While Herr Schmitto-san was learning about Toyota’s new Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV) by not driving it in Japan, I was busy learning about Mirai by driving it in sunny Southern California. The Los Angeles area is already ground zero for hydrogen-powered cars in the US, thanks to major investments by the state government and small-scale FCV deployment by Honda, Hyundai and BMW. Soon it will be the first market for Mirai, the first FCV to be offered for sale to consumers and Toyota’s first step into a long-awaited hydrogen future. Driving the Mirai past competitor FCVs and refueling at a station that pumps hydrogen extracted from local sewage, it becomes clear that the first steps towards Toyota’s vision of a “hydrogen society” have already been made in sun-soaked Orange County.
Stepping up the pace in its quest for world domination, Volkswagen will pour €85.6 billion ($106 billion) into “new models, technologies and production facilities in the coming five years,” the Wolfsburg carmaker said today in a press release. VW also made no bones of its objective “to become the leading automotive group in both ecological and economic terms.”
Volkswagen announced years ago its intention to become the world’s largest, greenest, and most profitable carmaker by 2018. The world’s largest already is within reach, also because world leader Toyota stubbornly refuses to grow. In a strategy completely opposed to that of VW, Toyota has announced again and again that it won’t build new car factories until 2016 at least. [Continue Reading]
Yesterday, Cadillac-chief Johan de Nysschen promised to double the brand’s sales and models by 2020, he raised the possibility of a $250,000 halo-Caddy (HC10?), he presented the Cadillac ATS-V without a tie, as if it’s post-Fukushima cool biz in Yokohama, and OMG, he even “wants Cadillac to report its earnings and losses separately from General Motors.” As if this is not making enough headlines, he also revealed that he, by a hair’s breadth, evaded arrest for making comments on a lady’s hot ass. His words.
On Facebook, de Nysschen recounted an episode with a New York hotel clerk. It went like this: [Continue Reading]
- LA motor show proves our hydrogen future is coming up fast – Autocar: Volkswagen, Audi and Toyota all showed off their near production-ready hydrogen-powered cars in LA, and now all that’s needed is the infrastructure to support them. It was interesting to see how much of a splash hydrogen made at this week’s Los Angeles Motor Show. This really seemed like the event where the technology entered the mainstream, with Audi and VW both announcing projects and Toyota revealing the production version and name of its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Mirai. I drove a test mule…
- GERMANY: Opel announces management changes – Just-auto: Opel Group has appointed current executive chief engineer, vans, light commercial vehicles and Alliance Programmes, Charlie Klein, as VP vehicle engineering Europe.
- US: BMW tests Google Glass eyewear for quality checks in production – Just-auto: BMW is testing Google Glass eyewear for use in quality assurance in production at its Spartanburg plant in the US.
- GERMANY: Volvo Car and DHL close in on remote parcel service – report – Just-auto: Deutsche Post’s DHL unit is in talks with Volvo Car Group on a partnership that would allow the parcel delivery service to remotely deliver to Volvo Car customer’s cars according to reports.
- GUANGZHOU SHOW: China replaces US as Volvo Car’s biggest market – Just-auto: China is poised to replace the US as Volvo Cars largest market in 2014 with sales of at least 80,000 cars, up from 61,146 in 2013.
- BMW Plays Catch-Up in China – WSJ: In China, BMW is finding that catching up is hard to do. It has spent $2.51 billion to compete in what is expected to become the No. 1 luxury-car market in coming years.
- Chinese SUV sparks JLR claims of copycat – FT: Landwind’s X7 bears a striking resemblance to Jaguar Land Rover’s wildly successful Evoque
- GM shuffles top managers, including high-ranking women – Reuters: General Motors Co reassigned four senior executives, including two high-ranking women, and announced the departure of another on Thursday.
For more than 30 years, a joke has circulated in automotive circles that hydrogen fuel cells are the future of the car... and always will be. Nearly every automaker has flirted with the technology at some point since the 1980s, either in their … [Continue reading]
Arizona sues General Motors, says it hid safety defects - Reuters: Arizona State filed a lawsuit against General Motors Co , claiming the carmaker put the public at risk by concealing safety defects to avoid the cost of recalls. Fiat Chrysler … [Continue reading]
Having been in far too many nearly finished cars in a former life, I don’t get excited by test drives. Nevertheless, I always go when invited. While other journalists drive the car, I shoot the breeze with the engineers who make the car. It is … [Continue reading]
CHINA: VW needs more capacity to keep pace - Just-auto: Volkswagen Group has said it will expand its vehicle assembly operations in China further than expected to keep pace with continuous growth in the Chinese market. Ford Continues … [Continue reading]