Toyota to restart production at half-speed across Japan

April 12th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Just one of Toyota’s plants, producing the Prius, has been able to continue production in Japan since the recent earthquake/Tsunami disaster. But now that’s scheduled to change on April 18 with Toyota reportedly ready to resume production that day, though assembly lines will only work at half speed.

The plants should be able to run through till April 27, when they will close again until May 9 to honour Japan’s Golden Week holiday. While that’s a fairly short production window, the move is positive for Toyota and Japan’s manufacturing industry. Apparently, the automaker has already lost out on 260,000 units since the March 11 disasters.

Toyota’s plan to restart production is ambitious and comes as the automaker continues to struggle to procure parts needed for production. But Toyota’s parts situation has drastically improved, with reports that problem part counts have gone from 500 to under 150. Continue reading “Toyota to restart production at half-speed across Japan” »

New MG model enters production in UK

April 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The MG6 is MG’s first all-new car in sixteen years going all the way back to 1995’s MG F, is scheduled to begin UK production next week in Birmingham, England.

This new beginning for English MG production signals a return from the dead  after MG Rover folded and was bought by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation [SAIC].

According to MG, the first new English MG will roll off the line at 11:00 a.m. on April 13, almost six years to the day since the last MG Rover was built in April, 2005. This rebirth begins a new chapter in the MG story, from its inception as a sports car brand in 1924, to its rather pedestrian days of the 1980s, and it’s ambitious revival with 1995’s MG F, to its new identity as a subsidiary of a huge Chinese carmaker.

The MG6 is a Chinese-designed four-door liftback sedan that is around the same size as a Volkswagen Golf. Power is coming from either a 100kW, naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine or a sports-focused turbocharged 120kW variant. Continue reading “New MG model enters production in UK” »

Tato Nano sees huge rise in sales numbers

April 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The world’s cheapest car the Tata Nano has had a sharp increase in sales in the last couple of months. This has required Tata Motors to double production of budget microcar. In March, the Indian automaker sold 8,707 examples, nearly as much as its 9,000-unit sales record back in July, 2010.

It’s been a roller coaster ride for the Nano, after a record number of sales on release the Nano’s sales plummeted to a low point of just 589 units last November. The decline was caused largely by numerous reports that alleged that the cars were mysteriously bursting into flames. Following the mysterious fire issue, Tata offered free extended warranties on the cars, up to 90 percent financing on easy terms, and a comprehensive maintenance plan at just 99 rupees a month (about $2.90 NZD). Continue reading “Tato Nano sees huge rise in sales numbers” »

Japan’s new car sales drop to lowest level since 1968

April 6th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The tragic recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan has wreaked havoc on domestic automakers’ ability to produce new vehicles. The earthquake has also stunted business for many Japanese suppliers that automakers around the world rely on for production. A obvious knock on effect was always going to be a downturn in car sales – but how bad is it?

It’s turning out to be very bad, Japan’s March auto sales are reportedly the lowest they’ve been since 1968. Overall vehicle sales are down 44.2 percent from the same month in 2010, while sales of all light cars were down a similarly colossal 32.5 percent on the month.

With many Japanese automakers still remaining shut nearly a month after the quake, the domestic sales slump in Japan will continue through April. However with thousands of cars wrecked during the earthquake and tsunami there is hope that when full scale production can begin again it will have a kick start.

Bugatti Galiber super sedan to enter production

April 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

If you’ve always wanted a vehicle with Bugatti Veyron levels of power but with room for the kids and shopping, then you’re now in luck.

Bugatti is ready to make this dream reality and is going to build a four-door supercar to destroy all others. That’s right, Bugatti’s Galibier concept car has reportedly been given the green light for production.

Better have your pennies saved because the production version of the Galibier certainly won’t come cheap and is expected to be priced around $1.4 million USD.

While official specs haven’t been released it’s rumoured that Bugatti’s W16 engine will arrive under the bonnet in full 745kW form. But other reports are ruining the party with suggestions that Bugatti will drop off two turbochargers meaning only two will be in operation this will cause power to dip to  a mere 600kW. Continue reading “Bugatti Galiber super sedan to enter production” »

Audi builds five-millionth A4 model

March 31st, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

If you like it or you don’t the Audi A4 is still a car that deserves respect especially now that five million of the model have been produced.

Audi built the milestone model at its plant in Ingolstadt, the car was a 2.0 TFSI Quattro variant in Misano Red.

Five million cars is a huge number with the A4 helped by a variety of body shapes including a wagon, sedan and the CUV-styled Allroad model. There is also higher-spec options like the Quattro all-wheel-drive system and sports variants.

The A4 is currently in its fourth generation and is known as the B8, which represents a continuation of the Audi 80 lineage. The first A4 was designated as the B5-series, followed by the B6, B7, and the current B8. Continue reading “Audi builds five-millionth A4 model” »

General Motors to recall 2,000 laid-off workers

March 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

According to the United Auto Workers union in the States, General Motors is ready to recall another 2,000 of its previously laid-off workers by September this year. The UAW announced that most of the recalls will affect southern Michigan, where the economic downturn and large scale redundancies had the most impact.

An exact timeline for the recall of the workers hasn’t been specified by GM but UAW officials say the workers will be back building cars in September. GM is also ready to go further and with the laid-off employees back at work, GM will begin hiring again, but exact details haven’t been announced.

This is extremely positive news for the laid-off workers and also General Motors which is making strong progress on its road to recovery.  Several dire years and the death of four of its once iconic brands crippled GM but now a more positive day is dawning. According to GM bosses, they’re starting a third shift of 750 workers at the Flint, Michigan truck plant, 600 for a second shift to build Cadillacs in Lansing, and 1,550 to build small cars in Lake Orion, Michigan.

Mazda MX-5 sets new production record – 900,000 units

February 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Mazda MX-5 has just reset its own Guinness World Record for the “Best sellling two-seat sports car”. To achieve this feat the little Mazda needed  21 years and to endure countless jokes about it being a girl’s car, but no one is laughing now. The 900,000th MX-5 has just rolled off the assembly line in Hiroshima, Japan.

The MX-5 originally achieved the new world record when it reached 531, 890 units back in May, 2000. The Guinness World Record has been updated every 100,000 units since and Mazda is now going to reapply to have the record updated to 900,000.

Originally created to capture the essence of classic British roadsters, the 1989 MX-5 won over critics with its simplicity and engaging driving dynamics.

Nobuhiro Yamamoto, the program manager of the current MX-5 said, “Since Mazda launched the original MX-5, it has undergone two complete product redesigns and a series of upgrades. Its enduring success is due to the strong support it enjoys from MX-5 fans around the world. Going forward, I will strive to keep the MX-5’s spirit alive while evolving it into a car that will be loved by even more people.” Continue reading “Mazda MX-5 sets new production record – 900,000 units” »