“If we don’t share, we won’t survive,” said Osamu Suzuki, chairman of Suzuki Motors, today. The auto industry’s grand seigneur gave a whole new meaning to “share society” at the Tokyo headquarters of Toyota, where Suzuki, flanked by a much younger Aiko Toyoda, announced what a reporter in the room characterized as an “engagement between Suzuki and Toyota.” Of course, that’s not the official line. Yet.
“In India and Indonesia, we have the Datsun brand. It’s not really selling very strongly as of today,” Joji Tagawa, the always affable investor relations chief of Nissan Motor, said yesterday at the company’s HQ in Yokohama. “We have a joint plant with Renault in India, and last summer, the CMF-A platform-based Renault Kwid was introduced. It is selling really well.”
With that, the suitably diplomatic Tagawa rendered the haiku-version of a yet unreported twist in the relationship between Nissan and its French Alliance partner Renault SA, a story I now can tell in more epic breath.
A battle of opinions rages about the future of the auto business, and the sentiments couldn’t be more different.
Two days ago, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said Chrysler would exit small cars to focus on Jeep SUVs, Ram pickups and an electric vehicle lineup. Yesterday, Ford Motor Co CEO Mark Fields said the company could possibly partner with other automakers on building small cars while cheap gasoline makes small cars a tough sell and drives demand for big-iron trucks and SUVs.
The Chinese new car market, good for rapid growth for nearly a decade, suddenly went negative. Early indicators show that the decline continues. Who will be most hit if/when the China market turns real sour? [Continue Reading]
In this 5th installment of Auto Industry 101, we talk about the price for your toils and troubles of starting a car company. This short course is written due to the recent interest in disrupting the auto industry. The course is kept extremely simple, Auto Industry for the Twitter Generation. Those in the industry will find nothing new. Those new to the industry hopefully will find a helpful primer.
Takeover fantasies usually help prop up a stock price, and with Tesla’s shares slowly trundling in the general direction of Mother Earth, there has been no shortage of takeover fantasies. Elon Musk himself brought up BMW last year, only for BMW to vehemently deny any possible alliances, or dalliances. I am frequently asked what Apple, or a global automaker would pay for Tesla. Here is my usual answer. [Continue Reading]
China is one of the very few auto markets to show solid growth, with good prospects for decades. We learned this in yesterday’s installment of Auto Industry 101. Today, we look a little closer at China, as close as the big country allows in less than 1,000 words. This short course is written due to the recent interest in disrupting the auto industry. The course is bite-sized, and kept extremely simple, Auto Industry for the Twitter Generation. Those in the industry will find nothing new. Those new to the industry hopefully will find a helpful primer.
The Chinese auto market is a Tiger. It’s big, it’s fast, and it can eat you alive. Responsible for the huge market are Deng Xiaoping, and western investors. Deng invited western automakers to China. Volkswagen and American Motors followed his call. (If you are interested in the inside story of why and how VW came to China, let me know, and I may tell it. For AMC, ask Michael Dunne.) Then, VW and AMC languished in China for two decades. Nothing happened until western investors started pouring money into China at around the turn of the last century. Fueled by Dollars, Euros, and Yen, the Chinese car market exploded.
According to a usually very reliable South-Korean source, Tesla may want to partake in the sudden South Korean import boom, while solving some of its problems next door in China. According to the source, there have been discussions with a South Korean company that expressed interest in becoming a Tesla importer. The company was offered approximately 300 new Model S that currently are sitting in Tesla’s inventory in China. The cars are said to be fully loaded, half of them are 85 kW units. [Continue Reading]
In one of its infamous “strike hard” campaigns, China has outlawed suggestively dressed models at car shows. Apparently in an effort to curb the onslaught of masses that had choked past shows, there won’t be those infamous “scantily clad” women at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. Which gave us the opportunity for a nostalgic look back at a paradise lost. After re-visiting Beijing 2010 and Shanghai 2011, after traveling to Beijing again in 2012, we will revisit the past two years today, before closing the books on the sad affair. In the end, you will agree that future shows are not worth going to, and you are right. [Continue Reading]