the year, while Russia recorded slippage of 2.4 percent. But figures from India were far worse. In fact, the country is looking at the biggest sales slump in almost twenty years. Early estimates suggest passenger vehicle registrations may have plunged as much as 30 percent in July, after falling 17.5 percent just a month earlier. Most annual outlooks forecast a double-digit decline in overall sales.  (Read More…)

By on July 29, 2019

Subaru started its first full decade in North America in the Seventies, where it sold the microscopic rear-engined 360. By the Eighties the company had found its niche among crunchy granola types and professors with four-wheel drive wagons like the GL. But Subaru wanted more; specifically customers with more money. Enter the XT.

(Read More…)

By on July 17, 2019

Today’s QOTD marks the last post in the Nineties design discussion on which we embarked in the beginning of May. We discussed the good and bad points of Nineties design from America, Europe, and Asia. SUVs and trucks were off-limits initially, until we focused solely on them starting in June. As our final entry in the Nineties, we talk bad SUV and truck design from Asia.

(Read More…)

By on June 14, 2019

Real-estate conglomerate Vingroup JSC’s auto unit, VinFast, rolled out its first model today, which also means Vietnam officially has a automaker. Starting with the Fadil hatchback, VinFast eventually plans to produce a sedan, sport utility vehicle, and some electric motorbikes.

VinFast’s primary goals include flexing Vietnam’s burgeoning industrial abilities while supporting the country with affordable vehicles citizens might be interested in. Easier said than done when the nation’s average annual income is around $2,600. Yet Vietnam is growing by leaps and bounds, supplying more individuals with the means to purchase their own car.  (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2019

Today’s Question of the Day is a continuation of the styling theme we’ve had of late. The discussion centers around cars of the 1990s that aged poorly. First, we accepted submissions from America, followed up last week by Europe.

Today, we head east and consider Asia.

(Read More…)

By on April 2, 2019

General Motors plans on giving attendees of Auto Shanghai a crossover-themed enema later this month. Buick will introduce the second-generation Encore, as well as its larger GX variant, while Chevrolet focuses on the 2020 Trailblazer and Tracker.

While both models have vanished in the United States, replaced with the more tersely named Traverse and Trax, the Trailblazer and Tracker persist in Asia, Australia, and parts of South America. GM plans on debuting new editions of the pair in Shanghai on April 16th and has issued a teaser image (above) as a reminder — just like it did with the Encore.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2019

China might not be the kind of market everyone thought it was — one without a ceiling, boasting unlimited potential for growth. One by one, automakers find themselves having to confront economic reality.

Despite amassing a network of factories that could theoretically outproduce the rest of the world, the Asian country’s automotive sector only operates at about half its total capacity. That’s disconcerting. Even Europe, site of some serious industrial headwinds of its own, manages to operate around 70 percent capacity.

While the reasons for China’s woes are ludicrously complicated, one of the most pressing issues is that its economy is slowing much earlier than anticipated. Automakers, both foreign and domestic, almost universally believed that The People’s Republic would surpass the United States as the world’s largest automotive market — and they were right. But investments kept pouring in, factories were built, and the market started to cool prematurely. The situation only grew worse as incentives dried up and people began buying fewer cars; now, 2019 is shaping up to be a very bad year for the nation’s automotive sector.  (Read More…)

By on October 11, 2017

chinese-bmw-i3

German luxury automaker BMW is seeking to establish a joint venture with China’s Great Wall Motor. The prospective deal focuses specifically on electric vehicles, according to sources familiar with the matter. A cooperative relationship with Great Wall would be BMW’s second in the world’s largest auto market – and a necessary one, as China forces all foreign automakers to team up with local partners in order to do business within the country.

Great Wall Motor Co. is China’s largest SUV maker by volume, and witnessed a nearly 20-percent rise in its share price on Wednesday after Asian media outlets reported it was in talks to partner with BMW. (Read More…)

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