Volkswagen could outsell GM in China for the first time in nine years

Volkswagen could outsell GM in China for the first time in nine years

December 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , China , Ford , GM , Toyota , Volkswagen As of the end of November, Volkswagen had sold 70,000 more cars than General Motors in China in 2013, making it appear inevitable that VW will outsell GM there. The feat would return the German brand to the top of chart in China for the first time in nine years, but even the second-place getter won’t be complaining too loudly: both automakers sold more than three million vehicles in a market pegged to hit 16 million sales this year. Volkswagen said it could have sold more cars if it had had more production capacity in China. The arrival of a new-to-China Audi A4 , a China-built A3 sedan , the VW Bora and Skoda Octavia , as well as an $18.2-billion-euro investment in the country to construct new factories , means VW should see its numbers grow in 2014. GM’s lineup is expanding next year, too, adding four Chevrolet nameplates and two vehicles to its Baojun brand as it tries to get to five million in sales by 2015. Among other automakers, Ford benefited from good product and woes for Japanese automakers over a territorial dispute with China, outselling Toyota by almost 32,000 units through the end of November. The Ford Focus is China’s best-selling vehicle so far this year. Analysts predict that the Chinese market will grow in 2014 thanks to untapped demand in smaller cities, and that should make for more record numbers; counting buses and trucks, China should surpass the 20-million sales mark. The biggest headwind foreseen at the moment is pollution. Larger cities are already capping the number of new vehicle sales and how often people are allowed to drive, as the effects of industrialization obscure entire cities and long-term forecasts.

TMG Lexus LS Sports 650 destined for production after 2015?

TMG Lexus LS Sports 650 destined for production after 2015?

November 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Performance , Lexus , Toyota There’s little question that Lexus has succeeded in challenging its German rivals in the luxury marketplace. And with the LFA , it has proven that Japan can build a world-class supercar. What’s left blank is the space in between. Toyota Motorsport GmbH came up with a compelling answer in the form of the Sports 650 prototype, a Lexus LS with a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 641 horsepower and other go-fast components to challenge the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG and Audi S8 . Toyota boss Akio Toyoda was reportedly so impressed with the project that he initially ordered TMG to build ten examples – one for him and each of his nine best friends. But since the model on which the project was based has since been replaced, questions remain over the project’s fate. Georg Kacher – European correspondent for Automobile and Car magazines – recently drove the prototype and reports that “the project will now likely be transferred to the new model out in 2015.” That could come down purely to speculation, but Kacher tends to get the inside line on industry news, so this particular bowl of gossip soup might not requite the usual grain of salt we otherwise might add. TMG Lexus LS Sports 650 destined for production after 2015? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Nov 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

Japan dominates Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Rankings, US and Europe gaining [UPDATE]

Japan dominates Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Rankings, US and Europe gaining [UPDATE]

October 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Acura , Audi , BMW , Buick , Chrysler , Dodge , Ford , GMC , Honda , Infiniti , Jeep , Lexus , Lincoln , Mazda , Mercedes-Benz , Mini , Nissan , Scion , Subaru , Toyota , Volvo , Ram Consumer Reports has released its annual Auto Reliability Rankings, and surprise of surprises, Japan is dominant. Among brands in 2014, Lexus , Toyota and Acura make up the top three marques, while Mazda , Infiniti , Honda and Subaru sit fifth, sixth, eighth, and tenth, respectively. For those keeping track at home, Japan’s dominance wasn’t complete, though. Audi’s 2014 models helped the German brand jump from eighth to fourth, while Volvo saw a massive, 13-spot improvement, to seventh overall. Even GMC got in on the action, jumping three places, to ninth. Outside of the top 10, America, Europe and Japan saw more mixed results. Scion took the biggest tumble of any brand, falling ten positions to number 11, while Subaru , though still in the top ten, dropped five spots (coincidentally, CR had nothing good to say about Subaru and Toyota’s joint venture, calling the BRZ and Scion FR-S each brand’s least reliable vehicle). Nissan fell nine places to number 22 overall. BMW and Mercedes-Benz each climbed one place, to fifteenth and thirteenth, respectively. The big earners, though, besides Volvo, included Buick , which jumped nine places to number 12.

Japan dominates Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Rankings, US and Europe gaining

Japan dominates Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Rankings, US and Europe gaining

October 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Acura , Audi , BMW , Buick , Chrysler , Dodge , Ford , GMC , Honda , Infiniti , Jeep , Lexus , Lincoln , Mazda , Mercedes-Benz , Mini , Nissan , Scion , Subaru , Toyota , Volvo , Ram Consumer Reports has released its annual Auto Reliability Rankings, and surprise of surprises, Japan is dominant. Among brands in 2014, Lexus , Toyota and Acura make up the top three marques, while Mazda , Infiniti , Honda and Subaru sit fifth, sixth, eighth, and tenth, respectively. For those keeping track at home, Japan’s dominance wasn’t complete, though. Audi’s 2014 models helped the German brand jump from eighth to fourth, while Volvo saw a massive, 13-spot improvement, to seventh overall. Even GMC got in on the action, jumping three places, to ninth. Outside of the top 10, America, Europe and Japan saw more mixed results. Scion took the biggest tumble of any brand, falling ten positions to number 11, while Subaru , though still in the top ten, dropped five spots (coincidentally, CR had nothing good to say about Subaru and Toyota’s joint venture, calling the BRZ and Scion FR-S each brand’s least reliable vehicle). Nissan fell nine places to number 22 overall. BMW and Mercedes-Benz each climbed one place, to fifteenth and thirteenth, respectively. The big earners, though, besides Volvo, included Buick , which jumped nine places to number 12.

Toyota maintains world’s largest automaker crown, GM and VW close behind

Toyota maintains world’s largest automaker crown, GM and VW close behind

April 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Plants/Manufacturing , GM , Toyota , Volkswagen Toyota still holds the title of World’s Largest Automaker. The Japanese automaker ceded the claim to General Motors in 2011 following a series of natural and man-made disasters that stifled production in Asia. Production is back up to full speed and, coupled with the introduction of a new Camry midsize sedan, Toyota retook the title in 2012 and has so far been able to keep it by selling 2.43 million vehicles in the first quarter of 2013. The race is still tight – General Motors reports sales of 2.36 million vehicles, earning it the second spot globally with Volkswagen’s 2.27 million sales nabbing the German automaker third place. It’s not all smooth sailing for Toyota, either, as the brand’s first-quarter figures were down 2.2 percent when compared to last year. GM posted a 3.6-percent gain and VW managed a 5.1-percent gain over the same period. Sales in China may be a deciding factor as to which automaker performs best in 2013. Toyota’s figures were down 13 percent in China. Meanwhile, GM and VW are continuing their upward trajectories in the crucial Chinese market. As ever, each of the automakers says publicly it doesn’t care much about the title.

Armored Toyota is a pleasure palace in disguise

Armored Toyota is a pleasure palace in disguise

January 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Aftermarket , SUV , Safety , Videos , Toyota , Specialty , Luxury We’ve seen our fair share of kitted out armored vehicles, from bullet-proof BMW models to Land Rover SUVs that can take a land mine. But Lexani Motorcars has recently put its armored car experience to work on a Toyota Sequoia . Why? The company isn’t saying, but we imagine a Toyota is somewhat less conspicuous than a high-dollar German sedan. With sufficient armoring on five sides to protect the machine from 7.62×51 mm rifle rounds and under body plating stout enough to keep the occupants safe from both grenades and land mines. But this isn’t some brutal tank. Inside, the Sequoia serves up leather seating, wine coolers galore, a massive, retractable LCD flat screen (which doubles as a cabin divider) and and beautiful wood trim. Rear passengers can see exactly what’s going on outside thanks to a bevy of discreet cameras, and most of the onboard electronics look to be controllable via an iPad. Check it out below for a closer look. Continue reading Armored Toyota is a pleasure palace in disguise Armored Toyota is a pleasure palace in disguise originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 09 Jan 2013 12:34:00 EST.

Automotive News names its industry All-Stars

Automotive News names its industry All-Stars

November 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , China , Europe , Chrysler , Honda , Toyota , Volkswagen , Fiat Automotive News has announced its annual list of Industry All-Stars. This year, the theme is apparently “success in the face of economic uncertainty,” or something of that liking. The list points to executives who have led their respective brands and automakers to positive sales in spite of the European financial crisis and slowing sales in China . See the list below, and you’ll understand why: Industry Leader of the Year and CEO, Europe – Martin Winterkorn, CEO, Volkswagen Group (above): The VW boss started with the German automaker in 2007, overseeing a staggering 12 brands. Under his leadership, sales of Volkswagens have gained in both China and America. VW has also expanded production to America and grown its operations in Brazil. Winterkorn is a very hands-on executive, traveling to America six times to test and tweak the American-built current-generation Passat. Volkswagen is aiming to be the largest and most profitable automaker in the wold by 2018, and Winterkorn will stay on through that time, making him accountable for those goals. CEO, North America – Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Chrysler Group: How does 31 straight months of positive year-over-year sales sound? The Fiat and Chrysler chief has bestowed dealers with a wealth of new product, and the American automaker is expected to post $1.5 billion in profits this year, in spite of economic turmoil in Europe.

Volkswagen again named tops in Total Quality survey by Strategic Vision

Volkswagen again named tops in Total Quality survey by Strategic Vision

August 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Car Buying , Chrysler , Ford , Toyota , Volkswagen Global marketing and communications firm Strategic Vision has announced the results of its annual Total Quality Index. In the 2012 edition of the study, Volkswagen Group of America achieved the highest rating in Total Quality. This marks the German automaker’s second year of achieving the accolade. According to the press release from Strategic Vision, the runner up spot was actually a tie between Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Company. Strategic Vision factored in vehicles like the Audi A4 and A8 , as well as notable VW vehicles like the Golf , Eos , and Tiguan in its study. The study also pointed to the quality of vehicles like the Flex , F-150 , as well as the Fiat 500 for such a tight finish between Ford and Chrysler. Toyota came out with the fewest reported problems of any brand. According to the study, only 17% of Toyota owners reported having problems. Strategic vision says this was its closest finish in “Total Quality” that it has ever reported. According to the release, “Customers are increasingly defining ‘quality’ holistically and using Total Quality in their decisions.” In assessing the Total Quality Awards, Strategic Vision calculated the results from surveys sent out to 45,390 individuals who purchased new 2012 model year vehicles from September to December of 2011.

Mercedes to market Tesla-powered 2014 B-Class EV in U.S.

Mercedes to market Tesla-powered 2014 B-Class EV in U.S.

July 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Hatchback , Mercedes-Benz , Smart , Toyota , Tesla , Electric Looks like another Tesla Motors investor will be looking to cash in on their connection. Autoweek reports Mercedes-Benz will offer their B-Class in the U.S. with Tesla propulsion. The magazine says their source at the German automaker confirms plans for a B-Class electric-only vehicle. While Tesla already provides battery packs for the battery-powered Smart ForTwo , the B-Class EV will reportedly have Tesla batteries, motor and other components. U.S. residents should be able to procure one sometime in 2014. The same Mercedes source says plans for a hybrid B-Class have been postponed for now. Adding a range-extending, gasoline-powered engine to an electric vehicle would put the car into a different class for which rebates and incentives aren’t as favorable in the States. Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler owns a 4.7-percent share of Tesla.

Porsche 911 is officially Germany’s most reliable car

Porsche 911 is officially Germany’s most reliable car

December 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Hybrid , Performance , Europe , Government/Legal , Hatchback , Porsche , Toyota In Germany, having a reliable car is almost a rite of passage. That is, you won’t be granted passage onto the roadways if you’re car hasn’t passed the government’s strict testing regime. Called the Technischer

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