Filed under: Acura , Cadillac , Chevrolet , Hyundai , Kia , Lexus , Mazda , Nissan , Toyota , Design/Style , Ram Step inside just about any new car these days and you’ll quickly see that vehicle interiors have become a pretty nice place to spend some time in. For the third consecutive year, WardsAuto sat in each and every new vehicle that had received redesigned or updated interiors, and it has now named its 10 Best Interiors. Judges look at everything from design and fit-and-finish to comfort, safety and technology. Some of the standout selections include budget cars like the Chevrolet Spark and Kia Forte all the way up to more expensive sedans like the $60,000+ Cadillac XTS and Lexus GS450h . An interesting note here is that WardsAuto praises Cadillac for its CUE infotainment system while Consumer Reports generally lambasts the system. Asian automakers definitely won the contest for nicest interiors as the list is comprised of five Japanese automakers and two South Korean, with Toyota and General Motors in a dead heat with the most number of cars on the list with two each. Scroll down for the full list (in alphabetical order) and press release from WardsAuto for its 10 Best Interiors of 2013. Continue reading Ward’s 10 Best Interiors released, Asian automakers take 7 of 10 spots Ward’s 10 Best Interiors released, Asian automakers take 7 of 10 spots originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 15 Apr 2013 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Nissan , Toyota , South Korea The strong yen has Japanese carmakers looking to optimize every efficiency in order to keep their cars competitive in export markets. One strategy gaining momentum is to do some island hopping, specifically, moving plants and manufacturing to Kyushu, the southernmost main island in the Japanese archipelago. Car production there as a percentage of total Japanese production has doubled from 2001 to 2011, but more startling are the recent increases: Nissan just moved its Note and Caravan production there, Toyota is boosting production there by 600 percent, and total units made in Kyushu climbed 21 percent from 2010 to 2011. The three big factors involved are lower personnel costs, lower auto parts costs and increased productivity because of newer, more efficient factories. Companies can save ten percent on personnel in Kyushu versus traditional manufacturing centers like Aichi and Kanagawa, which are on the main island of Honshu and near major cities like Nagoya and Tokyo. Kyushu is also much closer to the South Korean peninsula, and the weakness of the South Korean won means importing lower-priced Korean auto parts is an even more attractive option. Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun says it could soon be the Detroit of Japan. The prediction could be sped up if intergovernment talks can rework laws on transportation: it’s illegal for trucks with South Korean plates to drive on Japanese roads, so trucks hauling parts get shipped to Kyushu ports and their cargo is transferred to Japanese trucks. Japanese and South Korean officials are working to determine how to allow trucks from across the strait to travel unhindered from Korean auto parts factories to Japanese car factories. Kyushu on the road to becoming Japan’s Motor City originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 Jul 2012 12:02:00 EST.