I typed most of this in the lounge at the Seoul airport, flying back to Tokyo on the cheap from the Shanghai Auto Show. Serious work from Shanghai was impossible, due to a Chinese firewall that is higher and sturdier than ever. And that was just one of the problems. Be warned that that this review of the Shanghai Auto Show has a lot about the latest rice cookers, and very little about the latest cars. For a more serious version, click here. [Continue Reading]
On April 1, a dozen of new managing officers strengthened the ranks of Toyota. Two days later, they met with a small group of reporters in Nagoya. The center of interest was one of the newcomers, because she stood out. She was the only one not to wear a black suit. She was the only one who was not Japanese. She was the only she.
Julie Hamp, who had worked herself up the ladder at GM from giving factory tours and making videos to General Director of Communications, is the new Chief Communication Officer of Toyota, and she was put in this slot by Akio Toyoda to effect change. Here is what she will change – if the gaijin ninja manages to slip through the ranks of the blacksuited corporate samurai. [Continue Reading]
According to overpowering on-line drone, the automotive world as we know it will come to an end on March 9, and it will be upended by an Apple watch. That watch, OMG, will open car doors, possibly even start the car. Keyless! Wow! Amazing! What will they think of next? I haven’t worn a watch for years, but I remember 2002, when the ill-phaeted Volkswagen Phaeton was launched. It had keyless entry, and it confused the heck out of people. [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]
China succumbs to capitalist running dogs, outlaws “scantily clad models” at car shows. Sex and cars with Chinese characteristics, a nostalgic look back
China is the world’s biggest car market, it has the world’s biggest car shows, and it suddenly developed the world’s biggest hang-up about pretty ladies. For years, they used to sex-up otherwise boring cars. No more. The auto fairs must do without the fair maidens, the models must remain dressed. “Attractive young women will no longer adorn cars at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in April,” the state-owned tabloid China Daily reports.
“Auto shows in other cities should also stop using models,” said Yang Xueliang, head of the public relations department of Zhejiang Geely. “Give a pure automobile show back to customers.” At past auto shows, his company, which also owns Sweden’s Volvo, competed lustily with other carmakers in the scantily clad department, this year, no more.
Fear not, the DailyKanban will bring you the lightly dressed car shows that the government banned. [Continue Reading]
For a few years, Ford has been calling itself “America’s best-selling brand,” and it is doing it again. Of course, it is not true. Best-selling auto brand, perhaps, depending on, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, what the definition of “auto” is. Best-selling brand, no way. Bud Light for instance sold 295,365,100 cases of beer last year, compared with Ford’s 2,376,841 cars and trucks. Ground coffee? Folgers, more than a billion. Cigarettes? Marlboro, 114.7 billion in 2013.
But then, of course everybody will understand that Ford is talking about being No. 1 among auto brands, not all brands. “It’s somewhat implicit,” Ford’s chief analyst Erich Merkle told Advertising Age in 2013. O.K., point taken. Then what about “best-selling car brand?” [Continue Reading]
I have posted the December and full year 2014 statistics on foreign car imports to Japan, and while doing so, I could not help but observe:
Whenever America gets a new President, someone briefs him on what buttons to push, just in case total thermonuclear war needs to be started. When Ford gets a new leader, he is instructed to accuse Japan of heinous crimes, whenever the opportunity arises, and there’s always a good time to do so. Alan Mulally, when he was the man in charge at Ford, called Japan “the most closed market in the world.” After Mark Fields took over at Ford, he immediately went to Washington, and “urged lawmakers to take a tough line with Japan.” The day-to-day business of demonizing Japan is farmed-out to the American Automotive Policy Council, the lobbying arm of Detroit’s Big Three. It calls Japan’s automobile market “the most protected and closed auto market in the industrial world.” The Japanese car market begs to differ.
Even after having come off their highs in the recent months, the hopes placed into Tesla by the stock market are insane and utterly unsustainable. Even if Elon Musk would walk on water tomorrow, even if he would turn his foot-bath into wine and drink it, his stock would not be worth the money. Then why is it so high? It is said that Teslas are powered by electricity. Not true. Tesla is powered by pure hype. There is hope: The hype appears to lose its power. [Continue Reading]