Tag: Japan

By on December 4, 2019

Remember when Mazda sold a rear-drive sedan as its flagship? Me either, but the internet assures me it happened.

Let’s have a last-of Mazda moment, with a pristine 929 from 1992.

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By on November 21, 2019

For decades, the Japanese market has loved vans of all shapes and sizes, ranging from basic kei to fully-loaded VIP luxury. Rare Rides has touched on JDM van time just once previously, with a luxurious and capable 1990 Toyota Town Ace. Today we’re taking a look at what Mazda offered a Nineties Japanese consumer of vans.

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By on October 24, 2019

Legal representatives for former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn are requesting Japanese courts dismiss all charges against him on the grounds that prosecutors violated his rights. The filings were submitted ahead of Thursday’s pre-trial hearing before the Tokyo District Court and represent the first real look we’ve had at Ghosn’s defense — which, until now, has just involved him repeatedly professing his innocence.

The core issues focus on accusations of illegal evidence collection and a Nissan-led conspiracy to place him behind bars. But Ghosn’s legal team has also established rebuttals to the charges leveled against him. While those will only come into play if the trial moves forward, we’re skeptical that the case will be dissolved. But let’s begin a little closer to the beginning.  (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 17, 2019

Toyota

If that compact sedan or crossover has become too much to handle, and you live in Japan, Toyota has just the thing for you. Due out in 2020, Toyota’s aptly-named Ultra-compact BEV is a, um, ultra-compact battery electric vehicle that’s clean, green, and in no way mean.

To butcher a tagline from Dodge… if you can handle a top speed of 60 km/h (37.3 mph), you could be Toyota material. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2019

The French media is reporting that Renault CEO Thierry Bolloré could be removed as part of a greater initiative to clean house within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. As usual, the cornerstone of the controversy stems from the executive’s close ties to Carlos Ghosn.

That relationship makes him suspect, as numerous high-ranking employees at Nissan are currently under suspicion of having helped or benefited from the alleged financial misdeeds surrounding the ousted chairman. In fact, the Japanese automaker had to select a new CEO in short order after information emerged implicating former corporate head Hiroto Saikawa — encouraging his September resignation.

Now there’s a campaign in place to distance the automaker from Ghosn-era hires and legacy staffers with deep links to him. Everyone expects Renault to do the same.  (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2019

What’s going on with the NISMO division these days? Though still a reputable supplier of Nissan performance parts, the in-house tuning division’s consumer vehicles leave a lot to be desired. While NISMO managed to elevate the Juke, especially in RS form, as well as the GT-R, most offerings have focused on providing models with a more sporting appearance — potentially with an upgraded suspension and some grabbier tires.

The Sentra is a prime example. In NISMO trim, it rides a bit lower, is more rigid, and comes with its own tires and wheels, but that’s the full extent of the performance upgrades on offer from Nissan. Everything else is cosmetic — a shame considering it could really use more than 188 hp. The NISMO 350Z did better by incorporating shockingly aggressive aerodynamic upgrades and a hardcore suspension but, once again, added no power.

This emphasis on style and handling has forced the performance arm to partially retreat from the U.S. market, leaving the focus on parts supply. But new consumer models still crop up in other areas of the world, with the Nissan Versa Note Nismo S Black Edition being the latest.  (Read More…)

By on October 8, 2019

The United States and Japan have signed a limited trade deal that’s been simmering for some months now. President Donald Trump has been eager to secure a place where American farmers can send their goods now that the trade war with China has diminished American dealings with that market. In return, Japan wanted assurances from the U.S. that it will not impose any new automotive tariffs, as cars remain one of its chief exports.

While the island nation didn’t get the guarantee in writing, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claims he received a verbal promise. This is to be the first part of a broader trade deal between the two countries.  (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.

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By on September 20, 2019
Luxury, elegance, Mitsubishi: Three words that sound just right in a singular sentence. Similarly, one sedan expresses all three of those words in a magnificent way. It’s a very rarely seen Mitsubishi Sigma, from 1989.

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By on September 17, 2019

1987 Shelby CSX (P), Image: Shelby AutomobilesIn the recent Shelby CSX Rare Rides entry, long-term commenter 28-Cars-Later suggested some sporty competitors to the Shelby, all of which cost the same according to the state of Michigan. Japan, Germany, and America are well-represented in today’s trio.

Which one sets your sporty-small-car heart aflame in ’88?

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By on September 16, 2019

With Japan and the United States spending the better part of the summer discussing trade relations, there were minor fears that the island nation would become subject to new tariffs. Fortunately, most of the reporting on the matter showed negotiations to be productive, with President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe perpetually optimistic about the two countries’ relationship.

Last month at a Group of Seven Summit, the pair even claimed to be on the verge of signing a new agreement. According to Reuters, that will come without new fees on Japanese-made automobiles. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2019

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille logo

After eight consecutive years of striking, South Korean Hyundai employees decided to take a season off. Preliminary reports are indicating that the workers’ union has reached a tentative wage agreement with the automaker, resolving any need to picket.

Top-notch negotiating skills likely played a role, but union members also noted that it was best not to temp fate. According to Reuters, the group said it had considered “the uncertain political and economic situation” before agreeing to terms. That’s a reference to the degrading political situation between South Korea and Japan, as well as the ongoing Sino-American trade war.  (Read More…)

By on August 27, 2019

Image: FCA

There’s good news if you’re a U.S. farmer, however. A preliminary deal reached between the two countries this week would keep existing auto tariffs in place, though President Donald Trump claims there’s still the possibility of a hike.

It was the threat of import tariffs that brought Japan to the table following the U.S.’s 2017 pullout of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the agreement in principle announced this week keeps new tariffs off the table, though auto groups continue demanding action on an issue Lee Iacocca used to rail about: reciprocity. (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…)

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