Categories: Auto

Hyundai Turns Up Super Bowl Pitch for Sonata

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on February 05

Hyundai Motor made a splash in the auto industry with an aggressive marketing blitz last year. Taking advantage of Korea's weak currency, Hyundai brought out a string of promotional packages,...

Will Hyundai Have Labor Peace?

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on December 24

Share investors welcomed an agreement by Hyundai Motor's unionized workers to accept a wage deal, ensuring that 2009 will be the first strike-free year in 15 years for South Korea's...

Korea’s Kia Opens Auto Plant in U.S.

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on November 17

While other automakers slash output and close production lines, South Korea’s Kia Motors has just opened a $1 billion plant in Georgia. The new factory, part of Kia’s growing presence...

How Ugly is the Tata Nano?

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on October 29

Tata Motors has won kudos for its low-cost Nano, the world's cheapest car. Here's one honor the Indian company won't want to trumpet: According to my BusinessWeek colleague Damian...

Geely rises to record high on Volvo progress

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 29

Even with confirmation from Ford that China's Geely is the preferred buyer for the U.S. automaker's Volvo marque, there are still concerns that the long-rumored deal won't get off...

Hyundai Beats Rivals in U.S., China; Profit Soars

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on October 22

No other market showed higher growth in auto sales than China this year and no other major automaker outperformed Hyundai Motor there. That more or less explains the South Korean...

GM’s Korea Problem Lingers On

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on October 15

Even as General Motors is trying hard to ramp up its product pipeline to stop a slide in its market share, the company’s management is still struggling to rescue its...

Chinese Company Buys Hummer from GM

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on October 10

GM’s iconic Hummer brand has been acquired by a Chinese heavy construction equipment maker for about $150 million, marking another step in the long march by China to develop a...

Toyoda on Toyota: "Grasping for Salvation"

Posted by: Kenji Hall on October 02

Akio Toyoda thinks he knows what’s wrong with Toyota, the world’s biggest car maker. Success has made it cocky. It has been expanding in an undisciplined fashion. It has been...

Ford Launches Figo, A Small Car Made In - and For - India

Posted by: Mehul Srivastava on September 23

After years spent trailing Japan's Suzuki, South Korea's Hyundai, and India's own Tata, Ford decided to make a real go for Indian consumers, launching a small car called Figo. It's...

Hyundai Aims to Charm U.S. Drivers with New Sonata

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on September 18

Hyundai on Sept. 17 unveiled its new Sonata midsize sedan that will be a key test of its recent campaign to reestablish its image. Departing from the sedate styling...

GM China Auto Sales Soar 78%

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on August 03

Vrooom! GM auto sales in China soared 78% in July compared with last year, propelling Chinese car sales for General Motors’ mainland joint ventures in the first seven months by...

Hyundai Posts Record Earnings amid Recession

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on July 23

Hyundai Motor pulled off a coup, posting a record quarterly profit in the three months ended in June while the global auto industry is moaning in the worst slump in...

Toyota teams up with Aston Martin

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 30

It's seems an unlikely combination, but is the deal between Toyota and Aston Martin, announced yesterday, such a bad idea? Under the plan, Aston Martin will sell a version...

China May Reject GM Hummer Deal on Environmental Concerns

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on June 26

It looks like China will reject the proposed purchase of General Motors's Hummer division by Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. on the grounds that producing the GM gas hogs...

Ghosn says Nissan will make electric cars in the U.S.

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 23

It is annual shareholder meeting time in Japan and, after receiving dozens of questions from Nissan investors in Yokohama this morning, CEO Carlos Ghosn answered a few more from reporters....

Electric Car Wars?

Posted by: Kenji Hall on June 05

The launch of Honda’s Insight gas-electric hybrid car in February led to talk of a war against Toyota’s new Prius. The rivalry has boosted hybrid sales. Last month, hybrids accounted...

G.M.'s Hummer goes to China

Posted by: Dexter Roberts on June 03

This is how mixed up the global business world has become: who should arise to snap up General Motor’s once popular gas-guzzling monster, also known as the Hummer? A private...

As hybrids go mainstream, Toyota, Honda rush to produce smaller models

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 27

In Japan, it's getting difficult to make the case that hybrids are a niche for drivers keen to demonstrate their environmental credentials. In April, Honda's new Insight, which want on...

The Honda Insight, the Toyota Prius and profits

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 28

Ask a Toyota or Honda executive how much their respective companies make per hybrid car and you're unlikely to get a straight answer. Indeed, it was progress of sorts a...

Going green at the Shanghai show

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 20

In recent times, environmental themes have been unavoidable at big auto shows and this year’s Shanghai show, which opened to the media today, is no different. That many of...

Toyota's new management lineup takes shape

Posted by: Ian Rowley on April 10

With the start of Akio Toyoda's presidency a little over two months away, Toyota today announced its new management lineup. It includes the return of Yoshimi Inaba, who is expected...

GM China Achieves Record Monthly Sales

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on April 08

Here's a bit of good news for beleaguered General Motors: According to a press release sent out on April 7, GM and its local affiliates in China sold 137,004 vehicles...

Hyundai Scores Big in U.S. Auto Market

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on April 02

It is increasingly looking like the start of a trend that could make Hyundai Motor a star player in a recession. The South Korean company just reported a 0.5% gain...

As GM's Wagoner finally goes, Japanese CEOs must wonder how he lasted so long

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 30

I'd love to know what Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyota's outgoing president, thinks now that General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner is finally losing his job. Watanabe, after all, is also on the...

Toyota to offer cheaper Prius in Japan?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 16

If reports in Japan prove to be correct, the battle between Honda's new Insight and the Toyota Prius is about to get a little rougher. Today's Nikkei newspaper is reporting...

Mazda's stock surges

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 16

It's been a miserable few months for Japan's automakers and Mazda is no exception. On Mar. 3, its stock reached a three-decade low amid concerns over its finances. Like all...

Honda's Insight makes a solid start in Japan

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 11

The new Honda Insight hybrid is doing well in Japan. Since going on sale on Feb. 6, Honda has received 18,000 orders or about three times its initial target. Of...

Hyundai Grows Bolder with New Flagship

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on February 17

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor was bold enough when it unveiled its first rear-wheel-drive premium sedan, the Genesis, just over a year ago. It let journalist drive the Genesis, BMW...

China Sells More Cars than the U.S.

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on February 11

China Sells More Cars than the U.S. Chalk up yet another humiliation for Detroit: China’s 730,000 vehicles sold in January, exceeded the 656,976 sold in the U.S., making the Middle...

Amid the gloom, Honda at least stays profitable

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 30

Today was another grim day in Tokyo as the Japanese government revealed some horrific economic numbers. In December, industrial production dropped 9.6%, the biggest fall ever. The same month, unemployment...

Hyundai’s Profit Fall Isn’t All That Bad

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on January 22

Hyundai Motor’s announcement on Jan. 22 that its net profit fell 28% in the fourth quarter of 2008 isn’t really a bad piece of news. The highlight of the corporate...

Korean Carmaker Ssangyong Seeks Receivership

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on January 09

South Korea’s cash-strapped Ssangyong Motor sought court receivership on Jan. 9 to buy time to restructure itself in the face of plunging sales and a liquidity crisis. The move came...

Toyota: Change at the Top Looks Closer

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 09

More news on the possible replacement of Toyota chief Katsuaki Watanabe with Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company's founder. Today's Nikkei newspaper reckons Toyoda's appointment could be decided as early...

Toyota scion Akio Toyoda reportedly lined up to replace CEO Watanabe

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 23

Could this week get any worse for Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe? Yesterday, Watanabe took the unusual step of announcing a huge profits revision at a year-end press conference which is...

Will Toyota now make a full year loss?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 18

The awful news in autos is unrelenting. There's an article in today's Nikkei newspaper which raises the possibility that Toyota could makes it first ever operating loss (although Toyota once...

WTO Rules Against China's Auto Parts Tariffs

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on December 16

Chinese auto industry pride was high on December 15 when upstart car maker BYD Auto stole the march on GM, Toyota and Nissan by launching the first mass produced plug-in...

As Toyota delays new Prius plant, will exec bonuses be next next to go?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 15

As expected, Toyota is delaying the opening of a new Prius plant in Mississippi, highlighting that even gas sippers aren't immune to collapsing auto sales. The plant, near Tupelo, was...

At 78, Osamu Suzuki to become Suzuki Motor president once again

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 10

Eight years after stepping down as Suzuki Motor's president, Osamu Suzuki is to return to the top job at the Japanese automaker. Later today, the company is expected to announce...

Chrysler's China Deal Dies

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on December 09

Smart timing from Chrysler. Just as lawmakers in Washington are debating whether to throw a lifeline to Detroit's Big Three, the company has announced it is backing away from a...

Toyota City feels the pain

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 09

Japan’s automakers aren't seeking bailout, but Toyota's hometown may soon need a helping hand. According to reports in the local media, Toyota City expects its tax income this year to...

Honda right to quit Formula One

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 05

Confirming news reports that broke in the UK on Thursday, Honda CEO Takeo Fukui today said that the Japanese car maker is pulling out of Formula One, blaming the appalling...

Toyota credit rating cut for the first time in a decade

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 26

It's not then end of the world, but Fitch Ratings decision today to cut Toyota's AAA credit rating back to AA is yet more bad news for Japan's number one...

As Ford Reduces Stake, Mazda Appoints New CEO, Replaces U.S. Execs

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 18

Here's an update on the speculation surrounding Ford and Mazda. Mazda held a press conference this evening in Hiroshima, which confirmed that Ford will a 20% stake in the Japanese...

Ford's Mazda Share Sale Imminent?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 18

Another day, another auto stock sale? Reports in in Tokyo say Ford is about to confirm that it will reduce its stake in Mazda from 33.4% to 13.4%. Rumors of...

Will Japan's carmakers catch bailout fever?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 06

Yet more grim earnings news in Japan today. Toyota, the last of Japan's automakers to post its half-year results, has slashed its operating profit outlook by over 70% to $6.1...

Toyota iQ: A recession proof car?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 16

Tough times these might be but Toyota wasted no expense on the launch of its new "micro-premium" car, the iQ in Chiba, outside Tokyo, on Wednesday. Including Toyota employees,...

Ford to sell Mazda stake?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 11

Back in August, I wrote a piece asking if Ford's woes would mean that it might have to sell off its stake in Mazda. According to reports today in Japan,...

Toyota's stock slumps but investment continues

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 08

In a shocking day for Japanese stocks--the benchmark Nikkei index had its third worst session in history, falling 9.4%--Toyota's recent stock slump accelerated. By the close of trading at 3pm,...

Mitsubishi Motors' electric dreams

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 06

If Mitsubishi Motors chief Osamu Masuko is unduly concerned about slumping auto sales in the U.S., Japan, and Europe he wasn't showing it at a media lunch in Tokyo today....

The Honda Insight is back

Posted by: Ian Rowley on September 04

Honda's name for its new Prius killer is perhaps the least innovative thing about it--it's going to be called the Insight. The old Insight was the first mass-produced hybrid...

Is Tata's Nano the new Austin Mini?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on August 27

Earlier this week, I wrote a story for BusinessWeek.com about the protests enveloping the plant which is slated to soon commence production of the $2,500 Tata Nano, the world's...

Advice to India's Tata: Build the Nano Car in China

Posted by: Frederik Balfour on August 25

Here’s an admittedly controversial suggestion for Ratan Tata: Why not build the Nano minicar in China? That would be a nifty way to side-step the problems plaguing his one lakh...

Honda Emerges as Top Foreign Car Brand in Korea

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on August 05

Lofty oil prices must have created a tough environment for all automakers. Yet Honda is beating its own sales target in Korea where it is now the No. 1 import...

Costs rising for Tata's Nano

Posted by: Ian Rowley on July 18

With the October launch of Tata's 100,000 rupee (about $2,400) Nano getting closer, expect the hype surrounding the world's cheapest car to soon revisit January levels. Back then, the Nano's...

More Toyota hybrids for China

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 30

For all Toyota's recent success in China, it's fair to say the Prius isn't one of them. While Americans can't get enough of the gas-electric hybrid, Chinese sales, stymied by...

Korean Unit Looms Large for GM

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on June 04

With oil prices soaring and consumers moving away from trucks, General Motors’ 2002 acquisition of bankrupt Daewoo Motor in Korea looks increasingly smart. The Korean unit, now called GM Daewoo...

Record year for Japan's auto exports

Posted by: Ian Rowley on June 02

In this week's BusinessWeek, I've written an article looking at the contrast between slumping auto sales in Japan and increasing investment in new plants by local car makers. The investment...

Is the U.S. Toyota's new export hub?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 20

After years of building U.S. factories to build Toyotas for American customers, reports in Japan today say the giant automaker will soon export vehicles from the U.S. to the Middle...

Fewer cars on Japan's roads

Posted by: Ian Rowley on May 16

Given that Japan's car market has been shrinking for years, reaching a 25-year low in 2007 million, execs at Japan's car makers must be reasonably pleased that sales in 2008...

As the yen surges, is Toyota right to play down expectations?

Posted by: Ian Rowley on March 21

Toyota didn't get where it is today by over-promising and under-delivering. Yet according to Toyota executive vice president Tokuichi Uranishi yesterday, the automaker may struggle to reach its annual sales...

Could Toyota Shine in Land of Hyundai?

Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on March 06

South Korea has long been one of the world’s least hospitable markets for imported cars where it’s hard to spot a Toyota. Until 2001, more than 99% of cars sold...

The importance of Asia for Japan's automakers

Posted by: Ian Rowley on February 25

Can Japan's automakers withstand a slowdown or worse in the U.S. Japan and Western Europe? You bet they can. Hot on the heels of healthy quarterly results for the three...

Japan's auto stocks taking a kicking

Posted by: Ian Rowley on January 21

One aspect of being a journalist at BusinessWeek is that we're not supposed to buy shares in the companies we write about. Indeed, each year in January, BusinessWeek asks us...

Suzuki to make Splash in India but no sign of a $3,000 car

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 12

Last week, I wrote a quick piece after Suzuki chairman Osamu Suzuki raised doubts over plans by both Tata and Carlos Ghosn's Nissan-Renault alliance to make a $3,000 car for...

Toyota's op earnings bigger than GM's market cap

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 07

Yesterday's contrasting results announcements once again highlighted the huge earnings gulf between Toyota and GM. For the six months through September, Toyota's operating earnings rose 16.3% to $11.2 billion, while...

Prius sales yet to catch fire in China

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 05

Car sales, if not profit margins, in China are flying this year and Toyota, which is on track to smash an annual target of 430,000 units, is among the biggest...

Toyota tops 50% in Japan

Posted by: Ian Rowley on November 01

It's been a long time coming but auto sales in Japan have, at least temporarily, stopped falling. Auto sales, excluding mini vehicles, rose 2% to 269,221 in October, the first...

Toyota's earnings to surge again

Posted by: Ian Rowley on October 22

Toyota's ascent to becoming the world's biggest automaker isn't a forgone conclusion, but don’t expect the company’s execs to be sweating. Sure, the latest data, released yesterday, show that GM...

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