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]

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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The truth about BEV sales: Legacy and Chinese automakers outrank Tesla

Who is selling the most battery electric vehicles in the world? If we think Tesla, then we have been misled by the huge noise surrounding the Californian carmaker. In the first two months of the year, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance still was number one in total worldwide BEV registrations. This according to data JATO Dynamics shared with Dailykanban. The Alliance might soon lose the title, but it is not Tesla that is on an exponential trajectory. It is the Chinese. [Continue Reading]

Toyota prepares for the worst

Akio Toyoda, and some samurai – (c) Bertel Schmitt

If you read the press reports of Toyota’s annual results conference today, you will think all is peachy. After all, “Toyota Motor Corp. reported Wednesday that its quarterly profit rose 21 percent,” wrote the Detroit News. On top of that, Toyota submitted an “upbeat profit forecast,” said Bloomberg. The Toyota share was up strong at the news. I, however, walked out of the Tokyo meeting room given the impression that Toyota fears the sky might fall.

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BILD: Volkswagen’s Diess snitches on Winterkorn

Better times: Winterkorn and Diess – picture courtesy Manager Magazin

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported on what it calls an “unusual deal:” Volkswagen’s new CEO Herbert Diess has received assurances of safe passage from U.S. authorities. Today, Germany’s BILD tabloid says it knows the price Diess had to pay for being able to travel the globe without worries about being arrested at the next border:  In an interview with the FBI and U.S. DOJ, Diess threw former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn under the bus, BILD says. [Continue Reading]