Asia autos correspondent, Tokyo
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Jan 12, 2011

China’s BAIC eyes overseas expansion

DETROIT (Reuters) – Even before it launches the first passenger cars under its own brand at home, China’s BAIC has set its sights on expansion overseas.

“If you want to be a sustainable automaker, you have to be global,” Wang Dazong, president of Beijing Automotive, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.

Jan 12, 2011

Volvo seeks “2nd home market” in China

DETROIT (Reuters) – Volvo Car expects China to become its biggest market as early as next year and its “second home market” after Sweden as the Chinese-owned automaker looks for sales to grow more than six times by 2015, a top company executive said.

Volvo, owned by the parent of Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (0175.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), is aiming to boost sales in China to 200,000 cars by 2015 from a little over 30,000 last year, riding the wave of rapid growth in the world’s biggest market, especially for premium vehicles, the head of its China operations said.

Jan 11, 2011

Toyota sees Tesla EV battery cost at 1/3

DETROIT (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp’s (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (TM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) top engineer said the batteries that would power the electric RAV4 crossover being developed with Tesla Motors (TSLA.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) could cost as little as one-third of the electric car batteries being developed by conventional automakers.

Silicon Valley startup Tesla links together thousands of lithium-ion batteries used in laptops to power its zero-emission Roadster sports car, while automakers with electric models such as Mitsubishi Motors Corp (7211.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) use expensive batteries developed specifically for EV use.

Jan 11, 2011

BYD sees mass U.S. entry in first quarter of 2012 with e6

DETROIT (Reuters) – BYD Co Ltd, a Chinese car and battery maker backed by Warren Buffett, expects to enter the mass U.S. auto market in the first quarter of 2012, starting with its e6 electric car model, its chairman said on Monday.

“The United States offers a huge opportunity for new-energy vehicles, especially pure electric,” Chairman Wang Chuanfu told Reuters in an interview at the Detroit auto show.

Jan 11, 2011

Toyota unveils Prius hybrid family

DETROIT (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) unveiled a family of Prius cars with two new additions to the lineup as it aims to build the iconic hybrid series into a core pillar in the United States, its single-biggest market.

The roomier Prius v and compact Prius c concept were among the highlights of the Detroit auto show, where rivals also revealed green cars in a bid to attract an increasingly fuel-conscious customer base.

Jan 10, 2011

Toyota unveils extended family for Prius hybrid

DETROIT (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) unveiled on Monday a family of Prius models with two new additions to its iconic hybrid series due to hit U.S. showrooms over the next 18 months.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, has dominated the gasoline-electric hybrid market since putting the first Prius on the road in 1997. Toyota has 14 hybrid models globally, helping it win a reputation as one of the most advanced car makers in next-generation technology.

Jan 10, 2011

Hyundai eyes rebranding in Apple’s ‘premium’ image

SEOUL/DETROIT (Reuters) – South Korea’s Hyundai Motor (005380.KS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) unveiled a new brand slogan at the Detroit auto show on Monday, seeking to transform its image as a maker of value-for-money vehicles into one that evokes “new premium” at affordable prices.

Under the slogan “New Thinking. New Possibilities,” Hyundai said it would aspire to emulate premium products such as Apple’s iPhone and the Nespresso coffee-making machine, while maintaining the affordability that has helped it become the world’s fifth-biggest automaker with affiliate Kia Motors (000270.KS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Jan 10, 2011

Subaru planning hybrid for US in ’13

DETROIT (Reuters) – Fuji Heavy Industries’ Subaru brand is planning a hybrid model for the United States in 2013, although it remains to be seen how big an impact such cars would have on the market, a top executive at its U.S. unit said.

“We’re going to need something at some point, even (only) to say we have it because that enhances our brand image in the market,” Tom Doll, chief operating officer of Subaru of America, told Reuters in an interview at the Detroit auto show on Monday.

Jan 10, 2011

BYD sees mass U.S. entry in Q1 2012 with e6

DETROIT (Reuters) – BYD Co Ltd (1211.HK: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), a Chinese car and battery maker backed by Warren Buffett (BRKa.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), expects to enter the mass U.S. auto market in the first quarter of 2012, starting with its e6 electric car model, its chairman said on Monday.

“The United States offers a huge opportunity for new-energy vehicles, especially pure electric,” Chairman Wang Chuanfu told Reuters in an interview at the Detroit auto show.

Jan 10, 2011

Nissan taking drastic steps due to strong yen

DETROIT (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will take drastic steps to shield itself against the profit-eroding effects of the strong yen, including shifting production of the next Rogue crossover to Tennessee from Japan, a top executive said.

Carlos Tavares, head of Nissan’s operations in the Americas and executive vice president at Japan’s second-biggest automaker, said the transfer, expected by 2013, would add more than 100,000 units a year of production in the Americas.

    • About Chang-Ran

      "I have been covering the Japanese auto industry since 2002, broadening coverage to the Asian region in 2003."
      Hometown:
      Tokyo
      Joined Reuters:
      2000
      Languages:
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