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    • By William Maley
      Since the arrest of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn last month, a fair amount of dirty laundry has come to light showing the turmoil and tension between various executives and the relationship between Nissan and its alliance partner, Renault.  The arrest has also brought questions as to whether Ghosn 'jumped' or 'was pushed'. A new report from The Wall Street Journal is adding fuel to the latter.
      The paper obtained a transcript from a town hall meeting at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan - days after Ghosn's arrest. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa revealed that he disagreed with Ghosn's move to increase market share in the U.S., at the cost of investments for the Japanese market.
      “The investment in the Japanese market was very weak because there was too much power concentrated in one individual who decided that the Japanese market was less important, and we spent too much money on the U.S.,” said Saikawa.
      “He felt that there was no point investing in Japan where the population was stagnating.”
      Ghosn set a goal of achieving a 10 percent market share in the U.S. by 2017. Nissan came very close to hitting goal, reaching 9.2 percent last year. For Nissan to reach this goal, they piled on the incentives and made a push with sales to rental car companies - the latter according to industry analysts isn't as profitable, despite the higher volume. Nissan also put a lot of pressure on its dealers to move products. José Muñoz, who was Nissan's chairman in the U.S. from 2014 to this past January introduced a campaign under the slogan “Grow or Go.” Basically, if a dealer wasn't prepared to grow fast to meet the targets, Muñoz urged dealers to sell their franchise. 
      “If a dealer didn’t perform they’d threaten a dealer with termination notice,” said Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners, a brokerage firm that deals with the sales of car dealers.
      The report doesn't say how much investment was moved from Japan to the U.S. But reading between the lines and noting the relationship between the two became quite tense, we're assuming it was a large amount.
      Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      Since the arrest of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn last month, a fair amount of dirty laundry has come to light showing the turmoil and tension between various executives and the relationship between Nissan and its alliance partner, Renault.  The arrest has also brought questions as to whether Ghosn 'jumped' or 'was pushed'. A new report from The Wall Street Journal is adding fuel to the latter.
      The paper obtained a transcript from a town hall meeting at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan - days after Ghosn's arrest. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa revealed that he disagreed with Ghosn's move to increase market share in the U.S., at the cost of investments for the Japanese market.
      “The investment in the Japanese market was very weak because there was too much power concentrated in one individual who decided that the Japanese market was less important, and we spent too much money on the U.S.,” said Saikawa.
      “He felt that there was no point investing in Japan where the population was stagnating.”
      Ghosn set a goal of achieving a 10 percent market share in the U.S. by 2017. Nissan came very close to hitting goal, reaching 9.2 percent last year. For Nissan to reach this goal, they piled on the incentives and made a push with sales to rental car companies - the latter according to industry analysts isn't as profitable, despite the higher volume. Nissan also put a lot of pressure on its dealers to move products. José Muñoz, who was Nissan's chairman in the U.S. from 2014 to this past January introduced a campaign under the slogan “Grow or Go.” Basically, if a dealer wasn't prepared to grow fast to meet the targets, Muñoz urged dealers to sell their franchise. 
      “If a dealer didn’t perform they’d threaten a dealer with termination notice,” said Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners, a brokerage firm that deals with the sales of car dealers.
      The report doesn't say how much investment was moved from Japan to the U.S. But reading between the lines and noting the relationship between the two became quite tense, we're assuming it was a large amount.
      Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It may not seem like big news that late last month that Lexus launched the seventh-generation ES in Japan. But it becomes that when you consider that Lexus has never sold the ES outside of the U.S. and China for most of its life. Plus, Lexus has only been on sale in Japan since 2005.
      The introduction of the ES is somewhat surprising, considering sales of full-size cars are falling in the country. But Lexus believes the ES can buck that trend as there is "expanding demand for premium rides", and the vehicle being aimed at executives between their 40s or 50s. The company is also planning to ramp up marketing efforts on the sedan. One example is hour-long test drives of every Lexus model at the Lexus Meets lounge in Tokyo.
      It seems to be paying off as Automotive News reports that model has 2,000 preorders - 70 percent of those are current Lexus customers. Lexus has set a sales of 350 models per month.
      "We are still a young brand. We will offer experiences that surprise new customers through marketing and step up our exposure," said Lexus International President Yoshihiro Sawa.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      It may not seem like big news that late last month that Lexus launched the seventh-generation ES in Japan. But it becomes that when you consider that Lexus has never sold the ES outside of the U.S. and China for most of its life. Plus, Lexus has only been on sale in Japan since 2005.
      The introduction of the ES is somewhat surprising, considering sales of full-size cars are falling in the country. But Lexus believes the ES can buck that trend as there is "expanding demand for premium rides", and the vehicle being aimed at executives between their 40s or 50s. The company is also planning to ramp up marketing efforts on the sedan. One example is hour-long test drives of every Lexus model at the Lexus Meets lounge in Tokyo.
      It seems to be paying off as Automotive News reports that model has 2,000 preorders - 70 percent of those are current Lexus customers. Lexus has set a sales of 350 models per month.
      "We are still a young brand. We will offer experiences that surprise new customers through marketing and step up our exposure," said Lexus International President Yoshihiro Sawa.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Mazda has introduced a number of key changes for the Japanese-market CX-5 for 2019.
      Those changes include the addition of the turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder from the CX-9 crossover and recently refreshed Mazda6. It produces 227 horsepower (increases to 250 when Premium fuel is used) and 310 pound-feet of torque. There is also the introduction of G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) that adds a braking function to improve traction and handling. The interior looks to get a new climate control system and new instrument cluster.
      Normally, we wouldn't talk about changes for models outside of the U.S. But there are some good reasons as to why we're talking about the Japanese-market CX-5. As we reported back in June, a CARB document revealed that the turbo 2.5 would be appearing in both the 2019 CX-9 and CX-5. Then last month, an internal document from Mazda Canada noted the turbo 2.5 would be an option, along with the updated G-Vectoring Control Plus system.
      We don't know if and when Mazda is planning to show off an updated version of the 2019 CX-5, but our money is on the LA Auto Show in November.
      Source: Mazda


      Updated Mazda CX-5 Launched in Japan
      Becomes the first model in Japan available with SKYACTIV-G 2.5T engine; special edition model features a premium-feeling interior HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation has begun accepting pre-orders for the updated Mazda CX-5 at dealerships throughout Japan. The freshened crossover SUV offers a distinctive design coupled with the pleasure of Jinba-ittai driving - responsive control over driving, turning and braking – in everyday driving situations. Pre-orders have also begun for the CX-5 Exclusive Mode special edition. This range-topping special edition model combines carefully selected materials that create a look of warmth and modernity. Sales of the updated CX-5 and CX-5 Exclusive Mode special edition start on November 22.
      Sold in 120 different countries and accounting for a full quarter of the brand's global sales volume, the CX-5 is a core model in the Mazda lineup. Popular for its striking design, innovative SKYACTIV technologies and a pleasing performance feel that makes you want to keep on driving, the car has been acclaimed domestically and in overseas markets. The CX-5 has received more than 100 awards, including the prestigious Japan Car of the Year award, since the launch of the first-generation model in 2012.1
      With this update, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T is added to the powertrain lineup, making the CX-5 the first model in Japan available with this 2.5-liter inline-four direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engine. While the diesel delivers powerful torque and excels at long-distance cruising, the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T realizes a powerful and refined driving experience. Acceleration response is faithful from low revs, through the mid-range and up to the highest rpms, creating an interactive feel that makes drivers want to stay behind the wheel.
      G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) enhances handling stability on slippery road surfaces and when changing lanes on the highway. This updated version of G-Vectoring Control now regulates vehicle motion when returning the steering wheel to center as well as when beginning a steering action.
      Models powered by the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine are available for the first time with a six-speed manual transmission. The updated CX-5 diesel becomes the only model in its class2 to offer a manual option, providing SUV drivers with the pleasure of greater control over the car.
      As the highest-grade CX-5 available, the Exclusive Mode special edition combines a finely-crafted interior with high-quality materials such as Nappa leather and real woodgrain decorative panels to create a refined cabin space that blends warmth and modernity. Such high-quality materials and fine craftsmanship bring new joy to the experience of owning a CX-5.
      Moving forward, Mazda will continue to regularly update models so customers can enjoy driving pleasure and outstanding environmental and safety performance in all kinds of common driving situations. In so doing, the company aims to build a strong bond with customers and become an irreplaceable presence in their lives.
      Updates to the Mazda CX-5
      Powertrain, handling stability and ride comfort
      The first model in Japan available with the SKYACTIV-G 2.5T, a 2.5-liter inline-four direct-injection gasoline turbo engine. Burning regular unleaded gasoline, it outputs up to 169 kW (230PS) at 4,250 rpms and produces up to 420 N・m (42.8kgf・m) of torque at 2,000 rpms. GVC Plus, a new technology that improves handling stability at high speeds and during emergency maneuvers while suppressing sudden, unintended movements to enhance passengers' peace of mind, comes as standard equipment on all model grades. The SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission is now available with the SKYACTIV-D 2.2 diesel engine in both FWD and AWD configurations. Advances in safety and convenience
      Nighttime pedestrian detection is added to Advanced Smart City Braking Support (Advanced SCBS). A 360° View Monitor is standard equipment on the Exclusive Mode special edition and is available as a factory-installed option for all model grades. Mazda Connect car-connectivity system supports Apple CarPlay5 for the first time on a Mazda model in Japan. Mazda Connect car-connectivity system supports Android Auto ™6 for the first time on a Mazda model in Japan.  Improvements in design and quality
      The 17-inch aluminum wheels are painted Gray Metallic instead of Dark Silver. (The design is unchanged.) The climate control panel, switches and dials are redesigned for better feel and operability. For models with normal speakers, the surface material of the A-pillar trim has been changed from resin to fabric. In addition, tweeters have been added at the base of the A-pillar, increasing the number of speakers from four to six. Exclusive Mode special edition (with SKYACTIV-G 2.5T or SKYACTIV-D 2.2)
      The Exclusive Mode special edition offers Mazda's highest-grade interior, using specially selected materials such as Nappa leather upholstery and real woodgrain trim to create a premium cabin space with the feel of a higher-class vehicle. In addition, features and functions that improve comfort and safety enhance the joy of ownership.
      Seats are upholstered in soft, smooth Nappa leather and the exclusive interior color coordination uses black on the pillars and ceiling and Deep Red in the lower areas. Real woodgrain is used in decorative trim panels for a look of refinement and warmth. The frameless rear-view mirror provides a wider field of vision and a cleaner look. 19-inch aluminum wheels with exclusive dark gloss paint accentuate a look of composure and toughness. Both front seats feature a ventilation system that extracts hot air trapped between the occupant and the seat surface. The seven-inch TFT LCD display mounted in the center of the meter cluster shows essential driving information in a well-organized and easy-to-read manner. White LEDs are used throughout the cabin for consistent interior lighting, and foot lamps come as standard equipment for both front and rear seats.
      View full article
  • Posts

    • Daimler has deepend their ties with CATL alliance as they focus on building fast-charging EV batteries with 400 plus range and what they say is to Lead in battery technologies globally. Daimler say the goal is to give an average of 435 miles or 700 Kilometers to an EV auto on average. https://www.autoblog.com/2020/08/05/daimler-catl-long-range-electric-car-batteries/ Due to the lead that Rivian has in EV Truck production, VW is watching and keeping an Eye on Rivian as it considers a Global EV Truck for the company. VW has also stated that the Scirocco is retired after it's third time in production and there is no rush or interest in releasing another 2 door coupe either in EV or ICE format. The era of the car is coming to a close, expect the future to be about trucks, CUV/SUV and specialty activity auto's. https://www.autoblog.com/2020/08/04/vw-electric-cars-pickup-ev-meb-platform/
    • Update on EV stuff going on. California Zero Labs has continued to expand from custom work which they still do to also offering two specific quality off road auto's. Converted Ford Bronco's and Land Rover's. Pricing is NOT for the Faint of Heart! Luxury EV's with Range and off road capable for the Rich. https://www.zerolabs.com/
    • Very close on the pics, too. B-59 was closer to the 2nd one (& was white), the GP and Cat are spot on (configuration & colors), Charger was black w/ black graphics, but the ‘65 was a worn, plain, dark blue post coupe.    I forgot one : also had a ‘64 Merc Marauder 2-dr fastback w a 4bbl 390.
    • When I was 25 years old...I owned a 1999 Olds Alero,  a percentage of my dad's  1994 Pontiac Grand Am and if I am to try to compete quantity wise with Balthy, I will lie and  say that I STILL owned my 1985 Olds Delta 88 Hmmmm....     versus   Tough to figure out what Id rather...  I think imma gonna go with Balthy's  stable instead of mine.    
    • That affordability curve over the last 15 years looks a lot like the COVID19 infection curve for 2020.
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