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Archive for October, 2015

Nissan Teatro for Dayz – a Car for People Who Don’t Like Cars?

“A multimedia device for share natives.”

by on Oct.29, 2015

Nissan's Teatro for Dayz concept is a multimedia device designed for share natives, according to CEO Carlos Ghosn.

Were it ever to go into production, we assume Nissan would have to think long and hard how and where to sell it: a traditional new car showroom or an Apple Store.

True, it has four wheels and four doors, but beyond that, the Nissan Teatro for Dayz concept doesn’t have all that much in common with a conventional automobile – perhaps because it seems aimed primarily at a young generation that is ambivalent, at best, about owning a car.

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Think of the Teatro for Dayz as “a multimedia device designed for share natives,” suggested Carlos Ghosn, the Japanese maker’s CEO, during a news conference at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. (more…)

Yamaha Scores a Surprise Tokyo Motor Show Hit with Sports Ride Concept

The “active feeling” of a motorcycle in a two-seat sports car.

by on Oct.29, 2015

Yamaha stole the thunder from four-wheeled vehicle makers at the Tokyo Motor Show with its Sports Ride concept car.

Yamaha scored one of the surprise hits of this year’s Tokyo Motor Show – and not with a new two-wheeler but a sports car concept designed to provide the “involved and active feeling” of a motorcycle.

The Sports Ride Concept is about the size of a Lotus Elise, about 500 pounds lighter than the latest Mazda Miata, and has the edgy looks of an Alfa-Romeo 4C. But whether it will actually make it into production is far from certain.

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Yamaha officials didn’t want to discuss the Sports Ride in detail, and they repeatedly emphasized the fact that the tw0-seater is a “concept.” That said, the prototype sat on its display stand with a mock-up of the carbon fiber monocoque that would be used in its construction. And the display noted the 1,650-pound sports car would be built using the iStream production process. (more…)

Renault-Nissan Partnership Set to Overcome Latest Crisis, Says Ghosn

Expect a lot more consolidation in the auto industry, says Renault-Nissan CEO.

by on Oct.28, 2015

While consolidation is essential to the auto industry, it won't be easy to make work, warns Ghosn.

The 16-year-old alliance between Japan’s Nissan and France’s Renault isn’t about to break down, Carlos Ghosn, who serves as CEO of both companies, said during an appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Widely considered the most successful relationship of its kind in the auto industry, questions have been raised by reports that the French government wants to raise its stake in Renault, something that could shift the power balance of the alliance. Some observers now expect Nissan – which holds no voting rights in its ally – to step in and purchase a stake in Renault.

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While Ghosn declined to address specifics, he stressed that he doesn’t see the Renault-Nissan Alliance breaking down. “From time to time you are going to have crisis, problems, divergence,” he said during his news conference, but the two companies are “aligned on the fact that the alliance has been a tremendous success.” (more…)

Toyota Offers Two Takes on the Sports Car with S-FR and Kikai

Small 2-seat S-FR has production plans in its future.

by on Oct.28, 2015

With its widemouth bass of a grille, the S-FR adopts classic sports car proportions.

No surprise, considering the size of the brand, Toyota’s stand at the Tokyo Motor Show is filled with a variety of new concept and production models – as well as a pint-sized robot. They cover a vast range of automotive genres, from fuel-cell vehicles to a pair of sports car options.

The Kikai is a minimalist design that lets you get a clear look at the machinery that drives the beast. The little S-FR is a bit more traditional – and more likely to land in showrooms in the near future as the anchor of Toyota’s new three sports car strategy.

The Future is Now!

With its widemouth bass of a grille, the S-FR adopts classic sports car proportions, with a long hood, a low roof and a compact powertrain driving the rear wheels. But it measures a mere 13 feet, nose-to-tail and is small enough to look well-proportioned riding on tiny 15-inch wheels. (more…)

Mitsubishi Comes to Tokyo Motor Show with Pair of Concepts

Batteries power eX SUV, XR puts emphasis on design.

by on Oct.28, 2015

The Outlander Sport-sized Mitsubishi eX concept hints at future battery drivetrain technology.

It may be one of Japan’s smaller automakers, but Mitsubishi staked out a big presence at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show with a pair of new concepts vehicles, one focused on design, the other emphasizing its growing reliance on battery power.

Both the Concept XR and eX show cars are expected to find their way into production in the near future. And we’re likely also to see some of the new technology show up on a variety of future Mitsubishi products, including the self-parking and auto-charging system.

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Both models pick up some cues from the current Mitsubishi line-up, rather than adopting the almost cartoon-like exteriors seen on some other recent show cars from the brand. But they also reveal where Mitsubishi plans to take its design language moving forward.


FCA Posts Q3 Loss Due to Recall Costs

Automaker sees revenue rise, but margins still trail Ford, GM.

by on Oct.28, 2015

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's company took an $850 million charge related to recall costs.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV posted loss in the third quarter after taking an $850 million one-time charge to cover costs linked to vehicle recalls in North America.

The net loss for the three months to the end of September totaled $330.4 million compared with a net profit of in the same period last year. On the bright side, the automaker’s revenue advanced 17% to more than $30 billion.


The $850 million pretax charge underscoring the impact that recalls had on the Italian-American automaker. (more…)

FCA Safety Chief Takes New Job; Maker Gets Federal Monitor

Kunselman named COO of Oakland University.

by on Oct.28, 2015

Scott Kunselman was FCA's top safety executive, but he's resigned to take a job outside of the auto industry.

Fiat Chrysler’s efforts to improve its safety record seem to take a step back for each step forward the automaker takes. Just as it came to an agreement with federal regulators on the choice for an independent monitor to oversee its moves, the company’s top safety offer resigns to take a job outside of the industry.

FCA US LLC agreed to let former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater to serve as an independent monitor of its handling of recalls and other safety-related matters as part of the Consent Order the company agreed to with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Slater’s appointment comes as Fiat Chrysler’s top safety officer, Scott Kunselman, senior vice president of safety and regulation, announced he will retire effective Nov. 30, to become chief operating officer at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. (more…)

Live from the Tokyo Motor Show!

by on Oct.28, 2015

The 44th edition of the Tokyo Motor Show is now drawing to a close for the media, but that’s not the end of the news made out of the show. is still bringing you many of the stories about the impact of the debuts as well as the long-term trends created during the event and we’re still bringing all of that to you so please check the site often for updates.

Here are our most recent stories: (more…)

Subaru Teases Next-Gen Impreza with Tokyo Show Car

Viziv Concept offers some hints as to upcoming Tribeca replacement.

by on Oct.28, 2015

The Subaru Impreza Concept was shown in 5-door form, but a 4-door will soon follow.

These days, automakers frequently use “concept cars” to set the stage for a new model that may be coming in just a matter of months. Often times, they’ll give the show cars a catchy, if misleading name to keep media scribes and the public guessing. Subaru didn’t even bother to go that far as it rolled out what it insisted was just a “concept” version of the Impreza at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday.

Sure, a few of the details will likely be changed, but not by much, Subaru acknowledging that the show car reveals “the design direction not only of the new Impreza but of Subaru’s future models as a whole.”

What a Concept!

And for good reason, it turns out. The Subaru Impreza set to reach showrooms next year as a 2017 model will introduce the Japanese maker’s new global architecture, a platform that will be shared by virtually all of its products going forward.


Honda Clarifies Fuel-Cell Plans with Debut of 2016 Clarity Hydrogen Car

Japanese reuses old name, updates new model.

by on Oct.28, 2015

The 2016 Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle will be available soon in Japan, but on a lease-only basis in the U.S. next spring.

Don’t be surprised if you get a slight sense of déjà vu when someone mentions Honda’s new hydrogen car. The Japanese maker has decided to call it the Clarity, the same name it used for its original fuel-cell vehicle nearly a decade ago.

After delaying the hydrogen car project for about a year, Honda finally introduced the production model at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday. It will soon go on sale in the maker’s home market and reach the U.S. by spring – or, more precisely, Southern California, about the only place where the gaseous fuel is readily available.

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In Japan, the Honda Clarity will go for 7.6 million yen, or roughly US$64,000, but the price is likely to be discounted in the States where Clarity will be offered “exclusively for lease,” the maker said, at $499 a month. (more…)