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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

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.

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:

Autoblog's guilty pleasure cars

Tue, Mar 10 2015

Guilty pleasures are part of life don't even try to pretend like you don't have one (or two, or six). In the non-automotive space, this could come down to that secret playlist in your iPhone of songs you'll only listen to when you're alone; or think of that one TV show you really do love, but won't admit to your friends. I've got plenty, and so do you. Going back to cars, here's a particularly juicy one for me: several years ago, I had a mad crush on the very last iteration of the Cadillac DTS. Oh yes, the front-wheel-drive, Northstar V8-powered sofa-on-wheels that was the last remaining shred of the elderly-swooning days of Cadillac's past. Every time I had the chance to drive one, I was secretly giddy. Don't hate me, okay? These days, the DTS is gone, but I've still got a mess of other cars that hold a special place in my heart. And in the spirit of camaraderie, I've asked my other Autoblog editors to tell me some of their guilty pleasure cars, as well – Seyth Miersma, as you can see above, has a few choice emotions to share about the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Read on to find out what cars make us secretly happy. Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG This decadent convertible is the epitome of the guilty pleasure. It's big, powerful, fairly heavy and it's richly appointed inside and out. It's a chocolate eclair with the three-pointed star on the hood. Given my druthers, I'd take the SL65 AMG, which delivers 621 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. That output is borderline absurd for this laid-back convertible. I don't care. You don't need dessert. Sometimes you just crave it. The SL line is about the feel you get on the road. The roof is open. The air, sun and engine sounds all embrace you. It's the same dynamic you could have experienced in a Mercedes a century ago, yet the SL gives you the most modern of luxuries. An Airscarf feature that warms my neck and shoulders through a vent embedded in the seat? Yes, please. Sure, it's an old-guy car. Mr. Burns and Lord Grantham are probably too young and hip for an SL65. I don't care. This is my guilty pleasure. Release the hounds. – Greg Migliore Senior Editor Ford Flex I drove my first Flex in 2009 when my mother let me borrow hers for the summer while I was away at college. The incredibly spacious interior made moving twice that summer a breeze, and the 200-mile trips up north were quite comfortable.

Lexus tops JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study again, Buick bests Toyota

Wed, Feb 25 2015

It shouldn't surprise anyone, but Lexus has once again taken the top spot in JD Power's Vehicle Dependability Study. That'd be the Japanese luxury brand's fourth straight year at the top of table. The big news, though, is the rise of Buick. General Motor's near-premium brand beat out Toyota to take second place, with 110 problems per 100 vehicles compared to Toyota's 111 problems. Lexus owners only reported 89 problems per 100 vehicles. Besides Buick's three-position jump, Scion enjoyed a major improvement, jumping 13 positions from 2014. Ram and Mitsubishi made big gains, as well, moving up 11 and 10 positions, respectively. In terms of individual segments, GM and Toyota both excelled, taking home seven segment awards each. The study wasn't good news for all involved, though. A number of popular automakers finished below the industry average of 147 problems per 100 vehicles, including Subaru, (157PP100), Volkswagen (165PP100), Ford/Hyundai (188PP100 each) and Mini (193PP100). The biggest losers (by a tremendous margin, we might add) were Land Rover and Fiat, recording 258 and 273 problems per 100 vehicles. The next closest brand was Jeep, with 197PP100. While the Vehicle Dependability Study uses the same measurement system as the Initial Quality Survey, the two metrics analyze very different things. The VDS looks at problems experienced by original owners of model year 2012 vehicles over the past 12 months, while the oft-quoted IQS focuses on problems in the first 90 days of new-vehicle ownership. Like the IQS, though, the VDS has a rather broad definition of what a problem is. Because of that, a low score from JD Power is no guarantee of extreme unreliability, so much as just poor design. In this most recent study, the two most reported problems focused on Bluetooth connectivity and the voice-command systems. The former leaves plenty of room for user error due to poor design (particularly true of the Bluetooth systems on the low-scoring Fords, Volkswagens and Subarus), while the second is something JD Power has already confirmed as being universally terrible. That makes means that while these studies are important, they shouldn't be taken as gospel when it comes to automotive reliability. News Source: JD PowerImage Credit: Copyright 2015 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL Buick Fiat Ford GM Hyundai Jeep Land Rover Lexus MINI Mitsubishi RAM Scion Subaru Toyota Volkswagen Auto Repair Ownership study

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.

Mitsubishi rolls out new Triton pickup [w/videos]

Tue, 18 Nov 2014

Of all the automakers producing pickup trucks these days, even among just the Japanese automakers, Mitsubishi might not spring to mind first. But maybe it should. The Diamond-Star company has been in the game now for 36 years, selling over four million pickups around the world. These days that comes down principally to the Triton, of which it sold over a third of a million units last year alone for a total of over 1.2 million produced since its introduction in 2005. Now, after nine years on the market, Mitsubishi has launched a new version.
Clearly drawing its stylistic influence (if not the hybrid powertrain) from the GR-HEV concept Mitsubishi showcased at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the new Triton aims to combine "the comfortable interior of a passenger car with the functionality and reliability of a pickup." It's more stylish, more comfortable and safer than the model it replaces, and comes in an array of configurations.
Buyers of the new Triton (known in some markets as the L200, among other nameplates it's worn over the years) will be able to choose between Single, Double and Club Cab variants. Powertrain choices will vary by market, but will be based around three engines: a 2.4-liter gasoline unit, a 2.5-liter turbodiesel and a new 2.4-liter turbodiesel with electronic valve timing.

Our best look yet at the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

Sat, 08 Nov 2014

Mitsubishi's has been busily clawing its way back from the brink of irrelevancy in the US market for several years. One of its most important models in that mission is the Outlander CUV, and as we can see from these spy photos, it's upcoming refresh is coming along nicely.
The Outlander was last redesigned for model year 2014, so it does feel a smidge early for a refresh. That said, thanks to a rather polarizing front fascia, we aren't totally surprised that Mitsu has gone to work so soon. Based on these spy shots, we wouldn't be totally surprised if the new Outlander borrowed the more attractive face of Outlander PHEV Concept-S, which was shown back in September during the Paris Motor Show.
It's impossible to tell if the rear of the car will borrow the huge, vehicle-spanning taillights of the Concept-S, but like the front end, we'd expect a fairly significant change to the back of the new Outlander. Our spies also captured a few shots of the cabin, although we don't see any dramatic differences from the current vehicle, aside from some different trim pieces.

NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors

Wed, 22 Oct 2014

Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it's urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.