P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Auto Industry http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Sun, 05 Jul 2015 09:04:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Airbag Deaths: Toyota, Nissan Recall Over 3m Cars Globally http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/06/26/airbag-deaths-toyota-nissan-recall-over-3m-cars-globally/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/06/26/airbag-deaths-toyota-nissan-recall-over-3m-cars-globally/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 14:42:08 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=244109 Daniels Ekugo/with agency report

Motorists in Nigeria should be concerned as Toyota and Nissan, Japan’s two top automakers, have expanded their global car recall by more than three million vehicles to replace potentially deadly airbags that have already been linked to eight deaths.

Recalls globally has not been effective, with most auto companies in Nigeria denying motorists their rights.

Faulty airbags made by Takata have been linked to several deadly accidents, forcing carmakers to recall tens of millions of vehicles and opening the Japanese autoparts maker up to a public inquiry by US lawmakers.

Before Thursday this week, Toyota had said 12.66 million of its units were affected, although Honda, Japan’s number three automaker, has been the hardest hit, with more than 19 million recalled.

The defect — thought to be linked to a chemical propellant that helps inflate the airbags — can cause them to deploy with explosive force, sending metal shrapnel hurtling toward drivers and passengers.

Toyota is sold in Nigeria by Toyota Nigeria Limited, while Nissan is sold by the Stallion Group.

A call put across to them by P.M.NEWS correspondent Friday was not answered or returned.

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Fashola commissions N1bn recycling plant in Igando http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/13/fashola-commissions-n1bn-recycling-plant-in-igando/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2015/05/13/fashola-commissions-n1bn-recycling-plant-in-igando/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 05:16:08 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=239210 Governor Babatunde Fashola commissioning the recycling plant in Igando

Governor Babatunde Fashola commissioning the recycling plant in Igando

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on Tuesday inaugurated a N1bn material recovery facility in Igando, designed to convert waste into reusable materials.

The first phase of the project was delivered with machines that have the capacity to process different types of refuse into raw materials for plastic and rubber industries.

Inaugurating the project, Fashola said it was a demonstration of the government’s commitment to improve the environment while creating some economic benefits.

He said that the project was conceived out of the need to ensure a cleaner environment by converting waste, which could have been a burden, into usable materials.

According to the governor, the facility is a conservation strategy to confront the threats of climate change and will also provide jobs for residents.

“This is a material recovery facility and what will it be doing? The whole world is re-using, the whole world is conserving, so nothing really will ever go to waste in any significant proportion.

“So that is what we are signing on to, we are joining the whole world by having this project.

“What we now have is a new problem. Our problem before was that we were the dirtiest city in the world, a reputation we have now consigned to history.

“Now the new problem is how to move our refuse. The problem is how to get more refuse, because this facility needs more refuse to run.

“The sustainability of this factory now is how much refuse it can get, and as we have been told, it will service 130 trucks on a daily basis in the first phase before the expansion comes,” he said.

The governor said that the second phase of the project would commence by December.

He said that on completion, power would be generated from refuse processed at the facility.

Fashola said what that meant was that people in Igando, Egbe and other areas around the facility should expect regular power supply by 2016.

He said the facility was in redemption of his electoral promise to ensure a cleaner environment, adding that his job was done with the delivery of the project and several others.

The governor urged residents to give the needed support to the incoming administration to bring about a cleaner and more sustainable environment.

Mr Tunji Bello, the Commissioner for the Environment, thanked Fashola for his support, saying his belief in the project ensured its actualisation.

He said he was optimistic that the project would not only promote the environment, but would also help the state in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Mr Ladi Balogun, the Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, which financed the project, said the facility had a high economic value.

He said over N1bn was invested in the project, which if operating in full capacity, would contribute N3bn to the state’s GDP annually.

Balogun said his bank was proud to be associated with the project, promising that the organisation would continue to partner the state.

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Honda expands airbag recall to six million http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/05/honda-expands-airbag-recall-to-six-million/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/12/05/honda-expands-airbag-recall-to-six-million/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 12:11:18 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=221827 Honda

Japanese automaker Honda said Friday it was extending its US recall nationwide on cars with potentially deadly airbags made by auto parts maker Takata, in a further blow to the embattled firm.

Malfunctioning Takata airbags have been linked with five deaths, including a woman driving a 2003 Honda City in Malaysia, and hundreds of injuries.

Honda said it is recalling a further 3.2 million vehicles across the US — this is on top of the 2.8 million already recalled in selected states.

“With the expansion of the programme, the figure will reach six million vehicles” being recalled in the US, the automaker’s Tokyo-based spokesman told AFP.

Millions of vehicles produced by some of the world’s biggest automakers, including Honda, Toyota and General Motors, have already been recalled due to the risk its airbags can deploy with excessive explosive power and send shrapnel hurtling inside the car.

Since 2008, Honda has recalled 9.65 million vehicles worldwide in connection with Takata airbags.

Honda’s latest step came as the US Congress investigates the potentially defective airbags.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the United States has demanded a recall of all cars in the US with the suspect Takata airbags on the driver’s side.

The NHTSA had given Takata until Tuesday night to broaden the existing recall, which has been limited only to cars in hot and humid areas where the risk of an explosive airbag deployment is believed to be much higher.

But Takata rejected the call in a letter to the NHTSA Tuesday, saying its tests showed no necessity to expand the existing action, and noting that supplies of replacement inflators, the part linked to the problem, are still too few to support a full national recall program.

The NHTSA warned Takata it risks civil penalties of up to $7,000 per vehicle equipped with the defective airbags.

US authorities have identified the defective airbags affect 7.8 million vehicles in the United States, but the maximum penalty under law is $35 million.

So far this year some 16 million vehicles from 10 automakers worldwide have been recalled.

Swedish parts maker Autoliv said it would supply replacement airbag inflators to Honda.

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Toyota to recall 1.75 million vehicles globally http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/15/toyota-to-recall-1-75-million-vehicles-globally/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/10/15/toyota-to-recall-1-75-million-vehicles-globally/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 06:37:52 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=216034 toyota

Toyota said Wednesday it is recalling 1.75 million vehicles globally over brake problems and other glitches that posed a fire risk, marking the latest in a string of call backs by the world’s biggest automaker.

The Japanese giant pointed to three problems in several models including its luxury Lexus brand and upmarket Crown Majesta.

Among the issues was an improperly shaped part in the braking system that could lead to a change in the “feel” of the brake pedal over time — a problem that affected 802,000 vehicles, mostly in Japan and China, produced between June 2007 and June 2012.

“The brake does not become ineffective, but brake performance could begin to gradually degrade,” Toyota said in an email.

A separate issue involving the fuel delivery pipe on 759,000 vehicles, including Lexus models and Crown Majesta made between January 2005 and September 2010, could increase the risk of a fire “in the presence of an ignition source”.

More than half of the affected cars were sold in the United States.

A problem with 109,000 cars in Japan linked to the fuel-suction plate also posed a fire risk, the firm said. The affected cars were made between October 2006 and October 2014.

“Toyota is not aware of any fires, crashes, injuries, or fatalities” linked to the problems, it added.

The announcement comes about four months after Toyota recalled 2.27 million vehicles globally over a defect that could see airbags fail to deploy in a crash and which also posed a fire risk.

The automaker has recalled almost 11 million vehicles since the start of the year, dealing another blow to its once-stellar reputation for quality and safety.

Among the announcements was the February recall of 1.9 million units of Toyota’s signature Prius hybrid cars.

Despite logging record sales and bumper profits, Toyota has been fighting to protect its reputation as US rival General Motors scrambles to contain a deadly ignition-linked scandal.

In March, Toyota agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle US criminal charges that it lied to regulators and the public as it tried to cover up deadly accelerator defects, which caused vehicles to speed out of control and fail to respond to the brake.

Toyota eventually recalled 12 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010.

As part of the settlement, the automaker admitted that it lied when it insisted that it had addressed the “root cause” of the problem by fixing floor mats that could trap the accelerator.

This week, GM raised its ignition-switch death toll, as the Cadillac and Chevrolet brand maker faces soaring compensation claims.

As of October 10, the number of people killed in crashes because of the defective ignition switches was 27, according information on its compensation website.

The company waited nearly 11 years before beginning to recall 2.6 million cars, in February, after hundreds of possible accidents and deaths were reported.

By late August GM had acknowledged 13 deaths from crashes related to the problem, in which the faulty ignition could turn off power to a car’s power steering and safety airbags while it is in motion.

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Peugeot gets approval for China plant http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/26/peugeot-gets-approval-for-china-plant/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/26/peugeot-gets-approval-for-china-plant/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:13:36 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=208667 Peugeot

French auto maker PSA Peugeot Citroen’s fourth plant in China has been approved for the southwestern city of Chengdu by local authorities, the official Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.

The economic planning agency of Sichuan province, of which Chengdu is the capital, approved the 12.3 billion yuan ($2.0 billion) plant on Monday, it said.

Peugeot and its Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor Corp. said last month they had chosen Chengdu for the plant, with construction scheduled to begin in the second half of this year and production set for 2016.

Dongfeng, China’s second biggest car maker, took a 14 per cent stake in Peugeot earlier this year, as the French firm sought a solution to its financial troubles.

The two partners already operate three factories in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, with combined annual capacity of 750,000 vehicles.

Xinhua said the new plant would be able to produce 320,000 vehicles a year.

Peugeot has said the Chengdu facility will focus on making crossover vehicles — between a car and a sport utility vehicle — and also four-wheel-drives using the Peugeot and Citroen brands, as well as under Dongfeng’s Fengshen label.

The companies could not be immediately reached for comment.

Struggling Peugeot is counting on the Chinese car market — the world’s biggest — to propel it to a leading position in Asia.

China has become critically important to foreign carmakers, given the size of the market and weak sales elsewhere in the world.

Chinese auto sales reached 21.98 million vehicles last year, when a recovery in Japanese brands offset the impact of slowing economic growth.

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South Africa’s metal workers call off strike http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/28/south-africas-metal-workers-call-off-strike/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/28/south-africas-metal-workers-call-off-strike/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:53:18 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=204892 SEIFSA

South African striking engineering and metals workers have accepted an improved wage offer to end the country’s largest-ever labour stoppage, their union said Monday.

Representatives for the roughly 200,000 workers who downed tools on July 1 said the lowest-paid worker will get a 10 percent pay increase each year for the next three years.

“The settlement offer has been overwhelmingly and unanimously accepted by our members,” Irvin Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), told reporters, adding that workers will return to their posts on Tuesday.

The increase is above the inflation rate of 6.6 percent recorded in June.

The NUMSA — the country’s largest union, representing workers across several sectors — had originally sought wage increases of up to 15 percent in a one-year deal.

Employers’ representatives welcomed the end of the strike.

“We are immensely relieved that the strike is finally over,” Kaizer Nyatsumba, chief of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) said.

The strike was costing the industry an average 300 million rand ($28 million, 21 million euros) a day.

Auto makers Toyota and General Motors had reported disruptions to production due to a shortage of components.

South Africa’s supply of building materials had also been affected by the strike, slowing down work at construction sites across the country.

The work stoppage hit an estimated 10,500 companies worth an aggregate four percent of economic output, threatening the country’s already stuttering growth.

The South African economy shrank in the first quarter amid a five-month-long strike in the country’s platinum mines that pushed the country to the brink of a recession.

The metal workers’ strike had kicked off just days after the end of the walkout by some 70,000 platinum mine workers that was only resolved last week.

South Africa’s annual growth has been on a weak streak in recent years, slowing from 3.6 percent in 2011 to 2.5 percent in 2012 and 1.9 per cent last year.

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Mercedes Actros Is Fleet Truck Of The Year http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/17/mercedes-actros-is-fleet-truck-of-the-year/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/17/mercedes-actros-is-fleet-truck-of-the-year/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:59:05 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=203194 The Mercedes-Benz New Actros has been voted ‘Fleet Truck of the Year’ at the prestigious Motor Transport Awards 2014. Announced to an audience of 1600 leading representatives from the transport sector, the Motor Transport Awards celebrate the achievements of the industry and recognise innovation, outstanding service, efficiency and quality.

Now in their 29th year, the Motor Transport Awards are widely regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the Transport Industry and are judged by an independent panel of experts.

Mercedes-Benz Actros 2014

Mercedes-Benz Actros 2014

Motor Transport Editor Steve Hobson said of the award: “The judging panel, made up of 60 highly experienced industry professionals, singled out the Mercedes-Benz New Actros for its high fuel efficiency, low cost of ownership, excellent parts and service support through a highly focused dealer network, class-leading residual values and unrivalled levels of driver comfort. These are all attributes that make a real difference to truck operators.

“Mercedes-Benz was also praised for being the first manufacturer to ‘break cover’ with Euro VI vehicles, and for doing so much to dispel fears that Euro VI trucks would be less fuel efficient.”

Presented with the award at the official ceremony, Michael Kamper, Managing Director – Trucks, Mercedes-Benz UK Ltd commented: “I’m delighted to accept this award and see it as a true indication that New Actros, our Customer Services and our Dealer network are exactly what the market demands.

 “We pride ourselves in delivering vehicles that are safe, fuel efficient, technologically advanced, robust and trustworthy, and which in-turn are supported by a range of customer services that offer our customers real business benefits, all supported by a team of people who are focused and care.

“Since launch in early 2012, New Actros has found favour with countless fleets across the UK and this award recognises that we are delivering a range of vehicles and services that our customers can both rely on and value.”

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KIA Appoints Basketmouth As Ambassador http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/17/kia-appoints-basketmouth-is-as-ambassador/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/17/kia-appoints-basketmouth-is-as-ambassador/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:56:30 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=203192 There is no gainsaying the fact that Bright Okpocha, ‘Basketmouth’, is widely considered as one of the nation’s most engaging comedian that has consistently showcased his creativity and dedication to produce the very best. Premised on this, KIA Motors Nigeria recently signed a partnership agreement with him as brand ambassador. The company recently sponsored the ace comedian’s show, the Basketmouth Uncensored: Dysfunctional Mind.

As a household name in the entertainment industry, it is believed that his partnership with KIA Motors will be a synergy for greater heights. With his unveiling as the ambassador, He’s now a proud owner of the brand new flagship 2014 KIA Quoris luxury sedan that is built with fascinating aesthetic beauty and sleek design. The new KIA Quoris is the next step in KIA’s dynamic and innovative design legacy in the automotive technology. The all new KIA Quoris super luxury sedan comes with a charismatic front mask, sophisticated curves and stylish surfaces and a five year unlimited warranty and free maintenance.

Following Basketmouth’s exceptional level of success and standing within the entertainment industry. KIA Motors anticipates more synergy effects connected with the sponsorship of Basketmouth and the show.

 KIA Motors Nigeria has strengthened and enhanced its brand through events like the recently held stand-up comedy show.

With Basketmouth’s young dynamic and exciting on-stage performance, the company believes the partnership with him will help promote the vibrant and distinctive image of KIA brand.

Basketmouth and KIA teamed up together to promote KIA’s brand value as he thrilled audience at the show in Lagos. In working with Basketmouth, KIA Motors will maintain a national focus promoting KIA Motors in Nigeria. “We are both proud and thrilled to partner with him and delighted that he will be promoting the new KIA Quoris in Nigeria” says Kayode Adejumo, Head, Marketing. Aside from this recent announcement, KIA Motors has reached several milestones in recent years by wining 34 Awards in 5 years in addition to the prestigious Red Dot Design Award received recently for the Soul in Germany.

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S.Africa metals strike hits auto, building industries http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/16/s-africa-metals-strike-hits-auto-building-industries/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/16/s-africa-metals-strike-hits-auto-building-industries/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 11:33:56 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=203125 A major strike by South African engineering and metal workers, which has already hit the vital auto manufacturing sector, is now disrupting building construction, the industry said on Wednesday.

The strike by about 200,000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has affected an estimated 10,500 companies and threatens to push the country further towards recession.

With the stoppage in its third week, auto manufacturers General Motors, Ford and Toyota have all announced various levels of disruption to production because of a shortage of components from strike-hit suppliers.

On Wednesday, Master Builders South Africa, the employers’ organisation, said the strike had also disrupted the supply of building materials to contractors.

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa

“Work has slowed down substantially on building sites as MBSA members are deprived of essential building components, such as steel plates, framework, pipes, windows and doors, or any other metal component produced by factories affected by the Numsa strike,” said CEO Tumi Dlamini.

“The increasing woes of the building industry have been well-documented and this new setback could well be the last straw for many struggling contractors,” she said.

Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba said on Wednesday that the strike was costing the industry R300 million ($28 million) per day.

Negotiations broke down at the weekend when the union rejected a Seifsa offer of a 10-percent wage hike this year, to be followed by an increase of 9.5 percent in 2015 and nine percent in 2016.

The union indicated that while it preferred a one-year deal, it might accept a 10-percent increase each year for the next three years.

The parties are expected to meet again at the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council on Thursday.

The strike began just days after the end of a five-month walkout by platinum miners which contributed to a contraction of the economy in the first quarter and pushed the country to the brink of recession.

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KIA Emerges ‘Most Admired Car’ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/09/kia-emerges-most-admired-car/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/09/kia-emerges-most-admired-car/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:09:33 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=202233 When it comes to showcasing the latest achievements and technological advancements in the automobile industry, auto fairs and exhibitions are platforms for product display and technical exchange of the latest trends in technical research, development, new findings and breakthroughs in the industry.

KIA Motors paraded its award winning brand of vehicles that have continued to increase its market acceptance in the automobile industry at the first Silverbird Abuja Auto Exhibition. One of the vehicles that were showcased at the event was the KIA Quoris, the flagship super luxury.

•KIA Motor

•KIA Motor

The KIA brand of vehicles remain very popular because it provides advanced engineering and technology that you’d expect to find in a more expensive vehicle, and the refreshed all new Rio model will offer even more value by taking that idea further. KIA has simultaneously made its vehicle lineup more stylish, more fuel efficient and safer.

KIA is already well known for the value its vehicles provide to the users, but the brand’s appeal extends beyond its customers’ wallets into their hearts; with the KIA Cerato, Picanto, Cadenza and Optima leading their market segments in the automobile industry.

In Nigeria, KIA had more vehicles honoured than any other auto brand at the fair. As part of the brand’s commitment to excellence in customer service delivery, it now offers five years warranty on all vehicles and an additional five-year free maintenance exclusive for the KIA Quoris only.

In the spirit of the ongoing FIFA 2014 World Cup, sponsored by KIA, there were various activities for visitors at the fair with loads of branded gifts such as the World Cup branded footballs, polo shirts and face caps amongst others.

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Revise automotive policy, Tokunbo dealers beg FG http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/25/revise-automotive-policy-tokunbo-dealers-beg-fg/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/25/revise-automotive-policy-tokunbo-dealers-beg-fg/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:07:14 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=200229 Tokunbo cars

Chief Sunday Akibo, founder and former President, United Berger Motor Dealer Association, on Tuesday said the new automotive policy would send dealers of fairly used vehicles out of business if not reversed.

Akibo told NAN in Lagos that the policy had reduced fairly used motor business by about 40 per cent since government announced its planned introduction.

The Federal Government had announced the implementation of the new tariff regime from 35 per cent to 70 per cent from 1 July.

Following the directive, the Nigerian Customs Services (NCS) commenced implementation of the 35 per cent duty on imported vehicles in May from its original 10 per cent.

The implementation of the tariff resulted in protests by clearing agents at the Tin Can Island Ports.

“The 35 per cent duty on imported used vehicles is affecting our business. We find it difficult to sell our cars now.

“Customers are no longer patronising us as before because of the increase in price.

“Before now, we can make five per cent profit from the cost of landing of the vehicles after purchasing but now we make less,” Akibo said.

Akibo also said that the association had met with the relevant authorities to let them know the consequences and effect of the increase in tariff on the masses.

“With the increase we now pay duty of 70 per cent for a vehicle. When we pay 35 per cent for duty and another 35 per cent for NPA charges, the masses will not be able to buy a car,” he said.

The association’s leader noted that importation of fairly used cars had enabled some people who could not afford a brand new car to own one.

Mike Odogwu, who spoke on behalf of the Chairman, M.C1, United Berger Motor Dealer Association, also said that the business was booming before the introduction of the policy.

Odogwu said that since the tariff, cars sold for N600, 000 had been increased to about N1 million.

“The vehicles that we sell normally at the N850, 000, we can hardly buy for N1million. Before, if you sell a car between N850, 000 and N1 million, you can make a profit of about N100, 000 to N120, 000 but now we make far less.”

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‘Green car’ splits global automakers http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/18/green-car-splits-global-automakers/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/18/green-car-splits-global-automakers/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 05:50:04 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=199142 Green Car Photo: navideck.com

Green Car
Photo: navideck.com

Global automakers are locked in a showdown evoking the video format wars of the 1980s, as they bet on what eco-friendly vehicles will prevail in the battle for dominance of the burgeoning low-emissions sector.

In a contest reminiscent of the scrap for pre-eminence in the home video market, which pitched Betamax against VHS, huge auto firms are going all out for very different technologies.

Toyota, which is ending a battery deal with US electric car leader Tesla, is concentrating on mass-producing a fuel-cell vehicle, along with smaller rival Honda.

Nissan, by contrast, has bet the farm on all-electrics, unveiling its second model this month — despite weak sales of its flagship Leaf — and is pushing the technology in China, where officials are scrambling to contain an air pollution crisis.

Japan’s number-two automaker is also reportedly in talks with Germany’s BMW and Tesla about standardising re-charging systems, after the US company took the rare step of agreeing to share its patents with competitors to boost lacklustre electric vehicle production.

“Nissan and Tesla… came out with very ambitious goals for the technology but had to backtrack, partly because demand… wasn’t strong enough,” said Stefan Bratzel, director of Germany’s Center of Automotive Management.

“Daimler, Toyota and General Motors are the most advanced in fuel cells, but the problem is the high cost of the technology and necessary infrastructure.”

Analysts say very low or zero-emission vehicles will dominate the next phase of independent travel, with governments everywhere rolling out stricter emissions standards.

This near-certainty is sparking massive investment, with Japan’s seven major car manufacturers expected to spend a record $24 billion on green car research and development this year, according to the Nikkei business daily.

Detractors says electric vehicles simply shift emissions to the fossil-fuel burning power plants that provide the energy to recharge their batteries. They are also hampered by a short driving range.

Fuel cell cars, on the other hand, are seen as the Holy Grail of green cars as they’re powered by a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, which produces nothing more harmful than water.

Still largely experimental, fuel-cell vehicles could get a boost as various jurisdictions, including the US state of California, launch new hydrogen refuelling stations.

Toyota is eyeing a 500-kilometre (300-mile) range for its fuel-cell car — more than twice the Leaf’s current range — and much faster re-juicing.

The company, while not abandoning electric altogether, sees the fuel cell as the next logical step after its big early success with the Prius gas-electric hybrid, which has sold about 3.7 million units since its launch in the late 1990s.

“Electric vehicles are still so limited by the cruising range,” Nobuyori Kodaira, Toyota’s executive vice president said in a recent interview.

“Hydrogen can be recharged in three minutes… Quick-charging an electric vehicle still takes about half an hour.”

Cleaner power generation, however, may boost the appeal of electric cars, said Jos Dings, director of Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment.

“If… we manage to make electricity in a much cleaner way — there is a lot of investment in renewable energy — then it can definitely be a sustainable way forward,” he said.

Still, Nissan’s Leaf has shifted about 120,000 units since its launch nearly four years ago, way below expectations.

But its chief executive Carlos Ghosn — a steadfast cheerleader of electric cars who has scoffed at rivals’ ambitious plans for a commercialised fuel-cell vehicle — said new re-charging stations will be crucial to demand.

“All of it is very closely linked to the development of infrastructure, but we are seeing more and more competitors coming onto the scene which is always a tell-tale sign,” he told AFP earlier this year.

Ghosn was speaking in Bhutan, where Nissan sealed a deal to supply the tiny Himalayan kingdom’s government with a fleet of its green vehicles as it eyes an all-electric transport policy.

Governments throwing their weight behind strict roadside pollution standards and other environmentally-minded policies is crucial, analysts said.

“I don’t think GM, Ford and Chrysler look at green cars as a profit opportunity or big growth opportunity in which they are sensing a lot of consumer demand or growth — their goal is to meet what the government requires from them,” said US-based auto analyst Jack Nerad.

Whether one technology ultimately reigns supreme, or they co-exist with a patchwork of refuelling stations, may not matter much, added the environment group’s Dings.

“All carmakers are now seriously investing in developing these technologies, seeing how customers react to them, seeing how they work on the road and how much they cost,” he said.

“They all chose different paths and that’s fine, as long as the solutions deliver.”

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Mitsubishi offers to buy 10% stake in Alstom http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/15/mitsubishi-offers-to-buy-10-stake-in-alstom/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/15/mitsubishi-offers-to-buy-10-stake-in-alstom/#comments Sun, 15 Jun 2014 06:02:11 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=198809 Mitsubishi Motors Corp. head office in Tokyo's Minato Ward

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. head office in Tokyo’s Minato Ward

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is offering to buy a 10 percent stake in Alstom, a report said Sunday, as it seeks to sweeten a joint bid with Siemens to acquire some of the French firm’s energy assets.

Mitsubishi’s offer comes as it tries to convince the French government to choose the German-Japanese bid for Alstom’s assets over a rival offer from General Electric, the Nikkei business daily said, without citing sources.

Mitsubishi and Siemens are reportedly offering $10 billion for Alstom’s gas and steam turbine business, while the United States’ GE has offered $17 billion for the French conglomerate’s wider energy group.

A source told AFP on Thursday that Mitsubishi is now eyeing a minority stake in Alstom as it looks to reassure the French government of its intentions by forging a broader industrial alliance with the French “national jewel”.

Mitsubishi’s planned capital injection marks an attempt to sweeten its offer to ensure its joint bid with the German giant is accepted, the Nikkei said.

The French government views Alstom as a firm of national strategic importance and is concerned about safeguarding jobs at the company — one of France’s biggest private sector employers, with about 18,000 staff nationwide — as it battles record unemployment and declining industrial competitiveness.

The German-Japanese joint offer could scupper GE’s bid, which has already run into political opposition in France.

France is worried that Alstom’s business base may weaken should its energy assets be bought by foreign firms.

A Mitsubishi spokesman could not immediately confirm the Nikkei report. “We cannot comment on it as we are still in negotiations,” he said.

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Honda Accord Wins Car Of The Year http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/12/honda-accord-wins-car-of-the-year/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/12/honda-accord-wins-car-of-the-year/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 10:01:35 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=198402 The panel of adjudicators of Nigeria Auto Awards has voted D-Segment Honda Accord the ‘Executive car of the year.’ Honda accord outpaced rival mid-size family sedans including Toyota Camry, Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata to win the coveted plaque at the 9th edition of the awards.

The award which took place at the Eko Hotels and Suites Lagos attracted a substantial number of automobile stakeholders and government officials. Honda’s win wasn’t a big surprise as the Accord boasted the highest attributes among the brand watch factors, including affordability, “cool” factor, driving comfort, driving performance, durability/reliability, exterior styling, fuel efficiency, interior layout, prestige/sophistication, reputation, ruggedness and safety.

Honda Accord

Honda Accord

The jurors said strong consumer perception also helped drive Honda Accord’s success to earn top honour among rival brands. The adjudicators added that responses from numerous new car and truck owners as well as stakeholders facilitated their opinions about various brands that were categorized into 33 groups including tyres, workshops and logistics.

Deepak Daryanani, Head, Sales and Marketing, The Honda Place had in a post award remarks said: “A brand is really built over the long haul through consumers’ experiences with its products, and Honda is committed to delivering class-leading vehicles that provide lasting enjoyment and value to our customers.”

The Accord is offered in standard LX and EXL 2.4 litre four-cylinder engine with 173 bhp, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission (A/T) in Nigeria.

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New Chrysler 300C Arrives Nigeria http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/12/new-chrysler-300c-arrives-nigeria/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/12/new-chrysler-300c-arrives-nigeria/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 09:58:45 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=198399 The new luxury redesigned Chrysler 300c, a rare breed vehicle has arrived Nigeria. Many changes have taken place over those years, including all-new styling and a more efficient eight-speed automatic transmission.

Though priced like an entry-level luxury sedan, the 300C offers full-size space and an impressive list of features. Styling is also a strong suit for the 300C, combining up-scale Bentley cues with an overall look sinister enough for Al Capone and his cronies.

Up front, the design starts with a large, egg crate grille, plenty of chrome accents and wide headlights with integrated LEDs. The 300’s nose is fairly blunt by today’s standards, adding to its signature look.

Like the first-generation car, the 300’s flanks remain a slab-sided affair, but flared wheel arches help break things up at the front and the rear of the car. Whereas a number of sedans have adopted a sleeker, four-door coupe silhouette, the 300 sticks to a traditional three-box design.

The haunches of the 300C feature almost mini tail fins that integrate nicely with the car’s vertical taillights. A stylized bumper includes a chrome accent bar and dual exhaust cutouts.

Chrsyler 300c

Chrsyler 300c

The 300’s interior now boasts loads of high-tech gadgets and high-quality materials. The 300’s technology story starts with Chrysler’s typically fantastic Uconnect infotainment system. We say typically because we did encounter a few bugs, but more on that later.

Accessed via an 8.4-inch touchscreen located atop the 300’s center stack, Uconnect controls everything from the vehicle’s power rear sunshade to audio functions to navigation. Unlike other infotainment systems on the market, Uconnect is easy to use and easy to customize.

The 300C can be optioned with Chrysler’s sensational HEMI V8, but we found our tester’s 292 horsepower, 260 lb-ft of torque 3.6L V6 to be perfectly acceptable for around town duties. Despite being saddled with a somewhat portly 4,000 pound curb weight, the V6 never felt underpowered and even performed well during highway passing maneuvers.

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KIA Bags Brand Of The Year Award http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/05/kia-bags-brand-of-the-year-award/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/05/kia-bags-brand-of-the-year-award/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 09:39:10 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=197311 KIA motors in Nigeria, distributed by Dana Motors recently at an award held by The Nigeria Auto Awards (TNAA) won three awards; Brand of the Year award for 2013 and for the 4th consecutive year in a row bagged the budget entry car of the year, which was awarded to the Kia Picanto , and Entry Level Car of The Year which went to the Kia Rio, winning the award twice in the last three years.

Kia Rio

Kia Rio

In its effort to maintain its stand in the Nigerian auto market, the group recently launched a five years warranty on all its cars and SUVs. The Picanto, Rio, Cerato, Optima, Soul, Sportage, Sorento, Mohave and its premium Quoris  now come with a 5 year/100,00kms with the KIA K- Series truck models now coming with three year /100,00km warranty.

 The Kia luxury Quoris comes in addition to the Warranty, a five year free service and maintenance. According to Head of Marketing, Kayode Adejumo, “We at Dana Motors like to extend to our customers in Nigeria; the very best KIA vehicles have to offer by meeting the exact same standards applicable in other countries.

“In view of this, Dana motors is now offering the extended warranty on these vehicles to ensure our customers get the premium, as we give further assurances on the build quality of KIA vehicles,” said  Adejumo.

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Stallion Nissan Presents Vehicles To FG http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/05/stallion-nissan-presents-vehicles-to-fg/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/05/stallion-nissan-presents-vehicles-to-fg/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 09:30:37 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=197308 President Goodluck Jonathan has applauded the initiative of Stallion Nissan Motors Nigeria (Stallion NMN) as he took delivery of the first five ‘Made in Nigeria’ Nissan vehicles produced at the company’s plant in Lagos. The vehicles which include three Nissan Patrol SUVs, Nissan Almera (Sunny) saloon car and Nissan NP 300 pick-up were handed over to the president recently in Abuja.

Jonathan said the first made in Nigeria vehicles are a demonstration of the proficiency of local investors’ aptitude to the potency of a genuine policy to revamp the automotive industry and leverage the status of the economy while enhancing job creation.

•President Goodluck Jonathan receiving keys of the five made-in-Nigeria Nissan vehicles from Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment with Dame Patience Jonathan (second right); Vice President Namadi Sambo (extreme right) and Sunil Vaswani, at the official presentation ceremony of the vehicles at the presidential villa Abuja, recently.

•President Goodluck Jonathan receiving keys of the five made-in-Nigeria Nissan vehicles from Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment with Dame Patience Jonathan (second right); Vice President Namadi Sambo (extreme right) and Sunil Vaswani, at the official presentation ceremony of the vehicles at the presidential villa Abuja, recently.

“I’m quite happy that Nissan has demonstrated the reality of exporting cars from Nigeria is possible, which suggest we can soon as a nation export vehicles to other parts of the world. We thank Nissan for making the best of the new automotive policy which is part of our agenda to strengthen the private sector and make it a hub for job creation. Government alone can’t create jobs,” says President Jonathan.

Mr. Sunil Vaswani, Chairman Stallion Group who led a delegation to the ceremony expressed appreciation to the president and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment for the automotive policy, describing it as a historic step towards industrial and economic rejuvenation.

“We are grateful for the implementation of this initiative which is part of the Federal Government’s seven-point agenda to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and emancipate the dormant sectors of the economy,” says Vaswani.

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Hyundai Gets A Double At Nigeria Auto Awards http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/05/hyundai-gets-a-double-at-nigeria-auto-awards/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/05/hyundai-gets-a-double-at-nigeria-auto-awards/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 09:28:25 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=197304 Stylishly crafted Hyundai ix35 crossover and its acquaintance Veloster sport sedan were at the just ended 9th Nigeria Auto Awards honoured with the ‘Most preferred executive SUV’ and ‘Best in design’ awards of the year respectively.

Whilst the ix35 outclassed rival Toyota RAV4, Kia Sportage and Ford Escape in the category, the Veloster had beaten BMW X6 to emerge winner of the coveted honour. The Hyundai ix35 is the Korean company’s rival of crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Qahquai, Renault Captur, Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Yeti.

Hyundai Veloster

Hyundai Veloster

Among some distinguishing qualities of the Hyundai ix35 is the interior quality which the panel of adjudicators described as comfortable fit and finish, with robust switches and blue backlighting that gives the interior a classy feel. Coupled with this is the car’s suspension which is designed to order and set-up to provide soft ride and absorb all but the biggest of potholes and bumps that onemay encounter on the roads.

The ix35 interior is adequately insulated and does a great job of filtering out tyre, road and wind noise, while the engines are reasonably powerful, smooth and quiet.  Currently adjudged one of the best SUVs in the market, the ix35 comes with the most affordable price tags and some of the best equipment levels around.

Mr. Jatin Nadkarni, Head, Sales and Marketing, Hyundai Motors Nigeria, exclusive distributors of the brand said: “ix35 is one of the most stylish in its class with sleek, sporty look that turns heads in a way you wouldn’t expect from a car with a Hyundai badge.

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No driver needed: Google unveils a self-driving car http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/29/no-driver-needed-google-unveils-a-self-driving-car/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/29/no-driver-needed-google-unveils-a-self-driving-car/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 12:42:29 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=196468 The world has seen pilotless aircraft called drones. We have seen driverless trains.

Now Google is set to unveil a self-driving car.

It’s a car that will drive on its own — minus the steering wheel.

The internet giant said that it hopes to begin testing the car in the coming months.

“They won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal… because they don’t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work,” Google’s Chris Urmson said in a blog post.

Google's own self-driving cars, no steering wheel

Google’s own self-driving cars, no steering wheel

Urmson said Google plans to build about 100 prototype vehicles, “and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls.”

He added, “If all goes well, we’d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years.”

For Google, the car marks a shift away from adapting vehicles made by others in its quest to pioneer individual transport that needs only a stop-and-go function.

“It was inspiring to start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, ‘What should be different about this kind of vehicle?'” the post said.

The top speed of the battery-powered prototypes will be 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour and are designed for utility, not luxury.

“We’re light on creature comforts, but we’ll have two seats (with seatbelts), a space for passengers’ belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that shows the route — and that’s about it,” Urmson said.

The blog post shows a photo of a prototype and an artist’s rendering — both rounded bug-looking vehicles.

“We took a look from the ground up of what a self-driving car would look like,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin told the Re/code conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (See the car in motion here:)

“The reason I’m so excited about these prototypes and the self-driving car project in general is the ability to change the world and the community around you,” Brin added.

Brin said Google is likely “to partner with a lot of companies” on the project, but declined to elaborate.

Until now Google has been re-fitting Lexus and Honda cars to work as self-driving ones.

In an interview with Re/code, Urmson said the new Google cars will have numerous safety features learned from the company’s research.

“In our car there is no steering wheel so we have to design really fundamental capabilities,” he said.

“So we have effectively two motors and they work so if one of them fails the other can steer, so the car can always control where it’s going, and similar with brakes.”

In addition to crash protection for the occupant, the car has features to avoid pedestrians and other road users.

“So the front end is a whole new approach where it’s compressible foam and a flexible windshield that should do a much better job of protecting people if an accident should occur,” Urmson told Re/code.

Several automakers have been working on autonomous or semi-autonomous features for cars, such as self-parking, but no fully autonomous car has come to market.

A study last year by KPMG said consumers would welcome these vehicles if companies “get the value proposition right.”

This might mean “mobility on demand,” or the ability to share a vehicle or order one as needed.

Google said recently it was making progress on its project. Prototype Google cars have driven more than 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers) on public roads, always with someone ready to take the wheel.

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Toyota recalls 520,000 vehicles globally http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/23/toyota-recalls-520000-vehicles-globally/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/23/toyota-recalls-520000-vehicles-globally/#comments Fri, 23 May 2014 05:17:01 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=195605 Toyota on Friday said it is recalling about 520,000 vehicles, mostly in North America, over several issues including cable corrosion that could see unused spare tyres fall off.

The world’s biggest automaker made the announcement just days after US rival General Motors said it was recalling 2.4 million more vehicles in the United States.

Both car giants have been struggling with product recall issues in recent years with Toyota last month calling back 6.39 million vehicles over a string of problems, dealing another blow to its long-held reputation for quality and safety.

Toyota Sienna minivans recalled

Toyota Sienna minivans recalled

On Friday, Toyota said its announcement covered about 450,000 Sienna minivans produced between 2004 and 2011, including 370,000 in the US and 80,000 in Canada.

The move was tied to concerns that salt used on snowy roads in both countries during the winter could corrode a cable that secures the vehicle’s spare tyre.

“In an extreme case, the cable may break due to excessive corrosion and the spare tire may separate from the vehicle,” Toyota said.

Also recalled over a glitch in software that controls the front passenger seatbelt were 55,000 Highlander sports utility vehicles, sold mostly in the US, Canada and Mexico, which were manufactured between November 2013 and May 2014.

Another 16,000 Lexus GS 250 and GS 350 luxury sedans made in 2012 would be recalled, mostly in North America, Europe and China, over a brake pedal issue that could cause the vehicle to slow down more than expected.

Toyota recalled nearly 9.0 million vehicles globally in late 2009 and early 2010 due to an accelerator pedal issue.

Despite record sales and bumper profits, the company has been fighting to protect its brand in the wake of the crisis and earlier this year reached a deal to pay $1.2 billion to settle US criminal charges that it covered up a sticky pedal blamed for dozens of deaths.

US rival General Motors has also been sideswiped by accusations that it hid a decade-long ignition and airbag problem linked to 13 deaths.

This week, GM announced four separate recall actions for various models dating as early as 2005 and as recent as the 2015 model year, but said there had been no fatalities associated with them.

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