27 November 2008

Cars & Models

They say that women and cars both keep you poor but I think that is unfair. I mean cars never cost me all that much…. Joking aside, cars do keep you poor while only gold diggers do so otherwise. Guys who lavish so much on their beloved car often have an attractive female or dolly bird too. Even in car shows, young pretty girls are seen on the stand with the new gleaming model. There is some association between the two.

All I can say is that whilst both may have stylish curves and nice shapes, the simple reality is the human form is infinitely more beautiful than any contrivance of man. Putting a woman and a car in the same photo means that the car will always come off second best, and a distant second at that. I suppose it brings the photographers at car shows to the stand in the first place and the attention eventually turns to the car, which is what it is all about. However, as the photo above shows, even a car as beautiful as the Jaguar E-Type – some say the most beautiful ever - comes off a poor second to the model on the bonnet. I don’t think that is what the photographer intended. He should have snapped the car on its own. Then it would have stood a chance of being noticed.

24 November 2008

Toyota Europe Production/Sales 2008

Toyota has marched inexorably towards the number one spot in the world for car/LCV production (excluding heavy vehicles). In 1998, Toyota made just under 5 million of such vehicles, well short of GM and Ford at the time. Ford was passed in 2005 and GM is only a matter of time. But now Toyota is being its sensible cautious and scaling back its growth. Even the most successful are not immune to the current downturn. However in Europe, it seems sales would have slipped anyway.

For the first ten months of 2008, ACEA reveals that the overall Euro market sales, excluding Russia, is down 5.4%, but Toyota is –13% and Lexus –27%. For October, -23% and –32 respectively in a market down 14.5%. Toyota is doing much worse than the market. Is it moving away from less profitable sales? It seems so.

Euro production has suffered accordingly. JD Power estimates Euro production was down a quarter or 18,000 units in October alone. YTD nearly 60,000 down or nearly 9%. The new Avensis should help a little but reverse this trend it will not. Overall, a damp year for Toyota/Lexus dealers in the Euro zone.

11 November 2008

Why Can’t Jaguar Have An SUV?

New owners Tata have stated no SUV for Jaguar as Land Rover has that role. I can see where they are coming from, but does this mean Land Rover will in future make and sell “soft roaders” or crossovers? All Land Rovers are serious off roader 4WD sorts. They have a place but a diminishing one in this world, as they tend to be heavy and therefore not so good on fuel and emissions. Crossover type vehicles are for the tarmac with limited off road ability.

Some are downright sporty in handling such as the Mazda CX 9. (See pic below). That is where Jaguar could come in, an up spec CX 9 type of vehicle would be awesome.
However, Tata wants to take them down the sports car road more and that sounds good too. But if Land Rover doesn’t go down the “soft roader” road and Jaguar does, there would be no competing against each other. Maybe Land Rover is about to take a new track, not so off beaten. If so, then it would make sense to leave it to Landie and let Jag head down the sleek car and sports car avenue. Let’s wait and see.

03 November 2008

Chery Automobile, The Car Company

This is a Chinese firm founded in 1997 to make cars in Wuhu. It was supposed to be called Cheery but a mistake in translation led it to this name without meaning, and it has been retained.
At first it used machinery and engines purchased from Ford and a chassis from SEAT, Spain. Since then, to make progress in the car industry quickly, they have worked with Bertone, AVL, Bosch, Lotus Engineering and Ricardo Consulting.

They are opening plants and doing joint venture deals in various emerging markets at a hectic pace. 307,000 cars were made in China in 2006 and 388,000 in 2007. 40,000 were also made in Russia in ‘07.

They have plagiarized GM designs, which GM has sued unsuccessfully in Chinese courts. Intellectual property rights mean nothing there and court rulings said no copying took place. Well look at the two cars on the right and tell me if you see if there is any difference. Anyway, to maintain good will with the government, GM dropped the case as long as they are not exported to western markets. Well I'm not worried about good will, so will call it as it is.

The cars also have a dubious crash safety record. A picture says a thousand words and the photo on the left gives a clear impression on that one..... The last two points raised would make me shy away from ever buying a product from an outfit such as Chery.

Selling copies of cars you haven’t paid the rights for, and failing to respect your customer’s safety is morally bankrupt. A strong sentiment, but what other conclusion could one reach? I would not buy one, not even with a cherry on top. They look fine as you can see below, but looks can be deceptive.