Tesla too late as Volkswagen and Toyota join their truck forces

Shimo and Renschler – (c) Bertel Schmitt

Should you be among the people highly excited about Tesla’s prospects with heavy trucks, count yourself lucky that you weren’t in the ballroom of Tokyo’s Grand Prince Hotel this afternoon. Would you have been, you went home with all hopes abandoned.  In said ballroom, two global players in the heavy truck business announced that they would join hands, because doing it alone is fraught with dangers.  Unsaid, but quickly evident: Newcomers, don’t even try.  Also, the allied bus and truck makers, will not bet on either battery electric or fuel cell. They will do both. [Continue Reading]

Tesla’s Model 3 screen signals steep production increase – or not

Picture: Tesla

Sure, you can wait for Tesla’s, official production releases, but wouldn’t you be a better investor if armed with the knowledge of how many Model 3 Tesla really intends to build within the next few months? The tracking of VIN numbers has turned out to be a bit inexact. You want something where Tesla has a little more skin in the game. Clients of JL Warren Capital have that information. The company tracks a surefire leading indicator, and that is the central display screen of the Model 3. According to JL Warren’s chief analyst Jungheng Li, Tesla seems to be gearing up for a weekly production rate of 3,400 Model 3 for this quarter. If everything goes well.

[Continue Reading]

In a search for untapped car markets, Nissan is back in Pakistan.

1976 Datsun 120y, for sale near Islamabad, $1,500 ask

Nissan is entering Pakistan’s car market – again.  The company assembled cars in the country until the middle of the past decade. Nissan withdrew when carmageddon sent Pakistan’s auto business into a tailspin. Now, Nissan is back.

Nissan reactivated its old Pakistan partner Ghandhara Nissan Ltd, and it will start assembling Datsun-branded cars within the 2019 fiscal, Nissan said today. [Continue Reading]

Sunseeker, take cover: Lexus enters the big boat market

The 65footer by Lexus

Today in Yokohama, Toyota’s head-turning Lexus speedboat was awarded the “Boat of the Year” title. That’s probably the last we hear of the boat, because it won’t be built. Instead, Lexus will enter the boat market with a 65foot sports yacht, Toyota Marine boss Shigeki Tomoyama said today.

[Continue Reading]

Japan unites industry in push for fuel cell cars, enthusiasm varies

United for hydrogen. (c) Bertel Schmitt

To allow for millions of new cars to be added without suffocating the globe, we need to switch to zero emissions in a hurry. Electric appears to be the way to go, and there are two ways to power the electric motors: Battery, and fuel cell. Batteries are easy, limited in range, and take long to charge. Fuel cells are technically involved, can give the car a long range, and take only minutes to refuel. They have a big drawback: The lack of hydrogen fuel stations. Yesterday, Japan made the first serious attempt to break that deadlock. [Continue Reading]

World’s Largest Automakers 2018: The new race begins with VW in the lead

And they are off: The race for World’s Largest Automakers 2018 ended the first of its 12 laps with Volkswagen way ahead of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and Toyota. Separated by only 529 units, the Alliance and Toyota are neck and neck.

With a 10.1% unit growth over January 2017, Volkswagen continues its strong showing of the last two months of 2017, giving the lie to those who mused that the Germans could have brought a few units forward into 2017 to regain the top spot.

[Continue Reading]

Toyota: News of the death of the ICE have been greatly exaggerated

It’s not Elvis. It’s a new ICE engine by Toyota. There will be more. (c) Bertel Schmitt

I came home tonight, and Frau Schmitto-san, ever the caring wife, asked: “How was your day?”
“I was at Toyota, they launched a completely new line of gasoline engines, transmissions, drivelines.”

Frau Schmitto-san was perplexed: „They still make those?”

This about sums up the level of EV hype, and its utter disconnection from the truth. The short trip to Toyota was a journey back to reality. [Continue Reading]

Take that, Uber: Nissan starts live tests of its autonomous taxi

Not quite driverless – yet (c) Bertel Schmitt

When Uber came along, the attendant Silicon Valley bombast was that Transport As A Service will leave the auto industry in ruins. It overlooked the minor detail that someone must make the cars that supposedly would be shared. Silicon Valley also did not anticipate what came next: In a first wave, car companies, always in search of new ways to sell cars, bought into the alleged disruptors. GM invested in Lyft, Toyota in Uber. The money was welcome. So were the sold, and leased out cars.

Today, we saw the first ripples of the second wave. Automakers are beginning to compete head-on with the erstwhile disruptors. Today in Yokohama, Nissan started a pilot with self-driving Leaf cars used as autonomous taxis. Partnering with e-commerce company DeNA, Nissan will start its “Easy Ride” service in Yokohama on March 5th, which puts it, according to Reuters, “among the first major automakers anywhere to test ride-hailing software developed in-house, using its own fleet of self-driving electric cars.”   [Continue Reading]