Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn Japan’s Top-paid CEO

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Nissan Motor Co (7201.T), told shareholders on Tuesday he was paid a salary and bonus of 987 million yen ($12.5 million) for the past fiscal year, a package that makes him Japan’s highest-paid executive.

Ghosn has led Nissan since 2001 and steered the automaker through a turbulent 2011 that saw it bounce back faster than its domestic rivals Toyota Motor Corp(7203.T) and Honda Motor Co(7267.T) from disruptions caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Although Ghosn’s 0.5 percent pay rise for the past year put him just short of becoming the first CEO of a Japanese company to be paid more than 1 billion yen, investors have been far more concerned with his tenure than the terms of his compensation.

Read the rest of the story: Nissan’s Ghosn remains Japan’s top-paid CEO.

Toyota and BMW to team up on ‘green cars’

Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG will expand their alliance on so-called eco-friendly cars, with the Japanese automaker providing its hybrid and fuel-cell technologies to the German partner in exchange for technologies that reduce vehicle weight, Toyota sources said Monday.

By sharing their technologies in the promising field, the two major carmakers aim to enhance their global competitiveness and cut development costs, the sources said, adding that they are expected to formalize and announce the accord soon.

Toyota, which plans to launch a fuel-cell car around 2015, has never offered its “green car” expertise to a rival before, but previously joined hands on hybrid technology with Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp.

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100,000 Suzuki Swifts recalled

Japans Suzuki Motor said Monday it will recall about 109,000 Swift subcompact cars worldwide, half of them in Japan, to repair a defect that may cause petrol leakage.

The cars were produced between September 2010 and last month with 55,146 of them shipped to the domestic market and 53,801 others exported outside the country, including Australia, Mexico, and Europe, a company spokesman said.

Suzuki said in a statement that a defect related to the rubber fuel filler hose could cause petrol to leak.

Read the rest of the story: Japans Suzuki recalls over 100,000 Swifts.

Nissan Unveils Taxi of Tomorrow in NYC – The city’s new yellow cab

New York Citys next generation of yellow cabs will be minivans featuring sliding doors, antibacterial seats, air bags in the back and outlets to charge mobile phones.

City officials unveiled the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” manufactured by Nissan Motor Co., at the New York International Auto Show on Tuesday. The vehicle, on display to the public from Friday to April 15, was engineered to be durable enough to handle the citys 10,000 km of pothole-riddled streets, according to Nissan officials.

Priced at $29,700, the vehicle will include a transparent roof, fuel-efficient engine, no-hump floors, 25 cm more legroom than a Crown Victoria and more luggage space than most current cabs, according to the citys Taxi and Limousine Commission. Theyre scheduled to hit New York Citys streets by fall 2013.

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Cars: Ohio Grabs Acura From Japan as Yen Fuels Exodus to U.S.

Honda Motor Co.’s choice to build what it calls a racing-oriented “supercar” in Ohio highlights confidence in its U.S. engineers and plants. It also shows the difficulty of producing autos in Japan as the yen rises.

When the high-performance hybrid Acura NSX goes on sale within three years, it will be the most expensive and technologically advanced car ever built in the U.S. by an Asian or European automaker. Ohio will be the sole global production site for the car, and executives suggest will sell for more than $100,000.

“This is a halo vehicle,” said John Shook, a former Toyota engineer, referring to a model that represents the highest ideal of a brand. He is also chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which consults on efficiency techniques. “Where you make it makes a statement. It’s a great thing for their local operation, and indicative of challenges in Japan.”

Read the rest of the story: Ohio Grabs Acura From Japan as Yen Fuels Exodus to U.S.: Cars.

Tokyo Motor Show opens Saturday with car firms facing challenges

The Tokyo Motor Show kicks off Saturday amid a variety of challenges facing the automobile industry, including intensifying global competition, the yen’s historic surge and supply disruptions caused by natural disasters.

For Japanese automakers, emerging rivals in South Korea and other Asian countries have joined the ranks of long-standing competitors such as General Motors of the U.S. and Volkswagen AG of Germany.

The yen’s record rise has also cut into repatriated profits and eroded Japanese makers’ competitiveness overseas.

Read the rest of the story: Motor show opens with car firms facing triple whammy.

Japan’s Automakers May Flee Strong Yen

The strong yen is forcing Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor to consider changes in production plans and alliance strategies, the top executives of both Japanese automakers said Thursday.

The yen, which hit a record high against the dollar in late October, has undercut profits for Toyota and Nissan, which both build vehicles in Japan for overseas markets.

To offset the strong yen, Toyota may “deepen alliances” with suppliers and dealers, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, said during the opening of a Toyota plant in Mississippi that will build Corolla cars now being manufactured in Japan.

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Suzuki Regina and more wild and wacky for the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show

For a brief moment, following Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami, there were fears this year’s Tokyo Motor Show might not happen. It didn’t help that even before the disaster most foreign manufacturers said they’d pull out of the event citing routinely weak import car sales.

The biennial even is back on the calendar, it turns out, and when it opens its doors, early next month, the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show will do what it is often best known for: showcase some of the wildest and wacky concept vehicles ever put on wheels — such as the new Suzuki Regina concept.

Read the rest of the story: Suzuki goes wild and wacky at Tokyo show.

Toyota rolls out a new series of commercials based on Doraemon

Toyota Motor Corporation is rolling out a new series of commercials based on the popular manga and anime “Doraemon.” The commercials will be partly live-action, and the first one, which begins airing this Friday, features actor Tsumabuki Satoshi 30 as Nobita and mixed martial artist Ogawa Naoya 43 as Gian.The story for the commercials is set 20 years after the anime series. The first commercial, titled “Nobita, 30-sai,” starts with an animated scene where Nobita and Gian talk about their dreams for the future. It then switches to a live-action scene showing Nobita and Gian grown up, with narration provided by actor Ishizaka Koji. GReeeeN’s “Kiseki” is being used as the commercial’s music.Toyota plans to continue the series of commercials in the future, though it has not yet been revealed who will play the other characters, such as Doraemon, Shizuka, and Suneo.

Breakthrough Tech: Nissan developing a 10-minute battery charger for electric vehicles

With the fear of losing power during a trip holding back many consumers from purchasing an electric vehicle, Nissan has discovered a new charging method that could get drivers back on the road in minutes.

Announced earlier this week, Nissan has designed new battery technology for electric vehicles that cuts charging time from eight hours down to just ten minutes to fully recharge the battery. Assuming electric vehicle charging stations become more widespread across the United States, a driver could potentially take a long-distance trip from New York City to Los Angeles only having to stop for ten minutes at a time to recharge the vehicle. Researchers at at Kansai University in Japan claim that the breakthrough in this charging method comes from swapping out the electrode utilizing carbon inside a capacitor to an electrode using tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide. 

The downside to the announcement is that perfecting and commercializing the technology is likely going to take up to a decade to reach consumers. While Nissan waits for the 10-minute battery charger, the company is aggressively supporting quick-charging stations that can recharge a battery to 80 percent capacity in approximately 30 minutes.

Read the rest of the story: Nissan developing a 10-minute battery charger for electric vehicles.