World’s Largest Automakers May 2018: VW extending its lead – slightly

The battle for World’s Largest Automaker 2018 turns more and more into a bitter fight between Volkswagen Group and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Five months into the year, VW managed to extend its lead ever so slightly, with only 45,000 units separating the Germans from the French-Japanese nipping at their heels.

Former ichi ban Toyota apparently has decided to sit back and relax. Toyota Group’s worldwide production basically is the same it was January to May 2017. [Continue Reading]

Automotive Grade Linux is hitting the road

Ken-ichi Murata of Toyota, and Daimler’s Thomas Wurdig at the AGL Summit in Tokyo (c)Bertel Schmitt

More than 1,000 nerds, geeks, and hackers are convening in Tokyo this week to decide on the future of the automobile. Word got around that the car’s future is digital, and the conventioneers, meeting at the Tokyo Conference Center Ariake, are involved in writing your car’s operating system, called Automotive Grade Linux, or AGL.

Linux is what powers the website you are reading, Linux makes your phone work if you are using an Android device. A remote cousin of Linux drives your iPhone. If it is up to the conventioneers, Linux will be the standard operating system of future cars. [Continue Reading]

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance develops new car platform for emerging markets

Peyman Kargar in Yokohama (c) Bertel Schmitt

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is developing a new platform at its Chennai, India, engineering center, a Nissan senior executive disclosed today in Yokohama Japan. In presenting his mid-term plan for the region, Peyman Kargar, responsible for Nissan’s Africa Middle East and India region, said “what’s  under development now is a little higher than the current platform we are using for Redi Go and Kwid.” Kargar refused  to “disclose more at the moment,”  and Nissan spokespeople likewise maintained cover.

Renault’s very successful $4,000 Kwid, and its Datsun cousin Redi-Go, are built upon the Alliance’s CMF-A common modular family architecture. (See here for an article I wrote years ago about the platform.)

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Nissan says no to Trump’s indecent fuel efficiency proposal

Kawaguchi and McLain

“We are not going to relax,” said Nissan’s Chief Sustainability Officer Hitoshi Kawaguchi, when Wall Street Journal’s Tokyo reporter Sean McLain asked him today in Yokohama whether Trump’s fuel efficiency rollback would impact Nissan’s plans to reduce consumption and hence emissions of its cars by 40% until 2022. [Continue Reading]

Mitsubishi Electric leaves us in the dark on its super-secret headlight-sensor

Operating in the dark – (c) Bertel Schmitt

Today at Mitsubishi Electric’s Tokyo HQ, we were given a preview of what the company will show at the upcoming Asia CES in Shanghai. We’ve seen an LED headlight that adapts to what is in front of us. While this may not sound revolutionary, hidden in the gadget that might escape Mitsubishi’s labs in a few years is something that might help autonomous drive solve a big conundrum.   [Continue Reading]

Elon Musk’s Fatal Media Attraction

If “fake news” wasn’t already a zeitgeist-defining trope after the 2016 election, Elon Musk’s Twitter recent crusade against “the holier-than-thou hypocrisy” of journalists, editors, “big media companies” and the “clickbait” business model sealed the deal. Raging against the “incredibly dishonest” and “sanctimonious” journalists who have written critically about his management of Tesla in recent days, Musk promised to launch a website “where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor and publication.”

Like Trump, Musk is clearly tapping into very real public concerns about the state of the media but his approach suggests that he is more interested in exploiting distrust in the media than fixing it. In a Twitter poll about his proposed rating site, he offered followers a choice between approving of his vague plan and voting “no, the media are awesome.” This false choice, between complete satisfaction with the status quo and total support for his “Yelp for Journalism,” betrays the true goal of his campaign: to pit his popularity against the rising tide of critical news stories about him and his companies, and force the public to make a choice. [Continue Reading]

World’s Largest Automakers April 2018: VW back in the lead

The race for World’s Largest Automaker 2018 is getting more exciting than F1. Four months into the year Volkswagen Group edged-out last month’s front-runner Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, and it took the first place with a razor-thin 22,000 unit lead.

Buoyed by a nearly 13% growth in its largest country-market China, Volkswagen shows no signs of a post-dieselgate traumatic disorder predicted in a few corners of the media. Among the Top 3, Volkswagen leads with an impressive 8.1% growth for the year.

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What If The Koch Brothers Were Running Tesla (Into The Ground)?

The Koch bros. Picture courtesy

We are proud and pleased to have Matthew Klippenstein as a new DailyKanban writer. Matthew is an extremely rare combination between a hardcore fuel-cell engineer, plug-in electric vehicle early adopter, and an absolutely amazing author.

Imagine if you will a parallel universe: President Bernie Sanders won a landslide victory over Donald Trump in 2016; DC Comics’ Justice League — the most ambitious crossover event since the Bering Strait — has shattered box office records; and the Koch Brothers acquired a controlling interest in Tesla in 2013.

If the fossil fuel potentates were Hell and High Water-bent on destroying Tesla’s corporate prospects — if they tried to systematically sabotage the company’s future — what would the past five years have looked like?

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