Tokyo—Perhaps no place is as representative of Japan's concentrated humanity as Shibuya Crossing in the heart of Japan's capital city. When the traffic lights go red, upwards of 3,000 pedestrians scramble through the intersection, a tidal mass of well-ordered people, ebbing and flowing based on the rhythm of highly organized public transit. But then the tarmac clears, and the lights go green.Punch it.The polite Japanese do not normally stare, but heads swivel now as a thundering dart stabs across the pavement, its rear flirting around with chirruping wheelspin. The front end of the Aston Martin Vantage might resemble something found on a slab at the nearby Tsukiji fish market, but it is a streamlined apex predator and draws eyeballs even in one of the city's wealthiest districts.Because this is Tokyo, the Aston's rapid forward progress is soon slowed by traffic. And, because it's Japan, said traffic is a bunch of go-karts driven by people dressed up as Mario and Luigi and … [Read more...] about Empire in the East: The vibrant past, present and future of British cars in Japan
Can a dealership order a car for you
Chrysler-brand CEO Al Gardner introduces the 2015 200 at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. Chrysler-brand CEO Al Gardner took a few moments to chat with Consumer Guide during the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. Al Gardner Interview In the wake of Chrysler’s debut of the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, tell us a little bit about how the car’s mission has changed. The 200 has been sold to buyers as a value play for a number of years now. With this redesign, will Chrysler be looking to add near-luxury shoppers into the fold? Absolutely, and simply come up within the heart of the segment as well. So the car you’re looking at on the stage, to me, that’s the direction that the brand is going. First off, it’s designed very specifically for the largest segment in the country. Note: Midsize cars accounted for 2.3 million sales in 2013, outselling even full-sized pickup trucks by 300,000 units. The existing 200 is a real good value in the marketplace, but it isn’t … [Read more...] about Taking on Honda and Reaching Upmarket: Talking Cars with Chrysler Chief Al Gardner
By Tim Healey You’re in the market for a car. You’ve determined that buying new isn’t for you, at least for this vehicle purchase. As you do you research and start paying closer attention to car commercials on TV, you start hearing a certain term being thrown around—certified pre-owned. What does that mean? Well, simply put, a certified pre-owned vehicle is one that has backing from the manufacturer or dealership (or, in some cases, an independent company) that goes beyond what is typically seen for pre-owned vehicles. Certified pre-owned cars are typically given a thorough inspection, are offered with a warranty, and are usually in very good or excellent condition—often with low miles. Most original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) offer A CPO program for vehicles of the same brand. These programs began with luxury brands such as Lexus and Mercedes-Benz in the early 1990s. Now, virtually every mainstream brand—and even some of the boutique … [Read more...] about Should I Buy a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Vehicle?
The auto industry has a long history of finding new uses for old manufacturing sites. Auto plants have been changing owners and uses since Henry Ford rented a wagon factory on Detroit's Mack Avenue in 1903 to start assembling his Model A.Auto plants are expensive to build. The most recently announced project in North America -- an Alabama joint venture between Toyota and Mazda that is to open in 2021 -- will cost $1.6 billion.But when they are no longer needed, the transition from auto plant to a second life can be painful, says James Rubenstein, a professor of geography at Miami University in Ohio. Rubenstein has tracked auto plant investment for decades and authored books on the "economic geography" of the industry."A community loses a tax base and an employment base," he says. "And the buildings that are reused are only hiring a small fraction of the workforce that the old building had."Between 1979 and 2017, 278 of the 455 plants operated directly by automakers in the U.S. closed, … [Read more...] about Can a defunct factory return to relevance?
Richard Parker locked down a job at a Ford plant in the Detroit area, and, like most residents of the region, needed a car to get to work. It was 1991, and at the time he had shaky credit, so it was plenty difficult finding a company willing to lend him money for the purchase. That changed with Credit Acceptance Corporation, one of the largest subprime auto lenders in the U.S. But he never imagined he’d spend the next two decades paying for it. In May of that year, Parker went to a dealership owned by Credit Acceptance’s founder, Don Foss, in Redford, a Detroit suburb that borders the city’s west side. After talking it over, a salesperson at the dealership scratched out an agreement for Parker to purchase a grey 1988 Chevy Blazer for $16,000. Parker put $3,390 down up front; Credit Acceptance agreed to finance a $9,198 loan at 22 percent interest, meaning Parker would have to pay about $3,500 in additional finance charges over the life of the 36-month loan. The … [Read more...] about The Car Loans That Never Die