Archive for the ‘Asia Pacific’ Category

Ghosn Scandal Threatens to Fracture Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance

Japanese want Renault to examine evidence against jailed executive.

by on Dec.18, 2018

Carlos Ghosn has been ousted at Nissan and Mitsubishi, but Renault has only replaced him temporarily pending the outcome of his legal proceedings.

Tensions are mounting between the French and Japanese sides of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, according to various insiders and news reports, in the wake of the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, the man who put the alliance together two decades ago.

While the Brazilian-born executive has been ousted from top management roles by both Nissan and Mitsubishi, Renault has refused to follow suit while Ghosn awaits trial on allegations of financial corruption. He was charged by Japanese prosecutors earlier this month with concealing income and misusing corporate funds, but some sources believe the case really centers around growing concerns by Nissan about its relationship with Renault.

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The second-largest of the Japanese automakers is pressing its French partner to take a closer look at the evidence it claims to have gathered as part of an investigation triggered earlier this year by a whistleblower. The Reuters news service is reporting that Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa hopes to meet with his Renault counterpart, Thierry Bollore, in Amsterdam next week. (more…)

Hyundai, Kia Owners File Suit About Engine Fires

Safety regulators investigating problems with vehicles.

by on Dec.17, 2018

The 2014 Sonata is part of an NHTSA investigation about engine fires.

U.S. owners of select Hyundai and Kia models filed suit against the automakers in the U.S. trying to resolve a possible defected that may cause some engines to catch fire. The affected vehicles are already part of an ongoing investigation by U.S. regulators.

The more than 350 complaints filed by vehicle owners with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration constitutes “concealment of the defect,” according to the class action suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District Court of California by law firm Hagens Berman.

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The fires have been occurring for some time, but have been difficult to separate from fires that occurred as a result of a crash and those that happened before or after a crash. In Florida, more than 400 fires were reported, but just 120 of those fit the description for the lawsuit. (more…)

Infiniti Teases Electric Crossover Ahead of 2019 Detroit Auto Show

“An illustration of where we want to go with the brand.”

by on Dec.14, 2018

Infiniti is providing a glimpse of its first all-electric crossover concept, which it plans to debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Infiniti has a history of telegraphing its future with a series of intriguing auto show concept vehicles – and we can expect that to happen once again next month as it pulls the wraps off an electric crossover concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The prototype will carry forward the striking and well-received Prototype 10 and Q Inspiration concepts the Japanese luxury brand unveiled over the past year. And it appears quite likely to tease not only an upcoming battery vehicle but an all-new EV architecture that will be used for a variety of future Infiniti models.

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“The concept car we will show in Detroit is the beginning of a new era for Infiniti, and an illustration of where we want to go with the brand,” said Executive Design Director Karim Habib. “Electrification and other new technologies have given us the opportunity to evolve our design philosophy.” (more…)

Trump Takes Swipes at GM, Barra about EV Strategy

President claims EV strategy is flawed.

by on Dec.13, 2018

GM CEO Barra and President Donald Trump during better days. Trump called Barra "nasty" during an interview on Fox News today.

President Donald Trump is like a dog with a bone when it comes to General Motors and CEO Mary Barra today again taking swipes at the company and its product strategy as well as Barra herself.

On an appearance on Fox News, Trump said the company’s focus on shifting to electric vehicles is poorly conceived and won’t work.

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“They’ve changed the whole model of General Motors. They’ve gone to all-electric. All-electric is not going to work … It’s wonderful to have it as a percentage of your cars, but going into this model that she’s doing I think is a mistake,” Trump said.  (more…)

First Drive: 2019 Toyota Prius AWD

Less quirkiness, more practicality.

by on Dec.13, 2018

The 2019 Toyota Prius comes in an all-wheel drive model that should stimulate sales in cold-weather environs.

When the original Toyota Prius first rolled into U.S. showrooms nearly 20 years ago it promised to transform the auto industry, delivering the sort of fuel economy numbers that seemed all but impossible at the time. Never mind the hatchback’s quirky styling – or perhaps because of it – the Prius quickly developed a broad and loyal following, at its peak becoming the best-selling nameplate in the huge California market.

Sales have been in a slump for several years, however, and a variety of factors, including cheap gas and some odd design choices on the fourth-generation Prius deserve much of the blame, along with the fact that the Toyota hybrid now has lots more competition.

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Yet, even as some of its key competitors are walking away from the passenger car market, Toyota is doubling down and betting it can breathe new life back into Prius. The 2019 model-year brings some modest, if much-needed design tweaks, as well as the introduction of a new electric all-wheel-drive system that, the automaker expects will account for about a quarter of the nameplate’s sales going forward by enhancing the hatchback’s appeal in Snowbelt climes. (more…)

Aston Martin’s Valkyrie Will Bring F1 Engine Tech to the Street

11,000 RPMs and 1,000 hp.

by on Dec.13, 2018

This snarling V-12 puts out 1,000 horsepower and 11,000 rpms and it powers the new Aston Martin Valkyrie.

The horsepower race continues to accelerate. Where 400 hp was once considered extreme, more and more exotics are nudging into four-figure territory, Aston Martin the latest to get there by taking some of its Formula One technology from the track to the street.

The British marque’s new Valkyrie is still more than a year away from production but it is offering up a first look at what will become the hypercar’s beating heart, a hybridized V-12 capable of revving up to a dizzying 11,000 rpms in the process of punching out a full 1,000 horsepower.

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“To anyone with a drop of petrol in their blood, a high-revving naturally aspirated V12 is the absolute pinnacle. Nothing sounds better or encapsulates the emotion and excitement of the internal combustion engine more completely,” proclaimed Aston CEO Andy Palmer in a release accompanying these images. (more…)

Could a Pickup Truck be Tesla’s Next Vehicle?

Musk wants to make truck "so bad."

by on Dec.12, 2018

A rendering shows the Tesla pickup bears a striking resemblance to the Tesla Semi.

Tesla’s next vehicle will be the second-generation roadster, right? Oh wait! It’s supposed to be a small sport-utility! Maybe neither of them.

Co-founder Elon Musk has often mentioned his desire to bring out a pickup, but he’s never put a firm date to when it might show up: until now.

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In response to a tweet, Musk yesterday suggested the prototype will be unveiled sometime next year with production plans to follow shortly thereafter. (more…)

Daimler Investing More Than $20B in Battery Cells

Company furthers commitment to EVs.

by on Dec.12, 2018

Daimler AG's Dieter Zetsche announced the company's commitment to buy more than $22 billion in battery cells.

Daimler AG is prepared to put up $22 billion to purchase battery cells over the next dozen years.

Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said the commitment is expected to help insure that the batteries are available to move ahead with the development of electric vehicles.

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“Our electric offensive continues to gain momentum. After investing billions of euros in the development of the electric fleet and the expansion of our global battery network, we are now taking the next step,” Zetsche said. (more…)

First Drive: 2019 BMW 3-Series

Rediscovering the art of “the ultimate driving machine.”

by on Dec.11, 2018

BMW's taking the covers off the next-gen 3-Series. The 330i is certainly a step above its predecessors.

There are advantages to being the best in breed – but there are some disadvantages, as well, as BMW is well aware. Since the very first version rolled out in May 1975, the BMW 3-Series has been the benchmark of the compact sports sedan market, delivering a mix of performance, handling and luxury that other brands have struggled to match.

Now, however, as the seventh-generation 3-Series gets ready to roll into showrooms, the Bavarian automaker faces a level of competition never seen before. Traditional rivals like Mercedes-Benz and Audi have been zeroing in on the BMW formula, as have new competitors such as Genesis, which recently won high-profile kudos like the Motor Trend Car of the Year.

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And Tesla is aiming to redefine the rules with its all-electric Model 3. BMW is even competing with itself. In an SUV-crazed world, more and more traditional 3-Series buyers have been migrating to the brand’s own X3 crossover. (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Expresses Interest in Closing GM Plants

Exec expresses disdain for SEC, approvals.

by on Dec.10, 2018

Elon Musk expressed interest in buying one of the plants General Motors plans to close in the near future.

Tesla co-founder Elon Musk is ready to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with General Motors — again.

Not, Musk doesn’t want to challenge GM CEO Mary Barra to appear on the television game show, but he did tell reporter Lesley Stahl on the CBS news show 60 Minutes he would be willing to buy one of the plants GM plans to shut down in the near future.

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“It’s possible that we would be interested. If they were going to sell a plant or not use it that we would take it over,” he said during the interview. (more…)

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