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Japan may aid carmakers facing U.S. tariff threat

Wed, Sep 12 2018

TOKYO — Japan is considering giving carmakers fiscal support including tax breaks to offset the impact from trade frictions with the United States and a sales-tax hike planned for next year, government sources told Reuters on Wednesday. Going into a second round of trade talks with the United States on Sept. 21, Japan is hoping to avert steep tariffs on its car exports and fend off U.S. demands for a bilateral free trade agreement that could put it under pressure to open politically sensitive markets, like agriculture. "If the trade talks pile pressure on Japan's car exports, we would need to consider measures to support the auto industry," a ruling party official said on condition of anonymity because of sensitivity of the matter. The auto industry accounts for about 20 percent of Japan's overall output and around 60-70 percent of the country's trade surplus with the United States, making it vulnerable to U.S. action against Japanese exports. Japan's biggest automakers and components suppliers fear they could take a significant hit if Washington follows through on proposals to hike tariffs on autos and auto parts to 25 percent. Policymakers also worry that an increase in the sales tax from 8 percent to 10 percent planned for October 2019, could cause a slump in sales of big-ticket items such as cars and home. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has twice postponed the tax hike after the last increase from 5 percent in 2014 dealt a blow to private consumption, which accounts for about 60 percent of the economy. To prevent a pullback in demand after the tax hike, the government may consider large fiscal spending later when it draws up its budget for next year, government sources said. "One option may be to greatly reduce or abolish the automobile purchase tax," one of the government sources said. The government is also considering cuts in the automobile tax and automobile weight tax to help car buyers, the source added. Reporting by Izumi Nakagawa and Tetsushi KajimotoRelated Video: Image Credit: Getty Government/Legal Isuzu Mazda Mitsubishi Nissan Subaru Suzuki Toyota Trump Trump tariffs trade

2017 Tokyo Motor Show | Mega Gallery

Wed, Oct 25 2017

The 2017 Tokyo Motor Show has been a big and busy one. It's also had machinery ranging from beautiful to bizarre. But there's been something for everyone. Companies such as Honda and Subaru brought performance oriented vehicles, Toyota showcased a wide array of funky and practical concepts, and Yamaha even broke away from motorcycles to do another car concept. You can check all of these vehicles out, and more in the galleries below. 2018 Honda Gold Wing: View 5 Photos Honda Neo Sports Cafe Concept: View 5 Photos Honda Riding Assist-e Concept: View 7 Photos Honda Sports EV Concept: View 5 Photos Honda Super Cub: View 3 Photos Isuzu FD-SI and Elf EV: View 9 Photos Lexus LS+ Concept: View 18 Photos Mazda Kai Concept: View 18 Photos Mazda Vision Coupe Concept: View 15 Photos Mitsubishi e-Evolution Concept: View 8 Photos Nissan IMx Concept: View 29 Photos Nissan Leaf Nismo Concept: View 8 Photos Subaru Viziv Performance Concept: View 12 Photos Toyota Century and Crown: View 7 Photos Toyota Concept-i Series: View 16 Photos Toyota GR HV SPORTS Concept: View 6 Photos Toyota Tj Cruiser: View 12 Photos Yamaha Concepts (Cross Hub, MOTOROiD, MWC-4, Motobot): View 5 Photos Related Video: Tokyo Motor Show Honda Isuzu Lexus Mazda Mitsubishi Nissan Subaru Toyota

Mazda and Isuzu to collaborate on a new pickup truck

Mon, Jul 11 2016

After decades, Mazda has finally untangled itself from its relationship with Ford. The last vestige of that partnership is the BT-50, a rebadged version of the global Ford Ranger pickup truck. Once the BT-50 ends production, Mazda has announced that it will collaborate with Isuzu to develop its next generation of pickup trucks. The BT-50 was co-developed with Ford's Australian division. In their current iteration, the BT-50 and its Ranger twin were never on sale in the United States. Mazda's last pickup in the US was the B-Series, itself also a rebadged version of the old Ford Ranger. Isuzu pulled out of the US passenger vehicle market in 2009, although it still sells commercial vehicles here. Isuzu, continuing a long and complicated relationship with General Motors, co-developed the diesel engine that currently powers the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. In select markets, Isuzu sells a rebadged version of the Colorado as the D-Max. Details on the Mazda/Isuzu tie-up are scarce. A single press release simply says "Isuzu will produce next-generation pickup trucks for Mazda, based on Isuzu's pick-up truck model." This isn't the first truck collaboration between the two companies. Since 2004, Mazda has sold the Titan, a rebadged version of the Isuzu Elf commercial truck. The Elf is sold in the US as the Isuzu N-Series. Those in the US hoping for a new competitor in the midsize-truck segment shouldn't get their hopes up for the new truck. There are currently no plans to bring them here. There is hope, though, that Ford will bring the Ranger replacement stateside sometime in the next few years. Related Video: News Source: MazdaImage Credit: WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images Isuzu Mazda Truck

2017 North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year entries announced

Wed, Jul 6 2016

Over 40 vehicles will compete for the 2017 North American Car, Truck, and Utility of the Year awards. If that name looks a little strange, it's because the competition added a third category. In years past, pickup trucks, crossovers, SUVs, commercial vans, and minivans competed for the same award. That's why there were occasionally weird comparisons, like last year's competition between the Volvo XC90 and Nissan Titan XD. The new format separates pickups and commercial vans into the truck contest and CUVs, SUVs, and minivans into the utility competition. A complete list of eligible vehicles is below, but here are a few highlights. For one, the entire list of entries has a luxurious lean. Of the 43 vehicles, nearly half of them are from premium brands. There are two eligible Bentleys – the Bentayga and Mulsanne – the Rolls-Royce Dawn, Jaguar F-Pace, Audi Q7, and the Mercedes-Benz GLS-, E-, and S-Class Maybach. The performance ranks are lofty, too, with the Audi R8, Acura NSX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Mercedes SL- and SLC-Class, Porsche 718, and F-150 Raptor. The mainstream entries are just as comprehensive. From the Chrysler Pacifica to the Chevrolet Cruze to the Fiat 124 Spider to the Mitsubishi Mirage, NACTOY has covered an enormous price range with this year's contestants. Of course, these are only the eligible vehicles. They'll need to run through three rounds of judging, starting in September at NACTOY's traditional Hell, MI, test drive. The Canadian and American journalists involved in the judging will announce this year's nine finalists – three in each category – on December 6. Cars Acura NSX Alfa Romeo Giulia Audi A4 Audi R8 Bentley Mulsanne Buick Cascada Buick LaCrosse Cadillac CT6 Chevrolet Bolt Chevrolet Cruze Fiat 124 Genesis G90 Hyundai Elantra Infiniti Q60 Jaguar XE Kia Cadenza Lincoln Continental Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan Mercedes-Benz S550 Maybach Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Mercedes-Benz SLC-Class Mini Clubman Mitsubishi Mirage/G4 Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman Rolls-Royce Dawn Toyota Prius Prime Volvo S90 SUVs Audi Q7 Bentley Bentayga Buick Envision Cadillac XT5 Chrysler Pacifica GMC Acadia Infiniti QX30 Kia Sportage Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Jaguar F-Pace Mazda CX-9 Nissan Armada Trucks Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups Ford F-150 Raptor Honda Ridgeline Nissan Titan half-ton Related Video: Featured Gallery Bentley Bentayga View 23 Photos News Source: Automotive News - sub.

2016 April Fools' Day: Morgan digs at Tesla, Mini's scissor doors, more

Fri, Apr 1 2016

Every year automakers go out of their way to come up with gags for April Fools' Day. Sometimes the jokes fall flat, but occasionally a company really nails it with an idea that we'd actually love to see. Rather than scouring the Web for all of these stunts, you can find some of our favorites right here. Morgan MOGrod The Morgan Motor Company's MOGrod is one of our favorite April Fools' jokes so far this year because it's a car we wish could be real. The company says on Twitter that the retro hot rod uses a 3.7-liter Ford V6, and there are already 250,000 preorders, which is a play on the huge number of reservations for the Tesla Model 3. Morgan took the joke even further by sketching a landspeed record version for the Bonneville Salt Flats. Mini Scissor Doors The people at Mini apparently have a lot of free time because the company has two gags this year. The first is the scissor door option. The idea cleverly plays on the myriad ways customers can customize their Mini, but this solution doesn't look like anyone could easily enter the car due to the way these doors open. Mini Hipster Hatch There's also the Hipster Mini, which is a much funnier idea. This fictional hatchback would be perfect for fashionable Millennials thanks to features like Instagram-filter windows and a fixed-gear drivetrain, which limits the top speed to 25 miles per hour. The interior uses stonewash denim upholstery and packs a twin-deck cassette player. Skoda Dog Umbrella People love dogs, and owners know that a wet canine can be a mess. Skoda is ready to tackle this problem with an umbrella for your mutt. Made from unobtainium, the gadget hides in the door when not in use, but when raindrops start falling, people can keep their pup dry. Skoda Snowman Skoda's Facebook page also teases us with a very cool vehicle. The Snowman is a 396-horsepower plug-in hybrid snow machine. With its tracks, the company's newest model would never have to worry about getting stuck in the winter. Opel Adam C Sure, electricity and hydrogen are cleaner forms of fuel than gasoline or diesel, but Opel has a way to make your car even more environmentally friendly – muscle power. Wind up the crank at the rear for 15 minutes, and the Opel Adam C is good for 125 miles. GM's European division also claims that owners get a great workout because a full winding session burns 400 calories. You wouldn't feel guilty about picking up that pizza after cranking up this hatchback.

NHTSA, IIHS, and 20 automakers to make auto braking standard by 2022

Thu, Mar 17 2016

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and virtually every automaker in the US domestic market have announced a pact to make automatic emergency braking standard by 2022. Here's the full rundown of companies involved: BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo (not to mention the brands that fall under each automaker's respective umbrella). Like we reported yesterday, AEB will be as ubiquitous in the future as traction and stability control are today. But the thing to note here is that this is not a governmental mandate. It's truly an agreement between automakers and the government, a fact that NHTSA claims will lead to widespread adoption three years sooner than a formal rule. That fact in itself should prevent up to 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries. The agreement will come into effect in two waves. For the majority of vehicles on the road – those with gross vehicle weights below 8,500 pounds – AEB will need to be standard equipment by September 1, 2022. Vehicles between 8,501 and 10,000 pounds will have an extra three years to offer AEB. "It's an exciting time for vehicle safety. By proactively making emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent thousands of crashes and save lives," said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx said in an official statement. "It's a win for safety and a win for consumers." Read on for the official press release from NHTSA. Related Video: U.S. DOT and IIHS announce historic commitment of 20 automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard on new vehicles McLEAN, Va. – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced today a historic commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all new cars no later than NHTSA's 2022 reporting year, which begins Sept 1, 2022. Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA.

Question of the Day: What's the most irritating car name?

Wed, Mar 9 2016

You hear a lot about how the Chevrolet Nova was a sales flop in Mexico because "No va" means "it doesn't go" in Spanish; in fact, the Nova sold pretty well south of the border, and in any case most Spanish-speakers know that "Nova" means "new" in Latin and Portuguese. However, General Motors doesn't deserve to be let off the hook for bad car names, because the Oldsmobile Achieva— no doubt inspired by the excruciating "coffee achievers" ads of the 1980s— scrapes the biggest fingernails down the screechiest chalkboard in the US-market car-name world. That is, unless you think Daihatsu's incomprehensible choice of Charade was worse. Meanwhile, Japanese car buyers could get machines with cool names like Mazda Bongo Friendee or Honda Life Dunk. It's just not fair! So, what car name drives you the craziest? Related Video: Auto News Design/Style Chevrolet Honda Mazda Daihatsu Automotive History questions car names

Japan could consolidate to three automakers by 2020

Thu, Feb 11 2016

Sergio Marchionne might see his dream of big mergers in the auto industry become a reality, and an analyst thinks Japan is a likely place for consolidation to happen. Takaki Nakanishi from Jefferies Group LLC tells Bloomberg the country's car market could combine to just three or fewer major players by 2020, from seven today. "To have one or two carmakers in a country is not only natural, but also helpful to their competitiveness," Nakanishi told Bloomberg. "Japan has just too many and the resources have been too spread out. It's a natural trend to consolidate and reduce some of the wasted resources." Nakanishi's argument echoes Marchionne's reasons to push for a merger between FCA and General Motors. Automakers spend billions on research and development, but their competitors also invest money to create the same solutions. Consolidating could conceivably put that R&D money into new avenues. "In today's global marketplace, it is increasingly difficult for automakers to compete in lower volume segments like sports cars, hydrogen fuel cells, or electrified vehicles on their own," Ed Kim, vice president of Industry Analysis at AutoPacific, told Autoblog. Even without mergers, these are the areas where Japanese automakers already have partners for development. Kim cited examples like Toyota and Subaru's work on the BRZ and FR-S and its collaboration with BMW on a forthcoming sports car. Honda and GM have also reportedly deepened their cooperation on green car tech. After Toyota's recent buyout of previous partner Daihatsu, Nakanishi agrees with rumors that the automotive giant could next pursue Suzuki. He sees them like a courting couple. "For Suzuki, it's like they're just starting to exchange diaries and have yet to hold hands. When Toyota's starts to hold 5 percent of Suzuki's shares, this will be like finally touching fingertips," Nakanishi told Bloomberg. "I absolutely do believe that we are not finished seeing consolidation in Japan," Kim told Autoblog. Rising development costs to meet tougher emissions regulations make it hard for minor players in the market to remain competitive. "The smaller automakers like Suzuki, Mazda, and Mitsubishi are challenged to make it on their own in the global marketplace. Consolidation for them may be inevitable." Related Video:

Marchionne now considering 'Plan B' partners for FCA merger

Thu, Jun 11 2015

Okay Sergio, just stop. With the sting of rejection from General Motors CEO Mary Barra still fresh, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is moving on and trying to find another automaker to merge with. FCA may not be giving up hope on a merger with GM, but that doesn't mean it isn't at least considering alternatives. Sergio's so-called "Plan Bs" include the Volkswagen Group, as well as smaller Asian outfits, like Mazda, Honda, Suzuki, and Hyundai. Bloomberg reports that France's beleaguered PSA Peugeot Citroen could as a sort of "fallback" option due to its relative lack of volume, an unidentified source claimed. There are, of course, problems with each option. According to Bloomberg, Volkswagen expects complete control of a company, but the Agnelli family, which holds a large portion of FCA stock, is loathe to relinquish its stake in the company. On top of that, VAG just isn't looking to make a deal right now. Mazda, meanwhile, is enjoying a new partnership with Toyota and Suzuki is partially owned by VW. Honda and Hyundai have never expressed any interest in a partnership with a western automaker. That kind of just leaves the French then, but even that remains a long shot. As Bloomberg tells it, PSA boss Carlos Tavares is still working on a turn-around plan, and would want at least another six months to execute before even considering a deal with FCA. And even then, Tavares hasn't given any indication that he's considering a pairing. News Source: BloombergImage Credit: Paul Sancya / AP Chrysler Fiat GM Honda Hyundai Mazda Suzuki Citroen Peugeot Sergio Marchionne FCA Mary Barra psa peugeot citroen

A car writer's year in new vehicles [w/video]

Thu, Dec 18 2014

Christmas is only a week away. The New Year is just around the corner. As 2014 draws to a close, I'm not the only one taking stock of the year that's we're almost shut of. Depending on who you are or what you do, the end of the year can bring to mind tax bills, school semesters or scheduling dental appointments. For me, for the last eight or nine years, at least a small part of this transitory time is occupied with recalling the cars I've driven over the preceding 12 months. Since I started writing about and reviewing cars in 2006, I've done an uneven job of tracking every vehicle I've been in, each year. Last year I made a resolution to be better about it, and the result is a spreadsheet with model names, dates, notes and some basic facts and figures. Armed with this basic data and a yen for year-end stories, I figured it would be interesting to parse the figures and quantify my year in cars in a way I'd never done before. The results are, well, they're a little bizarre, honestly. And I think they'll affect how I approach this gig in 2015. {C} My tally for the year is 68 cars, as of this writing. Before the calendar flips to 2015 it'll be as high as 73. Let me give you a tiny bit of background about how automotive journalists typically get cars to test. There are basically two pools of vehicles I drive on a regular basis: media fleet vehicles and those available on "first drive" programs. The latter group is pretty self-explanatory. Journalists are gathered in one location (sometimes local, sometimes far-flung) with a new model(s), there's usually a day of driving, then we report back to you with our impressions. Media fleet vehicles are different. These are distributed to publications and individual journalists far and wide, and the test period goes from a few days to a week or more. Whereas first drives almost always result in a piece of review content, fleet loans only sometimes do. Other times they serve to give context about brands, segments, technology and the like, to editors and writers. So, adding up the loans I've had out of the press fleet and things I've driven at events, my tally for the year is 68 cars, as of this writing. Before the calendar flips to 2015, it'll be as high as 73. At one of the buff books like Car and Driver or Motor Trend, reviewers might rotate through five cars a week, or more. I know that number sounds high, but as best I can tell, it's pretty average for the full-time professionals in this business.