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Archive for the ‘Asia Pacific’ Category

Porsche Ready to Unveil New Macan in Los Angeles

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.21, 2018

Though the Macan is the company's best-seller, it's getting some updates for the 2019 model year.

Porsche plans to unveil the updated 2019 Porsche Macan sport-utility vehicle, far and away the company’s most popular model, during press preview at next week’s Los Angeles International Auto Show.

The 2019 Porsche Macan will feature a new three-dimensional LED light panel at the rear, standard LED headlights in the front and a revamped interior design that comes with a new interface, linking the Macan’s technology to the driver.

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The updated Macan will have a larger, 10.9-inch full HD touch screen with the latest version of Porsche Communication Management, which, as in the Panamera and Cayenne, allows users to customize the interface by positioning movable tiles and choosing their respective functions from a list of options.  (more…)

Carlos Ghosn, Renault-Nissan Savior, Could Bring Their Alliance Tumbling Down

Under arrest in Japan, 64-year-old exec likely to lose his many titles, too.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.20, 2018

Carlos Ghosn remains Renault CEO — for now. Company officials appear to allowing the legal process to play out.

It took Carlos Ghosn two decades to transform three independent automakers into one of the world’s best-selling automotive alliances, but with the 64-year-old executive now sitting a Japanese jail, accused of a variety of financial misdeeds, that empire could come crashing down.

On Monday, Nissan broke its silence after completing a months-long investigation it said was “based on a whistleblower report.” Ghosn and another senior executive were arrested as they arrived in Japan from alliance partner Renault’s headquarters in France. The Brazilian-born Ghosn was accused of under-reporting his corporate income by as much as $45 million, while also misappropriating corporate funds.

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“I feel strong anger and disappointment,” Ghosn’s handpicked successor as Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa told reporters at Nissan headquarters in Yokohama. “I am very sorry.” (more…)

Mini Unveiling New John Cooper Works Model at L.A. Auto Show

Fun brand also showing off four new customized models.

by Michael Strong on Nov.20, 2018

The new Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition will make its debut at the L.A. Auto Show.

With the recent focus on “hot hatches,” it would be fair to assume that ever-popular Mini would be among the leaders in the segment. Not only is it fair, but also it’s correct with the brand’s John Cooper Works edition vehicles.

At this year’s Los Angeles International Auto Show next week, Mini’s going to roll out a series of new vehicles looking to generate some excitement, especially within the “need for speed” crowd.

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Starting with the Mini John Cooper Works Knights Edition, which will make its North American premiere starting Nov. 28. Joining that is the Mini John Cooper Works GP – first shown as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year – ready for launch in 2020.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Mainstay of brand's line-up only getting better with age.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.20, 2018

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 will be offered in a variety of versions, including the new Hybrid.

The Toyota RAV4 has been around for more than two decades but its recent performance has been nothing short of spectacular as its sales have doubled in the past five years, which is most impressive for a vehicle in various iterations has been around for more than 20 years.

However, the competition is intense. Toyota’s market share it can rightfully claim it created in the segment is under siege from rivals from North America, Europe and Asia.

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But Toyota isn’t sitting still either. With the 2019 RAV4, it is substantially changing the character of compact utility vehicle with more power, a new exterior look and an impressive hybrid version that Toyota expects to account for significant sales volume that is quite likely to surpass that of the Prius.

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Automakers Cutting New Car Smell, Adding to the Bottom Line

Chinese buyers hate the smell and the causes of it are unhealthy.

by Michael Strong on Nov.19, 2018

Car interiors often put off odors related to the volatile organic compounds used to assemble them. The VOCs are unhealthy and Ford has found a way to deal with them.

Making a new car greener entails many things, including but not exclusively, improved fuel economy, lower greenhouse gas emissions and easier recyclability.

Automakers around the globe have been searching for ways to make the interior cabin better for occupants. By changing the materials they use for steering wheels, seats and other components, they’re lowering the volatile organic compounds that fill the cabin.

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Additionally, there are other chemicals and compounds used in the assembly of vehicles that add to the harmful nature, and ultimately the smell of new vehicles. Eliminating these VOCs makes for a vehicle that’s less harmful to occupants — and adds to automaker’s bottom line too. (more…)

Toyota Plugs In For Performance

Most powerful RAV4 is a hybrid; could a performance Prius follow?

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.19, 2018

The RAV4 is now Toyota's best-seller and for 2019 the hybrid becomes its most powerful model.

No car company has done a better job marketing hybrids to the American public than Toyota. Though sales have slipped a bit over the last several years in the face of cheap gas, Toyota’s Prius remains the country’s best-selling hybrid-electric-vehicle, one of many HEVs the carmaker now offers.

That list includes a new hybrid version of the RAV4, the sport-utility vehicle getting a complete makeover for 2019. The electrified version of the compact sport-utility vehicle is, as one would expect, the most fuel-efficient version of the new RAV4. But, in an unusual move, Toyota has also made the hybrid the fastest and most powerful.

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That’s a significant shift in direction for Toyota which long seemed to believe that one couldn’t combine performance and fuel economy. But it now appears to be responding to a broader industry shift that sees electrified powertrain technology being used to enhance a vehicle’s fun-to-drive factor. (more…)

Carlos Ghosn Fired by Nissan, Reportedly Arrested for Misconduct

Investigation triggered by whistleblower, automaker confirms.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.19, 2018

Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested Japan as part of an investigation about falsifying income and misusing company assets.

One of the most visible faces of the global auto industry has been fired and reportedly arrested, Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn accused of financial misconduct.

Once so popular after helping save the then-struggling automaker, Ghosn inspired a widely read Japanese comic book. But on Monday, Tokyo media reported, he was brought in before Japanese prosecutors who are questioning the executive about claims he both falsified income statements and misused company assets. A second senior executive is also facing allegations of corruption.

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“Based on a whistleblower report, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (Nissan) has been conducting an internal investigation over the past several months regarding misconduct involving the company’s Representative Director and Chairman Carlos Ghosn and Representative Director Greg Kelly,” the automaker said in a statement. (more…)

Negotiating Deal VW is a “Delicate Dance,” Says Ford CEO Hackett

First project could be announced before year-end.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.15, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett described the talks with Volkswagen as a "delicate dance."

A deal between Ford and Volkswagen focusing on joint efforts in the light commercial vehicle market could come together quickly, but in his first official acknowledgement that the two carmakers are exploring a wide range of additional options, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said those negotiations involve a “delicate dance.”

Like a growing number of competitors, Ford has opened up to the possibility of teaming up with erstwhile rivals on a variety of projects. And, in recent weeks, sources have indicated it is discussing deals that also could see them team up on everything from autonomous and electrified vehicles to joint production and marketing efforts in markets such as Europe and Latin America.

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“(VW CEO) Herbert (Diess) and I had a great discussion” about a possible alliance on commercial trucks, Hackett said in an interview with the Reuters news service, noting that things are “going better than we thought it would.” (more…)

2020 Kia Soul Teased Ahead of LA Auto Show Debut

New platform, new longer-range EV, more tech - but a familiar design.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.14, 2018

Kia's quirky crossover will likely grow slightly larger when the gen-3 model hits the road.

The annual L.A. Auto Show is approaching fast and that means manufacturers are starting to drop hints about all the new models they’ll be debuting in the City of Angels later this month.

The latest to weigh in with a teaser image is Kia, which will pull the wraps off the 2020 Soul at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

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Official details about the 2020 Kia Soul are sparse, the Korean carmaker noting only that “the Soul is all new for 2020 and will come to market with a bold, immediately recognizable design.”

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Automakers on Edge Over Possibility of New Tariffs

Commerce Dept. findings key to Trump administration's plans.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.14, 2018

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is leading the Section 232 investigation into whether or not imported automobiles and parts represent a threat to the United States.

While the U.S. midterm elections have passed, carmakers are waiting on a final decision from the Trump administration on the Section 232 investigation. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 allows the White House to use national security grounds to impose tariffs on vehicles and auto parts imported into the U.S.

The industry’s lobbyists have said they were expecting the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is responsible for the investigation, to issue its ruling soon, perhaps this week well ahead of the February deadline fixed by the statute. The general assumption is the report will offer Trump a chance to impose new tariffs on autos and auto parts made in Europe and Asia.

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The 232 query has become a major issue for the Japanese government of Shinzo Abe, which has spent weeks trying to defuse the administration’s threat to impose tariffs that could have a major impact on the Japanese auto industry. (more…)