Tag: Japan

By on June 17, 2020

Sport Mazda dealer storefront - Image: Mazda

The trans-Pacific flow of automobiles between the U.S. and Japan has always been a lopsided thing, with an infinitely greater number of cars heading east than west. Lately, thanks to a spiky virus, that flow has tapered off.

Just how fewer Japanese vehicles made a boat trip in May is cause for concern for their country of origin. (Read More…)

By on June 5, 2020

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on Infiniti lately, primarily due to the grim announcement that the brand will become “Nissan-plus” in the coming years. While the brand produced a few bright spots like the G35 and FX over its 30-year history, most of its products were duds.

That got me thinking about one such dud product, and one that happened to appear for sale right as I was pondering. It’s the 1998 Q45, a disappointing flagship.

(Read More…)

By on May 29, 2020

Commenter Chocolatedeath is absolutely adamant we talk about today’s trio of unpopular sedans. They’ve all got V8s, rear-drive, and found few buyers in their day, but that won’t stop us from choosing one among them to take home.

So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at Chocolatedeath’s car comparison, shall we?

(Read More…)

By on May 15, 2020

Rare Rides has featured a couple of JDM import vans previously, namely the Mazda Bongo and Toyota Town Ace. Today’s van is of similar JDM fashion, except this Mitsubishi is one of the few examples actually sold in North America during the model’s very short domestic run.

Let’s learn a bit more about the only large van Mitsubishi ever sold in America. Once again, it’s Van Time.

(Read More…)

By on May 8, 2020

Japan released a list of companies subject to new foreign-ownership rules on Friday, with automakers included in the document. The adjustment influences how outside investment will be handled in regard to business sectors crucial to national security by the nation’s Ministry of Finance.

Foreign outfits buying a stake of 1 percent (or more) in Japanese companies will now face a pre-screening process to ensure they’re not a threat. The old benchmark for such action was set at a substantially higher 10 percent.

While the language used in the document isn’t targeted and largely pertains to additional scrutiny in the general sense, this has everything to do with China. It also mimics measures taken in the United States and Europe to avoid further instances of intellectual property theft (or simply having sensitive information leaked to the Chinese Communist Party). It’s still risky, however, as about a third of Japanese stock is owned by investors from outside its borders. Meanwhile, the nation is hoping to ramp up investment to boost its economy.  (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2020

Image: Nissan

Still sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic in North America and suffering from supply chain and demand issues in its Japanese home base, Nissan is prepared to stem domestic output by 70 percent in May, Reuters reports.

The unconfirmed production cut won’t be a single-month affair, either. On this side of the Pacific, it seems Nissan brass want birds of a feather to flock together, with possible changes incoming at the automaker’s two American vehicle assembly plants. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2020

Obviously, Toyota plants in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are shut down due to the coronavirus (tentatively slated to reopen on May 4th), but the automaker’s Japanese plants are still going strong.

Come the month of May, those facilities won’t have to work quite as hard. Who’s buying, really? (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2020

Today’s Rare Ride is a little off-road truck that hails from the era when a single SUV could be small, light, cheap, and capable. It’s an oft-forgotten Daihatsu Rocky, from 1990.

(Read More…)

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 March 25, 2020

Driving schools in Japan are reporting an increase in attendance from individuals who already possess a driver’s license. According to The Japan Times, the new trend is epitomized by Paper Driver School Kitakanto in Maebashi. The school has seen influx of already licensed drivers this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Roughly 10 percent of new students are said to have signed up as a direct result of COVID-19. As Japan’s population has a lower percentage of drivers than in North America, many are dependent upon public transportation to move about — a mobility type that’s become problematic overnight, what with fears of contagion spreading as quickly as the virus itself. To avoid sharing space, some Japanese drivers are attempting to brush up on their skills in order to feel more comfortable behind the wheel.  (Read More…)

By on March 20, 2020

We featured the predecessor to Mitsubishi’s American flagship last year — a little Sigma sedan that happened to one of the cheapest Rare Rides ever shown. Today we take a look at the car that came after Sigma: the Diamante.

And it’s the rare wagon version.

(Read More…)

By on March 10, 2020

Our last two Buy/Drive/Burn entries reflected compact truck offerings in 1972 and 1982. We know you all love talkin’ trucks, so we bring you a subsequent entry in the series today. It’s 1992, and you’ve got to buy a compact Japanese truck.

Hope you can bear the 10-percent interest rate on your loan.

(Read More…)

By on March 6, 2020

Coronavirus outbreaks are shrinking sales expectations around the globe, but it’s Asia that has the most to lose. We’ve already seen rolling reports of the Chinese market’s virus-related decline — an affliction that’s spilling over into neighboring regions as more people fall ill and others stay home to avoid contagion. Employees, parts, and customers are all in short supply.

Goldman Sachs now predicts global sales will decline 3.5 percent in 2020. It’s a considerably more foreboding estimate than the 0.3-percent contraction predicted just last month, and the decline is presumed to hit Japan the hardest — after China, of course.  (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2020

Japanese Deputy Justice Minister Hiroyuki Yoshiie reportedly traveled to Lebanon this past weekend in an attempt to convince Carlos Ghosn to give up his life on the lam and head back to Tokyo to stand trial. Considering the defamed automotive executive fled the country because he was positively convinced this would end in a conviction, we probably won’t need to issue any follow-up reports about how the meeting ended.

Ghosn has repeatedly stressed his belief that Japan aided Nissan in ousting him from the company and has no interest in giving him a fair trial — calling it a “hostage justice” system.

Of course, all the real negotiating will be done by proxy through Lebanese Justice Minister Albert Serhan, with the pair scheduled to meet on Monday. Ghosn won’t actually be in attendance, but you had better believe he’ll be interested in the play-by-play recap. With his mind already made up on the matter, Japan will need to focus on persuading Serhan.  (Read More…)

By on February 28, 2020

The Toyota 2000GT’s been a legend for decades now. A simple mention of its name conjures up the correct silhouette. Eyes glaze over at the gentle curves, classic sports coupe proportions, and the big front lamps trapped behind plexiglass.

Today we’ll dig a little deeper into this legend.

(Read More…)

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