Archive for May, 2014
Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Daihatsu have announced an alliance that will see a push to improve fuel economy from both gas-powered and diesel-powered engines by as much as 30 percent before the end of the decade.
The newly assembled Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines put the roughly $20-million project together, with the Japanese government committing to half the cost while the eight manufacturers will chip in the rest.
According to Automotive News, the automakers will team up and share basic research on internal-combustion engines in a bid to cut costs. Eventually, the results of the research will find its way into a production vehicle, although it’s unclear just when we’ll see the fruits of this partnership on the road.
While the manufacturers have aimed to make improvements by 2020, that goal is part of a larger, 10-year road map, which aims to improve the thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines to 50 percent. Currently, thermal efficiency in gas engines is at 39 percent while diesel is at 42.
The actual targets of improvements will be quite different based on the type of engine. Diesel mills, traditionally a weak point for Japanese manufacturers, will see a focus on reducing NOX emissions and particulate matter, while gas engines will aim for more complete combustion cycles while reducing knock.
Toyota, Honda, Nissan and more collaborating to increase fuel efficiency originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 25 May 2014 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Does the name Huet ring a bell? The Dutch brothers started out doing classic car tours in Europe before they started designed and building their own retro sports cars. The first was called the Huet Brothers Special. It was based on an old Triumph TR6 and surfaced back in 2009. But a few years later they started showing designs for a new coupe that called for a straight-six engine under a long bonnet with a fastback roofline, and started taking orders. Over the past two and a half years we didn’t see anything materialize out of the Huet Brothers’ plans, but word out of the Netherlands has it that the design is back on the table.
According to the Autovisie section of Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Tino and Paul Huet were planning on building their coupe on the base of the MX-5 Miata. But now that Mazda is preparing to launch an all-new model, the Huets have decided to wait until next year and build their dream car on the new Skyactiv roadster chassis.
Rather than trying to shoehorn in a bigger engine (or the subsequent diesel model that was set to follow), the Huets are reportedly prepared to stick with Mazda’s four-pot, offering it in stock form and various states of upgraded tune.
That would make the HB Coupe the third model – alongside Mazda’s own and whatever Fiat decides to do with its end of the bargain – to use the same underpinnings. That is, assuming the Huet Brothers can get the orders it needs to restart development production. So far they say they’ve got 21 orders on the books, but need 40 to get started.
Huet Brothers working on new Miata-based retro coupe originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 14 May 2014 19:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
The Chinese auto market is one of the most interesting in the world to look at. Its automakers appear to still be figuring things out and remain open to experimentation. For example, at this moment, you can buy new copies of all three generations of the Mazda6 from showrooms there.
Mazda joint-venture partner FAW recently introduced the latest generation to China as the Mazda6 Atenza, according to Just Auto. Yet buyers still have the option of getting the previous generation as well, which is sold as the Mazda6 Ruiyi. Obviously, that isn’t too remarkable – companies in the US have briefly sold two generations of the same nameplate simultaneously for brief points in the past, and the practice is much more common in developing markets. However, Chinese consumers still have the third choice, too – the first-generation model that dates back to the early 2000s, is still on offer, known simply as Mazda6.
While it would be hard to imagine selling three generations of the same models at once in the US, the idea is an interesting one. We enjoyed our long-term test of the latest generation, and the previous models weren’t bad cars either, so provided there’s a healthy difference in pricing and marketplace confusion is limited by differing names, we can see it working. If nothing else, it’s a fascinating illustration of how broad China’s developing auto market really is.
China’s FAW now building all three Mazda6 generations originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 13 May 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Takashi Yamanouchi has been with Mazda for a long time. He signed on with the Japanese automaker in April 1967 – one month after graduating from Keio University – and rose through the ranks over the years. By 1996 he was named to the company’s board of directors. In 2008 he was named president and CEO, an office he held until 2013, after which he handed over the day-to-day reins to Masamichi Kogai and took up the seat at the head of the board room to serve as the company’s chairman. But now, after 47 years working for Mazda, Yamanouchi-san is retiring at the age of 69.
During his tenure as CEO and then as chairman, Yamanouchi was credited with growing Mazda’s business despite unfavorable fluctuations in exchange rates, opening the company’s first plant in Mexico, and spearheading the development of Mazda’s Skyactiv technologies and Kodo design language.
In his place, current vice chairman Seita Kanai will take over as chairman. The changing of the guard will take place after the annual shareholders’ meeting on June 24.