Newsflash: SsangYong krijgt een nieuwe kans

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+++ Buying a new or used car at a dealer from a CAR SALESMAN can often come with a wide-ranging mix of feelings. One that seems to be prevalent is annoyance. Here are the top 5 most annoying things to come out of a salesperson’s mouth. 5) Can we look for a better lender for you? 4) What do you want to pay for this car? 3) We can order that but it’ll be 6 to 9 months before we get it. 2) This offer is only good if you buy right now. 1) Let me go talk to my manager (It’s purely a stall and let-em-sweat technique that, for the majority of instances, the salesperson can okay or deny (or counteroffer) without a manager’s okay). +++

+++ HYUNDAI boss Jang Jae-hoon showed confidence about the company’s new Grandeur,  which it revealed on Monday. Known as the “president’s car”, the Grandeur has come out with its first full redesign in 6 years. The company said it will begin sales of its flagship vehicle on November 14. At the online launching event, Jang introduced the 7th generation of the Grandeur as a product that both inherits the model’s legacy and contains future value. “The new Grandeur is an innovative model that has been developed over many years with our workers’ devotion. We have not only kept our 36-year-old brand heritage in the vehicle but also added advanced technology that exceeds market expectations. The new model will provide a whole new experience to our customers”, the CEO said. The new design of the Grandeur pays homage to its first-generation model, which was popular for its angular body shape. It has the longest wheelbase among all the vehicles in its class, giving the sedan a premium image. The new Grandeur sedan boasts a total body length of 5.035 millimeters, increased by 45 millimeters compared to the previous model. Hyundai Motor also extended its wheelbase and rear overhang by 10 millimeters and 50 millimeters, respectively, to secure ample space within the vehicle. In order to realize a future-oriented image, the front part of the car integrates daytime running lamps, positioning lamps and direction indicators in a single line according to the concept of a “seamless horizon lamp”. The interior focuses on providing a wide space by introducing a slim, ergonomic design. The new Grandeur is equipped with 10 airbags and other safety features, such as front collision avoidance, highway driving assist, reverse parking collision avoidance and remote smart parking assist systems. +++

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+++ Automakers in JAPAN are facing a double whammy of global chip shortages and inflated raw material costs, derailing production plans and offsetting the extra profits gained from a weak yen. Although the earnings of some major carmakers for the April-September period showed that many have benefited from the historically weak yen, they now appear to be more cautious than upbeat. Automakers are concerned that they won’t be able to manufacture enough vehicles to meet demand due to a shortage of chips and the high commodity prices that are watering down the benefits of the depreciated Japanese currency. Honda, for example, logged ¥453.4 billion in operating profits, up ¥112 billion from a year earlier, on record sales of ¥8.08 trillion during the six months through September. But if not for the weak yen, which buoyed profits by ¥153.2 billion, the automaker would have seen a year-on-year decrease in operating profit. “The record sales figure is largely because of the foreign exchange rate, not because of a rise in unit sales, so we can’t really be proud of it”, said Eiji Fujimura, who is in charge of accounting and finance at Honda, during a news conference on Wednesday. Honda revised its full-year sales outlook upward to a record ¥17.4 trillion, but it cut its forecast for vehicle unit sales to 4.1 million, down by 100,000, due to chip shortages. While chip supply constraints may have eased for general consumer products to some degree, at least for now, “shortages of certain types of chips are still severe, so we don’t think the worst has passed”, said Kohei Takeuchi, Honda’s executive vice president, adding that production of the CR-V and Civic models in North America have been hit particularly hard. Toyota has also slashed its full-year production target by 500.000 to 9.2 million due to chip shortages. The April – September operating profit for the world’s largest automaker dropped to ¥1.14 trillion from ¥1.74 trillion during the same period as the year before. Although the yen’s plunge bolstered profits by ¥565 billion, soaring raw material costs, which totaled ¥765 billion, significantly pushed down the financial gains. “Circumstances have rapidly and greatly changed in the past 6 months”, said Toyota chief financial officer Kenta Kon during a news conference last week. The plunge in the yen’s value, rising commodity prices and semiconductor supply constraints individually would each be enough to bring about huge, lasting impacts on the domestic auto industry and other related fields, but they are all happening simultaneously, he said. “To be honest, it is very difficult to see the outlook for the industry in the next 6 months and to forecast”, Toyota’s production and earnings, Kon said. In the face of continued supply chain disruptions, Nissan has also revised its global units sales outlook down from 4 million to 3.7 million. Nissan reported a profit of ¥156.6 billion for the past 6 months. But the high commodity prices squeezed the automaker’s profits by ¥122.8 billion, which more than offset the ¥93.9 billion push initiated by the currency swing. Asked about the outlook for raw material costs, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said during a news conference that there are a lot of uncertainties and that he is not optimistic, but will work closely with the firm’s suppliers to monitor the situation. Uchida added that the yen’s rapid movements are undesirable. “The historically weak yen may help boost our profits in the short term”, he said. “But when we look at it in the medium to long term, high volatility of the yen’s value causes various issues for sustainable operation”. Suzuki president Toshihiro Suzuki, meanwhile, pointed out that the declining yen is having negative effects, causing price hikes of various goods in the domestic market to possibly prompt consumers to tighten their purse strings. While the automaker, which has a strong presence in India, increased its full-year vehicle production forecast by 173.000 to a total of 3.3 million, it is still unable to fully meet demand due to the global chip shortage. “It’s hard to predict when chip supplies will return to normal. I think we will need to keep staying vigilant next year as well”, he said. +++

+++ By now, it’s no secret that LAMBORGHINI is readying an off-road version of the Huracan called the Sterrato, and the first official camo-free images shows just how similar it looks to the 2019 Sterrato concept. Much like the recently-confirmed Porsche 911 Dakar, the Huracan Sterrato, which will be unveiled at the Art Basel in Miami on November 30, will be a supercar that you can take off-road, and as such, will feature all the necessary modifications to do so. This includes things like a lifted suspension, new wheels mounted on meatier off-road tires, and a roof scoop to ensure the air going to the engine is clean and dust-free. Other touches that aren’t mandatory but are welcome additions are the LED light bars on the front bumper and the roof racks with cross bars to carry all your adventure gear. Lamborghini also went through the trouble of giving the Sterrato different visual cues that are equal parts functional and fashionable. These include the restyled lower intakes, the protective cladding on the side skirts and bumpers, as well as unpainted bolt-on fender flares that also serve to guard the Huracan’s body from debris. There’s not been any word on the powertrain, but seeing as even the range-topping, track-focused Huracan STO packs nearly the same V10 engine as the base Huracan Evo AWD, we’d imagine the Sterrato will be no different. That being said, the tried-and-tested 5.2-liter V10 has a lot going for it, with a nice exotic sound to accompany its 640 hp and 600 Nm of torque. One thing we can say with almost absolute certainty, though, is that the car will be all-wheel drive, seeing as it’s supposed to be able to venture off road. +++

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+++ The automotive exodus continues in Russia as MAZDA is the latest name in a long string of car manufacturers to stop production. Tucked away in a press release about the latest financial results is news about Zoom-Zoom’s decision to sell its stake in the 50:50 joint venture it had with local carmaker Sollers. The latter is buying the other half of the MSMR company for the “princely” sum of 1 euro. However, it’s goodbye only for now as the contract stipulates Mazda has the possibility to buy pack its 50 percent share at any time within the next 3 years for the same €1 amount. Similar decisions were taken earlier this year by Renault and Nissan as both sold their shares in the respective joint ventures for practically nothing but left the door open to possibly come back one day. In the financial report, Mazda says it’ll record an extraordinary loss of around ¥12 billion, which works out to approximately €83 million or £73 million. The decision was taken “due to the situation in Ukraine that arose in February 2022”. The Japanese car manufacturer stopped shipping parts to MSMR back in March before ending operations altogether a month later. Discussions were held between the 2 parties, but Mazda “sees no path to restarting the business”. Known officially as the Mazda Sollers Manufacturing Rus, the company had been operating a factory in Vladivostok since October 2012 with an annual production capacity of 50.000 units. Products included the CX-30, CX-5 and CX-9 along with the 6. Last year, Mazda grabbed 1.8 percent of the Russian car market. Mazda’s decision to sell its stake in the MSMR joint venture doesn’t spell the end of the Vladivostok plant since a Sollers spokesperson told Reuters operations will be resumed in 2023 with “a new model lineup”. +++

+++ Chinese automaker NIO has announced that its ET7 sedans won the Golden Steering Wheel 2022 award in the category of “Medium and Upper Class” in Germany. The Golden Steering Wheel is one of the most prestigious and oldest automotive competitions for new car models in Germany since 1976. Some 47 new models were competing for the 2022 Golden Steering Wheel, distributed across 11 categories. Three finalists were selected for each category and evaluated by an expert panel. The ET7 is the 4th NIO production car after the ES8, the ES6 and the EC6. It is also the first NIO car to feature Lidar. Standard (75 kWh for 500 km NEDC), Long Life (100 kWh for 700 km) and Ultra Long Life (150 kWh for 1.000 km). The ET7 electric sedan has a remarkably slippery body with a drag coefficient of 0.208 Cd. The power train consists of 2 electric motors. The motor at the front has 180 kW, and the motor at the rear has 300 kW. The combined power output is 652 hp and 850 Nm. The interior gets plenty of natural light via the panoramic sunroof. There is no glove box in the interior. Other main features include a 10.2-inch digital instrument panel, a 12.8-inch touchscreen with a digital assistant on top, a HUD, a 4K driving recorder, a 5G wireless network, WiFi 6.0, Bluetooth 5.2, and a 23-speaker sound system. Rear passengers get an LCD panel mounted on the back of the center console to control climate and seat functions. Underneath is a Type C USB outlet. Like the front seats, outer passengers in the rear get heating, cooling, and massage functions. +++

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+++ NISSAN and its French partner, Renault, have run into difficulties in discussions to redraw their partnership because of a dispute over electric vehicle patents. Long frustrated with its disadvantageous position in the alliance, Nissan has been keen to reduce Renault’s stake in the Japanese company from the current 43% to 15%, the same level as Nissan’s stake in Renault. Initially, the 2 automakers planned to announce the new shape of their partnership as early as Tuesday by focusing on the capital relationship first while leaving aside time-consuming patent negotiations, according to sources familiar with the matter. But they had to delay the announcement after becoming unable to leave aside the patent negotiations. Renault needs to receive capital injections from Nissan and another Japanese partner, Mitsubishi, into its new electric vehicle company that it plans to take public in the latter half of 2023. Talks on the electric vehicle investment involve complicated patent negotiations. This has been “bundled with” discussions to review the capital relationship, a senior Nissan official said. Patent negotiations include the handling of past rights as well as the future value of all-solid-state batteries, a key component in extending the range of an electric vehicle. Google and chipmaker Qualcomm also take part in Renault’s electric vehicle project, a situation that makes the patent negotiations even more difficult. Nissan is more advanced than Renault in terms of the development of all-solid-state batteries. But Renault CEO Luca de Meo remains bullish in the negotiations citing the French maker’s electric vehicle patents. Still, the two companies are “having discussions while facing in the same direction”, a senior Nissan official said. The Renault CEO said last week that the 3 companies will make an announcement within a few weeks. +++

+++ Russian carmaker SOLLERS will buy out Japanese auto maker Mazda’s 50% stake in their joint venture car assembly plant in Vladivostok, Sollers said on Thursday. In a results statement on Thursday, Mazda said the deal would be worth one euro, bring it the right to buy the asset back for the same amount within 3 years. Mazda, which took 1.8% of the Russian car market last year, said in March it would stop supplying parts to the plant and production would eventually cease, as it joined some Western manufacturers leaving Russia over its actions in Ukraine. The plant had the capacity to make 50.000 cars a year. All approvals for the sale of Mazda’s stake in the plant to Sollers have been granted, a Sollers spokesperson said, adding, “We are preparing to restart the plant next year with a new model line-up”. +++

+++ SSANGYONG said Friday it has graduated from the court-led debt rescheduling program 1 1/2 years after it was placed under court receivership amid the Covid-19 pandemic. SsangYong applied for court receivership on April 15, 2021, after its Indian parent Mahindra failed to attract an investor due to its worsening financial status amid the pandemic. The Seoul Bankruptcy Court approved SsangYong’s debt payment plans in August after the court picked a local consortium led by chemical-to-steel firm KG Group as the final bidder to acquire the debt-laden company in June. “The company has completed debt settlement as scheduled under its rehabilitation plan”, a company spokesman said. SsangYong has undergone 2 rounds of court receivership in the past decade. The China-based SAIC acquired a 51 percent stake in SsangYong in 2004 but relinquished its control of the carmaker in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis. SsangYong was placed under the court receivership in 2009. In 2011, Mahindra acquired a 70 percent stake in SsangYong for 523 billion won and now holds a 74.65 percent stake in the carmaker. Trading of SsangYong shares has been suspended since December 21 2020. KPMG Samjong declined to offer its opinion for its 2021 financial report due to snowballing losses. SsangYong has posted net losses for 6 consecutive years through 2021. +++

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